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Moni One Hybrid IEM

Rating:
4.75/5,

Recent Reviews

  1. peter123
    Excellent triple hybrid from Moni
    Written by peter123
    Published Dec 18, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Sound quality, build quality, value for money
    Cons - Lack some weight on male vocals
    This is a review of the Moni One IEM’s.
     
    IMG_4555.jpg IMG_4556.jpg
     
    The Moni One was sent to me from AK Audio Store for free for the purpose of me making a review of them. I’d like to grab the opportunity to say thank you to July for letting me try them out, THANK YOU!
     
    The Moni One is available from AK Audio Store on Aliexpress. The price at the time for this review was $99:
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Newest-Moni-one-Hybrid-In-Ear-Earphone-2BA-with-1DD-HIFI-Bass-Metal-In-Ear-Headset/32754751166.html?spm=2114.10010108.1000013.2.nm2T16&scm=1007.13339.33317.0&pvid=9981fffb-76de-44cb-a306-8b3604517d8d&tpp=1
     
    I’m not in any way affiliated with Moni or AK Audio Store.
     
    About me:
    I’m a 44 year old music and sound lover that changed my focus from speakers to headphones and IEM’s about five years ago. At that time I realized that it wasn’t realistic for me to have all the different setups that I wanted and still house a family of four children and a wife so my interest turned first to full sized headphones and later also IEM’s.
     
    My preferences are towards full sized open headphones and I believe that also says something about what kind of sound signature I prefer (large soundstage in all directions, balanced and organic sound).
     
    My music preferences are pretty much all over the place (only excluding classical music, jazz and really heavy metal). My all-time favorite band is Depeche Mode although I also listen to a lot of grunge/indie, singer/songwriter/acoustical stuff as well as the typical top 40 music.
     
    I do not use EQ, ever.
     
    I tend to value function over form within reasonable limits.
     
    I’m a sucker for value for money on most things in life Head-Fi related stuff is no exception.
     
    Built and accessories:
    The Moni One is a hybrid in-ear monitor featuring one dynamic driver and two balance armature drivers.
     
    AFAIK it comes only in one flavor.
     
    The build in general is very solid. The housings are all metal and feel really sturdy and reliable. The MMCX cable connector points on the housings seem to be very tight and once the cable is connected it takes quite a bit of power to remove it so it stays in place without any problems.
     
    The L/R marking is actually not located on the housings themselves but on the connector on the included cable. I’d have preferred some kind of marking on the actual housings as well to see more easily which side is which but on the other hand the two housings are identical so it’s not a big deal.
     
    The included quality is of good quality, not quite up there with the LZ cables but not too far behind either. It has good flexibility and strain reliefs are in place in all the crucial placers. The Y-split seems solid without being overly large and there’s L/R marking on the connectors, unfortunately these are black on black so they can be a bit difficult to spot. The 3.5 mm jack is a straight one and although it seems sturdy I personally prefer angled ones.
     
    The retail package is quite nice and about average for the price point.
     
    The accessories include the following:
    3 pair of silicone tip (S/M/L)
    3 pair of double flange tips (S/M/L)
    1 zippered storage pouch
     
    The current retail package does also include a silicone “sleeve” that one can fit over the bass port on the stem to increase bass presence. Unfortunately this piece of equipment wasn’t included with my sample so I can really say how it works out in practical usage but this is what it looks like:
     
    Monisleeve1.jpg Monisleeve2.jpg
    Pictures from AK Audio Store
     
    The Moni One is slightly easier than average to drive and worked very well with all the sources I’ve tried it with including cellphones. I don’t find them to benefit significantly from a more powerful amplifier and they seem to work well with all the sources that I’ve tried them with.
     
