It might be said that the best people to create audio products such as headphones are musicians. That was certainly Monster's feeling when the cable company teamed up with Dr. Dre to create a line of headphones vetted by the hip hop legend. The Beats line encompasses everything from full-size studio cans to a pair of glittery 'buds from Lady Gaga. Now, Monster and Dr. Dre have brought Sean "Diddy" Combs into the fold, and he has introduced yet another model to the line, the Diddybeats High Performance In-Ear Headphones. The $150 earphones certainly reflect the rapper's fashion sense, but what's even better is that they offer useful features and good sound quality as well.
The first thing you're likely to notice upon extracting the Diddybeats from their Monster packaging is that they're very well-constructed. From the glossy conical earpieces to the thick, flat ribbon cable to the reinforced gold-plated L-plug, everything feels polished and durable. And, of course, they wouldn't be Beats without some stylish accenting throughout. Each earpiece features a lowercase "db" logo on the outer edge and a bit of colored leatherette trim wrapped around it. You have your choice of three colors for the trim and cable: black, white, or light pink. (The black definitely seems the least likely to show wear and tear, as the other two look like they'd pick up dirt easily.)
Moving down the cable from the earpieces, you'll find a few other features worth noting. The first is an inline module that contains a mic, a volume toggle, and a multifunction button that answers calls and controls playback for the iPhone or iPod. The Diddybeats also include a slider below that help with tangles on the Y, not that we noticed much of an issue with that during testing. The nice thing about a ribbon cable is that it tends to not twist up as much. At the Y junction is a nice, metallic accent piece with Monster and Diddybeats logos stamped on it.
The one issue with any sort of extra weight on the cable is that we found that the earbuds tended to slip out of our ears. This could also be because of the large size of the earpieces or their cone shape not meshing well with our testers' ears. In any event, we couldn't get a secure fit, but given the startling array of eartips in the package--one foam set, six of the standard silicone models, and two triple-flanged tips--this will likely not be an issue for everyone. Monster also includes a fairly basic travel pouch in the package.
We put the Diddybeats to the test with a playlist of tracks from a variety of genres and were pleased to note that these earphones are capable of providing good audio for those with eclectic taste. Playback is very balanced, with plenty of detail through the high end and a low end that thumps without overpowering. If anything, music could stand a bit more sparkle, and mids are slightly lacking in that buttery quality we crave, but songs still sound plenty warm and rich and the midrange isn't overly forward. To be clear: these aren't audiophile earphones, but they will no doubt satisfy the average music listener. So if you like lots of different music and want a pair of portable headphones that don't look like the rest, the Diddybeats are a great choice.