Pros: Excellent clear sound, great packaging, solid construction, good accessories
Cons: Fit is awkward, tips provided may not be suitable for a select few, pretty thin wires
I decided to ditch my Shure E105 because they were just all midrange and even though a tight bass the bass had no presence.
Enter the Monster HP In-Ear Speaker. Yeah Monster is big on calling them speaker not headphone.
What struck me immediately was the clarity and punch. These definitely have punch and depending on the type of music you listen to it can be very easy to get enveloped in such richness. Take for example the track Monte Gargano by the Truckfighters, wow. Super kick drum and just full sound and while they are stoner/fuzz rock you could still clearly hear the highs on the high hats.
I have 2 tests for testing the clarity, presence for punch, clean sound, full range and crips highs:
RUSH - Tom Sawyer
Opeth - Windowpanes
Tom Sawyer tests the clear punch bass of the kick drum and bass, and the mid-range roundness for the drums and crisp highs.
Windowpanes has similiar attributes but the drum work and specifically cymbals and high hats is a great test for that tight cymbal sound without fatigue or loss.
The biggest surprise was when I put on some Oscar Peterson Trio. Yep these are great jazz IEM.
These Monsters passed. Great punch and the clarity on the highs is great.
The biggest caveat is fit. It is crucial to get a good fit in the canal to experience the best sound. I found the tips a bit awkward to find the right fit but you will find ones to settle on but you'll need to experiment on in-ear fitting.
The wiring is thin, so I don't expect to use these in physical activity, so these will be office use. I liked the Sennheiser I had, very beefy wiring.
Lastly, I hope they burn in a bit, because the bass can be a bit much for a very long listen.
-- Update 28 May 2011 --
So after using these for a while I found that using the aftermarket tips made a big difference in getting them to fit more easily. I have to say though that these do not respond well to compressed music especially if you like using services like RDIO or MOG. The frequency crunch is too much and leaves these phones sounding flat. After some use as well I find they lack a bit of high frequency clarity but that can be acquainted to different music genres too (i.e. some rock lacks the high end clarity, and will emphasize the mid/bass range a bit to much).