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Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (2/17/2015) - Page 1400

post #20986 of 30082
^umm, I don't know anybody who has heard them
post #20987 of 30082
Originally Posted by prankies View Post

...  I probably would have pulled the trigger on that Adorama deal on the MA900s if they had them in stock.  They list the item as backordered by the manufacturer, and since the MA900s are now discontinued, I wasn't holding out hope that they would get more.  The comfort and sound stage of the MA900 sounded perfect for me, but now that I can't find them anywhere for cheaper than the X1s, I decided I might as well go for the slightly higher end headphone with a higher fun factor....

Aw man, it doesn't actually show it as backordered unless you try to buy it.  Lame.  :(


Oh well, guess there's another choice made easier.  I feel like the world is pushing me towards an X1 with a VModa Boom mic.  So expensive... but probably leaps and bounds better than the A50.


The only real question left (for me) is whether Xbone is going to support virtual surround at some point or if I'll have to get a Mixamp 5.8.  Maybe I'll wait for the March patch (the one that will fix Dolby through optical) to see if they push Dolby Headphone through the controller.  If they don't, I'll have to decide on a non-upgradeable PLYR 1 or the X1, etc for like twice as much.  I'm sure reading baout how psyched you are for yours will make my decision that much harder/easier.  :-D

post #20988 of 30082
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

Well here guys. My secret review. I need to re-tweak the layout just a smidge, but it's pretty much complete.

The review has been sitting in my laptop for a few months it seems, but I finally got the okay to post it by Jude. All in all, thoroughly impressed by the sound quality. smily_headphones1.gif

Monster DNA Pro


MSRP $299.95

Where To Buy: Best Buy Exclusive ($279.99) Review (Click to show)
I'd like to thank Monster for giving me the opportunity to test and review the Monster DNA Pro. Unless you've been living under a rock, Monster should be one of the most recognizable names in the headphone industry, if not THE most well known. I won't bore you with their history, since they should be a common household name by now. Monster can take a humongous chunk of credit as to why there has been a huge interest in the headphone market the past few years. Over the past few years (now completely separated from the Beats name), Monster has garnered a lot of positive attention from audiophiles with their release of the Turbines and Miles Davis Trumpet IEMs. Having proven their worth amongst audiophiles for their IEMs, they then made a move towards the portable/full-size market with their release of the DNA On Ear headphones, and now the DNA Pro Over Ear.

Having only previously owned the Monster Turbines IEM in their headphone line, I wasn't sure what to expect out of the DNA Pro. The Turbines, while definitely great sounding, were a bit too big for my ears, so I didn't keep them long enough due to personal issues with comfort (though to be quite honest, I find almost every IEM uncomfortable). How did the Monster DNA Pro fare with me? It surely had an uphill battle as a closed AND faux-leather padded headphone, but it wouldn't be the first time I've given a chance to headphones of that particular ilk. Personal bias towards open-backed/cloth padded headphones aside, I feel any and every headphone deserves a chance to prove themselves, regardless of make and model.

On to the DNA Pro...

Build Quality:


I received the matte-black DNA Pro, which I personally found aesthetically pleasing if a bit contemporary, urban/street styled. I generally prefer a classy approach, but for the general consumer, I feel they used the right amount of styling. Not so sure on the other colors, which are a bit too loud for my taste. I'm very thankful to have received the most 'normal' of all DNA color schemes. The DNA Pros are built mostly of plastic, save for some visible metal areas on the hinges. The plastic feels somewhat durable, though I feel that the exterior plastic piece with the 'DNA' label may be a weak point if some accidental stress is put on the size adjustment mechanism. It may potentially cause the that piece to separate from the inner piece with the L/R markings. Under normal use, I don't see this being an issue, but freak accidents aren't impossible. I have spotted some DNA Pros at my local Best Buy stores, and almost every single one (yes, all of them) had broken pieces on or near the DNA labelling. I have a feeling people are much too abusive with demo units, and I don't expect this to be a normal occurrence. Still, some careful handling should apply.

