Monoprice 8320 IEM

Average User Rating:
3.86364/5,
  1. Mossey
    4.0/5,
    "Exceptionally good for the price IF you can get a seal"
    Pros - mids are fairly well detailed, especially for the price, headphone is also surprisingly detailed (and bright) which leads to significant fatigue.
    Cons - Bass extension if rather low, you can hear it, however don't expect much visceral impact
    I've been a headfi stalker for many, many years, joining when the ER4 and whatever Shure or UE equivalent were just accepted as king, in fact the single most expensive thing I ever bought was with my own money in high school was a pair of brand new ER4P's. With the exception of the custom UE10's, these were basically the most highly regarded IEM or even headphone/earphone, this side of an Orpheus at the time.
     
    However this is the first time I've felt compelled to post a review as by and large I think my hearing has deteriorated (I became an attack helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army for several years, the combination of turbine engines are 5.56 just ruined my hearing, and as such I've generally been more attracted to bass centric headphones lately- but, for whatever reason, recently seem to have been regained my high frequency hearing or at least the appreciation of what I have left..
     
    So why am I reviewing the Monoprice 8320? Well, they're absolutely terrible, at least without the right fit. I'd read an insane amount on amount on them but still bought them and they'd always sounded terrible to me, the other night my RHA T10i's failed on me again (not a well made headphone despite the looks) and I was left with either my 7506's which I couldn't find, earpods or the monoprices, so I grabbed the monoprices after already having them written them off as being terrible, despite trying 5 or 6 different tip combinations and...suddenly I found one that fit, sillicon earbuds that I think I actually got from jabra bluetooth earphones. 
     
    For whatever reason they fit perfectly, even without  playing music playing the isolation was exceptional and this benefitted a very specific type of rock, mainly, low-fi recorded rock, a good example is Interpol, who despite having great music, seem to have initially terrible recordings on their first two albums. The Monoprices' strength seem to be in digging up enough detail and melodic mids to sound good but without being able to resolve the flaws. There's no doubt they sound terrible without the right fit but once you do get it, I honestly think it's one of the most enjoyable rock music IEMs I've ever had for lower-fi recordings..
     
    Cheers
    Alex
  2. SethDove
    1.0/5,
    "Perplexed by their reputation--these are cheap, and sound awful"
    Pros - None
    Cons - Cheaply made, gaudy looking, terrible sounding
    I got some of these based on their crazy-good reputation. Even for the $6 I paid I feel ripped off. Worst pair I can remember. What in the world is everyone talking about? These are so gaudy looking, and feel cheaply put together. I could overlook those things if they sounded like everyone says. But they don't. I can't remember disliking the sound quality of an IEM this much. These are just awful. I feel like I am in a Twlight Zone with these things. Their reputation can't be real. No amount of "breaking in" will fix this garbage. They were six dollars, and sound like one dollar. 
    sounavaghosh likes this.
  3. engineerd3d
    5.0/5,
    "Excellent for the money"
    Pros - Great sound, once broken in the mids are very clear.
    Cons - You need to burn in these headphones, otherwise they sound flat.
    I bought my first set of 8320 two years or more back. They were very flat in the beggining then someone sugested these should be burned in for a few days with white noise. An old cell phone and white noise generator helped break these things in. Man o man what a difference. Made my bose IEM look like dollar store headphones. Sound is a relative thing IMHO just like taste in food. Some like certain foods more or less. I stopped buying other types of IEM's. Simply put these are the most durable IEM's I have ever had, once you perform some choice upgrades they can be awesome.
     
    I wore these for more than 2 years daily for at least 3 hours a day. They have never let me down.
     
    My suggestions would be as follows.
     
    1 - Get some better tips for these.
    2 - Get a set of earplugs and cut them short and puch out a hole in them. Put them behind the tips for extra spring.
    3 - do not forget to wrap the cable behind your ear to reduce microphoning of the cable. (Helps tremendously)
     
    I even designed a 3d printable holder for these so you can store them in style. Here is a link. -> https://www.youmagine.com/designs/monoprice-8320-headphone-holder
     
    I Even bought two more pairs to keep as spares as these after 2+ years are looking raged, but they are still 100% functional. If I bought 10 pairs I could have a lifetime supply of these. 
     
