Cases And Accessories

Beats EP Evaluate: Good sound because of wired restrictions

Beats EP on-ear headphones

“Although they sound great, the Beats EPs are wire-bounded and poorly closed at their price.”

  • Extraordinary sound

  • Adequate comfort

  • Good noise reduction

  • Questions about shelf life

  • Cable connection only

As an act of full transparency, I’ve had trouble writing on the Beats EP headphones for a while. They are wired headphones and deserve to be treated as such. At the same time, they come with a price tag that ties them tightly to budget wireless headphones, most of which have features and capabilities that the Beats EP simply can’t.

Perhaps this is the best way to write about the $ 130 Beats EP. They’re not the audio juggernaut high-end cable options often come with, and they’re not the first wireless cans that seem to surround them. They’re somewhere in between, awkwardly in the middle of two different parts of the genre.

Out of the box

In all fairness, I could sum up this section of the review in two words: Not a lot. In addition to the headphones themselves, the contents of the Beats packaging include a foldable carrying case, a quick start guide and a warranty card.

Nick Woodard / Digital Trends

Objectively speaking, the minimalist style of EP packaging isn’t a huge issue. After all, wired headphones are pretty self-sufficient, there is no battery to be charged and the only cable that has to be connected. In a modern day when 3.5mm audio jacks are a rarity on phones, it would have been nice to include a smartphone adapter. Because if you’re like me and you’ve lost the USB-C adapter that came with your phone years ago, the Beats EP become desktop cans only.

It literally comes down to just joining in and pressing the play button and then it’s off to the races with your favorite podcast or album.

I usually deal with connectivity in this section as well, and one of the great things about the Beats EP is how classically easy they are to get started. It literally comes down to just joining in and pressing the play button and then it’s off to the races with your favorite podcast or album.


There are several elements associated with the design of the Beats EP. Some of them are good. Some of them are head scratches.

Nick Woodard / Digital Trends

First, the good thing: the Beats EP are relatively light, although you can’t find exact numbers on the Beats website. They come in a variety of colors including white, blue, black, and red, giving them a more diverse aesthetic that should suit most consumers’ tastes. And they’re pretty comfy – I like the fuller coziness of over-ear headphones like the Razer Opus, but when it comes to on-ear headphones, the Beats EP felt good hugging my ears for longer listening times.

With the on-ear headphones, the Beats EP felt good pressed against my ears for longer listening times.

Now for the scratching of your head: on their website, Beats says the EP has a “durable frame” that is “reinforced with stainless steel and adjustable vertical sliders”. This is not wrong, but it can be misleading. The EP, while light, doesn’t feel like an incredibly rugged pair of headphones, and that worry grows as you read the various Amazon customer reviews complaining that these headphones had been in possession for less than a year . Some had problems with the headband locking into place, others mentioned a deterioration in the ear cups. Now I haven’t tested the Beats EP long enough to say firmly that it is unsustainable. But with the somewhat flimsy feel of those light doses, I could understand why so many people were having problems.

My other problem with the Beats EP, unfair as it may be, is the overall concept of inexpensive wired headphones. I believe there is still an important place for wired sockets, especially when it comes to high-end options like the Grado Labs Hemp headphones, the V-MODA M-200 studio sockets or gaming headsets like the HyperX Cloud Revolver S. going price, the Beats EP and their hard cable don’t offer the flexibility I think most people interested in buying them want. For $ 30 less, the Avantree Aria Pro lets you choose between wired or wireless, although the audio quality may be compromised. The point is, as much as wired connections are necessary in some situations, I believe the Beats EP’s wired-only setup hurts them when compared to similar budget headphones with multiple connectivity options.


This is not a joke – the only specs available on the Beats EP page is the fact that they are on-ear headphones. Please excuse me if this segment is on the short side.

Nick Woodard / Digital Trends

The Beats EP has inline call and music controls as well as inline volume controls. They are effective and easy to use, so I can pause YouTube clips or podcasts episodes without having to manually return to these pages. They also have a built-in microphone that has come in very handy on Zoom calls, at least after I got my desktop to collaborate.

In addition, the Beats EP are rare in the feature department. It’s such a dire situation that Beats is marketing these “unlimited play” headphones because they don’t have a battery. Which, okay, that’s true. But it’s not exactly anything remarkable as this is the main difference between most wired and wireless headphones. Tech-wise, you can get “unlimited playback” with these $ 10 Sony headphones. If this is the most notable feature of the Beats EP, it speaks volumes about what value these cans actually have.

Audio quality

In my view, the sound of the Beats EP is the biggest reason to buy these headphones over a wireless alternative. For $ 130, you can get high quality audio from the Beats EP, even if you’re physically tied to the device it came from.

Nick Woodard / Digital Trends

The vocals are remarkably clear and shine through on busy tracks like Maroon 5’s Sunday Morning. Higher frequencies are crisp but not harsh, which can be a tough proposition for headphones at this price point. They’re a bit bass-forward, which might seem like a turn off for people hoping for a completely neutral sound on their headphones, but is a brand for the Beats sound signature. Thankfully, if you’re not a big bass head, I don’t think it’s prominent enough to be considered a problem. Overall, they are mostly well balanced headphones with great sound quality that would satisfy most of the people looking to spend money in this stadium.

One more note about the sound of the Beats EP: They are impressively good at reducing ambient noise and creating a quiet room in which to listen to your content. These headphones don’t have active noise cancellation features by nature, but I would argue they shouldn’t be overlooked as the Beats EP does a commendable job of passively blocking out excess noise.

Our opinion

For $ 130 worth of wired headphones to compete with wireless alternatives, they must have great sound. The Beats EP have that, and even if they don’t have much else, it might be enough for certain buyers.

Are there any better alternatives?

For a wireless alternative, the $ 100 Avantree Aria Pro offers decent active noise cancellation and improved flexibility over the Beats EP, though they likely don’t sound that good. If you can afford to spend significantly more, it might be wise to consider the $ 250 1More Triple Driver over-ear headphones. They’re an improvement over the Beats EP in many ways, but they cost you more than twice as much.

How long will they last?

They didn’t fall apart on me so I can’t say they will fall apart on you. However, if your build and the experiences of others are any indications, I would be extra careful with how you handle the Beats EP.

Should you buy it?

Just if you’re looking for sound quality, wireless headphones can’t compete in this price range. Otherwise, enjoy the versatility of a wireless option or spend more to get a better pair of wired sockets. The Beats EP makes sense to some, just not most.

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