How To Tell The Difference Between Real and Fake Beats Studio by Dr. Dre Headphones

| October 6, 2011 | Comments (53)

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.

9. Build

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:

  1. Counterfeit headphone weight: 9 lbs. 0 oz. (no batteries, no cable)
  2. 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.



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Category: Headphones

Comments (53)

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  1. Scott says:

    This article is only right at some parts. U r right that the build quality, the box and the cosmetic of the clones are poorer than the real, however, if you get the grade AAA clones, u will see the difference. The ones that u got may be AA, which the sound is not that good. When u get the Grade AAA clones, the sound will be different from AA and of course will close to the real. The Chinese factories somehow got the real chip of Monster and made tons exact replicas of it and sell them back for cheaper price. The way they work will be the same as the real ones except for the build quality. I’m a DJ and I’m having both AAA Fake and real Studio right now to compare them and they have no difference in the clearness of the sound. The bass of the fakes may be lower than real but it’s good enough to enjoy my entire playlist.

    • slcmt says:

      Just a quick question, seeing as that I am now unsure that I am about to purchase a genuine pair of Dr dre’s. If the ones I purchase have a serial number are counterfeit, will that mean that monster will have no record of that serial number or are the cloners just cloning the serial numbers as well? Scott were are you getting the AAA fakes from and how do you know that they are AAA fakes.. Grrrr I am unsure now

      • tdunn says:

        The cloners appear to be getting good at making a better serial number sticker. I’m betting all the stickers will have the same number though. Simply a matter of being easier to produce.

        The key I think is the batteries. The real deal have Duracell batteries. I don’t know if the cloners have caught up to this by now.

        As far as Scott’s comments, most people wouldn’t notice the difference in sound, but there are subtle differences even with the AAA clones. Mainly more hiss, more strident treble, and not as much bass. It’s not just the chip and electronics, but also the transducer.

    • Lawrence says:

      How can we measure the grad AAA or AA clones.

      • benjaminzer says:

        The AAA clones requires the batteries and has other features similar to the real ones. But the AA ones does not have a battery and the build quality is doubtful, in other words, the headphones felt a lot lighter than the AAA/Original ones. The sound of the AA ones are OK. There is good bass. But the sound felt hollow/feels like there’s no depth in the music. So I dun approve :P

        Here, this is the link of a guy selling these grade AA headphones – just to give you a preview ;P

      • Pedro says:

        (Electronics) Update: 15 months still using the QC15 s svreeal times per week and they are still holding up well. No fit or finish issues what so ever. I do keep them in their case when not using them and when they are in my laptop bag. Ejoying them even more with my new WP7 phone. Update: After 4 months of daily use these Headphones are holding up very well (especially the headband and earcups which were crap on the QC2 s). I am still super pleased with this purchase. Exec Summary – I highly recommend these headphones. – Good in any situation where you need to concentrate. I could have really used these when I was in college for studying in dorms, libraries, etc. – Battery life is excellent. I am pretty sure I have used them more than 24 hours on the original battery that came in the package and it is still going. – Music sounds great. I have just started running thru my mp3 library but have hit on svreeal songs that I know push the drivers pretty hard and they sound pretty damn good. – Detachable cable. If you just want the noise cancelling, you can detach the cable and be cable free. If you want to know why I am giving such a positive review after only having the headphones for 6 days, read on. I spent a long time (weeks) researching Noise Cancelling headphones after getting moved to an office across from a computer lab with over 1000 rack mounted servers and right under its very large ceiling mounted HVAC unit. I tried a friend’s QC3 s for a day and things were better (I could concentrate and not get headaches), but I found the on-ear not as comfortable and not as good at blocking the sound as I had expected for the money. Then last Wednesday, I happened to read a Gizmodo article about how Bose was updating its Headphone lines and the 15 s were arriving in store on Thursday. So first thing Thursday morning I dropped by the local mall and tried out a pair. I was sold after five minutes of wearing them and went straight to work to put them to work. After installing the battery I turned them on without the cable connected and put them on. Ah, quiet Even the high pitch whine of the server fans was reduced by 90%. I was able to play some background music at a very low level and I now I could hear no environmental noise what so ever. I was still feeling guilty about spending $300; however I fell ill on Friday and had to be hospitalized. I was placed in a room that was right next to the nurse’s station (great for service, awful for noise levels). Luckily I had brought along my Zune and my QC15 s. I spent most of my three day hospital stay listening to E-Books in blissful silence. No bells, whistles, intercom pages, visitors talking, next door neighbors coughing, etc. Needless to say, it’s the best $300 I have ever spent.

