In marketing materials for its new $150 in-ear headphones, Monster headlines its package with the question, "The world's best-sounding earphones?" I'm not sure if we should take this as a declaration or an actual question, but so far the answer from Amazon reviewers and some blogs is a pretty stiff "no."
To be fair, some blogs have reviewed the Turbines favorably. It's also worth noting that Amazon reviews can be written by anyone, including PR reps from other manufacturers (not that we're accusing anybody of anything). But it's rare that you see a product get a one-star rating from virtually every "reviewer" (at the time of this writing there were 11 one-star reviews and one four-star review).
Part of the problem stems from the fact that Monster has its share of both fans and detractors. As one reviewer from Amazon's End User blog notes, "Monster Cable has always had a bit of an embattled reputation amongst enthusiasts--strong opinions on both sides fly back and forth on message boards and newsgroups like verbal trebuchets whenever their name comes up."
Personally, I think it's risky for a manufacturer to go overboard with marketing hyperbole, especially when you're entering a fairly mature market. Yes, you want to make a splash, but there's the danger of over-promising and under-delivering.
In its press release, Monster says the Turbines are the "world's first high-performance in-ear headphones with specially engineered drivers that deliver impeccable audiophile-quality sound." Well, that's simply not true. Shure makes earbuds that deliver audiophile-quality sound. Etymotic, too. And several other companies would make the same claim.
What do you guys think? Is Monster getting a bum rap? Or are the Turbines as good as the company makes them out to be?
P.S. We'll have our own review of the earphones early next year, after the holiday break.