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Monoprice Monolith Electrostatic Headphone w/ Amplifier EXPIRED

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Monoprice has Monoprice Monolith Electrostatic Headphone w/ Amplifier on sale for $249.99. Shipping is free. Thanks Discombobulated
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Featuring extremely low distortion and a portable amplifier, the open back headphone design delivers a wide soundstage and exceptional sound.

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Edited May 23, 2020 at 08:02 AM by
Monoprice

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I've personally owned the headphones, and can compare them to other 'cheap' monoprice offerings.

I think that these are without a doubt the worst real electrostats around. That doesn't mean they're bad. I think they're around the same quality as the M1060, and well worth it if you can get one at the same price.

I almost feel like the 'highs' are shrill on these headphones, and things like bass aren't very good. Technically, the headphones are of good quality, but I personally prefer the M1060.

The headphones are extremely open. There's no isolation, you can hear things outside the headphones as if you weren't wearing any to begin with.

The energizer is actually pretty convenient. Contrary to popular belief, you CAN use it while its being charged, but that can only be done using the stock charger provided in the box.
The energizer is pretty nice and small, but I highly recommend not using these portably. As I mentioned, they're very open - so you can hear everything around you, and everyone around you can hear everything you're listening to. 'Earspeakers' is a fitting name for these - i've woken people up in different rooms just by listening to music on these at a moderate volume.

Now for the bad:
There are some technical problems with all electrostats except for STAX, and they appear a lot here.
E-stats make noise by using a very thin diaphragm, vibrating by high voltage electrical current. Let's say a piece of dust is unfortunate enough to fly into the vibrating, charged film? Well, it's probably never coming off unless you open up the headset and remove it yourself. Problem is that the film is so thin (effectively just several micron thins), trying to fix the headphones by manually removing debris from the film would very easy completely wreck the headphones.

Now why do we need to remove the dust? Any dust or hair touching the film WILL cause some extremely annoying squealing noises when the headphones are in use.

These headphones need to be treated with far more care than any else. Even though they're portable, don't take them outside. Keep them in a dust cover as long as possible and, in fact, if you live in a dusty room you need to do something about that before getting the headphones. And keep the 'monoprice' RMA/warranty service ready for use at any time.
If you're ready for all that, then this is a good price for a good and rather unique headphone type. Likely the cheapest real electrostat around.
This is one thing I can completely agree with - as an owner of the HE-4XX and the HE-560 which are open back, these sound like the speaker is pointed outward and without a doubt, comically louder than any other headphone for sound leakage...lol. Obviously when they put on though it does not matter, but these truly are for the "individualist".

That said, I'll give my 3 hour review although I do not know if breaking in electrostatics is a thing. I'm unsure, but if it is then treat this review as-is with room for improvement.

Honestly the build quality is alright with me - If you have a super fat head you might hear much more creaking though. the portable energizer actually has a bit of weight to it.. slightly larger than I was expecting and looks good, clean lines. It all looks very nice. Feels lightweight and is comfortable. Wore it for three hours and zero strain.

I used it with a PC > Optical > Modi 3 > Loki > Vali 2 for digital files and a Pro-ject Primary > Mani > Loki > Magni 3 for vinyl.

Without a doubt these are going to live exclusively for my vinyl, but there's a catch - not all vinyl sounds amazing on them. In fact, the more the music was intended to be partied with the worse on average they sounded. Maad City by Kendrick Lamar was abysmal. No amount of EQ could salvage it. The bass was super muddy, mids were average AF and the highs were just high... only 4 songs to a side so they aren't mastered too thin and usually is a favorite of mine to jam to. Hell no with these Monoliths.

On the other hand, Jazzy electronic, Mavenalli Project's Eat My G-String felt like I was literally there in a lounge club listening to a live band. The Loki boosting mids slightly and the bass more aggressively. It was freaking amazing when my ears accepted to what they were listening to.

I tried some others, The Deadpool 2 soundtrack was a winner as well. Nice smorg of various genres through 3 decades.

In the end these are the best cans I've ever used for jazz, and natural acoustics based music. You'll find some drum and bass and Rock that sound amaze-balls too, but its extremely hit-or-miss. A very hard thing to compute, BUT there in lies whats fascinating about these - I get to go through my entire vinyl collection and discover what works with these and I truly get to listen to them again, for the first time.

I've purposely omitted expressing what they sound like with digital files becauset they just can't compete with the HE-560 let alone the HE-4XX. The reference clarity, sub-bass slam and nearly too high highs are much better in the digital realm of those cans than the monoliths. The airy-ness and warm qualities the Monolith's bring to vinyl are non-existent for almost everything I tried. Even though the Vali 2 is a hybrid amp... just not a good match for these.

