Let’s say you like music. And parties. In fact, let’s say you like partying and music so much, you flit around from house to house, grooving away each night, mesmerising your friends with your iPhone’s fabulous playlists. Sound like you? Then you’ll probably go nuts over Monster’s dock-equipped, super-portable, no-fuss Clarity HD Model One speakers.
Monster really zeroed in on designing this set as a portable party. Each cabinet has a top carrying handle, and the right speaker sports a recessed 30-pin iPod/iPhone dock with a power button and volume knob nestled nearby. If you forget your iDevice at home, there are three other input options to choose from.
Like much of what issues forth from the Big Red M, the $750 Model One’s bright yellow (or red, if you prefer) towers are obnoxious, pricey and loud. But unlike most of Monster’s other products, the Model One’s sound is eyebrow-raisingly clean and balanced, with nary a hint of the bass-flavoured boominess that usually acompanies their stuff. Even at the window-shattering volume levels the Model One is capable of, sound from the 6.5″ woofer and 1″ silk dome tweeters is impressively distortion-free. In fact, deep bass is conspicously missing from the package — pretty odd for a Monster product. The woofers do a better-than-expected job of delivering distortion-free low frequencies, but the lack of a subwoofer makes itself noticed. Bass is present and clear, and the set will still make the room rock out to Ozomatli; just don’t expect the bass to blow you away.
On the other hand, mids and highs are fantastically well-defined and clear for a system in this class. Meandering jazz or something with light, stringy guitar — like, say, a little Sarah Jarosz — sounds unusually bright, even cranked up to party levels. Yeah ok — you probably won’t be getting wild with Sarah pouring out through Model One; but it’s nice to know the system is capable of still producing great sound later on when things have mellowed out.
The Model Ones go from zero to party in lightining fast time. Connect the two speakers via the beefy supplied interconnecting cable, plug the power cord into the back of the right speaker, pop your iPod into the cradle, hit play — and bam, you’re done. There’s also a 3.5mm auxiliary input (to connect an iPad, for instance), RCA connections (for input from, say, a TV) and a pair of quarter-inch TRS connections for more serious use. All inputs remain active, meaning all three can simultanously feed sound through the speakers.
Along with the inputs at the back is a simpe three-postion switch that allows fine-tuning of the sound a bit, shifting the sound either lower or higher, with a slight appreciable difference. There’s also a connector for Monster’s optional aptX Bluetooth adapter for hi-def streaming (think Bluetooth on steroids).
There’s a bubble-buttoned remote included in the box which, on the surface, seems like it should be mentioned in the plus column. But it’s so dinky, so horribly anemic with regard to range and so completely out of place in the presence of the sturdy, well-finished cabints and muscular connecting cable that it actually detracts from the package.
Whether the bass really hits the sweet spot through these speakers really depends on the music. If you think you’ll be playing alot of Police, or something else thick with basslines, these may not be the most satisfying speakers for the money.
Speaking of money: at $750, that sweet voice and all that convenience doesn’t come cheap. The speakers are paked with features and sound great, but you’re paying a premium. And there are less-expensive speakers with better bass punch (though none bassier that spring to mind with near the portability or flexibility).
Calling all road warrior DJs: The Monster Clarity HD Model Ones are your ticket to party.