Monoprice MHP-839 - Reviews
Pros: Inexpensive, good quality audio.
Cons: Have to buy upgrades to get performance.
These are also known as the monoprice 8323's.
I have these for nearly 2 years. I bought them a few months after my faithfull 8323's.
Pros - for the price they deliver the highest quality audio.
Cons - Uncomfortable stock, stupid cables.
I Bought the monoprice upgraded pads and cable and the sound is amazing, microphoning has gone down and the comfort level has gone way up.
Here is my youtube review. 

This is what they look like today.
For the price you cant go wrong. 
Pros: Sound, feel, and look very similar to the M50, but with forward mids. Plus custom friendly cable
Cons: Some initial clampforce, may not be the most comfortable to some
I went straight out of the receiver with these and straight out of my clip+. A-B against my M50s. 

These Isolate extremely well,better than the M50 IMO, have great bass, clear forward mids and detailed highs. The Treble is slightly recessed, but the headphones aren't dark, I actually found them to be more neutral than the M50. Bass extension was great, not as boomy as the m50 which will be a plus for many I'm sure. The mids were very forward and clear, reminded me a lot of my FA003, which is another great headphone. Soundstage was pretty good for a closed can, sounded good with Jazz and electronic music, classical was its weak point but it was dynamic enough to still be enjoyable. Build quality is fantastic, especially for an all plastic headphone; these felt heavy and durable, plus they fold flat and compact just like the M50. 

Out of the Clip+ I found them to be a little veiled. They really need a bit of extra power to sound good, but nothing extreme, I'm sure a Fiio e9 or simply using your receiver (as in my case) is more than enough. 

Compared to other sub $50 headphones these are the best I've heard to date and are significantly better than the Pannasonic HTF600 (another solid budget contender) and would lead me to suggest these over the M50 in all Tight Budget situations. Great for college kids or apartment dwellers (the isolation is great). 

Overall I'd say these are bassy enough to satisfy most bassheads, yet neutral enough to invite the neutral crowd also on a budget. Really dynamic headphones, I implore other head-fi'ers to pick these up and try them out. They really are a solid little headphone. 

Pros: Price, Removable cord, Come's with two cords(one small, one studio sized), "DJ" style cups, Great Isolation factor
Cons: Top headband is a little too hard, the ear pad's don't breath at all.
For the price these are perfect headphones, all of the cons are very easy to over look at $20+ Shipping.
I think everyone should have a pair, even non audiophiles! They would make perfect back up or travel cans.
The fit is alright, the top of the headband is a little hard after long use and the ear pads don't breath very well.
The sound is pretty good! Rock, Jazz, Blues, Pop... They all sound great though these. They are also easy to drive, no amp is "needed" with them. My cell phone, Tablet, PC and Mp3 player all drive them with relative ease.
I don't regret getting these cheap bad boys for a second, you should get'em!
Pros: Price, quality/price, detachable cord, okay comfort, awesome customer service >> just read review
Cons: Not the best sound (duh), build quality (read review for explanation though) >> just read review
This is my second version of my review for the Monoprice MHP-839 headphones, after listening to them for a while and going through their customer service a bit. (Insert picture is finally working).







