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Venture Electronics (VE) Monk+/Monk Plus

Rating:
4.79412/5,
  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.
      RogueWolfe likes this.
  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] 
      nofacemonster and joshuadapitan like 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. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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!!
     

     

     

     

  9. AT Khan
    Best Bang for the Buck? Yes Sir.
    Written by AT Khan
    Published Oct 4, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Great Sound. No Fatigue. Open-ness, and Natural Listening. Easy Mods. Bass - Almost Complete. A Fraction of Money for the Sound.
    Cons - Bass improved by EQ'ing. Looks: Oldschool. Build: Just OK. Bit Fragile - Need Care. No Detachble Cables. Fitting is a Challenge. Not for Workout.
    The Venture Electronics Monks +
     
    Let me immediately get this out of the way now; Giant Killers?: Yes. End of Review.
     
    20160618_155021.jpg
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Haha ok, ok. Let’s dig in a bit deeper. Ill elaborate for some of you who haven’t experienced the fun yet. I’m just gonna review these on the basis of my TEMPTATION to do so, despite there being already so many reviews rating these at almost 5 stars.
     
     ​

     
    DISCLAIMER: I was recommended the monks by my friends in India. No, I got nothing for free from VE (but yeah, for $5 they are kind of free, anyhow). I am not associated with VE or any of their affiliates/partners/selling channels or any of their friends or family members. I do not benefit in any way from this review or by giving any kind of positive opinions, neither will I suffer any consequences from any negative points I make here. All the opinions in here are my own, under no influence, and I undertake that I’m providing my honest feedback, and in no way aim to influence the Monks’ popularity or sales other than their own legit merit of quality, performance and craftsmanship.
     ​

     
     
    The VE Monks have now gained an almost cult status, and all for good reason. You get just the right, natural sound with that open sound-stage. At a 64 ohms rating, you still get effortless performance running off mobile devices with no need for an amp. The make is just the right quality for the money. But the sound quality you ask? It’s many times over the price… MANY… times… over. Every time you think about how much you paid for them, you'll be lost in relating that price to their worthy audio performance. Every time.
     
    I got these for $5+$3 for shipping. In mainland China, they'd still be $5. What do you get for five dollars in this big, wide world nowadays? Not this kind of stuff. Not at this price, anyhow. Yet here we are.
     
    In my arsenal over the years I’ve had many Sony buds and in-ears, a pair of Edifier buds (that came with my Transcend MP3 player back in 2003 or something - that’s what these are built upon), A4Tech buds, V-Moda Bass Freq, Razer Hammerhead Pros, Philips buds, KZ ZN1s, Xioami Piston Hybrids, and several stock phone buds from LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson. I’ve even heard many high-ends like Westones, those 10-BA each side, $1000 Noble IEMs and much much more… I’d easily take these over all else. Yes, even the Nobles. Call me crazy, or maybe I’m some mental cheapo. BUT… it’s $5. I mean maybe there’s no fair comparison, but I remember I didn’t get sound-stage on the Nobles the way I did on these. But anyhow, let’s not put up $5 against a $1000. The nobles are made God-like, and probably that alone may be an over $300 range caveat at the least.
     
    Back to these $5s: What’s there to just not give these a shot? Skipping a sandwich or a milkshake? Just assume you bought two this morning and order one pair of these. You’ll save yourself from some extra calories and end up having a quite exemplary piece of audio equipment in the process.
     
    But hey! These are BUDS. I know. Been there. Done that. Just like 2 months ago when these were recommended to me, I was like… BUDs? That’s so early 2000s. I recalled my experience and was like… man, the bass must suck. What about the fit? Yeah, that’s gonna be terrible. Everything’s like ear canal these days. I saw them on Massdrop and said to myself… wow. These guys are sure digging up the past. They wanna step in the Sony Walkman era. Duh!
     
    It’s now twice that I have stereotyped and underestimated things. The Koss Porta Pros were my first underestimation. These are my second.
     
