Beats EP Review
The Beats EP had passed through the cracks of our net for a few years, but here it finally arrives at the writing. This nomadic wired headset is still a gateway to the world of Beats. Is its popularity justified?
- Noticeable Quality Improvements
- Siri support
- They are suitable for those who wear glasses as they are snug and not overly tight
- Good audio reproduction.
- Sturdy build quality.
- Poor noise isolation.
- Slightly tight on the head
- Not Wireless
The Beats EP was launched in September 2016, just over two years after Apple’s takeover of the Beats brand. Always brave, this on-ear wired nomadic headset is the most affordable form the American manufacturer (100 € at the time of this test). He promises us sonic mountains and wonders with “a perfectly mastered sound,” “a clearer and better-balanced sound” for “music lovers who wish to discover Beats.” The manufacturer also insists on the robustness of its helmet and its ease of use.
The design of the Beats EP is in line with the other models of the brand. Whether we like it or not, we have to admit that the quality and finishes are neat. Part of the headband of the helmet rests on a sturdy metal base. The shells of the ear cups and the central part of the headband are protected by plastic shells whose robustness seems the least correct. The helmet has beautiful finishes, no unsightly manufacturing marks or defects are visible. It can also withstand a few twists. We did not notice any design flaws during our test.
The EP offers satisfactory comfort for on-ear headphones (the headphones’ earcups rest on the pinna of the ear). The helmet is relatively light (202 g), the leatherette ear cups are soft to the touch, and there is no accentuated clip effect. Although we would have liked an extra inch or two for larger heads, the roll bar deployment is relatively generous. The helmet easily finds its place on the head and fits well to the pavilion of the ear.
As with the vast majority of supra helmets, the comfort is less good for spectacle wearers (the helix area is caught in a vice between the helmet and the arm of the glasses) and those with holes. It will then be necessary to take breaks a little more regularly, but nothing prevents normal use of the helmet.
Apart from that, the helmet’s only real weakness in terms of comfort is in the headband. The rubbery material used has an annoying tendency to pull on the hair, and you quickly feel the point of contact at the top of the head because of the absence of a real pad.
The Beats EP connects via a non-detachable wired cable, terminating in a 3.5mm mini-jack connector. The connector is not angled, and the cable is flat. Fortunately, it is not too sensitive to contact noises. There is a three-button remote control on this cable that is only fully compatible with iOS devices. You will, therefore, not be able to adjust the listening volume on another device. Apart from this point, it gives access to all the essential controls: management of playback, calls, navigation between tracks, and triggering of the smartphone’s voice assistant.
The microphone built into this remote does a very good job of capturing voice … in quiet surroundings. Indeed, the microphone is not directive, and no noise reduction algorithm is present to support it. As a result, the surrounding noises come to pollute the capture of the voice, and it is quickly found drowned and very difficult to understand. Better to go directly to your phone outside to be sure to be understood by your interlocutor.
Sound Quality of Beats EP
Unsurprisingly, the Beats EP shows a very clear preference for extreme bass and bass. As a result, expect a particularly warm and bassy sound reproduction.
After all, dogs don’t make cats. The Beats EP is an “old-fashioned” Beats headphones and puts the package on the extreme bass and lows. We have here a very warm and round sound reproduction which does not risk damaging our eardrums. The impact and depth of the bass are propelled forward, which also tends to cause masking effects on the higher frequency bands (on demanding content with very close bass drum attacks or with many sources. officiating especially in the low register). Fortunately, the behavior of the membranes remains correct, and we still maintain correct precision, whether at the bass level or on the rest of the audible spectrum, for that matter.
The very soft, even blunt aspect of the sound reproduction offered by these headphones is also due to the decline of the high mids. There is a fairly large and marked dip between 2 and 6 kHz. The feeling of presence and clarity is set back as if a veil was placed in front of the stage. It is, therefore, difficult to distinguish between elements placed in the very foreground and those located in more remote planes. Fortunately, the very slight boost between 1 and 2 kHz makes it possible to preserve the intelligibility of the voices. Without being clear, they are never veiled under the wave of bass. The stamps remain identifiable, even if the EP is far from being the most faithful headphones there are. It does the job correctly on the treble side. We are not overwhelmed by their airy appearance and definition, but they are a minimum present. It is possible to perceive certain room effects and other subtle effects depending on the songs you listen to, but you should not ask too much. The restitution of the stereophonic space is correct in width. The stereo scene lacks depth, however.
Nothing to report on the distortion side, which remains extremely low over the entire audible spectrum.
Although it honestly fulfills its mission, it is difficult to recommend the Beats EP when we find wired Bluetooth headsets that are generally more efficient and at similar prices. If you’re looking for on-ear headphones, look to the Backbeat 500 or Major III Bluetooth. For over-ear headphones, take a look at the Everest 710 or the Listen Wireless.