The headband isn't generously or even moderately padded, instead using what seems to be a sweat-resistant rubbery material. If anything can be said of the padding, is that it should be very easy to keep clean. The adjustment mechanism doesn't have any markings/notches, yet feels very secure, so there shouldn't be any worries with the DNA Pros losing your preferred size/extension (which I believe for many people is going to always be fully extended). They also collapse inwards to allow for a smaller footprint/easier storing/portability with it's included travel bag.

The outer cup sports a mirror-esque triangular shape with the DNA logo embossed in the middle. The reflective 'triangle' is the only area on the headphone prone to fingerprint smudges. Thankfully, the rest is matte black and resistant to fingerprints. Moving on to the portion housing the drivers, it swivels/rotates just enough to to cater to different head shapes, but doesn't have a large amount of freedom in any direction.

The ear pads are of synthetic leather. They are soft, and airy (to the point that you can hear the air move if you compress the pads). The pads are dense enough to retain just enough of it's shape without flattening out and crushing your ears against the drivers. The DNA Pro is marketed as over ear/circumaural, though on the smaller side, and may potentially cause the DNA Pro to fit as a supra-aural headphone. For my medium-sized ears, it fits just over my ears with some work. Not impossible to fit over ear unlike the Sennheiser Momentum (which I argue has a circumaural fit for people with freakishly small ears...or Hobbits). From what I can tell, they don't seem to be user replaceable.

Both cups house 3.5mm inputs for personal preference as to whichever side you'd like to use the audio cable on. The exposed side can be used to share the source signal (MusicShare™), whether it's with other headphones (which is great for A/B testing, assuming the headphone connected has a similar decibel level), or even something like speakers if you'd like. I'm generally used to headphone's cables being attached to the left ear cup (typical of single ended headphones), but you can be rebel against the norm and use the right side. Removable cables are always a plus, especially using the standard 3.5mm input, as it allows the user to use whichever standard audio cable they'd like.

That being said, I find the tangle-resistant coil cable supplied to be fantastic. It's around 6 feet, with the cable being straight up until the coiled end which can be stretched to add around 2 extra feet or so (by my guesstimation). The cable feels durable, with a nice amount of thickness, and without the horribly grippy texture found on other cables that love to snag on everything. Easily one of my favorite stock cables out of all the headphones I've reviewed/tested. It terminates into a standard 3.5mm plug with a thin barrel, which is appreciated as it should put less stress on 3.5mm jacks. I measured the cable's resistance at around 0.7ohm, so there really isn't any reason to replace it based on resistance alone.



The Monster DNA Pro comes with:

- 3.5mm to 3.5mm tangle-resistant coil cable

- ControlTalk® cable for Apple devices (one wasn't included in this review sample)

- Travel pouch (very high quality)

- Monster Clean Cloth

- 6.3mm snap-on adapter



This is one aspect of the DNA Pro I wish I could be happy with. My problem being that it simply doesn't extend far enough on my head. The DNA Pro has to be fully extended to reach my ears in the proper position, and at that point, the headband is pushing down against my skull, enough to leave a dent on my head after a brief session with it on. The headband has a lot of wasted horizontal space that I could use to allow the cups to reach lower (without needed as much extension), but due to their plastic design, I wouldn't be able to bend it in a more cone shape, as it wouldn't retain the shape. If Monster had allowed for around an inch more extension in the arms or had a more arch on the headband, a lot more people would be covered. As it stands... it fits me, though not ideal by any means.

Lack of headband extension aside, the DNA Pro is a bit clampy, which I assume was a choice to allow for a strong seal and secure fit at all times. The DNA Pro is not a headphone that 'disappears' on your head. The ear pads are relatively comfortable, with a few caveats. While they are soft, they do cling to the skin and isolate a bit too well. It traps heat, and the addition of clamp doesn't exactly help matters. If the DNA Pro didn't clamp as tightly, I could see the pads being one of the most comfortable synthetic-leather pads I've ever tested. They aren't removable from what I've personally seen, so no easy way to clean the pads or replace.

The DNA Pro is relatively light weight, and the cup's dimensions allow it to be used comfortably while laying down. Assuming it doesn't clamp so tightly on your head, it'd make a good 'laying down' headphone.

