SMonster just announced their first ear buds, the Turbine "In-Ear Speakers", a followup to the Beats By Dre cans, and they are quite nice for the $150 price tag. I tried them on for a few hours, and so far I've been impressed with the clean, deep bass and crisp, clear mids and highs. In fact, I'd be willing to put them up against the Shure SE110s or similar headphones when it comes to sound quality. They're also the loudest pair of ear buds I've come across, blasting my iPhone and laptop to volumes I didn't know existed, without ever getting noisy. The worst thing about the Turbines was discovering how crappy most of my MP3 files really sound. Songs purchased from iTunes or ripped from CD were fine, I was able to pick out each instrument and hear things I normally couldn't with lesser headphones, but files I've obtained with less reliable quality sounded like absolute garbage—the mix was all wrong, and the noise almost gave me a headache. They're missing a microphone/toggle switch, which we expect by now in headphones of this caliber, and that's a little disappointing. On the plus side, they generously come with five sets of tips so there is definitely a size that will fit your ears. The Turbines are a nice entry into the in-ear headphone arena by Monster, and fantastic sound quality for the price—just make sure your music lives up to their high standards. [Monster]
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