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Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (3/18/2016: MrSpeakers Ether C 1.1 Added) - Page 1443

post #21631 of 38800

I really want to get the Fidelio X1's but it pains me to pay $230 when I saw it for sale on Amazon 2 months ago for $150...


So I have a weird question. I bought an Onkyo TX-SR606 receiver to use when I had surround sound ( way too loud in a condo now ). The reason why I got it is because it has analog inputs, so I can connect directly from the sound card's analog 5.1 outputs to the receiver. Now I am getting in to headphones, and I am wondering the best way to set it up. Should I use the receiver, feeding the CMSS-3D to the receiver via optical? Basically it would use the receiver as a DAC/amp, but I am not sure if it is even worth it. I don't know too much info on the Onkyo, whether it is worth the hassle, or if I should just buy something just for headphone use. Also I can connect the sound cards analog outputs to the receiver, and then just plug the headphones in.


I know this isn't really a "PC" thread, but I was just wondering if you thought the onkyo would be a good amp for the headphones. I have no clue what that thing can power.

Edited by Slayn - 3/11/14 at 10:47pm
post #21632 of 38800
Since you say CMSS-3D, I assume your soundcard is a Creative X-Fi Titanium. Optical would normally be the preferred method, though you ought to check it out both ways in case you like it better one way.

I used my Yamaha receiver's DAC and amp with great results. And it is a pretty entry-level receiver (but a clear step-up from the amp in a home-theater-in-a-box).

As far as the holiday deal on the X1... it's highly unlikely you'll see that price again for about a year, maybe it'll never go that low again. My suggestion is, if you decided on the X1, just get it. It's easily a good enough headphone to use for years, and in the great scheme of things (and life of the product) the price won't make much difference.
post #21633 of 38800
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Since you say CMSS-3D, I assume your soundcard is a Creative X-Fi Titanium. Optical would normally be the preferred method, though you ought to check it out both ways in case you like it better one way.

I used my Yamaha receiver's DAC and amp with great results. And it is a pretty entry-level receiver (but a clear step-up from the amp in a home-theater-in-a-box).


That is correct, I have a Titanium, but not the HD. One of those Fataility Pro BBQWTF editions or whatever. So it doesn't have a good headphone amp ( the HD does ), but it at least has the CMSS-3D which I use now. I have some Samson SR-850's which I picked up cheap. They sound better than the scores of "gaming" headsets I've spent $50-100+ on, and I just use a USB mic. I think I will hook it up optical even now and see how it sounds.


Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

As far as the holiday deal on the X1... it's highly unlikely you'll see that price again for about a year, maybe it'll never go that low again. My suggestion is, if you decided on the X1, just get it. It's easily a good enough headphone to use for years, and in the great scheme of things (and life of the product) the price won't make much difference.


You're breakin my heart here :P I'd bite at $200.

post #21634 of 38800
Thread Starter 
It's here! Let me know of any horrible errors:

Monster DNA On Ear


Sells for $199.95

Where To Buy: Amazon
Review (Click to show)
I'd like to thank Monster for giving me the opportunity to test and review the Monster DNA On Ear (the second DNA product sent in for review, the DNA Pro being the first). Placed next to the higher end DNA Pro, it isn't hard to see the difference in size and functionality. The DNA On Ear was released quite a bit earlier than the Pro model, and was tuned a bit differently as well. The DNA on Ear targets a more active demographic, with smaller, more portable, lighter, and (in my opinion), sleeker looks (despite a very similar aesthetic).

How did the DNA On Ear compare to other supraaural headphones, and more importantly, how did it compare to it's younger, bigger, and more expensive sibling? Let's find out...

Build Quality:

I received the Black Tuxedo DNA On Ear, which was visually striking compared to the straight matte black DNA Pro I had on hand. Color differences aside, most of what was said in the DNA Pro review holds true for the DNA On Ear, with two exceptions:

- The metal hinges are on the cup side (as opposed to the DNA Pro's metal hinge being on the headband side).
- The pads are smaller, supraaural (they rest on the ears), and circular in shape (not like the DNA Pro's triangular shape).

