Monster Turbine Pro Gold earphones in Review – It’s time to Par-Tay!

2009’s party, mixed by last year’s Monster Turbine earphone, was off the charts. But in 2010, Monster’s sophomore Turbine, the Turbine Pro Gold, does everything better. Everything the original Turbine did right: bass, mids, treble – is trumped, and each is more controlled, more readily adapted for any music you throw at it. The Turbine Pro proves that Monster are ready to pick up the cheque as the best high-volume dynamic inner earphone maker on the planet. If you’d like to discuss the Monster Turbine Pro Gold, head to our forums.

Fit and Package
The Pro is dressed to impress: two carrying cases, a shirt clip, two cable guides, a 6,3mm to 3,5mm plug adapter and 8 unique ear sets. It is one of the best-clothed earphones at any price. Among the 8 new ear pieces are two which haven’t made it to any prior Monster earphone: Comply and Monster’s new SuperTips. Both afford excellent isolation, but the super-soft Comply foam will probably be most comfortable for most people. It is also one of the most, if not the most thickly bassy (read muddy) of the included ear pieces.

As with the original Monster Turbine, the regular silicon single flange ear tips are rounded and have less surface contact with skin than tapered ear pieces. For my ears, that translates into a balancing act because the earphones tend to lose seal, sometimes coming loose from the ear. Regular sized ears should be able to wear the Turbine Pro comfortably; but deeply sunk ear canals may take issue with the strain relief portion which can rub against the outer ear. But as all is love and war in portable audio, fit issues are pretty much par for the course though; the Turbine Pro straddles the divide between easy to use and annoying.

Build Quality and Cable
If any company have listened to customer requests, it is Monster. The original Turbine was rife with construction weaknesses – not so the Turbine Pro. Its metal body remains just as strong, just as sturdy as before, but now it is supported by strong “professional” strain reliefs which do a much better job protecting the cable. They are not quite optimal; Westone’s are better, but Monster’s new design is an about-face to its old and iffy direct-entry. The same thing happened to the y-split which has now built-in flex-fenders below the metal plating. And thank the Monster! the new headphone jack is sleeved in a semi-flexible fender and terminated by a pretty sturdy right-angled plug. Overall it is a great design; the only problem I can foresee is the plug portion splitting along the fender’s seam after heavy use.

Without actually stringing my MacBook Pro from the ceiling by the cable, I can’t give an accurate assessment of how much weight it can support. All I can say is that after a lot of tugging, it has survived. And, it has passed the face test. I’ve been sick for over a week now, so between swatting flies from the greasy boiling mess that is my face, and bribing people to sit next to me, I’ve done my best to muck up the Turbine Pro with my detritus. It seems, however, that Monster’s cable will outlast my fever, and I expect, my shortened life. Thankfully, though, the Turbine Pro carries a limited lifetime guarantee on top of cover for manufacturing defects. So, if this year carries a month of sick Sundays, don’t worry too much; you’re grease-dissolved earphone has a second chance.

Sound
The Turbine Pro packs a party between its speakers – things are loud and powerful and hella fun. The low end attacks like Rocky while Barry Mantalow sits in for its mids and highs. But whereas last year, I opted to use low-density foams to tame the bombastic low end, I use stock ear pieces with the Turbine Pro. Out of the box it’s better balanced and dynamic than its predecessor.

It’s business time.

The Pro is good at every sort of music, but I settled on the following as good showcases for what the Turbine Pro is capable of.

Trance
DJ Tiesto – Kaleidascope
This is new trance, but not as new sounding as Tiesto’s older Bunkka. Trance heritage is preserved with hard beats and catchy vocals, but Kaleidascope is edgier and grippier, falling into the arms of hard-pop and rock. Thankfully, it remains technical, wide, and complicated – a great playground for distortion.

Electronic
Depeche Mode – Exciter
When Depeche Mode put down the guitars, they started playing music. Their tightly refined electronic is loud at times, but smooth, eerie, and spacious. This prodigal album’s atmospheric dark can get heavy with a lumbering headphone, but with resolution and a good-voiced top end, a great sounding album and a good headphone-tripping tool.