    What’s in the candy-like package:
     
    1 Pair of VE Monks
    3 pairs of colored foams (full, donut etc.)
     
    SPECIFICATIONS (that I copied off another headfier's review):
     
    Type:                         Open dynamic ear-bud
    Driver:                       15.4mm dynamic
    Frequency Range:    8 Hz – 22 Khz (though I'd say, 30 Hz or so to 20KHz. I can't hear over 20KHz. Can you?)
    Impedance:               64 ohm
    Sensitivity:                112dB +/- 5dB (1mW)
    Plug:                         3.5mm gold plated, straight jack (Really? How do you afford 'GOLD' within five dollars of total cost? Beats me. Anyways, fine.)
    Cable:                       1.2m, TPE outer coat, 128 x 0.06 4n ofc copper
    Weight:                     Approx 15g with single full foam covers
    IEM Shell:                 Polycarbonate / hard plastic
     
    DESIGN & BUILD:
     
    At this point, you really have to look beyond all the bling bling. These aren’t those timeless looking, all metal buds that you’ll look supercool with on the street. Nope. It’s an old-school design. Everyone who looks at you wearing these will thing lowly of you. They’ll probably assume you couldn’t afford better gear and probably got them out of your last cereal box or with some real cheap Chinese phone you just bought online. The feel, though not that cheap, is still plasticy. No detachable cable. No new, eye-catching design. No luxurious build here. No sir.
     
    It has a nice rubber cable. Doesn’t feel cheap or if it will break any time soon. Connector is nice. Don’t know if in this price it’s gold-plated, but who cares. Earbuds are plastic, dark transparent.
     
    There is one thing that did happen to me though… maybe I manhandled my first pair, and it had rattling induced. The second pair I ordered, also seemed to have some rattling issue out of the box. What I did was replace the drivers from one pair to another, and now I have the right pair. Cost me $10 in total.
     
    But this still doesn’t hold me back to praise them all the same. What’s another five dollars for this kind of sound? Nothing, really…
     
    So, just to get it out there, there is that risk of receiving a pair that may have some faults. Again, just a chance; check what policy they have for QA, warranty or other issues.
     
    HANDLING & DURABILITY:
     
    They’re not your usual throw-away-and-just-chill buds. I think I damaged one side of my first pair (the driver began to rattle), so I would urge you to be careful. Once you realize how good they are, you begin to take care of them a bit more than you would of your metal body IEMs or stuff. So I would strongly recommend taking care of them here.
     
    If treated right, they will last. But well, for the money they’re at, you can always buy another… and another… and another. So relax. This is the kind of luxury you won’t really get.
     
    Power handling is nice. I run these off my Samsung Note 5, and no… I don’t need an amp, unless I prefer damaging my hearing as or risk over-powering these buds. On my PC I’m using them over a Creative E5 or the Xonar DX/XD or any other chain with my fiiO E07k.
     
    FIT & COMFORT:
     
    The fit can be a bit of a challenge. As some other earphones and IEMs I have, these always require some turns, some twists and I may take em out and put em back again and do that a few times to get the adjusted right. If you move your head too much, the fitting will get loose. As such, I do not recommend these for working out routines, or a morning run, or skate-boarding. Even on the street, each step may make this a bit looser, and they'll have the urge to fall out, so you have to use them accordingly.
     
    I don’t recommend using them naked, unlike some have suggested. That doesn’t seal that well at all (cuz of buds, you may not get that proper canal-like seal anyhow), so you lose bass and decibels too. And then they’ll keep falling out even more. To me, it's pointless.
     
    Changing foams from those complete ones to donut ones is ideal for me and adds all improvements I'm looking for, in sound and fit. They then give me just the right amount of bass, and surprisingly, tone down the mids and highs for me a bit, too, for higher volumes - not to say that the mids or highs are in any way discomforting otherwise. The donut foams are also a bit more dense than those full foams so, they fit better and keep the sound inside more.
     
    Comfort is just fine with them. You do tend to forget they’re there. There’s no sweating, and though it may feel a bit intrusive after some hours, it’s generally just fine. It feels much better to me now compared to ear-canals. Over the years, I adapted to those. Now the ear canal IEMs just feel so intrusive to my comfort.
     
    ISOLATION & LEAKAGE:
     
    Semi-open nature will surely leak some sound. What can we expect? And yes, isolation/passive noise cancellation is just average at best. At high volumes though, it works fine.
     
    PACKAGING VARIATIONS:
     
    They come as VE Monks +, and there is also an EX Pack for $10 (in pictures) that contains a dozen of those foams, some plastic holders and stuff, though I didn’t find much use for them. Old-school foam is just fine, so may as well get the basic five dollar deal.
     
    There’s also candy monks for $15 I think for those who want a better, colorful cable and metal connectors. That’s probably worth the money too.
     
    Here's the EX package:
     
     
     
    20160618_155218.jpg
     
    20160618_155536.jpg
     
     
    SOUND QUALITY:
     
    Remember how I said these will look cheap, and you’ll probably be asking yourself a few times over why you even bought these. What’s to them really? Why? Just why? That is… until you plug them in and press play…
     
    The sound... that, natural, OPEN sound… Soon you’ll realize these are just more than you’d expected from em. Much, much more.
     
