Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security

Monoprice

Monoprice offers amazing customer service

technologyEdward KiledjianComment
2014-01-27_07-34-47.jpg

We live in a society where people are overly demanding from retailers but everyone wants the best deal in town. Traditional brick and mortar retailers have responded by drastically reducing store staffing levels which means its though having your questions answered or issues resolved.

Many online retailers are able to offer competitive prices but do a really good job hiding their contact information. 

For the last several years, I have been huge fan of monoprice.com. They offer medium-to-high quality items at rock bottom prices. Like most of their customers, I started by buying ethernet and hdmi cables and slowly migrated to their other Monoprice branded items. Most recently I wanted a stereo bluetooth headphone that was cheap enough I could through in a bag all the time and use in less than ideal situations without worrying about breaking it. I bought the Monoprice bluetooth sport earphones (a review of those will be forthcoming).

I quickly experienced issues with the battery and contacted Monoprice support. Within hours, they confirmed a replacement was on its way. 2 weeks later, having not received the replacement, I contacted them again and they shipped another replacement (which I received). It was so refreshing to deal with a company that offered such amazing no hassle customer service. 

From a customer service perspective, I rank Monoprice as one of the best companies I have worked with in the last several years (up there with Amazon).

I have found that their products are typically well built and provide a very high quality-to-price ratio. To be honest, I can't remember the last time I had an issue with any of their products. It is refreshing to know that if I do experience an issue, a fix is an email away. Go team Monoprice!

Monoprice

Monoprice 9927 headphone review

technologyEdward KiledjianComment

In December, I wrote about how much I liked the Monoprice 8320 headphones. It doesn’t replace my Etymotic or UE Triple-Fi 10 but for $7 you get something that feels well-built and performs extremely well. 

I received requests from readers to review the new Monoprice 9927 headphones. This are newer than the 8320 and comes in black (9927), pink (9960), and white (9963). I had a chance to test the 9927 and wanted to share my opinion.

The first change is the look of these headphones. They are more matt but the rest of the design is the same as the 8320. The other major difference is that these come with different sized eartips. Everything else is a carbon copy of the 8320.

I compared both products (8320 vs 9927) and the sound profile is exactly the same (which is a good thing). If you like the look of the Monoprice 8320 and the tip fits then you can comfortably stick to that model. If you want one of the new colors or want different tip sizes, pick up one of these new headphones.

Monoprice recommends that you break-in the headphones for 24 hours using pink noise to get the best performance.

 

 

The best HDMI cables are the cheap ones

technologyEdward Kiledjian3 Comments

As we approach the holiday season, you're probably thinking about all the guests you'll have to entertain. I can't think of a better way to entertain the boys than with a new high quality TV. Just because you bought one of those new fangled really cool 3D TVs doesn't mean you have to fork over $100 for a "name brand" HDMI cable (regardless of what the teenage sales rep tells you).

There are dozens of reputable blogs and audio video specialists that preach the same sermon. Don't waste your money on expensive cables. I found it interesting that tech review site CNET uses cheap monoprice cables to test all the AV equipment that goes through their lab.

I have used Monoprice for most of my cable needs for the last 4 years (Ethernet, HDMI, Telephone, etc) and have never regretted my decision. They offer very good cables at super competitive prices. The one time I had a shipping issue, their customer support fixed my issue within 24 hours.

A 6 foot Monoprice HDMI Cable with Ethernet channel built in costs $7.54US.

Unlike most cheap cable providers, Monoprice actual speed tests all of their cables and backs them up with a lifetime manufacturer defect warranty. Even though the cables are cheap, Monoprice takes product design seriously and they implement cool technologies to improve your overall experience (including RedMere chips in some of their higher end HDMI cables).

You can buy a 15ft Ultra Slim Series High Performance HDMI Cable with RedMere® Technology for $23.21US.

What is AWG you ask? It is a size reference to the thickness of the cable. The smaller the  number, the thicker the cable. The thicker the wire, the less signal loss you will experience. Of course it depends on the length of your cable. IF you want a 15ft cable then any awg rating will do (normally 28 AWG is fine). If you want a 50ft run then go for a 22AWG. 

The first cable I recommended was a 24AWG (for ~$7). You can get a 22AWG HDMI cable at 20ft in length for $23.28US.

So this holiday season do yourself a favour and save some money by buying your cheap HDMI cables online from Monoprice. 

Monoprice 8320 Earphones - Amazing $7 headphones you have to try

technologyEdward KiledjianComment

I love headphones and have relied on these 2 models as my go to devices: 

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.