TouchMyApps » monster http://www.touchmyapps.com All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Fri, 17 Oct 2014 21:42:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.4 Monster Turbine Pro Copper earphones in Review http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/05/27/monster-turbine-pro-copper-earphones-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/05/27/monster-turbine-pro-copper-earphones-in-review/#comments Thu, 27 May 2010 07:53:03 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=33595 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 … Read more]]>

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 Copper Developer: Monster Cable
Reviewed Ver: Turbine Pro Copper Speaker type: Moving Coil (dyanamic)
Price: $350.99 – $399.99 Cable: 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

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/05/27/monster-turbine-pro-copper-earphones-in-review/feed/ 5
Monster Jamz and Lil’ Jamz headphones at Amazon http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/01/15/monster-jamz-and-lil-jamz-headphones-at-amazon/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/01/15/monster-jamz-and-lil-jamz-headphones-at-amazon/#comments Fri, 15 Jan 2010 07:49:27 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=26149 Monster’s Turbine was a surprise hit and the first official headphone for review at TMA. Now a year later, Monster are still on a roll, pushing out an impressive number of headphones at an equally impressive range of prices. Jamz and Lil’ Jamz are a couple of the latest to grace Amazon’s virtual shelves and … Read more]]>

Monster’s Turbine was a surprise hit and the first official headphone for review at TMA. Now a year later, Monster are still on a roll, pushing out an impressive number of headphones at an equally impressive range of prices. Jamz and Lil’ Jamz are a couple of the latest to grace Amazon’s virtual shelves and thankfully, can be had for south of 100$. TMA will be reviewing the Monster Turbine Pro in the next couple of weeks and will not; I repeat: will not spoil the review by admitting that it is better in every way than the Turbine.

Monster Lil’ Jamz: $79.99

Monster Jamz: $89.95

Monster Turbine Pro: $249

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/01/15/monster-jamz-and-lil-jamz-headphones-at-amazon/feed/ 0
Christmas Ideas: Noise Cancelling headphones http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/12/09/christmas-ideas-noise-cancelling-headphones/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/12/09/christmas-ideas-noise-cancelling-headphones/#comments Wed, 09 Dec 2009 07:11:50 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=24439 Christmas season means massive sales on items from software to hardware and violence in the streets as the the accompanying crush rushes out to spend its life insurance policy on stuff which will probably be returned. Then Boxing day will spread the same spirit of gluttonous shopping for another week. Well, why not get a … Read more]]>

HP-news-ChristmasChristmas season means massive sales on items from software to hardware and violence in the streets as the the accompanying crush rushes out to spend its life insurance policy on stuff which will probably be returned. Then Boxing day will spread the same spirit of gluttonous shopping for another week. Well, why not get a head-start on the whole business? Internet shopping is physically safer and requires less fuel, and sometimes, much better prices.

I will target the ladies with this one. If you are tired of buying iTunes gift cards, why not get a nice set of headphones for your man? Let me speak as a man: gadgets always hit a sweet spot with your smellier half. Headphones are a great way to show your man what his other gadgets can do, and may be a good way to keep him nerdy, and at home, under your nose. Who knows, he might even turn into a DIYer, making amps, cables, etc., turning his new-found hobby into a small business! Anyway, check out the sales…

Audio Technica – If you have to have the best build quality and good sound, look no further. Audio Technica are a world leader in audiophile headphones.

  • ATH-ANC7 – 125.80$ Top-tier noise cancelling headphones which do everything well, but with one qualm: a bit of sound leakage to the environment. Of course, you won’t notice it as this headphone’s balanced sound pushes you further from the environment. This headphone usually sells for over 200$, but is built
  • ATH-ANC3BK – 54.95$ – Inner ear noise-cancelling  headphones are a good idea. Not only do they effectively block outside noise, but they attack it with active circuits as well. List price of 169.95$.

Sennheiser – If anyone knows anything about headphones, it is the maker of the most expensive headphones in the world, the Orpheus.

  • PXC-250 – With a list price of 139.95$, Amazon’s 60.81$ price includes shipping and loads of kudos from your love.
  • PXC-300 – 103.00$ is a far cry from 179.95$ list price and will shelter your music from the cries of the neighbours.
  • PXC-450 – 269.95$. If you want the best noise cancelling headphone on the market, the PXC-450 is your one-stop headphone. Thanks to super saver deals at Amazon, it won’t stop your monthly rent payments either. Usually, it sells for over 400$.

Bose – If one name has become synonymous with noise cancellation, it is the now ubiquitous Bose which can be seen at airports around the world. They combine great isolation and comfort with a thick, bassy sound for fun listening.

  • QuietComfort® 15 – 299.95$. Bose pretty much started the game years ago and know how to take sound away from your listening environment. They won’t reproduce the finer details, but are great for a thumpy, fun listen.
  • QuietComfort® 3 - 349.95. This headphone is smaller, more portable, cancelling noise via the active circuit, and compressing its pads to a user’s ear. Same fun bassy Bose sound, smaller package.
  • QuietComfort® 2 – 499.00$. Currently the top of Bose’s QueitComfort® line with best-of comfort and luxury. If you have the dosh, this headphone represents one of the best active cancellation circuits and best comfort.

Monster – Made famous in home audio through their cable business, Monster have come a long way in their development to make headphones. Currently, their headphone line is augmented by the excellent Turbine and is exploding to encompass many brands.

  • Beats by Dr. Dre 288.88$. The Beats retails for 350$ and provides a step up from Bose in terms of sound and construction quality.

Keep an eye on our headphone section for reviews, news, and sales (trust me, they are coming).


Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/12/09/christmas-ideas-noise-cancelling-headphones/feed/ 0
TGI Friday Sale: Lady Gaga Heartbeats earphones http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/11/27/tgi-friday-sale-lady-gaga-heartbeats-earphones/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/11/27/tgi-friday-sale-lady-gaga-heartbeats-earphones/#comments Fri, 27 Nov 2009 17:43:54 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=23939 Lady Gaga’s heartbeats earphones from Monster which were announced in September and carry a list price of 119.95$ join the parade of items which are discounted for TGI Black Friday. Earphone Solutions, a major online retailer of headphones in the USA has them for limited-time sale at 89$. Or, if you miss the sale opportunity, … Read more]]>

hp-news-monster-heartbeats-03

Lady Gaga’s heartbeats earphones from Monster which were announced in September and carry a list price of 119.95$ join the parade of items which are discounted for TGI Black Friday. Earphone Solutions, a major online retailer of headphones in the USA has them for limited-time sale at 89$. Or, if you miss the sale opportunity, Amazon stock them all the time for only 99.95$. So, if you just cannot get enough of Lady Gaga; if you just have to have her in your ears, then enjoy the weekend!

Earphone Solutions Lady Gaga heartbeats earphones: 89$

Amazon Lady Gaga heartbeats earphones: 99.95$

Be sure to keep an eye out for more deals. We are tracking some great App Store deals which devs are hotly thinking up to save you some dosh on hot apps.

Black Friday App Sales Roundup

Apple Store TGI Friday sales

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/11/27/tgi-friday-sale-lady-gaga-heartbeats-earphones/feed/ 1
Monster heartbeats earphones with love from Lady Gaga http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/09/07/monster-heartbeats-earphones-with-love-from-lady-gaga/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/09/07/monster-heartbeats-earphones-with-love-from-lady-gaga/#comments Mon, 07 Sep 2009 09:44:50 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=19562 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 … Read more]]>

hp-news-monster-heartbeats-01

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 GoldTurbine 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$.

I will admit to having about as much knowledge of Lady Gaga as she does about Japanese politics; nevertheless, the heartbeat earphones, though thoroughly gaudy, look hot.

Press Information:

Features
Multiple Eartips For the Perfect Fit
Heartbeats come with multiple sizes and shapes of eartips to ensure the perfect fit and seal. You get max comfort and reduced outside noise.

Plush Travel Case
Keep you heartbeats safe and sound. The way these babies look, you’re going to want to keep them looking new.

Exclusive Monster Cable
Wired with Monster Cable, so you get the most accurate signal

Flat Cables by Monster: No Tangles
Thanks to Monster’s exclusive flat cable design, they’re tangle-resistant. Plus the look integrates seamlessly into the carefully crafted style of Heartbeats.

Designed by Lady Gaga
The incredibly unique style of Heartbeats came straight from Lady Gaga herself. Who needs earrings when you’ve got head-turners like Heartbeats?

Three Year Limited Warranty

Details
Sound Matters Because the Music Matters
A great song transcends sound. It has the power to move you to tears—or the dance floor. The better your music sounds, the less you hear it, but actually feel it. Heartbeats faithfully reproduce artists’ vocals and the music behind them, so you can hear the heart felt emotion your favorite singer wants to share with you. Get ready to experience your music like never before.

Feel Every Note of Today’s Hottest Digital Music
These days music is recorded and mixed in a super advanced environment. We designed Heartbeats by Lady Gaga to let you experience every bit of the energy and creativity today’s hottest artists put into their digitally recorded music. The amazing hit of the deep bass. Pitch perfect highs and lows. You’ll feel more power and hear more details in your favorite music that you didn’t even know were there.

Flat Cables by Monster: No Tangles, No Tears.
Thanks to Monster’s exclusive flat cable design, Heartbeats are tangle free. Bye bye, bird’s nest.

For more information about the heartbeats, take a gander at Monster’s heartbeats webpage.

amazon_button

To keep up with our reviews, news and articles about headphones and sound, follow our headphone section.
hp-news-monster-heartbeats-01 hp-news-monster-heartbeats-02 hp-news-monster-heartbeats-03

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/09/07/monster-heartbeats-earphones-with-love-from-lady-gaga/feed/ 16
Monstercable are giving away Jamz headphones signed by Toronto artist, Anjulie! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/08/17/monstercable-are-giving-away-jamz-headphones-signed-by-toronto-artist-anjulie/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/08/17/monstercable-are-giving-away-jamz-headphones-signed-by-toronto-artist-anjulie/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2009 00:41:02 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=18121 Yeah, it doesn’t get much cooler than today. Companies are doing giveaways left and right. Already, Jays’ c-Jays giveaway is live at their blog and just after waking up, I found out that Monster, too, are playing Santa Claus. The Jamz are a new headphone product from Monster which seems to be debuting with this … Read more]]>
News-Monster-Giveaway-jamz_bg

This is an image from Monster, not the actual contest!

Yeah, it doesn’t get much cooler than today. Companies are doing giveaways left and right. Already, Jays’ c-Jays giveaway is live at their blog and just after waking up, I found out that Monster, too, are playing Santa Claus. The Jamz are a new headphone product from Monster which seems to be debuting with this contest. As for Anjulie, Canadians rejoice! Another home-grown pop star is rising from among our somewhat low-key population. She is a musician from Toronto who has just been nominated for an MTV music award and does seductive pop rather well. The contest convolutes both the Jamz and Anjulie – rather, Anjulie’s signature will accompany the Jamz if you win.

Check out her Myspace page here, or click more below for a few of her videos.

As for Monster – for some they need nearly no introduction. For the others, Monster are a cable company, but have branched out into anything music. We have done a couple of Monster Headphones reviews which are part of our larger headphone section.

The contest takes place at Monster’s webpage and requires you just to fill in your name, date of birth, and acceptance of the terms and conditions – in other words, I joined!