Design Issues:

The only real issues I have with the DNA Pro is:

- Could use more extension for bigger heads

- Ear pad diameter could stand to be wider/taller for those with bigger ears. They are also not easily removable.

- More arch on the headband as there is a lot of waste headband real estate



This is one of the areas the DNA Pro absolutely excels in. It is among the very best passive noise cancelling headphones I have personally heard, if not THE best. Once the music plays, you'll be hard pressed to hear most external noises. It also keeps sound in even at high volume levels. I don't see how anyone would complain about isolation with the DNA Pro.



The first thing I test with headphones is music, and from the moment I put on the DNA Pro, it was an instant success. People may be adversed to 'popular/mainstream' headphones, but I will say here and now, that selling the DNA Pro short, is a complete and utter mistake. It is a FANTASTIC sounding headphone, so much I'd say it's probably my favorite voicing of any headphone I've heard for my preference in music. Yes, it even outdoes my previous fave: the Philips Fidelio X1's tonal balance. I haven't had a chance to listen to the Philips Fidelio X1 in a while, but the DNA Pro reminded me a lot the X1 in a closed version it's sound They are both energetic and fun, yet in the realm of being well balanced. The one thing I do remember well is the X1's bass, being impressive for an open-backed design, yet being a bit too bloated at times. I'm personally a bit sensitive to mid bass bloat, and get fatigued by an abundance of it, even by headphones with moderate mid bass. The DNA Pro maintains a somewhat lively bass response, with excellent control that doesn't blanket the midrange, nor causes any discomfort.



As previously mentioned, The DNA Pro's bass is lively, as well as tactile, yet well controlled. It's not the the final word on speed and attack, instead choosing a happy medium between well-rounded fullness, and restraint. It's in the realm of balanced and moderately emphasized. The bass seems reliant on how well the DNA Pro seals on your ears. I have heard complaints that it rolls off a bit. I believe that is more of a fit issue, and not actual frequency response. To my ears, the DNA Pro's bass extends quite low, and I've never felt it lacking by any stretch of the word. It's surprising to me, as the DNA Pro doesn't exactly fit my head perfectly, yet I have zero issues with getting a good seal on the pads. As mentioned before, the pads aren't exactly the widest, and I could see an issue arising for those with larger ears, which may be breaking the seal enough to lose some bass.



The DNA Pro's mids are well defined, tight, and lean. Lean as in it doesn't take up as much headspace as some other headphones with a thicker sound (i.e. MA900, HD650, LCD2). It isn't the most impressive in terms of vocal warmth and intimacy, instead choosing to define them cleanly rather than making them forward. The mids slightly give way to more clarity in the upper ranges and fullness down in the bass. The mids however, are not blanketed by either bass or treble. They're nicely integrated, just not the main focus. I feel female vocals are a bit more impressive than male vocals on the DNA Pro. Female vocals tend to be a problem area on a LOT of headphones, so this is surprising and welcome.



It's been a while seems I've heard a headphone with some good sparkle and energy up top, and the DNA Pro has left me feeling quite impressed in this regard. Having been used to headphones that generally slope downwards and iron out the rough edges of an energetic upper range, I wasn't quite prepared to go back to a headphone with a tilt upwards in treble. I was expecting some ear fatigue caused by treble emphasis. The DNA Pro managed mostly quell my fears, with a clean treble presence that I have been missing of late. There is some grain up top, but I felt that it wasn't as prevalent as some other treble tilted headphones. The DNA Pro's treble is possibly one of the best examples I've heard to date. The few times I felt the DNA Pro to be harsh was few and far between, which is more than I can say for many headphones with treble this well extended.


8.5/10 (Stereo)
7/10 (Virtual surround)

Here is where I was expecting the DNA Pro to suffer. Badly in fact. Headphones that seal this well, and clamp tightly don't tend to leave me impressed. Yet, again, the DNA Pro threw out a REALLY nice soundstage for a closed headphone. I mainly test soundstage in gaming, lately in both stereo and in virtual surround. As I played some games on my PSVita, I was incredibly impressed by how spacious the DNA Pro's sound appeared to be. Aided by the lean and tight spatial cues, there was a nice amount of air in between audio cues. The stereo separation can be summed up with one word: Stellar.