    After DIYing together the right pair (as highlighted earlier), I realized they sound awesome just out of the box and burn-in doesn’t matter. Why? Cuz my previous pair had been burning in, and I swapped one of the drivers from the out-of-the-box second pair. I don’t feel any difference, nor did I between my burned-in and the brand new pair. So they’re just right out of the box.
     
    1. SIGNATURE: The sound is natural, tending a bit towards a V signature. They’re near to neutral though. They’re fine, across the whole range. There’s nothing fatiguing. Nothing overdone. No sibilant sounds. No lack of bass, really… other than just some sub-bass. Honestly, if I need any more bass I just bring out my Fostex or JVC HA-SZ1000s. These come in 3rd :p
     
    1. The sound-stage is open and binaural. Instrument separation is quite nice. Well not like top-notch Hifimen or Sennheisers. But again, that’ll be too far-fetched a comparison – Apples vs…. Almonds?
     
    1. MIDS/HIGHS: The mids and whatever is supposed to be forward, is forward. Vocals are great. Treble is just nice. Rolled up a bit.
     
    1. BASS: Now due to their nature, the bass will be lower than expected. But it’s just right. After some adjustment to EQ (via Poweramp on my phone, and crystalizing through my Creative E5 DAC) though, the bass improved a lot! Except for sub-bass, and stuff below 30Hz, we will have a hit or miss. But I can’t really complain anymore after EQ. Everything’s in place. I usually bring down the 140Hz to 500Hz block. In general, the sass on these is like a 10% compromise compared to other closed-back IEMs for so much better overall sound. Only bassheads may have some complaints. But then again, an open-back Sennheiser HD5XX or a Philips Fidelio isn’t basshead gear.
     
    These, for me, are for any genre. I’m mainly an electronic music guy. But I love any genre of music out of em. Anything, goes. Classical, OST, Trance, Progressive, House, Dubstep, Chill-Step, Trap, Chill-Trap, Tribal Trap… anything.
     
    COMPARISONS:
     
    Better sound than all that I have. These are indeed my go to in-ear/earphones. They get 97% use, whenever I’m not using headphones. And sometimes, even on my PC I end up using them instead of my cans.
     
    I have the YMHFPJ MX500 300 ohm buds. They sound a bit darker to me, though they’re the next best thing, and still better than all else I have. I still take the Monks over them. The MX500 also have a more narrower, closed sound in comparison.
     
    Being mostly a can user (and that too, overear/circumaural ones), I must highlight that at this point, I end up comparing these to my EMU Ebony. In fact, I'd call these a smaller, portable version of my EMUs. This is crazy, it's HUGE..., and maybe some sort of blasphemy for some, this is what I think. Of course, EMU sub-bass and head massage is a much, much different matter, but for the rest of the sound signature, that's my closest comparison.
     
    It wouldn't surprise me if someone calls them some sort of portable and smaller HD598s or stuff. I'd take the Monks over the ATH-M50x any time, and even over my Takstar Hi2050s (their mids sound a bit distant and are not forward), and many other on-ear and over-ear headphones if I have the option. They're an easy portable replacement for all my gear, and my GO-TO earphones/IEMs/buds.
     
    CONCLUSION:
     
    You’d be stupid to not have bought these. That’s my conclusion. Straight up, no bull. I hope they don’t mess with the price so that I keep buying them and become a regular customer :p.
     
    I mean, here's Putin's response to the VE Monks :p:
     
    [​IMG]
     
    PS: The lower photos are of my VE Monks with the cable that I modded using the YMHFPJ MX500's cable.
     
    20161004_211813.jpg
     
    20161004_211947.jpg
     
    20161004_212042.jpg
     
    20161004_212207.jpg
     
    20161004_212311.jpg
    1. domino584
      I'm looking for your EQ settings for the bass/sub-bass. What settings did you use?
      domino584, Feb 23, 2019
    2. AT Khan
      Ah bass, sub bass... Go for Vido or TY Hiz. There's Yinkrow Y6 or something, sounds the same as Vido (which means great sound) and comes with a better cable. 150 ohm TY Hiz is even better, darker though. Want even better subbass, the more laid back 32 ohm Benjie BJ49 is the one. Remember, its the silver one with the black cable or at least the shells must be silver.
      AT Khan, Feb 24, 2019
    3. AT Khan
      Interesting enough, opaque and darker shells have better bass response than transparent, see thru shells. That's why the VE Monks lack in that area.
      AT Khan, Feb 24, 2019
  10. Hisoundfi
    Possibly the best five bucks you'll ever spend. The Monk Plus budget audiophile earphone from Venture Electronics
    Written by Hisoundfi
    Published Sep 9, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Revolutionary price to performance factor, Fantastic mid-range, Various jack and adapter options, Hits a sweet spot with portable audiophile rigs
    Cons - Not ideal for loud environments, Lack of sub bass extension, At the end of the day they still fit and seal like your typical earbud
    20160907_080910.jpg
    At the time this review was written, the Venture Electronics Monk Plus was listed for sale on the VE website and also on Aliexpress. Here are links to their listing of the product:

