Apologies for the lack of content on Friday and Monday – those were travel days and it was tough getting an article out there. This did give me the opportunity to review the Monolith M560 headphones in travel situations.

Introduction

As noted in the Day One blog post I purchased the Monlith M560 headphones to replace the Audio-Technica ATH M40X and Sennheiser HD 518 headphones I normally bring with me for travel. The M560 were used on trains, planes, and to fall asleep because a host liked to snore, largely in closed-back mode. Let’s see how they performed:

The Good

The headphones performed admirably the entire weekend. Certainly much more comfortable than the M40X, and sounding much nicer than those or the HD 518 that I usually pack for longer sessions. Multi-hour listening sessions went great in closed-back mode, no head or neck fatigue. Truly they’re stunningly comfortable.

On the airplane, I asked my neighbors to let me know if the could hear my music coming through (the cans were set to closed-back mode). They could not, so A+ marks there for the M560!

Sound quality in closed-back mode is still great. A lot of folks think it is a dramatic difference from open-back, but having an extended weekend under my belt, it is just different not worse. Soundstage is narrower, and that’s about the only difference my ears can pick up.

The Not-as-Good

I noticed this especially while playing the Switch in handheld mode – with my head tilted forward, the cans did not grip super strongly and slid forward a little. I’ve done two things to adjust this:

  1. Scrunched the headband together to increase grip force.
  2. Wear the headphones with the headband resting towards the back of my head.

I prefer a more firm grip in general against my (admittedly huge) head, so lightly bending the band improved comfort as well. It’s a little weird to adjust how this “sits” on your head at first, but comfort remains at an all-time high, even more remarkable because these are pretty heavy cans.

Another not-so-great: I slept with these on to help shut out a host who snores (lofted apartment, so no walls going all the way up). When I woke up the next day, I had bent the jack some, which may need a replacement. I have slept with these cans on in my own bed, so I think they just got in a weird place on the couch.

Conclusion

Despite all those things, they’re entirely fixable. The cord is replaceable, the band can be scrunched in for better grip, and if I had to choose just one pair of headphones to do everything these would be the ones. They’re more economical, more sturdy, and easy to fix up in case anything goes wrong.

The saying is “buy right, buy once” and with my $200 for everyday use I couldn’t think of a better pair.

One of the things I’m going to play with on future projects are swapping out the pads with some other ones I can find (using 3D printed bases, of course).

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