Monster’s Anjulie-autographed Jamz Headphones giveaway

Anjulie videos:

Anjulie | Boom

Anjulie’s Mullet — Yepp, you read that right!

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/08/17/monstercable-are-giving-away-jamz-headphones-signed-by-toronto-artist-anjulie/feed/ 5
Monster’s Beats Tour Earphones in Review – Made for today’s music http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/07/25/monsters-beats-tour-earphones-in-review-made-for-todays-music/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/07/25/monsters-beats-tour-earphones-in-review-made-for-todays-music/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2009 18:40:52 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=16402 The Beats Tour, Monster’s second foray into quality mid-priced inner earphones, is a departure in sound, design and construction from their first, the Turbine; a product which is backed and co-produced by American hip-hop artist, Dr. Dre. At 150$, the Beats Tour tips the scale toward the more expensive side of portable earphones, but in … Read more]]>

review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-funkyshot

The Beats Tour, Monster’s second foray into quality mid-priced inner earphones, is a departure in sound, design and construction from their first, the Turbine; a product which is backed and co-produced by American hip-hop artist, Dr. Dre. At 150$, the Beats Tour tips the scale toward the more expensive side of portable earphones, but in many areas, stands tall even amidst stiff competition. However, at around the same price, the Tour’s closest competition comes from the Monster Turbine.

Monster, unlike other manufacturers, rarely advertise an earphone’s spec as a measure of sound quality, thus the Beats Tour hasn’t any information on frequency response, sensitivity, drive load, etc., printed on its packaging – rather, the company want you to enjoy the music rather than a bunch of printing which at times, can be misleading. TMA would also like to remind you that many horrid-sounding earphones have wonderful specs like 18Hz-22KHz, 110db sensitivity and the like. A spec is no more than the merest of guidelines.

review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-box

Monster’s homework was properly finished, including annotation and documentation, when their Beats Tour model was sent out the door. There are no traces of any last-minute design indecision in their product – it is a beautiful creation. Sheathed in a tasteful black art sleeve, the Tour’s red cardboard box is adorned by just three trademarks: Beats, Dr. Dre and Monster – a distinct marque of simplicity and elegance which is sorely lacking from many of Monster’s competitors.

review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-box-inside

Monster have obviously spent time designing an easy-to-open package which isn’t going to cut fingers. It is also unlikely to be carelessly tossed out. A concealed magnetic latch, fastens the box together and opens to reveal the Beats Tour earphones, a carrying case and the adage, ‘Sound matters.’. As first impressions go, the Monster again deliver quality, attention to detail, and startlingly good looks.

review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-box-open

While the packaging, design and layout are impeccable – truly first class among portable earphone products – Monster’s accessory kit is somewhat underwhelming. Inside are 3 single and 2 triple flange earpieces – a fit kit which may or may not agree with your ears. It is similar to the Turbine kit, but with the addition of an extra triple flange, is slightly better adapted for different ear sizes and shapes. While soft, the silicon flanges are bulbous and may force undo pressure upon the inner ear. Both my wife whose canals are wide, and myself,  found our ears sore after only 20 minutes with the single-flange ear pieces. The triples worked for neither of us and unfortunately, don’t lend themselves well to modifying into dual flanges as the silicon is extremely soft and thin, easily tearing near the subsequent flange. Just as I lamented in my Turbine review, it is sad that Monster have not included a foam or hybrid foam earpiece into their kit.

review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-fullcontents review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-eartips

Monster also include a semi-hard case which is far more useful than the Turbine’s snap-to-close toss pouch. The Beats Tour fits perfectly inside, protected in the zippered clamshell with enough room to spare for extra ear pieces. There is no airplane adapter, splitter or extension cable and again, no foam ear pieces.

Cable and Construction
One of the most striking aspects of Monster’s Beats Tour is its cable. Red like the box, the thin, flat, and patent-pending, it is a portable-perfect 1,2 metres in length. Monster also claim that it is tangle-free (a promise which many companies make), a boast which I can attest as near-fact; no matter how hard rolled the earphone into a nasty yarn-like ball, the Tour never tangled. A good five minutes of the same changed nothing, and neither did haphazardly tossing the earphones around my laptop bag during a day’s long commute in Seoul.

However, my wife is that much more determined than I am. She tangled the cable – a miracle – using her intuition and probably some glue. This is the first earphone cable which I can confidently say is nearly tangle-proof.

Similarly, it is soft and not too energetic, creating very little noise in comparison to the Turbine’s cable. Microphonic sounds are largely dull echoes which are much less-intrusive than the sounds generated from many competitor’s cables, including Monster’s own Turbine.

However, the flat cable is both heavier and wider than its competitions; two factors which contribute to some annoyances while out and about. Using Monster’s earpieces, it weighs down the housing and can drag the earphones out of fit. Fortunately, the Beats Tour can be worn over-the ear, though fit and isolation may be impeded as the sound-tubes are angled for perfect use when worn straight down. All considered, Monster’s new cable, though not perfect, is far better than that of the Turbine.

review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-closeup

As for housing, Monster once again strike upon a quality design. As mentioned before, the sound chamber and tubes are housed in a sturdy turned-aluminium barrel. These are fastened to the cable with a strong, polished polymer carriage. This design, like the Turbine is unlikely to break despite receiving a load of abuse. Like the Turbine, however, there is no strain relief anywhere along the cable, a fact which, when contrasted against its sturdy build, puts the Tour at a disadvantage. Despite being famous for cables, Monster’s efforts in earphones seem paltry.

review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-ysplit review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-cable-angle

Onto the Sound
Dr. Dre and Monster reckon that with the Beats Tour, I will hear what I have been missing in my music, especially with today’s “sonically demanding hip hop, rock, and R&B that crush ordinary earbuds”; a commentary I would fully have believed – that is, if I hadn’t been using extraordinary earphones until now. I upgrade immediately. In fact, the last bundled earbuds which I used came with my Sharp Auvi MD-DR7 Minidisk: the extraordinary Sennheiser MX300, phones that crush almost any OEM earbud out there.