    https://www.veclan.com/engappliance_sel_one?eng_ApplianceVo.eac_id=4

    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Venture-Electronic-VE-MONK-earbud-earphone/32417311324.html?spm=2114.08.3.1.BJX1op&ws_ab_test=searchweb201556_7,searchweb201602_5_10057_10056_10065_10055_10067_10054_10069_301_10059_10033_10058_10032_10017_10070_10060_10061_10052_10062_10053_10050_10051,searchweb201603_1&btsid=23ac801c-dbc5-42aa-80fb-4d10ff020ade

    Introduction
    A year or so ago I would have laughed at earbuds. I hadn’t had any positive experiences with them up until that point. My opinion at the time was that earbuds couldn’t do much beyond creating a thin and lifeless two dimensional sound. I had no intention to dabble in this style of earphone until my good friend Tamal suggested I give the VE Zen a try. It was a perception changer for sure. Here is my review of the original Zen:

    http://www.head-fi.org/products/venture-electronics-ve-zen/reviews/13680

    Needless to say, they left me impressed. Although not the greatest thing I ever heard, the Zen proved that an earbud can offer incredible dynamics. There is now a quasi-revival of earbuds and their relevance in the current hi-fi audio scene for me. Just about every tenured earphone manufacturer has an earbud of some sort listed for sale.

    In 2014/2015 Venture Electronics released the Monk, which was the original five dollar budget earphone that made some pretty big waves in the audio community. VE also released the Zen 2.0, which to my ears was an improvement over the original Zen. Here is my review:

    http://www.head-fi.org/products/venture-electronics-ve-zen-v2/reviews/15142

    I have become a fan of Venture Electronics after covering some of their product line. The first version of monk gave people a taste of what VE had to offer, and the Zen would take the Monk sound to the next level of audio bliss (at a sizeable price increase). Don’t have the funds to take the leap into the realm of Zen? It’s okay, because the Monk could give you seventy five to ninety percent of what the Zen could do (depending on your preferences and sources used). Only those who wanted that extra ten to twenty-five percent increase in performance needed to shell out the hundred plus dollars needed to make it happen.

    With VE, there’s winners at every price point. The VE Clan has also vowed to improve the product line as they move forward. The Zen 2.0 was a considerable improvement from their first Zen, and the Monk Plus is… well, let’s get to that in a bit. For now let's continue the current conversation.

    Venture Electronic’s Zen 2.0 took the original's place as their current flagship earbud. Now that they have had some time on the market and in the ears of its customers, there seems to be a pretty noticeable leap in performance between the original Monk and Zen 2.0. Well, Lee and the boys over at VE have once again bridged the gap between the budget and flagship lineup, introducing the Monk Plus. Let’s take a look and listen to their budget priced and premium sounding earphone.

    Disclaimer
    Venture Electronics has supplied me with free sets of their entire Monk Plus lineup in exchange for my honest opinion and review. I am in no way affiliated with Venture Electronics aside from being entrusted to fairly review their products, and share my experience with the Head-Fi community. I would like to take this time to personally thank Lee for the opportunity to experience and review their products, and also for allowing my constructive criticism help play part in their product development.

    To be completely honest, I am so impressed with the Monk Plus, I plan on purchasing a couple pair to give as gifts. I feel they perform so well that I’m going to buy a few more just to share the magic these things have for five measly dollars. If I am getting free pairs to review, the least I can do is to buy a few more pairs and share the gift of Head-Fi at the next few upcoming audio conventions.

    My Background
    I AM NOT a numbers and graphs audiophile or sound engineer. Personal audio enthusiast? Absolutely! Headphone junkie? Possibly…

    There’s something about quality DAPs, DACs, Amplifiers and Earphones that intrigues me. I want to hear any earphone that looks promising, in hopes that I can share my impressions with enthusiasts and help them find the audio product they’re looking for. My Head-Fi profile has a list of audio products ranked from favorite to least favorite. For me, this hobby is more about getting great price to performance ratio from a product, and having a variety of different gear to mix and match. With personal audio gear, we tend to pay a lot of money for minor upgrades. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that just because a headphone has a higher price tag, it doesn’t mean that it has superior build and sound quality.

