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Monster Turbine Pro Gold Review

Monster Turbine Pro Gold
Reviewed Aug 2010

Details: Monster’s latest creation may be obscenely garish, but underneath the gold exterior beats a driver to match the best of the best
MSRP: $299.95 (manufacturer’s page); $329.95 for Controltalk version with mic & 3-button remote (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $279 from amazon.com
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: N/A | Sens: N/A | Freq: N/A | Cable: 4’ L-plug
Nozzle Size: 5mm | Preferred tips: Sennheiser biflanges, Monster Supertips, Sennheiser biflanges
Wear Style: Over-the-ear or straight down

Accessories (5/5) – Silicone single-flange (3 sizes), tri-flange (2 sizes), and Comply foam tips, gel-filled Monster supertips, buttoned carrying case, magnetic-clasp carrying pouch, over-the-ear cable guides, 1/4” adapter, and shirt clip
Build Quality (3.5/5) – The Monster Turbine Pro addresses the known issues with the build of the original Turbines by offering proper strain reliefs on the sturdy metal shells, a thicker cable, and an L-type 3.5mm plug
Isolation (4/5) – Very good for a dynamic-driver IEM
Microphonics (4/5) – Low when worn over-the-ear; slightly bothersome otherwise
Comfort (4/5) – Despite the weighty housings they stay in extremely well both cord-up and cord-down. The variety of included tips makes it easy to find a good seal right out of the box

Sound (8.7/10) – First off, the Turbines are very sensitive to insertion depth – shove them in too far and they lose clarity and air; not far enough and bass depth drops off significantly. I found the soft Soundmagic biflanges to work well for me in terms of providing the right insertion depth effortlessly, but Monster’s own fit kit will likely satisfy most. Sound-wise the Turbines are the epitome of a high-end dynamic IEM. When properly inserted the Turbines come reasonably close to the best earphones I’ve heard in clarity while providing a much thicker overall sound without sounding unbalanced. I was impressed with the sound of the original turbines, which provided ample bass with almost no bleed into the midrange. The Pro version follows the same philosophy while correcting the original Turbines’ biggest weakness – mediocre treble response. The Pros are also superior in other areas as well – detail, clarity, control, soundstaging, and separation all undergo improvement to varying degrees.

Bass-wise the Turbines go deeper and move more air than nearly everything else I’ve heard. Though the bass isn’t quite as aggressive as with the Panasonic HJE900, sub-bass is more pronounced. The dynamic drivers do a good job of texturing the low end while providing very smooth and full-bodied bass response. They are capable of delivering poised, well-textured, and surprisingly balanced sound but just can’t quite compete with high-end armature phones such as the ATH-CK10 and UE TF10 in speed and control. Same goes for resolution, especially at the high end – the Turbines have a lot of resolving power but the overall sound is slanted towards coherency rather than resolution. The midrange is impossibly smooth and tends towards a thicker note presentation.

The Turbines are less forward and intimate than the HJE900 and yield in soundstage depth to the Panasonics but on the whole everything is properly spaced and positioned. The high end is natural and well-extended but lacks the sparkle of some BA earphones, instead providing a sound that is completely free of harshness and sibilance. Partly because of this the MTP is less engaging than earphones such as the CK10 and RE252 at extremely low volumes. Though the specs of the Turbine Pros are not published, they are clearly less efficient than most of my other IEMs. Just like the original Turbines, they do an admirable job of cutting down on hiss with the Amp3 as well as my netbook audio jack.

Value (7.5/10) – With a relaxed and buttery-smooth sound signature, the Monster Turbine Pro Gold is an excellent all-around earphone, picking up where the original Turbines left off and providing a more balanced and refined sound signature. Bass lovers should take notice – the Turbines can put out impressive bass, both in quantity and quality. They also provide treble that, while not as extended as the limitless RE0 or CK10, is smooth, natural, and extremely pleasing to the ear. The signature of the MTP also changes noticeably with tip choice and insertion depth so some trial and error may be required to extract the best performance.

Pros: Good build quality, comfortable, massive fit kit, excellent bass, very smooth, balanced, and dynamic sound
Cons: Posh to the point of vulgarity, some microphonics can be coerced from the cable

About ljokerl

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

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