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“Monitors” is a sweet word that has not so long ago cast an inescapable sadness on music lovers, since it was impossible to buy good headphones, you could only get it. Today, few people can be surprised at having excellent headphones – there are a lot of different products in stores, all the more you need to figure out what these “monitor headphones” are before you give them hard earned money.
In fact, “monitors” are divided into two unequal parts: studio and others. The former are used by sound engineers, musicians and other sound professionals and, as a rule, are expensive closed models with high resistance. The latter are intended for the general consumer and home listening purposes of musical compositions.
They are also divided into two categories: budget and “premium”. As follows from the above: “premium” monitor headphones are high-class products of well-known companies that are distinguished by their excellent design and the use of high-quality expensive materials in their manufacture. Budget products also look simpler, and may not be from such well-known brands.
Here it is worth deciding: what do you need? Arrogance and swagger from owning a popular brand or headphones that honestly perform their functions in terms of natural sound, but at the same time are not so expensive.
No one will object that premium products surpass their budget counterparts in the accuracy of reproduction of the sound palette. Delivering the smallest details of sound recording, expensive full size headphones introduce minimal distortion to the sound engineer’s design, but does the music that you have to listen to meet these requirements.
Most of the tracks of modern popular music are recorded with not very high quality and upscale expensive “monitors” will immediately find it. So is it worth it to spend exorbitant money on a product that is suitable exclusively for listening to classical music.
What are the Best Studio Monitor Headphones
Let us consider several models of inexpensive full-size monitor headphones, which are deservedly popular among buyers.
On-ear headphones Sony MDR ZX310 are one of the few whose quality is many times higher than the cost. This model cannot be called the best of all budget ones, but it is in their price category that headphones are leaders. This sony studio monitor headphones has very conflicting reviews, so we decided to make our own review, having studied in detail all the features and specifications of these headphones.
Like all low-cost models, the MDR ZX310 comes in clear plastic packaging. But, here Sony decided to add solidity and developed for this model a more presentable volumetric box, in the form of a tightly sealed blister with a relief internal surface.
Thanks to this design, the headphones are firmly fixed inside the package, which reduces the likelihood of receiving goods deformed during transportation. Although there is a drawback in such packaging, it cannot be opened in the store, just to look at the device.
The headphones come with a double-sided flat wire, naturally non-removable, but trustworthy due to its thickness. But, its length is limited to only 1.2 meters, so using headphones on a desktop computer will be very problematic.
If you decide to buy this modification specifically for PC, then analyze whether you can sit in them freely. The wire connects to devices with an L-shaped plug, which is more reliable than direct, but inconvenient when listening to mobile devices.
Despite all the cheapness, the headphones make a solid impression. They have a folding design and are equipped with a hinge mechanism that allows you to clean the cups under the headband for transporting or just storing the headphones.
All components are made of plastic, which is inferior to their main competitor, the AKG K 404 headphones. If we look at it in general, the design is very durable and, as reviews have shown, can withstand repeated drops and impacts on a hard surface.
The main advantage of this model is the weight, which does not exceed 120 grams. Due to this, the headphones are almost not felt on the head with prolonged use.
The only discomfort may arise from a plastic headband that does not have a soft finish and is characterized by an increased base length. Therefore, they are completely unsuitable for children, and in adults, they tilt up when tilting their heads. But, you can correct the situation by adjusting the headband in length, and the margin of adjustment is quite large.
With proper adjustment, they sit perfectly on the head and do not put pressure on the ears, thanks to the voluminous ear cushions that provide good sound insulation.
It is two-sided here and really at a high level, since the user will hardly be able to distinguish the sounds around him, and people around will also not hear what sounds in the headphones, unless you add them to full volume. In terms of sound insulation, Sony considered the best MDR XB250, but the ZX310 headphones managed to get around them in this.
It would be inappropriate to expect excellent sound quality from such a budget model, but in comparison with their main competitors AKG K404 and MDR XB250 from Sony, they withstand very worthy competition. The main feature of this model is its excellent bass reproduction. They dominate the entire scene, but do not overlap or jam the other ranges of sound frequencies.
The deep bass in the headphones allows you to create the volume of the reproduced composition without intrusion and pumping. Even after long listening to bright or heavy music, there is no psychological fatigue left.
As for the high and medium frequencies, here they are mediocre and smooth. While listening to the compositions, they do not cause vivid emotions, but at the same time they make it possible to distinguish individual parts. The range is slightly overestimated when switching from medium to low frequencies, due to which the sound acquires in some places a light, almost not pronounced echo.
To improve the quality, you can resort to the help of the equalizer source. With normal tuning, the sound picture becomes lively and believable. For a true music lover, this may not be enough, but an ordinary user may well enjoy good music.
Sony has positioned the MDR-ZX310 as universal, suitable and compatible with all types of devices and operating systems. They are quite suitable for MP3-players, PCs and smartphones and practically do not react to the quality of the source.
The only nuance that could be called a disadvantage is a decrease in the volume range when connected to phones. Even when twisting the sound power to the maximum limits, the volume does not exceed 70 dB. At the same time, the composition itself loses its detail a little and becomes flatter.
