Updated model of the renowned budget earbud, the VE Monk from Venture Electronics. Features new...

Venture Electronics (VE) Monk+/Monk Plus

Rating:
4.79412/5,
  • Updated model of the renowned budget earbud, the VE Monk from Venture Electronics. Features new translucent shells, tuning and accessories.
    The impedance is increased from 32om to 64om, compared to VE Monk.

Recent Reviews

  1. nofacemonster
    VE MONK PLUS just took my breath away!
    Written by nofacemonster
    Published Aug 30, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Amazing sound for the price
    Best sounding Dynamic earbuds i tried
    Retro styling takes me back to walkman days
    Almost everything in threw at them sounded amazing
    Cons - No cons, just wish they were IEM so i could wear them for hours and hours.
    I was on a search to find a good sounding cheap dynamic headphones for my collection. I tried KZ ZS3 and didn't like it because when i wear them it gets all muffled and can't fix that problem. I tried two pairs and second pair also didn't sound good as they say about them on the reviews. Then couple of weeks back i read about MONK PLUS and decided to order them off the eBay. Today i received them and i am listening to them while i type this review. It sounds amazing on everything i throw at them with my ultra cheap setup. My search for cheap perfect sounding dynamic headphones ends here.

    If you're looking for similar set of headphones then look no further, buy a pair of VE MONK PLUS and you'll see what i am talking about here. I really wish they were IEM so i would have been much comfortable to wear.

    40511539_2034748983242276_5520579459939303424_n.jpg

    Unlike many of you i am not a audiophile, just a cheap little enthusiast in music and how they sound. I only have a very cheap system powered by a laptop, A matisse clone tube preamp with russian tubes and a super cheap class D headphone amplifier which i bought over eBay. I can imagine how they might sound in a decent system and how good their other highest end tier products will sound on good dacs and amps etc.
  2. Phongluukhachpk
    VE Monk+, the best earbud in this price
    Written by Phongluukhachpk
    Published Jul 21, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Good sound stage, impact bass, bass speed, good vocal with foam
    Cons - Hurt my ear for long time using
    I just received it yesterday, after one week waiting. It's amazing sound at this price. Happy to have this.

    Accessories – 10/10 with 4 pairs of foam.
    Design – 10/10 Very solid, feel like unbreakable.
    Bass – 7/10 Impact bass and may improve over the time using
    Treble –7 /10 No hiss til now.

    Value – 11/10 Very very good vs the price
  3. joshuadapitan
    I understand the hype so I will join the hypetrain
    Written by joshuadapitan
    Published Jun 24, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Balanced sound. Smooth presentation. Cable is not so much tangly.
    Cons - Openness, Highs may get shrieky at times, Foams sometimes are scratchy to my ears, bass is heard more than felt.
    I have purchased the Monk plus because of
    a.) The hype
    b.) Nostalgia on earbuds.

    Note: I am reviewing the Espresso Edition monks

    Build:
    I respect the build of these CHi-Fi(Cheap HiFi or Chinese HiFi, pick your poison) earbuds. The cable is not so much tangly, but they still know how to do kinks. The Earbud shells feels like they are good enough as far as the build(Except being stepped on, the shells are still plastic). The weakest link would be the earbud foams which may get holey over time, and my Symmetry OCD makes me bother on the holey earbud foams, making me resort to buy earbud foams. No regrets on that though because they changed tonality.

    Sound:
    To be honest, I understand why these earbuds are being hyped. They have a good frequency response and they have a nice Transient Response as well. Soundstage can be sometimes wide on some recordings, Like real wide for such an earbud. Imaging is ok, but they are a little vague on the imaging. No frequency bleeds over the other. and the vocals are well presented well with a touch of airiness. On my case, the subbass is heard but not felt, which is a turn-off to some bassheads, but for me, it just does fine. The bass still has punch, but sometimes it also just sounds artificial. One thing is for sure, the people will respect the sound of these.

    At one time, my parents are quite the suspective on my audio gear purchases, like my FiiO K1 USB DAC/Amp and AudioQuest Jitterbug, and recently I received these monk plus, they are quite curious, they tested the monks on my phone, and they have been enlightened on why I am willing to spend cash on Audio Gear because these monks has shown the way (My father is still bothered on why I should be still be buying Amps, especially he found the Monks to be already sounding amazing on just a phone).