So...without a doubt if you have a vinyl collection - Buy them, unless all your vinyl is Dub-step, Slayer or anything with badly mastered audio because it will be exposed and it will make you sad. These were well worth the price here and If you love jazzy vinyl.... they are worth the full price.

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#3
I checked previous threads but can't find an answer to my one question. If you can leave the Energizer plugged in to listen to for extended times beyond the 5 hour battery limit.

I have no desire to travel with these.

This photo in their description says you can but their Q&A section says you can't... And worse the user manual is poorly written and still doesn't verify either source... Please, someone help me!

https://downloads.monoprice.com/f...455_05.jpg

Edit: found a review on Head-fi that says you can use them while plugged into the wall, but you must use their cable and use wall adapter.
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Last edited by cyciumx May 22, 2020 at 04:27 AM.
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#4
This is a great deal, cheapest they've ever been.

Some users on Head-Fi [head-fi.org] have run them with a Stax energizer (typically available on eBay) with improved results.
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#5
Been looking for an excuse to buy a new pair of headphones (other than my "Koss Porta Pros are all I need" and now destroyed "audeze clips should fit because head-fi said so" M300s)...and this was it.

Headphones *and* a portable amp for $250 is a heck of a deal. Helps that I've always been curious about electrostatics and whether or not they'll turn me into a walking cattle prod. Thanks OP!
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Last edited by Someguy503 May 22, 2020 at 07:23 AM.
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#6
Is the sound quality and less distortion really noticeable to an average listening nonaudiophile? Serious question if comparing these to the popular noise canceling sets in this rough price range.
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#7
Quote from KiwiCucumber
:
Is the sound quality and less distortion really noticeable to an average listening nonaudiophile? Serious question if comparing these to the popular noise canceling sets in this rough price range.
That's really difficult to say. I don't own these, but I notice a huge difference between my Sony WH-1000XM3 (arguably the best bluetooth NC headphones) and my Monoprice M1060C planar headphones. I don't consider myself an audiophile, but I do have good audio equipment and appreciate good sound.
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#8
Quote from swechsler
:
That's really difficult to say. I don't own these, but I notice a huge difference between my Sony WH-1000XM3 (arguably the best bluetooth NC headphones) and my Monoprice M1060C planar headphones. I don't consider myself an audiophile, but I do have good audio equipment and appreciate good sound.
Which is better?
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#9
What is the model number for this headphone?
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#10
Quote from erajat
:
What is the model number for this headphone?
I don't see a model number other than 33455
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#11
Quote from chexxor
:
I don't see a model number other than 33455
No a single you tube review on these.
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#12
Quote from erajat
:
No a single you tube review on these.
https://youtu.be/UB-AmsS77dI
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#13
Good teardown of the headphone and amp review:

https://www.head-case.org/forums/...eadphones/

At $250, there may be better choices. But as an electrostatic technology toy, it's expensive to play with.
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#14
I've personally owned the headphones, and can compare them to other 'cheap' monoprice offerings.

I think that these are without a doubt the worst real electrostats around. That doesn't mean they're bad. I think they're around the same quality as the M1060, and well worth it if you can get one at the same price.

I almost feel like the 'highs' are shrill on these headphones, and things like bass aren't very good. Technically, the headphones are of good quality, but I personally prefer the M1060.

The headphones are extremely open. There's no isolation, you can hear things outside the headphones as if you weren't wearing any to begin with.

The energizer is actually pretty convenient. Contrary to popular belief, you CAN use it while its being charged, but that can only be done using the stock charger provided in the box.
The energizer is pretty nice and small, but I highly recommend not using these portably. As I mentioned, they're very open - so you can hear everything around you, and everyone around you can hear everything you're listening to. 'Earspeakers' is a fitting name for these - i've woken people up in different rooms just by listening to music on these at a moderate volume.

Now for the bad:
There are some technical problems with all electrostats except for STAX, and they appear a lot here.
E-stats make noise by using a very thin diaphragm, vibrating by high voltage electrical current. Let's say a piece of dust is unfortunate enough to fly into the vibrating, charged film? Well, it's probably never coming off unless you open up the headset and remove it yourself. Problem is that the film is so thin (effectively just several micron thins), trying to fix the headphones by manually removing debris from the film would very easy completely wreck the headphones.

Now why do we need to remove the dust? Any dust or hair touching the film WILL cause some extremely annoying squealing noises when the headphones are in use.

These headphones need to be treated with far more care than any else. Even though they're portable, don't take them outside. Keep them in a dust cover as long as possible and, in fact, if you live in a dusty room you need to do something about that before getting the headphones. And keep the 'monoprice' RMA/warranty service ready for use at any time.
If you're ready for all that, then this is a good price for a good and rather unique headphone type. Likely the cheapest real electrostat around.
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#15
I've heard these are pretty awful.
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