Couldn't care if it came in a tissue box.
How they sound
I won't describe stuff like bass or highs too much as I wouldn't be giving an accurate review, but I will say that the sound of these headphones is amazing for the $30 I spent on them.
Heartbreaker (Led Zeppelin II) sounds great on these headphones (note: I haven't had all that many headphones though, and none over $150), though the bass could be a little heavier compared to what I hear on my computer speakers sometimes.
The second song I really listened to was Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin again, which in case you didn't know is all I listen to), and on my past pair of headphones and other cheap ear-buds the song has never been presented like it was supposed to be (heavy experimentation of stereo). After listening to it with the Monoprice headphones on, every left/right alternation sounded perfect, each roll constant and consistent (I could really track how the sound was moving from one ear to the other, reproduced it much better than past experience), and I had never really heard the song like I just have (gotten used to it now, and I love it).
Basically, these aren't the best headphones out there (obviously), but they sound great and are very worth the buy.
The ear-pads size isn't the best, and your ears can feel a bit cramped if you wear them for long periods of time (I fell asleep with them and felt like my ear was going to be torn in two), but they are still comfortable as long as you leave enough room on the headband (which is adjustable). They don't clamp too hard, but they won't fall off very easily.
A few posts down, TrollDragon recommended getting a replacement headband cushion for extra comfort. It's about $15 total and looks nice (can't vouch for it since I haven't gotten it yet), but it looks like a nice addition to these headphones if they don't feel too great on you.
Just add one of these for much better comfort.
Headband Cushion Comfort
Build Quality
Besides the fact that these headphones are plastic, etc., the issue I had with these headphones was with the detachable cord area. I was getting off of my couch while listening to these a couple of days ago, and the wire got pulled out of the headphones (which seems like a better idea than damaging the headphones). Well, turns out it didn't quite save them. Upon trying to put the cable back in, nothing 'snapped' in, so I got it under a light and saw that the PCB/driver where the cable plugs in was twisted at a 90 degrees angle and destroyed.
          HOWEVER, I believe this is completely made up for by Monoprice's customer service.
Customer Service
I went to their website and went on their Live Chat function to talk with someone, and in less than ten quick and courteous minutes I was being sent a replacement pair of headphones for FREE with NO extra S/H fee. They were super helpful and responsive, and just like that they had solved my problems. It's a bummer about what happened to the headphones and that I'll have to wait a few days to get the replacements, but their customer service completely makes up for it. (FYI, my headphones were still in the 30 day policy by quite a lot of time, so I won't vouch for what will happen outside of that time, but I don't doubt that results would be very similar regardless.)
Just buy them. For the price, there's no reason not too. They sound great, they're okay on comfort, probably more so if you get the replacement headband cushion, and the helpfulness of Monoprice can assure you that your safe for at least a month, and will probably get quality help if needed down the road.
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>>Few posts below about background noise on computer
>>A few more down about the PCB inside the headphones getting ruined
I won't describe stuff like bass or highs too much as I wouldn't be giving an accurate review, but I will say that the sound of these headphones is amazing for the $30 I spent on them.
Heartbreaker (Led Zeppelin II) sounds great on these headphones (note: I haven't had all that many headphones though, and none over $150), though the bass could be a little heavier compared to what I hear on my computer speakers sometimes.