Prompted by their suggestions suggestions, I prepared a list of modern Rock, Hip Hop and R&B: three genres that sound great with the Beats Tour.

Snow Patrol – Eyes Open

  • You’re all I have – The Beats Tour makes this song feel like it is played in a music store: powerful, upfront and lively. Bass weaves through guitars and drums for a deep rendition of Snow Patrol’s song. Vocals are in line with the Tour presentation, slightly recessed but well placed with the music but could be considered laid back.
  • Hands Open – Nothing is polite or recessed, guitar, drums and bass are all well-textured, loud and forward. Bass, though not incredibly deep, is awash with motion. It permeates the song through the Tour crashing wave-like, tangibly felt and heard. Guitar presence is among the most well-rendered parts of Hands Open with lower edges gaining power from the forward nature of the Tour’s bass.
  • Chasing Cars – In the same strain as Hands Open, Chasing cars is perfectly balanced with balanced presentation of all instruments and vocals.  perfect but bigger than life. Not clear, full of impact and bounding with musical stride.

Jackson 5: The Ultimate Collection – Though not modern, its re-master fits well with the sound signature of the Beats Tour.

  • I want you back – The Beats Tour retains the original lo-fi 1969 feeling which has rough edges despite the poor remastering. Though a perky listen, the music is simple and consists of few elements. Bass and vocals shine with the Tour, though vocal is still recessed when compared to instruments.
  • I’ll Be There – This slower song song shows what the Tour is perfect at – paced, melodic pop music. From drums to chimes and imaging – the song is pristine with engaging, but slightly recessed vocals and clear instrumentation.

Ice Cube – Raw Footage

  • I got My Locs On – The ‘duff duff’ bass of American rap is phenomenal with Monter’s Beats Tour. In faster music, the Tour are outpaced, but the slow, heavy beats of Ice Cube expand outward with finely cut fringes in a perfectly timed, tangible bass. Again, though vocals are recessed, primary and secondary singers’ voices maintain clarity and taut edges strong edges. The soft bass and polite signature of the Tour are great – even better than the Turbine for this recent Ice Cube release.
  • Gangsta Rap Made me Do it – Again, similar to the above, The Tour finds its legs. ‘Duff duff’ bass is perfect with reverberating edges whose slow, deep wells draw the Tour into its own territory.

Streets – The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living

  • Never Went to Church – Though the Streets music is rife with extremely forward vocals, instruments and Geoffrey Skinner’s voice are harmoniously balanced in a presentation which has no rival among earphones in the price category.

The below selection of hip-hop, rock/metal, R&B and movie soundtrack doesn’t sound great with the Beats Tour:

Metallica – … And Justice for All

  • One – A Metallica icon – aggressive and well-written, it’s guitars have breath and edge, but vocals and bass are recessed to the point of lacking raw detail which permeated the band’s 80′s music. Ulrich’s drums are for the most part well breathed, but lack definition and tend to fall into one another.
  • Dyer’s Eve – is one of heavy metal’s fastest songs with precise, yet lightly brushed drums and kick bass which require a certain amount of sonic finesse.  The Tour’s bass presentation is too slow to render anything better than a congealed, yet deep throbbing which hits the listener in jarring waves.

Danzig – II: Lucifuge

  • Snakes of Christ – Sadly, this song’s excellent melody and timing lose emotion with Monster’s Beats Tour. Drums are excellent, but staging echo, guitars and vocals are too polite, withdrawing the metal from the music.
  • Blood and Tears – Timing and staging are excellent. Drums wrap around the back of the head while voices float in the rear right shadowed by offensive guitars. This song was admirably performed with the Beats Tour, but sadly, retained the soft edges which make this earphone best for slow music.

MC Solaar – Mach 6

  • Hijo de Africa – MC Solaar is not another duff duff rapper. His lyrics and music is fast – sadly, to the detriment of the Tour’s performance, too much a departure from American Rap. Male vocals are recessed and too polite for for this song while bass, unperturbed, booms too heavily. Fortunately, female vocals are detailed and lovely.

The Braveheart Soundtrack

  • Wallace Courts Murron – Where the Beats Tour excels is the joyous introduction, but as the deepest notes descend into the song, the Tour barely vibrates in the song’s most awe-inspiring portion. Poor performance.
  • Gathering the Clans – Once more, melody is captured well, but the deepest bass of the song simply falls flat, failing to deliver a sense of excitement and apprehension which this song evokes.

Analysis
In a summary, the Beats Tour is an excellent sounding earphone – if it is fed pop, slow hip-hop, modern rock and the like. It is especially tuned for music which has been engineered with forward vocals, fast, high-pitched bass impact, and overall loudness at its core. In other words, what Dr. Dre must be hearing in his studio.

For modern music, its presentation is like an advertisement that punches large and full of life. Music that is engineered with especially forward mids isn’t jarring, but flows, catching bass and treble in a great symphony. Every contemporary popular music type I tested was the same: spot on. Though the Beats Tour hasn’t the widest headstage, instruments, vocals and placement are impeccably rendered.

Problems, however, arise from the ever-present signature of the Beats Tour. Because it is engineered for a certain sound (and what seems to be a select group of music), it is like an equaliser setting that fits a song or an album. If you change your music, you need to change your equaliser. The same is true for the Tour – it is great, when used on a certain album or artist, but lacks personality, depth, and edge that make other musical genres tick. My favourite music, trance, isn’t spacious or nearly detailed enough in the low frequencies to be fun. Bass edges aren’t defined nor quick enough in recovery.

