How It’s Made Series: Beats By Dre

Luckily the Beats headphones are fairly easy to disassemble, despite a few pesky glue joints.

Use of metal components to increase weight

1/3 of the entire weight of the headphones comes from metal weights. This is a somewhat common trick to make products feel more substantive.

Complex mold design of headband

The most complex part on the Beats product. Complex cams, slides and sequenced ejector pin marks.
Close-up of witness lines on inner ear cup frame. Many actions and slides are necessary to create this complex part.

Minimal use of screws

Both parts of the ear cups are made from two totally different molds so a to avoid the extra screw holes on the right cup.
Complete commodity earphone drivers
*Part prices for plastics, metal, and electronics takes various assumptions into account.
  • 2% scrap rate
  • 1 cavity / tool
  • 20% regrind allowed
  • No additives (Meaning not glass filled, etc)
  • Machine rate, setup labor, and direct labor adjusted per component
  • Cycle time of 15 seconds is assumed per part
  • Markup is not included
  • Tooling cost is amortized assuming 1M units
  • No downtime factored into molding machine
  • Assume simple tooling (It’s known that some of these parts have actions, but was not added to the tooling cost)
  • Tooling cost assumptions are broad and based in China
  • Production costs based on Asia. Somewhat conservative and broad
  • 5% scrap rate
  • 160 ton press
  • 95% uptime, 8hr setup
  • Quoted from Zirui @ qty 6000 FOB
  • CB with routing and v-score, 1 part placement
  • 25 seconds to solder @ Shenzhen min wage RMB2,030/mo = US $1.50/hr
  • Exact equivalent not found; found 40mm x 5.6mm, 32 ohm, 25mW for $0.75



President and COO at Ten Percent Happier. Previously founded @BoltVC, EIR @EclipseVentures.

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Ben Einstein

Ben Einstein

President and COO at Ten Percent Happier. Previously founded @BoltVC, EIR @EclipseVentures.