We love headphones. Headphones are more than just friends around the Stuff offices, they’re lifelong companions and once we’ve got a good set we really don’t want to let them go. That is the case with Monster’s DNA portable cans, we’re not that keen to see them leave. The reasoning is simple, they fold up small enough to fit into a tech-packed laptop bag without consuming too much space, they’re fairly comfortable and the DNA is effective at blocking out noise in the midst of our typical chaotic workday.
Some of you will be familiar with Monster’s DNA, it’s been around for some time. Though it’s been on the market for a while, it stands up well to the current crop of competition on all fronts. Design is one of those fronts and here the DNA performs very well. The headset has a semi-futuristic design that bring to mind strapping on a pair of elf ears for a comic book convention or medieval fair – not that we’ve ever done that – encased in solid plastic. It’s not quite scratch-proof but you’d have to spend quite some time with a screwdriver or steak knife to leave a really noticable mark in the DNAs.
The headband is perhaps the best part of the DNA’s er… DNA. It’s got a soft-ish rubber inner that is pleasant against the skull and it’s flexible enough for you to stretch these cans over a watermelon. If you can think of a reason to do so, that is. The ear cups are fairly small, being large enough to completely cover your ear but not enough to sit around them. If it weren’t for the soft padding around the speakers the DNA would be a pretty uncomfortable wear. Even with the padding, a couple of hours with them on will become tiring as pressure builds up on the sides of your head. The ear cups fold away under the headband when the DNA is not is use, with a sturdy hinge attached the interior metal strip that lives inside the headband.
Bring The Noise
Concerning sound, we almost couldn’t be happier with the DNA headphones. At lower volumes clarity shines through without losing the bass kick in most track and this hold consistent right up to the higher end of the dial. Having the DNAs cranked is a bit of a problem though since the bass will eventually overpower everything else in your music. Depending on your genre that is but rock, metal and whatever Infected Mushroom is classified as these days will fall over at drum-splitting levels. It’s not much of an issue, you’re doing damage to your ears at those volumes but sometimes you just want to blast some tunes and belt along with the music. Not really an option here.
It’s effective enough to block out most external sound, though you’re going to need to have some music playing. Even then, small conversational details filter through your perception so they’re not perfect in that regard. If someone’s yelling at you, you’re going to know about it.
The DNAs have a single ribbon cable to connect to whatever you’re using as a media player, with a volume control fitted along its length. The cans themselves have two input jacks so you can assign the cable to whichever side you dress and this also allows for chaining the headphones, something that we couldn’t test. But it is possible to have a single music source with two or more listeners, provided you have enough headphones on hand. The volume control, like the headphones themselves, are designed for Apple’s devices so while it’ll let you adjust sound on an iPad, iPod or MacBook, connecting them to an Android device has the unpleasant effect of having to resort to on-phone volume controls.
If you’re using an Apple, are conservative when it comes to space and weight and are a fan of good quality sound, Monster’s DNA headphones might just be for you, even now. They’re perhaps better than a Beats headset in this particular situation but you don’t need to fulfil this set of circumstances to appreciate their clarity. You’ll lose some functionality, sure, but the sound will make up for it.