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Review of Monster Cable Heartbeats by Lady Gaga
In the box
The manufacturer claims that Heartbeats model was created with direct involvement of Lady Gaga. We are promised powerful bass, correct reproduction of vocals and sublime high frequencies. We will check it out bearing in mind the disappointment we had with the sound of Beats Tour.
At the end of the article you will not find characteristics, because Monster hides them from the customers. So much the better. We'd rather discuss sound than figures.
Box content and packaging
The box from Monster and its contents are traditionally above complaints. It is an ideal present solution and looks as if you can find a jewel inside.
Good choice of single-flanged silicone tips, a triangular case with the zipper and a cable clip represent basic accessories. In the case apart from headphones you can carry a small player and tips.
User guide has a section in Russian, which is really nice.
Design and Usability
Glamorous looks of headphones obviously attract attention. As you can see from photos I tested the black version with black cable. You can opt for red or silver headphones with the light colored cable. ControlTalk version compatible with iPhone and iPod is also available. This simple model fits Apple universe just fine.
The body is made of polished metal without seams and gaps. The build quality is exceptional. It may sound strange, but to my mind this model looks less vulgar than Beats Tour not least because of quieter range of colors.
The left and right earphones differ by plates with L and R on cables inside of hearts, which is nice.
Each earphone is of standard size and is protected by metal netting.
In terms of usability I have to admit that at first I was not sure how Heartbeats can fit the ears. The only solution is to let the front side of headphones protrude from your ears. If you press them down sharp body edges will scratch ears.
Tips from the box safely fix earbuds in ear canals, but Heartbeats are no good for jogging. Walk, don't run.
The cable does not prevent from microphone effect and can hardly help from tangling. There is a roller to shorten the cable and fix it on the chin. The connector is angled and conspicuously sticks up from the player or mobile phone.
Noise protection is decent, but headphones will not protect you from the sounds of the underground. You can still use them in noisy places. The sound does not leave Heartbeats and does not bother the people around you.
The sound is tense. The main feature here is the powerful mid bass, which hides the absence of necessary details in low frequencies.
In spite of this, low and high frequencies are reproduced quite exactly with slight touches of dullness due to overly marked low frequencies.
The scene is not deep and a bit blurred, as if the instruments are trying to get crowded in a narrow place. From time to time you may catch glimpses of a broad stereo pan and sadly we cannot speak about any depth.
It is pure pleasure to use Heartbeats for typical pop music like Eurovision Song Contest or rap. The bass is in its proper place, while mid and high frequencies do not interfere with your music listening.
You should definitely avoid listening to anything "heavy", because the acoustic picture suddenly becomes total mash and no "subwoofer" can help.
Heartbeats are not demanding to the sound source and offer similar quality with Hifiman or iPhone. I think that it is not worth buying a high quality player for this gadget.
The direct rival of Heartbeats ($160) is Beats Tour ($260). In head to head comparison it becomes clear that Heartbeats have more balanced mid frequencies. The sound is not so "loud". On the other hand, there is not enough of passion for rap. Everything else is pretty close. They have similar noise protection and ergonomics, though deeper Tour does not lead to any discomfort in ears. As to the design I cannot give any advice, though I like Heartbeats more.
Sennheiser IE4 is a good alternative for Gaga headphones. You get a fair price of $60, classical earbuds ergonomics and slightly more balanced sound.
From the range of Fischer Audio products I can advice Eterna (if you need tons of mid bass) and Silver Bullet (with colorful mid frequencies), both of which will set you back $60.
Heartbeats cost around $160 and offer controversial design, excellent build, average sound quality and ergonomics.
Heartbeats provide better value for money than Tour. This model can be a wonderful present or an impulse purchase. There is no point in buying Heartbeats for serious music as you can go for IE4. $160 device may not necessarily blow you away by bass, but will reproduce music correctly and with zest.
he author is grateful to the Doctorhead audio shop for the test sample.
Published - 10 September 2010
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