    I’m always looking for great audio at a great price. I’m after headphones and IEMs that give me the “WOW” factor. I can appreciate different builds and sound signatures as long as they are solidly built, with ergonomics and sound that is pleasing to my ears. It’s my pleasure to share my experiences with audio products and make recommendations based on gear I have owned and used.

    REVIEW
    20160907_080138.jpg
    The Monk comes in a cheap bag. Yup, a cheap plastic bag with funky drawings and quotes derived from the socializing and antics of Lee over at team VE. To be honest the bag captures the essence of Venture Electronic’s no BS approach to making earphones. “The biggest bang you’ll ever get for your buck” is printed on the front of the bag, and to be honest it is a pretty accurate statement.

    20160907_080155.jpg
    The back of the bag has some links for purchasing and more information. Opening the bag reveals the pair of earbuds and a small plastic bag with a few sets of blue and red foams. No clamshell case, no shirt clip included...The Monk is five bucks for a reason.

    Specifications and Accessories
    The Monk Plus lineup has variations and accessories that go beyond just the standard earbuds. Thanks to Lee, I received one of everything in the lineup. I’m glad he did, because it’s important to understand what VE is offering its customers with the Monk Plus. The specifications and accessories portion of the review will go beyond just the five dollar earbud. Let’s cover the specifications and accessories for the base model first:

    Specifications:
    Type: Open dynamic ear-bud
    Driver: 15.4mm dynamic
    Frequency Range: 8 Hz – 22 Khz
    Impedance: 64 ohm
    Sensitivity: 112dB +/- 5dB (1mW)
    Plug: 3.5mm gold plated, straight jack
    Cable: 1.2m, TPE outer coat, 128 x 0.06 4n ofc copper
    Weight: Approx 15g with single full foam covers
    IEM Shell: Polycarbonate / hard plastic

    Acccessories:
    6X Pair foam discs (3X Red, 3X Blue)

    Various Jack Options
    20160907_080619.jpg
    There are three different jack variations. There’s the standard 3.5 mm TRS jack, a 3.5 mm balanced TRRS jack, and a 2.5 mm balanced TRRS jack. There is no increase in price, any jack option you choose is only five dollars USD (awesome). Lee has also informed me that there will soon be a microphone version of the Monk Plus coming soon. I’m not sure what the asking price will be.

    Adapters
    20160907_081639.jpg
    Also included in the Monk Plus lineup are adapters that allow users to guarantee their Monk Plus will work with all of their source outputs. All adapters were tested and work well. Each one costs five dollars USD. Here are the list of the adapters that can be purchased:

    20160907_081639.jpg
    1X 2.5 mm balanced TRRS to 3.5 mm standard TRS
    1x 2.5 mm balanced TRRS to 3.5 mm balanced TRRS
    1x 3.5 mm balanced TRRS to 2.5 mm balanced TRRS
    1x 3.5 mm balanced TRRS to 3.5 mm standard TRS

    EX Pack
    1469786557208_754206064.png
    Last but certainly not least, VE is offering an incredible earbud/accessories package option called the EX pack. In this package you will receive the Monk Plus earbuds along with a baggie that contains eight pairs of red and blue foams, four pairs of foam doughnuts, two pairs of rubber rings, and two pairs of ear hooks (size S/M and M/L). You can purchase the EX pack for a grand total of ten dollars USD.

    Housings
    20160907_080927.jpg
    The Monk Plus housing is a lightweight translucent smoke colored plastic housing similar to many other earbuds on the market. The shape is fairly generic, but the aesthetic is pretty nice thanks to the translucent finish which reveals the driver and internal wiring. The VE logo and 8-bit writing of the word Monk is printed on the outside of the shell, along with imprinted left and right channel markings.

    20160907_080910.jpg
    The foams come in red and blue. Although I assume you could use the colors any way you’d like, this was done to make it even easier to identify each channel (red for right and blue for left).

    Cable, Y-Split, Cable Jack, Strain Reliefs
    The cable is a fairly standard black rubber jacketed cable. It’s very durable for the price and rivals cables that cost many times more than their asking price. There’s a small amount of spring and memory, but not enough to cause issues with the fit. The Y-split is a firm rubber jacketing with the words “VE Clan” imprinted on it. A chin/neck slider is attached to the cable and works well to help secure their fit. The jacks (regardless of what type you choose) has a straight gold plated jack that is jacketed in a rubber coating similar to the Y-split. Strain reliefs are nicely done. All in all this is a pretty decent cable at one hundred dollars, let alone the five dollar asking price.

