Celebrity Headphone Endorsements: Enough Already. Just Give Me Good Sound!

Along with connected cars and smart TVs, celebrity headphone endorsements provided a lot of talk at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  

They’ve just added to the deluge of celebrity-branded ‘phones that were already out there.  Let’s just count them up, shall we?



Which of the above would I buy?  Probably just the Quincy Jones model.  I’ve tried most of the others and they sound like, well, crap.  They’re all too bass-heavy with excessive boost around 400 Hz which makes the music sound far to thumpy and unnatural.  

I tried–and I mean really tried–to objectively listen to every model of Beats.  And to my ears, they all sucked.  Hard.

Call me a purist snob, but I seem to be in some kind of minority.  I’m not satisfied with music that sounds “good enough.”  If an artist takes the time to record something in a proper recording studio, I want to hear what it is they sweated over.

Yet far too many people settle for good enough:  the over-compressed mastering, the squished sound of MP3s, the crappy headphone experience.  

Hell, I find it scary that so many people are satisfied with the sound of the music they get from their lapstop speakers!  What the f*ck is wrong with you people?  Your music experience is no better than what kids heard coming from an AM radio station broadcast over a shitty transistor radio in 1957?  When did awesome sound stop becoming a priority for music fans?

Please, please let the next revolution be a rediscovery of high fidelity.  Meanwhile, if you’re going to listen to music on headphones, make sure that you buy a proper-sounding pair.  You’ll thank me for it.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Celebrity Headphone Endorsements: Enough Already. Just Give Me Good Sound!

  • January 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    I'm all for great sounding headphones but what's the point when a large majority of the people out there are listening to mp3s? You've already compromised the audio quality so why go spend hundreds of dollars on speakers/headphones? Seems a little backwards for people to illegally download audio that doesn't sound good to begin with and then go out and spend $500 on a pair of headphones. It's like buying a Ferrari that maxes out at 90km/hr.


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