Monster is at it again with creating headphones that not only allow you to listen to music, but to feel it. Earlier in the week we announced the new pair of in-ear headphones from Monster named Turbine In-Ear Speakers. These new set of ‘earbuds’ will bring back to music the quality and depth that was lacking in your run of the mill earbuds, or so Monster claims.
When Monster designed the Turbine In-Ear Speakers it was obvious they had in mind their very own component cable. When you first look at Turbine’s design you can definitely see where the inspiration came from. The metal housing of the earbud that a passerby would see, resembles the ridges of the famous Monster component cables, and right in the center is the Monster logo. The right ear speaker has a red lining on it and then the left one has a blue lining. When I held the pair in my hand it was pretty light. I was afraid though to smack them around too much in my hand that I might chip the metal but I didn’t. Another impressive feature which is a similar design element to the Shure E4c earphones is the earplug-like design. Included with the Turbine is an assortment of 4 pairs of rubbery eartips. Each pair is larger or smaller to fit into your ear canal comfortably. If you pick the right one for your ear, not only will you enhance your listening experience but you’ll also eliminate the noise around you. Overall, the design detail alone of the Turbine has the essence of the Monster branding and quality all over it.
Monster has successfully created a wonderful pair of headphones with the Beats by Dr. Dre and for the most part, savvy consumers and music enthusiasts love them. So I was very excited to see if the Turbines were just as good or at least as good for a much smaller earphone. The key to really experiencing these In-Ear Speakers is to pick the right tree or mushroom looking eartip – are you more a tree or a mushroom? I guess I was more a mushroom because I didn’t like how the tree looking ones fit in my ear. Also if you don’t pick the right one, the ‘speakers’ just fall out of your ear! So that was annoying. When you decide which is right for you, all you do is slide the rubbery eartip onto the very small metal portion that would go into your ear. Once in my ear, they were comfortable but you do have to press them way into the canal so that they don’t budge as you walk. Also I found the metal casing to be a bit ‘top heavy’ so to speak. Usually you don’t feel earphones in your ears but you feel these, you can feel the weight of the metal casing in your ears which doesn’t bother me too much but you have to get used to it because it feels like they are going to fall out.
I sampled a variety of audio files and music. I listened to CDs I haven’t heard in years with some heavy bass and then some hip hop from Ludacris. The bit rates ranged from 160kbit/sec and 320kbit/sec. Some people probably haven’t listened to a CD quality 320kbit/sec in ages but I have, so I was able to tell right away the differences. I immediately picked up the differences of a hi-hat, bass and treble in 320kbit/sec tracks, but not so much so with the lower 160kbit/sec ones. Which I found disappointing since most folks will probably only experience these ‘speakers’ when listening to lower bitrates. According to Monster the “Patented Magnetic FluxTube delivers more accurate audio, while MicroStrand conductors ensure maximum cable flexibility and better signal transfer.” Which is all very nice sounding but did it make a difference in my listening experience – yes and no. I felt the sound was level with all the elements – nothing was too high, low or tinny sounding. You can feel the body of the music in the canal of your eardrum with the 320kbit/sec tracks, however the same can’t be said for the lower quality bitrates. The Turbines do give the 160kbit/sec tracks more quality, however it is nothing outstanding. But overall, regardless of bitrate I think the sound quality is pretty impressive for earbud styled earphones compared to the MANY I’ve tested in the past. The Turbines provided a comfortable experience in my ears and I didn’t feel any ringing or pressure in my jawline from too much Bass/Treble from the eartip being so low down in my canal. However I do not suggest that you fall asleep on your side in these because you could hurt yourself. The ‘speaker’ could get pushed a little too deep into your canal.
Is a hard-core audiophile going to love these – probably not. If you are expecting these earbuds to turn up the sound quality of lower bitrate files you sadly won’t get it with these pair of headphones. Even though it does enhance the quality of the music it doesn’t give the full bodied feeling that your body craves when listening to sublime bass line hook or guitar solo. The music that pumps out is too even keel between both In-Ear Speakers and you can only pick up high and low bass from 320kbit/sec files which as we all know, not everyone is listening too on their little iPods and MP3 players. Fortunately, however the same market that was attracted to the Beats by Dr. Dre whom are music aficionados but not hardcore sound engineer’s will like these. Personally I enjoyed the Turbines very much. They weren’t too loud or too hard on my ears. The sound quality that came through them was very good and the included little carrying case was a nice touch. The Turbines are stylish and sleek and are definitely a much nicer looking pair of earphones then those plain old white earbuds that make your music sound sub-par. In this economy it may be a little hard for some folks to grasp the price of the Turbine In-Ear Speakers, but if you are in the market for a stylish pair of earphones that won’t break your eardrum and actually enhance the sounds you are listening too as well as provide some noise canceling around you, then you are in luck. Monster’s Turbine In-Ear Speakers will retail for $149.95 and will only be available in a limited run.
The Good: Sleek and stylish looks. Good sound quality that average consumers and music aficionados will appreciate. Different eartips for comfortable wearing. Brings depth and feeling to 320kbps tracks.
The Bad: Does get uncomfortable after wearing for a while. Adds a bit of body to lower bitrate files but not much. Audiophilies may think the price is to steep for earphones that don’t do more or less than what is already on the market.