        • Jamal louis says:

          My uncle tyrone brought some beats at radio shack but the beats he have is very unknown there black with the gray circle around them and the black b but he says if radio shack sells fake beats they would be sewed and the control talk is lack at the back grey in the front with pause and the other thing is red

    • Harrison Fleener says:

      Also! On the aux cable the fakes have monster and the monster logo. And itthe comes with au black aux cable that only has play and pause in onea button. The real cable has beats and beats logo. And mic, volume control, and a play and a pause.

  2. Shri says:

    what scott said is true i have a real beats tour and a fake grade AAA and they sound similar but the build quality does have some diffrence

  3. Hi there, I found your website via Google while looking for a comparable matter, your site got here up, it appears to be like great. I have added to favourites|added to my bookmarks.

  4. Joe says:

    I just got some fake beats studio, i was very discapointed after finding out that they were fake. The sound is very good. Hard to beleive they are fake.

  5. Nate says:

    Hi, i received my studios as a xmas gift from my sister. After comparing mine using ur post, i’m sad to say that mine are fake. If i knew before hand, i would’ve got my sister fake beats too, but i got her the real ones from staples. Thanks for the education.

  6. David says:

    So I am pretty sure what I ordered my daughter were fake. What is everyone doing about it? Shipping them back at retailers or your expense? Or keep them?

  7. Filip says:

    hehe now i only want to know where to buy AAA clone couse it seems they are fine :)

  8. Daniel says:

    yesterday I bought a 2nd hand Monster Beats Studio RED. It is a geniune one, because he bought it at Mediamarkt (official reseller). The serial number behind the earcup is 7 digits. But this is the serial number of the earcup and NOT the headphone.

    But i do have a receipt so no problemo.

    The sound is really amazing. Recently I sold my black solo HD (genuine) but the sound quality of the studio is really better, more clear, bass is good, high tones also good/clear.

    • Andrew says:

      Hey I have he same red studio beats, where is the serial located mine had the seven digit one where the batteries go and a nine digit one behind the other ear cup. Can u help?

  9. Jake says:

    I just bought some Dr Dr Beats bro from ebay
    buyer says they have a 1 year warranty?

    do the fakes claim to have a warranty?

  10. bobbappler says:

    I have a fake Beats Studio from Kuala Lumpur. I compared it with it some real beats and the sound quality is almost the same. However the build quality is horrible: the mute button is broken, and it’s very hard to ajust the left earcup. But the worst are the cables, after a while the music began to sound weird, I replaced it with a new cable and the problem is gone.

  11. ellen says:

    my opinion is that IF you want the real thing go to an authorized store, such as Best Buys, Staples etc that only carry authorized product merchandise. IF you’re buying anything on-line…you’re taking a chance and the knock-offs of whatever product is hot at the moment are out there. I’m sure the cloners have studied comments and comparisons and have changed their look since this posting dated 10/6/11. That’s been almost 6 months ago. So buyer beware is what I say.

    • tdunn says:

      Yes. There seems to be an arms race with between Monster and the counterfeiters. It won’t be an issue for much longer since Monster and Beats will be departing ways.

      • ultimate ears says:

        The thing with the weight???
        My “Studio” weights 241 gramm/8,5 oz (without Batteries and Cable)
        Is it save, is it still a real one?

