We recently shared a detailed teardown of glorified fashion accessory (and sometimes headphone), Beats by Dre. Prototype engineer Avery Louie stripped down the Beats headphones down to the gaskets, commenting that he was surprised at how cheap some of the components were, which really should be expected for an accessory that costs only $14 to manufacture and boast substandard quality sound. Now, the source of that shock has been revealed: Louie’s stripdown was conducted on a counterfeit Beats by Dre model.
Industrial design blog Core77 has collected together a number of inconsistencies that pointed to the headphones being fake, the most noteworthy of which was the number of drivers found during the teardown. Though Louie doesn’t mention which model of Beats he dismantled, a process of elimination suggests that they could only be Solo HD versions. However, Solo HD headphones have four drivers, two for each ear, while the model Louie was using only had one per speaker. This can be clearly seen in a post by redditor Vantt1, who broke down the difference between genuine and fake Beats on Imgur.
The biggest unanswered question so far is, did Louie know? It’s conceivable that he didn’t – he made no reference to having previous experience with Beats, so it’s safe to assume that his teardown was the first time he’d seen the innards of the headphones. That does point to a lack of rigour in his preparatory research, though, since an industrial engineer should have found out, for example, how many drivers the device should have before he started.
To be fair, for the uninitiated, it’s bloody hard to tell the difference between real and fake Beats:
Thank you Core77 for providing us with this information.