[2021 Update] Venture Electronics (VE) Monk V2, Monk Plus & Monk Go: a $5 earbud that taking the world by storm!!!
Aug 3, 2018 at 4:50 AM Post #7,306 of 7,436

mbwilson111

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I'm surprised how often I find myself using these buds! I love the fact that I can still hear what's going on around me. The only other headphones I have that let in that level of ambient sound are my trekz bone-conduction headphones - but they sound like garbage.

Just wondering - is there any sort of upgrade available out there that keeps the same basic form factor?

There's a whole thread. Welcome to budfi, sorry bout your wallet

...and here it is... https://www.head-fi.org/threads/earbuds-round-up.441400/page-2225#post-14399580

Don't look at my list.. it will scare you... lol.
 
Aug 3, 2018 at 2:45 PM Post #7,307 of 7,436

csglinux

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...and here it is... https://www.head-fi.org/threads/earbuds-round-up.441400/page-2225#post-14399580

Don't look at my list.. it will scare you... lol.
Woah, that's a pretty comprehensive list! I'm not sure I'm going to live long enough to read reviews on all of those :) What would be your top 3 earbud recommendations? (I'm not looking for another IEM, but rather something of the Monk Bud form factor where you can still hear all your surroundings.) I'd greatly appreciate the opinion of someone with such an enormously excessive amount of experience in these matters :wink:

Just for some background, here's the FR of my Monk Buds, compared with some of my favorite IEMs:

Monk_Buds.png


The sub-bass roll-off might be inevitable with a form-factor like this, but I have a feeling we should be able to do a better job of the treble. I've found the early (7-8 kHz) resonance peak to be common to a lot of cheap headphones (of all form factors), but as you can see from the FLC8S and KSE1500, you can do better. Is there a Monk-like earbud that can compete with these kind of FRs?
 
Aug 3, 2018 at 4:33 PM Post #7,310 of 7,436

csglinux

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This is an awesome resource. Thanks to whichever headfi folk(s) created this:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet...2RK-1_XnAo/pubhtml?gid=1362510242&single=true

Those Toneking buds look incredibly well built - a nice bonus with those replaceable mmcx cables! No reviews at all for them in that Google spreadsheet though. How do they rate amongst their peers? I don't suppose anybody has FR graphs for any of these? It would be nice to be able to anticipate the differences between the 65, 150, 200 and 400 Ohm versions.
 
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Aug 3, 2018 at 8:29 PM Post #7,312 of 7,436

oneula

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Willsound makes a nice bud as is the TY HI-Z 150
Of all the Venture Electronic earbuds to choose from the Zen Omega's are the ones to get
I got the new silver core blue cable and its a great combo with my Zen Omega
I also picked up the LG Tone Studio so I could be in my surroundings and still be "surrounded" by music or movie audio but it only supports AptX and AptX HD not LDAC
 
Aug 9, 2018 at 6:27 PM Post #7,314 of 7,436

mbwilson111

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Hi guys,
Can you please paste the right link to buy the Monk Plus in Aliexpress?
There are several sellers and I don't want to by fakes...
Thanks a lot!

Just make sure it is the Venture Electronics store (VE)
 
Aug 9, 2018 at 7:19 PM Post #7,315 of 7,436

oneula

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Aug 17, 2018 at 7:10 PM Post #7,317 of 7,436

csglinux

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Many thanks to @HungryPanda for the tip on the ToneKing 200 buds. I picked these up, along with a couple of other pairs that seem well regarded. Here they all are in comparison to my original Monk buds:

buds.png


A few points to note:

1) The Edifier P180 turned out to be extremely similar to my Monk Plus buds. They look like basically the same headphone from their frequency responses.
2) One thing I quickly realized is that measuring these is a bit harder than measuring IEMs. With IEMs, you can insert the IEM into the coupler at the same distance each time and get very consistent measurements. With earbuds, measurement variations arise from varying the pressure you apply to the bud on the coupler. If you clamp it on and press it down nice and tight, it tilts the frequency response towards the bass. The amount of pressure that your tragus and antitragus are going to exert on the buds against the ear canal opening are going to vary from person to person, and this makes a huge difference. Check out the effect of the P180 buds resting gently against the coupler, versus being clamped or held tight against the coupler:

P180.png

This is a huge variation! My previous VE Monk Plus bud measurements were made with the buds clamped on the coupler, which I now think is unrealistic. For me, all these buds tend to just sit gently in my ears, so, IMHO, the 'correct' measurement above is the one in red, where the bud is resting against the ear canal with little-to-no pressure applied.
3) The ToneKings are incredibly well built and could be worth buying for the detachable mmcx cable alone! I found one problem with the mmcx cable though - the socket is positioned very close to the buds and the thick rubbery coating on the mmcx plugs didn't let the buds sit that easily in my ears - they just got in the way. So... time for an exacto knife and some heat-shrink tubing...

20180817_155141~2.jpg

This still wasn't perfect, but it was much better. As a bonus, I can now tell the difference between the L and R buds without needing a microscope :)
4) The foams make a huge difference to the FR. Donut vs full-foam, porous vs dense foam, all make a big difference, I suspect, mainly because the density and thickness of the foam dictate how close to your ear canal they get and what kind of seal they achieve. The Monk Buds and Edifiers have fairly thick but porous foam, which holds the buds farther from your ear-canal opening and exaggerate the high-end. The ToneKing donut foams are awesome - in fact I'm now using them on the Shozy buds (measurements of the Shozy buds above used the red ToneKing donut foams).

My conclusions... I love the ToneKings. They're awesome. However, they seem a bit more treble-emphasized to my ears than would be indicated by the graphs above, and I suspect it's because the cable connectors get stuck against my ear cartilage and don't allow the buds to rest quite as snugly as they do on the coupler. They're my second favorite. For me, first place goes to the Shozy BK buds - they have the best combination of extension at both ends, fairly neutral sound signature (no very exaggerated resonance peaks) and a decent amount of low-end, and even a little bit of sub-bass. But all these buds are very good value-for-money performers. They'd put a lot of expensive, full-sized over-ear cans to shame with these frequency responses.
 

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