Monster is one of the better-known headphone companies in the world, building headphones that are as stylish as they are great-sounding. That’s been true for a while now, and the company is showing no signs of slowing — despite the growing competition from the likes of Beats. One of Monster’s more recent releases are the Monster Clarity HD on-ear headphones. But with a $150 price tag, some will be weary of buying them.
Just because Monster is a trusted brand when buying headphones, that doesn’t mean everything it makes automatically turns to gold. So should you buy the Monster Clarity HD’s? We put them to the test to find out.
Monster has long been known for its stylish take on headphones, and that’s a tradition that continues in the Clarity HDs. The headphones come in three different colors — red, black, and gray, and all three of them look great. We reviewed the black pair, and we have to say, they’re very sleek. The only non-black components are a metal hinge and branding on the side of the earcup, which ultimately gives them quite a stylish look.
The headphones are largely built from a high-grade plastic rather than metal, and we would have liked to see a little more metal. In the end, however, that didn’t really bother us much — the plastic is high enough quality to where the headphones are solidly built, and they’re nice and light too, which is important for a pair of on-ear headphones like this. That’s not to say more metal would be better — and it would definitely increase the overall build quality. We also would have liked to see a higher quality leather on the cushions — you’ll want to be careful to ensure the leather doesn’t rip.
When you first open up the headphones and put them on, you’ll notice that there aren’t really any controls to be seen. That’s because they actually have touch controls. Swipe up on the side to turn the volume up, down to turn it down, and tap once to play/pause your music. There are a few more controls to get use, and our only complaint about the system is that it takes a few days to get used to — but once you do you’ll love it. Not only does it prevent the headphones from needing ugly buttons on the side, but it plays to the fact that we’re all used to touch screens now, so we shouldn’t have much trouble grasping the idea of a touch sensitive surface.
On the right earcup you will find one button — a power button. It’s really kind of weirdly placed — in our opinion the power button and the microUSB charging port should be switched around to allow for more easier pressing of the button.
In the box you’ll find the headphones themselves, a 3.5mm aux cable, and a microUSB charging cable. Considering the portable nature of the headphones it’s pretty disappointing to not see a carry case or at least a bag — but alas there isn’t one there. You’ll want to be careful shoving the headphones in your bag.
In general the Monster Clarity HD on-ear headphones look great. While some more metal would have been nice, and a the lack of carry case is very disappointing, the fact is that in the design department the pros far outweigh the cons.
Thankfully, the Monster Clarity HD on-ear headphones don’t just look good — they’re relatively comfortable too. There isn’t a ton of padding on these cans, but that’s really because you don’t need all that much — the headphones are light, and the clamp is tight enough to keep the headphones on and that’s it.
The only negative about the comfort level on the Monster Clarity HD on-ear headphones is that we would have liked to see a little higher quality padding, especially on the headband. If anything gets uncomfortable, it will be the top of your head — and memory foam rather than the standard foam used in these headphones would help prevent that.
Before we dive into the different frequency ranges, let’s get something clear — these are consumer headphones. They don’t sound natural or flat, but they’re not built to. They’re built to enhance certain frequencies to sound good — and sound good they do.
Let’s start with the bass, which is, simply put, monstrous. These are the type of headphones that mega-bass fans will enjoy. The kick drum punches you in the face every time it hits, and basses are well and truly pronounced. Thankfully, things don’t get too muddy — which can be attributed to the small cut in the low-mids.
Speaking of mids, it’s clear there’s somewhat of a cut across both low and high mids, but it’s not over the top. Instead, it helps the music sound a little cleaner and helps accentuate the lows and highs.
The high end is generally well-defined — cymbals shine, and vocals cut well through the mix. The high end is still outshone by the bass by a long shot, but we didn’t ever feel like the bass was really getting in the way of the listening experience.
These headphones can go relatively loud, and at loud volumes some may notice a small amount of distortion, but nothing that gets overbearing by any means — and at that levels you’re probably listening too loudly anyway.
If you’re looking for a pair of noise-isolating headphones these may not cut it for you. While some noise is certainly cut, the combination of on-ear design plus the fact that these weren’t really built for noise isolation in the first place works against the Monster Clarity HD’s.
In general, the Monster Clarity HD on-ear headphones sound great. They’re not for the “pure” listening experience, but for the general consumer who wants a pair of great-sounding headphones, these definitely have a lot to offer.
The Monster Clarity HD on-ear headphones pair relatively easily and offer quite a nice battery life. Monster claims the battery will last 24 hours of listening time at “ample level.” While we didn’t quite hit the 24 hour mark, we don’t have any complaints about the battery, and you shouldn’t ever find yourself running out of battery if you’re good at remembering to charge things.
When it comes to connectivity, the headphones offer a generally standard Bluetooth connection. We didn’t experience any issues with their connection, but they didn’t perform overly better than any other headphones either.
The street-styled Monster Clarity HD on-ear headphones have a lot to offer, and at a decent price. There are a few things that work against them — like the lack of carry case, the weirdly placed power button, and the overuse of plastic — but the pros outweigh the cons.
If you’re looking for a pair of street-sounding headphones to listen to music on your daily commute or otherwise, these are a great option that we highly recommend.
|Frequency response||Unknown||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||Unknown||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
||Unknown||Battery life||24 hours listening time|
|Maximum input power
||Unknown||Wireless distance||10m (33ft)|
||Bluetooth||Cable length||1.2m (4ft)|
|Weight||Unknown||Colors||Black, gray, red|