    IMG_4560.jpg IMG_4564.jpg
     
    IMG_4562.jpg IMG_4563.jpg
     
    IMG_4565.jpg IMG_4566.jpg
     
    IMG_4570.jpg IMG_4572.jpg
     
    The specs:
    Housing
    Metal
    Driver Unit
    1 DD + 2BA
    Frequenzy range
    18hZ – 25kHz
    Sensitivity
    125dB
    Impedance
    16Ohm
    Weight
    14 g
    Cable lenght
    1.2m

     
    Fit and ergonomics:
    I find the Moni One to be very comfortable and I’ve got no problem wearing them for several hours. They are preferable over ear wearing style and they sit quite flush to the ear however the long nozzle makes them less ideal to sleep on the side with since it adds too much pressure inside the ear (at least for me). They can actually be worn straight down as well but the fit is very shallow wearing them this way and I wasn’t able getting a good enough seal this way. If one likes to wear them straight down I’d suggest using a lighter cable than the stock one as well since it’s quite heavy and will be pulling the housings out easily. I prefer over the ear wearing style anyway so for me that’s a natural way to wear the Moni One as well. Although they’re quite heavy I don’t get any “hot-spots” when wearing them for longer time.
     
    The included silicone double flange tips works well for me but the Model 1200EX seems very  sensitive on tips and fit (especially for bass reproduction) and I ended up using them with JVC Spiral Dot tips for best combination of sound and comfort with my ear anatomy.
     
    Isolation is very tip dependent but even with the best isolating tips they’re just average in this aspect for me. That being said the full sound does a great job drowning out low frequency external noise when music is playing.
     
    Sound:
    I’ve used them as my main IEM in my rotation for the last couple of weeks and they’ve played for well over 100 hours. I’ve used them both around the house and when out and about and I haven’t really found any significant weaknesses in the way they’re designed.
     
    I’ve used them mostly with my LG G5 phone, the bit Opus #11 amp/DAC as well as the Opus #1 DAP but I’ve tried them with a number of other sources as well and they’ve worked very well with all of them.
     
    As already mentioned I enjoy the Moni One the most with double or triple flange silicone tips.
     
    Demo list:
    Mark Knopfler – Sailing to Philadelphia
    Røyksopp (Feat.Susanne Sundfør) – Save Me
    Ane Brun – These Days
    Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana
    Metallica – Die Die My Darling
    The Peter Malick Group – Immigrant
    Eva Cassidy – Songbird
    Thomas Dybdahl – A Lovestory
    Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why
    Celldweller – Unshakeable
    Jack Johnson – Better Together
    Seinabo Sey – Younger (Kygo remix)
    Dire Straits- So Far Away
    Passenger – Let Her Go
    Lupe Fiasco - Deliver
    Morrissey – Earth Is the Loneliest Planet
     
    My initial thought upon the first listen with the Moni One was that it was very clean, clear, well balanced and with excellent resolution.
     
    The sub-bass extension is quite good without going really deep. The layering in the lower bass is also very good and is impact is good enough that I don’t feel much lacking but as already mention the roll off is a bit early. Mid-and upper bass has good presence with excellent quality and there’s very little bass bleed into the midrange and no mentionable bass bleed at all. The overall quality of the bass is really good and bass speed is excellent. Despite that, this is probably the area where some will fine the Moni One’s lacking, for me it’s not a problem but I would probably not suggest them to bass-heads or people listening exclusively to bass driven music. The new “sleeve” solution offered may very well be enough to cure this.
     
    The midrange is very well balanced with the rest of the frequencies. The upper bass presence is a bit on the low side making them lack a bit of weight to the presentation but the whole signature is still very nice with amazing resolution and details. Male vocals and string instruments may lack some weight for my taste while female vocals are very enjoyable with a great clarity to them. Despite having a lush and full midrange per se it does blend perfectly with the overall signature contributing to the very well balanced overall sound.
     
    Treble extension is good and does also feel perfectly in line with the rest of the presentation. Despite having good extension and not being very lush the treble never feels harsh or fatiguing to my ears albeit it is a bit on the thin side.
     
    Clarity and micro details are seriously good as is transparency and resolution. On all these parameters the Moni One is most definitely among the top performers I’ve ever heard in the sub $100 segment. Soundstage width is good and so is separation. Height is also good and depth is surprisingly good given the overall signature. I do also feel that they’re very coherent which again helps to the overall impression of a very well balanced IEM.
     
    The Moni One sounds great with all music I’ve tried it with and can easily be used as an all-round pair of IEM’s in my opinion.
     
