How Dre Beats Are Made
Robert Ainsworth / 5 years ago
How it’s made, Beats by Dr Dre.
It is almost impossible to go outside and not see these headphones everywhere, the headphones are very successful and give out a great sound quality. But for a whopping retail price of $199 are they packing some tech we don’t know about? Bolt has done a teardown and it seems not.
Lots of optimizations are expected when products are manufactured at a multi-million unit per year scale. Push-together components and glue are used for main assemblies where possible instead of screws as it doesn’t require a lot of human intervention, making it cheaper to make.
Bolt took a set of these apart and has come up with some interesting finds.
The headphones have several large parts of metal, these weigh in at 36 grams out of the 86gram headphones. This provides a feeling of stability, strength and weight. 30% of which is from four non-functional metal blocks.
The next part is the single plastic mold that makes up the main part of the headphones. It has many curves and angles on it and would be the highest cost part to make. The parts have to be made perfectly which requires a several part, precise process to be made. There are two sides to it too, which makes it even more complex.
The picture above shows how the manafacturer has made the speaker housings to connect together without requiring screws.
Screws are cheap, but they are tedious and complicated to install on a mass manufacturer level. you can see how many screws are saved by cutting two or more molds by looking at the left and right housings. One has two more screw holes. Screws are great here because they will hold the circuit board secure and stop it moving around right next to your ear.
They also used rather generic speaker drivers inside them, do they really enhance the bass? these drivers make it seem unlikely. Bolt states that they were impressed by Dr Dre’s ability to create such a good feeling product from such cheap and few parts.
Bolt also pictured a table with a price breakdown:
you see that bottom figure? $16.892 to make these headphones, wow! This is the figure that Bolt came up with excluding labor or shipping. However I can’t imagine it would add more that $5 to the total cost of manufacture. It’s impressive to say that Dr Dre and Jimmy Lovine have been able to get people to pay a whopping $199+ for these things.