    I modded my monks by replacing the earfoams from a japan store out of curiosity and it was worth it, The foamies are quite smaller than the monks, but they would fit just fine.

    With the replacement earbud foams, The bass have a gentler presentation compared to the stock earbud foams. but it has now a more proper articulation where the bass guitar sound guitar sounds like bass guitar(I am a bassist so I know) and it doesn't bleed on the mids much. Mids become a little less forward with the replacement foam, though it still has that fullness.The treble is quite rolled off, where they become just borderline screechy, because the stock earbud foams would still screech on strident music. The replacement foam also affects the imaging for the better. This mod would sacrifice the sound area covered by the earbuds where the earbuds just sound like headphones. But I have a full sized headphone so it doesn't quite matter for me.

    They do excel in Bossa, Jazz, Rock, Classical, Metal, and the best genre to play with this is live concert music. The soundstage is so wide for an earbud. You may have reservations for the monks if you listen to more modern stuff where you want the meaty, catchy sound and vibrations, go for IEMs.

    Comfort:

    Comfort wise, they are comfortable, though I feel the heavyness of the earbuds on my ears. The foams quite vary in comfort at some point, some are quite scratchy in my ears when i twist to fit the eartips so you really have some need to find the perfect foam(Good thing there are 4 foams per each color, and there are two colors, so a total of 8 foamies to find your best comfy foamy. P.S. I use foams in same color because Symmetry OCD won't allow).

    Sound Isolation and Leakage:

    The foam thickness affects the sound isolation of these earbuds, Using thick foams, and cranking the volume, you are well isolated enough. Sound leakage, well, this is a turn off if you watch "those videos" because it basically leaks sound(which helps in soundstage and imaging so if you are alone, and you want that positional audio in movies, especially in "those movies", why not).

    Comparison:
    If there is something I will compare against, I will compare it to my Audio-Technica ATH-CLR100(w/modded eartips because stock eartips are bad on those). It may be unfair to compare an Earbud to an IEM but here is the thing, They both have the ability to present most of the frequencies smoothly, though the ATH-CLR100 has quite the less forward midrange, fast decay of vocals and a more snappy presentation on the bass and a stronger subbass(because bass is good when really felt). The ATH-CLR100 is quite the more forgiving on bad recordings, but a good recording is quite better to be heard on the monks.
    Soundstage is better on the monks, but the imaging is more clear with the ATH-CLR100.

    Conclusion:
    They are a good Starter HiFi or CHiFi (because cheap $5, and again, pick your poison on your definition of CHiFi) device. If you are the someone who is on Audio Quality yet scared on Spending lots. Start with these. These CHiFI things are scary in the audio industry because they have a good price to performance ratio that the market will surely become real competitive because the CHiFi industry (FiiO, HiFiMan, SMSL, Superlux and of course the maker of these Monk Plus, Venture Electronics) is moving forward to better build and better sound (I suddenly realized I am also hyping as well). To be honest, this has almost become my best Audio Device, that it competes with my ATH-CLR100 on who will become my daily driver. It is just one order from your local shop or online store, and you might find these your end game for portable audio, again, portable audio. The monks are good just as they are.

    Subjective Side notes:
    At last, something that is good sounding as is. I have modded my ATH-CLR100 and Superlux HD661, and for the very first time ever, an Audio Device where I don't have to do Modding(to correct the sound signature(because DSP Correction/Equalization is just applied on one source so I still find modding to be a better way to change the sound signature)).

    ^I quite take it back. I still mod them with replacement ear foams to have that balanced tonality. I still do find it needs some work on earbud foamies and it could be better.

    images

    1. 20170624_182220[1].jpg
    2. monk.jpg
  4. SOULSIK
    The budget god - $5????? HOW?
    Written by SOULSIK
    Published Apr 4, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - sound stage, detailed, great sound
    Cons - sound isolation but these are earbuds
    17778851_1356246057774025_2067595476_o.jpg
     
