ThinkBoxly is the personal developer blog of Lucas Chasteen, author, programmer, artist, and always learning. Read more

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Monoprice MHP-839 Unboxing and Review

With technological advances come price cuts. It’s a wonderful constant in our rapidly progressing world, and right now it is possible to obtain a surprising variety of high-quality tech equipment at budget-friendly prices. With the MHP-839, anyone looking for a serious set of headphones can finally have access to them for no more than dinner for two. And how much bang are we talking for the buck? Read on to find out!

As stated in the above unboxing video, the Monoprice MHP-839 headphones themselves aren’t new, but the price on them is, and it has made them noteworthy enough to be well deserving of a second run of media attention. Upon their release, you would have had to shell out around $70 to score these cans. Now, though? $30. That’s a 55-60% cut (depending on where you shop) on a product that was a respectable purchase at its original price. So what exactly will the combined forces of your Hamilton and Jackson achieve?


First let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. In addition to the headphones, the box contains a quarter-inch adapter, a thin 3 foot male-to-male 3.5mm cord, and a thicker 11 foot male-to-male 3.5mm cord. It’s rare enough to have a cheap set of ‘phones with a removable cable. It’s rarer still to have a cheap set of ‘phones that ships with not one, but two removable cables at different lengths and thicknesses. The adapter is probably not going to be necessary for anyone who actually needs it (as they will already have a few laying around), but the inclusion is nice all the same. You know what they say: “you can never have too many adapters!” (Er, ‘they’ do say that, right?)

As these are removable cables we’re talking about, of course only one side of the headphones needs to be plugged in, which is great for avoiding tangles and snags as well as making the set usable in a wide variety of situations. They are mostly made of plastic, which might be a turn-off to some, but the build quality is still quite solid. The frame is also designed to be very flexible, with plenty long enough adjustments for any head size, swiveling cans, and fold-up joints to really compact the whole package when not in use.


While in use, the MHP-839 are sufficiently comfortable, if perhaps slightly lacking in this regard. The padding on the head and ears feels very nice, but even so after long periods of use you will need to readjust the position of the set slightly so as to avoid irritation. It is key with these headphones that you wear them slightly loose, or else they will grow uncomfortable fairly quickly. However, do not let this stop you from making a purchase–the discomfort is more a matter of finding the right adjustments than it is a design flaw. You will probably have to wear these slightly differently than you would expect, but once you find the right lengths and angles for you, long listening is absolutely no problem.


Of course, all the features and comfort in the world mean very little here if the sound isn’t worth anything. Thankfully that is far, far from the case. Despite the budget price, these headphones boast terrific sound across their 20Hz-20kHz range. Bass is deep, treble is crisp and clear, and the overall sound is nice and full. If you’re accustomed to the cheap earbuds that came with your smartphone or PMP, you’ll likely want to re-listen to every digital sound you’ve ever heard after picking up a pair of MHP-839’s.

Noise cancellation is fair, but not completely isolating. Depending on what you’re looking for this may or may not be a problem–for me personally it certainly isn’t–but true audiophiles might be bothered by how much outside noise gets through.

The Verdict

Comparable sound to $100+ headphones, convenience in flexibility and one-sided removable 3.5mm cables, and decent comfort all serve to make the Monoprice MHP-839 DJ-Style Pro Headphones without a doubt the best deal on the headphone market right now. While you may get metal construction, even greater comfort, additional noise cancellation, and slightly better sound from a $200 set, there’s almost no reason to buy something else if your budget limits you to spending much less. Casual listeners can easily afford these headphones, and audiophiles and DJ’s will even find the quality and features agreeable.

Seriously: if you’re looking for a new pair of headphones, or you aren’t but all you have ever known is throwaway earbuds, pick these up from Amazon and treat yourself to some real sound. You won’t be disappointed.