OneOdio Monitor 80 Summary
The Monitor 80 Studio Headphones from OneOdio offer an affordable pair of reference headphones that do a good job in the sound department. While they may offer more bass than some prefer, the curve on the Monitor 80 is still quite a popular one. We’d have liked to have seen a bit more from the build quality, but given that these headphones are sometimes available at under $90, it may be asking a bit much.
The OneOdio brand is a budget-focused venture that focuses on studio headphones and headphones intended for critical listening. While I’m no stranger to OneOdio products, the ones I’ve reviewed thus far have been focused on their EKSA brand, which features a range of budget-friendly consumer headphones aimed primarily towards the console and casual gamers.
Given the marked improvement I saw on some of the newer EKSA products, I was excited to dig into the OneOdio Monitor 80, an open-back set of studio headphones that are designed to be far more balanced than their gaming counterparts.
A Challenging Market
Going into this review, I was a little unsure of what to expect. A lot of these budget-focused companies create products that are unable to compete with larger brands but, at the same time, are also able to provide low prices that see them competing in a completely different market. So going into this, I wasn’t expecting Sennheiser HD600 quality – but I was still keen to see how the value prospect lines up with these headphones.
Unboxing & First Impressions
It’s got to be said that OneOdio does a very decent job with their branding, with the box feeling weighty in hand and also exhibiting a clean design without excessive branding or text on the front or sides. The back of the box lists the specifications of the OneOdio Monitor 80, which packs 40mm drivers in the cans and a frequency response range of 10Hz-40kHz, about standard for a pair of open-back studio monitor headphones.
With an impedance of 250 Ohms and a sensitivity of 100dB+-3dB, these headphones look rather impressive on paper, especially given the fact that you can typically find them for around $90-$100.
Inside the box, the OneOdio Monitor 80 comes with a hard-shell case that the headphones can fit into when the earcups are swiveled into position. Also included in the shell were two cables, a 3m long 3.5mm to 3.5mm aux and a coiled 6.5mm to 3.5mm which spans between 1.5m (relaxed) and 3mm (stretched). Both cables felt of good quality, with good thickness and durability.
Durability, Design, and Build
When it came to handling the headphones, I was a little disappointed to see that the silver accents on the headphones were made out of colored plastic, as some basic metal would have added a lot to the impression of build quality. The plastic itself doesn’t feel particularly bad, but it doesn’t scream durability, either. This is something that was particularly noticeable around the swivel, where you typically want the most reinforcement and strongest materials.
To be fair to OneOdio, however, even when I applied quite a lot of pressure to these joints and put them through a bit of torture – they didn’t make any sounds that would cause me to worry, nor did they feel like they were close to breaking. So despite the feel in hand, there is perhaps more durability than initially portrayed.
However, with that said – I must acknowledge that I would have liked to have seen better materials used and a slightly higher cost to compensate. Because the biggest downfall of the Monitor 80 is that they don’t feel like the best quality headphones, despite their reasonably impressive audio quality.
When it came to the padding on the cups, it has a velvet finish that feels pretty good on the skin as a texture, but they are on the firm side. Not uncomfortably so, but if you’re used to soft earcup padding, this may take some getting used to. Similarly, while the headband didn’t feel particularly uncomfortable, the minimal padding may be a contentious point for some.
Because the earcups are quite large, they may not fit ideally on smaller heads. During testing, I found that they sat slightly off from my head in some places, and the distribution of pressure was not completely balanced. The result is that you may not get that satisfactory closed fit.
I don’t want to make it sound like the Monitor 80 studio headphones are very uncomfortable, though because while they aren’t the most comfortable headphones I’ve used, I’ve also tested headphones that are far worse. The experience of the OneOdio Monitor 80’s comfort seems relatively in line with its cheaper price point.
Sound Quality & Signature
Onto what matters the most with studio headphones, sound quality. Given that these are intended for studio use, what we’re looking for here is a flat sound signature that is void of peaks and offers a balanced sound.
Since these headphones operate at 250 OHM, you’ll get the best representation of sound by using a headphone amplifier to drive it. Most modern computers will still easily be able to drive these speakers but do note that your experience won’t be a true representation of the headphone’s capabilities.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised by the quality of the Monitor 80 on the first listen. Given that these headphones can sometimes be found on Amazon sales for around $70-$80, which places them far below most open-back headphone options and basically competes with itself at this price point.
The sound signature is in line with the Harman curve with some accentuated frequency response around the 4kHz frequency as well as a bit of a positive curve on the bass between 30 and 100Hz. Though these peaks are not overly aggressive, do note that they do exist to some degree. For most, this shouldn’t be a big issue – it still retains a fairly flat and balanced sound signature overall and isn’t something that will cause many problems in production.
In fact, the slightly accentuated bass response is something that many people still look for. Especially if you’re looking for an all-in-one headphone that can be used for studio work or just for entertainment and casual listening. There’s no muddy-sounding bass here either, the bass is punchy and vibrant without coming across as boosted or bleeding into the midrange. The soundstage of the Monitor 80 is good for its price range but falls short of more expensive competitor models.
Great Value For Money
At around $100 RRSP, the OneOdio Monitor 80 is cheaper than a lot of the alternatives. Of course, when one looks at open-back headphones under $150, one has to mention the AKG, which does offer better build quality and an improved soundstage on some of their models. That is not to say the Monitor 80 doesn’t have merit when pitted together. Some will prefer the slightly more bassy response.
If you’re on the market for a pair of open-back studio headphones but have a tight budget, the OneOdio Monitor 80 is definitely worth considering, just don’t expect the same kind of build quality as more expensive alternatives.