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Shootout: 114 Portable Headphones Reviewed (Xiaomi Mi Headphones added 04/21/2015) - Page 289

post #4321 of 4473
Thread Starter 

Added the Monster DNA Pro Over-Ear

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
 

 

(A24) Monster DNA Pro Over-Ear


Brief: The newly-released big brother of the Monster Cable DNA on-ears

MSRP: $299.95 (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $250 from amazon.com

Frequency Response: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A
Form factor: over-the-ear | Space-Saving Mechanism: Collapsible
Cord: detachable, est. 6ft (1.8m) coiled + 4ft (1.2m) straight w/mic & 3-button remote

Build Quality (9/10): The DNA Pro is made mostly of thick plastic with metal reinforcement of the headband below the hinge. It shares the triangular design of the other sets in the DNA line, though the aesthetic is more striking on the larger DNA Pro. The earcup pads are of excellent quality; the rubber pad on the headband less so, but still adequate. The DNA Pro boasts a detachable cable with a slightly recessed 3.5mm plug. It has ambidextrous cable connectors, so the cord can be plugged in on either side of the headphone. The remaining jack can be used to “daisy chain” a second headphone to the DNA Pro in order to share a signal. The stock cable of the DNA Pro is coiled, but still lightweight enough to be used portably. A straight headset cable with mic and 3-button remote is also included.

Comfort (7.5/10): The cups of the DNA Pro are deep, easily encompassing the entire ear. The triangular shape of the pads works well and the imitation leather is soft and smooth. However, the earcups don’t have quite as much freedom of movement as I would like and, for me at least, seal better at the bottom than at the top. In addition, the headphones are a bit on the heavy side and create a pressure point at the very top of my head – not a big deal, but noticeable compared, for example, to the more lightweight Creative Aurvana Live! 2.

Isolation (8/10): The passive noise isolation is quite good as long as the cups are sealed around the ear – on-par with most DJ-style headphones.

Sound (8.5/10): One may expect Monster’s flagship over-ear headphone to follow in the footsteps of Beats by Dre or offer a logical progression to the warm and bassy sound of the less expensive DNA on-ear. However, the DNA Pro is a different beast altogether. Its tuning focuses on clarity and resolution, and the resulting sound signature is brighter than I had anticipated.

The DNA Pro is not a bass-heavy headphone. The bass is present and not lacking in punch, especially at higher volumes, but the slightly v-shaped overall response of the headphone is tilted up, in favor of the treble, instead of down towards the low end. Bass extension is good – deeper, for example, than with the Sennheiser HD428. Bass control is even better- the bass is much tighter compared to that of the Creative Aurvana Live! 2, Velodyne vTrue, and most other mainstream headphones in the price range.

The excellent bass control and bright tonal tilt afford the DNA Pro no veiling whatsoever in the midrange. The Sennheiser HD428 is noticeably veiled in comparison, the CAL! 2 even more so. The overall response is a little v-shaped, but the mids aren’t particularly recessed, just lacking some fullness at the bottom. The upper midrange and treble of the DNA Pro have plenty of energy.

In comparison to the brighter DNA Pro, the Sennheiser HD428 and CAL! 2 sound smoother through the upper midrange and top end and both – but especially the Creative unit – appear to be almost too laid-back at the top. Due to its treble energy, the DNA Pro sounds best to me at low to moderate volumes. Its sound is detailed and technically very proficient, just a little off tonally compared to what I consider neutral. The presentation, likewise, is very capable, with good width and no congestion, but a more balanced response would provide a slight improvement in imaging and overall dynamics.

Select Comparisons

Monster DNA On-Ear ($150)

The new DNA Pro provides a listening experience very different from that of the On-Ear DNA model – a clearer, tighter sound that is probably less well-suited for the average consumer (which at least partly justifies the “Pro” label). The on-ear DNA has a bassier, warmer sound but isn’t recessed in the midrange. Nonetheless, its boomy bass has a strong tendency to muffle the mids. The DNA Pro is much clearer and has tighter bass. It also sounds more v-shaped in comparison to the DNA. Its treble is significantly brighter, but also cleaner and more crisp next to the smoother, more forgiving on-ear DNA. Tonally, it’s hard to say whether the brighter, colder DNA Pro is more natural than the warm and smooth DNA, but the Pro model certainly has more of the things we normally associate with higher-end headphones – clarity, sonic space, and detail resolution.

