Monster Turbine Pro Copper earphones in Review

HP-Review-Monster-TPC-glamour

2009’s party, mixed by last year’s Monster Turbine earphone, was off the charts. But in early 2010, Monster’s sophomore Turbine, the Turbine Pro Gold, took everything to higher levels. 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. Today’s Turbine Pro Copper review will differ only slightly from the Gold review, so I’ve copied and pasted all the ‘same’ stuff: fit, package, build quality; and I’ve re-written the sound portion as only that really differs. For your posterity (you know what I mean), however, I’ve taken shiny new photos.

If you’d like to discuss the Monster Turbine Pro Copper earphones, 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.

HP-Review-Monster-TPC-pieces.jpg

HP-Review-Monster-TPC-accessories

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.

HP-Review-Monster-TPC-front-close

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.

HP-Review-Monster-TPC-ysplit-stress

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 Turbine’s bombastic low end, I use stock ear pieces with the Turbine Pro Copper. Out of the box it’s better balanced and dynamic than both of its predecessors.

It’s business time.
The Turbine Pro Gold is good at every sort of music, but I settled on the following as good showcases for what the Turbine Pro Copper 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.

Guitar
Jesse Cook – Tempest
As long as you don’t need to get nitty gritty, Jesse Cook’s fast-plucking guitar will rend your perception of how good an earphone can sound into shreds. Plenty of resolution, and thanks to a smoothly warm midrange in the Turbine Pro, Cook’s amazing instrumentals pick up nice emotions.

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. It is also equally fast and foot-tapping as the original 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. It is highly resolving, but not fibrously detailed in the low end like the Victor FX500.

While the Turbine Pro Gold bordered on duff-duff friendly, the Copper is ever so much more laid back for bass-it-all fans. Its bass, dear me, is still big enough to grind, to hollar out the window, to blow impressive IDM tunes on their electric drum fulcrums. Monster has a thing for bass. But, while the quantity is pretty similar at the eardrum, the Godl and Copper edition differ in how that bass relates to the rest of the spectrum. The Turbine Pro Gold isn’t uncontrolled by any definition. But its bass just seems a tad verbose in comparison to the Copper’s more well-rounded frequency response.

You know, I wasn’t expecting anything markedly different with the Copper – especially in terms of smoothness. And I think I was right. Right from the bottom, the Gold and Copper are excellent. The heavy metal bodies aren’t prone to quake and the driver never rattles. Despite loads of bass, the Turbine Pro (in any form) is maturely deep.

Its midrange, is more of the same. The Copper doesn’t trump the Gold; it matches it. Read the Monster Turbine Gold review for a glimpse into the Copper’s midrange. But, take it with a bit of salt. The Copper is sharper. Is it less distortion? Maybe. Whatever the cause, I hear more edge, more grit. Midrange percussion, especially, crashes more resoundingly. Its effect? Well, the Copper does rock, does industrial electronics, and dare I say it? -does trance better than the Gold. Pinning it to any genre is an easier task, though both are nearly perfect with any music.

Why do I say nearly? Well, just like the Gold, the Copper’s high-band frequencies are ever so laid back. Again, they stand above the ultra-smooth Shure SE530, but not enough to yield a great sense of space and upper frequency detail. The Turbine Pro Gold outdoes the SE530 by a comfortable margin, but the Copper, with its sure-footed grit, does even better. Hard IDM and electronic feel hard. Cymbols crash hard and disappear when they should. Like the Gold, there is no half-arsed decay problems with the Copper despite a slightly elevated treble response.

What would I wish for in future versions of Monster’s earphones? Well, for starters, I’d probably ask for an even grittier high frequency: a mix of Etymotics ER4S high band and Monster’s suavity. What we would have is smooth, powerful, and oh so damn badass for any genre that relies on speed, space and detail. The Copper is close to offering dynamic driver perfection. But I feel that the Radius HP-TWF11R does one better in delivering an almost perfectly neutral high band. That high band is critical to painting space into the picture.

So what am I saying? Just like the Turbine Pro Gold, the Copper casts an intimate stage. Dynamics are contrasty enough to throw instruments far enough apart – indeed, spacing is impressive – but I can’t help but wish for that last awe-inspiring jump around 8-9kHz to spark my pacemaker to throbbing delight.

I’ve been playing around with a number of digital players including: iPod touch 2G, iPod nano 1G, Sansa Fuze V2, Clip V2, AMP3 Pro2, S:Flo2, and my venerable Sony players. They all sound good with the Turbine Pro, but some actually do enjoy the help of an amp. In general, however, the Monster Turbine Pro isn’t a hard earphone to drive. There are no awkward impedance swings, and without an amp, an iPod touch 2G onward is full of biting resolution and great bass. The Fuze does as most as well, and since the pair don’t hiss much, the Turbine Pro are in hog heaven. The AMP3 Pro noticeably does better with an amp – it grabs a bit better bass resolution, and loses its horrid hiss. My Sony A828 is similar, but I think the combination of an LOD/amp actually brings bass quantity down (thank God).
That is good news. The Turbine doesn’t need an amp unless your player has trouble with low Ω earphones. And it doesn’t hiss at all from the iPod touch 2G on. Other sources hiss a little, but not annoyingly so. Moving to Sony and AMP3 reveals… hiss, but the Turbine Pro reigns them in pretty well.

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 to the audio gods – the Turbine Pro 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 their frequency range.

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.

HP-Review-Monster-TPC-cases

Conclusion
Monster did it. The Turbine Pro is better in every way than the Turbine. 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. Whether you get the Turbine Pro Gold or Copper edition, you are in for a treat!

The Turbine Pro Copper does command a premium over its Gold brother, and that may form issue with a lot of wallets. For the price though, you are buying a very good sounding earphone that competes easily with other high-end offerings from Westone, Ultimate Ears, and Sennheiser.

Headphone Summary
Title:Monster Turbine Pro CopperDeveloper:Monster Cable
Reviewed Ver:Turbine Pro CopperSpeaker type:Moving Coil (dyanamic)
Price:$350.99 – $399.99Cable: Rubber
  • Great bass-footed sound with good balance
  • 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

amazon_button

Hot damn! Headphones really are a rockin’ way to enjoy music, right? Feel free to explore TMA’s headphone oubliette

Next ArticlePlants vs Zombies HD in Review - Bigger and Better Than Ever!