05/09/2014 10:01 am ET Updated May 16, 2014

Face The Music: Beats By Dre Headphones Are 'Extraordinarily Bad'


Apple is planning to buy headphones company Beats Electronics, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times all reported on Thursday. The deal is said to be worth $3.2 billion, and would be Apple's biggest acquisition to date.

You've probably seen Beats by Dre headphones around before -- they're incredibly trendy. The company's annual sales revenue is reportedly around $1.5 billion.

So, yes, Beats are popular. But are they good?

The consensus is a big, fat "no." Beats can cost upward of $379, and a chorus of music geeks argue they're not worth the price.

''In terms of sound performance, they are among the worst you can buy,'' Tyll Hertsens, editor-in-chief of the audiophile site told the New York Times in 2011. He called them "extraordinarily bad."

"In almost almost every category there are lower-priced models that offer the same, and sometimes better, sound quality," Consumer Reports wrote in a piece titled "Are Beats by Dr. Dre headphones worth the money?"

This isn't just a few critics' opinions. In April, Time magazine scored the sound quality of 18 different headphones brands by comparing specs and aggregating expert reviews from CNET, Wired, TechCrunch and others. Beats headphones ranked a measly 17th out of 18.

Beats are popular because they're cool, not because they're high quality. People buy Beats for the brand recognition, because they come in lots of sleek colors and because they're associated with music producer and rapper Dr. Dre.

Consumer Reports even compared Beats' popularity to Apple's. "[I]n almost every category of consumer goods, there are some brands that command a higher price because they have developed an allure that transcends their component costs, Apple being an obvious example."

Perhaps this match was meant to be.