If you haven’t been following, Monster and Beats by Dre are officially divorced. After teaming up with Viacom to market the new DNA headphone lineup, Monster’s likely thinking good riddance! The Monster DNA On-Ear headphones are part of a new futuristic headphone lineup and features superior audio quality and a number of skins/designs.
While Monster is undoubtedly the brains behind the DNA’s fine engineering, Viacom will play a crucial role in marketing. Let us remind you that Viacom owns MTV and VH1, so be prepared to see a lot of these DNA headphones.
The Monster DNA headphones are surely a direct competitor of the Solo Beats by Dre, they’re similarly priced and sized, and we expect they’ll be marketed just as aggressively. They even rock a very similar donut shaped ear cup cushion. The DNAs have a unique futuristic design, mainly due to the triangle earcups but also from their distinguished color scheme. The DNAs don’t have the tri-folding collapseability that’s become popular, but they do collapse. Rather than having each arm of the headset fold on top of one another, they each fold in to the headband, forming a boomerang or crescent shape.
The Solo Beats by Dre are notorious for their creaky and plasticky build quality. The build of the DNA On-Ears is much more solid feeling. While they’re still on the plastic side, they have a durable build and good flexibility. Our only concern for the future is that their plastic hinges hold up, but so far so good.
The DNAs come with two flat headphone cables and a durable travel pouch. The anti-tangle headphone cables are great; one has an inline ControlTalk with microphone, and the other is just a regular audio cable. The ControlTalk design is perfect, it’s slim and discreet, plus the volume buttons are easy to distinguish from the universal button. There’s a headphone splitter, or buddy jack, built straight into the headset, so you can share your tunes with a friend. Each ear cup has an audio jack on the bottom; you can choose which side you want to run your audio cable from.
We’re quite fond of our clean white on grey model, though we’re a bit jealous of all the skinned models showing up on MonsterCable.com. As if the DNAs weren’t unique enough, for an extra $29.95 you can skin them in over 20 different patterns that will ensure an out-of-this-world presence. They’re also available in Black on Satin Chrome, Cobalt Blue on Light Grey, Cobalt Blue on Dark Grey, and White on Teal.
The DNAs are very comfortable and relatively light, however as with lots of headphones, it doesn’t last forever. After an hour or two, they’ll start to apply an uncomfortable amount of pressure on your head. The noise isolation is good, it blocks out about 90% of noise on the street, and about 80% of noise on the subway. To really make the most of the DNAs, and hear them for everything they’re worth, you’re best in a quieter environment.
The audio quality is fantastic. They sound amazing for just about any genre, unlike the Beats which are unfavorably tuned for rap and hip hop. The DNAs don’t have ultra-low bass that rattles your skull, but rather a fair and balanced low-end which complements the mid-range audio. The mids are very rich, as is the entire audio experience. Voices stand out quite nicely. The highs are clear and detailed. The DNAs happen to be very efficient at playing audio too. On iPhone, a 50% volume can be too loud, and we’re normally used to a 60-70% volume.
If there was ever a time to become a trendsetter, it’s now. There’s a good chance the Monster DNA headphones are about to become the next big thing, and not unrightfully so. Their trendy futuristic and skinnable design coupled with a balanced and high-quality audio experience makes the Monster DNA lineup a great contender for Dr. Dre and his Beats lineup. They’re currently available for $229.95 from MonsterCable.com, or $259.95 with a skin. They’re pricey for headphones, but probably won’t disappoint. The Solo HD Beats cost $199.95, and the DNA’s sound at least $30 better.
The Good: Light, good build, neat design, collapsable, built-in audio splitter, two anti-tangle cables, great inline ControlTalk+Mic, color options + skins, and efficient.
The Bad: Uncomfortable After 1-2 Hours, not available on Amazon, and some might consider them too pricey.