Headphones Sony MDR ZX310 is a convenient and practical model that boasts good sound. For those who understand that you can’t get the perfect sound at the lowest price, these headphones will be your best bet.
The Sennheiser brand from Germany became famous for the release of a variety of, but always high-quality headphones. They are a standard of quality, while being affordable and very reliable. The Sennheiser HD 180 is designed for home use. This is indicated by a long cable (3 meters) and a complete set with an adapter for a 6.3 mm connector.
If you are tired of the regular headphones from the phone, you can safely recommend Sennheiser HD 180 for purchase. They are perfect for watching TV and playing on your home computer. Full-size headphones from a well-known brand with good sound for a reasonable price – this is the best sennheiser monitor headphones.
Appearance of the Device
The restrained style of headphones is often noted in positive reviews: a black background with gray stripes looks good on both male and female heads. The lines of the headband and cups are smooth, there is no deliberate gamer aggressiveness or teenage acidity.
The headband below is sealed with a foam pad that prevents rubbing the head. The height of the headphones is adjusted by extending the side arms. Since the wire is symmetrically attached to two cups, the height of the headband can be easily adjusted without fear of tearing the hidden wiring, like the Razer Kraken.
The cups are oval, so ear pads completely cover the ears. This allows you to sit on headphones for a long time and watch a movie or listen to music. The ear pads will not put pressure on the earlobe and will not cause discomfort in the head.
Thanks to the ear pads, a sufficient level of noise isolation is achieved – gamers can not hear what is happening in the room, and those who are nearby do not suffer from explosions of grenades and the roar of tanks. In the headphones, you can watch a movie at night – for this, a special 6.5 mm plug adapter is provided.
The main material of ear pads is eco-leather. The strength of the casing is in question, as sometimes users complain that the fabric diverges along the seam. And after 2-3 years of use, eco-leather can begin to peel off the ear pads with rags.
This not only worsens the appearance of the device, but also reduces sound insulation. But the swivel cups not only allow you to put the headphones on your chest, but also on the ears turn to the sides, occupying a comfortable position.
Separate praises and complaints deserves a wire. Its length is 3 meters. Ideal for those who like to watch movies from a laptop without getting up off the couch. And it’s very inconvenient for people using headphones to listen to music from a smartphone. They have to wind the wire into a bundle and carry it in a pocket with a phone.
Features of use
The manufacturer has not allocated a specific direction for the use of headphones, so they can be operated at their discretion. Both when watching movies and when listening to music, the device is convenient, it transmits sound well and can function both at home and in the office.
Thanks to the neat design, the device will not distract office employees; in it, a person will not look ridiculous at work.
It is very convenient to watch movies in these headphones, especially considering the length of the wire and the presence of an adapter.
The only drawback of the device is the lack of sound control on the headphones themselves or on the wire. This is inconvenient, as it is sometimes difficult to hear a whisper or a quiet speech in the film.
Headphones are also compatible with smartphones. But they are not very convenient in everyday use. You have to constantly look for where to attach the wire, remove the cups to talk on the phone, since the device does not work as a headset.
The speakers produce good enough sound, the user can hear music with balanced frequencies, natural sound. To make the sound better open, it is advisable to purchase a sound card in addition to the headphones. Then even an audiophile or music lover can enjoy clear sound, a wide stage and bright vocals.
For the user, undemanding to the sound, Sennheiser HD 180 fit just fine, despite the lack of sound adjustment. They can be used for daily watching movies, relaxing to your favorite tunes or during games that do not require participation in the chat. The main thing is not to expect studio sound from budget headphones – they are ordinary, simple and convenient.
Another worthy representative of the famous company. This model is one of the most popular among budget full-size headphones. Sennheiser HD 201 has a unique combination of high quality and low price. Excellent sound for its price category in an attractive case of unusual design made of reliable materials (service life up to two years).
This model differs from its counterparts in a relatively low price. But, despite this, the device has excellent sound characteristics. The closed design allows you to completely isolate the user from the outside world. Moreover, the ear pads have an anatomical shape, even after many hours of use, the Sennheiser HD 201 will not cause discomfort.
Ease of use
It is necessary to stop on the comfort of this device. For ease of use, the Sennheiser HD 201 can be compared with more expensive models. For example, Pioneer HRM-5 – their cost is about 3 times more. Sennheiser HD 201 have a closed type of ear pads.
Completely isolate the user’s sound channels from extraneous sound. This improves the quality of listening to music.
Separately, you need to stay on the headband. Despite the relatively low cost, build quality is at a high level. Any creaks, staggering are completely absent – characteristic of budget technology.
You can choose the size of the headband for virtually any size of the head, using special clips. On the inside of the headband there is a soft substrate, it is itself made of plastic.
If necessary, the headphones can be easily turned out with ear pads. But such actions in the case of Sennheiser HD 201 actually do not make sense. Since from a distance of 1-1.5 meters, the sound is no longer audible.
A long cord gives a significant advantage in home use. Since it will be possible to easily connect headphones to a distant system unit and comfortably accommodate at a distance from the monitor.
