Monoprice MHP-839 Review
The Monoprice MHP-839: entry level price with performance to match
King of the bargain HDMI cables, Monoprice has started to retail products that are decidedly less inexpensive, and more functional. Enter the Monoprice MHP-839s, entry level headphones from Monoprice. While they aren't going to dominate headlines for headphones of the year, they're an acceptable selection for those on a budget looking for cans that can take some abuse.
Comfort, Design & Features
Low comfort, fairly durable
Without resorting to childhood verbal abuse rhymes, aesthetics is clearly not the strong suit of these plastic cans. But since Monoprice's branding is centered around affordability, these clunky, ugly plastic headphones fit the image perfectly: If there was a generic brand set of cans, these would come packaged in the white box with black lettering. Chances are good that if you're buying these cans, you're not looking for fashion anyways, so this may not be as big of a problem for some.
Depending on the size of your head, these cans will either be passably comfortable, or a hellish headphone wearing experience. While it's no secret that the MHP-839s weren't designed with comfort as the main concern, they could have at least pretended to care. Over time, the fit doesn't change much, but if there's even a minor annoyance with it, you'll be very easily annoyed with little things like heat buildup or your pinna getting pinched.
Probably one of the best things that can be said about the MHP-839s is that they offer a level of durability not found on headphones in their price range. For most sets of cans, the weakest part of the design is the cable, leading to breakage. To combat this, having a female 1/8th inch jack in one of the ear cups allows the user to simply swap out the broken part for pennies compared to replacing the whole unit. It's very uncommon for headphones under $100 to have removable cables, but the MHP-839s do, and that's huge.
Could be better, but they're only $30
This is the kind of frequency response that won't be impressing many people, and prevents the MHP-839 from being considered over more expensive headphones. There's a huge dropoff in volume for the highest octave of a standard 88 key piano, also making the last two octaves of a pipe organ and the attack of most types of cymbals a half to 1/4th as loud as they should be.
Another frustrating issue with these headphones is their tendency to shift channel preference at the volume threshold of human hearing. It may not be enough to dissuade someone looking for a bargain, but it's still bad enough to be aware of. Your music will absolutely be audibly affected in a couple ranges. There's also a little bit of distortion, but nothing that will be terribly audible.
Not great, but they're passable for the price.
Monoprice certainly has its work cut out for it if it wants to make a splash in the bargain electronics industry. While the company was wildly successful making cheap cables to sell wholesale, Monoprice seem to be stumble a bit with the MHP-839. Even though the box claims that they're "Pro" headphones, they are anything but.
Specifically, these headphones, while durable for their price point, don't have good sound quality. Sure, it's probably a bit mean to beat up on a pair of headphones built by a company who made their name on massively undercutting others in price, but the fact remains that the product is probably not something that people researching which headphones to buy are going to elect to go after.
Should you decide to pick them up, you'll have a very affordable set of headphones that you can bang around, toss in your bag, and not worry about breaking so much. They're durable in that they can have their weakest points replaced without fuss, but the band is not only uncomfortable, but also a concern. They'll do in a pinch, but don't expect great sound quality.
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