Monster DNA On-Ear Headphones Review

Editor rating

4.5/5 on December 28, 2015 Reviewed by: Peter Alexander

User's rating

815 reviews

PROS

  • Futuristic design
  • Customizable appearance
  • Cheaper than another headphone from Monster
  • Good sound performance at moderate volume
  • Removable cable

CONS

  • Not great for listening at high volume
  • The in-line remote works only with Apple products
  • Issues with comfort

VERDICT

The Monster DNA on-ear headphones share many similarities with other design-focused headphones. Mainly, the lack of comfort during extended listening sessions. We don’t want to suggest that these headphones are only for show. They, actually, sound pretty good when paired with the right kind of music and kept at moderate volume levels. You can get better comfort and higher sound quality for a lot less money, but, as an overall package, these headphones are worth recommending to everyone who likes their futuristic style and enjoys the characteristic sound signature of headphones made by Monster.

DNA from Monster continues the established tradition of bold design combined with the recognizable sound signature. These supra-aural (on-ear) headphones feature an advanced noise-isolating design and a price tag that is more than inviting. This in-depth review contains everything there is to know about this stylish addition to Monster’s line of headphones.

Design and Build

Let’s start with the unique design that is sure to appeal to all people who are not afraid to stand out from the crowd and attract some attention. Monster DNA on-ear headphones use a combination of sleek, glossy surfaces with simple, triangular ear cups. This combination creates a sense of motion and definitely looks very sexy on both men and women. The look of your headphones can be further customized with custom skins. These come in many vastly different styles and colors and you can even create your own with just a little bit of creativity and technical skill.

Monster used durable, lightweight materials and managed to create a pair of high-quality headphones that should last a long time and be able to withstand some abuse. There are no annoying creaking sounds or unwanted resonance when you are listening to music. A pair of large hinges lets you fold easily transport these headphones in the included soft carrying pouch.

The outside is finished with a glossy paint that unsurprisingly attract fingerprints like a magnet. The included cleaning cloth comes in handy, and it takes just a few quick wipes to make your headphones all shiny and spotless. The inside of the headband is padded with a very shallow layer of comfortable foam coated in a non-slippery layer of rubber-like material. This combination makes for a thin profile and offers a good comfort.

Sadly, the same cannot be said about the ear pads. Their padding lacks the necessary surface area for longer listening sessions in maximum comfort. Not only will your ears start to hurt after about 2-3 hours, but you will also experience a lot of sweating, which just adds to the general discomfort. Despite this, we believe that comfort isn’t really issues with these. Why? Because Monster DNA headphones are geared towards casual listeners and commuters, who will seldom listen without interruption for more than one hour. Commuting to work or school, going to gym or relaxing over a cup of coffee in your favorite coffee is what these headphones are perfect for.

Another fantastic feature is the addition of MusicShare technology. Monster has built dual audio input jacks to DNA headphones that let you interconnect two headphones together and enjoy a shared listening experience from just a single audio source.

Noise Isolation

The Monster DNA on-ear headphones feature a pair of specially designed Advanced Noise Isolating cushions that do a fantastic job when it comes to filtering out all unwanted sounds and disturbing noises from outside. They also greatly reduce the amount of sound leakage, which means that you can listen to your favorite music at relatively loud volume without disturbing others around you.

When you take these headphones outside, you can expect up to 70% reduction of all outside noise. We believe that’s pretty good for headphones without any active noise canceling mechanism.

Sound Quality

Most people already know what to expect from Monster headphones. Their very recognizable sound signature is musical in its nature and strikes a good balance between fun listening experience and high-detail audiophile properties of analytical headphones.

The bass is emphasized; since Monster DNA are most likely to be paired with modern music genres such as hip-hop, EDM, pop, and others. The only complaint we have about it is the fact that on high and very high volume levels the bass gets muddy and loses most of its details.

Mids are placed slightly forward and provide a good level of instrument separation and vocal clarity. Multi-instrumental music with male vocalist sounds very spacious and the head stage has the almost perfect size for out taste. The same is largely true about highs. They remain very detailed throughout the frequency range and don’t succumb to distortion as easily as lows.

The Monster DNA headphones respond well to equalizing, which makes rather significant sound adjustments as easy as it gets. The built-in equalizer in a popular audio player Foobar had no problem reducing the bass to such a level that listening at high volume was no longer an issue while the sound quality remained mostly untouched.

Overall, the Monster DNA on-ear headphones definitely belong to a higher class of designer headphones. Their sound is very musical and detailed at the same time. The good sound isolation helps to stay away from listening at very high volume, which is probably the biggest downside to these headphones.

What is in the box?

Monster wants their customers to know that they are buying a premium product. The packaging includes a removable ControlTalk cable for Apple products, 3.5 mini-to-mini reductions, two extra cables, soft carrying pouch, and cleaning cloth.