      • Chandan says:

        (Electronics) Frankly, I think these new Bose heopahdnes put the QC-2 to shame! I’ve owned both QC-2 and QC-3 heopahdnes for for a couple years, and their predecessor before that. My home is in a rural area that over time has become increasingly noisy with automobile traffic, chain saws, weed whackers, air travel, boats, etc, so have become a great fan of noise-cancelling heopahdnes, which for me provide respite against all this sonic assault. When I read the specs of the QC-15, I thought, if these are an improvement over the QC-2, I’ll have to try them. This in the face of feeling sheepish about blowing another $300 for what I feared might be a trivial difference in quality. I needn’t have worried. When I turned on the QC-15, it was like shutting off the world. The loud rushing sound emitted by the air filter running 15 feet away became nearly inaudible, the low rumble of distant boat, air, and automobile traffic disappeared altogether. The background hiss generated by the QC-15 is noticeably quieter than the QC-2, and the noise cancellation, as Bose advertises, covers much more of the audio range. My QC-2 headset doesn’t do nearly as good job at cancelling the white noise from the air filter as the QC-15, for example. As for sound quality, the QC-15, to my ear, has better response in the deep bass, from 25-35 hz, and les resonance in the 80-150 hz range. The bass is generally tighter as well. If you’re used to the mild boominess of the QC-2, as I was, it might take you a bit of listening to appreciate the difference. In higher frequency ranges, the QC-15 seems comparable to the QC-2. My 64 year-old ears cut off arount 8 khz, so I’d defer to the judgement of younger listeners in this area. All-in-all, I’m very happy with the improvements manifest in this new version of the Bose heopahdnes and feel that even at $300 they’re well worth it. The only negative criticism I can make so-far is that the heopahdnes emit a rather loud click when you turn them on, compared to the QC-2. This is not a big deal- I just make sure to throw the ON switch before putting the phones on my head. By the way, many users of Bose (and other) noise-cancelling heopahdnes complain , sometimes bitterly, about he sensation of ear pressure when the noise-cancelletion is activated. This is an illusion that arises because actual pressure on un-equalized eardrums (as when climbing or descending in an aircraft) has the effect of reducing the low frequency response of the eardrums. That loss of low-frequency sensitivity is read by the brain as pressure, which, in the case of altitude change, it actually is. Noise cancelling heopahdnes drastically attenuate ambient low frequency sounds, many of which we register unconsciously. The brain interprets this as pressure on the eardrum, even though this is not actually the case. The sensation of pressure produced by noise cancellation is actually an indication of just how much very low frequency background sound we tolerate under normal circumstances. Research indicates that such low-frequency sounds can actually be a source of low-grade anxiety. Hence you may find that these heopahdnes attenuate your nagging anxiety along with the background rumble generated by the pervasive combustion of fossil fuel all around us.

  12. Maupy says:

    As I live in Asia (Philippines)I have bought several fake Dr Dre products. Some of them were ok, some of them were rubbish and one is great; the Pro’s. Sounds fantastic.

    As well I am happy with a blue tooth version of the Solo’s. Monster never made these, but I have one! No wires, charge lasts a week. Pretty cool.

    As well I bought genuine red Studio’s, build quality is better. Definitely. Looks more durable. Feels better. Sounds better, but not that much better to justify the price difference.

    But lets be fair, buying clones is stealing, if you like it or not!

    Dr Dre’s are not pro products but fashionable consumer items.

  13. benjaminzer says:

    Well, not all of these clone Beats are equal in flaws. Some clones dun have serial, others do. Some dont have durable cables while others do. And some dont have equal sound to the original while others do. And also some dont have good build quality while others do.

    You cant conclude that the guys at YouTube know nothing. In fact, I personally compared between the originals and the AAA clones. The similarity may not 100%, but its very much the same. But good thing is, AAA clones are 8 times cheaper (as of Malaysian price) than the originals. In Malaysia, the AAA/OEM clones cost RM200 while the originals cost RM1600. So whoever bought these AAA clones shouldnt be ripped off because there is no f-ing point wasting a lot of cash just to get a small difference. Also, the original Beats’ price doesnt fit to its worth.
    But whether its fake or not, Beats isnt great. Even the original ones suck. And I would totally regret if I’m to buy the original one.
    Some things pointed out in their box can be bulls*** sometimes.
    Since I listen to lots of dubstep, Beats failed to handle of its dynamics, resulting in distortion. Maybe Beats Pro can handle, but why spend more when you can get a cheaper, decent monitoring headphone which can handle such music?
    Bottom line – Beats is a flaming, overhyped marketing trend/craze. Nuff said
    And Im sure you with audiophile ears don’t find Beats fitting to your standards, right?

