Monster is a trusted brand for headphones, and they haven’t disappointed with their latest ClarityHD Bluetooth Headphones. It’s a crowded market, so it takes some work to stand out — while a lot of wireless headphones opt for physical controls on the earcups, the ClarityHD On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones are operated by taps and swipes using a touchpad. This is a novel approach to headset controls that takes a little getting used to, as it essentially amounts to tapping something on your head.
Comfort and Set-up
Out of the box, the ClarityHD is ready to go. You may need to charge it, which takes two hours for a full charge of 20 hours of wireless playback time. Once charged, you go through a pretty typical Bluetooth pairing process. It’s a little easier than usual, since the ClarityHD on-ears are ready to pair as soon as they’re turned on.
From here, you just have to get used to the controls. Place the headset on and then find the touch pad, just above the earcup. Turn volume up or down by swiping up and down. This touchpad feature is really easy and convenient to use — no fumbling with your phone or buttons. To play or pause, make one tap on the touch pad. This motion was a little more awkward at first because you feel the tap through the device into your ear, but it works well. If you don’t like it, you can still use the Bluetooth connected device it is playing from to control it instead. However, a tap is very convenient for sudden interruptions.
To move a track up or down, it takes two and three taps, respectively. This is very difficult to execute properly. I ended up tapping a lot without really being sure what was happening. I never managed the three-tap correctly, and I just ended up looking like a weirdo aggressively tapping my headphones, which was quite comical in itself. Overall, the tapping is not my favorite feature for navigating from song to song, but it is really useful for play/pause and taking calls.
The Monster ClarityHD Wireless headphones’ pivoting ear cushions are exceptionally comfortable and immersive. Hours of wearing them won’t cause any unwanted pressure or discomfort. There isn’t too much pressure in any one place, a pitfall of many headphones. The adjustable headband makes it easy for anyone to find just the right fit for them.
Sound and Other Features
The sound experience here is great for this level of pricing. Audio is full-bodied, deep, and unmuffled. Interestingly, they recommend a listening time of 20 hours to fully break in the headset, although you can expect some mellowing of the sound after just eight hours of use. What they mean by mellowing, I do not know, but I do know the sound has been consistently fantastic.
Even though it is primarily a wireless device, you can also use one of the other two listening options: wired (3.5 mm audio jack and a detachable cable) and USB Hi-Res Direct Digital Audio. The compact folding design helps with transport, and having a 3.5 mm audio jack to resort to during airplane flights is nice, too. Since one charge lasts so long, it is a very travel friendly product. There is something to be said for traveling with on-ear headphones as opposed to in-ear ones. On-ear afford you more of a sense of privacy, ease of sleep, and comfort than in-ear ones do during ragged travel days. The ClarityHD also have a built-in microphone for taking calls. Good luck modulating your voice appropriately while your ears are muffled.