Metal
Danzig – Danzig
I’m no big metalhead, so I fall for easy stuff. Metal’s Morrison, Danzig, is a great cacophony of mis-filed talent, and near-evil to excite any headphone addict. The man’s melodic downers simply rock with melodic headphones.

Vocal
Diana Krall – The Look of Love
It could be because I am tired that I chose Krall instead of Peyroux, or it could be because her delicious Frim Fram Sauce has me waiting for my own bacon. Her lusty vocals deserve a bit of smooth emotion. Thankfully, the Turbine Pro is up to the job.

Folk
THE BOOM – THE BOOM
If it’s good enough for Brazil’s national football team, it’s good enough for me. THE BOOM are just one of those bands whose pure tunes strike melody with fun. They require light-stepping, but thick-sounding headphones to drag their listeners up and down the 中央線 which was almost where the Turbine Pro took me.

If you can wrap your head around tight, but full bass, you will like the Turbine Pro. It doesn’t belt out its low notes as bombastically as its predecessor, but it does them better. The Pro is mature and better-textured in the basement, but it is equally fast, equally foot-tapping as the Turbine. Go on, throw fast metal or trance on – it won’t explode. Bass treads lightly enough around the midrange for dynamic pop, fast rock, and clear classical. Decay and attack are both excellent, rising and falling just in time for on-fire dance music. And, the Turbine Pro’s speaker exacts its on soft and smooth vinyl tones on music. While highly resolving, the speaker doesn’t coax the wood from a violin or fibrous echos from a piano as well as the Victor FX500 does.

Duff-duff fans will enjoy the Pro as will resolution freaks – small details are retrieved way down low, and when music calls for it, the subwoofer breaks out from under the dance floor, but will never put its back out with flabby, uncontrolled bass.

Moving upwards, the Turbine’s continues smoothly on. It can be praised from any number of angles, but one which acutely juts out anywhere, at any time, is vocal quality. Let’s take a look at a difficult to render album, Sunday 8PM by Faithless which is rife with hip-hop, trance, and pop. God is a DJ, a song engineered with overbearing, panning vocals and a stale, yet exciting melody needs especial control between mids and lows. Bass thunders in through the Turbine Pro while Maxi Jazz’ divine voice hovers clearly above everything. Forget muffled, forget mud. At the same time, tweaky treble bits squeak to liquid life in the background. It is beautiful. Cymbals crash and shimmer into the background at perfect speed without tearing down the midrange.

Incessant control bounds below every frequency to the degree that I think Monster should have named the Turbine Pro, Turbine Cool. This is the number one reason why this earphone succeeds in every area. It is gritty enough and edgy enough to rock in any music, but when gratifyingly smooth and mature become too much, there isn’t grit or dry to fall back on. Among dynamic driver earphones, the Turbine Pro may be the most capable for a wide variety of music, but it loses a little life in genres which tend to damn politics.

It is a thicker Shure SE530 with great high-band extension. Well, maybe it doesn’t have the same liquid midrange as Shure’s venerable flagship, but the comparison stands pretty well. Both earphones are beyond smooth, and both are full of lotsa aural pleasure. But the Turbine Pro is that much better because high notes don’t roll off as acutely – it is dynamic and exciting in comparison. Like many dynamic earphones, sound changes a lot depending on the earpiece. The Turbine Pro can be a bass monster, but it tends toward balance and precision. Because of this, instrument separation is very good. Like the Turbine, it doesn’t cast the largest of sound stages, but its dynamics pick up, throwing images deftly about the earphone’s inner canvass.

It is hardly mentioned in other reviews, but the Turbine Pro Gold is quite resistant to verbose background hiss, even from rather noisy sources. That isn’t to say that it is dead quiet – it’s not – but it suppresses hiss enough to be enjoyable in almost any portable configuration.

Sound in a Nutshell
Thank God, the Monster is back. After the Turbine, The Beats Tour disappointed, but the Turbine Pro picks the reigns back up and posse’s the hell out of a lot of the competition. It is bassy where it needs to be, smooth when necessary, and ultimately pleasingly adult. While not harbouring the deepest of soundstages, it is well articulated and succinct. It matches anything from Vocal to Folk and Country to Trance. It just works. Thankfully, too, it suffers less hiss than many sensitive rivals, making it a good earphone for just about any portable audio setup.