Jazz and classical can also be lumped together with trance. Any instrument that needs crisp lines to convey meaning to a listener is too polite, probably owing to the tendency of the Tour to favour duffy rather than resonant bass.

Finally, other than Jackson 5, older music which was recorded prior to the love affair with compression of today’s music, lacks a middle which the recessed mids of the Tour simply can’t satisfy. Therefore, Metallica and Danzig were generally passable, but not exciting and the Braveheart Soundtrack which hinges on resonant bass and crisp instruments was a doleful performance. The biggest surprise was MC Solaar’s hip-hop, a genre which Dr. Dre must be familiar with. It simply wasn’t the same music as it is with many other phones.

For the sake of comparison, the Beats Tour is like a better sounding Crossroads Quattro – thick bass, smallish soundstage and overall inarticulate midrange. However, the Beats is by far the better sounding earphone – if it is used with the genres which it can champion.

If you like bass, but like music outside of the three prescribed genres of hip-hop, rock and pop, you may want to look elsewhere. Another earphone which has great bass definition is the Monster Turbine, but a properly amped Audeo PFE is also a good choice as is the RE2 from Head-Direct.

Stage and Hiss
The Tour, like the Turbine is not an earphone which excels in presenting  a wide musical stage. Rather, it does a decent, though not exemplary job of separating instruments. In the same price range, the Phonak PFE will perfectly disappear, leaving less of an impression upon the music, where the Tour exerts its compressor-like influence on tunes. This is not a bad thing, but for the person who desires crystal clarity and trance-like staging, the Tour is a phone to skip. It does not hiss out of the iPod touch 2G, though picks up a fair amount from certain amplifiers and is annoying out of the rubbish headphone out of the MacBook Pro. There is no reason to expect anything else. The Tour performs similarly to many dynamic-driver competitors.

After countless hours with the Tour, it was time to see if dedicated amping would pull additional detail from the Tour. The short answer is no. The Tour performs its best with an amp, but there is not a big change like with the Phonak PFE. If anything, treble rings a little more clearly and headstage tightens, but bass performance largely is the same. This is both good and bad. For those who want to use their great portable amps with the Tour, there is only the smallest of improvement to be had over a quality DAP’s headphone out, but at the same time, there isn’t the need to purchase an expensive external amp.

review-headphones-monster-beats-grill

Out and about with the Beats Tour
The Tour, like Monster’s Turbine doesn’t block external noise as well as some other earphones, even when using foams. However, external noises are sufficiently attenuated to be able to enjoy music at reasonable levels. Even in the loud underground of Seoul where the beggars peddle their disabilites to commuters; even when everyone around is speaking on a mobile phone – even there, I didn’t have to raise the volume of my iPod touch. Isolation is adequate for those who need it. But, the Tour will not cope with much louder venues.

For isolation, the Klipsch S2, q-Jays, UE 700 and Audeo PFE will effectively block out the majority of background noise at any volume level.

review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-fitnormalover review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-fitnormal

Conclusion
So, the 150$ question is, has Monster made the ultimate earphone? Well, that depends on you. If you like the music at which the Tour excels: slow hip hop, pop and contemporary rock, the Tour is a great-sounding phone; it strikes forward-vocals in a controlled pace and jives with the duff duff bass of recently mastered recordings. For that music, the Tour may be one of the best earphones in the <200$ market. Similarly, its unique cable is completely manageable; it doesn’t tangle, nor make as much noise as most competitors. Since it can comfortably be worn over the ear, its weight and lack of a cinch are forgivable.

However, Monster’s disregard for cable protection is a shame; earphones need to be adequately sheathed with bumpers and stress reliefs as cables often die and users are forced to buy replacements. This cable company has still not managed the formula for the perfect headphone cable – a fact that still has me scratching my head.

Ultimately, the Tour, like any earphone, is a consumer device and it has been made with consumers in mind who may not have been introduced to higher-end earphones. Thus, cabling issues are up for moot. Despite its flaws, the Tour is excellently designed, and in a non-gaudy, highly stylised facade, the Tour is dressed to impress.

In terms of sound, Phones like the Audeo PFE, Monster Turbine and q-Jays are more aptly suited to please in a variety of genres. The problem is that, after being impressed by the packaging and housing quality, the Tour is a great product if reviewed within very stringent guidelines. If your musical tastes venture out of the narrow band of genres at which the Tour excels, purchasing the Beats Tour could be a mistake. If you are looking for powerful, yet detailed bass with great highs and rich mids, Monster’s own Turbine is a better performer across a myriad of genres, though may not handle duffy music quite as well. In the end, the Beats Tour is left with Turbine envy.

For this reason, more than any other, the Beats Tour scores a Tap from TouchMyApps.

tap-icon

App Summary
Title: Monster Beats Tour Developer: Monster Cable
Price: $149.99
  • Lovely package
  • Great carrying case
  • Decent selection of ear pieces
  • solid construction
  • Unique cable
  • good sound quality with modern pop music
  • no stress relief or bumpers along the cable
  • fit kit lacks foam pieces and silicon flanges may be uncomfortable
  • cable is heavy and has no cincher
  • sound is good for a limited array of music types

If you cannot get enough of headphones, please check out our headphone section.

review-headphones-monster-beats-case-inside review-headphones-monster-beats-case review-headphones-monster-beats-grill review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-box-inside review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-box-open review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-box review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-cable-angle review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-cable-side review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-closeup review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-eartips review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-fitnormal review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-fitnormalover review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-fullcontents review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-funkyshot review-headphones-monster-beats-tour-ysplitRead more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/07/25/monsters-beats-tour-earphones-in-review-made-for-todays-music/feed/ 19
Interview with the Monster: David Leung, Project Engineer of Monster http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/03/23/interview-with-the-monster/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/03/23/interview-with-the-monster/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2009 22:55:38 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=7422 David Leung, Project Engineer for Monster was kind enough to lend his ears and thoughts to TouchMyApps as we asked many questions  regarding Monster and the Turbine. If you are an earphone aficionado, then this article may be a great introduction to the exciting team at Monster who are creating market-leading products in the audio-world. … Read more]]>

The Monster has Emerged!

