Before starting I will mention that this review will probably be on the lengthy side. I don't even know how it got so long since this is just one product review.
I would like to thank Monster Cable for their generosity in allowing me to test this pair of earphones.
Lastly, even though I did get some heat in my last review I do consider myself an amateur in this hobby (although I didn't put that in the title this time). There are times when I have some difficulty trying to describe what I am hearing so hopefully everything in this review is understandable. Also I realize that some members here have difficulty understanding audio terms. Here is a link to an audiophile dictionary that is quite helpful. http://www.integracoustics.com/MUG/MUG/bbs/stereophile_audio-glossary.html
I believe in full disclosure and being as clear as possible leaving no room for misinterpretation as well as to not be confused with shills. I received the Coppers for free. That means I paid nothing and all fees were paid in full by Monster. In exchange for this free pair of earphones I had to agree to do some things. Those were to offer my impressions of the Coppers in the head-fi main forums, Amazon reviews and on the Monster Cable website. I had to mention the cable management system, all the eartips, and use a minimum of three different genres in my testing.
Also I was given zero incentive to put up a positive review and there was no pressure from the Monster Cable representative here at head-fi. I believe that this allows me to post my honest thoughts without being influenced by any financial attachment.
I believe where I am coming from as well as my preferred sound signature is quite important. All of my previously owned or heard phones are in my profile. My current gear is in my signature and up to date. My sound signature preference is something along the lines of a neutral phone. That means that such phones such as the Head Direct RE0 and the Audio Technica CK10 have been among my favorite phones. Lastly the genres I listen to in no particular order are trance, pop, rock, country, jazz and asian pop.
Sources: Nuforce uDAC, Sansa Clip+ (Rockboxed)
Bitrate: Various mp3 bitrates ranging from 128kbps to 320kbps and FLAC
Phones: Monster Cable Turbine Pro Copper
In order to make this review as complete as possible I did burn these in for over 100 hours before starting my test. This should satisfy those who advocate burn in and to those that do not then it should make no difference. I myself don't know if it exists and don't really care so please don't post anything about that in this thread.
The package does indeed look like a $399 product. The best part is that it is not in some hard plastic packaging that is impossible to open. You get a very easy to open box. In the package you get the Coppers (obviously), two carrying cases, a set of many different kind of tips (gel supertips, foam supertips, triple flange and single flange silicone), a ¼ inch adapter, a cleaning cloth, a shirt clip, a rubber circular tip holder and some documentation.
My standard for build quality is and will be the Audio Technica CK10 until I purchase a phone with better build. After owning the Coppers my standard remains unchanged.
The build on these are slightly above average. They do pass all the tests however as they have a right angle plug, proper strain reliefs and solid metal housings. There is a circular ring on both housings to aid with differentiating between the left and right if you do not want to look for the “L” or “R” on the housings. The left housing has a blue ring while the right one has a red ring. The cable is a huge fail for me. It is quite rubbery, microphonic and worst of all it retains memory so it moves around a lot when you try to coil it up. The shirt clip is also a fail for me. It is very difficult to get it on the cable and if you do manage to get it on it does not move up or down the cable very easily. It is pretty much stuck at the place you put it on so I removed the shirt clip shortly after putting it on and never looked back. Lastly there is a chin slider for those of you that use it.
The color of the phones do stand out more than your average one. The housings, split and the plug are copper in color. There's your typical “bling” that you get from Monster. I rather have something that is discrete although it is not too bad.
Edit: There was some manufacturer defect on mine where the glue wasn't strong enough in the right housing in the place where the silver and copper colors on the housings meet there's a split and that's where it is slowly coming loose. According to the Monster rep they are aware of that and it has been isolated to a low number of units. Also it is due to the glue in the early batch so unfortunately that was mine as well. I was able to finish the review just as I noticed this funny enough. The only downside is that I have to redo the burn in process when I get them back whenever that is.
Comfort, Isolation and Microphonics
By looking at these it seems that the Coppers would be ridiculously heavy and uncomfortable. Fortunately that is not the case. They are surprisingly light although the housings still live on the heavier side compared to housings of other phones. They are quite comfortable however.
I will not be wearing them straight down unless I'm stationary. There is a lot of microphonics wearing it that way. Over the ear is the preferred method of wearing these as that reduces microphonics. The chin slider and shirt clip provided you can get it on the cable also helps in reducing microphonics.
I tested isolation on my daily commute which consists of the NYC subway, bus and walking in Manhattan and it tends to get loud. The Coppers have above average isolation depending on what tips were used.
Cable Management System
I had to ask the Monster Cable rep exactly what the heck he meant when he said cable management system. There are two small strip of velcro (like the velcro cable ties) that you can put on the Coppers when you coil them up to prevent tangling when you put them in a case. It is nice but easily lost and also not something I will bring on the go. Unforunately they are needed as the cable retains a lot of memory so it tangles easily and doesn't listen to what it is being told so it unwraps seconds after you wrap them even when using the over under method.
The selection of tips is very impressive and more companies should provide this kind of selection especially at this price range. You get a set of foam supertips, gel supertips, triple flange tips and regular single flange tips. The supertips (both types) are color coded by size. That means a large for both gel and foam supertips are the same color, with medium another color, small another color, etc. I believe that is different than in previous shipments and definitely unique.
As always eartips play a huge role in earphones as it can make a good earphone sound horrible if you have a bad tip, bad seal or a both.
The gel supertips to my ears suck. I tried many different insertion lengths, sizes and just about everything I can think of. I can't think of any other tips that I have had such issue with. They just don't work for me so we move on.
The foam tips are quite nice. There are two parts to these tips. The outside of made of foam while the inside is silicone. I have used these tips with the e-Q7 and CK10 previously and they are not your typical foam (such as Comply) where the treble disappears once you use those tips and you don't have to compress and wait for it to form back so in form they are like an olive tip. They also retain most of the sound while being quite comfortable.
There are single flange silicone tips. These are your typical silicone tips that come with most earphones. I don't like them much but mostly due to the fact that I have better silicone tips in my tips collection in the sony hybrids. The sony hybrids are easily more comfortable and fit just as well.
Lastly there are two sizes of triple flange tips. My ears can handle triple flange tips so they work for me and they provide the best sound for me.
left to right: silicone, gel supertip, foam supertip, triple flange
There is this rubber circular tip holder that also comes with these phones. It can hold 6 pairs of tips or 12 tips total and each pair is numbered in case you can't tell the difference between different tips put in it. I find this tip holder to be very useless and it was put back in the box shortly after seeing how little use it would be for me. I put my tips in the small ziplock bags that you get when you purchase tips. This circular tip holder can't be taken outside of the house or rather outside of your desk. It takes up more room than it should for 6 tips. It can't even be used as a paper weight since it is very light.
Edited by rawrster - 6/16/10 at 7:16pm