  14. XamLuna08 says:

    I got mine from bestbuys, and it does not include batteries. So are they fake?

  15. Eric says:

    If you want a pair of beats headphones that have sound quality as good as the authentics but cost a lot cheaper, try OEMs (original equipment manufacterer). These are otherwise known as semi-original. OEMs are like better than grade AAA replica but not as good as authentics. OEMs are actually designed by monsters themselves, but are instead made by third-party factories. Which means that the sound quality are almost exactly the same and the design is the same, but the difference is that the quality in the materials of the parts. They are the same materials as the authentics, but the quality is not as perfect as authentics. In fact, the only major difference is the price. Because OEMs are made by third party factories, monster cannot provide an official warranty. That is why OEMs are a lot cheaper. But if you want quality that is about 75-85 % as good as the authentics but at only about 20% of the price, OEMs are the best choice.

  16. Kevin says:

    What if the recycle and FCC things are behind the cup?

  17. nigel says:

    So how do I know if my beats studio are grade ‘aaa’ or grade ‘aa’ ? Anyone please help ? And also please let me know if grade ‘aaa’ is better than grade aa .. Please guide me someone!

  18. nigel says:


  19. Njuguna says:

    I got a studio pro headphones whose box was not wrapped in plastic,there is no serial no anywhere on the headphones plus no manual,extra ear cups and cloth cleaner but the quality of the sound is fantastic.i thing am going to throw them away.Am in Kenya.

  20. pam says:

    Please help, I’m trying to find a set of beats and I found a website thats selling them for cheap. I compared the box to the pictures above and some things look fake but for the most part they look pretty legit. PLEASE HELP! the website is and its the studio black ones.



    • tdunn says:

      Those are fake. No doubt about it.

      • zach says:

        im just wondering, but if you look at picture 2 and you look at the website that “pam” said, you cn see the box on the website is the same as the picture on the right “the real beats” just wondering though

    • Sally says:

      Hi, just wondering if your ordered your beats from the website you mentioned as I did last week – and have just received 4 headphones that I’m pretty sure are fakes! One headphone is broken too. Can you pls let me know if you did by them from this website and what you think of them.

      Thanks very much!!


  21. best earbuds says:

    good work thank you for the info

  22. DONNO'S says:

    I just get 3 pairs of studios from target and this is what i found: recycle and FCC things are behind the cup
    and does not include batteries, it’s that normal? the sound it’s amazing!
    should i return ‘em?

  23. Boby` says:

    not bad article but i would buy a cloned version because its pointless gettin headphones for £250. i got my dr dre studios for only £8, yes there fake but sound is mind blowing. i think the cloners done a great job .

  24. Beatsbydrdre says:

    Hey, does anybody know where I can find some cheap legitament beats by dr dre. I’ve looked on a lot I websites but I now know they are all fake. Do you recommend me buying fake ones and jacking them up with replacement parts from Monster?

  25. Aadi says:

    hey, i got an orange studio …is it definitelt sure that the studio which are fake doesnt come with a turn it up guide??? mine came with one and the were both serial numbers and fcce sign above the earcups however the whole headphones along with the case didnt come in a plastic cover is it fake?

    • tdunn says:

      Sounds like it’s fake, but if they work and you like them, more power to you. We do not condone the use of counterfeit products. Just something that our lawyer says that we should make clear.

  26. sound leaked says:

    hey, is sound of genuine beats studio leaked ?
    can be hear from outside ?
    is beats studio open or closed headphone ?
    thats all i want to ask


  27. need help says:
    i am pretty sure the beats on this page are fake but i don’t know what kind of clones they are?(AAA,AA,or OEMs etc.) could somebody please confirm there type for me?

  28. vichunter says:

    I got my new beats studio last 2 days and now I was wondering if this is fake or not, well, the sound is perfectly the same in real beats, cuz, im always go to BestBuy or Target to try to listen any kind of headphone like beats studio. And after I have doubt that my beats is fake?.

  29. mackmack says:

    i m buying beats by dre studio superman edition i just wanted to know tht they r real ar fake

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