I love headphones and have relied on these 2 models as my go to devices:
- UE Triple-FI 10 - for pure sound quality
- Etymotic HF3 - for everyday use with a mic
You wouldn’t catch me dead with a sub-100$ pair of headphones because they usually sound as good as music playing through a can of soup. Imagine my surprise when I tried the Monoprice 8320 and found them decent (they cost less than $7).
The only reason I tried these was because of the Monoprice name. For those that don’t know, I love Monoprice because they offer great quality items at very competitive prices. The headphones do them proud. For a measly $7, you get 14.2mm drivers (larger than most sub $50 earphones), a 48” cloth covered cord (which feels nice and solid) and a gold plated connector jack.
The Monoprice 8320 offers incredible clarity, a clean and full soundstage and solid build quality. I compared them to my beloved Triple-Fi and HF3 and the comparison was interesting. Using Apple Lossless encoded audio (from the source) and connecting it to my iPhone 4s with the EQ turned off, the Monoprice 8320 put up a good fight. I expected it to fail miserably (come on, it’s $7) but it competing well.
During my tests, I found that the 8320 offered a clean soundstage. Mids were full and clean. Bass was strong but clear, I didn’t experience any static or distortion at normal listening volumes.
Soundstage is a very subjective descriptor. To test a soundstage, I put on a track with lots of vocals and instruments (in lossless format ripped from a source), I close my eyes and try to feel the music. Can I hear all the instruments? Can I feel where each of the musicians is standing? When I tested my HF3 and Triple-Fi’s, I heard nuances I had never heard before. They really brought the music to life. The Monoprice 8320’s didn’t perform as well as these two (and I didn’t expect them to) but to be honest, I was dumbfounded by how well they performed. They won’t replace my 2 beloved units but this is a nice pair you can through around and not worry about.
The Monoprice 8320’s do not have a mic option but they can’t be beat for price/value.
A question I get a lot about headphones is “Do I need to use a headphone amp with my…”. I tested the Monoprice 8320 with and without a headphone amp and had the exact same performance.
I can definitely say you do not need a headphone amp with the Monoprice 8320 earphones.
They won’t be replacing my high end earphones but they beat the pants of any other sub $100 earphone I have tried.