     
    INTRODUCTION
    LET’S START OFF BY SAYING THAT WHAT I AM ABOUT REVIEW IS NOT HEADPHONES BUT DESTROYS MANY HEADPHONES IN SOUND QUALITY.
    Hey bob have you tried that headphone? Hey bob have you tried that IEM? Hey bob have you tried those speakers? Hey bob have you tried those EARBUDS? Wait earbuds? Are earbuds even part of high quality audio experience?
    After reviewing the MONK PLUS by venture electronics, I can without hesitation tell you two things:
    1.       YES, earbuds is part of high quality audio experience
    2.       I have learned a lot of valuable lessons through this product
    READ ON TO FIND OUT WHAT I MEAN…….
    WE invest in HEADPHONES & SPEAKERS & IEMS. WHY? Why not just ONE. That is because the way these products produce sound is different and although they will never be “PERFECT” Us audio maniacs always strive for it. And who said earbuds cannot be as good as headphones or speakers or IEMS? Of course, the way they sound and usage for it will be different as it is with everything else BUT EARBUDS are equal in standing as to making “GREAT SOUNDS”
     
    DISCLAIMER
    I am a hobbyist and bought these myself to review and add to my collection
     
    ABOUT VENTURE ELECTRONICS
    This company does something that no other company has ever done and that is to admit that perfection may not be feasible. This is true in many cases but not many companies come out and say it. This company is honest from the root. They also carry the same mindset as us AUDIO-MANIACS “We will never stop striving for perfection.” They do 3 things to strive for perfection:
    1.       They want to break the notion of EXPENSIVE = BETTER SOUND. They strive to make great sounding products for best value possible
    2.       Creating products that are inexpensive but does not sacrifice build or sound quality
    3.       Creating positive and honest relationship with their costumers and fans by creating products that they themselves would be proud to use
    With that being said, VE’s presence in the HI-end audio does not fall behind. VE is the first to introduce hi-end earbuds, which is priced for 358usd with premium cardas cable and the first in the world to introduce true balanced portable amp with full spec desktop connector. which is the ra2.0b.
     
    Does this sound like a great company to you? I am normally not impressed with company descriptions but I was inspired by how they kept it so REAL, HONEST, and most importantly shared their PLANS & how they will achieve it with us. 
     
    PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
    The VE MONK PLUS was launched for sale in 2015. It was regarded as the best price for performance sound quality that will ever exist in history. It was created by a talented and ambitious engineer KK with the aim of detail and enriched sound into an earbud.
    TYPE: DYNAMIC Earbuds
    Termination: 3.5mm (or options for TRRS 3.5mm & 2.5mm)
    Sensitivity: 116dB (1mW)
    Frequency Response Range: 20 – 20000Hz
    Cable Length: 1.2m
    Resistance: 64 Ohms
     
    WHERE DO I BUY IT?
    You can buy it directly from their website: https://www.veclan.com
    Or on their aliexpress page: https://www.aliexpress.com/supplier-fm/wholesale-products/232029927-productlist.html
     
    BUILD QUALITY
    Accessories: This depends on whether you got an ex-pack or not but here we will talk JUST about the accessories that comes with 5 dollar earbuds. With the coffee colored Monk Plus, I got 2 coffee colored & 2 Black covers. These covers go over your earphones and although I felt like they were for more comfort than for sound, they did seem to calm down the highs a little bit for longer comfortable listening session without getting fatiguing.
     
    Ex-pack: this is one of the things that can be added to your order along with your earbuds. This is basically different types of covers and hooks that go on your VE MONK PLUS earbuds to make a more secure and comfortable fit. Adding this to the order for an extra 5 dollars is a great idea if you are like me and plan to keep them for long and plan to order more in the future BECAUSE although it did not happen to me yet, I assume the covers will warn out and you will need replacements.
     
    THE SHELLS: They are made of plastic shells. for 5 dollars, I did not expect much but these were not bad quality at all. I mean… they are earbuds… they were built like one…. Better than the ones you would normally get.
     
    THE CABLES: The cables are cables, they are normal cables unless you opt in for the better cables for more money but the cables that comes with the earbuds are normal wires and do I DARE SAY? At the level of sennheiser wires. I do not mean to bash Sennheiser, I love them and their headphones but we all have to admit their cables needs to step up in the game. With that being said, the cables and splitters are made like normal set of cables… no impressive feature or WOW quality…. Did I tell you? Its 5 dollars.
     
