The Beats Studio Pro harness clear, neutral sound quality, strong noise-cancellation, and an excellent wireless performance into their slightly tweaked design. While they impress with good performance across the board, it’s not quite at the level to supplant the likes of Sony.
- Strong noise-cancelling
- Neutral, clear presentation
- Excellent wireless performance
- Physical controls
- USB-C audio
- ANC suffers with wind noise
- No room for higher quality Bluetooth codecs
- Design better suited for smaller ears
Custom Acoustic PlatformCustom designed drivers for clear, neutral sound
Spatial / Lossless audio supportApple Spatial Audio compatibility and lossless audio over USB-C connection
Android / iOSSupports features on both Android and iOS platforms
After launching a series of true wireless earbuds, the Studio Pro marks the first full-sized headphones from the Beats brand to fully adopt its new approach to audio.
If you aren’t aware, Beats’ bass-heavy sound of its earlier days has been replaced by an emphasis on clarity, detail, and neutrality.
Having tested the Studio Buds+ and Fit Pro and liked what I heard, does the performance translate to over-ears? Read my review for the Beats Studio Pro.
- Compact size
- Comfortable enough to wear
- Physical buttons for interaction
For those fond of the Beats ‘look’, the Studio Pro doesn’t stray far from the tree.
Designed in collaboration with creative consultant Samuel Ross, there has been some nips and tucks from the brushed metal hinges to the less overt branding of the iconic ‘b’ logo and selection of neutral colours (sandstone, navy, black, and deep brown). The Studio Pro look more refined than previous Beats over-ears.
The size of the headphones seem suited for smaller heads (or ears). The space in-between the plush earpads isn’t big enough for my ear (in particular, my right ear), so I find it can pinch around the earlobe. They’re not uncomfortable to wear as the earpads have a soft and pliable feel to them, but there’s some minor irritation in that they don’t fully envelop my ears.
The clamping force is tight, ensuring the headphones sit close to the head, which helps to block unwanted sounds. The design can’t be twisted to lay flat, but unlike the AirPods Max and Sony WH-1000XM5, the Studio Pro can collapse inwards.
This makes it easier to store in the accompanying storage bag, which has compartments for the 3.5mm jack and a USB-C cable for charging. I’m not a fan of the bag’s zipper though, which keeps getting caught on the material inside the bag.
The Beats Studio Pro eschews touch gestures in favour of physical controls, and operating the headphones is a nice, tactile experience. The Beats logo on the left earcup can be depressed for stopping and starting playback, skipping forwards (twice), or going backwards (thrice). I’ve found you need to be quick when pressing three times as the headphone can register the action as stopping playback. I’ve also accidentally hit the playback button when I meant to raise the volume.
A long press activates the voice assistant on a mobile device, and volume control is included above and below the ‘b’ button’. On the right earcup is a ‘System’ button that covers power, and also governs noise-cancelling modes. Below is a 5-LED array of lights to survey battery life.
Otherwise, there’s a physical 3.5mm jack and a USB-C port, the former is a surprise seeing how smartphones have mostly ditched the 3.5mm jack. It’s the USB-C port that’s of greater interest, and I’ll go into more detail about it in the ‘Features’ and ‘Sound Quality’ sections.
From a sustainable perspective, Beats says the acoustic divers use 100% recycled earth elements, the main logic board is made from 100% recycled tin solder; while the rest of the construction is made from up to 26% recycled parts, with no PVC, Beryllium, or Mercury used. Sustainability extends to the packaging, with Beats using 100% plant-based material sourced from recycled fibre and sustainably managed forests.
- Solid call quality
- Excellent wireless performance
- Very good noise-cancellation
In keeping with Beats platform agnostic approach, the Studio Pro courts friends across the iOS / Android divide. As such, platform support hits near parity across a few features.