The second song I really listened to was Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin again, which in case you didn't know is all I listen to), and on my past pair of headphones and other cheap ear-buds the song has never been presented like it was supposed to be (heavy experimentation of stereo). After listening to it with the Monoprice headphones on, every left/right alternation sounded perfect, each roll constant and consistent (I could really track how the sound was moving from one ear to the other, reproduced it much better than past experience), and I had never really heard the song like I just have (gotten used to it now, and I love it).
I'm still moving through about 5 more hours of Zeppelin (up to In Through In Through the Out Door, Coda-onward is left alone), but I can certainly say I love these headphones for the music I listen to, and if you need a pair of cheap headphones, these are a great choice.
*Like to add in that these headphones double very well as alternative speakers (loud and can flip facing up), nice for watching news.
Pros: good sound, good portables, or for kids.
Cons: plastic construction, small ear cups
I am a pro-sumer not an audiophile, so I will not speak to the sound as much as others have.
I am not affiliated with the music industry in any way.
I have a full head of hair, no glasses, no TMJ, normal hearing.
After reading reviews on the sonic qualities of these headphones, I could not resist a mere $23 purchase. I was wary of purchasing from the unknown, but this (my first) transaction with them went smoothly and my item was shipped and received quickly.
In the box is the headphones, a 3.5mm-to-1/4inch adapter, two male3.5mm-to-male3.5mm cables. One thick and long for home, one thin and short for travel. Both are rubberized, sturdy and tangle-resistant.
After unboxing, I plugged them in to check both ears produced sound, then started the burn-in process.
Whether or not you believe in this, I did it and the entire review is after the 100+ hours of burn-in.
These are listed as circumaurals, but on my large-ish man-head and my large-ish man-ears I found I had to cram my ears inside the cups. I used these multiple times on my 90-minute commute and did not want to spend more time with these (due to the ear-crushing, not the sound production). So they went to my kids, who love them.
  1. Price. For $23 you cannot go wrong. If nothing else you get a pair of beaters, portables, or kid 'phones.
  2. Sound. These extend quite high and low and produce plenty of volume.
  3. Portable. These fold flat and into the familiar headband ball.
  4. Comfort. The headband and ear cup cushions are soft.
  5. Adjustability. These fit my big head and my big 4 year old boy just fine. Both ear cups swivel and rotate.
  6. Removable cable. The standard cables do not lock in place, and will come out rather than pull your headphones off.
  1. Plastic construction. This makes these light, but a bit flimsy.
  1. Ear-cup size. These are on-ears.
  2. Muddy/slow bass. Listening to techno, these just cannot keep up when the bass really gets going.
  3. Plastic construction. After 3 months of daily unsupervised use by children the left cup has a squeak when being rotated. The sound produced by the can is unaffected by this, and it does not squeak when being worn, but smacks of cheapness. Your mileage may vary as kids have been pounding on these.
  4. Cramped sound stage. Listening to classical it seemed like the instruments were sitting on my head with just a little separation (though I did not spend much time in this genre).
  5. No carry case. These beg to be taken on your commute, but with no case you will have to borrow from another set.
Would I buy these again? For me and my ears, no. For my kids, definitely. When these wear out I will buy at least 1, maybe 2 more of these. My kids love them, and this way I do not have to share my nice cans with grubby fingers.
Pros: folding. single side detachable cord, sq, build quality
Cons: comfort, comfort, comfort