V-Moda Crossfade LP2 ($200)

V-Moda’s DJ-oriented Crossfade LP2 headphone is warm and very bassy – an extreme contrast to the Monster DNA Pro. The LP2 is much bassier, with a low end extends deeper and produces sub-bass notes with greater authority. However, the bass is also much more intrusive. This makes the overall sound – especially vocals – extremely muddy in comparison to the DNA Pro. The Monster set, on the other hand, has much tighter – albeit lower in quantity – bass and significantly clearer, more resolving sound. Tonally, the LP2 is much darker than the DNA Pro, lacking all of the sparkle and most of the treble energy of the latter. The presentation of the DNA Pro is more impressive mostly due to the lack of congestion-causing bass boom. In terms of actual sonic space, the pricier Monster headphones aren’t far ahead.

Sennheiser HD25-1 II ($200)

Sennheier’s DJ-oriented HD-25-1 II is more similar in form factor the on-ear DNA, but the DNA Pro is closer in performance. In comparison to the DNA Pro, the HD25-1 has more emphasized, slightly boomier bass. Its mids are more recessed and end up sounding a little muffled. The DNA Pro has its tighter bass and clearer midrange, but the upper midrange and treble emphasis causes vocals to sound more nasal on it and the brighter tonality often appears less natural overall. The HD25-1 is tonally darker, but its top end is still splashier compared to the DNA Pro, so in the end neither set wins in treble quality. The DNA Pro has a wider presentation – the HD25 is more similar to the on-ear DNA in that regard.

Value (8/10): The Monster DNA Pro is a clear-sounding headphone with very controlled bass and a somewhat bright tonal tilt. This makes it not only unique in its class, but also the best-sounding headphone I’ve heard from Monster. Sound aside, the DNA Pro loses a bit of ground to some over-ear headphones in the comfort department but is well-made and has good noise isolation with a proper seal. All in all, those looking for an over-the-ear set with good clarity and controlled, accurate bass will be well-served by the DNA Pro. 

post #4322 of 4473

Hmm you know what I may have to try those my self, my local Office Depot has a great return policy! 

post #4323 of 4473
While I agree with most that was said of the Monster DNA Pro.... the 9/10 for build quality is.... incredibly generous. The DNA pro has some obvious build quality issues, especially at the price range. As much as I love the sound of the DNA Pro, the build quality needs definite work. One cup snapped off the headband, and from what I have seen of every single DNA Pro in multiple Best Buys in my area, not ONE DNA Pro wasn't broken in that general cup meets headband vicinity.

I'm particularly careful with new headphones, so when my DNA Pro snapped off with incredible ease.... build quality is the first thing I basically screamed at Monster to fix.

I'm saying this with all the non-bias I can muster, considering I was given these to review. Excellent sounding headphone, questionable build.

I HIGHLY recommend people NOT try to stretch them out, even a little. Just, trust me.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 5/13/14 at 11:18am
post #4324 of 4473
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

While I agree with most that was said of the Monster DNA Pro.... the 9/10 for build quality is.... incredibly generous. The DNA pro has some obvious build quality issues, especially at the price range. As much as I love the sound of the DNA Pro, the build quality needs definite work. One cup snapped off the headband, and from what I have seen of every single DNA Pro in multiple Best Buys in my area, not ONE DNA Pro wasn't broken in that general cup meets headband vicinity.

I'm particularly careful with new headphones, so when my DNA Pro snapped off with incredible ease.... build quality is the first thing I basically screamed at Monster to fix.

I'm saying this with all the non-bias I can muster, considering I was given these to review. Excellent sounding headphone, questionable build.

I HIGHLY recommend people NOT try to stretch them out, even a little. Just, trust me.

thank gawd, honestly I'm glad Monster is making some better sounding headphones, but I still hate recommending them. For what $300 you can get some touch as TANK Beyers... or Audio Technica's both of which you can beat some one with [I'd know q.q] that said... I've always had some skepticisim about any positives about monster, and yes that's from my Bais, but yea cheaply built sounds like the ones I've gotten my hands on

 

that said I might just have to listen to it my self anyways as I do like bright headphones! 

post #4325 of 4473
The plastic used is thick and everything but the headband and hinge mechanism seem well made and durable. But the small arms that meet at the headband are quite thin, and just a little bit of force in the opposite direction can make the plastic on the headband crack and eventually snap off. The DNA On Ear's hinge is on the cup side, not the headband, and it's showing signs of wear on the cup side, leading me to believe that they need to use some stronger plastic, and a new hinge mechanism.
post #4326 of 4473
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

While I agree with most that was said of the Monster DNA Pro.... the 9/10 for build quality is.... incredibly generous. The DNA pro has some obvious build quality issues, especially at the price range. As much as I love the sound of the DNA Pro, the build quality needs definite work. One cup snapped off the headband, and from what I have seen of every single DNA Pro in multiple Best Buys in my area, not ONE DNA Pro wasn't broken in that general cup meets headband vicinity.