If the headphones are lost there’s the ‘Find My’ functionality to search for the last known location. Setup is achievable via one-touch pairing on iOS and Android (Google Fast Pair), and once in the respective ecosystem the Studio Pro can pair/switch to other devices. For example, on iOS, they can automatically switch between an Apple Watch and iPhone; and on Android, users can switch between registered Android and Chrome devices.
Where the features diverge is with voice control, with hands-free Siri supported on iOS but on Android there’s only access to voice assistants via the controls. Updates on iOS are received automatically, but on Android they need to be initialised via the Beats app. Android users also get Bluetooth multipoint (iOS doesn’t yet support it).
The Bluetooth 5.3 performance is excellent. I’ve not experienced a single stutter at busy stations such as Waterloo, Victoria, and London Bridge, and they’ve been no problems walking through the hustle and bustle of central London either. It’s a top class wireless performance.
Only SBC and AAC are supported, a shame but not unexpected, which means higher quality Bluetooth codecs such as aptX or LDAC aren’t embraced.
Calls can be made wirelessly and over a wired connection, and call quality performance is solid. Like the Sony WF-1000XM5, the Beats let in sound when I speak, but background noise is effectively muffled. Voice pick-up is good, though the person on the other end mentioned I did sound slightly robotic and fuzzy when there was a lot of noise.
The noise-cancelling performance is very strong, although it comes with caveats. The performance is helped by the quality of the seal created, which deadens plenty of noise on its own, and on top of that the adaptive ANC removes a great deal of ambient noise, thinning out people’s voices, while crying babies and children are muted effectively.
They’re excellent for the commute; train journeys pass by with few interruptions and they’re tremendous on a bus. Aside from some minimal engine hum, and the ring of the stop bell, that was about it for distracting noises. It was surprising just how cacophonously loud the bus was when I took the headphones off.
The first of the caveats is wind noise. Given the unexpectedly windy July these headphones were tested in, blustery conditions added some additional noise. Another issue was when I turned my head, noise leaked through the seal in a similar fashion as the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2. These aren’t deal-breakers, but it’s worth noting the Sony WH-1000XM5 doesn’t have these issues.
The transparency mode is very good too – very natural-sounding, and piping in plenty of clarity. The noise-cancellation levels cannot be manually adjusted, with the user only able to switch between ANC, transparency, and ‘Off’.
The Beats Android app isn’t feature rich. Customisation is restricted to choosing which noise-cancelling modes to cycle through and the way audio and video calls are accepted via the controls. You can also rename the headphones, check battery life, and perform firmware updates in the app.
There is Dynamic Head-Tracking and Personalisation for Apple Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos, so music shifts to create the illusion of sound all around the listener. The personalised aspect is only available on iOS devices, though, and requires the iPhone’s TrueDepth camera to create the personalised profile for 3D audio.
The Beats Studio Pro supports wired listening via USB-C or 3.5mm, and its built-in DAC supports audio up to 24-bit/48kHz for lossless/Hi-res music.
There’s a choice of three profiles when plugged in: Beats Signature, Entertainment, and Conversation – although annoyingly there’s no voice confirmation, just a sound to denote each mode. The LED helps here, and I’m assuming one light is Beats, two lights Entertainment, and so on. Noise-cancelling/transparency is disabled in this mode.
The 3.5mm playback is for connecting to in-flight entertainment systems, gaming controllers (I tried it with a PS5 DualSense, and it worked fine) or even musical instruments. Noise-cancelling can be enabled in this mode.
Beats claims 40 hours of battery life from the Studio Pro, but that’s with noise-cancellation turned off, dropping to 24 hours with it on, which is slightly longer than the Studio 3 Wireless.
Streaming Spotify for two hours at 50% volume yielded a 5% drop, which would suggest you can get 40-hour battery life with ANC on. I tried again at a higher volume and got the same results, so either I’ve done something wrong, or Beats has underestimated the Studio Pro’s battery life.
- Neutral, detailed presentation
- Weighty bass
- Great midrange clarity
The Beats Studio Pro follows in the footsteps of the true wireless range, focusing on clarity, detail, and a flat frequency response that aims to squash peaks and troughs in the audio signal. The result is a sound that may lack excitement for some, but for those who dine on a balanced, neutral attitude to audio, the Beats Studio Pro are very forthcoming.