    Comparison:
    Please note that the comments in the comparison section are not in absolute terms but in comparison between subject A and B. This means (as an example) that if subject A is found to be brighter than subject B it does not necessarily mean that subject A is bright sounding in absolute terms. I hope this makes sense.
     
    These comparisons were done listening from my phone through the bit Opus #1 DAP.
     
    AAW Nebula 1 ($99) vs Moni One:
    The Nebula 1 is a hybrid using one dynamic and one balance armature driver. Compared to the Moni the Nebula 1 has a bit deeper sub bass, quite a bit more mid bass presence and are overall warmer sounding. The midrange is quite similar positioned in the mix on both but while it’s occasionally overshadowed by the upper bass on the Nebula’s this never happens with the Moni’s. Vocals are good on both but the Nebula has a bit fuller and more natural male voices. The Nebula’s has a fuller and smoother treble while the Moni has better top end extension. . The Moni has a larger soundstage and a more airy presentation. The Nebula 1 does actually sound a bit congested, but also lusher, in comparison while still maintaining an overall resolution and detail retrieval that’s similar to that of the Moni.
     
    Fit is equally good for me with both of these.
     
    Build quality is also good on both but I prefer the detachable cable on the Moni’s over the fixed memory wire one on the Nebula One’s.
     
    The Nebula is a bit easier to drive.
     
    Isolation is similar, and quite low, on both.
      
    PMV-A01 MK2 ($99) vs Moni One:
    The PMV’s were my top sub $100 hybrid until the Moni One showed up. They are both fairly well balanced IEM’s in my opinion. Despite this they’re also very different in their overall signature. Compared to the PMV’s the sub bass on the Moni One doesn’t reach as low and has less impact, it does also have less mid bass presence. The Moni is leaner and cleaner but also thinner and brighter in its overall signature. The Moni is actually more even in the frequency response while the PMV’s has a more forward upper bass/lower giving them a lusher overall presentation. The Moni One does have a higher resolution and a bit thinner treble while the PMV’s has better 3D presentation, timbre to the notes and more natural male vocals. The Moni One on the other hand is better with female vocals.
     
    Fit is equally good for me with both of these.
     
    Build quality is also good on both but the Moni One offers a detachable cable and metal housings so I’d put them on top.
     
    The Moni One is slightly harder to drive.
     
    Isolation is similar, and quite low, on both.
     
    Trinity Audio PM4 w/gun metal filters ($160) vs Moni One:
    IMG_4579.jpg IMG_4580.jpg
    Size comparison with PM4
     
    The PM4 is also a hybrid but it has two dynamic drivers and two BA drivers. These two are a bit similar in their overall presentation, both being quite well balanced and quite lean and clean in their presentation. Compared to the Moni the PM4’s has similar sub bass impact but a bit less depth. It does also have less mid bass presence and an overall slightly thinner sound. The midrange on both is slightly recessed and it does have a similar position in the mix on both of them. The midrange on the PM4 is their biggest weakness in my opinion, it’s very two dimensional and does also lack warmth. The Moni is by no means a particularly warm offering but it still manages to not sound thin and sterile like the PM4 that sounds flat and lifeless in the midrange. Vocals on the PM4 sounds lifeless and, especially male ones, unnaturally thin in comparison. The PM4 does also tend to sound a bit shouty in the upper midrange/lower treble with quite a lot of music while the Moni sounds more natural and less fatiguing. The treble is quite similar on both with a slight advantage in extension to the Moni’s. Soundstage height and width is quite similar on both as is details, clarity and resolution. The Moni has much better depth and 3D presentation and sounds overall more natural.
     
    Fit is better for me with the PM4.
     
    Build quality is better on the Moni One.
     
    The PM4 is harder to drive.
     
    Isolation is better on the PM4.
     
    Summary:
    The Moni One is a great sub $100 hybrid. It has a solid built, detachable cables and are also very comfortable to wear. Although they may lack the deepest bass as well as some weight on male vocals they still perform much better than the price would suggest. The balanced, but yet non-fatiguing, presentation has a resolution and clarity that I’ve never come across at this price point before.
     
