Kick out da' Jamz! If you think American hi-fi, you would probably think: "big bass". As an American company, Monster has had a hand in creating this with its "bass wound" this and "time aligned" that. Imagine our surprise when we found that the company's latest headphones, named the "Jamz", weren't bass fiends at all.
Each earpiece is a "precision-machined, single-billet metal housing", which is chromed for extra toughness. Indeed, Monster claims they're nearly indestructible, and the headphone cables are ruggedised for heavy use and tangle resistant. They still get pretty tangled, though. At 114cm the cable is way too short, with its competitors offering 120cm, which are more comfortable to put the player in your pocket.
You would expect that a metal driver would mean extra weight on the ears, but the housings are lightweight and come with a selection of ear tips that you'll find fit comfortably. They also provide a good degree of sound isolation and help block out co-workers' overly-loud phone conversations.
The earphones' presentation could be seen as lean, with a forward-though-not-cavernous mid-range, sweet highs and a tight bass. If you're looking for boomier bass you should keep searching, but you'll find that transients such as bass drums have plenty of *ahem* kick.
Compared against the AU$299 Logitech Ultimate Ears 700 we found that the sound was very similar, though the Ultimate Ears traded the Monsters' extended treble for a slightly thicker mid-bass.
Though these are noise-isolating headphones, the Jamz's lack of forward bass meant they could sound a bit thin in a noisy environment like a train, aeroplane or bus.
While they won't suit the frequent flyers as a general set of earphones they're superbly detailed and punchy. We also found they're not very sensitive, so you'll need to turn it up to get a loud enough signal. This won't suit more reticent players like those from Creative.
With amazing build quality and a super-sweet sound the Monsters lord it over competition from Shure and Ultimate Ears for the same price. As such, the Monster Jamz are one of the best in-ears under AU$200.