The Beats EP On-Ear are surprisingly good critical listening headphones but are a bit tight on the head for long listening sessions. They're not as portable as some of the other on-ear headphones and the tight fit could be a bit uncomfortable for some. However, they're sufficiently lightweight and well-padded, and they perform well for most use cases except for commuting since they don't block a lot of noise.
The Beats EP are decently sturdy and comfortable on-ear headphones, with a compact and sleek-looking design. Like most on-ears, they're a bit tight on the head but the ear cups are sufficiently well-padded to reduce some of this clamping effect and it also makes them stable enough to jog with. Unfortunately, they have a non-detachable cable that makes them a bit less suitable for high-intensity sports, and they don't conveniently fold into a smaller format for more portability like the Solo3 Wireless. On the upside, they have an easy-to-use and fairly responsive in-line remote.
The Beats EP look like a cross between the Beats Solo3 Wireless and the Beats Mixr which we didn't get a chance to review. They have a compact and sleek form factor that will work for most and come in a variety of color schemes to suit your taste and style. The relatively unique headband design makes them stand out a bit more especially in other color schemes, where the metal of the hinge contrasts well with the color of the ear cups. However, the all-black variant is a bit more understated, subtle and has a high-end appeal which some may prefer.
The Beats EP are comfortable headphones but like most on-ears, they're a bit tight on the head. The ear cups are decently well padded but the rigid swivel hinge design and relatively compact headband don't cater well to all head sizes and shapes. This puts enough pressure on the ears to cause fatigue during long listening sessions but they should be sufficiently comfortable for most listeners when used for a couple of hours.
These headphones have a simple and easy-to-use control scheme. They have a typical three button setup that offers call/music, track skipping, and volume controls. The buttons are decently responsive, although the volume controls do not deliver as much feedback as some of the other in-line remotes we've tested.
The Beats EP, like most on-ears, are a bit more breathable than over-ear designs but will still make your ears sweat a little after 30-45 minutes of intense exercise. They mostly make the notch of your ears warmer but do not touch your outer ear which stays relatively cool although the pressure caused by the tight fit may cause more discomfort over time than the difference in temperature.
The Beats EP are relatively compact on-ear headphones that unfortunately do not fold for more portability. This makes them a bit more of a hassle to carry around on your person than other on-ears if you don't have a bag.
The Beats EP, like most of the newer Beats models, are well-built headphones that make use of high-end materials in their design. The ear cups are dense and the headband is flexible and made from a good combination of plastic and metal. They also do not have a lot of moving parts since they don't fold into a more compact format like Solo2 or Solo3. The entire frame isn't metal, however, which is less durable than some other on-ears, but they won't break from a couple of accidental drops. Unfortunately, the non-detachable cable is not replaceable and will wear over-time which reduces the EPs overall durability.
The Beats EP are stable on-ear headphones with a non-detachable cable that makes them less ideal for sports. They're tight enough to maintain a stable fit under most conditions even while jogging and exercising. Unfortunately, the non-detachable cable will yank the headphones off your head if it gets tangled or hooked on something.
The Beats EP On-Ear are a good sounding pair of closed-back on-ear headphones. They have a deep and extended bass with adequate thump and punch, a virtually flawless and well-balanced mid-range, a very good treble, and low distortion. However, their bass is prone to inconsistencies across multiple users and tends to sound slightly boomy and muddy. Additionally, and like most other closed-back on-ear headphones, the EPs don't have a large and out-of-head soundstage because of their limited pinna interaction.
The Beats EP have a very good bass. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent. This, and the flat low-bass, ensures a proper reproduction of thumps and rumbles. Mid-bass, which is responsible for the bulk of bass instruments and the punch of drums, is also quite flat and less than 2dB over our target. However, high-bass is hyped by 3.5dB, resulting in a bass that is deep and punchy, but slightly boomy. Also, their bass delivery varies noticeably across users, and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.
The mid-range of the on-ear Beats EP is excellent. The overall response is virtually flat and within 2dB of our target response. The only remark here is that the 4dB dip is centered around 700Hz, which nudges vocals/leads towards the back of the mix by giving a tad more emphasis to the bass instruments. This makes the overall mid-range sound a bit recessed.
The treble performance of the Beats EP On-Ear is excellent. The overall response is consistent and well-balanced. Low-treble and mid-treble are quite flat and within 1.3dB of our target. The 5dB dip around 6KHz could have a negative effect on the presence of vocals and lead instruments, but because of the narrow bandwidth its effect will be negligible.