    Functionality
    The current Monk lineup does not have a microphone and remote option. I have been told that there will be a mic/remote option coming soon. I will update this portion when the mic/remote version is released.

    In terms of jacks, there are standard and balanced options. Make sure to choose the jack that will maximize your listening experience with whatever source you use. If you have a 2.5 or 3.5 mm balanced output of your DAP, make sure to purchase the correct balanced cable jack. There is a noticeable increase in fidelity to my ears with a balanced connections.

    Ergonomics, Fit and Microphonics, Isolation
    20160907_082946.jpg
    There’s not a whole lot to say here. If you’ve worn a generic earbud with foam tips you know how the Monk Plus fits. Their disc shape sits in the concha of your ears. As with all earbuds, your sound experience is entirely dependent on how these things rest in your ears. If they seal too well, they will sound overly warm, bassy and smooth. If they fit too loosely they will sound thin and lifeless. Dabble with how the monk fits and you will find the sweet spot somewhere in the middle of the two. One big positive about the Monk Plus fit, the installed chin/neck slider was a welcomed feature that enabled me to acheive a more secure and consistent fit.

    Earbuds are known to lack isolation and create more of an open air music experience. The Monk Plus is no exception. You will get some nice airy sound without eliminating ambient noises. You will have no problem listening to your earphones while hearing your surroundings.

    NOTE: The Monk Plus isn’t the greatest for noisy environments. Listening to the Monk while commuting or outdoors, I was regularly distracted by outside noise which took my focus away from what makes the Monk Plus sound special. Listening to them in loud environments will take away from your ability to fully enjoy them. To maximize your listening experience with the Monk Plus, listen to them in a quiet room.


    Sound Review
    I did my demo with my usual gear. I used an LG-V10 for smartphone use, and either my Shanling H3 or iBasso DX80 DAP/Bushmaster D14 DAC/Amp for high fidelity portable use. For desktop use, I used my Toshiba Satellite Laptop in combination with a ifi micro iDSD playing at 32/192 kHz. I tested them with several other sources as well. I used Google Music in its highest download quality (320 KBPS), and also streamed FLAC via Tidal streaming service. I also used purchased and downloaded tracks in MP3, FLAC, WAV and DSD. I make sure that any gear I test has sufficient playtime before writing a review.

    I used my usual same songs for testing gear:
    “Limit to your love” by James Blake (bass speed, punch, response)
    “Doin’ it Right” by Daft Punk (sub bass)
    “Get lucky” by Daft Punk (bass to midrange transition resolution, male vocals)
    “Madness” by Muse (soundstage, separation)
    “Some nights” by Fun (soundstage and male vocals)
    “The soundmaker” by Rodrigo y Gabriela (texture and imaging)
    “Bassically” by Tei Shi (bass to midrange resolution, female vocals)
    “Skinny Love” performed by Birdie (female vocals, acoustic playback)
    “One” by Ed Sheeran (male vocals, acoustic playback)
    “Outlands” from the Tron Legacy Soundtrack (symphonic presentation, imaging)
    “Sultans of swing” by Dire Straits (detail, separation, balance)
    “And Justic for All” by Metallica (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
    “Ten thousand fists” by Disturbed (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)

    Note: Other tracks were used, but the listed songs were primarily used to assess and break down the gear’s response.

    Source Selection
    The Monk Plus comes in at sixty four Ohms, making them somewhat source specific to maximize their sound. They will sound really good through your smartphone, but they will benefit even more from more powerful sources like DAPs, and stacked rigs with portable and desktop amplifiers. High Gain with portable sources seemed to give me the most ideal sound quality. They sounded especially good with the 2.5mm balanced jack version Monk Plus and Fiio X7 with AM3 balanced amplifier module installed.

    The Monk Plus won’t necessarily discriminate either warmer or more linear sources. What you will like will be determined by your preference. Just know that this earbud is scaling up incredibly well. I was able to use everything from my Sansa Clip Zip and LG-V10, all the way up to my more powerful desktop rigs.

    Sound Signature
    First things first, these things sound awesome regardless of price. The biggest thing that jumps out at me is the open and airy sound combined with a very nicely dynamic, textured and detailed midrange. There is a ever so slight tint of warmth to the sound.

    Just like with almost every earbud there is, the Monk Plus won’t give you the lowest of low frequencies. To add to this, the Monk Plus has a somewhat smooth (yet perceptually extended) treble response. There’s a nice bite on vocals and instruments along with complimentary frequencies that don’t take the focus off of the center stage midrange.

