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Take a look at salacious pictures of the Monster DNA headphones.

The bit that your ear will get most intimate with is the speaker element, ensconced in a thin mesh prophylactic layer over the sensitive electronics to prevent biological gunk from getting in places where it's not supposed to be.

To the outside world, all passers by will see is the slick, triangular casing. If the cobalt blue isn't really your style, Monster offers several iterations of the DNA in different colors, like white, chrome, and black.

Holding everything together is the plastic band of the cans, adjustable, but not for larger heads.

Measuring in at 3.93 feet, the flat, rubber-insulated cables included with the are not very special. Then consider the fact that both cables, the one with the remote and the one without, are removable in case of damage. This is awesome if you tend to break cables, as it grants you the ability to get your own replacement.

Capping off those cables is a regular ol' 1/8th inch TRS pin plug, meant for mobile devices.

As we mentioned before, the cables on the are removable, making the cord guards less important. They're still durable enough with a solid housing and metal band, but they're unlikely to break.

Picking up the headphones will also get you two removable cables, a cleaning cloth, travel pouch with faux carabiner, and lots of assorted documentation.

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Despite the plastic construction of the , they're actually relatively durable. Break a cable? Pull it out and put a new one in; your headphones will survive. We still don't advocate abusing your cans, as these were definitely made with fashion in mind, and you don't want to scratch them up, right?

Elegant in their simple design, the headphones are flashy, but not quite gaudy. If you're looking to hit the town with a stellar piece of modern design on your head, Monster does a good job of giving you options in different colors as well, with chrome, black, and white colors available if cobalt blue isn't your cup of tea.

Well, this is new. Fans of the Beats headphones looking for a huge bass emphasis will be surprised to find a relatively flat response, with a gradual fade as the frequencies higher. Is it perfect? Of course not. Note how far below our ideal limits the high frequencies dip as they become more erratic. You'll find that many of the harmonic frequencies to instruments will be muted or muffled, making the music sound a bit off from what you're expecting. For most mobile use, this should be okay, but it is definitely a bit annoying when you're using these headphones at home.

Typically headphones meant for outdoor use emphasize bass to a large degree, and the 's predecessors were guilty of maybe taking it a bit too far. For many people, this frequency response might leave them disappointed, but the real beauty of a flat frequency response is the fact that if you listen to music on your smartphone (as more and more people are doing nowadays), you can use an app to equalize your music to your preference without many errors. For the modern consumer, a flat response is a very attractive thing.

[Click here for more information on our frequency response test.](/content/How-We-Test-149.htm#Frequency_Response) While there are no obvious errors, there is a relatively high general level of distortion. No one frequency sound will sound better than another, but you may notice that overall the quality of your music isn't as great as it could be.
[Click here for more information on our frequency response test.](/content/How-We-Test-149.htm#Distortion) Overall, the tracking of the s isn't anything to complain about: it's got its swings in channel preference, but as they max out at 2dB at worst, you're not going to notice that your left or right speaker is louder than the other.
[Click here for more information on our frequency response test.](/content/How-We-Test-149.htm#Tracking) While it lets in low-end noise almost unimpeded, the blocks out an appreciable amount of high-end noise. You'll still hear engine noise through them if you take them on a busy street, but that shrieking baby will be much less annoying.
[Click here for more information on our isolation test.](/content/How-We-Test-149.htm#Isolation) The corrals their own sound well if you can manage a good seal on your ear, so feel free to bump your tunes without bothering those around you. Still, use discretion, as an imperfect seal can mean greater leakage when there shouldn't normally be any. [Click here for more information on our leakage test.](/content/How-We-Test-149.htm#Leakage) Lovers of super-loud music rejoice: the can blast music at 120+dB (higher than most MP3 players can output) without hitting a 3% level of total distortion. However, you must be very careful with your own ears, as listening to music at a level close to the aforementioned 120dB [_will_ damage your hearing]( if you listen for extended periods of time. [Click here for more on our maximum usable volume test](/content/How-We-Test-149.htm#Maximum Usable Volume) **If you have a smallish head**, the will sit on your noggin with very little pressure, and as far as on-ear headphones go, will remain comfortable from the minute you plunk them on your head and adjust the band. There aren't many issues, as the band does not dig into your scalp, and what little weight there is to the headphones is distributed well. **If you have a larger head**, the is not for you. Why? Like many headphones with a plastic band, they do not extend out far enough to accommodate those of us with bigger brain-cases, and consequently will not feel all that great. It stinks, but it's the truth. See if you can try these on before buying.

Over time, the fit doesn't really change all that much, so the gets the same score here.

Along with the ability to swap out cables in the event of breakage is the option to change what cable you use to match the device. For example, if you use an iPod, you can maximize cable durability by using the remote-free cable. If you use a smartphone, you can maximize versatility by using the cable with the remote and microphone.

Both the included cables for the headphones are 3.93 feet long, and are capped with standard 1/8th inch male plugs. There are differences between the two, but that basically amounts to: one has a remote with microphone and volume control, the other doesn't.

Because the cans fold in on themselves, are light, and employ a carrying pouch, you'll find that it's easy to port these puppies around in a backpack, messenger bag or large purse. There's even a faux carabiner to clip the pouch to your belt, but that looks about as stylish as a fanny pack.

The ability to swap out or replace cables with new ones is huge, and greatly extend the life of your headphones if you accidentally break a cord. It may sound strange, but this is usually the first part of a pair of headphones that breaks for most people.

Remote & Mic

One of the included cables has a remote with microphone and volume control for all you smartphone users out there. Thankfully, the remote actually does a great job of fitting in with the design of the rest of the headphones, and doesn't exactly stick out like a sore thumb, which happens more often than you'd expect. While basic, it gets the job done.

After Monster's breakup with Beats Audio, we were surprised to learn that they teamed up with another company to debut a line of headphones. It makes a lot of sense, however, and for all the shortcomings of the , these headphones will have a very powerful marketing team behind them. However, the performance of these headphones is only incrementally better than Monster's Beats line, and that's only if you like to equalize your music, and you have high-end hearing loss.

For the price you'd pay for the , you're getting some of the best-looking headphones money can buy, but the audio performance is seriously lacking. With a high total distortion measure, and a short range of frequencies that can be reproduced, many people will find that they might do better with another set of cans.

That's not to sell the s short however: to their credit, they have very good options to replace broken cables, or tailor your experience to the source of music you have. Additionally, they're very portable and attractive, and many people look for exactly that when they pick up expensive headphones. The list of custom designs are also quite impressive, ans should satisfy any fashionista. If you're in the market for better sound, however, we'd recommend looking elsewhere for your mobile audio fix.

Meet the tester

Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas

Staff Writer, Imaging


A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.

See all of Chris Thomas's reviews

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