Interview with the Monster

David Leung, Project Engineer for Monster was kind enough to lend his ears and thoughts to TouchMyApps as we asked many questions  regarding Monster and the Turbine. If you are an earphone aficionado, then this article may be a great introduction to the exciting team at Monster who are creating market-leading products in the audio-world. For Monster’s Fanfare thread at Headfi.org, click here.

TMA: According to the Head Monster, ‘Life is too short to listen to bad headphones’. How many bad headphones did the monster team go through before deciding that enough was enough?

DL: The Monster team sampled almost everything on the market, starting with the Apple ear-buds, moving to in-ear dynamic, balanced armature types, etc. and found that all were deficient in at least one area, whether it was lack of bass, coloration, poor sensitivity, output limitations, etc. By the time we were done, we tried in excess of 30 headphones.

TMA: What good earphones/headphones did you use that impressed you?

DL: We thought that the VModa Vibes or even the Skullcandy FMJ’s weren’t a bad sounding headphone.  Those were some of the dynamic headphones out that were NOT balanced armature that delivered bass in the portions that we were looking for and at a decent price.

TMA: What is Monster doing better in the in-ear business than their competition?

DL: We know what good sound is and are in touch with current music culture.  A lot of the competition is lacking one of the two.

TMA: What was Monster’s reasoning in choosing a dynamic-based driver versus a more expensive and smaller armature driver?

DL: Price does not always dictate performance and although many in the market have veered towards balanced armature, the listening experience dictated which technology was superior.  We listened to many armature headphones and despite almost everyone in the industry steering US towards that technology, we were never happy with the sound. we were convinced that our ears were not deceiving us and through more listening, tuning, etc. found that dynamic drivers offered the type of sound we liked.

TMA: I am a dynamic fan, preferring the tangible rumbling bass and wider soundstage, but many users out there are more attracted to the ‘driver wars’ where more expensive and more drivers equals better.  How do you think Monster can level the Turbine in a market that is obsessed with marketing numbers rather than sound?

DL: You are very much like us then.  Our slogan says it all – “hearing is believing”  If we can get people to try our headphones and provide input to others looking to buy headphones, they can help spread the word.  We’re just starting now and the initial response has been really good.

TMA: What if any disadvantages do you see in choosing a dynamic driver versus an armature driver based earphone?

DL: I would say size may be a point that a dynamic driver falls short on.  But again, it depends on your application.  The compactness of a single armature driver is extremely small.  But to get the performance of a dynamic and by the time you lump together all the armature drivers the form-factor surrounding armatures is pretty big as well.

TMA: Should we expect to see more earphone/headphone products from Monster in the following years?  Is this a market you are wanting to branch out in?

DL: You will definitely see us expand in this market.  We may be the little guy right now, but we have found a niche that is part of our core beliefs – providing audiophiles and music listeners, alike, great listening experiences through our products!

TMA:  If so, what changes or additions do you see Monster pursuing in development?

DL: A full line of headphones to rival our competitors would not be farfetched.  I would say this is TBD.

TMA: That is exciting (on the down-low) news David. I’ve never designed a headphone or earphone but I have dreamed about it a few times.  Tell me, what is it like in those brainstorming sessions?  Are you in white lab coats with clipboards?  Around a boardroom table with suits and ties?  In a recording studio throwing around ideas whilst jamming to your favourite music?

DL: I would have to say that it is a combination of a scientist/user.  We can put headphones on measuring equipment all day long, but you and I both know that you cannot measure everything that you hear.  For the initial creation of a headphone, we spend quite a bit of time in the lab with test equipment, measuring, tweaking, tuning, etc..  But, then again, that is the sterile lab part of the process.  In order to really get to know a headphone, there is the other side where you are the consumer.  You spend time with the headphone and listen to all types of music, over different periods of time, in different listening environments, etc..  You do this as you would anybody else would that were using them.  Use while jogging, eating, traveling – all are part of the development and some might consider it lax.  What things you find you want to improve you go back to the lab again and reiterate the process.

TMA: Are all members of Monster’s engineering team as passionate about audio as you are?

DL: The majority of Monsters are audiophiles or aspiring audiophiles.  You learn to appreciate the importance of sound here at Monster, especially in developing product, and it is the level of experience that would distinguish one person from the other.

TMA: David, are you a basshead or a neutral nerd?  A Sibilance slammer?  A Treble tyrant?

DL: I would say a basshead/treble tyrant hybrid.

TMA: That sounds busy! What is your favourite music to listen to with the Turbine?

DL: Since it is such a well-balanced phone, all the music on my iPod are potential candidates for this headphone.  But, then again, I use music to relax a lot of the time, so a lot of my music has a very elegant female vocals with a variety of acoustic instruments – sublime!

TMA: What tips do you prefer the Turbine earphone?

DL: I use the medium single layer tips.  They are less fidgety than the triple layer tips.  But, I use the triple layers when I am jogging.

TMA: Do you think monster should include a greater assortment of tips?

DL: We don’t believe it is more or different tips that are needed, but more like finding the PERFECT tip for all consumers.  It is the holy grail for in-ear headphones.  Some like foam, some like silicone, others like triple flanged, dual flange, etc.  We’re always trying to find a way to address the needs of all users so that everyone can achieve a phenomenal listening experience with our headphones.

