Computers & Electronics

Beats Solo3 Wireless on-ear headphones - My impressions

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  • Aug 3rd, 2017 11:04 am
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
20020 posts

Beats Solo3 Wireless on-ear headphones - My impressions

I got the Beats Solo3 Wireless on-ear headphones free with my iMac purchase. I had heard that these didn't suck like previous versions of Beats headphones, so I was looking forward to trying them out.

First, some impressions of the basic features.

1) W1 chip-based pairing with my iPhone is excellent. It behaves exactly the same as my AirPods. This is truly an Apple product from that perspective.
2) It comes with a nice carry case.
3) It folds to save space, which is nice.
4) They're kind of heavy for their size, but acceptable.
5) The "b" on the sides for my black headphones is also black so they don't stand out. Thank the gods!
6) Clamping force is moderate to high, but OK.
7) It comes with microUSB for charging not Lightning, hahah.
8) The on/off button interface is nice with an Apple-like 5-LED design.
9) It comes with a mini-carabiner for some reason, and it also comes with a wired cable if you preferred wired. I guess the carabiner is to hold the wires? I dunno.
10) Feels a bit plasticky but otherwise OK.

As for the sound: As expected it is bass heavy, and while the bass is tighter than many low end headphones, it's no comparison at all to my wired Sennheiser HD 598 headphones, for which I paid CAD$110. Not in the same league. Mids and trebles are OK, but I'll have to wait to assess that more, because I found the bass got in the way a bit. I'm told it's nowhere near as bad as previous models of beats, but given my preferences, it's still quite noticeable to me. Although my AirPods have essentially no effective bass, I actually prefer using my AirPods from that perspective. For music I'd often prefer to have too little bass than too much if the bass isn't perfectly tight. The good news is that there is no weird wireless related distortion that is noticeable with the Beats. Mostly my Sennheiser RS 180 wireless headphones are better, but occasionally with some material I get weird distortion in loud bass with those, which is annoying. But I generally don't use my Sennheiser RS 180 anymore because they're just inconvenient (and because of that distortion). The Sennheiser RS 180 actually requires a MASSIVE base which is plugged into the headphone jack, meaning that can't be used at all as a portable set and even for a desktop they're inconvenient.

Overall I'd say they're not bad, but could be better if they reigned in the bass. However, I understand that Beats caters to bassheads, so that isn't going to happen any time soon. The retail price is way too high though. Drop $100 off the $329 retail price and that'd be more acceptable, and indeed a lot of stores put these things on sale regularly for $50+ off, and sometimes even $100 off IIRC.

I actually ordered two Macs recently (both educational pricing), and iMac and a MacBook. However, I received the MacBook too early so I missed the cutoff by 4 days. I was going to call in for a second time to try to plead to get the 2nd set of headphones, but now I'm not sure I'd bother. I probably wouldn't use these myself, so if I did get them I'd probably just give them away as a gift or something.

For the record, I have these headphones:

1) Sennheiser HD 598 wired on-ear headphones <-- These are my go to headphones for quiet music listening. Excellent quality overall, but can disturb people around you.
2) Etymotic ER-4S/4P wired in-ear headphones <-- These are my go to headphones for blocking out ambient sounds. Excellent quality, and act as earplugs. Great for the plane.
3) Apple AirPods <-- Extremely convenient and wireless of course. Great match for my iMac and iPad for watching videos and surfing. Also OK for iPhone music.
4) Beats Solo3 Wireless <-- See above. Trying to figure out where to use these. Maybe I'll keep them for a secondary system somewhere.
5) Sennheiser RS 180 wireless headphones.
6) Sennheiser RS 160 wireless headphones.
7) Apple earbuds.
8) Various other cheap headphones.

Of the above, the best sound are the Sennheiser HD 598 and the Etymotics, but the most convenient are the AirPods and Beats.

BTW, apparently there are a bazillion of these on Kijiji now, given the existence of the Apple Back To School free Beats deal, so maybe you can get a pair cheap that way.
6 replies
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
20020 posts
Well there ya go. Here are the measurements for the Beats Solo3 Wireless: ... 3-wireless


The Beats Solo3 is too heavy on the bass, and too light on the mids.

In contrast, here are the curves for my preferred Etymotic ER4S/ER4P:


The Etymotics have a flat bass curve, and a peak in the mids, which Etymotic claims is on purpose as it reflects their target curve:

Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
20020 posts
As mentioned in the Hot Deals thread, they are currently $264 at Staples, although there are apparently a bazillion of them on Kijiji right now.
Dec 6, 2013
363 posts
"However, I received the MacBook too early so I missed the cutoff by 4 days"

Can't you just return and buy it again? Also I thought they were honouring within 2 weeks of the promotion or something, in case you wanted a second pair
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Deal Addict
Jan 12, 2012
3172 posts
East York
I'm using the Bose QC35s and they're simply amazing... the 24 hour battery life is a bonus.. I alternate between them and my AirPods....

I also have Audio Technica Ath-M50's wired headphones and they're great too...

I might eventually pick up a pair of beats one day... I think I want to get the wireless EarPods they released earlier this year....

I also want to get these: ... L7GV&psc=1 ... ser+PXC550
Deal Expert
User avatar
Mar 6, 2003
16221 posts
EugW, FYI you can't compare graphs from two different measuring rigs. I'm sure the Beats one would show a bigger difference in the bass if graphed on the same measuring rig as the ER4S

The innerfidelity graphs show a more pronounced bass bump ... etooth.pdf
You usually want a slight bass rise in your target curve, but even with compensation applied, the Beats definitely has some bass emphasis
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Deal Expert
User avatar
Mar 14, 2009
15174 posts
I have Beats Solo 2 wireless headphones and I really like them. I only paid $70 at the Source though; they were on clearance. Great deal at that price. Sure they're not audiophile quality but they have good sound IMO.
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