    -Bruno
    thegiraffepope and Haden2866 like this.
  4. Talai
    4.0/5,
    "Probably the best IEM under $10"
    Pros - Great clarity, looks interesting
    Cons - Lack of bass, lots of microphonics, easy to tangle
    Hey Head-fi,
     
    The 8320 have a lot of hype, but there are several aspects of it that I can't help but dislike. However, if you can look past these issues then it's really a very nice IEM.
     
    Here's my review:
    [​IMG]
     
    To sum it up:
    There's a surprising amount of clarity, though instrument separation isn't the best. I felt that there was a distinct lack of bass (this could possibly be attributed to an improper seal, though I was under the impression that they were sealed adequately.). Comfort is a bit of an issue, as the top of the 8320's dig into my ear a bit. Microphonics are strong with this one (and they leak more sound than would be expected), but the mids and highs are quite good for the price. Just don't expect too much from them...
     
    I'd love any feedback that you have, and thanks for the inspiration!
  5. skwrl
    2.5/5,
    "Meh"
    Pros - Clear sound. Cheap.
    Cons - No bass. Weak subs.
    First off, I got the 9963's, because there were lots of comments about how it's the better deal.
    Got these because of all the head-fi rave, but they sound mediocre to me at best. Honestly, I'm not audiophile, and my hearing has been getting noticeably worse as of late, but these sound no different from my beat up MDR-J10s. Could be just me, but I was really disappointed after all the hype. I felt NO punch from the bass, and the build quality is no different than those mdrs. The driver enclosure is big on me (and I have pretty average size ears), hurts because of the stupid sharp ridges on the outside (I'd file it down, if I cared more about it. I nearly tossed it though), and the cable really feels cheap.
     
    I used the J10s for a longass time with no complaint and these sound really no better to me, but I guess I was just in search of something stronger. This wasn't it for me. I need to feel my bass, not this squeaky crap that hurts my ears.
     
    Went ahead and dropped 6x the money for a proper IEM ...
  6. Harry Mudd
    5.0/5,
    "Considering the price these 'phones are the greatest value in audio I have ever found. "
    Pros - Sound can be excellent, depending on the source. Price is the best value to be found.
    Cons - Fit and seal can be difficult. Cord is kind of strange, looks GREAT but is actually kind of stiff and kinky. Needs a neck slider.
    I bought these cheap 'phones because of all the hype I saw on Head-Fi. The hype is so well deserved that I registered to Head-Fi just to add my weight behind these earphones!
    I use these on my Sansa Fuze+ player and they sound absolutely excellent! With a good seal, which admittedly is difficult to get, the base can rattle your eyeballs....... NO KIDDING...... I was amazed.
     
    My gold standard for "phones is the Koss Porta-Pro, And the various formats using that same drivers. On my Sansa Fuze+ the Porta Pros sound BREATHTAKING.... But I actually prefer the Monoprice over the Porta-Pros. There is an over-all pleasing and satisfying quality to these "phones that is difficult to explain. The sound is different than the Koss, Since the Koss are PERFECT, this would indicate that the Monoprice is inferior. Even so I consistently reach for the Monoprice and am extremely satisfied with the sound.  They are more efficient that the Porta Pros Too.
     
    Now to be fair I also own a Sangean DT_400W pocket radio. This is a VERY high quality radio and the sound is WONDERFUL in headphones........ Except these Monoprice 6320s sound harsh and middy with that radio. The sangean's BassBoost switch only adds boominess to the mix. I would love to love the Monoprice on that platform also....... But no, the Porta Pros are the only way to go there.
     
    For the $8 you just can't beat these "phones! My Koss cost $35 ON CLOSE OUT SALE, yet the Monoprice are every bit the equal on some platforms such as the Sansa player. The Monoprice will take amplification to the point of pain, in spite of the better efficiency...... I just don't have amp enough to make these drivers clack bottom. I can overdrive the Koss with the same amp.
     
    If you don't like these 'phones then you didn't get a good seal..... Or your device just doesn't drive them well. The good reviews are ten to one against the bad ones. Buy some Monoprice, They are excellent. If you don't think so, just save them. Another platform will show them to be the (ugly) little jewels that they are! 
     