I'll paste most of what I said of the DNA Pro's build quality, bolding the edited parts to account for DNA On Ear's difference, as well as omitting DNA Pro specific musings:

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 On Ear 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. The rest is glossy black and prone to fingerprints, as with all manner of black and glossy things in the world. 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. 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, the two flat cables supplied are tangle-resistant, which is always a plus in my book. However, I'm not a fan of the grippy surface of the cables, which tend to snag on my clothing and other objects. There have been worse offenders in that area, however.

The DNA Pro's right cup snapped off the headband recently, which is really not a good sign for it's build quality. The DNA On Ear seems to be on par with the Pro's build, though the extension arms are thinner and likely to be less durable. However, I don't see this being a weak point on either DNA, with the weak point actually being the entry point of the headband, which I'll talk about in the Design Issues section.


The DNA On Ear comes with:

ControlTalk Cable for Apple - a flat 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable with an inline mic with volume buttons. One side ends in a right angle, perfect for pocket use.

MusicShare Cable - 3.5mm to 3.5mm flat cable. This is apparently for when you want to attach a headphone from the DNA to another headphone with a 3.5mm input. However, it's just a basic cable that you can use as your main cable, though it's pretty short (looks to be 3.5ft or so). Good thing is that the DNA On ear has a standard 3.5mm input, so you can use any 3.5mm cable.

Stylish Carrying Pouch - A very nice pouch that should keep the DNA On Ear from getting scratched while on the go, though not much else. It has a string to close tightly, as well as a clip/hook in case you're the type of person who likes to attach things to their pants.

Monster Cleaning cloth - Self explanatory. Good for wiping away the eventual fingerprints and smudges on the gloss.

All in all, I'd say the DNA On Ear comes well equipped with all the necessities, with the exception being a lack of 6.3mm adapter if you plan on attaching these to audio receivers/desktop amps.


Rating: Decent

The DNA On Ear has a few things going against it in terms of comfort:

-It's an on ear design
-Fake leather pads

These two things, paired up with a strong clamping force will almost always lead to a disaster, comfort-wise (Audio Technica ES7). Thankfully, the DNA On ear doesn't clamp strongly. It clamps with just the right amount of force to keep it secured to the head in most situations. That leaves you to contend with it's on ear design and pads. I have recently found out that an on ear design doesn't have to be uncomfortable or torturous, having experienced relatively comfortable headphones like the B&W P3, P5, Astro A30s, Sennheiser Momentum On Ear, and my favorite in comfort, the Ultrasone HS-15 (which is arguably one of the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn, period).

The DNA On Ear isn't going to win any awards based on comfort. Most times it will be respectable. I favor it over the DNA Pro's comfort any day of the week, though I'd say it's only a marginal (but noticeable) improvement. I can wear it for hours on end, and it won't bother me too much, but after awhile, my ears will start to feel raw from the pleather pads. In short, the DNA On Ear's pleather pads harm it's potentially good, or even great comfort. The positive aspects of it's comfort are it's incredibly light weight (no neck fatigue), and small cup dimensions, which makes the DNA On Ear a very good choice for using while laying down and relaxing.

Ironically, while small, the DNA On Ear reaches down to my ears without stressing the extension arms, unlike the bigger DNA Pro. I still have to use them with the arms fully extended, but it's a comfortable length, and it isn't constantly pressing down towards the top of my skull like the DNA Pro.

While the headband has very minimal padding, it's hardly worth mentioning, as the DNA On Ear's weight is mostly supported by the pads/clamp. The headband merely rests on my head, so the little bit of padding used is quite sufficient.

To sum it all up in terms of comfort, the DNA On Ear is decent overall. It could've been very good, even great if non-pleather pads were used. I have been using it as my main headphone for weeks (at the time of this review), and I didn't have much to complain about with the exception of my ears getting quite a bit sore/red due to the pads. Everything else was top notch in comfort.

Design Issues:

- The entry part of the headband that meets with the extension arms is a definite point of weakness. With enough force, the top part of the headband can separate from the bottom part, potentially causing it to snap. I advise everyone to be careful when adjusting the size on your head, and when collapsing the headphone.

Here is an image of what I'm referring to:


As you can see, the headband is starting to split from the stress caused by the extension arm. This is the exact same thing that happened to the DNA Pro which later caused a breaking point, only it was on the cup side, as the hinge was on the opposite from the DNA On Ear. On my particular DNA On Ear this is happening on the left side only. I don't abuse my headphones (sans a few unfortunate ones like the PX100-II and KSC75), so seeing this problem occuring on both the DNA On Ear and DNA Pro is definitely worth noting.


