OneOdio aims to offer quality headphones for affordable prices. The Monitor 60 model is being billed as suited for DJ, studio and audiophile use. Can one set of cans cover all these bases? We review them and put them to the test.
Attack has previously reviewed OneOdio’s A70, A30 and A11 models, all of which can function wirelessly. The Monitor 60s are wired only and cost a little more. So we were interested to find out whether the combo of higher price and fewer features might translate to some improvements in comfort and sound quality.
Unboxing the OneOdio Monitor 60 Headphones
Unboxing, the Monitor 60s come in a soft storage pouch, with a plastic desk stand also included. The cable is detachable – handy for packing the headphones into a bag without causing cable strain – and with three different cable options in the box, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
The shortest has a minijack and a built-in miniature mic for use with a smartphone. There is also a three-metre minijack option, and a three-metre coiled cable with a minijack at one end and a quarter-inch jack at the other. The headphones themselves have both types of sockets on the earcups, so this third cable can easily be reversed to interface with whatever type of jack output you’re faced with. It’s a neat design feature that removes the need for adapters, and would provide extra flexibility when DJing or travelling.
Physically the quality seems good. The construction is mainly tough plastic, with a metal inner headband. They feel like they could take a few knocks. We also found them very comfortable to wear. Both the padded headband and ear pads are covered in soft PU leather. The earpads are about 3cm thick so offer loads of cushioning, and sit snugly around the ear. As closed back headphones they also give reasonable sound isolation.
One minor issue is that the cable created clunking in the headphones when handled – not ideal if you move around a lot when listening. It’s also worth noting that they are low impedence at 38 ohms, so are easy to drive from consumer gear such as phones and tablets.
How do the OneOdio Monitor 60 sound?
So how do they sound? We broke in the Monitor 60s by running music through them overnight. We then auditioned a few rowdy dancefloor techno tracks we’re currently mastering, followed by various recent favourite releases in a range of dance music styles. We also threw in a few classics with extended frequency and dynamic range to put the headphones through their paces.
Initial impressions were that the Monitor 60 sounded full and detailed but also noticeably bright. Where the A70 and A11 models we’ve reviewed previously were bass-heavy, the Monitor 60s had a focus towards the other end of the frequency spectrum. The low end is present, well-controlled and tight, while the upper mids and highs were accentuated.
Listening to drum n bass rollers ‘Soviet’ and ‘7Arc’ by Paradox for example, these tracks already have a lot of energy in the upper mids from the snares and cymbals in the breaks. Those sounds are pushing further forwards by the Monitor 60s and it makes the music lively and engaging. Yes, they are nailing the slam factor, but at the expense of an impression of accuracy.
Switching to some vocal deep house tracks, such as Stefan Ringer and Ash Lauryn’s ‘Let’s Get the Rhythm’, the tight lows of these headphones conveyed the kick and bass groove well, while the mid range brought a crisp presentation to the lyrics. The brightness of the upper mids and tops, however, meant that shakers, hats and percussion tended to sound exaggerated and sibilant, even in well-mixed tracks. Put simply, these headphones achieve high frequency definition at the expense of fidelity, which made us wonder about their suitability for studio applications.
That’s subjective of course. There’s a school of thought that monitoring that accentuates the mid range can help with judging detail in that critical area, which is why Yamaha NS10s are so highly regarded. If you need headphones for zooming in on details rather than as a workhorse for general tracking and mixing, a bright presentation might be useful. For noise reduction tasks, for example, it could be handy.
The downside is that boosted mids and highs can be fatiguing over long periods. It can also lead to under-mixing in that area. Accurately judging the level of hi-hats, for example, would be tricky on the Monitor 60s. You’d need to reference carefully and lean heavily on other aspects of your monitoring workflow such as checking across different systems. We tried using them for some light mixing work, and they were certainly revealing, but it was difficult to trust mix decisions at the high end.
How do the Monitor 60’s compare to others on the market?
Some sine sweeps and A-B comparisons with Beyerdynamic DT770 and 880 Pros reinforced our subjective impressions. The Beyers are known for having scooped mids and bright highs. The Monitor 60s were even brighter, with the mid range sounding much fuller. If you like that sort of sound, they are fun to listen to, making acid lines, vocals, hi-hats and breakbeats really jump out at you. This fun factor was especially apparent when listening to drum n bass, where the combination of solid bass and cutting upper mids worked a treat.
Switching back to the Beyers, tracks sounded slightly dull by comparison, but with the more balanced type of frequency response that is typically helpful for studio work. The Beyers aren’t flat by any means, but they sounded much more restrained in the mids and tops than the Monitor 60s. The Beyers also cost considerably more, so perhaps these differences are to be expected. Looking at studio headphones around a similar price point to the Monitor 60, other options to consider include the Beyerdynamic DT240 pro, AKG K240 and K361. In all honesty though, in the under £100 price bracket, there are always going to be some trade offs. £100-200 is probably a more realistic budget if you want headphones for general studio use.
Our conclusion is that the Monitor 60s would work well for DJs and dance music listeners who like a larger-than-life mid range and crisp highs. Overall, they are a definite step up in sound quality and comfort from OneOdio models such as the A70 and A30. Despite the marketing of the Monitor 60 as studio headphones, for that purpose we would normally opt for something with a more neutral frequency response, recognising that we’d need to spend a fair bit more money to get that.
Price: £84 (currently on discount for £67)
Purchase: OneOdio Mointor 60
The Final Word
Affordable, comfortable headphones for DJing and general purpose listening.
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