When you blend technology with fashion, the results aren’t always a match made in heaven. Many attempts at “jazzing” up an otherwise standard product line (such as a pair of headphones) prove disappointing out of the gate. Fashion rarely blends with comfort, and functionality generally doesn’t mix well with design.
This isn’t the case with Monster’s Diesel VEKTR on-ear headphones. What at first appeared to be something a bit too flashy to be comfortable has proven to be not only extremely easy on the ears, but remarkably so.
Unveiled at the Monaco Grand Prix, Monster’s latest offerings include three of the most interesting designs you could imagine. In tune with the popular Beats by Dr. Dre (another offering of the Monster brand), these headphones are designed from the ground up to combine clear, true sound in a package that could easily fit in with some of the hottest trends on the runway.
These headphones include the VEKTR, Inspiration, and a classy set referred to as Diamond Tears – EDGE. In fact, Monaco royalty were spotted donning these headphones, and the Princess of Monaco herself referred to “Diamond Tears” as “tears of joy.” While the VEKTR headphones reviewed in this article are available now, Inspiration and Diamond Tears are set for release in July.
As with many of Monster’s products, the price barrier is fairly steep. You should expect to spend between $250-280 for these headphones. Here’s a look at what you get for that high price point.
The Monster Diesel VEKTR on-ear headphones have a very basic feature set. The cable is perhaps the most interesting feature of the product which is no surprise coming from a company with a reputation built on producing premium cables. The cord is triangular in shape, which Monster states keeps it from becoming tangled. I’ve tried a few tests where I smash the cable into the carrying bag, stuff it into my carry-on luggage, and anything else I thought might cause a tangle. To my surprise, it never got tangled.
The cable also contains a ControlTalk Universal hands-free control which allows you to use the headset with a mobile phone. A microphone located near your chin on the cable makes taking and receiving calls a little easier. You can also answer calls and control your music player with the control button. While it isn’t exactly a breakthrough technology, it’s nice to see.
The headphones come with a cleaning cloth for obvious reasons. The plastic used on the designer frame is a fingerprint magnet, and I had a hard time not putting fingerprints on the headphones while putting them on. This isn’t the most pleasant feature of the device, but I’m glad Monster thought to include a cleaning cloth.
There is also a touring bag, which is made out of a combination of cloth and a faux leather. The bag itself isn’t much of a value-add, but I did find it quite useful during travel.
The design of these headphones is indeed a wonder. Italian fashion designer Diesel actually worked with Monster to create a line of headphones that are both stylish and functional. While I’m not normally a fan of designer headphones, since the price is usually quite steep for them, I did find this particular pair pleasant to both the eyes and ears.
My first impression of them was that they looked like something out of the Transformer movie series. Sharp angles and rigid plastic make up the majority of the frame while incredibly soft ear pads and a rubberized headband allow them to be comfortable for the wearer.
I’m not sure how I feel about the cable. The triangular connectors look nice, but there are some applications where the L-shaped connector is difficult to grab on to for removal. The flat edge of the connector is flush with the device, and all that’s sticking out is a point, which doesn’t leave much to grip on when pulling the plug out of the port.
Despite the high price tag, these headphones are not noise canceling. There is a great deal of sound muffling done by the ear enclosures, though there is no active noise cancellation going on. That said, the audio quality is absolutely impressive.
I’ve been around audio in a professional capacity, and I have yet to hear a headset that makes music and movies sound as good as these do. This is a personal opinion though, and shouldn’t be taken as any type of scientific analysis. To my ears, the lows, mids, and highs all presented themselves accurately and one didn’t overpower the other.
If anything could be considered a primary reason for picking these headphones up, it’s the sound they produce. Whether or not that is worth the almost $300 price tag is up to the individual to determine.
Monster has been at the forefront of offering top quality technologies to the masses. While I’m not personally a fan of the prices Monster charges for its cables, I was taken by surprise at just how good these headphones were.
Earlier this week, I reviewed the AblePlanet True Fidelity headphones I purchased before a week-long trip. I needed them not only for the plane, but for audio monitoring during a week-long filming assignment. At $99, I was happy to purchase them and found them comparable to similar offerings from Bose and Sony. When comparing the Monster Diesel VEKTR on-ear headphones with the ones I purchased from AblePlanet, I’d have to say the difference in price is certainly justified. No, you don’t get active noise cancellation, but you do get incredible design, sound, and comfort at a price that’s still on the level with Bose headphones.
Would I buy them? Probably if the price dropped just a bit. Then again, I’m a very frugal geek.
Full Disclosure: I was sent a pair of Diesel VEKTR headphones for the purpose of this review.
Photo Source: Monster