    The Moni One is an easy recommendation to anyone wanting to experience the sound from a great hybrid at a price that doesn’t break the bank and it has taken the place as my favorite sub $100 hybrid so far.
     
    It’s safe to say that I’m very curious about the future offerings from Moni.  
     
    IMG_4569.jpg
    1. loomisjohnson
      very good review. fwiw, the little plastic bass port sleeve does have a small, but audible effect of enhancing/emphaisizing end (as does taping over the little port on the top of the casings)
      loomisjohnson, Dec 19, 2016
    2. waveriderhawaii
      Thank you thank you peter123. Good stuff as always.
      waveriderhawaii, Dec 20, 2016
    3. TwinACStacks
      Great review as always Peter.
      TwinACStacks, Dec 23, 2016
  2. TwinACStacks
    One of the Best new Hybrids you didn't know you couldn't live without
    Written by TwinACStacks
    Published Nov 26, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - excellent sound and build quality, great cable
    Cons - could have a bit too much treble for those who are sensitive
    https://www.aliexpress.com/store/119089?spm=2114.10010108.0.31.Gqsf27
     
     
    Preamble:
    While perusing aliexpress I found this new arrival at AK Audio and upon contacting July the owner was persuaded to buy it for a significantly reduced price in return for an in Depth review.
     
     
    Disclaimer:
    I am a hobbyist only. I am NOT affiliated with any sellers or manufacturers for items that may be used in my review, nor at this time am I provided with any samples for endorsement or reviews. I purchase all of my own gear. I do However, post links to the particular individual seller from whom I have made my purchase of the item under review. These reviews reflect my personal opinions of the performance and general information about the item, and should not be used as a basis for any purchase. As I am sensitive to higher frequencies, your impressions may also vary from my own. I will try to offer comparisons as long as I have something similar both in price and construction to compare. If however at any time I am provided a sample for review, I will disclose this fact immediately on an additional disclaimer.
    Please also note an absence of graphs unless they are included in the Seller's links. Although they are a great tool for determining what kind of EQ or other characteristics a particular IEM or Headphone should have,  alas all too often my own experience upon listening with my ears, tells me something different. Sometimes radically so. I may be correct I might not be, sound quality is VERY subjective at best. Therefore I will leave the scientific data, analysis and comparisons to more qualified and experienced reviewers.
     
    Please note there is a limitation on space so not all photos were able to be included.
     
     
    Simple elegant Presentation case with slide out drawer:
    MoniOne031.jpg
     
     
    Not shown is the Foam insert or the bag of 3 sizes of red-core silicon tips:
    MoniOne030.jpg
     
     
    In all their Glory, the Moni One. The Cable is not Standard that is a solid silver upgrade:
    MoniOne015.jpg
     
     
    Nice closeup of the Left side. (I know it's left 'cause of the Blue dot I put on the cable):
    MoniOne012.jpg
     
     
    Looking down the receiving end:
    MoniOne017.jpg
     
     
    Here is the stock cable, MCXX ends not shown due to the Fact they are connected to another IEM:
    MoniOne035.jpg
     
     
    nicely done Splitter and plug end:
    MoniOne018.jpg
     
     
    Missing MCXX Connector:
    MoniOne019.jpg
     
     
     
    Specifications:  They are available from the Seller’s Link above
     
    Construction: 
      It’s built like a tank, with an all metal somewhat cylindrical shaped metal body, (most likely Aluminum due to light weight), with a short black plastic? (could be Metal), standoff for the connection of a removable MMCX cable. Body has a single offset vent in the rear and one on the nozzle as well.  It is finished in a rather attractive rose gold color. It comes with a nicely supple silver plated copper cable, with black rubber connectors at the MCXX end. It travels down to a metal splitter with chin slider finished in satiny smoke black color as well as the 3.5 connector body. Also there is no Left/Right orientation OOTB for the earpieces. Orientation depends on which side of the Cable you attach them to.
     
     
    Source Details: 
    For this particular review I used my Shanling M5 coupled with an Aune B1 portable amp and also  a Schiit Audio Vali headphone amp. Line out from source to both amps. My Files are all at Least 320kbps to 96khz high resolution files. I used this source in all comparisons. Note that there were no appreciable differences noted in sound quality using the 2 different amp sources. Note I have added a Solid Silver MCXX cable to the IEMs in lieu of the Stock.
     
