Audiophiles and lovers of booming bass alike often ask me what I think about Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, assuming I’ll somehow slam the company. But I’m actually a fan of what Beats has accomplished—in 2008, virtually no one was paying money for headphones (except for audiophiles). Beats more or less eliminated that complacency for dismal sound—true, it was achieved by making bass-heavy headphones a fashion statement seen on celebrities and athletes alike, but it was still a marked improvement over the status quo.
Sound purists may sometimes seem a bit snobbish (at least some), but you have to admit that in this they are right: the Beats headphones are not very good. They are fashionable, but they are not worth what they cost. There are many other alternatives that offer better sound quality for significantly less money.
Alternatives to Beats (and with real bass sound):
If you are looking for headphones with powerful bass sound quality, there are a few options to choose from. Headphones with strong bass will make the music sound spectacular, especially hip hop or electronic music. For genres like rock or pop, some of the options below are good, but you’ll probably get better sound with more balanced headphones in bass, mid, and treble.
Here are some of our recommendations for powerful bass headphones:
Denon AH-D600: are a great alternative to the Beats, with better bass quality. They may not be so comfortable and light, but the sound is spectacular.
V-Moda Crossfade M-100: Lighter than the previous ones, around the same price as the Beats Studio, but with higher sound quality.
Audio Technica ATH-M50: they are a lower rung in range, but cheaper and with a still very decent bass.
Ultrasone HFI-580: great quality for the price, although in this model the highs tend to highlight something more than in the rest.