Monoprice are an American online retailer that sells consumer electronics, and sources products directly from Asia. The Monoprice business model is all about value for the consumer. However, they have been hauled into court many times for alleged infringement of other company’s patents.
So, are Monoprice the real deal? Or are they just copycats?
Let’s find out in our in-depth Monolith M1060 Headphone review…
The Monolith M1060’S are one classy looking pair of over-ear open-backed headphones. These are a high-end headphone at a reasonable price, which employ Planar driver technology. The M1060 certainly look the part and promise to deliver the ultimate way to experience your music.
Planar Magnetic Driver versus Dynamic Driver
The headphones I’ve used in the past have always been dynamic driver headphones that work when the speaker’s diaphragm is moved by a magnetic field, producing sound waves. The Planar Driver Technology is a little different in that the magnetic charge gets spread across the whole diaphragm, which is surrounded by magnets.
This makes for a cleaner and more open sound, which is solid at all frequencies.
What are they for?
These are headphones made for home use, headphones designed for the audiophile who expects quality, and that little bit more from they’re listening experience.
The Monolith M1060 headphones are a very attractive pair of open-backed headphones weighing in at 500 Grams. The headband is classed, I believe, as a floating design. It’s metal and comes in a matt black finish.
Attached to the metal headband is a strong piece of padded rubber, which completes that floating design, and allows an easily adjustable and comfortable fit to be achieved. The padding on the rubber section has a really nice, expensive look to its finish and feels really comfortable.
The earcup has a lovely smooth wooden finish where it is connected to the metal headband. The earcups have a 4” diameter, with the outer open-back part being beautifully finished with a rugged matt black metal cover, held firmly in place with screws. The Monolith logo is also fabricated into the metal cover.
The ear-pads themselves are covered with a synthetic leather, which looks a lot better than I expected. The pads are unusually thick, with rectangular section’s cut out for the ears.
The M1060 headphones fit exceptionally well, and I was a little surprised at how comfortably they sit in place. However, I must say that I am not a big fan of synthetic leather, as it tends to get a little sweaty over long periods, and if you live in a very humid climate like myself, they crack and shed over time.
I need to reiterate and clarify the most important point because I didn’t know much about these drivers. The M1060 have 106mm Planar Magnetic Drivers. This has a flat membrane and is surrounded by magnets. The membrane will produce sound when a current is passed through it.
What’s the sound quality like?
The sound has superior bass, lower distortion, and a more accurate image than what you would not expect from your average driver.
The soundstage imaging is not as good as you would find on the Sennheiser HD800 or HD660S, but it is a very immersive experience and exceptional at the price point. The Monolith M1060 are an extremely well-balanced headphone. They are pretty neutral, and all the usual suspect frequencies sit in a nice space without competing with each other.
To really test that soundstage imaging, put some of your favorite tracks on, and see if you can hear the positioning of the instruments, as well as the frequencies that you may have missed when you first listened to the songs. The M1060 headphones really do achieve something special in their imaging, a lot more than I expected at this price point.
I didn’t hear any audible trace of distortion, and I cranked them up loud while listening to many styles of music. The Mid-range can sound a little brittle when listening loud, but that could be just me being a little picky.
Open-backed headphones will allow you to crank the volume up without hurting your ears. They also cause less ear fatigue, as a certain amount of the signal leaks out of the back. Sound leakage can be annoying for others, but these are for home use really, so it shouldn’t be a problem. But not such a good idea if you travel on public transport often.
But, bear in mind that the Mid-range can feel a little less controlled in open-back headphones.
What’s in the box?
- Monolith M1060 open-back, over-ear planar magnetic headphones.
- One adaptor: 3.5mm to jack.
- Headphone to 3.5mm jack cable.
- Cool carrying case.
- Frequency Response: 10Hz to 50Hz.
- Impedance: 50 Ohms.
- Sensitivity: 96 dB at 1 kHz.
- Max Sound Pressure Level: 130dB.
- Max Power Handling: 10,000mW.
- Harmonic Distortion: 1%.
- Not foldable.
- Weight: 499 Grams.
Cable and connectivity
- Y-Type Cable Design.
- Detachable Cable.
- Cable Length: 4’/1.22M (coiled)
- Audio Connector: 1/8”/3.5mm TRS.
- Adaptor: 1/4” TRS.
- Connector to Earpiece: Two 2.5 mm.
Monolith M1060 Headphone Review Pros and Cons
- Cool design and finish.
- Planar Magnetic Drivers.
- Good sound quality.
- Nice quality case.
- Quality cables.
- Synthetic leather ear-pads.
- Brittle mid-range.
Monolith M1060 Headphone Review – My Verdict
The Monolith M1060 are a very impressive set of headphones for the audiophile. They have a very sturdy and expensive looking build, which I really like. They are not cheap headphones but compared with others at the same price or higher. And they do offer a very nicely balanced sound and impressive soundstage.
Noise leakage is always an issue with open-backed headphones, and I find it a bit difficult to totally immerse myself in the music when those around me are being bothered by it. But that is the price you pay for the kind of immersive imaging and clarity of sound that open-backed headphones produce.
Monoprice have certainly delivered a high performance, durable headphone at a price which I would consider excellent value for the money. There are options at similar prices that employ Planar driver technology, but I think the Monolith M1060 may just have pipped them to the post.
For the audiophile that has a few extra pounds to spend and wants to experience real quality, the Monolith M1060 pair of headphone’s are a tremendous buy and well worth the price.