Hands-on review: OneOdio Monitor 60 pro wired headphones
Image credit: OneOdio
Wired, for sound.
While sales of in-ear wired earbuds have been tanking in recent years, their bigger, over-ear wired brothers have seen an uptick in sales.
Driven partly by the pandemic, and partly by the rise (and rise) of social media platforms and the cult of the influencer, more and more people have got involved with creating content – as opposed to passively consuming it – be it videos for TikTok and YouTube, audio podcasts or self-produced songs and beats. This trend has, in turn, driven an increase in sales of pro audio equipment – the tools you need to do your best work.
Acknowledging this shift in consumer behaviour, Chinese firm OneOdio has released the Monitor 60, billed as "professional wired headphones". These ear goggles are strictly for direct wired connection only. There's no Bluetooth, ANC, EQ app or such like here. They have one purpose, with no distractions. These are strictly for listening closely to recorded audio, from the moment of creation to its final release. Professional, see?
With 50mm drivers and 38 ohm impedance, as well as Sony's 'Hi-Res Audio' verification, the Monitor 60s are certainly well-equipped on paper to deliver quality sound. The thick, soft protein leather earpads with deep cushioning are also a sign that these are expected to be worn for long sessions and to remain comfortable throughout. While not specifically memory foam, the padding feels much the same in use, making these headphones a pleasant all-day fit indeed.
As with any over-ear headphones, your ears will get a bit warm after a few hours, but you should probably be giving your ears a rest after that amount of time, anyway, to keep your listening faculties fresh.
The plush padding and oval-shaped over-ear style also combine to create a good degree of passive isolation, keeping headphone sounds in and the external world out. This is another tick for the Monitor 60s, as they're as useful for monitoring a guide mix while performing in front of a microphone as they are for watching TV and not annoying those around you with any tinny leakage.
One earcup can also be pivoted away, flipped 180°, giving you the music feed in just one ear, which can be useful for DJs, radio/podcast presenters, and recording musicians playing live together who also want to hear the natural sound in the room.
Overall build quality of the Monitor 60s is decent if not luxurious, with more use of black plastic than some headphone purists/aesthetes might like, but then these don't have a luxury price tag so the trade-offs are fair.
So much for the finish. In terms of fit, the headphone arms and wider headband have been ergonomically designed to stretch and accommodate different head sizes, using jewellery-grade stainless steel with reinforced connections for durability. How well they'll hold up to the abuse of constant daily use remains to be seen, but the Monitor 60s seem as sturdy as many other headphones in this price bracket. They also fold in multiple angles, with a pleatherette carrying bag included in the box for when you're on the go. It won't offer much protection against knocks, but it will keep them clean.
Also in the box are all the cables you could need. The Monitor 60s have a couple of neat tricks up their sleeves in this regard. In order to connect to as many devices as possible – i.e. both the 1/4" (6.35mm) pro-level jack and the consumer-level 1/8" (3.5mm) jack – there is a 2m cable that connects 3.5mm to 6.35mm, with a coiled cable for monitoring purposes, and also a 1.2m 3.5mm to 3.5mm straight cable with microphone for connection to modern gadgets. You can also plug a second pair of Monitor 60s directly into the spare socket on one ear cup, so that two people can listen simultaneously to the same audio source. No screw-on, easily misplaced, optional accessory adapters are necessary for any of the above. Nice.
How do the Monitor 60s sound? Good. Modern. Fun. We had a few other closed-back and reference headphones on hand, including a pair each of the studio workhorse Audio-Technica ATH-M50, the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro and the Audeze LCD-1. That's enough to cover all bases when recording and mixing, to compare and contrast, given that all headphones present audio differently (there is no perfect set of headphones – discuss).
Stacked up against these other, more expensive, headphones, the OneOdio Monitor 60s didn't embarrass themselves. Certain differences were obvious, but there were no glaring issues, with the Monitor 60's 38 ohms driving a big and engaging sound, although their response is definitely not flat or well-suited for critical analytical listening. There's a little too much hype or exaggeration in specific frequency regions to rely on these headphones alone for important decisions.
It's a result of the inevitable compromise between creating a genuinely flat-response studio pro headphone, where the EQ changes you make and the stereo image you create are precisely defined, and also wanting to have a pair of headphones that sound good with your smartphone.
Something has to give. It is very difficult to serve both audio masters simultaneously – and it would take a pair of headphones considerably more expensive (as in, 10 times more expensive) than these OneOdio's to properly deliver on both counts.
That said, the Monitor 60s are not an expensive proposition. They may have their drawbacks as professional monitoring headphones, but they have real appeal as an affordable, additional pair of headphones – a second, third or fourth pair in the studio, say – which can be used to give an alternative take on recording and mixing proceedings. It's common to check work in progress on multiple speaker systems – the same is true for different headphones.
You might not rely solely on the Monitor 60s at every stage of the recording process, but they could definitely have a role to play in authoring the soundtrack of your life – covering everything from creation to consumption. At this price, it's hard to complain too much about the Monitor 60s when they cover so many bases in such an enjoyable way.
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