    TALKING WITH THE OWNER
    I usually contact the business before I review products to gain more insight to their objectives and views on their products. While not many respond, Lee, the owner of VE responded within seconds. While talking to him directly for not few minutes but hours, He seemed dedicated and interested in this field more than anyone I have met. He seems to know who is his target audience while being insightful of the future in the audio industry. Most of all He seemed not only dedicated but well informed in what he was doing. He was interested in my research topic in perception of music and human hearing. This shows how much he cares and values knowledge in creating his products. I wish our talk in the future will give him more scientific insight as I have received very useful knowledge for my future reviews. He was very helpful in creating this review, so, Thank you Lee.
     
    PRACTIALLY
    THE FIT: Some people complained about these falling off… like all earbuds do if you are running with them or weightlifting…. But to my surprise… these fit well without being uncomfortable. I did not have to yank them out with force when taking them out but they did stay in my ears when I hit the cable by accident while moving around
     
    SOUND ISOLATION: These are earbuds and they do not have sound isolation as part of the deal but they did seal well in my ears, enough to make them not leak too much sound. However, sound leaking into your earbuds will not be preventable
     
    PAIRING: These are 64 ohms and that is high for an earbud BUT NOT FOR HIFI earbuds! These do run off practically anything but better sources do affect and improve the sound.
     
    SUGGESTED USE: you can use them portably in a quiet space like the library or study space or office but do not expect to crank up the sound if you don’t want to bother the person next to you. You can also use them at home if you are listening to a specific song that you enjoy on these earbuds.
     
    NOTE: depending on what you add, the number of accessories you get will vary.
     
    SOUND QUALITY
     
    BASS – Coming from headphones, speakers and IEMS these earbuds may lack in the lower frequencies. But that does not mean that these do no entail the rich details in this frequency range, they do. It just takes time to get adjusted to the amount of bass and it feels wonderful and ENOUGH. The fact that earbuds have bass like these do is quite remarkable.
    MIDS – When I was listening to different tracks that I am familiar with, I felt like there was nothing special. That was my mistake, this was because I’ve been so used to the sound of my HD600s and 650s… the fact that I felt there was nothing special but also nothing particularly wrong in this frequency range shows and says a lot about how the MONK PLUS performs in this frequency range… I do not want to get stones thrown at me for saying this But I do want to go on record for saying this: I felt like these were a really good alternative to those who want the HD600 experience but cannot afford the HD600s. With this being said, The mids on these are warm sounding.
    HIGHS – Now the highs are very present. They are not as detailed but they hit the sweet spot. They are out in the open playing with the soundstage and does not sound sharp or sibilant in your ears at all… these are very relaxing pair of earbuds. Usually going from pricey headphones to EXPENSIVE AS HELL headphones means getting more details in a lot of these frequencies, especially the highs…. For a few hundred dollars more…. (MINUS the sound signature and stuff… obviously… we are strictly talking about detail). With that being said, I think for 5 dollars, these get a kiss for how well they perform in this frequency.
     
    SOUNDSTAGE – THE VE MONK PLUS have extraordinary soundstage for an earbud. These resemble the soundstage of some open back headphones and I mean it.
     
    SEPERATION – These have great separation, especially paired with my oppo ha 2 se… these put up a finger to many headphones out there…
     
    7 DAY IMPRESSION:
    FOR MY REVIEWS, I WRITE A DIARY OF WHAT I WANT TO SAY FOR THE FIRST 7 DAYS OF STARTING THE REVIEW FOR A PRODUCT. THE PRODUCT IS REVIEWED MORE EXTENSIVELY AFTERWARDS FOR A LONGER TIME BUT THIS IS THE MY IMPRESSION FOR THE FIRST 7 DAYS
    DAY 1
    I was skeptical to as how a 5-dollar earbud can possibly be any good. I usually do not even wear earbuds, I rely on quality iems, headphones and speakers. I ordered coffee color ones due to my obsession for coffee. When I opened the small package, I was not at all surprised… it was a pair of earbuds. When I touched them to pick them off from the package, I was surprised to how the plastic felt more premium then I would have imagined. But what really mattered was sound.
    I tossed them on the side as I had many other things to review and listen to tonight. Few hours later I listened to the VE monks while sleeping. With my surprise… these blew my mind away… and this was after I was listening to other MUCH MUCH more expensive gear for review purposes!
    I got up, sent my friend (who is also a reviewer) a msg, “take these next week and try them” THEN I went up to the computer and ordered another pair because I wanted to keep one…. FOREVER.
    DAY 2
    While listening to these, I felt bass was lacking compared to what I usually listen to because they are earbuds BUT I quickly got used to it… and everything felt right into place. I didn’t want to sound crazy but even bass felt perfect in these earbuds. Mids were warm and full sounding and highs were there to give you an extra WOW on the soundstage but not sibilant in any way. I listened to this earbud more than anything this day. I kept looking at my bank account to see if I really paid 5 dollars for these….
     