The soundstage was less impressive in Dolby Headphone virtual surround gaming, in part due to the added warmth Dolby headphone tends to impart on headphones. Closed headphones tend to suffer due to this warmth, and the DNA Pro is no exception. That being said, I was getting some inconsistency when it came to gauging the soundstage on the DNA pros. In some instances, the DNA Pro had open-like soundstage, yet in others, it sounded boxed in and unimpressive. Due to this, I'll say the DNA pro's soundstage is good overall, and even great at times, especially in stereo.



As usual, soundstage and positional cues tend to go hand in hand, and while I felt the soundstage can be inconsistent at times in virtual surround, the positional cues were not. They were always quite precise to my ears, and clearly defined. Better defined than even the Sony MA-900 in direct comparison, which sounded hazy in comparison. The inconsistent soundstage would at times, box in the positional cues, making rear cues to sound less convincing.



It has been awhile since I've heard a closed headphone sound this clean and energetic. It was definitely a surprise to my ears. As mentioned before, the bass isn't the fastest or tightest, though it stills hold great control of itself. The mids are clean, lean, focused and sharp. The treble holds plenty of air without becoming too edgy or grating. This all adds up to a fun, yet clean sounding headphone.


Not necessary.

I find the DNA Pro to be quite sensitive, and unless you like a particular flavor an amp adds, I don't see it really needing one. The DNA Pro sounds magnificent with minimal amping, everything else being icing on a pretty delicious cake.

Personal Recommendation?:

Movies, Music, In General ? Yes
Gaming? Maybe

I find it to be the best alternative I've personally heard to the Mad Dog for those looking for another well isolating/closed headphone with a bit more fun/energy. At around $280, if you want a well isolating headphone that controls noise like a world champion, easy to drive, portable, and stylish, the DNA Pro is an attractive option. If you happen to own the X1 and want something similar in closed form, the DNA Pro is quite close, from what I personally hear. I'm a bit adamant to recommend it as a GAMING headphone, however due to inconsistent soundstage which may make the DNA pro lag behind the better competitive gaming headphones.


Since I don't have any closed headphones with me to directly compare at the time of this review, I can only say that the DNA Pro's strengths remind me a lot of the Philips Fidelio X1's strengths, aside from the obvious closed/open differences. Both are lively on the bottom and top, with everything in between being well behaved. The X1 has a better lower midrange, while the DNA Pro has a better upper midrange. The DNA Pro has more definite control in the bass, where the X1 can come off a bit bloated at times. The X1 is obviously the more open sounding, with definite superiority in soundstage, though for a closed headphone, the DNA Pro can put out some convincingly spacious and clear audio cues. Pretty convinced that those with X1's looking for a closed headphone would enjoy the DNA Pros.

Comparing it directly with one of my absolute personal faves, the Sony MA-900, the DNA Pro bested the Sony in terms of clarity and definition overall. Whereas the MA-900 sounded a bit diffused and slightly hazy, the DNA Pro showcased some very impressive definition of audio cues. Sound effects were sharp and precise, at the expensive of some weight/body. The higher ranges sounded a bit soft and laid back on the MA900 (which I'm personally fine with), while the DNA Pro brought out a sparkle noticeably lacking on the MA-900. The extension on the bottom and top are superior on DNA Pro in every single way. The soundstage, imaging, midrange and warmth are the MA-900's forte, which wasn't quite up to par on the DNA Pro.

Final Impressions:

I'm heavily leaning towards really loving the DNA Pro. They sound absolutely fantastic, with one of my absolute favorite sound signatures, tonal balance, and audio fidelity. In terms of a closed-back headphone, there truly isn't much more I can ask for that the DNA Pro doesn't happily provide. It's got great sound quality, amazing noise isolation, and demands very little power to sound fantastic.

My gripes with it are almost entirely on it's build quality, mainly how it ties directly to comfort (or lack thereof), due to strong clamp, lack of headband extension for bigger heads, synthetic-leather pads (which are admittedly comfortable for faux-leather, but still lacking in comfort in comparison to cloth/velour pads). These are personal gripes, and your mileage may vary. I expect those with smaller heads may find no real issue with the DNA Pro's comfort.

Final Scores...