Rating: Great

The DNA on Ear does a great job controlling noise leak, as well as keeping external noise out when in use. It's not the best at attenuating external noises when nothing is playing, but once the DNA On ear plays at a moderate level, the outside world won't be much of a distraction.


Rating: Good

While I didn't expect the DNA On Ear to reach the same level of finesse and technical brilliance as the DNA Pro, I found the DNA On Ear to win me over for different reasons. It is undoubtedly more mainstream oriented than the DNA Pro, with a warm, bass-driven sound signature, without the upper range harshness associated with many mainstream headphones typical tuning. It's actually quite surprising how 'big' it sounds. It throws off a big sound, with a lot of body.

The DNA On Ear is bass first, mids second, treble on par to slightly behind the mids. This means it's warm, full sounding, and non-fatiguing. This is not typical of mainstream branded headphones which tend to have strong bass, a thin midrange, and sparkly, if a bit too much emphasis on treble, which borders on being too fatiguing.

The DNA On Ear will cater to a large demographic, particularly those who want bass, good mids, without it being too basshead-friendly. It's tuning doesn't scream reference, but it doesn't make it less enjoyable either. The DNA On Ear is for those who want fun, lively sound, without analyzing it's intricacies or lack thereof.


Rating: Decent

The DNA On Ear's bass is full, and the most dominant part of the sound spectrum. However, that doesn't mean it specifically caters to bassheads. The bass isn't obnoxious, though it's level can impact the level of clarity in the mids and treble. The bass leads to a nice warmth added to the sound signature, without making the sound signature overly dark, muddy, or veiled (for example, the Nuforce HP800 which is a bit too bassy and overly smooth for my taste).

The DNA OE's bass is on the slow side, soft of note, and it can sound one-note-ish. On the downside, it could stand to be a bit tighter, sharper, faster, and more textured, which the DNA Pro definitely improved upon in comparison. The warm, full bass really lends itself to mainstream music and immersion for media such as action movies or games. The bass definitely makes the DNA On Ear a very fun headphone to use, despite it's flaws.

If you want tight, accurate bass, the DNA Pro is a better choice when it comes to Monster's offerings. If you want a full, heavy bottom end, the DNA On Ear can bring much satisfaction. Bear in mind, the flaws in the DNA On Ear's bass is much less apparent when listening to genres that aren't so reliant on bass. The DNA On Ear can sound particularly clean and well behaved on a regular basis, though if you have many bass heavy tracks, the bass bloom will make the DNA On Ear sound a bit unrefined and lacking in detail compared to other headphones with tighter bass.


Rating: Good

The mids can be deemed to be 'on the level' by normal standards, whenever the bass isn't in full swing. The mids are warm, full sounding, and enjoyable. They can sound a hint laid back when bass is dominating a track, however. I sincerely believe the mids will be either good or ok depending on the track played, mostly due to the DNA's general bass bloom. Overall, I'd say the mids sound just south of neutral. Asides from the bass, I find the mids to sound relatively organic, (always a good thing).


Rating: Good

The DNA On Ear's treble is easily what I could only describe as safe. It's neither overly sparkly or overly rolled off. It doesn't particularly shine or extend infinitely, and it doesn't completely soften up the upper range enough to consider it a smooth headphone in general. I personally like the treble, as it lends itself well to the vocals/mids in particular. The treble (along with the mids), is very reliant on the level of bass. Overall, I'd say it's on the soft/smooth side, though not veiled level smooth. If you're sensitive to treble spikes, the DNA On Ear will be a safe choice. If you don't like overly smooth or rolled off treble, the DNA On Ear may still be a safe choice. It lives in the happy medium between to two extremes, if just a hair on the smooth side.


Stereo: Decent
Virtual surround: Decent

Keep in mind, I was NOT given the DNA On Ear to review for gaming in particular. A headphone like this would normally fall under headphones I'd use mainly for music and nothing else. However, I figured I'd go through my normal process of reviewing a headphone for all manner of things.

The DNA On Ear's soundstage was what I expected from a closed, on ear headphone with a general bass bloom: On the small side. The DNA On Ear's soundstage plays to it's strengths: Mainstream, bass oriented music. It's intimate, immediate, and somewhat in your face. Not something that will lend itself to gaming and spatial awareness.