The Monoprice 8323 really is one of the best budget cans I have encountered. The sq is fantastic, considering the $30 price tag. Albeit a bit dark. However the high end has a nice sparkle at times so it not completely in the dark. Build quality is great even though it's plastic. Comfort does seem to be a major issue for most people, myself included. But more on everything in the video. Enjoy!
warm. But not overly. Some have claimed overwhelming bass, i disagree. The midrange, it just kinda there...not good not bad. And the highs can get a smidge fatiguing but for the most part keep it to a nice slight sparkle. That help?
Sounds very M50s-esque save for the warmth.
The main things I was wondering about however were the detail retrieval, attack/decay (PRaT), soundstage, and imaging...
You know, i was kind thinking it was a bit of a v shape. I just don't have the experience to be sure. Soundstage is ok. Nothing WOW, but after all it is closed and it is $30.You can get general left to right instrument placement, but nothing really beyond that.To compare it to say, the Hd 600 a soundstage king, placement and clarity of that placement is not good at all. But i suppose that's apples to oranges. Detail,well it's a little odd. On relatively slow tracks where it doesn't have to strain to keep up, the detail is great all things considered. But as complexity and instrumental demand increases, they can lose some detail. I don't feel like they're the fastest cans on the block.
Pros: Decent audio, flat sounding (kinda), detatchable cable, folding
Cons: not very comfy
I was very excited to get these and actually cancelled my order for my panasonic htf 600s, which was a huge mistake. They sound ok all around, but honestly these headphones just sound plain wimpy, the midrange is recessed, they don't have a lot of bass (sub bass), and the highs just don't wow me. Maybe i'm spoiled by my m50s, but idk. And these headphones are the least comfortable thing i own, after about 30 min the top of my head starts to hurt.
On the bright side, they are pretty decent all around, i just like a lot of bass and these didn't do it.
sounds better after broken in but comfort is still an issue
Maybe I was a little hard on these 28$ headphones, I was just disappointed by their sub-bass and comfort really, other then that they are great for 28$, except that mine are pretty muddy at times....
They don't have a lot of bass? really? What is causing the recessed mid-range? Excessive amounts of treble? To me they had massive amounts of bass (including lots of bass bleed) and not enough treble. This caused them to sound severely muffled. Perhaps this isn't a 100% identical clone of the Kicker HP541 after all. I do think the HTF-600 is far better.
BTW the frequency graphs don't appear to make them appear to be bass heavy, which is just bizarre.
yeah these are pretty bass heavy imo
Pros: Cheap, great sound, just the right amount of bass, wonderful sound isolation both ways, portable, AWESOME customer service.
Cons: Cheap, flimsy cable, cables do not lock on headphone.
So, the other day, I posted a forum about good headphones under 25 bucks. And one person said Monoprice. I had never even heard of them. He said they are amazing, especially for the price. So, I thought, what the hey, I'll give them a shot. Head-Fi community, you are now 3 for 3 right now on recommendations. So, thank you a lot. Let's get to the review!
Value: A true 10 out of 10. I managed to score mine for about 25 bucks. Headphones come with a short cable, and a long, thicker cable (I'll get to that problem in a minute) and a 1/4 inch adapter.
Audio Quality: 8 out of 10. Great lows, with a firm bass all around. Great mids, the bass does not bleed into it. Highs need an equalizer to doctor up. But other than that, these headphones rival ones that are 3 or 4 times their price. Sound isolation is one thing this little pair of headphones has truly shined in. You don't hear any outside noise, and other people can't hear your music either. Wonderful overall quality in the end.
Design: 8 out of 10. Kicker design. Reminiscent of the Audio Technica ATH M50. They fold, swivel and flip, so tons of portability. Does NOT come with a travel bag. The headphones do not adjust as easily as I would like them to though. It feels as though I have to force the headband to move just one or two notches. However, it's not that big of an issue, especially after owning the XB500's with the annoying headband that constantly slides unless you hold it the right way.
Now, here is the problem I encountered: a defective cable. The longer cable quit less than one hour I got the headphones out of the box. From what I have read, other owners have similar problems. BUT, the customer service at Monoprice MORE than makes up for this problem. In fact, I talked with some reps and they are sending me a new cable as we speak.
Comfort: 8 out of 10. As you can see, the headband only has 3 small pads at the top of it. This causes pressure points, even though they are quite small, they are still there. The ear cups could be a tiny bit bigger, but that's not really a complaint. Might change out the pads with some Beyer velour ones soon.
Overall: 8 out of 10. These headphones have been the most surprising to me out of any headphones I have ever owned. They just sound... Good, like an expensive closed headphone should sound like. But, it's not 100 bucks, not even 50. Just about 25-30 bucks. I have owned several bass heavy headphones, and these rival the sound they put out. Maybe not AS much bass, but it's more refined, so you can hear more of your music, rather than just wubwubwubboomboomwubwubwub. But, still enough to pack a hefty punch. However, although it is quite the bargain, in some bits and pieces (cables) you do get what you pay for. That being said, these have pleasantly surprised me, and I look forward to having these in my arsenal for many months to come. Go get you a pair at , and no, I was NOT paid to put that there, I just hope people go check it out. Thanks for reading.
Pros: Cheap
Cons: Slightly muddy bass
First off before I start this review, I would like to thank Mark McGonigle from MonoPrice for staying in touch with me to make this review happen.
You can pickup these headphones here:

