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Pioneer Monitor 10 canny sound?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

First off, English isn't my native language so please have mercy.


So, I got a nice pair of Pioneer Monitor 10 headphones from a relative (first and only owner) which look like new but it's sound is very disappointing. Others call the Monitor 10's "impressive" or "like no other" and other superlatives. I don't know if I have a bad pair or not but I don't think this is normal. The right side plays very weak (problem located in the jack, fiddling with the cable confirmed it) but that can be fixed. The real problem is it's 'canny' sound (both sides), higher frequencies are also a bit harsh (not sure if it's normal or it's just me) and the (mid)-lower frequencies are lacking. It's difficult to explain what i'm hearing but's it's almost like I'm listening to the build-in speakers from an iMac... and voices sound like over a telephone. When listening to a frequency sweep I can confirm I do can hear every frequency starting from 25hz and up, but all frequencies below +/- 300hz are underrepresented (fall off at +/- 300hz).


When I really push them against my ears the sound is better, but squeezing them to my ears can't be the way to listen to these. My main headphone is a Sennheiser HD595 and the difference is just mind-blowing. I can simulate the sound (more or less) I get with the Monitors using my Sennheiser's and an equalizer by configuring it like this: Frequencies from 32hz to 250hz all the way down and 8000hz and 16000hz a bit up. I know it's not a very scientific approach and not entirely accurate, but I think you guys might get an idea how it appears to sound. I used different amps but the problem remains.


Any idea what might be wrong (blown? also the jack?)? Anything I can try to restore/repair them (if that's even possible)?

Edited by Chris5488 - 7/7/13 at 4:07pm
post #2 of 6
They are bad give them to me.

Okok, they are quite the rare and collectible headphone. Hard to diagnose over the internet. Take them apart and see if there is anything inside them that shouldn't be there. What country are you in? smily_headphones1.gif

Or, give them to me. I'll even donate you some money. smily_headphones1.gif
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Haha, nope not gonna give them away biggrin.gif. Sentimental value.


I took them apart but everything looked normal. The wiring, the connections and drivers all looked ok, cleaned them (little pieces of dust and some small hairs) and put them back together. Sound is still the same.


However I'm not able to open the jack (source of problem number 1, possibly also source of problem number 2??). I thought it would be possible since it's entirely made from aluminium. I can rotate the pin but it doesn't loosen so it's not screwed together, probably pinched together. On the other hand, I'm not willing to cut it off and replace it since I really like the original jack. Dilemma... 

Edited by Chris5488 - 7/8/13 at 4:41am
post #4 of 6

It's most likely the earpads. The sound issue, that is. Are your pads leather or fabric/velour? If the latter, grab a Pioneer SE-(x)05 off eBay with good pads and you'll be set; they have the exact same pads. They usually go for cheap.


Additionally, I've been having some fit issues with my pair, particularly when I have my glasses on. I find I get a LOT more bass when I take them off. They're kind of hard to wear. I get the best results when the headband is around the back curve of my head and I have the headband clamp set tight.


The Monitor 10 isn't known for its bass, however I find it rather potent when called for. It tends to be a chameleon as far as most aspects of the sound are concerned. The highs are absolutely beautiful though, silky smooth, extended, maybe a tiny bit resonant around the 8kHz region but not enough to sound annoying. They're laid back but every detail is there and the soundstage is sublime. 


They're definitely special headphones. Feel privelaged to have a good pair; most are beat to hell since they were used in studios a lot, including the pair on my head right now. I'm still waiting for another MIB pair to show up for my collection.

Edited by takato14 - 2/18/14 at 9:03pm
post #5 of 6

Hm, after a while of listening to these I can definitely say they're a completely different beast from anything else I've ever heard. 


I do hear the "canny" sound you're describing, but only on some recorded music and simulated reverberation... You can choose to not believe me, but I believe you are hearing the sound waves reflect off the walls of the recording room and/or the artificial room being simulated by DSP. I am not kidding. Their soundstage is THAT precise. I've never heard anything quite like it. Now I see why people love these so much.


They're extremely flat and balanced sounding, especially for their time period.  The treble has an incredibly smooth quality to it while still having every single detail present; it's very pleasant to listen to and makes these a very addicting listen. As was touched on earlier, they have downright ridiculous soundstaging and imaging; my favorite of any headphone, closed or open. I don't know, the Pioneers have a way of making things sound "just right", regardless of genre or production quality.


It belongs on everyone's must-hear list. If you haven't already gotten one of these on your head, do it now.

post #6 of 6

OH, I think I know what's going on. An annoying thing about the Monitor 10's design is that the cable that runs through the headband can get caught between the cup and the adjustments. This makes the cups sit on your head all funky and prevents a seal from being formed, which makes them sound as you describe. Move the cables to the outside of the yoke and you're set.

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