Review: Monster Inspiration with active noise isolation

Purchasing headphones can be an extremely tedious process and as you start your search for the ultimate audio porn for your ears, the prices can range from a few bucks, to a few thousand. We here at Neowin have reviewed several pairs of headphones over the past few years and some have been better than others but the end result is always a personal decision on what is important for you; style, audio quality, durability or something else.

Up for review this time are the Monster Inspiration headphones that feature noise canceling technology that hit the cash register for $299.95. The headphones come with a couple of notable features including a tangle free cords (yes, plural), interchangeable headbands, and of course, active noise canceling technology.

The headphones come in a roll-out style box that protects and keeps everything packed tightly inside. Once you roll out the box, you will see the headphones in their own soft case, all of the instructions and warranty materials tucked away in a sleeve on one sidewall, and a cleaning cloth is tossed in for good measure.

Aesthetically, the cans look good and have a mature look to them when compared to the previous set of headphones from Monster that we reviewed. The cans are made of a hard plastic and have bits of metal integrated where applicable to give the cans a premium feeling.

The ear cups are soft and breathe better than we expected. Having previously used the Audio Technica ANTC7 noise canceling headphones, the Inspirations breathe remarkably better and don’t leave you feeling stuffy after a few hours of use.

On your head the cans feel firm and do not slip when moving about. The headphones adjust easily to fit your large (or small) head and after prolonged use, they are still comfortable and shouldn’t present any issues for individuals who use their headphones all day.

The headphones come with three cords that have different features: a basic cord, one with a mic, and one with volume and mic controls. The tangle free cords are about as exciting as new shoelaces but do appear to be less prone to getting tied up in a knot; this could be entirely placebo as we have managed to get a few snags after having to quickly shove the cord into our pockets as the wheels drop for landing.

The noise canceling feature works by flipping a small switch that turns on a green light to let you know that the battery has a charge. The noise canceling works as you would expect: it is good at removing the white noise on an airplane but does not fully muffle crying children or the annoying flight attendants informing you about this month’s credit card offer.

One awkward issue is installing the battery for the noise cancelation. You have to remove one of the ear-cups that is held in place with clips that feels a bit nerve-racking as you get the impression you might break the cover.

What it all comes down to is the audio quality and the Inspirations’ will not disappoint a certain demographic. Linking back their heritage of Beats, these cans are heavy on the lows and overly colorful on the highs. If you love hip-hop, rap, dubstep, techno, these headphones will be a treat. But for the classical, jazz, or acoustic fans out there, you will be left with mild-disappointment.

Ear pad pops off to allow for battery installation

The lows come with added exaggeration and the highs are so bright, that the combination of lows and highs influence washes away the mids. Overall though, the sound quality is acceptable across the gamut of music and most will have little issue with the clarity the headphones provide; that is unless you love to stress the mids, then you may want to look elsewhere.

The headphones are a smash of style and performance audio equipment. What you trade for in clarity is off-set by the look and feel of the headphones. Ultimately, it comes down to if you want to pay the premium for the Monster branding and make a statement with your headphones. But, if you are looking for audio quality and nothing else, cheaper options are on store shelves.

See: Monster Inspiration

Buy: Monster Inspiration


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