Packaging for the headphones was very clean, straight to the point of what you would be buying if you saw this product on a store shelf, professional. The cardboard on the box has a nice matte black finish that will catch your eyes as that was the first thing I noticed when I took these out of the shipping box when I received them.
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Unboxing The Goods:
First thing you'll notice once you open the box are the headphones them self and a 1/4" adapter, underneath the plastic shell they're sitting in is the 11.5 ft and 50" inch long 3.5mm M/M cable.

Included in the Box:
1x MHP-839 Pro Headphones
1x 11.5 ft long 3.5 mm M/M audio cable
1x 50 inch long 3.5 mm M/M audio cable
1x 3.5 mm F to 1/4" M adapter plug

Model Number: MEP-839
Driver Unit: 50 mm
Impedance: 40 Ω
Sensitivity: 100 +/- 3 dB / 1mW (S.P. L at 1 k Hz)
Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
Wire Length: 3500 mm (11.4')

First Impressions:
After opening them up and inspecting them a bit the first thing I noticed was the build quality and how sturdy the plastic was, nothing felt cheap to me. Very well built.
I listened to them for a few minutes straight out of the box. They had a warm sound signature to them but nothing really stood out at that moment.

Another thing to mention is one of my thoughts that came into my head was of how similar these look in comparison to the Kicker HP541 headphones, I believe these are an exact replica of the Kicker headphones without the Kicker branding of course.

Headphone driver's of the Kicker HP541's and the MonoPrice DJ Headphones.

Side Notes:
After unboxing them and listening to them for a few minutes, I let them burn in for very close to 100 hours now via looping Pink Noise before I started writing this review. I was listening to them as I wrote this review.

After listening to these for a few hours now and comparing them with my AKG K81's that are my most bass heavy pair of headphones I own I would choose these MonoPrice headphones over my K81's for general music listening. The bass extension in these headphones are very pleasing to me, the bass can be a bit muddy at times but it doesn't overpower the mids or highs but smaller details seem to get covered up at times.

You'll feel the bass and hear how dynamic it is. I enjoyed the fact these weren't punchy or overwhelming like my K81's and isn't exaggerated like other mixing headphones ive tried over the years.

It would be accurate to say these would please any big fan of Electronic Dance Music such as my self but these would headphones would be better suitable to people who listen to a lot of bass-heavier genre's such as hip-hop and dubstep.

The mids are rich but fairly balanced and detailed, a bit congested with certain genre's like Electro. The midrange makes these headphones have a warm sound that's pleasing to listen to. Male vocals sound nice but nothing will really stand out.

The highs seem to be well balanced with the mids but sound like they start rolling off around 2-3 MHz like many other DJ oriented headphones. Vocals are clear but they sound a bit dull, don't expect to hear a large spectrum of voice detail with these headphones in comparison to semi-open or open backed headphones.

As these are closed cans, the soundstage isn't the greatest especially with binaural recordings. The sound imaging is very dense, It's almost as if you were in a very large room with many doors but only one door is the exit. You're blind, nearly completely deaf, and this is a huge challenge for you to find your way out.

EQ'ing these headphones can really help improve the Mids and Highs. After EQ'ing these headphones the Mids are more articulate and the Highs sounded brighter. Both male and female vocals have more presence and depth.

Overall I would give these headphones a 8.5/10, for $21.59 + shipping(Overnight is the cheapest option) you really have nothing to lose if you choose to pickup a new pair of closed back cans. These have great sound isolation, are great to wear over a long period of time without any discomfort(results may vary as I have in between small and medium ears), sound great, and have a solid build quality.

For anyone who would plan to use these for DJ'ing I wouldn't bother unless you're on a budget, they get uncomfortable to wear around the neck after a while as they rub up on the underside of your face and against your neck quite frequently specifically when you're looking down at your mixer EQ'ing a track. Pressing them against your ear for beat matching with your shoulder is comfortable and shouldn't give you any cramps or discomfort while doing so, only down side is you have to physically push the headphone a bit to position it with your ear.

