Monolith M-TWE headphone review: great sound, but bulky
Who are the Monolith M-TWE headphones for?
- Monolith M-TWE headphones deliver surprisingly fantastic audio quality for a pair of wireless headphones
- M-TWE headphones are fantastic, look like a premium product and have a unique shape
- The M-TWE has both a noise canceling mode and an ambient sound mode
Wireless headphones tend to excel in one area, while not quite matching the quality of other headphones in a different area. This is the case with Monolith M-TWE headphones. These headphones have some of the best audio qualities I’ve heard for under $ 100. However, their unique shape, which I really like from an aesthetic point of view, might just be the downfall of the M-TWE.
A unique and voluminous shape
The Monolith M-TWE headphones have a unique circle shape that I haven’t really seen with other headphone options. It helps the headphones stand out a bit, and I love the feel they have in my hands. The headphones also have a decent weight, which again makes them comfortable to hold. How they feel in my ears, however, is another story.
The weight of the M-TWE earbuds causes quite a bit of discomfort after prolonged use, and due to the circular shape, that means a decent amount of that weight sits at the top of the earbuds. This makes the M-TWE buds move somewhat smoothly, even when using the smaller earbuds. It’s never so bad that the headphones fall completely out of my ears, but it does make wearing the headphones a little uncomfortable, especially for long periods of time.
More than just touchscreen controls
Like most other wireless headphones these days, the Monolith M-TWE headphones feature touch controls. However, they are implemented in a way that I don’t really like. One push toggles between the noise canceling function, the ambient noise function and the deactivation of both. We’ll get to these features in more detail later, but I still prefer the one-click option to be play / pause or volume controls. Accidentally changing noise functions is more annoying than accidentally pausing a song for a second or two, but that’s just me.
It is still possible to press to play / pause music, but this requires a double press. To make this a bit easier, the M-TWE earphones contain a sensor that can tell when an earphone has been removed. Once this happens, the earbuds will tell the audio source to pause, and it will resume automatically once the headset is put back in place. It works well enough, but there is a possibility that the sensor will be tricked if you hold the headset in a closed hand. This requires holding the headphones in a specific way so as not to accidentally resume playback.
However, the biggest issue I have with the tap controls is how the Monolith M-TWE integrates the volume control. To change the volume, users need to swipe up or down on an earpiece. I don’t mind in theory, and much like how the M-TWE takes advantage of its big, flat face, but the bulkiness of the ear cups makes that very difficult. Because the atria are so big and heavy, sliding up and down often causes the atrium to burst, or at least dislodge.
Sound quality that surprises
Using the Monolith M-TWE headphones, I was shocked at how good they sounded. What really stands out is the way the headphones handle stereo sound. The music bounces back and forth or is isolated from ear to ear, making the music much more realistic and rich.
The audio mix is, by default, quite flat. This means the bass isn’t necessarily heavier or lighter than the mids and treble. These headphones certainly won’t make anyone’s head vibrate with bass, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely lost. It’s still present, but mixed enough not to overwhelm.
The microphone cannot follow
As great as the audio is with the Monolith M-TWE, the built-in microphone doesn’t quite keep up. There were few issues on video calls when the headphones were paired with a laptop, but talking on a phone call was a very different experience. The person I spoke to told me I felt like I was in traffic, although I was actually in the middle of my silent kitchen. Turning off my air conditioner helped, but I was told I still looked a bit static.
Removing noise that does something
Anyone who has read a review from me about wireless headphones with noise canceling features has probably come across a rant that the noise canceling features don’t really work. Headphones are just too small compared to headphones, so they lack the space and power to really make an impact.
Much the same goes for the Monolith M-TWE headphones. When you jump between noise cancellation, ambient sound, and nothing, the biggest noticeable difference is when ambient sound is turned on. All this really does is activate the M-TWE’s microphones to feed the audio along with whatever goes through the earbuds. However, the noise levels heard between enabling and disabling noise cancellation are more or less the same. There is a very slight difference, but it is very small.
There is an optional app called SoundID that works with the Monolith M-TWE headphones. Theoretically, this app allows users to create personalized audio profiles on M-TWE headphones based on the results of a simple hearing test. This app is not exclusive to M-TWE and also supports a number of other products.
I said theoretically above, because the app refused to let me create an account. After entering all of my information during registration, the “Continue” button did nothing when I clicked. I have tried several times so I don’t know what the problem is. The SoundID app isn’t crucial for the Monolith M-TWE headphones, so luckily it’s something we can just ignore. In addition, the sound of the M-TWE headphones is already excellent as it is.
Dude, this one is tough. I really want to like the Monolith M-TWE headphones because they really have top notch audio quality. I like the unique shape, and they’re also a lot nicer than so many other headphones I’ve used. There is premium quality out there which is quite rare, especially for something under $ 100.
However, this unique form may be the downfall of the M-TWE. The circular design makes the earpiece too heavy, causing it to sit weirdly and uncomfortably in my ear. This essentially makes the volume controls unusable without having to do more work than just changing the volume on any device paired with headphones instead.
That said, if you think you have bigger ears than I do, the audio quality of the M-TWE is definitely worth checking out. You’ll be hard pressed to find a best-sounding wireless earbud in the same price range.