    UPDATE! -  2/19/16    It's approaching two years since I reviewed the Monoprice 8320 . I am listening to them right now. The cord is all kinked and crinkly, The inside wires are poking through the fabric in tiny loops here and there. They are sporting triple flange MEE Audio tips now, for a quick and reliable seal. Looking rough and sounding WONDERFUL, they are in daily use and still going strong.
     
    Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells........... That low organ pedal note just rumbles, a note nonexistent and not reproduced when listening with full size speakers by the way.  Freakishly clean tinkling highs...... Well...... Just like the ringing of bells! Let's not neglect Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon............ The heartbeat, WHUMP-BUMP.....WHUMP-BUMP.....WHUMP-BUMP, gives chills and goose bumps. The clear and pristine voice of the torch singer on The Great Gig In The Sky brings tears and you don't know why. The clinking of coins onto a table so accurate that you instinctively check your pockets for spilling change. Can you tell that I really love these earphones? The best $8 ever spent! Still going strong what, 20 months later? You can't beat that.
  7. Mike46
    3.5/5,
    "Not bad for a cheap set "
    Pros - better than the average iem that i got with my Cowon D20 and C2
    Cons - For the price none reallly
    Bought these just to see if the hype was justified, and yeah I think it is...
  8. vjcritic
    5.0/5,
    "I can't believe this cheap little thing sounds so good. "
    Pros - Great sound quality, price, tight bass
    Cons - none
    Exceptional sound quality, tight bass, engaging highs and is a nice all rounder. Also found that a headphone amp (FiiO E10 in my case) makes this little guy shine. Great value is what I expect from Monoprice and that is exactly what I got. Lacks extension both in highs and lows but can't really complain for the price.
  9. julian67
    0.5/5,
    "H O R R I B L E "
    Pros - None.
    Cons - Sound irredeemably awful with voices and natural tones. Left vs. Right drivers very unbalanced.
    Purchase and Receipt:

    My Shure SE215 were stolen last week and I wanted a very cheap temporary replacement with over the ear cable routing. I have seen the hype and the hand waving and smelled the BS, but also noticed some reasonable people say some reasonable things about these so thought they would be worth a try.

    I bought these on Amazon UK from the Monoprice UK marketplace seller (fulfilled by Amazon). They cost £5.31 which at the moment is US $8.23. Delivery was free.

    They arrived boxed, with medium size tips attached and a small packet containing one pair each of small and large silicone tips. The model number is MEP-933 and these are the metallic looking style with fabric covered cord.

    First Impressions and Fit:

    These are big for an In Ear Monitor. The driver is very large for this type of 'phone, so the housing is correspondingly large and the tube which holds the eartip is quite long and unusually angled. The silicone tips sit right on the end.

    The cable is fabric covered and routes up and back over the ear. It is shorter than usual for this type of design and at its limit when you take your player out of a trouser pocket or unclip it from a belt or waistband. This is acceptable but not ideal. This is the most tangle prone cable I have encountered. Usually this type of design has a slider on the cable so the cable can be kept snug against the back of the neck. This prevents noise from the cable (often called microphonics) and keeps things tidy and convenient. The Monoprice cable has no such sliding keeper. It doesn't seem important until absent at which point the absence is constantly irritating and inconvenient as the cable slips off the ear and twists and tangles. A zip tie with any excess trimmed does just as well. The cost to a manufacturer of doing this properly could only be in fractions of a penny so the omission looks mean.

    I suppose my ears are medium to large because I have no trouble accommodating these IEMs in my ears and they are perfectly comfortable in normal use. They are extremely light. The tips don't go deep into the ear but are sit in the ear canal entrance and should seal it. Despite the size these don't protrude but sit flush inside the shell of the ear. At first glance these might appeal to anyone who likes to fall asleep with earphones in, however the point where the cable exits is designed without regard to the shape of the ear. It does press onto the ear, there is no avoiding it, and over time causes a pressure point.

    The product description/name/claim "Noise Isolating" is a bit misleading. Almost any other IEM will offer as much or usually more isolation than these. As well as failing to isolate you from external noise the Monoprices also leak sound - people nearby can hear your music. If you expect the kind of isolation offered by Shure, Klipsch and Etymotic IEMs you will be disappointed. Probably the worst aspect of poor isolation is that to mask external noise you tend to raise the volume to extremely high levels without realising it has become loud enough to damage your hearing. These Monoprices are sensitive enough that they can be driven very loud indeed even with a small player so if you need IEMs for use in a noisy environment then avoid these or risk hearing damage.