    DAY 3
    I paired these up with different devices, Samsung Galaxy S5, S6, S7, Fiio x1, Oppo ha 2 se… and they were not source sensitive… they sounded great on all devices but I did notice a improvement when paired with better sources. I enjoyed them best combed with my oppo ha 2 se with bass control OFF.
    DAY 4
    I loved these so much that I decided to push all my IEMS aside and take these to the gym. YES, IM HUMAN TOO AND I MAKE MISTAKES, I will admit it… it was stupid. These are earbuds and sound isolation is not the part of the deal nor should it be the reason you buy these. When I took these to the noisy gym, I could not hear these to their full potential and the bass was not strong enough to boost my lazy body. MY FAULT ENTIRELY. When I came back home, I listened to them on my desk… some smooth jazz all-stars play sam smtih. For those of you who do not know this song, this song is an instrumental of sam smith’s songs and contains a lot of saxophone, trumpet, etc. Let’s just say… it felt like I was on a cloud.
    DAY 5
    I was really hoping to see something wrong with these after some time, not because I am psychotic or I hate these but because I love them so much that I started carrying them with me wherever I go…. AND for 5 dollars… I really would not mind if there was something wrong with them but they do their job and beyond SO VERY WELL. That is, it for today.
    DAY 6
    So today, I officially decided to give these to my friends for review and when the new sets arrive, I will be putting them in my pelican case along with my expensive IEMS because these really have earned it…. They deserve to be protected and cared for… Price is irrelevant, I’ve started building respect for the person who made this. Thank you, Venture Electronics. I took these and introduced them to few people at my university who are audio enthusiasts, talked to people on Instagram who were curious, and brought my clueless cousin brother and his response was:
    Cousin: wow these are good!
    Me:  I ordered another one, I might give this one away on a giveaway on my Instagram
    Cousin: I usually do not ask this but can I, have it? Please?
    Me:  If you guess how much it is
    Cousin: I don’t know… 60 dollars?
    Me: …….
    Cousin: 70? 80? No way 100?
    Me: 5
    Cousin: 50?
    Me: 5
    Cousin: How….
    Me: You have the Sennheiser HD598Cs I got you for your b-day, you like these more than these?
    Cousin: No I like the headphones better but these do some stuff my headphone can’t.
    BOOM! ending the story there and you can later find out on my Instagram if the little guy (he is 18, so not that little) got his wish granted or now! Technically he can buy his own LOL. BUT with that being said… the point/lesson of DAY 6 story is that “these are not here because it’s better than headphones or IEMS BUT because they are different” Just like we get headphones and IEMS, these have their own purpose, way to wear and SOUND.
    DAY 7
    I listened to these the whole day as my friend came to pick these up from me today for his chance to review. His initial response when I offered him the Monks was this “I usually do not wear earbuds… but I will try them out.” 2 days later I talked to him and I quote “these blew my mind away.” AND the story repeats again with this man. I feel like after listening to the VE MONKS, we all learn many valuable lessons. ONE of them being “money doesn’t speak sound quality all the time, good engineering does” and the other being “there is different ways to hear things and earbuds have always been one of them AND there is a reason for that.”
     
    FINAL THOUGHTS
    For 5 dollars, this is something all audio enthusiasts should have and furthermore, introduce everyone around you to quality  hi res audio.
    Overall, Venture Electronics really have done well to bring this beautiful product into the light. For 5 dollars, I do not think I can ask for more. It was pleasure reviewing this product and I plan to dive into 
     
    for a more full review with pictures visit our website
     
    Review posted by soulsikreviews.com
     
    video for reference
     
    [​IMG] 
      joshuadapitan likes this.
  5. Hypespazm
    These are the biggest BANG for your BUCK. Is a Humble Statement! These are GAMING MACHINES!
    Written by Hypespazm
    Published Mar 7, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - SQ, Sound Stage, Bright. Clear, Detailed BOOMY Bass.
    Cons - 0
    First and Foremost I want to say that these are by far the biggest BANG for YOUR BUCK. I honestly Dont think these guys should be selling these under 10 bucks...
     
