When Monster announced the 24K headphones at CES 2014, we balked (but weren't surprised) at spending $24,000 on a pair of DJ headphones. Well, you can exhale knowing that these cans don't actually cost that much (they're gold-painted, not gold-plated), but the real price tag certainly isn't a steal at $270 retail (that's £280 in the UK; yet to be released in Australia). It's also worth noting that Monster also sells these headphones that seem to have the same design but cost only $199 US, probably because they're offered only in black and white options.
Regardless, the sound and design of these headphones is impressive enough to hold their own against the reigning champ of DJ headphones, the s. And even though the 24Ks aren't quite as sonically flexible as the M-100s, they certainly make up for it by way of their flashy gold overlays and the uniquely designed ear cups that rotate backward on a vertical axis instead of horizontally like we're used to seeing with popular DJ sets. Which one you go for is ultimately your buying decision, but we're certainly fans of the Monster 24K headphones -- they combine brazen good looks with a loud, detailed sound stage that everyone can appreciate.
Design and features
You might assume, as we did, that a bulky headphone like the 24K would weigh as much in literal mass as their sounds pencils out to on paper. Well, they're actually pretty lightweight, with padding on the underside of the headband that takes the pressure off the top of your head and provides a cushioning layer if you want to wear them around your neck as an accessory, as so many people are prone to doing these days.
The ear cups are made of the same plush memory foam that we enjoy on other Monster headphones and give ample room inside the circumaural (around-the-ear) design for your ears to breathe. At this price range, we would have appreciated the ability to replace the ear cups when they wear out, but the as-is design makes do with the pair that's glued on there, so keep that mind if longevity is a big concern.
On the other hand, the headphones do have a detachable cable that connects to the left ear cup, and the box includes an extrawide, coiled cable for DJs, as well as a thinner cable with a remote control and microphone to use with your smartphone. You also get a soft carrying pouch and a 1/4-inch adapter to plug into a mixer or a receiver for listening at home.
While most Monster headphones are universally comfortable with a little adjustment of the headband, this particular headphone got mixed reviews around the office -- most people felt fine wearing them, but fellow headphone reviewer and CNET editor David Carnoy couldn't get them to sit snugly on his head. No headphone promises a universal fit, and the Monster 24K is no different, so be sure to visit your local retailer to try them on before you open your wallet.