Monoprice Enhanced Bass Hi-Fi Headphones Review
A detailed sound profile for less than 10 bucks
The Insides That Count
For something so cheap, the Monoprice Enhanced Bass Hi-Fi in-ears (MSRP: $22) just knocked our socks off in the lab. You generally wouldn't expect too much from a set of headphones as cheap as these, but in the end there was no major tracking error, zero audible distortion, and a very detailed, judiciously balanced frequency response. Evidently the tiny price tag isn't the only perk these headphones have to offer.
One of the most critical tests we run on a set of headphones is the frequency response test. We run a frequency sweep through an amp and the headphones reproduce it. Our software then measures the way the product emphasizes various frequencies along the audible spectrum. This data tells us if a set of headphones boosts bass, underemphasizes the midrange, and so on. Basically, looking at the frequency response reveals how detailed a given soundscape really is.
When I ran this test on these dirt-cheap Monoprice in-ears, I had to look twice at the results: These dinky headphones produce a beautiful soundscape. Unlike most of what's on the consumer market, these Monoprice in-ears don't blast bass at all. In fact, the bass range is almost completely flat, which is generally what audiophiles prefer for equalizing music. From there, it all falls perfectly into place: The midrange, upper midrange, and highest range are balanced very judiciously, so that every single note in the book is quite audible and balanced.
Just note that if you're a bit of a bass hog—don't feel bad, plenty of people love extra helpings of bass, and with good reason—these headphones won't suit you at all. A flat bass response is great for people who use their own EQ, but everyone else will probably complain that there isn't enough bass.
Okay, Monoprice, you nailed the frequency response test—but will you drop the ball on distortion? Apparently not. These things again just blew me away. I found less than 3% total harmonic distortion (THD) from A to Z here, which is a fantastic result. Listeners will enjoy nothing but clean, clear tunes—no added junk or clipped harmonics to bring everything down around your ears.
Even better, if you practice safe listening and keep volume below 109dB, distortion will never climb above that 3% mark.
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