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Universal Fit item created by Clockmaker, Nov 17, 2011
Pros - Best IEM for the Price, Perfect Blend of Highs, Mids and Lows
Cons - Stock Ear Tips are Awful, Cord Tangles, Bulky
After reading Dsnuts' lengthy thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/580769/the-monoprice-8320-mep-933-the-7-11-club, I had to jump on the bandwagon and get a pair for myself.
After opening my package from Monoprice, I see two little plastic bags containing the two pairs of 8320s I ordered. Fancy, I know.
First thing I did, like anyone would do, was try and stick them in my ears. Well, try as I might. I could not get them to stay where they belong. The stock tips are just awful. Made out of a super cheap, flimsy rubber. Impossible to get a good seal and if you have ears like mine, they will just pop out.
Luckily, changing out the ear tips is about the easiest mod you can do. I quickly went to my bin of earphones and stole the tips off my JVC Marshmallows. They fit like a glove on the 8320.
I then placed the Monoprice "mini hair dryers" into my ears. Sat back and in moments, I was in bliss. My first thought is... How can they sound this good? Am I imagining it? Is my brain filling in the gaps of sound? These are $7 IEMs!
They are better than the hype. You just have to hear them to believe it.
Tips about the Tips:
To get the best sound out of these little monsters, make sure you get either aftermarket tips that fit, like the Comply T-400 or Sony EPEX10A/BLK Hybrid. That or find tips from other earphones you have laying around.
Also, very important to get the non-stock tips as far down your ear canal as you can. The farther down, the better the bass and overall sound.
Here is a picture of my 8320s, with tips from my JVC Marshmallows:
One thing is for sure, as you will see pictures of other people wearing these, is that the "R" and 'L" stamped on each IEM should be sitting upright as you have them in your ears.
Most people will say, you should have the cord run over the back of your ear. I slightly disagree with this. The plastic part that comes out of the earphone faces downwards. It seems silly to me to then bend it back and run it over the ear. For me, just letting the cord hang down works best.
In this picture you will see how I wear them (and my ears seem to be built for these, they fit PERFECT).
Highs: The highs never seem to become too harsh, yet there is lots of detail. They roll off very well.
Mids: LOVE the mids. They are fun and forward.
Lows: Get a good seal and these will bump. They also respond very well to some bassier EQ Settings. Fun song to really get a feel of what these can do. Try: Tron Legacy Soundtrack (Daft Punk) - Solar Sailer. And put up the bass.
Overall Sound: For me, the mix of Highs, Mids and Lows fit together so well. I can listen to them with almost any kind of music. The are great all around IEMs.
Bottom line. Buy these. Buy them now. Buy multiple pairs for yourself and for friends/family. The more you buy, the cheaper they get!
Pros - musical, rythmic, natural, balanced, soundstage
Cons - Stock tips, treble extension, cable,
These are amazing regardless of price. The sound is very likable, energetic, and fun while staying balanced and with natural timbre. The bass has nice impact, just the right amount. And it has decent extension. It is very on time and snappy. Really some of the best bass I've heard from a headphone under $300. The midrange is actually pretty forward sounding, right in line with the bass. It has a lot of detail and sounds natural. There is some cloudiness and fog in the mids, but not from being recessed. If anything they start to sound shout-ey at higher volumes. The treble is rolled off very early and not really detailed at all. The treble is there but stays in the background and never does anything special. But at least they don't fatigue your ears. The soundstage is very very good for an IEM and provides lots of depth and shape. The soundstage and imaging is a big part of what makes these headphones detailed. Everything is placed in a certain spot so your brain can then recognize a sound is being played based on location. This headphone made me realize how much a proper soundstage and phase response makes a big difference.
What I like best about this headphone is its very easy to see the whole picture, all the details going at once and in sync. My brain finds it easy to psycho acoustically comprehend the sound. With the 8320, its like being in a helicopter high above a forest, seeing every tree and getting a vast picture of what the forest looks like overall. With the DT48, its like being on the ground with a microscope, seeing and smelling each tree up and personal.
A quick word on the rest: Stock tips suck, they kinda look cheap and cyborg like. The comfort is good enough for me. Isolation is pretty weak, not much to speak of but it does offer a tiny bit. It improves little with better tips. The sound will improve a lot, better bass response and an even more full sound.
I just think these are good sounding headphones regardless of price. They could have changed the tangle prone cable, color the casing, different tips, put a logo on it, and sold it for $100 and I would still buy it. But I do hope they stay cheap. I beleive that eventually, the emerging high end, budget IEM and headphone market from china will dominate this industry. I mean, most headphones don't cost much to make. If you can make a headphone sound like this with dirt cheap materials, then your in business.
Pros - Unheard of sound quality and build quality at its price
Cons - Not the most isolating IEMs.
Allow me to preface this by saying that I have way more experience with headphones. The only IEMs I've ever owned before this were some cheapie $20 Sony IEMs, the MeElec CW31s, and the MeElect M9-BK. I've sold every IEM I've owned before this one, mostly because I felt like they never got any head time compared to my full-sized cans.
The packaging for the 8320 was about was minimalist as you can get -- there were the IEMs with inserts already on, no alternative inserts, no box, just a small plastic bag.
The design felt pretty solid, especially for a headphone of its price. The clothed cable was a nice touch and felt like a definite step up over typical cables for low end earbuds and IEMs, but it did feel cheap. I did find that they very often got tangled. I'm actually very impressed with the durability of the cable so far. I've already accidentally hard slammed the car door on this cable, pulling the Monoprices out of my pocket with such force that one of the tips flew off and they still worked perfectly afterwards.
The comfort could be better, but I'm not a giant fan of cheap IEM comfort. The lack of additional, different sized inserts is somewhat annoying, but they're also $7. The comfort is acceptable, but not something I'd want to wear all day.
As for the sound, the bass is tight and punchy. The sub-bass isn't quite that extended and you get the typical dynamic driver drop-off at the sub-bass frequencies. Bass had a solid amount of impact, but the rumble made bass-heavy electronic music feel a little lacking. Overall, though, I found the bass response to be solid. The mids had a surprising amount of clarity. By no means was it crystal clear, but it was better than I remembered my CW31s. Overall, the details in the mids and highs was solid.
For the price, I give the Monoprice 8320s my highest praise. They're certainly not hi-fi audio, but they're absolute monsters in their price range. Most $7 earphones sound and feel like absolute crap, but these could definitely compete with the $20-40 MeElecs.