Why change a winning recipe? This is the essence of Beats' reasoning behind the creation of the successor to his four-year wireless noise reduction model, the Wireless Studio. His replacement, the Studio3 Wireless (350 euros), is almost identical apart from new colors. Beats has just picked up some seams on the pads to make them a little softer and improve their comfort. That's about all from an aesthetic point of view.
But under the hood, there are a lot of evolutions. Studio3 is significantly better on audio quality, battery life and noise reduction. Beats says it has completely redesigned the configuration of the beast with new speakers and components including the Apple W1 chip that is already found on PowerBeats3 Wireless, Solo3 Wireless, BeatsX and of course the AirPods. The W1 simplifies the connection to Apple terminals and helps increase the autonomy that now reaches 22 hours in reading and sometimes even more. Recall, however, that the autonomy depends on the volume of listening. During our test, we were able to get an average of 20 hours, which is slightly better than the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. Cutting the noise reduction can go up to 40 hours. And the fast fuel fast charging system gives you 3 hours of playback with only 10 minutes of charge.
Of course you can use this headset with compatible Bluetooth terminals other than those of Apple, but the system of Pairing is not as flexible. In particular, we have experimented with a Galaxy S8 +.
Enhanced audio quality and improved noise reduction
In addition to battery life, audio quality and noise reduction have also made a lot of progress. Compared to its predecessor, the Studio3 offers a clearer sound, better defined bass and more natural rendering. The difference is not huge compared to the 2014 Wireless Studio, but it is notable.
Beats is known for the overpowering bass, but this is not the case here. The Studio Wireless show balance, the bass is present but not invasive. They are even a little better defined than those of the WH-1000XM2 Sony which is one of the best Bluetooth headsets of the moment. The latter is however a little more transparent and probably more pleasant to use during a prolonged listening. The Beats will be better suited to pop and electronic music lovers.
Compared to the category reference, the QuietComfort 35 II by Bose, the Studio3 features slightly softer highs. However, the Bose creates a more open sound stage and it seemed to us that we could better distinguish the instruments. These are two very good helmets, but the Bose gets a higher rating for its comfort and flat folding system that makes it easier to carry.
This point is one of the main flaws we criticize Studio3 that does not fold flat. Suddenly, its case is too bulky. Most other high-end wireless headsets (Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Sony) fold flat, which greatly facilitates the transport.
With regard to noise reduction, the improvement of performance is very sensitive thanks to the new Beats proprietary technology called Pure Adaptive Noise Canceling (Pure ANC). The latter constantly monitors the sound environment and calibrates the noise reduction accordingly, whether it is the hubbub in a restaurant, an airplane, a train or the sound of the wind.
As on the Sony MDR-1000X and WH-1000XM2, the headset is equipped with a microphone inside each earpiece to adapt the reduction of noise at each morphology, taking into account the shape of the ears, any leaks caused by the hair or glasses. According to Beats, this technological prowess is to credit the W1 chip.
We mainly used the headphones in the subway and streets of New York. Although the noise reduction is slightly less efficient than that proposed by Bose and Sony, the result is still impressive efficiency. The difference from the previous model is noticeable. Studio3 is almost as good at muffling voices in an open workspace as QC 35 II is. However, there is a very slight whistle that does not have the Bose. This effect is not noticeable when listening to music. Note also the good performance for hands-free calls, both for the perceived sound and the clarity noted by our interlocutors.
In the end, we are still a little disappointed that Beats did not change the exterior design of Studio3. The manufacturer explains that he was very satisfied with the acoustic design and ergonomics of the existing model which he wanted to maximize the potential with new components. But we think there was some improvement, especially on the folding system. That said, this headset is comfortable, sturdy, nice to listen to music and work. The stability of the Bluetooth connection is also very good. Beats started from a very good wireless headset which he has significantly improved performance. The Studio3 is certainly not better than the references that offer Bose and Sony, but we enjoyed it very much. We would like it even more if it cost less …