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What do you look for in a headset? A not-so-subtly placed logo, which informs onlookers that you’ve got the latest trend in audio? A quirky colour and sleek style to make you smile every time you loop them over your skull? Or nothing less than the best in clarity and depth to present your favourite songs the way the artist intended?
These are the questions I was left asking myself after a few weeks with Monster’s Diamond Tears headphones. The on-ear accessory is a concoction of a popular brand, some star quality style and cushioned sound – but whether you’ll purchase it depends on which matters the most to you. Also, it costs a staggering US$270, for headphones.
Sparkle, shine, glimmer — ahhh my eyes
Okay, let’s get this out of the way – this thing is not for the meek. They are the most reflective, glittering headphones you are ever likely to spot on this planet. Constructed out of lightweight plastic and film, they shine different colours at different angles – and in case that wasn’t enough sparkle for you, there are rhinestones in the centre and on some of the interchangeable cords.
The headphones are cleverly designed with subtle ports for the input cord on either side, allowing you to switch to align your cable with whichever ear is most convenient. It comes with no less than three tangle-free cords, in case you want to share with a friend, pause to take calls on your phone using the built-in mic or are fond of right-angle connectors.
While the flashy design is likely to cause many a minimalist to back away slowly, I didn’t think the headphones came across as tacky. Yes, they’re plastic, but they still look good.
Monster promises these shimmery earphones will provide ‘HD’ sound, and it doesn’t lie – the accessory is all about noise cancellation and cushioning to channel the music gently down your ear canal. The audio is generally very good – no over-loaded bass or tininess here, which is good considering these babies cost almost as much as the gem they’re named after.
I’m a fan of in-ear headphones though – and Monster’s iteration saw me boosting the volume just to reach the level I’m used to on my (way cheaper) Skullcandy earbuds, or even the US$99 over-the-ear Razer gaming headphones I’ve adopted for my desk. The sound was quite mellow – the audio reproduction is good, but slightly softer and shallower than other headsets.
The main problem with these glossy headphones, however, comes in if you want to listen to anything longer than 20 minutes. I could barely get through an album without being overcome by the pain in my head. I don’t think I have a particularly large cranium, but the Diamond Tears do tend to squash your ears, despite all that comfortable cushioning.
It’s frustrating – I wanted to continue listening (because they do sound good), but I had to continually give my head a break and take them off, only to be greeted by sharp spikes of pain as they were removed. Why, Monster, why?
Overall, it’s a bit of a tough call on these shimmery constructions. They’re not geared towards budget-conscious minimalists but are instead aimed at fans of bling with some extra cash to spend. While they are pricey, they are pretty too – and they sound good and fit well, if you have small ears. It all depends what you’re looking for.
Nutshell: The Monster Diamond Tears headphones are glitzy accessories with decent sound reproduction – but they’re also seriously expensive and not designed for long listening periods, especially if you want to keep your ears from being squished. But damn, they’re sparkly…