For virtual surround gaming, I actually found it to work surprisingly well. At the time of this review, I paired up the DNA On Ear with a V-moda BoomPro microphone cable, and it became my main gaming head(set). I must say, while I noted it's lack of soundstage in general, it wasn't completely devoid of one, and the soundstage was just enough to give the positional cues enough space to perform well.

The positive aspect of it's soundstage (in comparison to the DNA Pro) is that while it wasn't large by any means, it felt more circular in shape, whereas the DNA Pro had more oval shaped soundstage that favored width over depth.


Rating: Good

As stated earlier, closed, well-isolating, on ear headphones would throw all sorts of warning signs my way. Headphones like this wouldn't normally perform well for gaming based on my preferences of a large soundstage, and precise imaging and positional cues.

The DNA On Ear doesn't have a big soundstage, nor does it have sharp, focused imaging. To my surprise, the positional cues were still relatively easy to locate, despite it lacking the clarity of the better headphones I've reviewed. While it lacked the clarity, accuracy, width, and spaciousness of the DNA Pro, the On Ear's soundstage came off as more circular, which benefits the transition from side positional cues to ones in the rear. It was easier to identify what positional cues were behind me in comparison to the DNA Pro.


Rating: Decent

The DNA On Ear's clarity is in all honesty, at the mercy of it's bass. As stated before, If a source isn't bass heavy, the mids and treble come off cleanly and evenly. The clarity's biggest enemy is the bass bloom which detracts a bit from the DNA On Ear's strengths in it's tonal balance after the bass.

One other (and important) thing to note: The DNA On Ear likes to be played on the louder side, due to an increase in mid and treble clarity. While the bass may be big and prevalent, it is soft hitting, so it won't mask the mids or treble's increase in clarity, from what I have experienced. Since the mids and treble are generally even with one another, you won't gain unnecessary upper range harshness relative to it's vocals/mids.

If you tend to listen to headphones at a low decibel, the DNA On Ear will more than likely come off as a little muted, hazy and undetailed. This leads me to the conclusion that the DNA On Ear caters to the younger, mainstream crowd that likes their music on the louder side. Ear splitting levels are not necessary, but moderately high volumes seem to be the DNA on ear's sweet spot. At these volumes, the DNA On Ear sounds clear, balanced, and energetic.


Not necessary

The DNA On Ear is one of the most sensitive headphones I have used in a long time, and sounds quite full and engaging off minimal amping. If anything, a portable amp will be more than enough to tighten up the sound a hair, but isn't necessary. If you absolutely must use an amp, I recommend on using solid state amp that is tight, fast, and on the neutral to cold side which would help offset the warmer/slightly smooth tonality of the DNA On ear.

Personal Recommendation?

Movies, Music, In General? Yes
Gaming? Yes

While it isn't one of the most detailed and refined headphones I have tested/owned/reviewed, the tonality is enjoyable for a broad range of music, movies and games. It's full bass adds a ton of immersion for games and movies. The relatively well balanced mids and treble won't cause any aspect of those ranges to sound lacking, especially at moderately high volume level. It's performance for gaming wasn't a stand out, but it performed well enough to pass my tests. In short, the DNA On Ear is enjoyable for all purposes, though it is definitely not without flaws. It wouldn't be my first or second choice for either purpose, but if you happen to own the On Ear, you can rest easy in knowing that it can put in some good work for all media that doesn't bear a huge importance in detail retrieval.

The DNA On Ear wouldn't be on my top list of recommendations (after all, it's the opposite of my preferences: portable, closed, on-ear, and pleather padded), but it's performance works well enough for me to be happy with it regardless. It is a gigantic step above my Astro A30s in almost every aspect.


Monster DNA Pro: The DNA Pro is all aspects a better, more audiophile friendly headphone. The DNA Pro has a cleaner, tighter, sharper, and more focused sound, with fantastic stereo soundstage and clarity. In direct comparison, the DNA On Ear will come off a bit bloated in the bass, slower, lacking in detail, and hazy. The DNA On Ear does have a more circular soundstage for gaming, which I actually do prefer despite it being smaller and having less clarity and precision. The DNA On Ear's bass may be a little more immersive, but since it isn't as refined as the DNA Pro's, I'd score the Pro's fun a bit higher overall.