The frequency response consistency is mediocre. Due to the closed-back and on-ear design, the bass of these headphones is prone to inconsistencies across multiple re-seats, even on the same individual. The maximum variance at 20Hz is more than 9dB. The treble range's performance is a lot more consistent though.
The Beat EP have excellent imaging. The weighted group delay of the Beats is only 0.2, which is excellent. It can also be seen in the graph that the entire group delay is below our audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were exceptionally well-matched. This results in the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, footsteps, instruments) in the stereo field.
The Beats EP have a poor soundstage. This is mainly due to the closed-back and on-ear design. Good pinna (outer ear) interaction is key in creating a large and out-of-head soundstage, and since most on-ear headphones sit on the pinna, they can't fully activate its resonances. Overall, the soundstage will be perceived to be small and located inside the listener's head. Also, they won't sound as open and spacious as open-back on-ear headphones such as the Grado SR60e.
The Beats EP On-Ear have a very good harmonic distortion performance. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is within very good limits, regardless of the level. This suggests that they will be able to take a good amount of EQ boost in the bass range. However, under maximum load, there's a small rise in distortion around 5KHz, but it won't be perceptible to most.
The Beats EP don't leak much but also don't block a lot of noise. The small on-ear cups do not prevent noise from easily seeping into your audio. They do block a bit of high-frequency noise, but it won't be enough for the loud environments involved in commuting. They won't be the ideal travel headphones, but at least they don't leak too much, so you can use them in quieter settings, like being at the office, without distracting your colleagues.
The isolation of the Beats EP is sub-par. These on-ear headphones isolate only passively using their ear cups, therefore they do not reduce outside noise in the bass range, which is important for isolating the rumble of airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, which is important for cancelling out speech, they achieve a mediocre 8dB of isolation. In the treble range, which sharp sounds such as S and Ts occupy, they reduce outside noise by almost 30dB, which is good.
The leakage performance of the EPs is average. The significant portion of the leakage sits between 2KHz and 20KHz which is a broad range. However, the overall level of leakage is quite low. The leakage shouldn't be audible to people around you unless you are in a very quiet environment (like an elevator) and really blasting your music.
The performance of the Beats EP's in-line microphone is about average. Speech recorded with the mic of the EP will sound relatively full and detailed. It will also be easily comprehensible. However, in louder situations, such as in a metro station or a busy street, the noise will most likely drown out your speech which makes it difficult to hear and comprehend.
The microphone of the EP has a good recording quality. The LFE of 270Hz indicates a recorded/transmitted speech that is slightly thin. However, this won't have a significant effect on comprehensibility of the speech. Additionally, the HFE (high-frequency extension) of 20KHz and the relatively flat response between LFE and HFE mean that speech will sound relatively present and natural.
The noise handling of the EPs in-line microphone is mediocre. In our noise handling test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 11dB, which means they will have difficulty separating speech from ambient noise in moderately loud environments.
The Beats EP are passive and have no active features.
The Beats EP have no compatible app and no active features. If you want a wireless headphone with a good app, then consider the Sennheiser HD 4.50.
The Beats EP are wired and passive so they only connect to other devices via their 1/8" TRRS audio cable. The iOS optimized cable comes with an in-line remote microphone that unfortunately is not compatible with the Xbox One but works with the PS4.
The Beats Ep have a 1/8TRRS audio cable with an inline remote microphone that is compatible with the PS4 but not the Xbox One. This is most likely due to The iOS-specific audio cable.
The Beats EP do not have a dock. If you need a headset with a dock that also has a wired connection for gaming or watching movies, then consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7.
The Beats Ep are good-sounding wired on-ears with a sturdy and stable design. However, they can be a bit tight on the head and do not isolate well enough for very noisy commutes. Overall, they should be sufficiently decent for most use cases. See our recommendations for the best on-ear headphones, the best DJ headphones, and the best wireless headphones.
The Beats EP On-Ear are a slightly better on-ear headset than the Audio-Technica ATH-M60x, but not by much. The Beats Solo EP have an in-line remote that makes using them with iOS devices and mobile phones a little easier. They also have a slightly more compact and sturdy build quality, although not by much since they also do not fold into a more compact format. The ATH-M60x, on the other hand, come with three audio cables that make them a bit more suitable for a studio setting. They're also not as tight on the head as the EPs, although they're about the same comfort level. On the upside, the ATH-M60x have a slightly better-balanced sound that most will prefer over the EPs.