Last year, the Monster Turbine rocketed the cable manufacturer into the realm of hifi portable audio. Great sound and a sturdy housing set the Turbine aside in its price range, and like other ‘grabbed’ headphones at TMA, cemented its spot as a great buy. Its weakness, however, was cable design which has no stress relief, comes in a straight-jack, and has a wishy-washy y-split.
Apparently, things have changed: Monster are listening to customer requests and the feedback from reviewers.
The Monster Turbine Pro (while not in these hands), looks to change a lot of that. The new earphones retain the same sturdy housing design, but enter the market with strain relief, a right angle plug, a better y-split, and according to Monster, better sound. The MSRP is a stiff 250$, but if Monster pull all of the punches listed above, the new earphone should be worth it.
Additional Monster literature, spec, and pictures after the gap.
My parents, like most parents, always said that if I listen to loud music, I will go deaf. Well, now it’s official. The iPod, as well as other portal music players, can lead to deafness, says the European Commission. With their latest act they decided to limit the maximum sound level of music devices at 80db. What do you know, my momma was right about something for a change!
I am a hearty fan of the Monster Turbine, a great-sounding earphone from the cable giant. Monster say the Turbine Pro will deliver a few things to their already great formula including: a better cable (needed), driver, and higher quality parts. I say bring it on. Look for pre order of the the Turbine Pro in early October.
If you want to check out the headphone Monster will be one-upping, take a look at my Monster Turbine review.
Among mainstream electronic companies, Victor (JVC) have quietly shed traditional speaker manufacturing techniques in creating driver diaphragms from wood rather than synthetic materials. Several of their small cabinet systems utilise wood driver technology, and the FX500 inner earphone also benefits from wood. In 2008, it was the world’s first earphone to employ wood in both its housing and driver diaphragm and is still the only production earphone whose driver is made from wood. Wood has the potential of fielding vastly more natural echo characteristics in comparison to plastic or metal.
While it is still to early to reliably suss the future, there is definitely something clever about a partnership between three major audio companies. Started in April of this year, ACS and Etymotic joined forces to create force a bit of audiophile air into UK Apple Stores. Apple, undisputedly an audio company, happily obliged, and the HF2 + ACS custom sleeve was born.
More exciting is the buzz this product has created. Apple’s ubiquitous retail presence has led to inadvertent audiophiles who, upon asking a few questions at the store, discover a latent desire to upgrade. The excellent combination has earned a well-placed 2009 iPhone Accessory of the Year from Macworld.
Monster have made quite a splash this year with the release of several high-profile inner earphones such as the Turbine and Beats Tour. In the pipeline are the fabled Turbine Pro (Turbine Pro Gold – Turbine Pro Copper), Jamz, and now, Lady Gaga’s heartbeats that TMA will be reviewing shortly. From a preliminary look, the latest headphones in Monster’s upcoming line up utilise the same tangle-proof cable as their Beats Tour, but in terms of showy design, have turned the nob to 11.
The new sound and new look can be had in October and will come in the following flavours: mic’d for your mobile phone (150$), or not (100$). There will also be a number of colours to choose from, and if things get too steamy with Lady Gaga, the beats Solo, which carries an MSRP of 220$ should help cool your wallet down.
TGI Black Friday Update: These phones can be had for pretty cheap now at Amazon and Headphone Solutions. Headphone Solutions has them for 89$ for Thanksgiving and Amazon have an everyday low price of 99.95$.
In high Ultrasone tradition, the Zino, is a stylish, somewhat gaudy headphone, but unlike most of the headphone manufacturer’s line, it is aimed at the on-the-go market. This over-the-ear headphone features the company’s patented S-Logic technology which directs sound to your outer ear before driving inward toward your ear canal, delivering a very large, open sound stage which simply smashes the competition for sheer width. Ultrasone are also famous for the inclusion of ULE (ultra low emissions) which shields your ear from magnetic energy.
If Ultrasone don’t ring a bell, let me drop a hint: the Edition 7, 8, and 9 which are considered to be among the best headphones in the world, are the technological ground on which the Zino stands.
A couple of days ago, TMA reported on the impending release of the Westone 1. Today, we receive the official press release of the earphones which are due for release on 4 September. Again, they take after their older sibling, the Westone 3, which pioneered true 3-way balanced armature drivers in a universal earphone. Both phones are aimed at the discerning listener who is obviously not content by her earbuds. Both the Westone 1 and 3 are inner earphones which block a certain amount of outside noise and are compatible with ear pieces from Comply, Westone, Shure, Futuresonics, Earsonics and many other thin-mouth manufacturers.
Their Press Literature is below:
In my earlier article, I waxed lyrical (not really) about the cheap alternative earphone, Ear Budeez. While looking a bit like Rolando, the above is indeed, not a game. The new ME products are a collaboration between Soundcat, Audiovox and Jensen. The Me earphones are inexpensive and boast many models which take a fun approach to marketing. And, at ~10$, the price certainly is right.
The news made the front page of NAVER, a large and influential Korean news site and has been spreading all over the country in various technology circles. What does TMA say to new earphones? “Bring ‘em on!” is what we says!
Last year, Westone released the first true 3-way earphone, the Westone 3. It comes in an overhauled shell, but remains similar in size to the UM2 before it. With a focus on consumers, the Westone 3 has a ‘fun’ sound which is graphically v-shaped in its frequency response with emphasis placed on bass and treble. This year, Westone are releasing the Westone 1, a one-way balanced armature earphone which utilises the same housing and what looks to be the same accessory kit. But, at 199$ versus the 399$ MSRP of the Westone 3, the new headphone will be an easier decision.
In typical Westone fashion, the Westone 1 will utilise the excellent cable which is the industry’s least microphonic and best relieved and bumpered earphone. The suggested street price will likely fall to around 139$, making this a perfect earphone for the active audiophile.