Whether watching a movie, playing games or listening to music, many of us spend a lot of time with some sort of headphones in our ears. A while back I believed that the ubiquitous original iPod offerings were good enough. Later, I realized they were awful and bought some in ears buds. At the time, however, I still bought budget products. I didn’t think I needed more. I mean, I just needed them for music while I run or mow or ride on a bus, how can spending more on headphones make it that much better. I gradually worked up to medium priced headphones and was impressed. Until I was able to review a pair of high performance in-ear speakers from Monster, I did not know the difference between these medium ranged products from high quality speakers. If you want to be blown away with quality, take a look at the rest of this Turbine Pearls review.
The Turbine Pearls come in a rather large box for headphones so I was eager to dig inside. I was instantly impressed with the magnet closing box and they gorgeous presentation of the product. Was this the reason for added cost or is top quality and attention to detail really what these headphones are all about? Packaging usually does not impress me, but there was a feeling of quality and pride in it.
I first noticed the inclusion of two protective cases. Both are black and about the same size and made of soft black material. One has a fold over enclosure with a metal badge and magnetic clasp. Perfect for carrying in a purse or gear bag. I carry mine in my gear bag and will also pop it in my athletic bag when I am on coaching trips. The second case has a top that opens when you squeeze then closes back on its own. This case is perfect to carry in a pocket or while doing sports and outdoors activities. I always love having a carry case provided with headphones, but getting two is awesome.
After removing the headphones from the box I discovered literally a pile of tips to choose from. One baggie has just about every shape and style I have ever seen used. The bud styles come in both foam and the soft rubber style often found. There is also a sealed package that contains Super Tips. These are made of a different type of foam I have seen and have what looks to be a layer of gel inside to make them super soft. The grip and comfort of the Super Tips is second to none. These are easily the best fitting and most comfortable headphones I have worn. For those who like to exercise, Monster includes adjustable sport hooks to keep the speakers in place no matter how vigorous the activity is. All in all, there are five Super Tip options and twelve others making 18 possibilities if you count the sport hooks. I will venture to say that every ear can find the perfect fit. More about the tips when we discuss sound quality.
Now for the in-ear speakers themselves. The product gets the Turbine name from the audio technology used by Monster. They are probably the most attractive headphones I have ever used. The headphones do look like a jet turbine with the extended barrel and the angled slots. Inside the turbine is a chromed Monster emblem used in their headphones line. The outside of the barrel is a pearly off white color. A plastic post extends under the barrel to help protect the cord as it enters the speaker. For quick use, the right speaker has a red ring and the left as a blue ring. Much easier than searching for the tiny printed letters. These things are stylish!
The Turbine Pearls include the Control Talk in-line mic for use with iPod, iPhone, iPad and other devices and will bring hands free call features as well as volume and track control. The controls are located on the left ear cord and hang just about throat level. The control has an angled design reminding me of stealth technology with a chrome button in the middle. I like that the piece is large enough to use easily, but designed to look sleek and stylish.
A tangle resistant jacket is included where the separate cords split. The connector to this area is robust and helps to provide protection at the connection points.
The connector sports a right angle design which keeps it out of harms way. I have had several nice headphones fail at this point due to poor design with the cable being damaged. The angle will keep the cord from hanging in a pocket or when on the move.
Enough with style, design, and what’s included. No headphone is worth having if they do not sound good. I put the Turbine Pearls through a number of tests from call quality to music to movies. Yes, I was impressed with each of them and will discuss them below. First, make sure that you try multiple tip sizes, shapes and materials to find the perfect fit. While I was working through the tips I thought the sound was alright, but not any different from other headphones I have used. When I hit the right combination, the sound completely transformed in my ears. The sound is designed to be maximized by a sealed acoustic chamber in your ears. Trust me, to experience the true Turbine technology, take the time to fit the headphones perfectly!
Phone calls sound great and clear. I had no problem with the button controls and the caller heard my voice loud and clear. My wife could not tell the difference between using the mic and talking into the phone directly.
I watched Clash of the Titans this morning on the treadmill and use the Turbine Pearls. These are perfect for movies. The sound was great and felt like I was in a room filled with great speakers watching the movie.
When I review headphones, I like to listen to a variety of music over different genres to get a good overview of anyone’s tastes. Monster calls the Turbine Pearls, high performance in-ear speakers. I can assure you, this is not a gimmick. With the correct fit, the headphones provide big speaker sound that is immersing. They are so comfortable you will barely know they are present. The sealed fit blocks out almost all other sounds and the speakers provide a stunning audio experience. These are the first in-ear headphones I have ever wished I could replicate the sound with speakers in my room. I do not think I could afford the gear required to create this experience. These are easily the best headphones I have ever listened to. When I completed my test songs, I ended up listening to music for two more hours and lost total track of time.
It did not matter what genre or song I listened to, I experienced crisp highs, deep lows and the perfect amount of mid range. Usually, a product will sound better with rock or have extra bass and be designed for R&B and hip hop. I think Monster has done an excellent job creating sound quality that will work for any music. I like to say the music sounds detailed, meaning there are subtle instruments or sound ranges that can be missed with lower quality speakers. There is something to say about high quality audio and hearing music as it is intended to be heard.
Country: (acoustic) Isabella by Cory Morrow- I love this song and the simplicity of a great voice and an acoustic guitar. Cory’s voice is crisp and clean. The guitar sounds amazing. The lows boom and the high notes are clear. Truly beautiful sound.
Rock: Price I Pay by Jane’s Addiction- I chose this song because parts of the song are slow and quiet leading to hard-hitting rock. I always listen to this song before football games as my pre-game ritual and other headphones are either too quiet during the slow parts and distorts at the hard-hitting points. The Turbines provided beautiful sound without changing volume at all parts of the song. Definitely how I will listen to it this season.
Hip Hop/Rap: Hypnotize by Notorious B.I.G.- Love this song! The lows hit hard and made the song full with crisp highs going along with the beat. Biggie’s voice came through loud and clear. This is not a huge bass experience that you might try to experience with a car system, but a full range high quality speaker experience.
Classical: Main Title From Star Wars by John Williams- As a musician I have a wonderful respect for classical music even though I do not listen to it on a regular basis. I chose the theme to Star Wars because it brings many emotions from my childhood and my two boys love to listen to it. I have to say, Wow! If you want to experience full big speaker sound with the Turbines, cue up some great classical music. It is like you can pick out each instrument throughout the music. Hard hitting points in the music push hard while delicate portions sound clean and amazing. This song might be one of my testing methods for all headphones from now on.
I cannot lie, the Monster Turbine Pearl High Performance In-Ear Speakers are impressive. I have liked a lot of headphones before and always wondered how higher priced products could be worth the expense. These are expensive, and well worth the extra cost. The style and design are fantastic, but the quality is what impressed me the most. Monster has taken time to get it right, from virtually every style and shape of tip available on the market to two cases to choose from, all details have been thought of. The sound is astonishing. I let my iTunes play on shuffle and every song sounds fantastic regardless of genre or artist. Consider me spoiled!
MSRP: $229.95 If you shop around you can find them under $170 at Amazon
What I like: Amazing big speaker sound with attractive styling. Tons of fitting options.
What could be improved: I wish I could share the audio experience with a room full of friends rather than keep it all to myself.