    These are so versatile I have about 5 of these. 1 in every room. I have these laying around everywhere!! They are just so GOOD!.
     
    One big thing that surprised me about these is how versatile they are. The perform amazingly in gaming situations. 
     
    These are perfect for gaming and can be driven by ANY AMP. The better the amp the better these GET!. These scale just as well as HD600's.
    The better the equipment with these the better they get
     
     
    I use these daily for everything Running, Casual listening, Gaming on console PS4, Xbox 360, on my LG V20. On my Desktop.
    You name it these are literally the most versatile headphones I have ever own.
     
    Their durability is amazing. I have stepped on them and they have held up, but don't go on and stepping on them! 
     
    being an audiophile and not owning these is a SIN!.. everyone I know that has gotten these has loved it.
     
      17039167_10158457254065454_1324767142959637471_o.jpg
     
     
    These are my pairs for now!! nothing more to say other than outstanding quality!! 
      joshuadapitan and Layman1 like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. h1f1add1cted
      Most advanced objectiv review on Head-Fi in 2017 so far  :-D
      h1f1add1cted, Mar 8, 2017
    3. Apple0222
      yes, good review, the earphone is so cheap.
      Apple0222, Mar 13, 2017
    4. ColossalKiwi
      Username checks out.
      ColossalKiwi, Mar 28, 2017
  6. canoniz06
    VE Monk+, TY Hi Z 32S
    Written by canoniz06
    Published Mar 3, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Value, Soundstage, Detail
    Cons - lacks bass to complete a great sound
    Burn in time: 70 hours both earbuds (reviewed with thin foam- Monk+, Hi Z full foam)
     
    Track Demo'd: California Kids- Weezer
     
    Source: HP laptop w/ Hifime DAC
     
    Right off the bat, I am able to notice the Monk+ has richer vocals. They sound closer, more intimate, and more natural. The Hi Z, in contrast, sound veiled. It sounds like there is a little bit of detail missing. There is a very noticeable drop off of bass in the Monk+ when compared to the Hi Z.  The added bass from the Hi Z seems to complete the sound that the Monk+ is unable to fill, in terms of the lower end. Bass lines from the bass guitar, bass on the lead and rhythm guitar have a richer sound than the Monk+. When listening to the Monk+, the cymbals and hi hats sound more crisp and have better resonance. It has a gentler sound, but does not get lost in the music. The Hi Z has an extended treble range and seems to be more forward than the Monk+. Hi Z has a really good crunch sound during the heavier overdriven parts of the song. The Monk+ presents the guitar sounds with a cleaner sound, almost like a SSS Fender clean sound compared to EMG. It is easier to hear the “dirt” on the lead guitar on the Monk+ than on the Hi Z. Monk+ has a better soundstage. It sounds airer, with more space in between instruments than the Hi Z.
     
    I personally prefer the Hi Z 32S to the Monk+, not to say that Monk+ is not a great product. Many people love them on the forums and I still mine. In fact, I ordered another set to get one in Coffee Gold+EX pack. I mainly listen to hip hop and rock, so the increased level of bass, both quantity and range, fit my tastes better. I like the Monk+ for musical scores, classical, or more vocally focused music. I don’t regret owning both of them because I find them both very enjoyable to listen to.
     
    Just a note, I also own a few budget IEMS, including the KZ Ate-S and Vsonic VSD3. If you enjoy the sound signature of those IEMs, I think you will also like the sound TY Hi Z 32S.
  7. audiophilefan
    VE Monk Plus - Otherworldly
    Written by audiophilefan
    Published Feb 6, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Addictive sound signature, immediately enjoyable out-of-the-box sound, durable, looks good, mic is accurate and reactive
    Cons - Comfort issue without foams
    BACKGROUND
     
    My wife gave these to me as a gift and…
     
    Oh my God.
     
    That’s it. My review could’ve ended with “Oh my God” and I could’ve been happy. But the rest of you won’t be since reviews are intended to inform, not just to praise. This review will be a little bit different though.
     
    At first I wondered what the hype is all about. Then I understood. And by God, did I understand!
     