Songs and mixes worth mentioning to listen to with these headphones:
Armin van Buuren - Unforgivable
Armin van Buuren - Virtual Friend (Extended Version)
Armin van Buuren - Feels So Good
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll (A-Trak Remix)
Nadia Ali - Rapture (Gareth Emery Extended Mix)
Bassnectar - The Matrix
Bassnectar - Gogol Bordello - Immigraniada
Ellie Goulding - Lights (Bassnectar Remix)
Max Enforcer & Frontliner - On The Go
Jack of Sound - A Ghost Story
Petruccio & Modulake Ft. Marie Louise - F##k It Up
Hardbass Vol 11 Cd3 Yellow (Mixed by Max Enforcer)
DJ Ravine - Supernova U18s March 12 Promo
mark5 - The Third Secret Studio Session
TrancëJay - Foreign Tunes 4
Franky2k - Disco 1
Franky2k - Resonance of Voice 14
DJ Vent - Filth That Is All
DJ Vent - Electro Mix
DJ Vent - So I Heard You Like Hardstyle

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Thanks for the review, I am trying to get my dad to buy some headphones for me and these seem great.
Also, do the headphones hold up well when running or just any movement in general?
Pros: Price, Detachable Cords, Light, Forward Mids, Great Bass, Smooth Highs
Cons: Vinyl pads, inexpensive material, all plastic
Monoprice MHP-839 the budget performer
*Note, this review also applies to the Kicker HP541 which is a rebrand of the same headphone. So I have both reviews with the non-model-specific info simply copy & pasted. Same headphone!
A couple of us here on Head-Fi were looking for some budget performers that could compete with higher end headphones that are constantly being suggested to new people who have never owned a pair of good headphones (that they know of). And we all know the problems associated with "flavor of the month" stuff. I will specifically be referring to the Audio-Technica M50 for the most part because that's the headphone that the HP541 and MHP-839 directly compete with for sound and application. The price differences being $20 (MHP-839), $50 (HP541) and $150 (M50). I sounds completely rubbish to assume a $20 headphone can compete with a $150 headphone with so much praise. I had to try it myself to calm the curiosity. So I compared all three headphones together for this, which means I bought all three. So if you're interested, the following is what I've learned about them.
What Comes in the Box:
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  1. The headphone itself.
  2. Two detachable cords, a shorter smaller portable cord, and a very long cord for desktop use.
  3. A 1/4" adapter (both cords terminate into 3.5mm).
  4. HP541 comes with a carry bag. MHP-839 does not come with a bag.
Construction and Materials:
The construction is all plastic. The HP541 has a hard rubber on some of it's bits, including the driver backing, whereas the MHP-839 has matte finish plastic every where instead. I much preferred the hard rubber material, as it was much like Ultrasone headphones I've had in that sense (all plastic, some hard rubber). They are built rather well, they don't feel like cheap break-in-your-hands toys. They are incredibly lite, and I felt like they were too lite even, but that's a relative issue depending on the person. The cups on both headphones are a little smaller than the AudioTechnica M50's. I had to move them around a little to make sure my ear was completely inside the pad. This is a con to me, as any smaller and they would become on-ear instead of around-ear headphones. So someone with big wombat like ears would not like these cups, someone with average or even small ears would likely be fine. The pads are the same on both headphones, it's a vinyl type material and very smooth. I personally don't like it, I prefer harder material like real leather to plastics and vinyls and ultimately I prefer velour to everything because I don't like wet sweaty rings on my pads while wearing them. So this issue is relative to the user, I don't like the pads. Someone who normally uses pleather/plastic/vinyl pads will likely not notice that material difference the way a velour user would. The foam inserts in the pads and headband are the same, stiff, but not like a board.
A huge mention goes to swivel cups. These are the only cups which I've had that swivel only 90" that swivel so that the back of the driver faces up (ie, the logo side of the cup faces the world) when worn around your neck. All other headphones seem to face the driver out to the world, when they're worn around the neck in between listening. This is a huge plus in my book because I like to know something isn't dropping down into the driver house. Instead, the back plate is out, and it's more protected that way from spills, food, sudden splash, objects, etc.
The cords are detachable, they will pull right out of the headphone when snatched, so pretty protective if that's a thought. They both terminate with 3.5mm jacks that plug right into the left cup on each model. No extra pinning to make it stay. So it breaks away very easily. In other words, if someone yanked it, it would come out and not just pull the headphone off your head or you to the ground in the process. The cords are two lengths. Very short, and very long. Obviously one for portable use and one for desktop home use. It comes with a 1/4" adapter since both cables terminate with 3.5mm jacks. Both cords are otherwise unremarkable.
The bag that comes with the HP541 says "Kicker" on the side. The MHP-839 does not come with a bag.
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MHP-839 backs.
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MHP-839 Drivers House.