Thanks be to the audio gods – the Turbine is excellently driven by an iPhone or iPod touch. Older iPods take a beating with pretty serious bass roll off, but the current crop remain crisp and clear throughout. Extra oomph and midrange clarity is attained with a good headphone amp, but overall, this earphone is excellent even naked.

Out and about
With an improved cable and overall better construction, the Turbine Pro looks to clobber the original Turbine when returning to nature. Its length is good for pocketing and the cable holds up to sweat and body oils much better than all but the most stalwart of competitors. Still, when done, keep the earphone in its carriage sack or pouch to protect it. One thing the Turbine Pro and Turbine have in common is a microphonic cable. Touch noise drums in from your heels and crunches on your clothes. It’s forgive-able though, because the cable is of good quality, and if the cinch is tightened, noise is alleviated to some extent. The energetic cable is a bit hard to wear over the ear though. Just as elephants are trained to stand on thumb-tacks, it can be done, but it may take constant supervision.

Conclusion
Monster did it. The Turbine Pro is better in every way than its excellent predecessor. Its sound is smoother, more detailed, and fits a greater variety of musics better. Combine that strength with sinewy, quality cabling and you have an earphone which is worth the asking price. But Monster also outfitted the Turbine Pro to work with home amps and soundboards via a 6,3mm adapter. They also added a great fit kit including including foamies, and beefed up the overall build quality. Sure, the cable is microphonic and fit is fiddlier than I had hoped for, but in this case, the tradeoffs are worth it – Monster’s still throw the best parties.

App Summary
Title:Monster Turbine Pro GoldDeveloper:Monster Cable
Reviewed Ver:Turbine Pro GoldSpeaker typeMoving Coil (dyanamic)
Price:$249.99 – $299.99
16.0 MB
  • Great bass-footed sound
  • Detailed and mature
  • Good accessory package
  • Much improved build quality
  • Resistant to crystallisation from body oils and sweat
  • Great guarantee
  • Cable is microphonic
  • y-Split and cable plug fenders are lightly suspect for cracking

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  • Roger

    Great review as always. I’m just wondering, I’m guessing the sound signature is still on the warm/bassy sound of neutral. Is that correct?

  • http://www.touchmyapp.com shigzeo

    It isn’t neutral, but then again, 95% of audiophile and professional earphones aren’t neutral. It is bassier than it is flat, but I wouldn’t call it dark. Dark earphones are: IE8, Atrio M5 and the like. These are ‘relaxed’.

  • Roger

    Thanks for the clarification shigzeo. Now I’m just wondering if there’s any chance that you’ll get your hands on the MPT copper version? A comparison would be fun I think, for both reader and reviewer.

  • http://www.touchmyapp.com shigzeo

    From what I understand, I will get a chance to hear the Copper version, but I don’t know when. It is purported to be ‘balanced’, but to tell the truth, I find the word repugnant – it leaks too far into the ‘audiophile’ world without any real ground. The Turbine Pro Gold can be very thick and bassy, or it can ride a flatter line depending on tips. It is simply amazing.

  • Edward

    Thanks for the nice review you have promised. i had a turbine but its weight worries me. how bout the pros? is it still that heavy?

  • http://www.touchmyapp.com shigzeo

    Thanks for the kind words Edward. The Turbine Pro are the same weight as the Turbine earphones are. BUT, the new cabler is both stronger and much more supportive. I wouldn’t worry. The old cable was pretty rubbish in comparison and I too worried over my Turbines. No more. I fully recommend the MTP.

  • Chris

    Great review!

    So, am I to understand that you’ll be reviewing the copper edition in full?

    Will you give us a meaty preview here?

    Thanks!

  • http://www.touchmyapp.com shigzeo

    Yes Chris,

    I’ll be reviewing it in full along with Monster’s yet-to-be-released new supertips (hybrid silicon and foam). Head the headphones forum for more on the Monster Turbine Pro Copper Edition. The post will be updated as my review progresses and of course, will host much of the full-fledged review when I am ready to publish it.

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  • Chris

    Just stopping by to say I’m still looking forward to your copper edition (and supertip) review!

    Mildly impatient? Who, me?

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  • Devin Jackson

    what tips make it bassy bass bass bassy bass

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