In addition to my job at Crutchfield I’ve been a part time DJ at a local rock radio station since 1994. I recently wanted to purchase new headphones to use at the radio station, as well as to use daily with my iPod Touch and Sirius Lynx to take my dog out to play. Personally, I don’t like the feel of in-ear headphones and I was looking for an around-the-ear set. Before I made my purchase, I went to our Crutchfield lab to test a variety of models including the Sennheiser HD380, Sennheiser HD598, Bose Quiet Comfort 15, and AKG K272 HD Ultra Premium HD Over-Ear Headphones. After spending about an hour listening to different ones, I decided on the Beats by Dre High-Definition Headphones. In my opinion, these are the best sounding headphones Crutchfield offers for $300 or less and deliver accurate music reproduction. They have excellent bass response without being “bass-heavy” and give you a well balanced sound.

These headphones also have a noise isolation feature that works fairly well, but if you are looking for noise cancelling headphones the Bose QC15’s are probably a better choice in my opinion. One criticism I have of the Beats headphones is they require two “AAA” batteries for operation that give you approximately 50 hours of use. If you are using these and the batteries go dead, they will not work at all until you replace the batteries. This can be a pain if you the batteries go dead when you are using the headphones and new batteries are not handy. Also, it is easy to forget to turn the power button off and run the batteries down more quickly.

I chose the Beats by Dre headphones based on a combination of sound quality & comfort. After using them all summer, I have not been disappointed and would give these headphones 4.5 out of 5 stars. I’ve been very pleased with their sound quality and only take off the half point based on the battery difficulties mentioned above. Overall though, I’ve been very pleased with my purchase and would not hesitate to recommend these headphones.