Monster Turbine Pro Copper Headphone Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-05-11, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Monster Turbine Pro Copper Headphone Review

Monster Turbine Pro Copper w/ ControlTalk Headphone Review

MSRP: $429.95
Value:
Fit & Finish:
Home Theater Performance:
Music Performance:
Overall:


Monster Cable is a highly controversial brand in the home theater world, with many enthusiasts proferring very strong opinions of the company. Regardless, Monster recently shook things up a bit in the personal audio world with the launch of their Monster Pro series IEM headphones. Monster was kind enough to send the Monster Turbine Pro Copper headphones with ControlTalk for review.


Packaging, Fit & Finish

The MTPCs as I'll refer to them forthwith are a good looking pair of IEM's with a solid metal housing and thick substantial cables. They come packaged in a classy box along with a suede/velveteen carrying case and a massive assortment of Monster's "SuperTips" which are a single flange in ear tip that includes a silicone diaphragm to improve isolation.

The thick cable is typical of Monster - with a feel of quality and a neatly designed 90 degree tip. While the package as a whole is impressive - keep in mind that MSRP on these headphones is a whopping $429.95. As is typical of Monster products, they aren't ashamed to charge a premium here and at least with respect to fit and finish, these are a quality headphone.

While the overall construction feels solid, I should note that over the approximately 5 weeks I used and reviewed these headphones, the plastic flange began to separate from the earpiece with regular use - and as Dale can attest, I'm extremely careful with my electronics. Though this is probably partly due to the hundreds of removals and re-insertions required to find good tip selection, Monster should be aware that this probably needs beefier construction.


Tip Selection, Comfort and Cable Concerns

The MTPCs ship with a dizzying array of tips, big, small, foam, triple flange, SuperTips and non-SuperTips - really any tip you can imagine ships with these headphones, except it seems for some more common sizes. Most IEM manufacturers have small medium and large tips available, with Monster it seems like you either get small, or too large. I went through the exhaustive process of trying all the tips over a three week period and not a single tip met my expectations for isolation, comfort and sound quality. Some would nail two and fail completely on the third. Ultimately in order to enjoy these properly I had to buy some standard Comply foam tips - which finally provided the isolation, comfort and sonics I was looking for.

From a cabling perspective you'd expect a company like Monster to have no issues with microphonics, especially given the heft and thickness of this cable. Unfortunately, the MTPC cable still suffers some issues. While it's not terribly microphonic, if you use these running or while moving, you're certain to notice the effects.


Like some other reviewers have noted, Monster failed to properly angle the strain relief where it enters the housing when the included ear hooks are used - unfortunately with a heavier IEM like this it's difficult to explain why this was missed as it can be a critical factor for listener comfort.

On the subject of fit and comfort - it should be noted that the styling of the MTPC (beautiful as they are) can seriously compromise listener comfort. The turbine fins at the back of the housing can actually dig into the ear if the phone is inserted deep for optimal isolation - this won't be a concern for all ears, but in my case it led to some serious discomfort with any eartip other than the comply.

Listening:

Music Impressions:

Mobile Listening:

Given that we aren't all headphone crazy over here, I chose to listen to these headphones using gear available to the conventional user, so for mobile listening I used the MTPC's unamped straight out of my cell phone, a Samsung Galaxy S II.

Most of my mobile listening occurs while I'm at the gym or walking - so I took the opportunity to queue up some of my favorite tracks on Spotify as well as some lossless files from my regular collection. Once I had a good fit and seal I started off with some trance music as this is what I usually listen to when on the go. Gareth Emery and Ashley Wallbridge have a great new tune out called Mansion which I listened to first. Mansion features a lot of powerful synth strings in addition to delicate content in the upper octaves. Throughout a driving bass line keeps the energy going. A track like this is ideal for an IEM like the MTPC, as they excel at bass reproduction. Bass was heavy, hard hitting and authoritative - although perhaps a touch overemphasized from time to time. Mids were clear and well defined although I again got the impression Monster pushed them a tad to create more engaging vocals. Highs had a good deal of detail but obviously roll off a little earlier than the best speakers and other IEM's out there - these aren't quite as detailed as one would expect from a studio class monitor.

The sound signature of the MTPC actually reminded me a lot of many balanced armature IEMs that I have heard - although perhaps less refined and articulate in the lower octaves. These are fun to listen to, and do a great job with heavier genres such as rock, metal, trance and hip-hop. For classical and highly analytical listening, I found myself content, but generally unimpressed in comparison to the competition as the MTPCs just don't do detailed as well as other dynamic and BA IEMs.

Home Theater Impressions:

My overall goal here was to discover if an enjoyable home theater experience could be had with an IEM, and in this case I was pleasantly surprised. Given the bass heavy nature of the MTPC, it is a natural fit for home theater and gaming use. Heavier impactful bass tends to give the listener the impression that the bass is "real" and not coming from a small driver in the ear. Surround imaging was generally acceptable, but dynamics were excellent and dialogue was always clearly intelligible.

I watched several films over the course of the review and all sounded equally pleasing. From a home theater standpoint, when you don't have the option to listen to speakers loud as an apartment dweller or - these are certainly an acceptable alternative.

Monster has intentionally boosted the bottom end to give the psychoacoustic impression of tactile bass, and to some extent it does work for movie watching. Dimensionality and spacial positioning were perfectly adequate and for my late night viewing needs, I really didn't feel like I was missing out on any of the aural experience other than the chest vibrations a good subwoofer will typically provide - nothing some tactile transducers can't easily fix.


Conclusion:

While Monster may not be on anyone's list of favorite companies for their aggressive marketing, questionable product superiority or legal bullying - they have entered into the headphone market with a solid offering. The Monster Turbine Pro Copper with ControlTalk is a solid performer with all the makings of a top shelf IEM, unfortunately it falls a little short in terms of comfort and value. Given that value has never been Monster's core proposition, I'm not terribly surprised at the price point. Monster does include a one-time no questions asked product replacement warranty with the headphones - and a small army of tips which squarely place them in the mid-range market. If you can find these for $150 or less, I would call them a good value. At any price over that, there are far superior values that offer much greater comfort and sonics. See my upcoming review of the Audio Technica ATH-CKM99 headphones for further comparison.

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post #2 of 5 Old 12-05-11, 01:20 PM
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Re: Monster Turbine Pro Copper Headphone Review

They are good looking, but the price is ridiculous. No headphones are worth that kind of money, period!

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post #3 of 5 Old 12-06-11, 12:27 AM
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Re: Monster Turbine Pro Copper Headphone Review

Thanks for the review, Dave! Despite the fact that they are overpriced, I've been interested in giving these a listen...

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post #4 of 5 Old 12-06-11, 08:55 PM
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Re: Monster Turbine Pro Copper Headphone Review

they look like the ends of rca patch cables... with the center removed, and a speaker stuffed inside. lol.

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post #5 of 5 Old 12-08-11, 10:29 AM
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Re: Monster Turbine Pro Copper Headphone Review

Quote:
Binary wrote: View Post
they look like the ends of rca patch cables... with the center removed, and a speaker stuffed inside. lol.

Whoa, they they do. I did not pick up on that until you pointed it out.
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