As of April 3, 2011, here are ten tips on how to tell the difference between fake and real Dr. Dre. Beats Studio Headphones. You can pretty much bet that anyone selling these headphones below $299 is selling you a fake one. The counterfeiters are getting pretty darn good at infringing on Monster Cable’s intellectual property. They have definitely improved upon their earlier clones.
Note that we, the authors, don’t work for Monster Cable nor are affiliated in any way with them. We purchased the counterfeit “new” from EBay and the the real deal at Best Buy with our own money.
Finally, there are a lot of differences between the fake and the real headphones. Most are very minor, others are major (such as sound quality.) We’ll try to point out as many as we we can.
1. External Packaging – The Side of the Box:
The images on the counterfeit box (left) are much darker with blackened out shadow detail and no gradients.
The phrase “Monster powered isolation” (second paragraph from top) is with a trademark symbol on the real box (right). You’ll also notice that the type size of the fake is slightly larger. Click on the image to the right to see it at a higher resolution.
2. External Packaging – the Back of the Box
The fake looks pretty close to the real one. It even has the same barcode. If you look more closley, the photo of the ‘phones on the fake is darker. The word “Beats” in the last paragraph of the real box has the trademark symbol.
3. Internal Packaging – the Accessories Inside:
OK. Now WTH? The counterfeit item doesn’t include batteries. (LOL, even the fake box says it includes batteries!) The airplane adapter is shoved into the spot where the batteries are supposed to be. I can see that perhaps one day, the cloners putting in batteries, but they would probably be some cheapo brand that leaks acid laced with toxic cadnium rather than Duracell.
Although you can’t see it in this photo, the cables and airplane adapter are actually slightly different.
4. Internal Packaging – the Cleaning Cloth:
The counterfeiters have improved much here! However the real cleaning cloth is a slightly darker red, now with a different tag location.
NOTE PICTURED: The front and back cover of the manual to the real item is of thicker stock. On the counterfeit, the entire booklet is printed with the same thin-ish paper stock.
5. Internal Packaging – the Plastic Bags:
The real version has a plastic bag over the case and another bag covering the headphones inside the case.
6. Cosmetics – Headphone Color
The real headphone (left) is actually a cooler white color. The fake headphone (right) is almost cream colored in comparison.
Note the stickers that describe how to install batteries are different.
If you click on the picture to the right to get a higher resolution photo, you can see the slight differences in the center cap. The “b” looks flush on the real thing whereas on the fake, it looks embossed.
There are two other things which are harder to notice and not well illustrated in this photo: 1) the real item has sharper edges whereas the fake item has softer edges; 2) the driver assembly is exactly centered with the outer assembly on the real item – on the fake, it’s slightly offset to the right.
7. Cosmetics – Battery Cover
Wow, the cloners are getting pretty good; they are now including a sticker with serial number.
However, there are some minor differences. We’ll let you figure which is which. HINT: The real item includes a serial number sticker that shines.
The battery compartment of the fake headphones are a very glossy black. On the real headphones it’s a semi-gloss black.
8. Cosmetics – Monster Logo
On the counterfeit (top), the monster logo looks a little bit too long heightwise with too small a gap between the two halves. The color differences are very evident in this photo.
NOT PICTURED: The inside of the cups of the real headphone no longer have the “No Recycling”, FCC, CE logos. The fake headphones still have them.
The build quality of the counterfeit is poorer. Compared to the real deal, the cups don’t adjust as easily and don’t clearly notch into each position. On one side, the cup didn’t fit well when pushed up all the way into the headband – the metal was slightly bent – creating some bind. Also the cups on the counterfeit didn’t want to stay up from the collapsed arrangement during storage. They just sort of flopped around.
The fake item is heavier by 11 ounces:
- Counterfeit headphone weight: 9 lbs. 0 oz. (no batteries, no cable)
- Real headphone weight: 8 lbs. 5 oz. (no batteries, no cable)
10. Sound Quality
We have seen a few comments on the Internet that the fakes sound similar or alike to the real headphones. But to our audiophile ears, this is MOST CERTAINLY NOT THE CASE!!!
Whereas the real item sounds fairly decent with very good tonality, the counterfeit item sounds like absolute shit.
The frequency balance of the clone is completed screwed up with a sucked out region in the mids and scratchy ear piercing grainy high-mids and treble. This becomes even more evident when we turn up the volume. The fake item will cause ear fatigue or possibly hearing damage over time.
Also, the noise reduction system does not appear to work effectively on the clone. There is a lot more hiss or noise when we turn the headphone on. The clone does a very poor job of noise cancelling compared to the real item.
The guys on the YouTube videos saying they sound similar don’t how what they are talking about. They are not audiophiles or headphone hobbyists.