Monk IE Biggie is the cousin of the Monk family of earbuds; cousin, because it is in In-Ear form this time.

Venture Electronics Monk IE Biggie

Rating:
2/5,
  • Brand Venture Electronics
    Style In-Ear
    Communication Wired
    Connectors 0.78mm 2pin detachable
    Vocalism Principle Dynamic
    Fit Over Ear
    Plug Type Line Type
    Sensitivity 114dB(1mW)
    Frequency Response Range 17-22000Hz
    Impedance 80Ω
    Time to market 2017

Recent Reviews

  1. dheepak10
    All about the mids!
    Written by dheepak10
    Published Feb 16, 2018
    2.0/5,
    Pros - - Easy to drive
    - Soundstage width is decent
    - Reasonably clear & Forward mids; Good for acoustic music
    Cons - - Too much mid-bass; bleeds heavily into the lower mids
    - Treble rolled off pretty early; lacks detail retrieval
    - Isolates poorly with the recommended fit
    - Mids can be shouty at times; Upper mids are rolled off.
    - Not enough sub-bass for a Dynamic Driver IEM.
    Disclaimer: I am a member of the VE Clan on FB. This review unit was purchased by me with my own moolah ($60 for the early user combo package). This is my unbiased opinion, based on my listening preference.

    Packaging:
    The combo package included the following items:
    - Monk IE Smalls
    - Monk IE Biggie
    - Monk Espresso
    - Premium Metal case
    - 3 cables - Espresso, SPC and the regular cable with mic (all 3.5mm TRS opted by me)
    - Black, narrow bore, circular silicon tips (4 pieces of each size - S, M, L, XL)
    - White, wide bore tips (4 pieces of each size - S, M, L)
    - Black, triple flange tips (4 pieces, single size)

    Biggie.jpg Box.jpg Cables.jpg Accessories.jpg

    This early combo package may not be available for long. Looks like the new package will be a $40 one with either the Biggie or Smalls with a single cable.

    Post the combo offer, there is talks that the Biggie might be priced in the $100 to $150 range.

    Setup for the review:
    Mine is a poor man's setup :ksc75smile: - For the sake of this review and for my usual listening sessions, I pair my earphones with my LG G6 (with ES9218P DAC from ESS) or with my Asus laptop. I don't use any sort of equalization unless explicitly mentioned. I have a few free FLAC samples, else it is primarily Google Play Music at highest quality settings. So in a nutshell, I'm a regular bloke who likes music.

    Build and Fit:
    The Biggies are constructed almost entirely out of plastic mold, except the rear plate which appears to be metal (probably aluminium). The are finished in a pearlescent black paint, which gives it a premium look.

    The mold is essentially two pieces (back and front) glued together. The joint surface is not a perfect; a slight overlap on one side is observed (May not be the same with all pieces). The back plate look to be aluminium and it also contains a vent.

    The ear-tip extension is fairly short. While tip is around 4mm, it gradually becomes bigger till the point it meets the driver enclosure. This can cause some discomfort after some 90 minutes and hence they may not be suitable for extended listening sessions, if you are trying to insert them deep to get a seal.

    But, apparently, the Biggie is not intended to be experienced with a tight seal. According to Lee from Venture Electronics, the Biggie has to be used with a wide vented, short tip that does not give a good seal and allows movement of air between the tip and the ear canal.

    Tried with this way, the Biggie can be worn for a bit longer, provided you like their sound signature.

    If you try to get a good seal, you'll notice that there is too much mid-bass that makes the sound boomy and unpleasant. So the rest of the review will be with based on how the Biggie is intended to be worn.

    Review of the Sound signature:
    The package has too cables - Espresso and SPC. With the treble rolled off pretty early, I don't fancy the sound with the Espresso cable, so the rest of the review is based purely on how the Biggie sounds on the SPC cable.

    Lee, from VE, recommends 50 hours of burning in; my Biggie at the time of this review has at least twice that amount.

    The Lows are all about the mid-bass - 100Hz to 500 Hz. Below 100 Hz the bass is rolled off and no Sub-bass can be heard, yet due to the shallow, vented fit, the lows will not satisfy a basshead. The bass is noticeably slow too. In a track like 'Das Spiegel' by 'The Chemical Brothers', the slowness of the driver is quite evident; you don't get to hear the impulse sounds, but the track sounds like any other regular track. Also, the instrument separation is something that is not convincing in the Biggie and on this track, it is quite exposed. On 'Royals' by Lorde, all I hear is vocals accompanied by faint beats at the background. If everyone heard 'Royals' on the Biggie, it may not have become a chart-buster. Same is the case with 'Madness' by Muse; the beats and bass synthesizer are just accompaniments to vocals.