HP541 and MHP-839, the same headphone, rebranded. $20 vs $50. Difference? Logo and a bag.

HP541 size compared to AudioTechnica M50 size.

HP541 (and MHP-839) cup size compared to M50.
Sound Characteristics:
I'm not a proponent of burn-in, so I will not discuss that here. However, I will discuss what it's like to just put on some headphones and listen and compare to some other headphones, without voodoo and unmeasurable "sciences" being talked about. Let's see if I burned any hairs with that statement, hah.
Right way, first thing to note, both the HP541 and the MHP-839 sound exactly, literally exactly, the same. They are the same headphone in all ways except for minor cosmetic differences and one is packaged with a bag. That's a $20 vs $50 difference, yet same headphone. Keep that in mind. The MHP-839 right away is the better deal for the sound.
Quick reference to sound of the HP541 (and MHP-839):
  1. Smooth treble.
  2. Forward lush mids.
  3. Deep, controlled bass.
  4. Great for all genres, from EDM to Acoustic.
  5. Sound stage is average for a closed headphone.
  6. Easy to drive, no amplification necessary at all.
I ran various music from Ani Difranco (Acoustic), Regina Spektor (Folk/Pop), Euge Groove (Jazz), Ludovico Einaudi (Classical), Avantasia (Metal), Buckethead (Alt. Metal), Rusko (Dub), Robyn (EDM/Pop) for testing purposes (and enjoyment, of course).
Treble (Highs):
We have no frequency response graph of this headphone, but if I had to guess based on my experience with a lot of headphones, the HP541 (and MHP-839) has a dip in the high treble, probably around 10khz or so. The highs roll off. It reminds me immediately of how a Sennheiser typically has rolled off highs that make it smooth. That's the sound of the HP541 & MHP-839 in terms of treble (and only treble). The highs are smooth. No sibilance at all. The highs are easy to listen to, no fatigue inducing shrill. Just ultrasmooth. This is not an analytical headphone or detail monster. This is an easy listening headphone that focuses on something other than treble. However, the treble is sufficient to allow for beautiful extension and highlight of sounds that are upper range frequency like some vocal accent, some instruments during acoustic, etc.
Compared to something like the M50, the M50's treble is more forward and more fatiguing, so the M50 is more of an analytical and detailed associated sound in the treble.
This headphone is all about the mids. The mids are projected very nicely forward and not recessed at all. Without a frequency response graph, they're higher than treble on the curve and the bass curve. The mids are the headphone's body. They're lush, very well rendered. Vocals sound great, guitar sounds great, etc. Mids make up the bulk of the frequency range, so someone who favors that sort of headphone will like this. This makes this headphone excellent for rock, jazz, acoustic, folk, indie, R&B, etc. I would say the sound is very lush and full and is the most enjoyable aspect of the headphone. This is a mid-monster on a budget. This headphone will perform on all genres due to this. Mids make the music, so to speak.
Compared to the M50, which has recessed mids, the HP541 and MHP-839 really stick out more in music where you realize you're hearing mids instead of just treble & bass.
Bass (Lows):
The bass of the HP541 and MHP-839 is actually excellent, it extends low and powerful. It's very present, this is not an anemic headphone, it's also not a bass monster. It provides good present rumbling low bass without it taking over and it does not interfere with the mids. So someone looking for a headphone that can perform well with EDM and bass centered music, these headphones will do it just fine, but they will also turn around and allow you to play intimate acoustic without it sounding like someone turned up bass where it shouldn't be. The bass is fast, it's an easy to drive and doesn't clip at high volumes without amplification.