In terms of sound quality, these monitor headphones are a bit ahead in comparison with their counterparts from the same price category. For example, the model in question significantly outperforms the Sony MDR-XB250. But it does not make sense to compare the sound quality with more expensive branded headphones. However, the Sennheiser HD 201 does a great job with low and mid frequencies.
Therefore, they are perfect for listening to instrumental rock. Mid frequencies are especially pronounced. Also, it will be appropriate to use headphones for listening to vocals. But you need to consider that for professionals this model is obviously not suitable.
Separately, you need to focus on medium and low bass, while playing. When playing low frequencies, they do not interrupt the middle ones – which often happens in models of this price category.
It is a balanced sound that is one of the most important factors affecting sound quality. Because Sennheisr HD 201 is great for listening to music at home. With the transmission of sound in computer games, the model also does an excellent job.
Conditionally, the only drawback is the lack of a microphone. But the manufacturer declared this device as headphones, not a headset.
Some users indicate that the device lacks depth in active games, where the lower classes abound with deep sounds. Moreover, a sufficiently large diameter of the diffusers does not allow to correct the situation.
In general, the model is positioned as a budget, so you should not expect any surprises from it. Before buying, you should carefully read the parameters of the device.
The device parameters are more than impressive for the price category of less than 2 thousand rubles.
- frequency range – from 21 Hz to 18 kHz
- the maximum possible volume is 108 dB
- harmonic distortion present – not more than 0.7%
- resistance – 24 Ohms
- cable length – 3 m
- excluding cable – 165 g
Unlike similar models, such as the Pioneer SE-M531, the 6.3 mm adapter is connected without thread. Just insert it. However, this does not cause any inconvenience. The frequency range is standard.
It is also important to note that the quality of the sound source also has a significant impact on the playback of the Sennheiser HD 201. If you need to improve the sound quality, you just need to connect the headphones to a good sound card.
In general, the model, despite some shortcomings, is evaluated positively by users. It is obviously not suitable for professional musicians. But it is perfect for listening to music of any genres, as well as computer games. Good isolation from the outside world contributes to complete immersion.
Model MDR-XB450AP from a reputable company Sony stands out recognizable design of the MDR line, ease of wearing and excellent sound with a bias in powerful bass. The control panel, low weight (165 grams) and rotating ear pads give comfort to use. The monitors are lightweight due to their aluminum construction, which protects them from damage in the event of inevitable falls.
- Great sound. All significant frequencies are perfectly balanced, while there is a clear bias towards admirers of bass
- Soundproofing. The original design of the headphones provides the leading position MDR-XB450AP in this regard among its counterparts
- The use of aluminum. The lightest metal in the construction ensures that the reliability of this model is very high. They are not killed. The design of the model also benefits from the use of metal
- The full-fledged control panel equipped with an excellent microphone and capable of switching tracks
- Low price. So many virtues should cost more
Philips is among the audiophiles known for its budget models. Philips SHP2000 is a great choice in terms of quality and price. The model has been produced for over ten years, but still not out of date, because it is not easy to find the best in sound and comfort among budget employees.
For most computer owners, the selection of certain headphones is a difficult task, since not many people want to overpay for the brand, but at the same time they want to get a solid and reliable model coupled with high-quality sound. If you are still rushing around looking for universal headphones, then pay attention to the Philips SHP2000, which have been on the market for about ten years and delight their owners with both workmanship and wearing comfort.
Philips SHP2000 headphones are available only in black and made of durable and high quality plastic. With a small weight of 225 g, they are practically not felt on the head, and the whole structure does not put pressure on the head and does not cause discomfort.
The plastic, both the headband and the bowls, is matte, scratch-resistant, but creaks when pressed lightly. The bowls have a swivel design; it is impossible to fold them for easy carrying. The ear cushions are durable and made of fabric.
The oxygen-free copper cable has a two-way connection and is combined into one massive and thick cord two meters long. Headphones are connected to a computer or portable audio equipment using a standard 3.5 mm mini-jack. The box also has an adapter for jack 6.5 mm.
One of the main advantages of the Philips SHP2000 is the high-quality and powerful bass in the headphones. 40 mm drivers transmit medium frequencies well, and due to the openness of the design it is possible to achieve surround sound. However, this fact significantly affects sound insulation.
The scene is quite wide, but still not detailed enough for game battles, where it is important to know where the shot was fired from or the steps came from. Alas, with a sensitivity of 100 dB and a maximum power of 500 mW.
The volume of music when playing from a smartphone wishes to be the best, since a sound card or amplifier is required to bring it to full power. But in general, the volume margin is enough for the average user with normal hearing.
- Reliable design and durability, high build quality
- Convenient and ergonomic shape of bowls and headband, as a result, comfort when used for several hours
- Soft fabric ear pads
- Good sound coupled with powerful and enveloping bass
- Long and durable wire.
If you are looking for a universal model of headphones that is suitable for working on the Internet with background music or game fights, then Philips SHP2000 will be an ideal option. Reasonable price and the absence of any “lotions” that only increase the cost made this model a bestseller of the company.
Headphones have been on the market for ten years, and thanks to a well-designed design coupled with high-quality sound, they will delight their owners for a long time to come.