This is a review of Monster iSport Victory in-ear headphones. Monster® iSport Victory In-Ear Headphones -
My previous review of Monster DNA Pro headphones (you can find it by following the index link in my sig) really opened my eyes, or rather ears, to discover Monster's own line of headphones outside of Beats umbrella. I have to be honest that I was really impressed with DNA's original bold design and sound quality, and decided for my next review to request a sample of their iSport line of in-ear headphones - Victory model. It turned out to be another pleasant surprise. Let's take a closer look at what I have found.
There is no denial, when you hold a box with Monster headphones you can't help but notice how much details go into the design of the packaging. With a lot of the headphones, you just want to rip and discard the box, while in this case it looks good enough to put on your bookshelf! Opening magnetic flip cover, reveals these beauties neatly packaged inside. Victory comes in two colors, black and lime-green, and I found the neon bright color of lime-green version I received to be very appropriate for exercise purposes. I never typically focus on a color, but in this case it really stands out and makes a bold statement. Along with headphones, you get a total of 5 pairs of ear-tips, 3 pairs of in-ear stabilizers, and a sports storage pouch. Headphone construction feels durable, the cable is tangle-free flat style with right angle 3.5mm plug, chin-slider for cable adjustment after y-splitter, and sealed in-line remote with playback control and mic. The only comment is that I wish they would have a better strain relief where the cable attaches to headphones.
In-line remote is designed with universal multi-function button which I found to work great with my Galaxy Note 2 to play/pause/call with one-click, skip track with double-click, and start Google NOW with long press. Volume up/down are for iPhone only. I also had no issues making phones calls and the person on the other end said my voice came through loud and clear. Now, when it comes to earphone fitment, that a whole new chapter. Obviously designed for active lifestyle while exercising, these headphones come with a stabilizer hook which Monster refers to as Sport Clip. I have seen similar stabilizer hooks on other headphones, like new ATH line, but I actually found Monster version to fit better and to feel more transparent in your ear where nothing is pushing inside. Furthermore, they also have Omnitip where the tip of headphones has a small degree of rotation to custom adjust to your ears. Again, I have seen similar with ATH headphones, but those were loose in comparison to Victory model where it's stiffer which gives you more control of adjustment. Once you find a perfect combination of eartip and stabilizer which btw made out of anti-microbial material, these headphones provide an excellent passive noise isolation while offering one of the most comfortable fitments among different sports in-ear wired/wireless headphones I have tested before.
There is no question these have a great design for exercise or any active lifestyle, but they still need to deliver an acceptable sound rather than being a pretty earplugs. Before I approached the sound test I had expectations these will have a typical v-shaped sound signature. Most of the sports headphones I tested typically follow that formula, but Monster took a brand new approach delivering a beautifully balanced sound with an excellent bass quantity. The bass extends pretty low with a warm texture of sub-bass and a well controlled punch of mid-bass. The overall quality of bass is strong but not overwhelming and doesn't spill into mids leaving plenty of space for vocals to shine. Yes, the mids are NOT recessed but rather smooth and perfectly balanced to be almost on the same level as lows. Though I'm more into EDM and club music, I love vocal tracks, and Monster mids were able to carry vocals with great clarity. Treble was excellent too, no sign of sibilance, but I felt it was rolled off a bit to make it easy on your ears for extended period of listening. The sound emphasis was definitely more on lows and mids. The soundstage was wider than average, and really felt like you are sitting in a front row of the concert. To summarize iSport Victory sound signature I would have to say these are fun-balanced with a warm sound.
Overall, I was very impressed with iSport Victory headphones. I guess I expected these will have a great comfort and perfect fitment for exercising, but their excellent sound quality came as a bonus especially when I discovered how nicely balanced the sound turned out to be. I would actually say these headphones will be excellent not just for exercising but for listening as well. I know their price is a bit steep at $150, but considering quality of their design, excellent fitment to stay in your ears, very impressive sound isolation, and great sound quality - they actually represent a really good value.
Here are the pictures.