Monster Turbine In-Ear Speakers are stylish and comfortable

Monster shows off its recently-released Turbine earphones at CES 2009.

Monster

If you can't get on board with the extra-long earpieces of Monster's Beats by Dr. Dre Tour earphones , perhaps the new Turbine In-Ear Speakers are more your style. The earpieces on these aren't the tiniest I've come across, but they're compact enough to fit into my small ears comfortably. And in true Monster fashion, the Turbine earphones have a nice, sleek look going for them. Each earbud is encased in a "black chrome" all-metal housing, which gives the set a sturdy feel and fashionable look. I also dig on the thin, color-coded ring around each 'bud that indicates the left (blue) and right (red) channels. Surprisingly, and unlike with the Tours, the Turbine's cable is nothing special--it's the standard tangle-prone variety. Personally, I prefer the flat, ribbon-like variety of the Tour earphones, as it's less prone to snarls and seems much more durable.

OK, I have to say it: calling earphones "In-Ear Speakers" comes off as a tad pretentious. Frankly, any set of earbuds--even the ones that cost $500 or more--aren't going to compete with a good set of speakers. With in-ear 'phones, it's exceedingly difficult to pull the sound outside of your head, which is why some purists shun earbuds entirely (listener fatigue is a common complaint). That being said, I was impressed by the Turbine's sound quality in initial testing. Low-end response is great (plenty of bass here), and the mids are warm and buttery. Highs are fairly detailed, but might not be crisp enough for some listeners. Sound isolation is about average; several standard silicone tips are included, as well as a couple of sizes in the triple flange variety. I was able to achieve a pretty secure fit with the smallest sleeves. All-in-all, these 'phones stand to be a real competitor in the $150 price range. Check back for an in-depth review in the coming weeks.

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