    Although sub bass tones aren’t as present as many in-ear monitors or full size headphones, the Monk Plus still sounds adequate with most modern genres of music. The Monk Plus seemed to shine the most with Vocal and band oriented music. Symphony, Classic Rock, Indie, Acoustic, Live performances, Country, and some Rock and Metal sounded especially good with the Monk Plus.

    The Monk is another earphone I caught myself turning the volume up higher and higher. It seemed like the louder I turned them up the more I enjoyed them. Disclaimer: Listening to volumes that are too loud and for too long is unhealthy. Listen responsibly people. If you’re going to turn the volume up, be sure to give your ears a break every now and then. Remember, earphones become paper weights if you go deaf.

    Bass
    Bass is controlled and pretty non existent at sub bass levels. To understand the way the bass works we must start with mid bass. There’s midbass to an almost forward extent, with a nice amount of fullness and punch. Kick drums to give a realistic sense of impact that is a touch softer delivery than most average full size headphones. Where the earbuds lose out is in things like sub bass lines and the lowest of low earth rumbling stuff. From the very adequate a full midbass, there is roll off into a non existent low end. This was exposed during Daft Punk’s “Doin it Right”. Simply put, the bass line was monotone and thin, and the low end rumble was non-existent.

    Midrange
    The Monk Plus midrange is really well done. For five bucks you get a quality midrange that trumps the mids of many earphones that costs several times more. A warm tilt carries through the entire frequency range and finishes with a 2 kHz bump. This tuning raises the dynamics without destroying their organic and natural sound reproduction and detail. Take this type of tuning and add the open and airy presence that earbuds give you, we have a very unique and somewhat spectacular effect when listening to them. I thoroughly enjoy both male and female vocals with this earbud. Harmony of vocals and instruments are rich and airy at the same time.
    When testing the Monk Plus, the midrange in Rodrigo Y Gabriela’s song “The Soundmaker” guitars flowed in and out of the track and played with a very nice amount of strength and accuracy. With Ed Sheeran’s song “One” his voice was colorful and full without being unnatural. Dire Straits “Sultans of Swing” has some nice and full rhythm guitar and vocals that were complemented by some smooth shimmer and sparkle at higher ranges.

    Midrange sounds take center stage and there is a gradual descent in each neighboring frequency ranges. Although sub bass is pretty much obsolete, the treble holds its tone well and doesn’t necessarily “roll off” or appear to be shelved like the lower bass tones. We will go over this next.

    Treble
    Treble manages to be smooth and maintains a shiny and enjoyable presence. The Monk Plus does a good job avoiding sibilant sounds. If you’re not going to enjoy these earbuds, it’s not going to be because of harsh highs, and in that same breath your aren’t going to dislike them for lack of treble either. They are a step at or maybe a touch under neutral in some frequencies. Highs are slightly behind the forward midrange presence in terms of balance. I really like the sound of cymbal crashes and hi hats. They are clearly heard and without harshness or distortion for the most part. One thing to note, they will struggle with more complex musical passages. The Monk Plus drivers will get a bit overwhelmed and smear upper midrange and lower treble ranges when trying to handle lots of sounds at the same time. It’s only with the most complex passages with genres like fast rock and speed metal that I experienced this.

    Soundstage and Imaging
    The dynamic and forward midrange packs enough naturalness to create a nice sense of airiness and instrument placement. Because of this soundstage and imaging are pretty solid. Due to the lack of sub bass response, the depth struggles. Highs that take a slight backseat to the midrange don't yield much height. Airy? Yes. Extended? No.

    Comparisons
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    Monk (original version) ($5 before being discontinued)
    The Monk is the original five dollar earbud, and the basis in which VE aimed to surpass with the Monk Plus.

    Comparing the two, the changes in sound are along the lines of the jump from the original Zen to the Zen 2.0. With the new generation, the Monk Plus is slightly more musical and smooth. VE has added a bit of color and strength to the upper midbass and midrange while maintaining the clarity and separation that made the original Monk a popular budget pick. The Monk Plus also has the added benefit of avoiding sibilant sounds and harshness from poorly recorded music. The overall feel is that the Monk Plus has a more organic signature with less fatiguing upper frequencies

    Build quality and accessories is a draw. I prefer the look of the translucent smoke housings of the Monk Plus.

    Do I consider the Monk Plus to be an improvement over the original? For me the answer is yes, absolutely. However, It will not be an improvement for those who prefer a more linear and lean tuning. Long story short, the Monk Plus is a slightly more musical version of the first offering, and more jack options and accessories to pick from.


