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A new consumer report shows celebrity-endorsed headphones may not all be up to snuff.
The study released Thursday by the community troubleshooting website Fixya pits top celebrity branded headphones against each other, collecting consumer feedback from millions of users. The brands: Beats by Dre, Soul by Ludacris, SMS Audio 50 by 50 Cent, Skullcandy Roc Nation Aviators and House of Marley. The report judged each headphone line’s performance by weighing their percentages of troubleshooting requests in various categories against each other.
Overall, House of Marley performed best, registering fewer complaints. The line’s eco-friendly mission and versatility when it comes to high-quality sound across musical genres was also praised. “With a nice warm bass sound that separates itself from other celebrity headphone competitors, and a great sound quality that can handle any genre of music that is played through the headphone, the House of Marley stands out as the best headphones,” says the report.
The worst-received were 50 Cent‘s SMS Audio 50 whose sound quality was described as “muddy” and its wireless system faulty.
Both Soul and SMS Audio 50 were criticized for having overpowering bass that performed well with genres like hip-hop and dubstep, but not so well in the rock and pop genres. Dr. Dre‘s and Jimmy Iovine‘s Beats, the most popular of the brands — fared better in this regard, although there were complaints of randomly varying highs and lows, poor noise canceling performance, uneven sound and headphone malfunction.
With each review, the report also offers a suggestion for headphones at lower price points. FixYa CEO Yaniv Bensadon cautions, however, that these alternative recommendations don’t necessarily mean that celebrity headphones are inferior, but rather, the report’s aim is to “draw attention to areas where a particular headphone may be underwhelming or does not perform as advertised.”
“For example,” he continued, “if you’re looking for a pair of headphones that have a high quality noise-cancelation feature, then we would recommend the Quiet Comfort 15 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones over Beats by Dre, which have been known to underperform in this regard. Overall, each headphone has its pros and cons, and hopefully this report from FixYa will shine more light on that for consumers.”
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