    Source Material:
    The following is a list of songs that I used in this review. Some I use all the time, some less frequently. They all contain some type of frequency, Detail, or EQ that make them suitable for reference.
     
     Christina Novelli -- Concrete Angel (Long Version)
    John Mayer --- Only Heart / Gravity
    Robert Plant --- Far Post / Come into my Life
    Ai Takekawa – Beyond the Moon (Short  and Long Version)
    Johnny Cash --- Hurt
    John Bryson --- Let the Pipes play (full pipe organ album 1st Cut)
    Gustav Mahler --- Performed by the London Philharmonic Various selections
    Dire Straits --- Sultans of Swing
    Panic! At the Disco --- Ready to go
    SOAK --- Immigrant Song
     
     
    General Sound Quality:
    This earphone strikes me as one of the better ones I’ve heard recently. Extremely clear and detailed and a rather interesting EQ at times approaching balanced. Out of the Box it appears to have a reverse “L” shape with more extended treble than the other frequencies. If you close off the two ports on the Nozzles they gain enough Bass to make them a very shallow “V” or “U” shape. When it comes to Detail and definition the Moni are next level. It is quite apparent in the Wide and Deep soundstage where instrument layering and placement are superb.
     
     Bass:  From the onset let me state that there is already a mod for this IEM that significantly increases Bass quantity. It simply involves covering the Tiny Port on each nozzle. I use Aluminum Tape (Duct Tape) for this purpose. Works like a charm. Without the mod in place there is ample Bass but it may be a tad light for TRUE Bassheads or those who prefer a more exaggerated low end. One Great point here is the insanely good control that this Bass voicing exhibits, with or without modification. It is Tight, Clear and Concise and extends fairly deep, no matter what you throw at it even Pipe Organ music and EDM.
     
    Mids: The mids are clear and right where they should be. Zero Bass bleed over. I would say they are neutral in their voicing, Goldilocks Mids. Just right, and maybe just a tiny bit towards the recessed side (very shallow V). In fact the entire IEM strikes me as fairly well balanced, moreso with the Bass mod applied.
     
    Treble: Treble is forward verging on bright, but it lends huge detail and an Airy (almost open-backed) quality to the sound as a whole. It can get harsh on some recordings but Tip selection can get this under control fairly easily. Those who are VERY Treble sensitive may find the Moni a little too bright.
     
     Comparisons:
     
    Oh boy. There may be some unhappy campers here, but I can’t compare this to the IEM that this is apparently an upgrade to due to forum restrictions….  So I will try something else that is similar.
     
    So I came up with a REAL heavy hitter: The Musicmaker TK13 one of my personally favorite IEMs.
     
    Moni One vs TK13:
    The TK 13 have more Bass and extension and their sound is bigger (fuller). They are smoother and more of a relaxed listen. But THAT aside: the Moni can simply walk circles around the TK13 with their control, detail, separation, clarity and meanwhile do this all with a larger, wider, and deeper soundstage.
     
     
    Conclusion:
    Plain and simple: the Moni One has a practically indestructible build quality, and fairly well balanced very refined sound.  With the Bass mod it becomes somewhat more balanced and nears Bass Head approval. The Moni One simply is one of the best bangs for the Money IEMs I have heard in a while. You OWE it to yourself to jump in the driver’s seat and give these a spin.
      slowpickr, peter123, Vidal and 5 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. jon parker
      thanks for review - what you are saying reminds me of the signature of the Tennmak Crazy Cello (also in comparison to the TK 13)
      Good times :)
      jon parker, Nov 28, 2016
    3. AudioNoob
      Hey Twin, what do you mean you couldn't compare it to an upgrade?
      Also, the seller notes that these have been upgraded, now with less harsh treble? Do you know which version you have. It's hard to keep track of these as it's not exactly a stable of the chinese line-up as a brand.
      AudioNoob, Nov 29, 2016
    4. TwinACStacks
      Audionoob, the Seller AND the IEM I am referring to are Banned from Head-fi.
      TwinACStacks, Nov 30, 2016

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