TMA: I love the Turbine but I feel that the cable could be better as it is a bit too full of rubber energy that is prone to touch-noise microphonics.  Do you think that Monster will invest in a different or better cable?

DL: We are always looking for ways to improve our users’ experience with our products and the quest for the perfect cable is never ending.  We will continue to strive to make improvements to the headphone, including the cable, as long as we are in the business.

TMA: What about the stress relief at the end of the headphone jack – do you feel that there is a better way to implement stress relief into the current design?

DL: We rigorously test our headphone designs to endure consumer usage.  So, the strain relief passed with flying colors for endurance testing and was able to match our industrial design goals.  But then again, we are always open to user feedback.  What didn’t you like about the stress relief?  I’d like to know for future details to look at.

TMA: The plug for instance and y-split have no real strain relief for the cable which makes me uneasy but I am extremely hard on cables. The Turbine is still the best dynamic based earphone that I have heard for trance music, full stop.  It has power, speed and translation abilities far beyond other dynamic based phones. Though strong, the bass nearly resides in its own channel, much like a separate subwoofer.  Please tell me what sound element strikes you as much as the bass strikes me.

DL: I listen to a lot of electronic music as well and love the superfast, undistorted bass – even when you turn it up.

TMA: Thank you David.  Do you have any thing you would like to leave us with today?  It has been a pleasure getting to know you and about the team.  Cheers for all your help and I hope the business continues to expand and make marked advances in this industry.

This concludes the interview with Monster’s David Leung. It was great learning about the monster philosophy and design process but more importantly, that Monster are not waiting out their rivals to do something first. Throughout my correspondence with David, he questioned me as much as I did him – and what I can conclude is that Monster are passionate about securing their customer’s loyalty through great products such as the Turbine.

Please check out our Monster Turbine Review.

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/03/23/interview-with-the-monster/feed/ 2
Big Hype, Big Sound: Monster Turbine Earphones in Review http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/02/23/monster-turbines-earphones-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/02/23/monster-turbines-earphones-in-review/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2009 05:59:54 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=5149 Monster make Earphones! Known the world over for car audio cables, Monster are now gunning for the growing portaphile audience who demand their mobile audio to be pristine.  The Turbine, is Monster’s first high-quality earphone and is a fabulous entry into the crowded inner earphone sub-genre.  Monster’s competition are the stalwart sellers: Shure, Westone, Etymotic, … Read more]]>
The Monster has Emerged!

The Monster has Emerged!

Monster make Earphones!
Known the world over for car audio cables, Monster are now gunning for the growing portaphile audience who demand their mobile audio to be pristine.  The Turbine, is Monster’s first high-quality earphone and is a fabulous entry into the crowded inner earphone sub-genre.  Monster’s competition are the stalwart sellers: Shure, Westone, Etymotic, Sennheiser,  Futuresonics, Bose, Apple, Phonak, Klipsch, Sleek and many more. For Monster’s Fanfare thread at Headfi.org, click here. Feel free to Monster Turbine Earphones in Review – Big Hype, Big Sound.

(For those of you wishing for a clean and simple conclusion:  get them, they sound great, look great and perform well in the under 200$ USD price bracket – otherwise, read through for an exhaustive but exciting review!) ** Nice White Photographs:  From Monster’s webpage**

Packaging
The Turbine at 179$ USD have outclassed many inner-ear phones at any price.  No other product has come in such a sturdy, well-laid out box that is both easy to open and great for keeping accessories safe and clean.  Instead of sharp plastic moulds, the Turbine phones are laid out like kings in a sturdy and velvety carboard box and graphic art sleeve.  A usable soft-sided folding earphone case is also included but does little to protect the Turbine other than from scratches.  Overall, the package has looks good and adds to the feeling of quality that helps the purchase seem worthwhile.

Monster-Packaging-homeshot

Monster Fit
Silcon flanges are becoming staple kit in low and high-end earphones.  I see them all over.  Flanges are magic-makers as they are cheap, not easily destroyed and washable.  Since the Turbine sits inside your ear canal, it blocks out a certain amount of noise, allowing you to lower your music volume, save your ears and listen to your music – not your neighbour’s essay on the state of the automotive industry.

Monster include five sets of silicon flanges, some triple and some single.  They are soft, flexible and comfortable. Also, the flange mouth is not as wide as many competitor’s designs which is a relief for those with smaller ear canals! Remember, with inner-ear phones, if you cannot get a good fit, you cannot get bass.  With a good fit, the Turbines provide quality bass healthy portions.

turbine-flange-diagram

Saying that, I will admit to only using the silicon flanges for about a week before changing to my old Etymotic ER4 foam-based ear-tip.  It was not easy since Etymotic uses a smaller sound tube, so I had to first remove the inner rubber support tube and then crop the foamie slightly so that its end would not bunch up inside my ear, creating a boomy, bassy mess.  Monster should include foamie based ear pieces for those like me who prefer a plush fit and a slightly different sound! (More on that later).

