Nicely made, good looking, durable and with a fit and sound tuned for DJs, these headphones do the job, and in all those colours, they do it with some style too. They’re expensive, though.
First Impressions / Setting up
They’re a smart, clean, modern design. They come in a good quality padded case (think V-Moda), and fold up nice and small. (We didn’t get them boxed, so I can’t comment on the packaging.) Inside the case is an elastic strap to hold the folded-up headphones in place, and a useful little mesh pocket for keeping the cables separate. the cables supplied are a smartphone, straight cable and a DJ cable with a coiled section, although the coiled section is pretty small. The non-headphones end of both cables as right angled, and the DJ cable converts from 1/4″ to 1/8″. they’re again nicely designed, not being like the vast majority of DJ headphone cables in that these are Beats branded on the plugs and colour coded to match the headphones.
The headphones themselves have the instantly recognisable sleek, rounded “teerdrop” earcups holders. A little like the Nocs we reviewed recently, they have their headband/earcup coupling proudly displayed. It is a metal join and looks extremely hardwearing and sturdy. The earcups rotate around into the headband area for storage, and also if you wanted to wear them one-eared, you could rotate the other earcup 15, 30 or 45º easily enough, forward or backwards.
Adjustment is equally easy to do and on display, and the fact that the earcups have a metal mount rather than a plastic one inspires confidence. The earcups themselves are made of plastic, and are mounted on two pivots to the metal outer section, giving a small amount of movement. These are a “on ear” rather than “over ear” design, and neatly, you can choose to plug your headphones cable in to the earcup of your choice. The leatherette ear padding looks deep but is actually quite shallow, as the pads cover a large amount of the depth of the earcups. The branding is quite subtle, with “mixr” on each earcup side of the headband, and “beats mixr” on the top. The headband itself is padded plastic inside, hard plastic outside, with a metal internal section, and feels good quality and sturdy.
First, isolation. It’s pretty good, as the headphones cup quite tightly to the head and on-ear designs, with the extra pressure involved, tend to isolate well in my experience, these being no different. So as with all DJ headphones but especially on-ear varieties, this is not likely to prove comfortable over a long period. However, also due to this on-ear design, they are smaller than some, so they sit comfortably around the neck when not needed – something that’s also important for DJs, of course.
Sound wise I found them to be punchy and immediate, more vibrant and bright than subtle. Sound quality is notoriously objective, and while apparently they aren’t meant to be particularly bass-heavy, that’s how I found them. They feel close field, which is probably due to the fact that as I mentioned earlier, the drivers are very close to your ears thanks to the relative shallowness of the padding. It’s also a product of the over-ear design. They’re certainly not going to challenge high-end hi-fi headphones, of course, but they’re good quality and refined in the mids and tops, and they’re well suited to pop, dance hip-hop etc – the target market of course. They were loud, I’ll give them that.
For DJing, set preparation, short-term listening out and about, and thus as a capable pair of all-rounders, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Beats Mixr. Of course they’re available in a number of colours and the white/blue didn’t suit me personally, but that’s neither here nor there (these are the “Neon Blue” model, by the way). The design is excellent (in particular, they don’t stick out on your head making you look like some kind of air traffic controller), and they feel very durable. They also fold up neatly and easily into the good quality supplied case.
They’re not suitable for long-term listening due to DJ headphone typical comfort issues,but even among DJ headphones these are uncomfortable (I prefer V-Modas or Nocs to give two we’ve reviewed recently, at least for the size/shape of my head), and the sound isn’t the most subtle either, but this isn’t to be fair what they ought to be judged by: They ought to be judged by their suitability as DJing phones. For the vast majority of DJing situations the vast majority of DJs are ever likely to encounter, the Mixrs got more than enough to cope. And of course, the dual cable options mean they’re good to go outside as well as inside the club, so you can do your set rep etc. using the same headphones as you DJ with.
So are they worth the money? Well, for me you’re paying for the brand and marketing a little (Sennheiser HD-25 IIs are a yardstick and cost appreciably less, although the Nocs and V-Modas are much closer in price, but I personally prefer those two for comfort). But if you like the design (and Beats do have distinctive and to my eyes, really smart design), I can report than the build quality is great and they’re well thought through and practical. I’ve not reviewed any Beats headphones before, and so can’t compare them to others in the range, but I can say the the Beat Mixr are a good headphone, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I discovered here. I can see why people moan about the price, but if this is the look and design you want, and you find them comfortable for the length of time you’re going to be using them continuously, I can see why you’d want to go for them.