WHAT: Monster Turbine Pro Gold Edition Professional In-Ear Speakers
COMPARE TO: Klipsch Image X5
PRICE: Retail: $299, Amazon: $202.96
FUN FACT: Monster Cable also owns a record label called Monster Music which was started in 1988 and has released music for artists like 3 Doors Down and Ray Charles.
WHY COMPLEX IS CO-SIGNING: For many, buying a pair of headphones over $100 is akin to buying a white tee for the same price. Just ridiculous. Yet and still, companies churn 'em out for that small discernible crowd who happen to know and appreciate the difference between the ear buds that come packaged with your iPod and the ones that could double as studio reference monitors. The Monster Turbine Pros are for that group. Made by Monster Cable—the company known primarily for HDMI cables and, more recently and importantly, the line of Beats By Dr. Dre headphones—the Turbine Pro's are their top-of-the-line in-ear headphones. And they're good. Very good. But are they worth the price? Read on to find out...
For a second, let's not think about the price tag. Yes, they're expensive—more than double the price of the Klipsch S4's that we think are pretty damn awesome. Are they more than two times as good as the S4s? Yes and no. The Klipsch S4s and other similarly priced headphones are great at making your music sound good, no matter how shitty the source is. And with the majority of music downloaded today falling way below CD Quality (anything lower than a bitrate of 192), you could be fooled into thinking that the $20 headphones you're currently using are good. However, listen to those same MP3's using a pair of expensive headphones and you'll see just how bad the file is. All that bass will be gone, the track will feel low and empty; far different from the full, loud feeling you're use to with headphones that amplify bass and overall sound to make low quality digital files sound better.
The Turbine Pros don't mask the sound of your music, they bring it out in all it's glory (or shame, depending on what you're listening to). Monster Cable made their name making high quality audio and visual cords, and they bring that same expertise the Turbine Pro's. Within the durable rubber cord that splits in two lies their MicroStrand Conductors that work to faithfully reproduce sound, and their Magnetic FluxTube which controls the magnetic fields to produce a smooth, natural sound. Just like their stereo cables, all that produces amazingly accurate audio reproduction with great bass. To make sure that sound is all you hear, the Turbine Pros come with eight ear tips. These rubber ear-tips successfully work to keep outside noise out and isolating the music you're listening to. This is great for those working professionally with audio and for those of us that just want to keep the hustle and bustle of the subway or air plane out. Though, keep in mind, they're no where near as good as true noise canceling headphones. So if that's what you're looking for, go cop a pair specifically made to do that.
Sound aside, the build quality of the Turbine Pros are on another level. Although, they don't feel heavy in your ears, you can feel the heft of the all-metal housing. If you've purchased any MP3 player, you know how disposable those headphones feel. Put them through their paces and they'll break before you get the chance to lose them. Not these. Toss 'em around, drop 'em, do anything short of firing a gun at it and they'll be alright.
Do you need a pair of Turbine Pros? If you're quite comfortable with your cheap headphones, then no, probably not. If the quality of your sound is only marginally important—i.e. you don't see yourself spending too much cheddar to improve it—you may want to pass. Or, if you do want better sound, but just can't spend $300, the Klipsch S4s are great. But, take a look at the top of one of the carrying pouches (seen above). It reads: "For Audiophiles & Audio Professionals Only". If you really consider yourself either of those two, then these are a great investment, as we haven't come across many that are better.
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