Bass is described with power and punch in TNGHT’s Higher Ground, though compare the Beats Studio Pro’s clean delivery with the Sony WH-1000XM4 (in LDAC mode), and the Sony can summon more force, excitement, and energy. The Sony is a more ‘livelier’ performer, while the Beats is more controlled, less showy in its handling of bass.
That theme continues with Kendrick Lamar’s Real [feat. Anna Wise], the power, depth, and richness of the bass is an area the Beats aren’t interested in foraging in. Trying another track and the slow, weighty drum hits in Faye Webster’s Sometimes carry more depth on the Sony, but I’d argue the Studio Pro expresses them with more clarity and definition.
The benefits of the Studio Pro’s tuning can be felt higher up the frequency range. The midrange, upper-mids and treble are home to fine levels of clarity and detail. Vocals are ladled with clarity, neutral in that they’re described without colour but not without character.
From Webster’s melancholic verses, Thundercat’s soulful tones in Them Changes to Joe Cocker’s bluesy vocals in Feelin’ Alright, the Studio Pro spots the vocals in the middle of the soundstage and affords them space away from instruments where they have room to exist.
The treble is not the brightest and I’d like for a little more treble extension. High frequencies are nevertheless delivered with clarity and detail, with good variation to treble in GoGo Penguin’s Raven and Alexandre Desplat’s The Imitation Game.
When compared to the Bose QuietComfort 45, treble is sharply defined on the Bose but has slightly more body and presence on the Beats. These two headphones are a much closer match in terms of tone, and from listening to both, the Beats offers punchier bass and more weight.
They’re nicely dynamic, capturing the swells and contractions of music ably; and the soundstage they define is spacious. The Sony and the Bowers Px7 S2 sound bigger and more enveloping, but I appreciate the way the Studio Pro conveys the soundstage. It’s not interested in overwhelming the listener, it presents music in an even-handed and consistent way, regardless of the genre you listen to.
A listen to a 24-bit file of Isfar Sarabski’s Planet over USB-C, and all the characteristics of the headphones carry over with greater levels of detail, clarity, and bite at the top end of the frequency range. The energy that’s a little missing from Bluetooth playback is in full force for a fluid, dynamic, and punchy performance. Feed these headphones with a good enough audio file and they’ll serve up plenty of entertainment.
Should you buy it?
If you favour a balanced sound: Beats has made its bed in terms of audio and it’s a very tidy, well-organised presentation. Bass-heavy addicts need not apply here.
You want to tailor the audio as you like: Even ‘neutral-sounding’ efforts like Px7 S2 and Bose QuietComfort 45 offer a level of audio customisation.
The Beats Studio Pro are a largely successful ‘reboot’ of Beats over-ear headphones. Their clear, even-handed sound, strong noise-cancelling, USB-C audio, and excellent wireless performance are areas to celebrate.
Customisation is minimal with no way to really alter how the sound if that’s of interest. And the same applies to the very good noise-cancelling, as in blustery conditions a wind cut mode would have been beneficial.
Ultimately the competition is deep, whether it’s from Sony, Bowers, and Bose, to the less expensive Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 4 and JBL Tour One M2. The Beats Studio Pro’s performance stands up well against the competition, though it feels as if Beats has hit a comfortable ceiling with not much room to extend itself. It’s a match for its rivals in a number of ways, but falls short of surpassing them. Check out our Best Headphones list for more options.
How we test
We test every set of headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested with real world use
There’s no means to customise the Studio Pro’s sound over a wireless connection, but there are three ‘EQ’ profiles to choose from when the headphones are used in their USB-C audio mode.
Beats Studio Pro
Beats by Dr Dre
Beats custom-designed, two-layer dynamic diaphragm transducer
Sandstone, Navy, Black, and Deep Brown
20 20000 – Hz