Altec Lansing Back Beat Pros — What really matters when it comes to earphones for the iPhone and iPod touch is: “Which brand of earphones sound better than the cheapos that came with the Apple iPhone or iPod touch I just bought?
Last year, I bought a pair of V-Moda Vibe for about $100. I bought them based on reviews because I didn’t have the option of trying a many different models before buying. I got lucky and I’ve been more than satisfied with the way they sound.
Recently, I had a chance to compare the new Altec Lansing’s Backbeat Pro earphones, better known as the UHP606, with the Vibes.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Altec Lansing, going back to my college years when I sold hi-fi gear for a summer job. Although I’ve never heard a pair of AL speakers that sounded just right, I've always liked the color of their sound.
The Back Beat Pros earphones sound to me like the company's speakers. Bright and lively highs and lots of chaka-chaka, boom-boom. With earphones for portable devices, that's actually a good thing, considering the music source and device are poor.
The other thing I like about Altec Lansing Back Beat Pros is that they use energy efficiently and it doesn’t take much to drive them to cochlea-crunching volumes.
Altec bolsters its Back Beat Pros with a dizzying discussion about armatures in each earphone and how they’re balanced. Armatures to create the vibrations that you hear as music? I get that. The armature on one side is equal to the armature on the other side? I get that too. Do balanced armatures make a difference in sound quality? Beats the heck out of me.
Will you like them? If you like a bright lively high end, and wake-the-dead booming bass, and a mid range that seems to be stapled to the airspace between your ears, then you’ll probably like them. The earphones come with four different pairs of neoprene ear tips that do a good job of keeping outside sounds from leaking in.
MSRP for the Altec Lansing Back Beat Pro is $99.99 and I would expect street price should be around $79.99.
In a side-by-side comparison, did I prefer one over the other? Not really. The V-Moda’s have tighter bass than the Backbeat Pros but the highs aren’t as bright, which aging ears like mine tend to prefer. They don’t sound much alike but I like them equally well.
There is one big difference worth noting, however. The Altec Lansing Back Beat Pros do not have a remote or a mike, which is a significant consideration for iPhonies.
- Company: Altec Lansing
- Product: Back Beat Pro, UHP606
- MSRP: $99.99