I'm particularly careful with new headphones, so when my DNA Pro snapped off with incredible ease.... build quality is the first thing I basically screamed at Monster to fix.

I'm saying this with all the non-bias I can muster, considering I was given these to review. Excellent sounding headphone, questionable build.

I HIGHLY recommend people NOT try to stretch them out, even a little. Just, trust me.


Something similar with the Denon AD1100. I've seen nothing but complaints about the headphones breaking. Everything else about them seems to be fantastic, though. Not that I expect every reviewer to try and break their headphones to determine the score, but even products seemingly built like tanks can come apart. They're only as strong as the weakest component.

post #4327 of 4473
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonzeanse View Post
 


Something similar with the Denon AD1100. I've seen nothing but complaints about the headphones breaking. Everything else about them seems to be fantastic, though. Not that I expect every reviewer to try and break their headphones to determine the score, but even products seemingly built like tanks can come apart. They're only as strong as the weakest component.

actually the hinges are what has broken on every pair of headphones I've owned that's been well broken 

post #4328 of 4473

Great review (as always) on the DNA Pro! Though I would like to see the Sennheiser Momentum On-ears thrown into the mix.

 

I do have a question about your testing method. Whether it be to achieve a 'neutral'  sound signature, or to tweak to your own personal taste, do you EQ adjust each pair of headphones/IEM you review? Or do you test using a flat EQ and let the headphones/IEM speak for themselves?

post #4329 of 4473
Nice review! Cleverly formatted.
I refuse to call any headphone by Monster good. I like their cables but there's better options.
Monster in my opinion are a brand for people who crave social recognition or want people to look at them, which can be done with cans like Parrot Zik, Senn momentums and the V-MODA line, all with better sound.
post #4330 of 4473
Quote:
Originally Posted by Existence View Post

Nice review! Cleverly formatted.
I refuse to call any headphone by Monster good. I like their cables but there's better options.
Monster in my opinion are a brand for people who crave social recognition or want people to look at them, which can be done with cans like Parrot Zik, Senn momentums and the V-MODA line, all with better sound.

Agree'd but I at least appreciate that monster is doing something about how their headphones sound, at least people are getting some decent sound out of their monster headphones now 

post #4331 of 4473
Thread Starter 

Hmm... my unit is a bit scuffed up from a couple of falls but the hinges seem to be tight. Will be sure to update if the construction goes south. 

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bansaku View Post
 

Great review (as always) on the DNA Pro! Though I would like to see the Sennheiser Momentum On-ears thrown into the mix.

 

I do have a question about your testing method. Whether it be to achieve a 'neutral'  sound signature, or to tweak to your own personal taste, do you EQ adjust each pair of headphones/IEM you review? Or do you test using a flat EQ and let the headphones/IEM speak for themselves?

 

I do not EQ for review - that introduces too many additional variables. Those who use a proper equalizer will be able to get very different results with pretty much any headphone.

post #4332 of 4473

I am glad that Monster is finally going in the right direction when it comes to SQ but it is quite visible that their care is not shown for build quality when it comes to headphones although their iems generally have good build quality. It is rather unusual to be that careless.

post #4333 of 4473
Oh! Monster pros at least mostly live up to the pro name! I'm going to suggest them to my non-audiophile friends now because monster is more well known to consumers than v-moda etc.
post #4334 of 4473
Quote:
Originally Posted by DisCHORDDubstep View Post

Oh! Monster pros at least mostly live up to the pro name! I'm going to suggest them to my non-audiophile friends now because monster is more well known to consumers than v-moda etc.

 

Vmoda are definitely getting to be quite popular on the consumer level. You see them in apple stores and microsoft stores. And as someone in college, theyre prolly the second most easily recognized headphones after beats of course. Theyre definitely something that should be suggested to nonaudiophile friends!

post #4335 of 4473
Hey, now you have the monster competitor to beats 2013 studios... Can you add 2013 beats studios? I'm just interested in a battle of consumer cans because my friends aren't willing to look at sennheiser etc. I want them to get the best they are willing to buy. I tried 2013 studios, and I can say: the entire driver was retuned. More open and revealing than original studios... Of course, I'm not going to review it. Didn't spend enough time with them, although it was decent. Surprised me.
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