To be quite honest, they don't share a similar sound. The DNA On Ear is more specialized and tuned for specific purposes, while the DNA Pro has a tonal balance and quality that can be used for all purposes. They are both acceptable as all rounders, but the DNA Pro is a noticeable step up in that regard.

Final Impressions:

The Monster DNA On Ear will undoubtedly resonate more with the mainstream/casual demographic over the audiophile community. The DNA On Ear has big bass that isn't overly dominant, but the heart of it's sound nevertheless. The mid and treble sections are well presented after the bass. The DNA On Ear will be for those who want an attractive, very portable headphone with an upfront presentation without the fatigue of overly aggressive treble. What it lacks in refinement, it makes up with good immersion, good performance all around, and a sound that anyone can enjoy.

If Monster can manage to improve the build quality and lower the bass emphasis a tad, they can have a real winner with a future version of the DNA On Ear. As it stands, the DNA On Ear is a good headphone, though flawed. Most of the groundwork is done. Monster just needs to implement those improvements stated, which will turn the DNA On Ear not just to a good headphone...but a great one.

Final Scores...

Fun: 7.5/10 Very Good (Click to show)
I enjoy the DNA On Ear for all purposes, especially fun gaming and action movies. It's rounded soundstage allows some very good positional cues for added immersion. The potent bass adds a lot to the immersion, but it does take away from it's clarity a little bit.

Competitive: 7/10 Good (Click to show)
The DNA On Ear doesn't have a tough time placing rear sounds, which is always a plus for competitive gaming. The bass's emphasis can detract a little from the good mids and balanced treble, and the imaging isn't as sharp as it's younger, more proficient sibling, the DNA Pro. That said, the DNA On Ear is still one of the better closed headphones I've used for all forms of gaming, due to it's mostly all purpose sound signature, and ease of rear positional cues.

Comfort: 6.75/10 Quite Decent (Click to show)
The comfort is hit and miss. It's incredibly lightweight, the clamp hits the sweet spot between too loose and too tight, the headband is a complete non-issue, and the pads are very soft. The problems mainly lie after prolonged use, when the pressure of the pads resting on the ears may make them quite sore and cause some noticeable discomfort.

Overall: 7/10 Good (Click to show)
The DNA On Ear is among the very few on ear headphones I actually enjoyed.
post #21635 of 38800

WHAT!?!!??! ONLY 7????


Will wait until it costs 5$ during the Steam Holiday sale. 

post #21636 of 38800
Thread Starter 
Lol, I c whut u did thar
post #21637 of 38800
post #21638 of 38800
post #21639 of 38800
Pioneers I tell ya!! True American pioneers! I have a feeling this is going to revolutionize the world
post #21640 of 38800
Front page once again...
post #21641 of 38800
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post
I wouldn't worry so much about advancements in audio. The Koss ESP950 has been around for a long while and it sounds amazing even by today's standards. Same can be said of the Portapro. Lol, both Koss.

A good headphone will always be a good headphone.

Look at the Tesla Beyers, which is the next evolution of the popular 880s/990s/etc, and most people still prefer the older ones.


I find it quite telling that my current all-time favorite headphone, out of everything I've tried, dates back to 1979. That's when Stax introduced a more compact, more conventional take on the SR-Sigma in the form of the SR-Lambda, whose basic frame design is still used to this day...and yet I still prefer those original Lambdas to the SR-202 in terms of tonality and sound presentation. So much for "newer is better".


It also figures that the ESP/950 is said to share a lot of the SR-Lambda's strong suits, especially midrange and vocal reproduction, and most especially when used with a good Pro bias Stax amp.

post #21642 of 38800
This is a completely random question, but I noticed that the link on the front page of Head-Fi conveniently links you to the DNA On-Ear review. I was trying to send someone a link to the X1 review in particular, but I couldn't figure out how to get to the X1 review in the URL. How does one do that exactly?
post #21643 of 38800
Thread Starter 
I have been wondering that same thing, actually.
post #21644 of 38800

Hi Envy, love your detailed headphone guide. I'm wondering if you are going to review the Plantronics Rig system because I'm planning on getting one for my upcoming birthday

post #21645 of 38800
Thread Starter 
I don't even know what that is.

After the K612 review, I'll be doing the Astro A30 and Ultrasone HS15. After that, I kind of want a nice break.
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