Dr. Dre (along with Monster) pioneered the headphone craze among the rapper/producer set, and their flagship Beats Pro cans set the bar very high. These "Pro" cans don't boast "consumer" features such as inline remote or noise cancellation, but hip-hoppers will love the industrial-chic design -- with white padding, the signature "b" on each earcup, and "beats by dr. dre" across the headband -- coupled with powerful bass and excellent clarity. Our only real gripe with these $399 cans is in the comfort department.
We love the hinged aluminum earcups of the Beats Pro that fold out like gull-wing doors on a Lamborghini. They fit snugly in the small drawstring pouch, and the white leather padding (also available in black) looks sharp. The heavy-duty detachable cable has a locking connector and plugs into either earcup; it is mostly straight with a telephone-style coiled section at one end and a quarter-inch adapter held on by a piece of soft plastic so you don't lose it.
The circular earpads didn't quite fit all the way around our ears, and the headband tension szx a bit more snug than we'd like, though it does help block out noise. The weight of these cans also made the top of our head sore after a long listen, despite what seems like ample padding. Each earcup has its own input, so you can have the cable on whatever side you want or plug in another set of headphones on the other side to share music with a friend.
Portable devices have no trouble driving the Beats Pro to very loud levels, and the sound is just what bass-heads are looking for: thumping, tight low end with lots of impact. Dre's "Let Me Ride" sounded very full and warm with good detail and clear vocals. Low bass on songs such as 50 Cent's "In Da Club" and Ludacris' "How Low Can You Go" was impressive, with excellent power and depth, though it can sometimes bury the vocals. Rock and acoustic jazz sounded very detailed as well, albeit with noticeably emphasized bass. While we like the more balanced audio in the Soul by Ludacris SL300s, the Beats has significantly beefier bass and more detail and can be pushed slightly louder by a portable device.
Those who love their tracks with extra bass will enjoy the Beats Pro by Dr. Dre headphones from Monster. However, at $399, they're on the expensive side, and a bit heavy, too. For $100 less, the Soul by Ludacris SL300 offers more balanced audio in a more comfortable package, and include active noise cancellation, too. But those looking for thumping, driving audio will like the Beats Pro.