TYPE: Closed, on-the-ear and around-the-ear headphones
PRICE: $129.99 and $359.99, respectively
When it comes to styling their over-ear headphones, Spider has so far taken a rather literal-minded approach. Let's start with the Spider PowerForce, which Spider decided to style with the word "spider" in mind. Huge spider logos on the earcup endpieces; molded spiderweb pattern around the entire outer rim of each earcup; quilt-stitched headband padding that reminds me of (you guessed it) a spiderweb. The Spider PowerForce looks to me like an extremely spider-themed Heil Sound Pro Set 3 headphone (which I haven't yet heard, so I can't confirm whether the Heil is or isn't the PowerForce's sonic equal).
Here's the thing, though: The PowerForce is actually a very good headphone, especially if you're the type who prefers emphasized bass response. Yes, I know, that description--in consideration of the styling--might make you think I'm foisting a typical consumer basshead headphone your way, but you'd be wrong. The PowerForce actually has good midrange presence, and surprising treble clarity. And the bass, though prominent, has good control and speed. The PowerForce is a wonderful headphone for the person who has audiophile tendencies blended with a dash of basshead bent. Depending on what I'm listening to, depending on my mood, I can occasionally be described that way, so I really like the PowerForce's combination of sonic qualities. But that styling...hmmm... I can forgive the styling for the price, which, with careful shopping, I've seen come in substantially lower than the $129.99 price I've listed. I can recommend it at its price, but finding it for less makes it an even easier recommendation if the sound I've described appeals to you, too.
While we're back on the subject of styling, Spider chose to style its flagship Moonlight Studio Monitor with the word "moon" firmly in mind. Each gigantic (and I do mean gigantic) earcup has a very prominent design that I'm guessing is supposed to look like a lunar eclipse. The ends of the headband have very proud crescent ornaments adorning them, and the sizing portion of the yokes have hanging circle ornaments that I imagine may be intended to symbolize full moons. Rather shockingly, Spider missed an opportunity to style the yokes as still two more crescents (and I'm glad for it). However, with its very extensive use of brushed aluminum, I will admit that the Moonlight Studio Monitor's appearance has grown on me, and is certainly unique.
Intended as a professional monitor, the Moonlight Studio Monitor, in my opinion, sounds quite good. I'd describe this headphone as revealing, and sometimes mildly unforgiving. Bright? Perhaps a bit, but not to the extent that, say, the Shure SRH1440 is (I'm a Shure fan, but that model is just too bright for me). I haven't had issues with sibilance with the Moonlight Studio Monitor (which is something I'm quite sensitive to); and I actually appreciate its level of treble presence when I'm listening at lower volumes (which is how I listen more often than not). Midrange clarity is also good, but sounds mildly recessed to me. Bass impact and extension sounds good and seems nimble enough, but perhaps with a bit of upper-mid-bass emphasis.
Given its tonal balance, I can see why Spider fancies this model a professional studio monitor. Soundstaging for a closed headphone is also very airy, very spacious, perhaps helped by the large sized earcups. I have to imagine Spider's Ronny Tsai is a fan of classical and jazz, as his flagship tends to shine most with music in those genres, and other acoustic music.
The Moonlight Studio Monitors earpads seem to be made of synthetic leather over thick memory foam. I've found that it takes a little while (well under a minute, but longer than most earpads) to settle into a good seal on my big ol' head. And getting a good seal is very important with this headphone--otherwise you may think it bright and bass light.
My biggest strike against the Moonlight Studio Monitor is its cable, which has to be one of the worst stock headphone cables I've come across in quite some time. The Moonlight's cable is a dual-entry design (which is fine with me), and is covered in what feels to me like thick Techflex (which is not fine with me). This covering makes the cable ultra-stiff, abrasive feeling, and virtually impossible to dress--it doesn't want to coil or wrap, it wants to be straight. So on my to-do list now is a call to Moon Audio, ALO Audio, or Toxic Cables to ask for a custom cable solution for an otherwise very nice headphone.
Perhaps Spider thought that standing out in an increasingly crowded market necessitated extreme styling, not just good sound. I'll leave it up to you to decide on how they look; but the PowerForce and Moonlight Studio Monitor are, in my opinion, very good sounding headphones that merit your sonic consideration.