Written on: 05/03/2012 by Eric-Montemayor (3 reviews written)
Headphone addiction is a slippery slope. Every mid to high end headphone has its own sound color and you just can't wait to filter your music into those unique signatures. But with these bloated price points, choosing quality cans could be a practice of restraint, after all, they are hefty investments. You could go all audiophile and get the best balanced sound for your money, but I'm not here to talk about that. I'm here to talk about these overpriced swag headphones. As your admittedly regular consumerist sheep, I can't resist the whole industrial charm of these blingy cans because they seem to share that subliminal attraction that emanate from cars. The sleek lines, the curves and the plush "interior" all remind me of car designs and I'm pretty sure it's not by accident. They were purposely designed that way.
Which one do you "ride" first? The Solo HDs or the Studios? Me, I got the Studios first because they're the more iconic over -ear circumaural Beats model and I like the active (but weak) noise cancellation. But on the flipside, they are bulky, heavier and they require two AAA batteries so they're not really efficient for portable street use. Plus they leak bad so they're not even good work headphones. So after months of use, they've been relegated strictly for private home use and I relied more on the Tour in-ear canal phones. But, of course, there's another bright idea dangling in my head. Why not get the Studio's little brother, the Solo HD?
Yep it's the smaller, more portable,and lighter on-ear supra-aural little brother which would perfect for casual walks and that office cubicle. So I settled for these Special Edition Red Solo HD's because Monster said they'll donate a portion of the proceeds to a AIDS foundation in Africa (really?) if you get these instead of the other colors. I'm all for charity, bro. :-)
How do these two compare? Build-wise, they're made of that same clicky, glossy combo of plastic and aluminum but the Studios have thicker grade components overall. The Solo HDs have been thinned down obviously to pare down the weight because of portability reasons. Both model's ear cushions are made of that same soft pleather but since the Studios are circumaural, they won't bear down on your ears that much. Solos and Solo HD's re super-aural on-ears so the feel of the earcups will constantly rest on your ear cartilage. All in all, both ear cups are comfortable but the Solo HD's may be warmer and moistened by sweat especially in hot weather.
Now sound-wise, there are not so subtle differences which could warrant you getting both. The Studio's have better treble and mid response and a brighter, cleaner sound overall. And since defined bass is the signature of Beats, the Studio's bass response is hefty but it doesn't really obliterate the other frequencies. The Studio's soundstage is also remarkably wider. You could pleasantly pinpoint individual instruments and their locations in the soundscape. I'm not a big fan of the Studio's noise cancellation because it's not convincing as Bose's Quiet Comfort. Plus there's a slight hiss that's introduced to the sound. Audio purists may disagree but it's indiscernible if you're not consciously looking for it and inaudible when you actually play music. Still, the noise cancellation is serviceable and it's effective against low frequency noise from machines like AC fans and I would imagine, airplane engines. The rest of the noise is handled by passive noise cancellation brought by the earpads.
Which brings us to the Solo HD's. The Solo HD's don't have active noise cancellation. All the passive noise cancellation is handled by the on-ear cups but it is still quite effective. Now, one thing that the Solo HD's have is bass. Lots of bass. Crank the volume up high enough and you could feel the earcups wobble your head. And while the Studio's are still capable of head-wobbling, the Solo HD's could do it with the same relative volume. The Solo HD's don't have that wide soundstage of the Studio's, though. They have more of that "in-your-head" sound which works great with most synthesized music but treble and mid response is not as defined as the Studio's albeit still well-detailed. One thing I've read is that the Solo HD's are a marked improvement on the old Solo's in terms of mid and high response and they are closer to the Studio sound than the old matte Solo's. One trick I've learned to do with the Solo HD's is that you could actually control their bass output by experimenting with their placement on the ears. Move them a little forward or backward off-center and you could tame the bass. Move them center for the ultimate bass impact. You can't do this with the Studio's since they're circumaural.
So, what do I use both for? I use the Studio's primarily for home listening because of their size. Also, the Studio's are better for music detailing because of their more defined highs and wider soundstage.
But I actually use the Solo HD's more because of their portability. Since they're lighter and smaller, they're great for walking and for everyday, casual activities. They also sound great for hard-hitting genres like dubstep, techno or any other bad-ass electronic music. I actually prefer that head-throbbing tight soundstage for certain musical genres.
What's my final advice? If you can't resist but you haven't joined the Monster bandwagon yet, I'd say go for the Solo HD's first (stay away from the regular Solo's). They're cheaper and they are perfect entry points to the higher models. They have that same ear-popping sound impact you could get with the Studio's, albeit a little less refined. But for controlled, tight, sheer head-throbbing bass, they're a winner. Get them, then if you like what you're hearing, move up.
*Note, for best prices, I suggest you have to compare prices at -> Compare2prices.info/SoloHD-RED
Thank for reading.