Monster Design – Turbine Driver
In purely aesthetic terms, the Turbine is beautiful.  The outer cork-screwed casing is cold brass and the inner sound tube portion is a turned aluminium – it is a carnage of industrial design and attention to detail.  Lovely!  The Turbine earphones are easy to insert into the ear, but hard to tell apart. The left and right units are identical in shape, and other than slight colour difference indistinguishable one from the other.  In other words, without adequate lighting, you won’t know which piece to insert into which ear – resulting in hearing your music backwards!

dsc_7670

Monster Cable – Frightening
Sadly, the cable is a bouncy, microphonic mess in comparison to the wonderful Turbine design.  If you wear the cable hanging down, earphone style, you will hear all your footsteps, the sound of clothing, rucksacks – anything and everything, snagging its way into your music.  Looping the Turbine cable over the ear eliminates most of the microphonics, but the cable, full of flex and energy, may bounce off from the top of your ears, recreating annoying touch-sounds. Finally, strain relief at the most sensitive parts of the earphones is ignored.  From the straight-angled plug to the tiny rubber bead that secures the cable at the base of each driver unit, the solidly constructed earphones are hamstrung by a frail but charismatic achilles cable. For the price, I would have expected better; and, from a cable company, this complete lack of protection isn’t acceptable.

turbine-jack

Monster Bass – Subwoof[ears]
Firstly, Monster’s claim that the Turbines perform like subwoofers is a bold statement about in-ear technology.  Because all earphone and inner ear phone units sit inside the ear, no vibrations, (tingling mids or thumpy bass) make it to the outer ear which is not the case with a real subwoofers.  That said, the Turbine plays music deeply with well-resolved bass and a great emphasis on depth and detail. This is not another adolescent and ‘thumpy’ earphone for the casual listener. Though no in-ear or circum-aural phone can mimic the impact of a subwoofer’s bass on your body, the Monster Turbine produces top notch bass that is engaging and profound and easily matches the quantity of another king, the Futuresonics’ Atrio.

Monster Mids and Highs
Despite the raw bass power and resolution of the Turbine, vocals and energy from other frequencies are not muffled or distorted.  Music is not too warm or dark and is not polluted by a bad echoing inside the driver unit.  The midrange is beautiful – music is rendered in lively tones with just the right amount of colouration and treble shine, though not too much.  The Turbine drivers must be exceptionally thin and light in order to achieve such a powerful and natural sound. However, customers who are really into vocal music may be put off by the slightly tepid mids of Monster’s Turbine.

Monster Speed – Monster Attacks and Decays – This Monster Loves Music
The Turbine sound is full of deep and punchy resonance, but retains the speed and detail I have come to expect from more expensive armature based canal phones such as the Etymotic ER4 series and the Audio Technica CK10.  While not as detailed nor quite as fast, the Turbine has a fuller, more immediately attractive sound.  My favourite music is Trance and I am well versed in the world of Armin van Buuren, Paul Oakenfold, PVD, Markus Schulz and many other DJ’s progressive and original works.

Trance is a fast paced music that relies on all wavelengths of sound to achieve euphoric and sometimes eerie audio experiences.  Bass, treble, speed, attack, space and separation – all are important.  In every one of these areas, the Turbine excels.  Bass is a no-brainer – these are bass kings.  But for a dynamic-based in-ear phone, the Turbine is fast and controlled.  My previous Denon, Atrio and Victor suffered from either slow bass that congealed in between beats or violent reverb that gave me headaches. The Turbine is a little less focused than the latter, but at the same time, an easier, less fatiguing listen.

Just to be a well-rounded reviewer, I tried some old favourites:  U2, Nick Cave, The Cure and Depeche Mode along with some popular music: Daft Punk, Justice and some 90′s dance tracks. Everything sounded great from my iPod touch and especially on heavily voiced tracks, I found the Bass Reducer setting to be a great middle ground for my tastes.

Monster’s Turbine is an incredible earphone for trance music. Its bass is bit, but not bloated, and it has pace and is smooth. Its full sound may be too much for some people, but I think it will capture most headphone fans’ imagination. That said, it fails ever so slightly in one area:  sound stage. In my experience, dynamic based earphones have provided a wider and sometimes taller spacial situation of instruments and sounds, if worse instrument separation than balanced armature based inner-ear phones like the Etymotic ER4 or Audio Technica CK10.  However, I was surprised to find that the Turbine had a more closed-in feel than other dynamics, no matter which silicon tip I used.  When I hacked my Etymotic ER4 foamie, I discovered a wider stage and more lucid bass than I had discovered with the silicon flanges.  Alas, foamies are not included in the package but I am told that Monster are listening to Turbine users and may include foamie eartips in future packages – let’s hope they do.

Conclusion
I am an audiophile.  I admit it.  But I am sensible.  I don’t buy what I don’t need (anymore) and I am not usually swayed by FOTMs (flavours of the month), but I am a sucker –  A real sucker.  When my Turbines arrived, I was ecstatic but tense:  would they be another marketing toy?  A big-name company bringing big hype, but low-quality to the masses?  Luckily, the Turbine is neither.

It is fun, detailed, well constructed, and does my favourite music very well.  They are also praised by people who don’t care for trance or hip-hop: jacks-of-all trades that don’t suffer when compared on sonic virtuousness with their competition.

However, for the price of 179$ USD, I would have expected a much better cable.  Futuresonics Atrio cable is easily one of the best cables included on an earphone for under 200$ but the total price is as low as 130$.  I was excited by the great packaging and layout of the Turbine, but what a listener really needs more than a box is assurance that their product will last, without interruption, till they feel it is time to upgrade.

With those caveats aside, the Turbine is well worth its MMSRP of 179$ USD and is a welcome entry into the rabid and competitive world of inner-ear phones and is an easy Grab! Be sure to read our Interview with the Monster – David Leung Project Engineer of Monster says words about the Turbine earphones.

Monster Turbine High Performance In-Ear Speakers ($149.99)

grab

App Summary
Title: Monster® Turbine In-Ear Earphones Developer: Monster
Price: MMSRP:  179$ USD
  • Excellent Sound
  • Good looks and packaging
  • One of the best performers in the under 200$ price category for quality bass and control
  • Luxurious metal housing
  • The cable is underwhelming
  • No foamie ear piece in package

amazon_button

turbine-case-and-accessory The Monster has Emerged! turbine-driver-shot turbine-jack cable-details turbine-box-shot turbine-flange-diagram dsc_7670 dsc_7673 Monster-Packaging-homeshot dsc_7665Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/02/23/monster-turbines-earphones-in-review/feed/ 38