Beats Heartbeats Review
The Heartbeats by Beats will rattle heads, win hearts (almost)
In recent years, militant metal spikes have cropped up on everything from shoes, to shirts, and even purses—and Beats Electronics is on the same studded bandwagon: Meet the Heartbeats (MSRP $99.95) in-ears.
If you don't mind brain-battering bass, you'll love how these sound. The Heartbeats strike a balance that many mainstream listeners are sure to love, and extras that contribute to added comfort, convenience, and style. Yet for all that, the Heartbeats don't win my whole-hearted approval; the one-button remote will have you reaching in your pockets and purses to get a grip on volume, an oversight that many consumers just won't stand for.
Design & Features
Look closely and you'll notice a famous name engraved upon a metal plaque along the Heartbeats' cable: Lady Gaga. The pop star may know a good-looking set of gold studs when she sees one, but how could she be so monstrous as to leave her "little monsters" to suffer with a one-button remote? A one-button controller on a pair of $100 headphones is just silly. For that amount, users should be able to turn volume up and down without groping through purses and pockets for their music players. On top of that, the dinky thing rarely registers a double-click correctly, fast-forwarding music instead of skipping a song. This is the worst remote I've used in months.
But it's not all frownie faces and cuss words; the Heartbeats are an excellent choice for users who need a customized fit, for instance. Beats includes six different sizes of silicone speaker covers. Need a tiny cover? You're all set. Extra large? Done. Users also get a shirt clip and a convenient little carry case for on the run. You should use it, too, since the metal studs collect dings and scratches without it.
Purists: Run for cover. Everyone else: Get your dancing pants.
Though purists will want to shield their ears, others will opens their hearts to the boom-boom-boom of the Heartbeats—and I do mean boom. These studded in-ears will rattle your brains with low-end beats. Yet they emphasize mids and highs enough that bass doesn't just run the whole show. While music sounds much "bigger" and bass-heavy than refined tastes will tolerate, listeners can still make out the finer, higher-range details on instruments like strings, horns, percussion, vocals, and more. I spent time listening to everything from James Brown to Puccini, and while bass arguably lends a more, ahem, dramatic feel to your music, I could still distinguish each range of my music—from low to high. Just watch out for sub-bass... too much volume with that Deadmau5 might blast your socks right off. Then again, I guess that's what those listeners love so much.
Where the Heartbeats really impressed me the most was in distortion and tracking trials. Listeners won't find a drop of audible distortion with these in-ears. Even in the sub-bass range, where I often find huge amounts of distortion on even pricey headphones, the measurements are shockingly low. As for tracking, which notes the balance of volume between left and right speakers, those results are excellent as well. Users won't find any major differences in loudness between each earpiece.
That score at the top of the page looks good for a reason. The golden results just keep pouring in: If you want a set of in-ears to make the outside world go away, the Heartbeats are here for you: Mid- and high-range outside noises get beaten down considerably. But best of all, the seldom-blocked low-end noises get the silent treatment too: Passing cars or rumbling trains are reduced quite a bit, which isn't normally the case.
Sound to please the masses, design to please few
In the end, the Heartbeats in-ears by Beats satisfy a strong consumer thirst: These headphones serve up massive bass, but with mids and highs that don't fall to the wayside. Each area of the scale is emphasized enough that nothing truly gets trampled underfoot. Just beware: If the lack of a volume button is a deal breaker, steer clear. For many, in-ears are intended to be commuting companions, and without control over volume, these Heartbeats just aren't holding up their end of that bargain.
Even so, these things have no audible distortion whatsoever, and they ship with enough pairs of silicone speaker covers to suit most Goldilocks'. Yet perhaps the best selling point is the shiny outfit: The flashy golden studs lend a singularly hip look to any ensemble. If you can deal with the one-button remote and you love bass-heavy beats, give these Heartbeats a look.
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