The Monolith by Monoprice M1070C planar magnetic over-ear headphones are big and by no means sexy. It does not support Bluetooth and has separate inputs on each earbud. If your goal is to avoid cables and look good while running, this is not the headset you are looking for.
But if you’re looking to sit back, close your eyes, and listen to the music as it was recorded, then this surprisingly lightweight (given its size), comfortable, and affordable $ 400 (on sale for $ 300 at the time of this review) headphone should be. on your short list.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best headphones, where you will find reviews of competing offerings, as well as a buyer’s guide on the features to consider when purchasing this type of product.
Specifications and design
When I say big, you may not understand my full meaning. The flat magnetic drivers inside the M1070C are huge at 106mm (4.17in), so the cups on these beauties are much larger than normal.
They are also 2.5 inches deep, with plenty of clearance for your atria. That ameliorates my main complaint about a lot of headphones: ears flattened against the speaker grills.
No Bluetooth means no batteries are involved, so despite the large dimensions, the M1070C weighs just 22.6 ounces. That might sound heavy, but due to the large surface areas involved and the generous padding on both the cups and the headband, the M1070C is a very padded experience.
In fact, I found them much more comfortable than the recently revised Marshall Monitor II ANC, extremely loud, much lighter, but somewhat tight and uncomfortable for long listening.
The M1070C is not what you would call a low impedance headphone, but featuring 60 ohms of impedance means it is not super high-Independence headphones either. I had to increase the gain on my audio interface (Universal Audio Apollo Twin X Quad) a couple of notches to achieve the same volume as with my Sony MDR-7506 daily controller, but there was still a lot of leeway.
The only connections on the M1070C are the 3.5mm connectors for the headphone cable. One in each cup. Yes, it is a Y-cable rather than the one-time connection with an extender on headphones that most consumers use.
Note that for $ 100 more (on sale) Monoprice offers the M1570C with balanced TRS (tip / ring / sleeve) to mini-XLR connections for equipment that supports it. Such equipment includes quite a few headphone preamps available at the Monoprice itself.
The chance of an unbalanced headphone cable picking up noise that is audible to humans is negligible, but indulge yourself as you see fit. Monoprice also told me that the M1570C’s driver is more refined, but didn’t specify how.
Most of the people who have listened to the other flat headphones that I have reviewed, in particular the Drop THX + Panda, thought they were the best they had heard. (Sad that they had so many problems with Bluetooth.)
The M1070C costs $ 100 less, but it sounds just as good and is perhaps a bit more balanced across the sonic scale. The Panda accentuates the bass and sub-bass registers a bit more, which might be something you like. I do not. I like a flat EQ curve so I can hear what the engineer intended without EQing. If that doesn’t satisfy, then I equalize. Take it as my recommended modus operandi.
As mentioned, the M1070C lacks Bluetooth connectivity. Modern Bluetooth sounds fantastic, for a at a loss wireless technology. No sane audiophile or audio engineer would use a headset wirelessly unless it is simply to check an existing mix in another mode of delivery.
The great thing about the M1070C (and any good mastering headphone) is that it allows you to better distinguish individual instruments, which in turn improves your ability to position them in the stereo sound field. It is a different listening experience than what you get with average consumption headphones. It is more “real”.
In other words, the M1070C gives you a better mental picture of the instruments and the people who play them. Alright, that could just be me. Let me know if I’m crazy.
With a headset like the M1070C, you can also distinguish letters more precisely. In fact, I heard Toto sing in “Africa” “things we never have” about the M1070C, instead of “things we never had” that I always thought he had heard before. Again, that could be my brain.
Finally, in many consumer headphones I cannot tell the difference between 160 Kbps MP3, 320 Kbps MP3 and other compressed files and lossless compressed WMA, AAC and FLAC files. On the M1070C, the difference is very obvious.
Note that the M1070C also lacks active noise cancellation and provides a relatively loose fit. They still block a lot of ambient noise, but if it bothers you, find a quiet place. Most audiophiles will have it.
Enough. Sounds very good.
Excellent listening for a relatively small expense
The Monoprice M1070C Monolith Flat Magnetic Headphones are for serious listeners who want accurate sound without the usual compromises on portability and fashion. It is a truly sleeper product for audiophiles who don’t want to spend like audiophiles.