Monster knows what it’s doing with its headphones. Sure, it may not make the most audiophile-friendly cans out there, but that doesn’t mean that it’s headphones don’t sound great. We recently reviewed the Monster Clarity HD on-ear headphones and now we’re taking a look at the on-ear version — the Monster Clarity HD in-ears.
But how do the headphones stack up against their much more expensive and larger sibling? We put them to the test to find out.
The Monster Clarity HD in-ears look exactly like what you would expect a pair of Monster headphones to sound like. They’re definitely not subtle — and that’s largely owed to their size.
The headphones come in a range of different colors, but the pair we’re reviewing are black with gold highlights. It’s really quite a nice look, and the black helps them keep a classy feel while adding a bit of spice with the gold. On the end of each in-ears unit, you’ll find the Monster logo, also in gold.
These headphones are actually wireless, and the cable that attaches to the two in-ears wraps around the back of your neck. Partly down the right side of the cable, you’ll notice a remote, which is relatively basic in its design. You’ll find a volume up and down button, as well as a multi-use middle button, which helps with things like playing, pausing, answering calls, and so on. That little remote also has a built-in microphone for those calls.
In the box, you’ll find a nice sleep of accessories, including a small carry pouch, a microUSB charging cable, and a three ear tip sizes, including the ones that come pre-installed on the headphones.
In general, the Monster Clarity HD in-ears are well-designed and look great. You could make the case that the build quality seems a little cheap, and that’s true, but they could certainly be a lot worse than they are.
While the in-ear units are pretty large, the actual eartip isn’t overly big and as such the Monster Clarity HD in-ears aren’t uncomfortable. You will want to take a few moments to try out the different eartip sizes so you can find the ones that are the right fit for you — because if you don’t you may have issues with the in-ears falling out. Even with the right fit, we did sometimes find that the in-ears fell out, but securing the clip around the back of your head also helped with that.
While you might be tempted to use these for sports, we recommend looking elsewhere for running and working out. If you’d rather stick with Monster headphones, check out the Monster iSports line, which should do a better job at staying in your ears.
In general, the Monster Clarity HD in-ear headphones are comfortable, but their weight means you will have issues with them properly staying in your ear.
Monster is known for building headphones that sound fun and exciting, but don’t buy these expecting a natural sound — they’re not built for that. Still, the Monster Clarity HD in-ear headphones are some of the better sound in-ear headphones we’ve tested.
Let’s start with the bass, which is very present on these headphones. Often we find that in-ears suffer in the bass department — a lot more than their larger counterparts, anyway. As mentioned, these aren’t a good pair of headphones for those looking for natural-sounding cans — there’s a pretty drastic bass boost, and mega-bass fans will be more than happy with what these have to offer. Monster has done a great job at ensuring that despite the big bass boost the headphones don’t sound too muddy.
As is often the case with headphones like this, the Clarity HD in-ears have somewhat of a midrange cut, but they don’t overdo it. In fact, we think they really hit the sweet spot in the midrange — cutting enough to help accentuate the bass, but not sucking too much life out of the music.
The high-end is particularly well tuned on the Monster Clarity HD’s. While in-ear headphones often suffer from high-end frustrations, these headphones offer enough high end to keep vocals nice and present, and ensure that guitars and synths don’t get lost. We would perhaps have enjoyed a little more high end at the top of the high-end range, just to bring out a little more sizzle on those cymbals.
In our experience, the Monster Clarity HD in-ear headphones offer plenty of stereo separation. Sound isolation these headphones is fine, but Monster markets them as “noise isolating,” and we think that making noise isolation a selling point of these is going a little far.
The Monster Clarity HD in-ears use Bluetooth to connect to devices, and as such offer a pretty standard range — around 10m, or 33ft. We found that connectivity was generally fine, although every now and then there would be a little skip — but it was never overly frustrating.
The headphones also offer an 8 hour battery life, which is fine for wireless in-ears. 8 hours wouldn’t be anywhere near enough for a pair of on-ear or over-ear headphones, but the fact is that when you build in-ears you have to sacrifice on battery space.
The Monster Clarity HD in-ear headphones aren’t perfect by any means, but at only $40 they’re pretty damn close. While they do have a somewhat cheap build quality and can suffer from falling-out syndrome, if you can deal with those quirks you have a real winner on your hands. They look great, sound great, and are well worth the price they come at. Definitely don’t buy these anticipating a great pair of sports headphones — but if you’re looking for general purpose in-ears, these might be the ones for you.
|Frequency response||Unknown||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||Unknown||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
||Unknown||Battery life||8 Hours|
|Maximum input power
||Unknown||Wireless distance||10m (33ft)|
||No||Case type||Carry pouch|
|Weight||Unknown||Colors||White, neon green, black, pink|