Monoprice 8320 Review
I believe that Monoprice are an American company that sell cheap electronics of all sorts and some of the products are meant to actually be quite special. This is one of them with some of its reviews on head-fi being very special. These have a retail price of a small $7.11 but this has not stopped people saying these are worthy of up to $150 with most saying the would not have been disappointed paying $50 for them. Being a resident of the UK I would have had to pay some ridiculous postage fees to get them to the UK but when I saw them pop up on the for sale forums for £10 including postage to the UK (more than the retail price second hand) I thought I had nothing to lose give these renowned bang-for-the-buck kings a go!
So I will be amping these and using my Cowon J3 as a source straight to my Objective two and the to the Monoprices. I will be playing mostly FLAC and some MP3! As I dint buy them for a specific purpose I will just use this, as it is my main set up for listening at home and it will bring out the best in the Monoprices hopefully.
The have what seems to be solid enough silver colored plastic housing that seem like they should be able to take a hit. The cable is wrapped with a mesh like material that seems to have split near the strain with and the plastic (second covering) of the wire has popped through but that does not affect anything at all. The Y split is again a solid enough silver plastic which is the same as the straight jack which is the same silver plastic combined with a black silicone that looks good enough. If I am honest it is a build quality that I would expect from anything up to £30 and maybe even £50 and is reported to be better than some big buck headphones such as the $300 Monster Miles Davis Tribute headphones. It is by far means not the best build quality I have ever seen but not the worst and at its cheap price where ever you are in the world it is going to last a lot longer than anything else in its price range!
The design of these looks quite cool for the younger audience with space age looking silver housing and their unique design. The housing are unique as they are holding a massive 14.2mm driver.
Their cable is also very tangle prone and it can be time consuming to re untangle them.
Well their main flaw but no big deal in my eyes. If you want a flood of goodies a huge selection of tips or solid waterproof cases well look here no further. You get a pair of medium black silicone tips that’s it. On the plus side they fit me, but can take a while to get the seal I would really desire.
Now you should be aware that the housings are large and thy are not in the usual design which can cause for me quite a bit of discomfort after not very long at all and I need to relieve my ears very twenty or thirty minutes other wise I get some pain but they don’t cut or damage my ears.
These remind me of Sennheiser IE8’s in the regard of the fact they are shallowly inserted. This leads to quite a poor isolation and I can hear a fair amount of unwanted ambient noise.
Microphonics (Cable Noise)
These can be worn as comfortably over ear as worn down. There is a noticeable bit which can be annoying when worn down but when over the era there is hardly any left.
Soundstage and instrument separation
Fairly large I have found and it is also a near presentation. The soundstage is not like some over dynamics I have hear that have huge concert hall soundstages like the IE8 and the Aurisonics ASG-1 but these are almost as big (Maybe as big) than a few higher end balanced armature headphones such as the Fischer Audio DBA-02 and Shure SE420 and by far better than the super closed soundstages of the once very expensive Ultimate Ears Super Fi 3. In terms of size I would say a town hall and it is also a clean soundstage and does not reverb or sound fake or unrealistic.
I am going start off by saying that to get the best of the bass you have to make sure that you get a good seal otherwise you will feel like there is no presence. I have felt this a few times and had to refit them. The bass has quite a bit of mid-bass presence (the part you hear) and this also fairly tight with a fair amount of detail to it all, as you would expect from a dynamic in ear. The sub bass (the stuff that you really feel) is seemingly non existent but I do not think the were far of as I start t feel it ever so slightly when you push them hard in to you ears after already finding a seal. I find the bass does also lack some extension and you miss out on some of the lower frequencies. The bass is very enjoyable.
Smooooooth and neutral. These fit and nicely with higher and lower frequencies and I have yet to detect any noticeable spike (maybe one ever so slightly in the higher mids but it is hard to tell when I am used to listen to the Aurisonics which have a huge spike at around 12kHz. These have enough detail but not too much that makes them start sound more analytical and keeps them sounding fun. The vocals sound smooth as well but there is times when I feel normally clear vocals can sound mispronounced or muffled but this should not seem like a game-breaker. Instruments like drums don’t have the best impact and have little decay but don’t take this to think they sound bad (sorry for the contradiction but I hope you understand what I mean)
These are very nice with a good amount of detail and also a bit of a sparkle given off (always welcome). They are as you may guess rolled off but this by no means stops them sounding good. They are never harsh and are also not very sibilant. They do sparkle but not enough to make the overall sound signature bright.
These have fairly fun sounding neutral sound which sounds got pretty much all the way through. They may lack extension both ends but what you do get makes up for this. What I have not mentioned is their texture that is very thin and feels dry. I get a bit more body when amped but I would like more. My initial impressions said I though they were quite fast but this opinion has changed and I feel that when the speed picks up and more and more layers of stuff start going on do feel the lack of detail and you can feel them start to struggle.
Now what you have to take into mind and therefore the whole review with a pinch of salt is the fact that I review them not taking the price into account. What you have to remember is that these are ridiculously cheap (£10-£15 in the UK and in the US $7.11 plus delivery). Therefore their price they are AMAZING. They are by known means my most capable earphones are my favorites but they are fun and do imitate a sound of a top-tier earphone rather than a muddy over emphasized normal budget earphone. If available I think these are a must buy for anyone just to play around with!