Compared to the M50, these headphones have the same bass roughly. It's just as deep, smooth and controlled.
Both headphones isolate well. This would not be the case if your ear doesn't fit inside the cup, so keep that in mind. Size of ear will change isolation on these headphones. Otherwise, they're closed back with an average isolation perceived wearing them.
The clamping of the headphone is normal, not too much, not flimsy feeling.
The sound stage is that of an average closed headphone, but it doesn't feel extremely clamped. There's good imaging, but you're not whisked into a 3D world without a source that does that for you. During acoustic playback, it sounded good, which is normal. It didn't sound like I was too distant nor all up in their junk. So sound stage for a closed headphone is good, which I would rate as average.
Compared to the M50, the soundstage is a little better. I felt the M50 to be very cramped in soundstage.
Retail Modification (interesting!):
The HP541 has retail decals you can buy that are vinyl that fit to the side of the driver backings so you can change the headphones to a different cosmetic look. They're non-permanent so you can swap them. And they're only $4 a piece. I bought some dark wood ones. It's a great way to spruce them up and get rid of the annoying spammed Monoprice/Kicker logo off the sides. They work for both headphones perfectly fine. I got them off Amazon, just search "HP541 Decal" and you'll find them, they work for both the HP541 and MHP-839.
Conclusion & Closing:
The HP541 and MHP-839 are surprisingly good performers. I actually prefer their sound to that of the AudioTechnica M50. They are smoother to listen to with more mids, yet are still very bass capable. For $20, the MHP-839 is every bit as good as the $150 M50 in sound. So if you're looking for a budget closed performer, the MHP-839 is it. It's a really good budget headphone that has the sound of far more expensive headphones.
The main issues I have with the HP541 and MHP-839 are the materials and quality of the pads. I don't like the size of the cups, they're a little too small for my liking, I like huge headphones, so this may be a relative issue and more my own preference. Otherwise, the materials feel like ok plastic, and are sturdy, but I still would prefer a more weighty material. The pads are my biggest, most fatal issue with the headphones, they're a budget vinyl that accumulates sweat very quickly which I don't like because I wanted these for portable use. I much prefer real leather, which is of course much more expensive, and overall prefer velour or cloth pads which absorb and don't get sweaty. This is more of a complaint of my own preference as I prefer cloth/velour over all other types. Some people like pleather/vinyl/leather. I don't. So take that as it is.
If you're looking for something like the M50, this is a better sounding headphone for it's cost. These things are inexpensive. I don't like using the word cheap since that can be taken as a negative. They're inexpensive, budget oriented, but don't sound that way at all. They sound like excellent gear sounds, that is well into the $100+ area. So someone looking for a great closed headphone on a dime or a gift for someone looking to get more interested in headphones, these would be a good place to start with perhaps.
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That's an Amberbock and my HE-500 on the desk by the way. Yet I still tried a $20 headphone. Yea!
Very best,
Very thorough review, thanks.
I ordered a pair for < $20 from CNET last week, I'm just waiting on their arrival.
Had I read your review sooner, I may have purchased more than one pair.
I like that you can customize them with a decal.
Thanks again
I see several options for velour pads on ebay for under $10, just have to find out what size in mm these headphones need...  Or, I may hop over to a fabric store and pick out my own color and try making some pads for myself :D  That'll be interesting...