    The Mids are the only positive about the Biggie, in my opinion. Due to the amplified mid-bass region and the slowness of the driver, a good amount of lower mids tend to get masked by the Upper bass region. Due to this, the vocals don't stand out separately but become a part of the music. But the mids are not all that great; they are amplified till about 1k or 2k range and then the upper mids around 5k are rolled off. This can result the voices being shouty at time on tracks and gives them a tinny sound. Since the upper mids between 2k and 8k range are rolled off, you don't get the clarity of the voice. "Bassically" by Tei Shi is another track where the vocals refuse to shine. But it does well on acoustic tracks like "One" by Ed Sheeran, where not too many instruments are present that represent the lower frequency range. Ed Sheeran's voice on this track sounds nice, albeit a bit shouty.

    The Highs are quite disappointing. On a track like 'Get Lucky' by Daft Punk, you miss all the minute details along with the nice low bass. All you again hear is the vocals again and the occasional hi-hats around the 3k frequency, as rolling off starts just a bit after this. On a track like 'Rose Rouge' by St Germain, the slowness of the driver is again very evident as the hi-hats decay very slow, and once the trumpet/saxophone starts, the hi-hats disappear in the background. 'Sultans of Swing' sounds too warm and the microdetails are hardly present and the instruments are not separated that well; lacks the airiness and sparkle that is present in this song.

    Coming to the soundstage, the width is decent and the sound can radiate just outside the head, but not as wide as you would expect with the recommended vented fit. The depth is not that great though.

    Comparisons with other single DD IEMs:

    KZ ATR - I bought this one for $5 from Gearbest. These IEMs are also single DD with an over-the-ear fit. Compared to the Biggies, these have a nice and deep bass response and a better treble. The Highs are rolled off in the ATRs as well, but not very early and offers enough details, but lack in airiness. The mids are recessed to some extent, but still a better sounding signature.

    FiiO EX1 - Well, this one costs $100 and is a single DD IEM as well. This comparison is mainly due to the fact that the Biggie might be priced above this price point in the future. Coming back to the comparison, the FiiO EX1 wins hands down across the frequency spectrum - deep and fast bass, precise mids, sparkly and airy treble. Also, it possess one of the best soundstage in any IEM I have tried so far. In fact, FiiO EX1 is my favorite IEM for indoor use.

    UiiSii HM7 - I purchased these for $5.59 from Gearbest. At this price, these come with a metal body and sound eons better than the Biggie. These lack sub-bass as well, but the mid-bass is quite satisfying, and the highs are excellent too. Mids are slightly recessed and the soundstage is not that wide. But this little one has an excellent sound signature and is the best Bang for buck in budget IEM range.

    Other significant points
    • Lee, from VE, says that you either love the Biggie or you hate it. I concur with him; there are some folks who love them and then there are folks like me.
    • There is a myth in the FB group that Biggies are quite hard to drive and benefit from a good amp. That is not true - The Biggies are rated 80 ohm and are easy to drive and quite loud through mobile phones. My LG G6 drives them with ease even with the Quad DAC turned off. They benefit very little from an amp.
    • The soundstage width was hyped to be extremely huge in the FB group; I beg to differ - it is just decent. KZ ATR and Senfer XBA 6in1 have better width even with a completely sealed fit.
    • The SPC cable has memory wire which I found irritating in the beginning, but quite used to it now.
    • The SPC cable is slightly prone to slight micro-phonics and doesn't hinder the music experience.
    • The Espresso has no micro-phonics whatsoever and easily the most comfortable cable.
    • The SPC and the cable with mic come with a nice chin slider.

    Conclusion:
    I was quite excited about the Biggie based on the hype created in the VE clan in FB, but was left very disappointed. Though I liked it initially, it just took me a couple of other good IEMs in the sub $20 range to change my opinion. I rarely use them now; in fact I took them out, after a long hibernation, just for this review.

    Going by the talks on the FB group, there are chances that this IEM might be priced in the $100-150 range after the initial combo offer is over. At this price range, it would definitely not be my cup of tea.

    20171206_140221.jpg

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