Friday, September 24, 2010

Jammin Till the Break of Dawn

Anyone who knows anything about high quality cables has heard the name Monster. Even before I had ever tried a pair of Monster guitar cables I knew they were great. Why? Because I had heard them on many o' stage, studio, and session. It doesn't end with just music cables either, no sir. Monster offers everything from home theater, pro-audio/video, and gaming accessories, to power conditioners, high performance car audio gear, and stage and pro studio products. Then last but not least, is the pro audio gear for us musicians. Amongst the Monster army of music making madmen you are bound to find everything from classic and hard rockers, to street rappers and hip hoppers. Cats like Santana, Ozzy, Dave Mustaine, Ludacris, Frampton, Slash, Tower of Power, Herbie Hancock, Akon, Bootsy, Dr. Dre, George Benson, Butch Vig, Too Short, Eddie Kramer, and the list goes on and on and on. Recently I discovered that Monster was even producing their own line of high quality headphones and in-ears. Analog War Cry started getting flooded with emails for us to try some of these phones. Well, here we are. The outcome?... Just read on.



  • In-ear Headphones for Extended Full Range Sound/Big time bass and clarity out of a small ear bud
  • Monster Sound Isolating Eartips/Advanced construction and multiple shapes and sizes give you a perfect fit/seal out external noise.
  • Solid, Precision-Machined Single-Billet Metal Housing/Cancels unwanted vibrations for the purest sound
  • Hard Chrome Finish/Tuff as nails so they keep shinning like they did day one. No polish needed
  • Rugged Strain Relief/Protects the cable withstands heavy-duty use. For long life and long use
  • Advanced Monster Cable/Patented technologies for accurate and clear audio. Delivers clear and defined sound.
  • 24K Gold Contacts/For maximum signal transfer and corrosion resistance. Provides clean, untampered signal.
  • Cable Management Clip/Controls and keeps weight off headphones so they stay put in your ears
  • Compact Protective Super Soft Clip Pouch/Protection and cable management for the rare moments you're not using them.

Lil' Jamz
In-Ear Headphones


Headphones, earphones, buds, in-ears, rockers, call them what you will. We all use them, especially us music playing, music addicted freaks. If you're like me you don't go anywhere without your music player. I honestly take mine everywhere. And if you love music as much as I do and have ever experienced a crap set of earphones, you know how much it can suck. For us who play and write music, having a good set of earphones is a must. It can help dial in to a song you're trying to learn, motivate you to write, and most important just provide you with great sounding tunes. The last couple years have been an awakening for the headphone/earphone market. Many companies are building and designing phones for comfort, with immaculate sound capabilities, and life long use. But there's a catch! These earphones always end up costing an arm and a leg. Don't get me wrong, they're well worth the bucks. If you've ever heard what these things are capable of you know what I'm saying. But not everyone can afford such things. And so.... Monster steps up to the plate and designs a line a killer sounding, great looking, beautifully built, and best of all, affordable earphones. I had a chance to rock a pair of Monster's Lil' Jamz and was blown away by them. I honestly thought something for the price couldn't possibly sound better than most average headphones. Brother, was I wrong!

The Lil' Jamz were such a golden find that I was able to use them in more than a couple applications. I'll start with basic listening first, which for me consists of a 16GB iTouch. Within that little touch screen wonder I keep all my favorite tunes, bands, music videos, and even some movies and documentaries (music based of course). Before the Lil' Jamz I was using a set of standard white earphones, which I'm sure many of have owned, owned, and owned again. The difference was like a moped and a chopper. Instantly I was able to get more clarity, sweeter richer lows, delicate but focused highs, and for the first time proper midrange frequencies. This made all the different styles of music that I listen to a dream. Rocking out to my favorite classic rock albums I was able to hear the warm and subtle distortions as if they were right there in front of me. Nice defined present bass was also quite a treat. Having an actual bass track to listen to in my ears while walking around doing everyday stuff was a delight of an entirely new breed. This was especially so when listening to jazz and old r&b. With these types of music it is always the bass that rides and carries the tunes. Without it you're lost! Having the bass separated from the rest of the frequencies helped in more ways than one. Not only did it provide me with a much more pleasurable listening experience. It also helped me pin-point guitar and keyboard tracks I needed to learn. I know you've been in a situation when you've sat there trying hour after hour to figure out an exact guitar riff or lick from your favorite guitar God. Only to go back, play along with it, and find out something is a miss. This happens because of crappy monitoring. You end up hearing something that's not a part of the track you're trying to learn, and therefore end up playing something that's not there. With a great set of phones like these it's much easier to hear what you need. Which takes me to watching movies and tv shows on my portable player. This really did catch me by surprise. I figured, "Ok, the music sounded great, so the movies will probably be a bit more entertaining with decent sound." It is better than just decent. When you're eyes are captured by an image and your brain is focusing on a story line or character, you're ears awaken even more. This means it will exaggerate your listening experience. The crappier the sound, the crappier the sound. The sweeter the sound, the SWEETER the sound. I found myself hunting down my favorite live performance dvd's, music docs, and music vids. Just so I could watch and listen to them with my Lil' Jamz. And it doesn't end here. All of this led me to try the earphones in the studio for monitoring and recording. I A/B'd with some of the headphones we had lying around, and to my surprise the Lil' Jamz were not only able to hold their own, but also surpassed a few head sets. For recording they were especially fun. Having the ability to completely isolate myself from everything else really put the mix in my ears and helped my overall performance. This was true with vocals, drumming, and other instruments. In fact, the amount of external noise these baby's cut out is so huge, that the first week I had them I had to be tapped on the shoulder a few times to grab my attention. Other than recording with the Jamz I also worked a few simple mix downs. Having all of the clarity and definition really helped in this area. Especially for EQing stuff, adding bits of compression, and mixing in and out. I was able to use them as a great reference, then would compare to my main monitors. I will tell you right now, a good set in headphones for mixing can most def come in handy. Last, I took the Lil' Jamz to band practice and plugged them into my in-ear monitor system. I ran some vocals and a bit of both guitars through them. You wouldn't think they'd do the job but they did it just fine. I may have not been able to dial in huge amounts of bass or drums. But in a situation like a small club or rehearsal space when all you need is some vocals or your own guitar in your in-ear mix these are perfect. You don't have to go out and spend a ton and you still get a proper sound when needed. It was really something how much thunder these little rockers had in them. I would highly recommend anyone who's looking a great sounding pair of earphones to look into these or any of the other in-ears in the Monster line. The Lil' Jamz are in fact at the bottom of the totem pole as far as the line goes too. And if they sound this good I can only imagine what the rest of the lot is capable of. We will try and bring more of Monster's killer ear and headphones in the near future. I am hooked and curious beyond belief, believe me! In closing I will say - Happy 30th Monster and keep up the killer work. Like we like to say around here "Let'em hear you scream!"


For more info on Monster Cable products go to There you will find a world of high quality cables for just about any need out there. Analog War Cry will continue to bring you guys more from our friends at Monster so make sure to keep your eyes peeled. Rock on and on and on!

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