Fun: 8.5/10 (Great. If you're in the market for closed headphones and want a fun tonality without sacrificing quality, I, in all honesty can't recommend anything else more than the DNA Pro. Yes, it's that impressive.)

Competitive: 7/10 (Good. Great at times, but decent in others, I'll average the competitive aspect to be good. The clarity of sound cues is stellar, though with the soundstage being a bit closed in at times, I can't say it'd be a replacement to the more competitive open-backed headphones, even if some of them may not match the DNA Pro in definition.)

Comfort: 6.5/10 (Decent. Personally, I find them to be passable at best due to the tight fit that forces the headband against my skull, strong clamp, and faux-leather pads which trap heat. Those with smaller heads may have better luck in finding them more comfortable.)

Overall: 8/10 (Great. To say that the DNA Pro was a surprise is an understatement. The DNA Pro is a testament to Monster's constant evolution and growth. Had it been a bit more comfortable and durable, it would've easily been placed among my personal favorite headphones, period. While it may not particularly excel at gaming, it has everything else completely under it's control. If they manage to build upon the winner they have in the DNA Pro, I believe the Monster name will not only stay popular in the general consumer market, but in the audiophile market as well.)


No other DNA Pro impressions?  I heard it briefly at a Best Buy and was impressed.  No congestion like the smaller regular DNA, more refinement, and vocals so clean, quite possibly as clean as K70x or the pimped out T50RP that I used to have.  I was actually enjoying the overall sound.  Now on Amazon as well, by the way, not just Best Buy.

post #20989 of 30082
I heard the vanilla DNA at my Office Depot, where they rarely have customers and you can plug the headphones into your own gear. No broken headband, but when fully extended I could see how it would put leverage against a 1/3 centimeter plastic piece and break.

And I can see why you said congested, almost a flat soundstage, but the frequency curve and detail were pretty fun, and I could see someone buying them for their audio (as compared to the original beats, some of the Bose, and the Sony XB500 which perplexingly I have only seen in the wild, with a kid DJ).
post #20990 of 30082

The soundstage depth has nothing to do with it sounding congested.  If too many sounds played at once within the midrange, the headphone became congested.  My SR225 and SR325 both have a literally flat soundstage (absolute zero depth), yet they never become congested even with very complex passages.  I heard the on-ear DNA at Office Depot before as well, same result.

Edited by Mad Max - 2/17/14 at 6:03pm
post #20991 of 30082

Figures that other things I want are popping up for sale...something's gotta give if I'm going to have a chance at buying them before anyone else. Damn my general interest in exotic, expensive hardware...


I guess that means I'll have to part with the MA900, if anyone's still interested in it with everyone hyping the Fidelio X1 instead and all. They're a good set, but they honestly haven't seen much use ever since I got the MMX 300.

post #20992 of 30082
Mad Max,
Oh I meant it had some congestion AND the soundstage seemed flat AND it had a fun freq response... So I back you up smily_headphones1.gif

What did you find? Another flight sim thingie, like a switch panel/dashboard to pair up with your joystick? Or... something STAXy? Probably not headphones tho... And I bet you feel authentic because weren't the MMX300 designed for aviation (control towers and pilots) anyway?

Mad and others with mixamps...
How do I hook up my own headphones and mic!?

I felt like trying the Mixamp's marquee distinguishing feature, but I realized it was designed for headsets featuring a mic channel integrated into the plug. Mine didn't come with a splitter... well it did, but in the other direction with male plugs for connecting to a PC. I thought "well OK, I can use the mobile cable that came with the A30s" (btw the A30s were mailed away for service), BUT the mic jack is 2.5 and I can't fit anything inside anyway with my fat AKG plug right next to it!

Do I really have to buy a TRRS smartphone splitter with female mic and audio jacks?
Edited by Evshrug - 2/17/14 at 6:25pm
post #20993 of 30082
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post
What did you find? Another flight sim thingie, like a switch panel/dashboard to pair up with your joystick? Or... something STAXy? Probably not headphones tho... And I bet you feel authentic because weren't the MMX300 designed for aviation (control towers and pilots) anyway?


