Monster’s line of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones has been a retail success, racking up hundreds of millions of dollars in annual sales and spawning a cottage industry for fashionable celebrity-branded cans. But the range of premium-priced models, which frequently retail for as much as $150 to $300, have also received mixed reviews from audiophiles and critics, prompting one YouTube filmmaker to build his own DIY alternatives instead.
“I wanted the Dr. Dre headphones, but they sounded terrible,” explains creator Casey Neistat in a recently-released video entitled “Make Your Own Dr. Dre Beats Headphones,” which opens to the sound of background samples from the rapper’s 1992 cut “Deep Cover.” The clip, shot from a first-person point of view, shows Neistat purchasing a pair of Bose QuietComfort 15 acoustic noise-canceling headphones, then proceeds to demonstrate how anyone can transform these models into their own homemade knockoffs.
Throughout the roughly three-minute short, Neistat uses surprisingly few tools – including sandpaper, spray paint, a quarter and a razor blade – to produce a convincing end result. He offers step-by-step instructions on employing paint, stencils and adhesive to build other Beats clones.
“I only wanted the Beats because I liked the way they looked… and they’re endorsed by the second-coolest living rapper,” says Neistat of his inspiration for undertaking the project. “The BOSE [QC15s] sounded better, but there’s nothing interesting about their endorsement by this white guy [a male model depicted in a Bose ad] and [fellow on-page sponsor] American Airlines.”