It's no longer enough to sell millions of records. These days, you haven't made it until you've got a set of Monster headphones bearing your moniker. With the Diddybeats, Monster welcomes Sean 'Diddy' Combs into the fold. But are these in-ear 'buds worth around £120?
Lowest of the low
The Diddybeats' sound quality is impressive. We've found the Monster line to be a mixed bag in terms of sonics, with some headphones sounding rather muddy, and some sounding harsh at the high end. We didn't experience any such woes with the Diddybeats, however. They sound clear and smooth.
We were extremely impressed with the low end. Listening to Judas by Lady Gaga, we were delighted with the imposing, thrumming bass response. It's a heavy, pounding bass sound that will delight pop, dance and hip-hop fans.
Happily, even though the bass darn near shook our ears off, it never sounded out of control. Listening to The Tempest by Pendulum, we picked up plenty of detail in the high end -- think tinkling cymbals and snappy snare drums -- even while the bass line rattled our cochleas.
Mid-tones sound buttery smooth, making crunchy guitar lines such as those found in Sum 41's Fat Lip sound exceedingly pleasant. Again, an impressive level of detail can be detected in the background, from vocal harmonies to singers taking a deep breath.
The Diddybeats don't offer audiophile-level sound quality, though, and such types probably won't be satisfied with them. But their sound quality is great for earbuds in this price bracket.
The earphones' performance at high volumes isn't that impressive, however. Crank these bad boys up and the balance quickly goes out the window. That excellent bass is most impressive at middling volumes, and the high tones get harsh and noisy when the music's louder than normal.
Highway to the danger cone
The Diddybeats' design is certainly audacious, but there are definite downsides to the large, conical shape of the earpieces. We love the styling -- the black leathery texture, glossy surfaces and chrome edging will turn heads, and the thick, ribboned cable probably won't tangle as easily as skinny thread-style wiring.
But we did have some trouble keeping the Diddybeats inside our ears. Because they're very big and quite heavy, they had a tendency to work their way loose. If you're doing plenty of walking, you might find you need to poke them back into place quite frequently.
The situation isn't helped by heavy bits and pieces all along the cable itself. They tug on the earbuds, working them free of their lughole mooring. There's an in-line remote that lets you adjust the volume, skip tracks and even take calls if you're using the Diddybeats with an iPhone, and, below that, there's a weighty metal cylinder at the point where the cabling splits into the left and right ears.
Finally, below that, there's a clip for hooking the earphones onto your clothing and taking up the slack from the weighty cable accoutrements. We think you'll need to use this clip. If you don't, you'll find gravity dragging the Diddybeats out of your ears faster than you can say 'Wasn't this one by The Police?'
The cable itself is a decent length, although it won't stretch much further than your trouser pocket. If you're planning on plugging these bad boys into the back of a PC tower under your desk, for example, then you'll need to buy an extension cable.
Included in the box, you'll find a broad selection of alternative rubber tips, and a well presented carry pouch.
If you can keep the Monster Diddybeats in your ears, you'll be rewarded with great all-round sound quality. Although rather pricey, they'd make a great upgrade to the rubbish earphones that come with iPhones and iPods.
If you want something a shade cheaper but just as boldly designed, take a gander at the Monster iBeats by Dr Dre. If you want some great headphones that definitely won't slip out of your ears, examine the marvellous Sennheiser OCX 880s.
Edited by Charles Kloet