OneOdio Monitor 60 Review: Are These The Best Budget Audiophile Headphones?

OneOdio Monitor 60 Professional Studio Headphones

$79.99 (15% off w/ product page coupon)
OneOdio Monitor 60 Professional Studio Headphones
6.7

Build

6.0/10

Features

8.0/10

Sound

6.0/10

What We Dig

  • Beautiful Design
  • Comfortable Fit
  • Deep & Articulate Bass

What To Think About

  • Too much midrange coloration and edge
  • A little creaky

Intro

The $79 OneOdio Monitor 60 is the third Studio/DJ headphone I’ve reviewed from this relatively new Hong Kong company, and it’s also by far the most ambitious design I’ve seen from them.

The first two I looked at were satisfactory for the price, but ultimately just ok in terms of build and sound quality. The Monitor 60 is definitely a level up in both those categories, consequently serving as a flagship for their extensive affordable headphone lineup.

OneOdio bills the Monitor 60 as a professional-grade headphone for “Audio Pros and Audiophiles” so I’m going to look at them thru an Audiophile lens and see if they live up to that billing. Are they the best budget audiophile headphones? A new entry-level gem at the under $100 price point? Read on and I will give you the scoop!

Disclaimer: The Monitor 60 was sent to us by OneOdio in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. They do not have to be returned.

Build/Features

As stated earlier, the Over-Ear Closed-Back Monitor 60 Headphone is marketed as a premium professional headphone, and it’s a clear step up in build quality from what I’ve previously auditioned from OneOdio. It still has mostly plastic construction, but this time, the plastic is sturdier, as is the metal arch that forms the frame.

That said, while the build is more substantial, the earcups flop around a little too freely for my liking. The plastic yolks holding the earcups are also creakier than I prefer. I wouldn’t be too rough on them if you want to keep them around for a while.

Nevertheless, they probably match or slightly surpass the build quality of other headphones under $100, especially studio-oriented headphones.

Design-wise, the Monitor 60 looks good, reminding me of a studio headphone from AKG or Audio-Technica. It actually looks a little more premium than you would expect for the price. It’s basically a more polished version of the OneOdio Pro-50 headphone I looked at in April. This is a closed-back headphone that provides decent isolation, even though the mesh on the side may suggest otherwise.

In the box, you get a vinyl storage bag, a user manual, plus three cables, including one 4 ft. 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable with microphone for mobile use, a 5 ft. 3.5mm to 1/4” inch expanding coiled cable for studio use, and a 10 ft. 3.5mm to 3.5mm straight cable for home use.

I was happy to see they included some thicker cables this time around, as the cables that came with the other two OneOdio headphones I looked at were just a little too thin. I like the ones that come with the Monitor 60 as they aren’t too tangle-prone, and look pretty durable.

The earcups fold up for storage, as well as flip outward for monitoring as a DJ, and each cup has a jack (3.5mm on one side and a 1/4” on the other) to support plugging in a cable on either side. The second jack also lets you share music with another OneOdio headphone.

This also means you can flip the coiled 3.5mm to 1/4” cable around and use it on either cup, allowing you to plug into equipment with either a 3.5mm or 1/4″ jack without the use of an adapter. This is a cool trick I liked on the other OneOdio headphones, and I like it here as well because adapters are a pain.

Comfort-wise the Monitor 60 is superb, with super soft protein leather earpads, and a firm, yet soft padding on the headband. The clamp is pretty light, which is good since they don’t put your head in a vise, but it also means isolation will suffer a bit. But I’m willing to make that tradeoff.

Sound

For my listening tests, I plugged the Monitor 60s into my Fiio M11 Plus LTD digital audio player and played a bunch of tracks from the “Audiophile 101-MQA Masters” playlist on TIDAL. The Monitor 60 headphones are relatively easy to drive and can be run from just about any source. Even so, I thought they did benefit from a decent headphone amp in terms of dynamics.

So in terms of tuning, I thought OneOdio did a decent job of presenting the overall neutral sound signature (neutral-v, really) one would expect from a monitoring headphone. The Monitor 60 Headphones were pretty much flat, presenting the music in a pretty faithful way, with not much added excitement.

Listening further, I found the low end to be measured but deep, and the top end to be pretty smooth, giving some decent air and detail for the price. The mids, however, were a just little too forward at times, and on certain songs, they could be pretty shouty. There was also some coloration in the lower mids that made vocals somewhat nasal, and that was distracting at points.

As far as soundstage and imaging go, there wasn’t much of either. Everything was pretty much in the head, and I definitely heard the old “three-blob” “left-center-right” thing going on.

Dynamics, even with a headphone amp, could be a little flat at times, with songs sounding a little compressed. This was especially true on mid-bass-driven material. Some music was just missing the punch needed to get your head nodding.

In spite of some Sonic shortcomings, I still found the Monitor 60 to be somewhat enjoyable for casual listening, as they had just enough separation and detail to keep me engaged during these times. I don’t think they have enough resolution to do any critical listening, but in reality, I don’t know if anyone will be buying these headphones for that anyway.

Compared to the Grado SR60e

To get a reference, I compared them to my trusty old Grado SR60e headphones, which cost about the same as the Monitor 60 when I bought them. I know the Grados are a totally different animal from the large, Over-Ear OneOdio headphones, but I thought they would be a good measuring stick from a value standpoint.

To my surprise, the divide in refinement wasn’t as large as I anticipated. I cued up Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and did a quick A-B-A comparison.

Yes, the Grado was cleaner through the midrange which ultimately makes them the winner to me, but its low end (esp. in the sub-bass) was even more subdued than the OneOdio, and it didn’t really offer much improvement in the treble or soundstage departments. The Monitor 60 also had a little more presence due to its slight boost in that region.

In addition, the over-ear Monitor 60 had a clear advantage in the comfort department over the on-ear SR60e, which should come as no surprise to most.

The Wrap Up

With the Monitor 60 Headphones, OneOdio has made some strides towards producing a true audiophile headphone both in terms of tonal balance and some added detail/presence. They also beefed up the construction compared to their other products and provided some decent cables this time around.

Nonetheless, because of their issues in the midrange, I wouldn’t quite put them in the Audiophile headphone category. Yet, because of their deep bass and decent treble detail, they may be a fun second set of headphones to use in a casual listening context, or maybe an inexpensive set to put in a home studio.

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