As I make my rounds through the barracks of the many audio camps, like some odd white-gloved ball-busting scribe with preternaturally acute hearing, one manufacturer seemed more elusive than an oiled-up ninja rocking out to the Detox album. I’m talking about the audio tech juggernaut – Beats by Dre.
“Dr. Dre” is a name oft associated with “gangster rap”, nice men with attitudes and thrusting now-music moguls: Snoop Dog and Eminem into the multimillion dollar limelight. Now Dre continues to nurture his mighty music production career with the impending Detox album while working tirelessly to assure the digital age of music does not sully the overall audio quality which artists work to achieve. That last bit is how Beats by Dre was born–and there was much rejoicing!
Today we drape our fleshy sonic receptors in the special edition white Mixr headphones from Beats by Dre. These over-ear offerings are the product of Beats working with famed DJ and producer–David Guetta. No familiarity with either of these folks is needed to appreciate the totality of awesome that is the Beats by Dre Mixr DJ headphones.
The Mixr unit ships in a sturdy and sizeable red boxed packaging. You get the headphones, a rugged carrying case, company literature, instruction manual an two different cords to connect to your audio device du jour. Again this is the white version. The Mixr unit also comes in black. Both are dripping with elegance and style. The logos and accents are well placed, add charm and do not feel self-serving or overly indulgent.
Moreover, the craftsmanship is a showpiece all on its own. We have brushed aluminum, limited use of plastics and wildly useful pivoting earphones for quick sound checks and general spatial awareness without having to take the headphones completely off your musically massaged head. You can easily see, what went in to the design was equal parts beauty and brains.
Let’s turn our gaze toward function. I mentioned two cables are included… One cord is for audio-on-the-go and features Control Talk+ functionality and support with iPhone and Blackberry (RIM limited functions). You can answer, hang up and mute calls with ease. I should note that Blackberry users are limited to answering and hanging up phone calls. The cord also sports in-line mic controls such volume controls and skipping tracks. Using this cable on the go is great, where I saw no issues. It’s length is sufficient. The mic works as needed with all callers reporting clear reception. The buttons on the in-line remote are responsive with noticeable tactile feedback. Nothing eventful here. Audio on your mobile device benefits immensely when heard through the Beats Mixr.
The other cord is partially coiled like a DJ’s and features a removable (yet still attached) 1/4-inch connector normally used by DJs. Remove that connector and we find a familiar 3.5mm connector. I love the option to go either way. I don’t usually use headies when talking on the phone so I appreciate the second option sans the in-line remote. Also noteworthy: either cable can be connected to the left or right earphone, unlike most offerings. This option also allows for daisy chaining several headphones together for multiple listening from a single audio source–also damn cool!
So what does audio actually sound like through the Mixr set of cans? Presidential! Out of the consumer level over-ear headphones that have gone through our audio obstacle course, the Mixr from Beats by Dre and co-created by David Guetta are trendsetting pack leaders–shot callers, even… Every ounce of audio reproduction goes untouched by the competition. Lows, highs, midrange…you name it, it all sounds impeccable. The bass is so pure and rich, it’s amazing. I hesitate to say “deep”, while the bass does possess immense depth… The bass reproduction is so clean and rich that it stole the show and is truly what impressed me the most. Yet the Mixr unit goes beyond the boomin-system, night club thumb of which Guetta and Dre are known. With no fear they gracefully consumed Classical, Samba, Reggae, Jazz, Blues..etc, and spat out pure harmony.
Even still, I was ill-prepared for the aural ambrosia that was unleashed when I used the Mixr set for gaming. I could never get the in-line mic to work for in-game voice chat. It mattered little. The trick here was my Astro Gaming mixamp. The amp is connected to my PC sound card. So I connected the Mixr headphones to the 3.5 connector on the amp. The result was shocking. Positional audio was questionable. But the level of fidelity, clarity and richness was just as impressive in games as in movies and music. The Mixamp functions like an exosuit augmenting the existing might of anything that dares strap it on. Gaming “al carte”, or without the mixamp was filled with hollow echo sounds. Not surprising! This set is not made for gaming. But the lesson here: an appropriate amp can admirably extend the functionality of your Beats by Dre Mixr headphones, making a complete and nearly over-achieving package.
That package does have a few smudges. I will admit, some girth accompanies the Beats Mixr headphones, but they’re not abundantly heavy. The fit is quite comfortable for the most part. However I did notice they become too tight around my ears after about an hour of straight uninterrupted use. Also the band padding, which touches the top of your head, is a little deficient and could use a bit more cushioning.
But really I’m splitting hairs at this point. None of this unseats the new king crowned. I cannot recommend the Mixr headphone enough. They are a bit pricey, but lesser performers brandish equal or higher price tags. The V-Moda Lp2 headphones for instance, are similarly priced but come nowhere near the level of audio quality produced by the Mixr DJ headphones from Beats by Dre (-ed. That’s saying a lot SFYS).
Beats by Dre Mixr On-Ear Headphones
- Peerless sound quality
- Amazing performance
- Elegant and handsomely crafted
- Surprising in games (amp assisted)
- Tight around ears after extended use
You can buy the Beats by Dre Dave Guetta Mixr on-ear headphones at Amazon for $249