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Beats EP Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Updated Feb 21, 2018 at 07:55 pm
Beats EP Picture
5.7
Mixed Usage
7.2
Neutral Sound
5.0
Commute/Travel
6.0
Sports/Fitness
5.4
Office
5.1
Wireless Gaming
7.1
Wired Gaming
6.5
Phone Calls
Type On-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Beats EP On-Ear are surprisingly decent headphones for neutral sound but are a bit tight on the head for long listening sessions. They're not as portable as some other on-ear headphones, and the tight fit could be a bit uncomfortable for some. They also don't block out the low rumble of bus or plane engines, which could be frustrating if you commute a lot. However, they're sufficiently lightweight and well-padded.

Our Verdict

5.7 Mixed Usage

The Beats EP are sub-par for mixed use. They have a balanced sound that's good for casual and more neutral sound. They're also comfortable and tight enough for sports use. They're not ideal for commuting or in loud environments since they don't block a lot of noise, but overall they perform well enough for most uses.

Pros
  • Good recording quality.
  • Sturdy build quality.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Slightly tight on the head.
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
7.2 Neutral Sound

The Beats EP are satisfactory for neutral sound. They have balanced audio reproduction with a good amount of bass and caters well to instruments and vocals. They don't sound too sharp but won't be the ideal headphones for more neutral listeners. They have a relatively small soundstage, and sound quality varies a lot depending on the position and whether or not you wear glasses.

5.0 Commute/Travel

The Beats EP are disappointing for commuting. They have a decent control scheme, and they're not too bulky but don't block a lot of noise. You can hear a lot of ambient noise on a busy train or bus ride. They also don't fold, so they won't be as portable as the Beats Solo2 Wireless.

6.0 Sports/Fitness

The Beats EP wired headphones are mediocre for sports. They're stable and comfortable enough to jog with and have a fairly efficient control scheme. However, they're not as portable, and they're a bit tight on the head, which can get slightly fatiguing. Their audio cable can also snag on something and pull them off your head.

5.4 Office

The Beats EP are average for office use. They don't leak much, so you won't distract your colleagues when listening to music at moderate volumes. Unfortunately, they don't block a lot of noise, meaning that you can hear the noise of a lively office environment.

5.1 Wireless Gaming

The Beats EP are wired-only headphones and you can't use them wirelessly.

7.1 Wired Gaming

The Beats EP are satisfactory for wired gaming. They have a wired connection, so they have negligible latency, which is suitable for gaming. They also have a decent microphone that's compatible with some consoles. Unfortunately, they lack a good app to customize their sound profile like most gaming headsets, and they're a bit too tight on the head to wear for really long gaming sessions.

6.5 Phone Calls
  • 5.7 Mixed Usage
  • 7.2 Neutral Sound
  • 5.0 Commute/Travel
  • 6.0 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.4 Office
  • 5.1 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.1 Wired Gaming
  • 6.5 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Mar 24, 2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  4. Updated Feb 16, 2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  5. Updated Oct 03, 2017: Review published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Beats EP look like a cross between the Beats Solo3 Wireless and the Beats Mixr. They have a compact and sleek form factor that works for most and come in many color schemes to suit your taste and style. The relatively unique headband design makes them stand out a bit more, especially in other color schemes, as the metal of the hinge contrasts well with the color of the ear cups. However, the all-black variant is a bit more understated, subtle, and has a high-end appeal, which some may prefer.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.5 lbs
Clamping Force
1.2 lbs

The Beats EP are comfortable headphones, but like most on-ears, they're a bit tight on the head. The ear cups are decently well-padded, but the rigid swivel hinge design and relatively compact headband don't cater well to all head sizes and shapes. This puts enough pressure on the ears to cause fatigue during long listening sessions. However, they should be sufficiently comfortable for most listeners when used for a couple of hours. If you're looking for a pair of wired on-ear headphones that may be more comfortable for young listeners with smaller heads, take a look at the Mpow CH6.

6.4
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
iOS
Ease Of Use Decent
Feedback Okay
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

These headphones have a simple and easy-to-use control scheme. They have a typical three-button setup that offers call/music, track skipping, and volume controls. The buttons are decently responsive, although the volume controls don't deliver much feedback. If you want on-ear headphones with better controls, take a look at the JBL Tune 660NC Wireless.

7.7
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 2.7 ยฐC

The Beats EP, like most on-ears, are a bit more breathable than over-ear designs but can still make your ears sweat during intense physical exercise. They mostly make the notch of your ears warmer but don't touch your outer ear, which stays relatively cool. However, the pressure caused by the tight fit may cause more discomfort over time than the temperature difference.