    Sound Quality:

    NOTE: HUGE EDIT!! I've now spent many hours with these and have tried them with a wide variety of music and they fail so badly in important areas that I have had to rewrite this review to reflect this..

    To clarify: I have used these with the supplied tips, with Sennheiser tips, and with Comply TX-400 tips. With the Monoprice and Sennheiser tips I have also used them modified with material from foam earplugs. I am perfectly familiar with getting and recognising a good seal. With the Comply tips there is no doubt that the foam tips expanding to fill the ear canal makes a very good seal. The modified silicone tips also work really well. The deficiencies I describe in this review are not related to seal or fit issues. I used the Monoprices with good quality sources: iRiver H140 and H340 and a Sansa Fuze+ (all Rockboxed) and also with a Yamaha Home Theatre receiver connected via TOSLINK to my PC. My music files are lossless, flac ripped from CD.

    These Monoprice IEMs have severe defects which are especially obvious when listening to unamplified voices or unamplified instruments. These Monoprices are quite tolerable for short periods with amplified music, and especially electronic musc where natural tones are absent but even then the harsh, unconvincing mid highs become intolerable. I was trying to like these but it isn't possible. I played my lossless rip of my CD of "Christopher Gibbons: Motets, Anthems, Fantasias & Voluntaries" and this was the final proof that these IEMs are irredeemably terrible. This is an album of beautiful solo and choral works and consort music, so there are some exceptional singers supported by a small ensemble of players. It is music composed for the acoustic of an English church (a stone chamber with long decays and reverberations) and was recorded brilliantly in such a place. With good or even just modest headphones it sounds fantastic. Unfortunately these Monoprices produce a hideous and ugly sound as they fail to even begin to offer any lifelike reproduction of natural tones. Out of curiosity I found my iRiver ear buds from about 8 years ago that were supplied with my 2005 model iRiver H340. In 2005 these were low end Sennheiser buds rebranded for iRiver player, real throwaway stuff. They sound way better than the Monoprices! My even more ancient Sennheiser MX-5 buds (good quality buds from the 1990s) were better again. My 2009 Sennheiser CX 95 IEMs sound utterly fabulous in comparison with these Monoprices on this kind of material. Next to the Monoprices my Koss KSC75 seem like they arrived from heaven carried by a unicorn and sprinkled with magic pixie dust. I am sorry to say it but unless you only ever listen to artificial and over produced sounds that are all bass and top end then these Monoprices don't belong in your ears but in the trash, they are that bad. They are easily outperformed by disposable OEM earbuds from decades past, the kind of things people throw out, and so massively outperformed by very modest modern IEMs and portable headphones that any money spent on them is money wasted.

    These earphones are horrible, hideous and not worth even their tiny price.

    Monoprice 8320? Bleeeuuurggh.

    edit: I had another session with these, taking some time with parametric eq to see if/how they could be made usable. It is possible to tame the huge spike at 3000 Hz and to introduce a little warmth at the bottom end but eq only corrects frequency response, it can't help with ringing, distortion, imbalance and other issues and these still sound like ess aich eye tee even with a seemingly quite balanced tone. And it gets worse: what became apparent with attentive listening is that the left and right drivers are seriously unbalanced, one being obviously much louder than the other! These things have not a single positive attribute and the people hyping them (the same few who regularly hype mediocre and poor products) ought to be embarrassed, and a lot quieter too. My advice is to look at the people who started the hype on these, look at the other stuff they relentlessly hype (usually just ordinary or below average even for budget gear), remember their names and in future ignore everything they say.
  10. Taharqa
    4.5/5,
    "Excellent for the Price, amazing sound"
    Pros - Great sound, clarity and price of item
    Cons - Tangle prone cord
    I read reviews on this and I said let me try this out, for $10 I couldn't lose. This surpassed all of expectations for a $10 IEM.
    [​IMG]
    I am going to purchase a set for my wife, she was also blown away by the sound.