Beyerdynamic claims the MMX 300 is based on one of their aviation headsets, but authenticity isn't the reason I keep it.


The reason is, of all things, the microphone. It's much, much better than my desk mic, and I doubt that many have the ability to effectively filter out the noise of my Model M. Meanwhile, the headphone section is good enough for positional audio that I don't feel like I have to reach for the MA900 every time I want to start gaming, and the comfort's good enough for long gaming sessions. It's not perfect, but it's good enough.


The thing in question is a TM HOTAS Cougar...with a ton of mods included, most specifically the sought-after U2-NXT gimbal mod with a reputation for perfect smoothness. You could say it's like the STAX of the flight stick world.


It's been one of my goals to evaluate it, but the U2-NXT itself is naturally quite expensive (moreso than the HOTAS Cougar itself is) and has limited production runs (made by one man in Australia as a hobby, CNC-milled out of solid aluminum), plus it's made for a now-discontinued HOTAS setup which has only gone up in price by several hundred dollars since discontinuation. If I miss this opportunity now, who knows when I'll get another chance?

post #20994 of 30082
It's off-topic from the current conversation, but is anyone here planning to get Metal Gear Solid V? I find it a bit of an annoyance that you need to get Ground Zeroes to know the backstory for The Phantom Pain...

I ask because this was announced today:
post #20995 of 30082
Thread Starter 
I thought I was pretty thorough with the DNA Pro impressions.

I LOVE their sound (seriously, if they fit right and are more comfy, I could live with them as my only headphones).

As for the DNA On Ear, I'm using them as my gaming headset. Yes, it's not as detailed as the Pro, and yes it's tilting in bass, but because the mids and treble are generally even with one another, you only have to contend with the bloom in bass, which doesn't really swallow up the other frequencies when I'm playing games. I have been doing quite well with it, actually. The soundstage is small, but locating sounds isn't hard to do, and I like the small footprint.
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Mad and others with mixamps...
How do I hook up my own headphones and mic!?

I felt like trying the Mixamp's marquee distinguishing feature, but I realized it was designed for headsets featuring a mic channel integrated into the plug. Mine didn't come with a splitter... well it did, but in the other direction with male plugs for connecting to a PC. I thought "well OK, I can use the mobile cable that came with the A30s" (btw the A30s were mailed away for service), BUT the mic jack is 2.5 and I can't fit anything inside anyway with my fat AKG plug right next to it!

Do I really have to buy a TRRS smartphone splitter with female mic and audio jacks?

Yep, gotta buy the female splitter that converts to one output. Dunno why your Mixaamp doesn't come with one.
post #20996 of 30082
Saaaaad face... It came with the A30 mobile cable instead. And a splitter in reverse, to hook up a smartphone headset to a computer with separate mic and stereo jacks. At least I have a PSN chat cable.
post #20997 of 30082

Just saw that DNA on-ear is on sale for $99 at Office Depot (of all places) right now.  Seems like a pretty good price for those. 


You say you're using them for your main gaming set right now, but you only rated them a 7.  Is it just because you wanted a change of pace?

post #20998 of 30082

EDIT : Answered my own question!!

Edited by Jason Bourne - 2/18/14 at 12:28am
post #20999 of 30082
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Stillhart View Post

Just saw that DNA on-ear is on sale for $99 at Office Depot (of all places) right now.  Seems like a pretty good price for those. 

You say you're using them for your main gaming set right now, but you only rated them a 7.  Is it just because you wanted a change of pace?

How did I give the DNA On Ear a 7, when I haven't even reviewed it yet? I reviewed the DNA Pro. Two completely different headphones.

I'm using the DNA because I don't have a headset on hand, and the DNA works with the Vmoda BoomPro. My A30s are currently at Astro for fixing or replacing. Again, this is only when I voice chat on CoD with my buddies. I use my MA900 every other time.

And this is why I wish I never went with a scoring system. ONLY a 7? A 7 is GOOD. Good =/= bad. Anything I rate good is good enough to use. If not, I wouldn't have said they're good.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 2/18/14 at 3:17am
post #21000 of 30082

It's the same with game reviews. People are often even dissapointed with an 8. A 7 is downright bad even. Ridiculous. :ph34r:

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