Beats headphones are both successful and polarizing. You either love them or hate them. The company's line of products (complete with prominent branding and those signature red cords) have proven to be a massive success with consumers yet regularly draw criticism from self-proclaimed audiophiles. We don't imagine the new $299.95 Executive noise-cancelling headphones will put such debates to rest anytime soon, but they'll likely be a welcome addition for anyone that's been drawn to the Beats sound signature.
When designing the Executive headphones, Beats COO Luke Wood told us his company set out to build a product that would offer "incredible" noise cancellation while simultaneously exuding a sense of style thanks to a premium fit and finish. And that build quality succeeds in making a positive first impression. It also eschews the red and black plastic Beats has typically been fond of. These headphones are comprised of a mix of materials including stainless steel, brushed aluminum, and earpads that are hand-stitched during the assembly process, according to Wood. Rather than powering the Executives with a rechargeable battery, Beats chose instead to include AAA batteries. "A lot of people are terrified of having something with no microUSB on the plane," said Wood of the decision. "They'd rather carry a pair of batteries than get stuck halfway through Prometheus."
Yet noise-cancelling headphones typically aren't known for their stellar audio reproduction. "We had to focus on the push and pull between trying to have a great noise-cancelling experience," said Wood, adding that Beats went to great lengths to meet the needs of business travelers — typically the target market for such tech. "But we had to keep going back to the records we love and know. Is the bottom end true? Does the vocal cut through? Is the imaging there?" We get the sense there will be a difference of opinion on whether Beats has achieved that balance with the Executive headphones, but we look forward to trying them out all the same. They're available today and yes, batteries are included.