The Playback editorial staff has been increasingly impressed with the efforts that Monster is applying to its burgeoning line of headphones and earphones. The Monster Turbine Pro Copper Edition and Miles Davis Tribute in-ear models in particular have captured our attention. Meanwhile, the Beats By Dr. Dre headphone line has been entertaining, if not exactly the thing for maximum accuracy.
Recently, Monster sent us the Beats Solo HDs, which are on-ear headphones priced just under $230. On ear headphones slot into the market between full circumaural (surrounding the ear) headphones on one hand and in-ear ‘phones on the other. Some people find that circumaural models feel oppressive. They may also find in-ear headphones uncomfortable or too hard to insert and remove (especially in an office). On-ear headphones have neither of these problems, and so they have their proponents and a niche in the market. In addition, on-ear designs can be much more compact than full-sized headphones, making them more suitable for use when traveling.
In keeping with the mobile usage them, Monster has designed the Solo HDs to be driven by a portable music player or phone. They also have Monster’s ControlTalk system to integrate phone and music usage. ControlTalk provides music playback control, including volume, play/pause and tracking, as well as a microphone. This feature works with iPods, iPhones and some Blackberrys.