The other day I was given the opportunity to review a headphone/MP3 player combination that are intended for use in damp and rugged conditions. For under $100 they certainly get the job done but, as I concluded, they didn’t sound particularly great and they certainly felt rather cheap. At the same time I was looking at that MP3 player I started checking out a new pair of headphones that are coming from Monster Headphones next month. The iSport headphones are advertised as “the athletes headphone” and they have the tagline “Tough. Waterproof. Stays fit.”
They are unlike any pair of headphones I have used. First, they are bright blue. Second, they have an unusual way of staying in place that includes an earclip that sits inside the curve of your ear not over it. Third, these things are waterproof. No, I don’t mean that they are water-resistant – these headphones are waterproof. Waterproof as in “you can get them wet”. Waterproof as in “you can take them swimming”. Waterproof as in “they are machine washable”. No, that wasn’t a typo – these headphones are machine washable.
Let’s take a closer look at these “soon to be available” headphones. But first… let’s take a shower.
The High-Performance Headphone for High-Performance People:
In-ear Headphones with a Fit that Won’t Quit: Finally, the music that moves you can now move with you. Yes, even underwater. Our exclusive in ear clips gracefully adapt to your movements. This way, they stay in and comfortable even while you wear headgear or eyewear too.
The Only Headphones Ready to Get Sweaty: Waterproof, you can take your iSports skiing, swimming, surfing or snorkeling. Plus, they’ll never get slippery because they’re 100% sweat proof. And unlike ordinary buds, they won’t wind up smelling funky since iSports are machine washable as well.
Play in the Zone of To Amazing Sound: With driving bass sound more defined than a set of washboard abs, iSport motivates you to win. It’s unique rotating ear pipe design enables the ideal seal so your music sounds full and balanced. Not watered down.
Advanced in the ear speaker design: delivers amazing sound at every frequency your ear can hear
Proprietary waterproof sealed housing: for awesome sound while playing water sports
Strain relief: rugged construction stands up to heavy duty use
Micro strand conductors: reproduce your music with extraordinary clarity and detail
Magnetic flux tube technology: the same technology found in the best monster speaker cables
24 karat goldplated contacts: anti-corrosive for maximum audio signal and a beautiful look
Proprietary in the ear clip design: provides a secure, comfortable fit. Won’t interfere with glasses, goggles or helmets.
The headphones come in a nice, heavy box that opens with a hinged side similar to what you might find with fine jewelry. Inside you are greeted by the headphones and a waterproof bag for your MP3 player. Monster isn’t kidding when they say you can use these headphones under water and, in fact, they want to you take your music-playing device with you too. After all, what good are waterproof headphones if they aren’t connected to a music source??
What’s in the Box?
Pro sound isolating your tips: multiple sizes and shapes for the perfect fit
Convenient right-angled jack with tangle resistant cable: cord and jack stayed out of the way so you can move freely while exercising
Waterproof MP3 player: protect your MP3 player from damage in wet environments
The headphones have “control talk”. When used with an iPod, iPhone or iPod you can control the volume, answer calls, move tracks forward or backward, start stop or pause audio
When used with BlackBerry devices the on cable microphone will work for hands-free calling and you will be able to answer phone calls and play or pause music. The forward/backward track movement is not possible and these functions do not work with the BlackBerry bold 9700.
I was bummed to find that a storage bag was not included.
As Travis put it, “You think Monster wants to make sure you can find the right fit??” Yes, the company includes a range of tips and in the ear clips. Since both comfort AND sound quality depend on a good fit it is worth taking the time to try all the tips and ear clips to find the ones that are “just right”.
Before taking a closer look at the headphones themselves, it is worth checking out the waterproof device bag. It is made of heavy-duty plastic and has a system for securing the top in a way that keeps out moisture and water. The attached lanyard means you can hang it around your neck or secure it to something else.
In order to get the music from the MP3 player to the headphones the waterproof bag has a pass through. You simply connect the MP3 player inside the bag, seal it and then connect the headphones to the external connector.
The headphones have a unique look to them thanks to their unusual method of staying in place. You see, the curved piece of plastic goes inside the curve of your ear. It is an unusual system, and it works well. My wife Elana didn’t find the approach comfortable, but she rarely likes headphones; for me the system worked great.
The headphones are comfortable and they stay in place. That pretty much says it all as far as this in-ear system is concerned. Because of the in-ear aspect of the iSport it is important that the correct bud go into the correct ear. The earpieces have a small indication on them if you forget.
Here is a close up of the earbud. The blue cap simply pops off once you put a fingernail between it and the actual headphone.
And the other side.
The headphones have an inline microphone that allows you to take calls, start and stop music and advance and repeat tunes. In other words, the headphones are waterproof and they give all the control of the device that you might want. That is especially important if you have your device in the waterproof bag.
So let’s take stock of what we have covered. The headphones are blue. They have a flat cord that won’t tangle. They come with tons of inserts so you can ensure the right fit. They have an unusual system for staying in place that works well. They have an in-line microphone that also includes MP3 controls. They are water proof.
But how do they sound?? In two words they sound VERY GOOD!
So long as you have the right fit with regard to the interchangeable earpieces the sound is excellent. It is full, rush and, because it physically blocks outside noise you don’t need to turn up the volume too much and you will still feel completely surrounded by the sound coming from them.
I think the best way to sum up the iSport Headphones from Monster is through a question.
“If the iSport headphones did not have the extra whiz-bang feature of being waterproof would they still be worth the $199 MSRP?”
My answer is… Yes! There are right up there with other similarly priced headphones AND they ARE waterproof! That makes them a good value and worth serious consideration if you are in the market for a new pair of good headphones!
What I Like: Tangle free cord; in-line microphone also controls music; lots of options for getting the perfect fit; water proof; come with water proof MP3 player bag; sound excellent
What Needs Improvement: The blue color is a bit loud for my taste; no included carry bag