6.4
Design
Portability
L 6.6"
W 4.5"
H 2.2"
Volume 65 inยณ
Transmitter Required No

The Beats EP are relatively compact on-ear headphones that unfortunately don't fold for more portability. This makes them a bit more of a hassle to carry around on your person than other on-ears if you don't have a bag.

5.5
Design
Case
Type Pouch
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

The Beats EP come with a pouch that should protect the headphones from minor scratches. Unfortunately, it won't shield them from water damage or hard falls as the pouch is very soft and permeable.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The Beats EP are decently well-built. The ear cups are dense, while the headband is flexible and made from a good combination of plastic and metal. They also don't have many moving parts since they don't fold into a more compact format like Beats Solo 2 Wireless or Beats Solo3 2018 Wireless. The entire frame isn't metal, though, which is less durable than some other on-ears, but they won't break from a couple of accidental drops. Unfortunately, the non-detachable cable is not replaceable and may wear over time, which reduces the EP's overall durability.

7.0
Design
Stability

The Beats EP are stable on-ear headphones with a non-detachable cable that makes them less ideal for sports. They're tight enough to maintain a stable fit under most conditions, even while jogging and exercising. Unfortunately, the non-detachable cable can yank the headphones off your head if it gets tangled or hooked on something.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Beats EP headphones
  • Carrying pouch
  • Manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
0.53 dB
Treble Amount
-2.6 dB
6.5
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.75 dB

The frequency response consistency is just okay. Due to the closed-back and on-ear design, the bass is prone to inconsistencies across multiple re-seats, even on the same individual. The maximum variance at 20Hz is more than 9dB. The treble range's performance is a lot more consistent, though.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.1
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.63 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
-0.67 dB
Mid-Bass
1.81 dB
High-Bass
4.37 dB

These headphones have very good bass. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent. This, and the flat low-bass, ensures proper reproduction of thumps and rumbles. Mid-bass, which is responsible for the bulk of bass instruments and the punch of drums, is also quite flat and less than 2dB over our target. However, high-bass is hyped by 4.3dB, resulting in a bass that is deep and punchy, but slightly boomy.

Also, their bass delivery varies noticeably across users and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response, and your experience may vary.

9.0
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.36 dB
Low-Mid
1.59 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.85 dB
High-Mid
-0.06 dB

The Beats EP's mid accuracy is outstanding. The overall response is virtually flat and within 2dB of our target response. This results in clear, accurate, and detailed vocals and lead instruments.

7.9
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.84 dB
Low-Treble
-1.69 dB
Mid-Treble
-0.84 dB
High-Treble
-8.52 dB

These headphones' treble accuracy is very good. The overall response is slightly underemphasized, but it shouldn't be too noticeable. Vocals and lead instruments are slightly veiled, while sibilants like cymbals are present but a bit dull.

7.8
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.49 dB
Dips
0.9 dB
8.7
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.2
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.42
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.06
Weighted Phase Mismatch
3.92

The Beat EP have excellent imaging. The weighted group delay is only 0.2, which is excellent. It can also be seen in the graph that the entire group delay is below our audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Also, the L/R drivers of our unit were exceptionally well-matched. This results in the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, footsteps, instruments) in the stereo field.

3.7
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.48 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
0.55 dB
PRTF Distance
3.3 dB
Openness
5.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.7

The Beats EP have a poor soundstage. This is mainly due to the closed-back and on-ear design. Good pinna (outer ear) interaction is key in creating a large and out-of-head soundstage, and since most on-ear headphones sit on the pinna, they can't fully activate its resonances. Overall, the soundstage is perceived as small and located inside the listener's head. Also, they won't sound as open and spacious as open-back on-ear headphones like the Grado SR60e/SR60.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
8.3
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.194
WHD @ 100
0.067
Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
In-line
Isolation
4.8
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-12.14 dB
Bass
0.47 dB
Mid
-8.21 dB
Treble
-29.34 dB

The Beats EP's noise isolation is poor. These on-ear headphones isolate only passively using their ear cups; therefore, they don't reduce outside noise in the bass range, which is important for isolating the rumble of airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, which is important for cancelling speech, they achieve a mediocre 8dB of isolation. In the treble range, which sharp sounds like S and Ts occupy, they reduce outside noise by almost 30dB, which is good.

