Monolith M-TWE by Monoprice Review: Premium Earbuds With Accompanying Customizable SoundID Software

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PRODUCT INFO

Monolith by Monoprice M-TWE True Wireless Earbuds with Sonarworks SoundID and EQ, Qualcomm aptX Audio, Qualcomm cVc 8.0 Echo Cancelling and Noise Suppression, Active Noise Cancelling (ANC), Sweatproof

2021
Type true wireless earbuds
Price $99.99

One of the most significant issues with true wireless earbuds is fit. I have a terrible time keeping them in my ears, and it is one of the many reasons I sport a beanie, along with being a signature look for myself. Wearing a beanie allows me to keep earbuds in place, enjoying music for hours on end.

The Monolith M-TWE earbuds offered the same fit issue. Still, I was quick to overlook that with the number of features and premium sound that I have never experienced in any previous true wireless earbuds in the past. Monolith, one of Monoprice's sub-brands focusing on premium products, allows users many features. With featuring active noise canceling and ambient background sound, the Monolith M-TWE earbuds immerse the user in a higher auditory experience not found in many standard wireless earbuds. With collaboration with Sonarworks, the two companies will enable each individual to create a SoundID creating a personalized signature sound unique to that person.

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Plenty of other companies offer cost-friendly options with active noise canceling or even ambient noise in the background to help with immersion. Still, non offer a level of customizing the audio through a built-in equalizer, adding a further level of personalization for the user. Previously, I have used Anker's T21 model, a pair of EarFun wireless earbuds from 2017, and recently Skullcandy Sesh Evo, and I always had similar issues with the fit but never found one that sounded better than the other. The Skullcandy Sesh Evo was the closest I felt offered more of the level of sound quality that I was looking for, but, as with most true wireless earbuds, battery life was less than stellar. There would be gaps where I would have to wait for the earbuds to charge for using them again entirely.

The Monolith M-TWE offers not only excellent sound customization options but boasts a 10-hour run time between charges. Added to the experience is the Sonarworks SoundID sound customization app, available for iOS and Android devices.

Design

The Monolith M-TWE's appearance is sleek and smooth, with a sturdy case to hold and charge your earbuds when not in use. Each earbud is somewhat hefty in weight, which was a sign of possible durability, but I was not about to allow for these to fall from my ears onto my kitchen floor, never to be used again. Due to the material used, the glossy finish allows for fingerprints to appear. Still, I have always concerned myself less about when I will not see the earbuds unless I look at myself in the mirror or take selfies.

I love the modern look of Monolith's logo on the earbuds, which I have to admit adds some regalness to the true wireless earbuds. I also appreciated the company offering a USB-C port for charging instead of the atypical and ancient MicroUSB ports found on many products still on the market.

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There are sensors on the earbuds that will stop the music from playing when you remove an earbud from an ear. It is a great little detail so that you do not have to open the app and pause what you are listening to at that moment. Pressable buttons are not present on the Monolith M-TWE earbuds, which is a good feature, with a bit of troublesomeness added to the experience. I found myself accidentally tapping the earbuds, causing me to activate or deactivate the music or immersive modes—active noise canceling or ambient mode. However, I still appreciate that there are no pressable buttons present, limiting the ability to damage your earbuds over time.

The only caveat I have already mentioned about the design is that it does not always fit my ear, especially on the left side. Fit has always been a personal issue for me, which has caused me to look into alternatives to allowing me to use them without worrying they will fall out of my ears, such as choosing to wear beanies as part of my style. Poor earbud fit has also caused me to wear headphones above earbuds 90% of the time. But, it is an expectation I have, and I do not feel it speaks worse about the product. Other companies have used memory foam to assist with fitting properly for ears, but most people will find those uncomfortable after several hours. Monolith does offer five different sizes for audiophiles, so most people will find one that will work for them.

I have also noticed that as far as comfort after many hours of use, they do offer a little less comfortable than I have experienced with my Skullcandy earbuds. But, if you are wearing earbuds for several hours on end, I would think that it would be another exception to the rule because any foreign object placed into the ear can cause a level of discomfort after several hours of use. I even expect that with headphones and will only use them for upwards of five hours before I take them off and maybe put them on again the next day.

Sound

The Monolith M-TWE utilizes aptX, Bluetooth 5.0, and AAC technologies, offering fantastic sound and the deepest bass I have experienced in an earbud of its quality. Listening to NERO, Tech9ine, or The Main Squeeze offers an exhilarating sound directly upon first use. The box states that it provides 20 to 20,000 Hz frequency responses, which I would have to believe because it was terrific. The album used to test the added application, Sonarworks SoundID, was incredibly immersive, which I will explain further down the review.

Sonarworks SoundID utilization

Using SoundID was my favorite part about these premium earbuds from Monolith. When you connect the application on your phone to the Monolith M-TWE earbuds, you can run a SoundID test to find your specific listening ID, which is a fantastic feature. Audiophiles will love having the ability to customize their listening experience, whether it be an audiobook, an album, or watching a streaming movie. When first activating the test, a process that takes a little over six minutes, you are asked to respond to tones to see if you hear different sounds, especially how quickly you listen to them. It also puts your age into consideration to help add to the experience. Once finishing the test, it allows you to test listening to a song with and without the customized profile. I was amazed at the sound and the wanted bass levels and vocals that I look for when listening to audio devices. I put the software and earbuds to the test listening to the official DOOM game soundtrack. The music bounces back and forth through your head in the album and is a fantastic experience, especially if you like the type of hardcore music that it offers. I was so immersed in the sound from the bass levels and the vocals that I caught myself bouncing my head, biting my bottom lip, and occasionally smiling as great as it sounded with my customized profile. The software does allow for further customization, most of it manual, and I was not concerned about tweaking the sound further than was already optimized for my preferences.

The only issue with the added software was connecting every time. It was hit or miss, and it boils down to having the software forget your device and the device you are using the earbuds with forgetting the device and reconnecting. It is a tiny bit cumbersome, but I am genuinely happy with the output in general and would occasionally remember to activate it.

I did find that after a while, whether it was an issue of my own not charging the earbuds long enough, overcharging the earbuds, or having too many resources pulling from the earbuds, I found that the ten hours of use was closer to four to six hours. Is it possible that I overcharged it? Absolutely. I will at times charge my devices overnight for service the next day, and that amount of time can cause some devices to be affected by this issue. Also, phones will tend to drain power from connected devices, so there is a possibility my iPhone 12 Mini is draining the connected devices faster than I would like.

Another hit-or-miss inconsistency was the microphone. I do not find any issues in hearing if the microphone is responding to my voice. All my recordings come through clearly for the clients I work with currently. For phone calls, it was not ideal.

Conclusion

Monolith M-TWE by Monoprice offers a vast array of features and will be an excellent purchase for audiophiles looking for fantastic sound quality and personalized settings that will cater to them. True wireless earbuds will always have an issue with comfort and fit and will also be prone to user error when handling. However, suppose you have the money (MSRP is $99.99, down from the original $129.99) and want a quality experience in a truly wireless earbud that lasts an amazingly long time and offers this high of a level of customization. In that case, the Monolith M-TWE earbuds are well worth the price asked.

9.2

The Monolith M-TWE earbuds by Monoprice are premium earbuds with a lot of customizability options.

Performance10
Value8
Design & Aesthetics9
Features10

Pros

  • Wonderful sound quality, great customization, perfect noise canceling

Cons

  • The sizes of earbud nubs may fit most people; sometimes it would not connect without disconnecting and reconnecting to your phone.
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