     
    PACKAGING
     
    The most basic packaging you’ll ever get:
     
    1. Plastic bag container
    2. The earbuds
    3. 4 pairs of foams (2 pairs red and 2 pairs blue, total of 8)
     
    I got the one with the mic so it’s as expensive as the Fiio EM3 here in our country. Since its launch, the packaging is not intended to impress but I guess it’s ok.
     
     
    BUILD QUALITY, DESIGN, AND COMFORT
     
    Build quality is above average, even better than the EM3. The wires are thicker and less likely to tangle. The main wire leading to the jack is a double-flat wire, which is a very durable type, similar to some chargers used for other gadgets.
     
    The mic is very accurate and reactive. Play and pause is instantaneous.
     
    Comfort is below average without foams. There are sharp edges to the shell that wearing them without foams is a bit painful for me in the long run. This may not be an issue for people with bigger ears though.
     
    NOTE: The foams provided are very prone to ripping so you should take extra care in putting them on. To their merit though, unlike other foams which are thick and durable, they do not muffle or suppress the mids, at least not very noticeable.
     
     
    SOUND
     
    Burn-in: 10+ hours (as recommended by VE)
     
    SET-UP USED:
     
    1. Lenovo K4 Note Smartphone (with Wolfson 8281 Audio Hub)
    2. Dolby Atmos engaged (gives a more accurate perception of soundstage)
    3. Stellio music player EQ is off
     
    For a change, I will not dissect this into lows, mids, highs, etc. as that will not give justice to how these Monks sound.
     
    They have the most engaging, exciting, and exhilarating out-of-the-box sound I have ever heard! How do they compare? They’re as forward as a Grado and as engaging as a Hifiman HE-400s! Am I exaggerating?! Maybe, maybe not! But I’m not! They sounded that good to me. :)
     
    Clarity is exceptional! Because of this exceptional clarity, every type of music, fast or slow, light or heavy, happy or sad, name it and they all sounded oh so engaging like I’m hearing them for the first time! Because of this clarity as well, they’re very revealing and unforgiving of bad recordings. You actually discern the difference between a good and a bad recording very easily. The EM3 is significantly more forgiving.
     
    Soundstage is not as wide as the EM3 but it sounds more natural. You actually here the sound resonating in the venue, if the recording captures that ambiance. Sometimes you hear a sound somewhere far away and you need to take them off to make sure that no one’s hitting a drum (for example) somewhere at home. It happened to me a couple of times in my short time with them. This quality is usually present with full-size planars.
     
    The overall sound signature is very, very ADDICTIVE! That’s the most abused word used for these and now I understand why. Everything sounds just perfect! Everything shines, the vocals, instruments, bass, highs…all are EQUALLY DETAILED. That’s their very strength, every sound is a star. Nothing gives way to anything.
     
    Are they END GAME material? Are they AUDIO NIRVANA material? Yes, oh yes! I’m not looking to replace these anytime some, not this sound at any price.
     
     
    CONCLUSION
     
    The Monks are very disruptive to the industry. VE proved that it can be done. There is no categorizing these. These are absolutely one of the world’s best headphones, earbuds or otherwise.
     
    Now I see the wisdom behind the VE naming – Monk, Asura, Zen. They’re so clear and revealing, it’s almost enlightening in a sense. They just take you to a higher ground of listening. In analogy, it’s like spiritual ascension.
     
    Never ending enjoyment. Pure genius.
     
    Happy ADDICTIVE listening every one! :)
      peter123, Hawaiibadboy and hqssui like this.
    1. mochill
      great review , now you need the whole ve team like me :)
      mochill, Feb 6, 2017
    2. audiophilefan
      @mochill - Thanks! I appreciate it. :) The Monk will suffice for now, plus the fact that the Asura or Zen are not available here and they are quite expensive compared to the Monks. The Zen 2.0 is also 300ohms. I'm not using any amps right now. My phone can power my Superlux HD330 at 150ohms but I'm not confident it can drive the Zen at 300ohms, at least not properly. :)
      audiophilefan, Feb 7, 2017
  8. spronkey
    These things are *fantastic*
    Written by spronkey
    Published Jan 18, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent sound
    Cons - Microphonics on chord.
    These are *fantastic* for the price. Compared side by side to some old Sennheiser MX500s, that cost at least 4x as much, the Monk+ absolutely wipes the floor - they are hugely superior.
     
    Warm sound, detailed sound, strong sound. Good cable length. Build quality is absolutely fine for the price - even good.
     