6.8
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
40.97 dB

Their leakage performance is okay. A significant portion of the leakage sits between 2kHz and 20kHz, which is a broad range. However, the overall level of leakage is low. The leakage shouldn't be audible to people around you unless you are in a very quiet environment (like an elevator) and blasting your music.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
Yes
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
7.8
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
269.09 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.87 dB
HFE
20,186.38 Hz
Weighted THD
2.995
Gain
22.89 dB

The Beats EP's microphone has a good recording quality. The LFE of 270Hz indicates a recorded/transmitted speech that is slightly thin. However, this won't have a significant effect on the comprehensibility of the speech. Also, the HFE (high-frequency extension) of 20kHz and the relatively flat response between LFE and HFE mean that speech sounds relatively present and natural.

6.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
10.97 dB

The noise handling of the Beats EP's in-line microphone is mediocre. In our noise handling test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 11dB, which means it has difficulty separating speech from ambient noise in moderately loud environments. If you're looking for a pair of wired-on ears with superior microphone noise handling, consider the Logitech Zone Wired, which have a boom mic that does a much better job of isolating speech from ambient noise.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None

These headphones are passive and have no battery life since they're wired. If you want a pair of wireless over-ear headphones with outstandingly long battery life, check out the JBL CLUB 700BT Wireless.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

These headphones have no compatible app and no active features. If you want wireless headphones with a good app, then consider the Sennheiser HD 4.50.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A

The Beats EP are wired and don't have a Bluetooth connection. They have negligible latency because they have a wired connection. If you want a similar design from Beats that has a wireless Bluetooth connection, then consider either the Beats Solo2 Wireless or the Beats Solo3 Wireless.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length 4.3 ft
Connection 1/8" TRRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

The Beats EP have a 1/8" TRRS audio cable with an inline remote microphone that's compatible with the PS4 but not the Xbox One. This is most likely due to the iOS-specific audio cable.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio + Microphone
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

The Beats EP don't have a dock. If you need a headset with a dock that also has a wired connection for gaming or watching movies, then consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7 Wireless 2017.

Compared To Other Headphones

Comparison picture

The Beats EP are wired on-ears with a sturdy and stable design. However, they can be a bit tight on the head and don't isolate well enough for very noisy commutes. On the upside, their sound profile is suitable for a variety of audio content.

See our recommendations for the best on-ear headphones, the best DJ headphones, and the best wireless headphones.

JBL Tune 660NC Wireless

The JBL Tune 660NC and the Beats EP have different strengths, and which you may prefer depends on your preferences. The JBL are wireless Bluetooth headphones and have better onboard controls. They also do a better job of isolating you from ambient sound, thanks to their ANC, and don't leak as much audio. On the other hand, the Beats are wired headphones and have a slightly more neutral sound profile, which some listeners may prefer. Their mic also has a better recording quality.

Logitech Zone Wired

The Logitech Zone Wired and Beats EP are both wired-only on-ear headphones but with different priorities. The Logitech are fractionally stronger office headphones thanks to their plusher fit, more comprehensive and intuitive control scheme, and dedicated app support. That said, the Beats aren’t far behind, with an integrated microphone that delivers similar recording quality and a better-balanced sound profile. The Beats also use a non-detachable 1/8” TRRS audio cable compatible with more devices, although it doesn’t provide microphone compatibility when plugged into an Xbox One controller.

Audio-Technica ATH-M60x

The Beats EP are a slightly better on-ear headset than the Audio-Technica ATH-M60x, but not by much. The Beats have an in-line remote that makes using them with iOS devices and mobile phones a little easier. They have a slightly more compact and sturdy build quality, although not by much since they don't fold into a more compact format. The Audio-Technica come with three audio cables that make them more suitable for a studio setting. They're also not as tight on the head as the Beats, although they're about the same comfort level. On the upside, the Audio-Technica have a slightly better-balanced sound that most will prefer over the EPs.

Beats Solo3 2018 Wireless

While the Beats Solo3 2018 Wireless and the Beats EP have a very similar sound profile, the Solo3 are more versatile thanks to their wireless design. Their headband also feels more durable. On the other hand, if you don't want to manage battery life, the wired EP are better, although the Solo3 have an incredible 42-hour battery life.

Sony WH-CH510 Wireless

The Sony WH-CH510 Wireless and the Beats EP are both mediocre on-ear headphones. The Beats are a bit more comfortable, feel better built, and have better controls, but are wired, unlike the Sony that are only Bluetooth. The Sony are much more consistent every time you put them on, but as long as you find a proper fit, the Beats have a more accurate treble range.

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