Thursday, September 15, 2011

Monoprice MHP-839 Pro Headphones == Kicker HP541 ?!?


If you are thinking of buying Kicker HP541 headphones, DON'T DO IT! Why? Because, why waste $50 bucks if you can spend $21 and get the same cans!?

Yes, that seems to be the conclusion over at head-fi's! So I decided to give these budget cans a try.

As you've probably seen from my other mini reviews, I love mid-centric headphones. The Shure sound seems to be something I crave whenever I listen to ANY headphones but that also limits me because some genres just don't sound as great. The Shure 940s are my main headphones now and general conclusion is that those are bass-shy/light cans. I concur of course. So I needed something with a bit of punch, with a warmer signature, so I decided on these (Ed. Note: I just ordered another pair of cans which are much "bassier" so I'll probably sell/give these). Also, those will be connected to my work laptop and my Shure's to my MP3 player.

Anyway, let's continue.


Driver Unit 50 mm
Impedance 40 ohms
Sensitivity 100 +/- 3 dB / 1mW (S.P. L at 1 k Hz)
Frequency Response 20 Hz to 20 kHz
Wire Length 3500 mm (11.4')

What's in the box?

Pretty bare box. Contains:

* 1x MEP-839 Pro Headphones
* 1x 11.5 ft long 3.5 mm M/M audio cable
* 1x 50 inch long 3.5 mm M/M audio cable
* 1x 3.5 mm F to 1/4" M adapter plug

and that's it. Oh yes... you noticed that right?
DETACHABLE CABLES!!!! (for $20 cans, this is a great addition!!)

Sound and my views.

First of all, I don't find these all that comfortable. Pads are too little (and NO GUYS, I don't have GIANT ears!! LOL :-p), headband cushioning is not that good, and it's a bit flimsy. Of course, these are $20 headphones so I wasn't expecting the feel of my beloved Shure's nor the most comfortable headphones ever the Audio Technica's AD700.

Sound-wise though I was REALLY surprised.
These $20 cans actually comes close to the sound reproduction of the Shure 440s.
Ok ok before you bite my head off, the clarity is not at great NOR are the highs and mids, but these budget cans are good. What's best than my 440s though is BASS RESPONSE and ATTACK. These Monoprice headphones are really bassy but they don't drown out the mids nor highs. I've been listening everything from acoustic to DnB and they perform well! They WONT take the place of the Shure 440s at home, but for something you can carry everywhere without worrying of breakage, etc. these are awesome.

If they were a bit more comfortable, it would be hard to suggest headphones like the Shure 440s and even the Audio Technica's M50s! (which I know for a fact have more recessed mids than the monoprice cans!).

The main thing here though is... VALUE!

Kickers HP541 == $50
Shure 440 == $70
A-T M50s == $120

You might be questioning my sanity when I say these $20 headphones do a better job than higher priced cans but I can safely say that... I'M NOT INSANE!!! (I think! :-p). Yep, they sound quite good but...

Are they for me?

If you:

1) Are looking for closed-cans with Ok isolation...
2) Looking for cans with detachable cables
3) Looking for bassy/warm sound reproduction without sacrificing mids/highs

then definitely $20 will go a long way.

Now, if you:

1) Value a more balanced sound
2) NEED comfortable headphones
3) Don't care to spend more than $50

then definitely look for different cans.

I tell you, what KILLS it for me is the feel of the headphones and the lack of pad! If they were bigger and more comfortable, I would be selling my 440s... but they are not so they are relegated to budget-abuse status.

Hope you enjoyed the mini-review!

You can buy these from at: Monoprice

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