Time to Rethink Beats, the Solo2 is Excellent Measurements

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Uncompensated frequency response plots show very little variation with headphone movement between measurements indicating an ear-pad that does an excellent job. The plot shows good similarity with the Harman target response, but for the bass boost extending to around 500Hz (when it should stop at about 120Hz) and a too severe drop off at 10kHz. Otherwise it's quite good, especially the treble response between the peak at 3.5kHz and 10kHz that appears very smooth. This is an area that often shows severe peaks.

I got curious and wanted to have a look at the Solo's response using the preliminary Harman target response curve like I did with a number of headphones here. Below is the result.


As you can see, low-bass is still somewhat too accentuated, but the region between 60Hz and 500Hz appears over-accentuated. In listening, I heard this as the Solo sounding a bit thick.

Back to the main measurements, in the compensated plots show a significant warm tilt, but response is unusually smooth and artifact free to 10kHz. I did hear these cans as very smooth and coherent. Very few, if any, on-ear, sealed cans have a response this smooth. Above 10kHz response drops significantly, adding a mild veil to the already warm response.

30Hz square wave has good shape and little sway back, coupled with the low bass distortion of the THD plot, this indicates a tight, impact-full bass, which was heard in listening.

300Hz square wave shows a fairly fast and clean first overshoot with modest subsequent ringing at about 3kHz. Generally, I like to see a little more overshoot on the initial edge—which might have brought a little more sparkle to these cans—but it remains a fairly clean waveform. Likewise, the impulse response shows some moderate ringing—waterfall plots will likely show a ridge at about 3kHz and one at 10kHz or above—but is otherwise fairly clean.

THD+Noise plot is very good, showing low distortion overall; good power handling as indicated by the 100dB plot being significantly lower than the 90dB plot; and very low bass distortion, which is not easy for a headphone of this type. Those ear-pads are doing a very good job!

Impedance and phase response plots show a nominally 33 Ohm headphone with little variation. This is a fairly clean impedance plot indicating good care in designing the driver acoustics.

Isolation is very good for a headphone of this type. Again, the ear-pads are working very well. Combined with the high sensitivity of 40mVrms needed to achieve 90dBspl in the headphones, this will make for a very good general purpose portable headphone.

These measurements are excellent for a sealed on-ear headphone. Beats had done a great job with these cans.

Beats by Dre