Monster Inspiration headphones

Bin the Beats, these cans are frighteningly good

Image: Hugh Threlfall

Those annoying Beats headphones (the plasticky ones sporting a red or white lower case “b”) have spawned an awful lot of similarly fine but overpriced celebrity-endorsed cans. But Beats have also done a good thing for serious audio: they have planted the idea in even the densest head that it’s worth spending as much, or more, on your headphones as you do on your music player.


Within a short time of launching, Beats accounted for 9 per cent of the $1bn headphone market, and at the last count reportedly had a staggering 53 per cent. The brand was produced in collaboration with Monster, a big, splashy Californian audio company, and now that Beats has spun off as a make in itself, Monster has ramped up its own headphone range, with this, the terrific looking – and sounding – over-ear Inspiration model as its flagship.


The headphones are as sleek and tasteful as Beats is not. You can choose from three colours, and there’s also a range of headband hues to select. The fit is super comfortable, while the sound is more mature than Beats (with less boosted treble and bass). Good noise cancelling, too.