Apple-owned Beats has been slapping the words ‘Studio’ and ‘Pro’ on its headphones since Dr Dre’s inaugural 2008 release. But anyone who’s taken a passing interest in the brand’s lineup knows that Beats headphones are for everyday use – gym sessions, travelling entertainment, listening in the office – not for the recording studio.
Still, the latest Beats Studio Pro headphones are comfortable and boast an exciting, bass-heavy sound and excellent ANC. They also pack modern features such as spatial audio with head tracking and lossless audio via USB-C. Audiophiles should look elsewhere for their fix, but even ‘pro’ listeners shouldn’t scoff at these slick cans for casual listening. They’d be far too easy to recommend if they had just a few more features.
How comfortable are the Beats Studio Pro?
The Studio Pro’s understated aesthetic follows previous Beats models, with the ‘b’ logo present on the outside of each cup. A hinged, plastic design lets you fold the headphones into the included carry case for protection and portability, which we find useful in our travels. It doesn’t make for the strongest headband design but, after six weeks of rigorous use, we’re yet to detect any signs of breakage.
The headband is comfortable and easily adjustable, too. Through our hours of listening, the UltraPlush earcups rarely become uncomfortable. However, other reviewers with different-sized ears bemoan the one-size approach here. The earpads aren’t replaceable either, which is a disappointment – if the leather begins to deteriorate after the warranty expires, you’ll be forced to buy a new pair.
The stripped-back design also extends to the tactile buttons – pressing the logo on the left cup will play/pause a track, while buttons above and below manage volume. The system button is on the right cup – we’ll dive into the functions of that shortly.
Do the Beats Studio Pro sound good?
Review channel Snazzy Labs slams the Beats Studio Pro for their poor sound but, remember, these aren’t audiophile headphones or studio reference headphones (despite the name).
For £350, they still pack a powerful sound to our ears. Punchy, deep bass and a crisp high end, the sound profile will suit the target demographic – movie and TV watchers, video game players, and music listeners interested in a diverse range of genres.
Kaytraminé’s K&A sounds awesome on the Beats Studio Pro – the bassline is incredibly deep, while Aminé’s vocal stands out nicely. Comparatively, Shure’s similarly-priced AONIC 50 GEN 2 boast a more natural sound and, as a result, Aminé sounds less sibilant but the overall track is less exciting. With the £999 Dali IO-12, we hear much more detail in the mix and notice that the Beats’ headphones sound a little compressed in comparison.
Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams shines with the Studio Pros. The kick drum and bassline punch through from the off, and Stevie Nicks’ vocal sounds familiarly stellar. The track’s chorus is bright but a little busy in the high end when compared to the meticulous Dali IO-12 – these also give a much better stereo image. The Shure AONICs are similar to the Studio Pros here, but noticeably lack the depth in the bass.
For dance music, we test the Studio Pros with deadmau5’s Alone With You. Interestingly, the kick drum that starts the track sounds more flat than on the AONIC, which better accentuates the weight of the drum. But, admittedly, the entire mix sounds more lively on the Studio Pros. Of course, it sounds its best on the Dali headphones.
The Studio Pros pack spatial audio capabilities with head-tracking. This works as expected, but whether you use spatial audio will be a matter of taste; it’s a nice feature to have, particularly for movies and TV shows.
For lossless listening, you can use the provided USB-C cable to connect to a device with a USB-C port. From here, you can choose from three EQ modes – Signature, Entertainment, and Conversation. Signature is the classic Beats sound, while Entertainment boosts the high-mids and the lows. Conversation effectively cuts the bass for when you need to chat with people nearby. You can also use the 3.5mm analogue input for other wired connections.
How good is Beats Studio Pro Active Noise Cancelling?
Honestly, the ANC on these headphones is superb. Trains, planes and the outdoors are subdued with satisfaction on the Studio Pro. It’s no match for our Nuraphones, but compared to the Shure AONICs, it’s a clear winner. As Soundguys points out, though, if these don’t fit your ears as well as they fit ours, your experience might differ.
You can toggle ANC on iPhone and macOS through your audio options, or via the System button on the bottom of the right can. You also use this to power on the headphones and swap between listening modes when connected via USB-C – the multiple uses of this button become a little frustrating, but it’s alright once you’re used to it.
Note also that they have a little sound leakage, so if you plan on cranking them up on a quiet train, those around you might be able to hear your music.
Beats Studio Pro – Apple’s best headphones?
Marques Brownlee reckons the Beats Studio Pro could be Apple’s best over-ear headphones yet, despite not having Apple’s in-house H2 chip found in the AirPods Max. You’ll still get a few of the Apple-esque features – fast pairing, for example – but, frustratingly, there are some features that Beats’ Studio Pros are missing that you’ll find not only on Apple’s AirPods Max, but in plenty of competing headphones.
For one, multipoint connectivity is only for Google Android users. For Apple users, this is a letdown and means you’ll have to manually connect the Studio Pros every time you want to change your audio device. For a product that could be seamlessly baked into the Apple ecosystem, this is just annoying. There’s also no dedicated app, as found on Android phones, for adjusting settings. You are able to use Siri and the Find My feature with Apple devices, at least.
However, the Bluetooth connectivity is Class 1, giving you excellent connection range. The 24-hour battery life (40 hours without ANC) is standard but they take a while to go into standby mode – instead, they deplete battery for a while when you take them off. They also don’t auto-pause your audio when you remove them from your head, which many other headphones in this price bracket do. Apple’s fast-charge is on offer, at least, giving you four hours of playback on 10 minutes of charge.
Should you buy the Beats Studio Pro headphones?
The Beats Studio Pro will be a fine fit for anyone who wants a simple, classy-looking and fun-sounding pair of headphones for various uses. They’re so close to being amazing, but sadly fall short on missing just a few features. And if you can try the Beats Studio Pro on before you buy to get a sense of the fit, definitely do that.
We wouldn’t use them for any critical listening sessions or for producing music, but the Studio Pros have been perfectly reliable for travelling, taking a walk, and other easy-going environments. We’ve already seen the Studio Pros out in the wild on trains, city streets and on planes. We were even sat in between two other passengers on a flight sporting them as we were. You can expect to continue spotting that iconic ‘b’ logo in your travels, too.
Beats Signature sound
Spatial Audio compatibility
Active Noise Cancelling with transparency mode
Lossless audio via USB-C with three EQ modes
3.5mm analogue input
Carry case included
40 hours of battery life or 24 hours with ANC enabled
Class 1 Bluetooth
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