    There's really little else to say - they are substantially better than the earpods that come with iPhones and iPods, and if you use those, you owe it to yourself to at least spend the $5 on AliExpress to get a pair of these! 
     
    I recommend the Ex Pack, especially if you have had any trouble at all before fitting earbuds.
  9. asymcon
    Monk+ rocks like original, but support could have been improved
    Written by asymcon
    Published Dec 30, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Amazing, detailed and very revealing, yet neutral sound.
    Cons - No verified technical data published, preventing buyers from making informed purchase.
    Edit: From the start I found the 112dB/mW claimed sensitivity not entirely true, and today I made an comparison. Monk Plus is far from the claimed sensitivity, reaching no more than 100dB/mW at 64Ohm impedance.
    The way I did the test was using headphones with known and correct sensitivity and impedance and match them to Monks in terms of volume. DT-250 were used for that purpose. At 1kHz, 5.7dB had to be retracted from Monks to achieve same volume level. As DT-250 are 250Ohm at 100dB/mW @ 1kHz, this post-calculation leads to the same sensitivity level, only at different impedance.
    So Monk Plus are 64Ohm and 100dB/mW, or 112dBV not the overstated 112dB/mW.



    Back in January 2016 I purchased the original Monk as presented by VE at that time. At first I was a bit skeptical, not just for the price, but no earbuds I have had were any good. They turned out to be amazing success, I went that far as to completely replace my portable gear and now I use only Monk when travelling.
    In September I gave out my 2nd backup pair to one of my friends and they love it, but that mean I had to get new backup.

    Turned out Monks were discontinued and replaced by Monk Plus. Unsure of what was changed I wrote a PM to zhibli06 here. No response, so I went to Aliexpress and used their chat system a week later in the morning to compensate for time differences. VE appeared online, yet never addressed my questions 3 days in a row. Neither their Aliexpress page, nor description on veclan.com list any sort of technical data that could help one make informed purchase. Most important info like impedance and sensitivity was completely missing. Only 4 pages of how Beats are useless, how to proceed with the purchase, not to open any disputes (all that understandable), microreview and bunch of photos.

    Finally I decided, what the heck, the original isn't available anyway, so I ordered 3 pairs of royal purple. Despite the ongoing Christmas rush, they arrived fairly fast, only in 3 weeks.
    Impedance was the first thing I checked with my DMM and surprise, it's 64Ohm! The originals are 32Ohm/112dBm. Not saying it's a bad thing, but I prefer to know such info beforehand so that I can check with my gear how much power is going to be required. In sighted comparison, both sound very similar, only Plus appears a bit quieter at the same volume, likely due to increased impedance, but only a bit. Plus also feels a little more revealing, but with earbuds it's always about the right fit, so I may be making things up.

    Overall I'm satisfied with the purchase, I just wish VE could update their webpage with some technical data, as this may turn objective/technical people away.
  10. kydu
    the hidden $5 gem!!
    Written by kydu
    Published Nov 30, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - musicality, seductive tone, great build
    Cons - None
    image.jpg
    The Monk Plus is opening eyes to this industry. I listen to these almost every day for their plain fun sound, and honest nature. Driven by my iphone 6s plus they are true to the recording, and addictive in so many ways. The Monk plus will scale very well with better gear. The chord Mojo, VE runabout plus and runabout 2.0, Benchmark Dac2 HGC, and Primaluna Dialogue Premium HP integrated, took the Monks to limits thought unimaginable. Resulting in better dynamics, soundstage depth, and definition. The Monks key feature is the very organic vocals and instruments have great texture. They have good imaging, and the right amount of detail. they engage you to the point after one track, you'll want to hear the entire album in Monk glory. Live acoustic recordings will be the ticket for these, in my opinion. Nils Lofgren, Acoustic Live, is a must. On track 5, "Keith Don't Go". the guitar strings float in a beautiful aura, which pulls you in. You feel right with the audience. These earbuds have lots of body, and trick me into thinking they are much more than they are. The tone will slightly change depending on using them naked, with one foam, or donut foams. The performance of the Monk will greatly depend on a good fit with your ear. With the Monk PLus, the proof is in the pudding. Forget the price tag, this is the most fun you could have with only your cell phone at hand. Sound this natural needs to be heard!!
     

     

     

     

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