At this point, I’ve reviewed three headphones from Oneodio, a Hong Kong-based company known for its inexpensive studio-style headphones. At this point, I haven’t been overly impressed by any of them, as their sound and build quality always just bordered on acceptable.
The last Oneodio headphone I looked at, the Monitor 60, represented a definite upgrade in construction and fidelity over the first two I reviewed. That said, I still didn’t consider the Monitor 60 to be a proper audiophile headphone, regardless of the marketing that claimed otherwise.
I’m reviewing headphone number four from Oneodio, the $99 Monitor 80. It’s the most expensive design from them thus far, and it’s also the first open-back headphone I’ve seen from them.
Like the Monitor 60, Oneodio says it’s made for “Audio Enthusiasts,” but as they didn’t quite hit the mark with the 60, I’m skeptical about the 80. So is the Monitor 80 a new budget audiophile option at the somewhat dead $99 price point? Read on, and I’ll let you know what I think!
Disclaimer: The Monitor 80 was sent to us by OneOdio in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. They do not have to be returned.
- Driver: 40mm
- Sensitivity: 100dB ± 3dB
- Impedance: 250Ω
- Frequency Response: 10Hz-40KHz
- Distortion: ≤1%
- Max Input Power: 1600 mW
Right off the bat, I could see from the packaging that OneOdio has higher ambitions for the Monitor 80 headphones. They come in a fancy silver foil box with a black silver-embossed sleeve, an approach that says, “these are high-end headphones.”
I found a nice hard carrying case upon opening the box, something I’d never seen from this company. Usually, they provide a vinyl carrying bag that offers no protection for the headphones inside.
Inside the case are the headphones, folded up, along with two headphone cables, one 3.5mm to 1/4” (1.5m) coiled cable, and one 3.5mm to 3.5mm (3m) straight cable. There’s also a user’s manual slipped in the box.
Like the cables included with the Monitor 60, the Monitor 80 cables are thick and flexible. Again, I’m impressed by the quality. Both are pretty long, which fits the home/studio use cases.
Like the other OneOdio headphones, each earcup has a jack (3.5mm on one side and 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. That’s a cool trick because adapters suck.
The overall design and build quality are the best I’ve ever seen on an OneOdio product, as previous models have felt a little fragile. The Monitor 80 feels pretty solid, but there’s still some of the creaking I complained about on the Monitor 60.
On the other hand, the Monitor 80’s build quality is basically in line with other studio-style headphones around the same price, and as long as you don’t toss them around, you should be good. OneOdio promises a free replacement within the first six months, but I’m not sure how easy that is to get.
As far as looks go, I like the contour of the earcups and the chrome accent around the mesh in the center. These headphones look real sleek, something I can’t say about the previous OneOdio headphones I’ve encountered.
I dig their appearance, and in that regard, I feel they can go head to head with the AKG and Sennheisers of the world, even though they are probably a bit more durable.
This time around, OneOdio went with velvet earpads instead of the comfy protein leather pads used on the Monitor 60. While the velvet pads are slightly less comfortable, they are also cooler than the protein pads, and I found them to be pretty comfortable in their own right.
The pads are also replaceable, with several replacement options available on Amazon.
The springy metal headband provides a nicely judged clamping force. Combined with the soft velvet pads and the soft memory foam on top of the headband, these headphones are easy to wear for long listening sessions.
Inside the cups are 40mm dynamic drivers, which is about the size you would expect for headphones like this. However, the Monitor 80 has a 250ohm impedance, which is unusual for inexpensive headphones. That said, high-impedance headphones usually have lighter voice coils attached to the driver, making them sound better than low-impedance headphones.
Consequently, with the higher impedance, you will need to pair these headphones with an amp that has plenty of juice (preferably one with a DC power supply) to drive them adequately.
For the bulk of my listening tests, I connected the Monitor 80 to the $189 iFi Zen DAC V2 connected via USB to my HP Envy X360 laptop. Without the “Power Match” gain button engaged, I had to turn the volume up a little past halfway to get them going.
Because of this, I decided to turn on the Power Match to get a little more headroom, and I was able to get the Monitor 80 going with about a quarter turn on the knob.
From there, I played a bunch of songs from the TIDAL “Audiophile 101” playlist, and I was immediately taken aback by the sound coming from these headphones.
I’m not going to say these are the best headphones I’ve ever heard, but I was impressed first of all by the balance. OneOdio is known mainly for making fun V-shaped sounding headphones, meaning the bass and treble are usually elevated to make them sound exciting.
That was not the case with Monitor 80. I couldn’t believe how neutral-sounding they were, with no artificially boosted highs or boomy bass.
They reminded me a lot of the KZ x Crinacle CRN earphones I just reviewed, except they were even flatter in the presence region, which made the sound a little bit darker. They also put me in the mind of the lower-end Sennheiser HD series cans, sounding something like the HD559 or HD599.
I would also compare them somewhat to the Drop HD 58X, even though they are slightly more detailed.
Bass is pretty tight and punchy, the mids are smooth and natural, and while the highs are rolled off at the very top, there’s still a good amount of detail and air up there.
Listening to “This Town” by Patricia Barber, I loved how the bass was deep and articulate, and Patricia’s vocal was warm and natural. But, conversely, these headphones are not perfect, as you should expect at this price.
They are not the most resolving headphones in terms of depth and separation, plus there were some issues through the mids, as you could hear some cuppiness in the vocal.
Despite that, the soundstage was nice and wide, plus the imaging was decent. I didn’t get the “three blob effect” you usually get from cheap headphones. When I listened to “Sweet Little Woman” by Carey Bell, the music was spread evenly across the stage, with Carey in the middle and the instruments off to either side of him.
I found the Dynamics to be a bit soft, but they were good enough to get me into the song and have my head nodding to the beat.
Compared to the Grado SR60e
Compared to the Grado SR60e ($79 at time of purchase), I found the Grado had slightly more detail and a lot more presence up top, so it wasn’t quite as dark. However, compared to Monitor 80, it was pretty edgy in the upper mids, which made it fatiguing after a while.
The Monitor 80 was a lot more natural and easy to listen to in comparison, plus it had more depth on the low end, so it sounded fuller than the Grado. It also had a better soundstage and imaging. I found the 80 to be more musical and enjoyable, not to mention comfortable.
The Wrap Up
So I guess the fourth time is a charm. All things considered, I found the OneOdio Monitor 80 to be an enjoyable listen in the under $100 segment, a place where there isn’t a lot of options.
They don’t have the best resolution or separation, but the balanced tuning, smooth mids, soundstage, and air make them well worth a try if you only have $100 bucks to spend. Keep in mind that the build is a little plasticky, which is par for the course at this price; plus, with the high impedance, you will need a decent headphone amp to get them up to volume.
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I’m an audio writer who started as a young audio salesman/consumer electronics professional back in the late 90s. That’s where I discovered the magic of 2-Channel sound. My hunger for great sound has led me on a delightful music quest that continues today.