    VE Zen 2.0 ($150 USD on Aliexpress and VEclan.com)
    The Zen 2.0 is the current earbud flagship from Venture Electronics. They are the next generation that picks up from where the original Zen left off. Similarly to the Monk series, the next generation Zen 2.0 added warmth and dynamics to their tunings while toning the upper frequencies down a bit. I am making this comparison for those who are considering taking the leap from the Monk Plus to the Zen 2.0.

    First things first, the Zen 2.0 comes in at 300 Ohms, making it much more source dependent. The Monk Plus will sound better with a smartphone, while the Zen 2.0 will sound better with a more powerful DAP or amplifier. Bouncing back and forth, the Zen 2.0 is even more relaxed and smooth than the Monk Plus. There is more bass impact and depth with the Zen 2.0. On top of all of this the Zen 2.0 manages to maintain the same level of clarity throughout the sound spectrum. Throw both earphones on a higher powered source and it’s not really a contest, the Zen 2.0 pulls away when this is done. I personally feel that the Zen 2.0 is a luxury item as compared to the Monk Plus. If you want to see what VE is capable of doing, try the Monk Plus first. Get the Zen 2.0 if you want to hear one of their best, and experience what I consider to be a ten to twenty percent increase in performance over the Monk Plus, and have something more ideal for your desktop rigs and high powered portable sources. If the leap in price is worth the difference in your opinion, I say go for it. Just remember, trying a sample of the Monk Plus will give you a taste of what to expect in the Zen 2.0.

    In terms of build, the Zen 2.0 gets a slight advantage, offering a ninety degree cable jack and cooler looking cable (with upgrade options). Accessories also goes to the Zen 2.0, as they offer more foams, ear hooks and a clamshell case.

    Conclusion
    The Monk Plus is hands down one of the best deals in the game of budget earphones. For five bucks you get a pair of earbuds that I consider to be a remarkable improvement in clarity and overall balance/fidelity to the stock Apple earpods we see used so often these days.

    The Monk Plus isn’t going to rip through and destroy your custom built multi-driver in-ear monitors. It’s not the five dollar earphone that makes every earphone purchase you ever made seem obsolete. They won’t be the most ideal earphone for noisy environments. They won’t be the best earphone for commuting or running. To be honest, the Monk Plus is really only ideal for one thing, which is to sound really awesome for the price of lunch. Pop this five dollar earbud in when you're in a quiet environment and be amazed by their remarkable fidelity. Hearing is believing my friends!

    Usually I try to break earphones down in each category to get a star rating. This time I’m skipping all this part and giving the Monk Plus a five star review. That’s one dollar for every star I gave them. For a price less than an extra value meal, I find the sound quality to be pretty amazing. I recommend that if you are even a little bit curious about the Monk Plus you should give them a try. Worst case scenario, if you don’t like them, you’re out five measly dollars and will have heard what a Venture Electronics earbud are capable of.

    The amount of work it took to write this review is a testament to how well the Monk Plus sounds. Over the course of the last two years I’ve joined forces with many Head-Fiers to find the best sounding earphone for under twenty-five dollars. This is arguably the best of the bunch. Add things like optional adapters, balanced cable jacks, and an EX accessories package, Venture Electronics has redefined the words tremendous value when it comes to earphones.

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    Thanks for reading and happy listening!
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Ira Delphic
      Thanks Hisoundfi! Great review. I ordered a couple of pairs last week. I love IEM's such as the venerable Vsonic GR07, but my ear canals can no longer take it - even with foam tips. Fascinating resurgence of earbuds thanks in part to folks in China. 
       
      Now if the world will consistently use the term "earbud" to refer only to earbuds. 
      Ira Delphic, Sep 10, 2016
    3. amigastar
      Nice Review,
      got my ve monk plus always by my side when going to work and city. Love them also because of the fit in the ear, they don't go deep so it keeps my right ear from getting pain.
      amigastar, Sep 12, 2016
    4. Hatmann
      Thanks for the review  -- useful and informative.
       
      I bought some off Massdrop for gifts and have been trying one myself.
       
      I have lots of cheap earphones and the Monk isn't close to being one of the best.
       
      But it is comfortable, easy to use and sounds pretty decent.
       
      Just fine for carrying a back-up or for gifting. Or for slipping on when you just want quick and easy and don't need the best.
       
      One nit: The foam covers on mine have a life-span of maybe five minutes. Tops.
       
      I hope you don't need them for an improvement in sound. I was going to order the accessory kit because I want the ear hooks. But the foam covers just don't last for me. YMMV.
       
      As others have said -- the Monk is hard to beat at the price. Maybe impossible.
      Hatmann, Sep 18, 2016