The Sound of Great Audio Gift-able from Monster Products
By Alison Blackman and Anthony Sabatini
Everyone listens to music and makes phone calls (well, just about everyone) so giving them audio gifts that help make the experience better, easier and more fun, is a no brainer. When it comes to audio equipment and gadgets, we’re Monster fans. We are suggesting three affordable, really affordable audio gift ideas from Monster Products that are a can’t miss hit with just about everyone on your list. Be sure to buy at least one of these for yourself too!
We really love these Monster ClarityHD In-Ear Wired High-Performance Earbuds ($39.95) that give us exciting, Monster-quality sound and a comfortable earbud that offers a lot of bells and whistles for not a lot of money. *read our classic feature: classic feature: how to test and buy audio equipment
Two points that we love about these in-ear headphones besides the great sound and the fun colors (color is fun) are the truly comfortable and ergonomically designed, earbuds that come with different sizes of ear tips so you get a good fit, and the flat-tangle-resistant cord. We wear tested these on train, planes and cars, and the noise isolation is also very good. You want to be able to hear something, so you don’t accidentally step in front of a bus, but when we insert these earbuds in a noisy environment, we instantly create a calm oasis. These are lightweight with simple controls for answering calls and playing your music.
The earbuds are lightweight and easy to carry. But they are also well made (as are the cordless version we review below), reinforced at critical stress points so the wires don’t rip away from the casings. The earbuds fit securely and comfortably into most ears making them one of the most comfortable sets of earbuds currently available.
Thanks to the simple controls for answering calls and playing music, the Universal ControlTalk® Controls allow you to shuffle music, skip a track or adjust the volume. Additionally, the quality in-line high intelligibility microphone made our phone calls clear even in noisy environments.
You might be tempted to crank up the volume a bit and like many in-ear headphones, only certain volume levels are reproduced at the fullest frequency range and clarity. Therefore, these headphones may be a bit loud to get full dynamic range but they are not obnoxiously loud nor ear-splittingly painful at that decibel level. As with most in-ear headphones, frequency response falls off as the volume is lowered, but the rate is lower on these headphones, providing pleasing sound even at a quarter of the volume that they were designed for.
These in-ear headphones in black with bright accents area especially appealing both to our sense of style and quality of sound (the white ones look nice but do tend to get dirty faster). Available at Walmart, Walmart.com and Monsterproducts.com
When Monster calls a headphone “Clarity” they mean it! Both the Monster Clarity in-ear headphones (wired version) above, and the Monster Clarity HD Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds ($79) offer the hallmark of un-distorted and accurate, clear “pure Monster sound.” By definition the sound creation source in an earbud is very small and small does much better with high frequencies than low. It is the compensation for this while not producing distortion in the case, that is the highlight of a good pair of earbuds like those from Monster.
The second major defining feature of an earbud is how well and how comfortably it fits in the ear. Both the wired and Bluetooth version have earbuds with an ergonomically designed, slightly angled shape, making them not just amazingly comfortable to wear in-ear, but also helping to block out ambient noise and keeping them securely in your ear as you move.
Wireless earbuds are an acquired taste. They untether you from dangling wires, but they require more maintenance. You have to charge them and deal sync the Bluetooth, and some compromises are needed to conserve battery which can impact the amount of base a wireless earbud can produce. But Monster knows how to make their wireless earbuds stylish, user-friendly and sounding great.
While we think the wired Clarity HD earphones have better sounding base, the Bluetooth version is still better than most and the sound is well…excellent with everything you’d expect from a high-quality Bluetooth earbud. Like the wired version, these are excellent at noise isolation, but you can still hear a bit around you for safety. These earbuds are a great value that we thought would cost a lot more than they do.
The Bluetooth Clarity earbuds are available in a jazzy black and gold version as well as black and white, Our sample was white with silver accents. All feature the large and easy to access 3-button ControlTalk Universal in-line microphone (the control of which are positioned close to your ear for easy access and feature a long bar instead of a round button for easy operation). In addition, the wireless earbuds can be adjusted in the back so you can hide them under your collar, or hair for a customized fit. The innovative battery design gives you 5 hours of listening time on a charge, as long as you remember to turn the earbuds off when not in use.
If you’re giving this as an audio gift, you’ll find both the wired and wireless version nicely boxed with 3 different sizes of earbud covers, a little pouch for storage and a micro USB cable charging cable (for the Bluetooth earbuds). If you like wireless earbuds, you’ll love these from Monster. There
There are so many headphone styles from MONSTER with something for everyone and that’s why we love Monster and Monster sound! You can get Monster Bluetooth earbuds in plenty of retailers, but we say visit http://www.monsterproducts.com/
Superstar Hotshot Bluetooth Speaker by Monster ($50.00) is touted as a “Little Speaker with a Loud Attitude.” We got that idea the minute we opened the package and realized this little lightweight teardrop-shaped speaker with carabiner hook can deliver loud bass and plenty of sound. But wowza! It’s just about the size of an apple (more precisely it is •3 1/2″ H x 3″ W x 1 7/8″ D). Our sample (shown in the photo) was black with silver trim but you can also get it in a stylish black with blue trim, black with gold trim, or white with chrome trim.
You may think you don’t need another portable speaker, but them you haven’t tried the Superstar Hotshot yet. This tiny speaker really has “go anywhere sound” made for fun and gifting. It’s so lightweight you can carry it in a handbag, clip to a backpack, jacket or belt loop or hang it from your bicycle or even a tree at a picnic! In our tests, the Superstar HotShot also made a nifty desktop speaker for phone calls (it takes up almost no room even on a crowded desk). This little speaker doesn’t have a lot of bells & whistles other than a power switch on the bottom of the unit. There are no volume or play controls, (you manage that from your music device or phone). But we set this up in less than a minute including pairing the Bluetooth and got nice clear sound out of the single speaker, immediately.
On the technical side, it’s NFC Capable (just Tap to Pair Bluetooth with NFC Compatible Devices) and it has 5.5 hour play life after charging with the included USB. You can connect it to any audio source with a •1/8″ (3.5mm) Stereo Analog Input to Connect any Audio Source (cable not included). There’s a 1-year warranty. Superstar Hotshot by Monster is available in plenty of retailers, but we suggest you visit http://www.monsterproducts.com/