Review: Monoprice Monolith M1000ANC Bluetooth Headphones
These headphones offer a lightweight design, well-designed features, and premium options you wouldn’t normally expect to see in a pair of $130 headphones.
Noise-canceling headphones these days are a dime a dozen. The Monolith M1000ANC Bluetooth ANC Headphones from Monoprice look to cut through the noise with an option that offers a simple, elegant alternative to other noise-canceling headphones, at a fraction of the cost.
But how do they sound? Well, let’s just put it this way – there’s certainly room for improvement.
The Monolith Bluetooth Headphones headphones cost $129.99 and offer features like active noise cancellation, Bluetooth 5, noise suppression for phone calls, Dirac Virtuo spatial audio, and 60-hours of battery life.
A company spokesperson describes these headphones as “high-performance Bluetooth headphones that deliver excellent sound at a price that’s far less than you’d expect.” While the price point may be true, this is just a bunch of marketing spin for a mediocre product at best.
While it delivers on some features, it completely whiffs at the one thing it’s supposed to knock out of the park, which is sound. But other than that, how do these headphones hold up? Let’s jump right into it.
The Monolith M1000ANC offers a sleek and minimalistic design
Monoprice’s Monolith looks like most noise-canceling headphones out there. The headband is wrapped in leather, while the ear pads feature memory foam pads that contour to your ears. The rest comes in a smooth finish comprised of plastic.
The right earcup houses the power button, noise-cancellation settings, and the USB-C charging connection input. The left earcup is pretty bare-bones with only an auxiliary input for a wired connection.
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Overall, the Monolith’s foldable design makes it easy to carry around and its lightweight form factor highlights its design. I’ve certainly seen a lot of worse-looking headphones.
What kind of features do the Moniloth M1000ANC headphones have to offer?
For the price, Monoprice doesn’t skimp out on the features. Here are all the features Monoprice baked into these headphones:
- Active Noise Cancellation (expand on these)
- Dirac® Virtuo Spatial Audio
- Ambient/Conversation mode
- USB Type-C charging
- Clear Phone Calls with Qualcomm® cVc™ Echo Cancelling and Noise Suppression
- 40mm Drivers
- Up to 35dB of Noise Cancellation
Not bad, right? Well, the features don’t paint the full picture.
The Moniloth M1000ANC headphones are easy to pair with any device
Typically, setting up a new pair of Bluetooth headphones can be hit or miss. Some are easy, but others make you jump through hoops. Thankfully, Monoprice makes it easy to get up and running.
How easy is it? As soon as you power up the headphones, they immediately go into pairing mode. All you have to do is connect your device via its Bluetooth settings to the Monolith M1000ANC headphones, and you’re good to go.
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If you need to reset the connection to sync to another device, a simple press on the headphone’s Bluetooth button will send the device back into paring mode.
Pretty standard stuff, but it’s super convenient. And if you’re connecting to the same device repeatedly, the headphones should reconnect automatically.
How do Monoprice’s Moniloth M1000ANC headphones sound
Honestly, it’s hard to tell. My biggest gripe with these headphones is that they’re simply not loud enough. I really wanted to see how well the headphones performed at a high volume, but even at its max setting, it simply left me wanting more.
To give you a better idea of what I’m trying to describe here, imagine listening to your favorite song on a pair of headphones and the volume is set to 10. In comparison, the sound coming out of the Monolith only feels like it’s at a 5. Yea, not good.
But to be fair, the headphone’s noise-cancellation makes up for it. But even with ANC turned on at its highest setting, the volume is still lacking. So if you’re someone who enjoys listening to music at a high volume, you may have to consider other options here.
I’m not the only one who feels this way. Here’s what one customer wrote in a review on Monoprice’s product page:
“These are nearly perfect. The only downside is that these are audiophile headphones which means even at full volume uing just your your phone’s BT signal they only get so loud. They sound great at that volume, just wish I could make them a bit louder using BT, and this is where the flaw comes in.“ – Nathan C
The one good thing Monolith M1000ANC wireless headphones have to offer is the option of spatial audio. Spatial audio is a fancy term for 3D audio tech, which adds a new level of immersion to your listening experience.
Monoprice calls its version Dirac Virtuo, and the company claims it improves the listening experience “by expanding the soundstage far beyond the physical limitations of the headphones, allowing listeners to hear their music in a more immersive, natural sounding way.”
Dirac Virtuo is an excellent feature, and it’s surprising to see a company offer it on a pair of budget headphones. Still, my only concern is that the headphones don’t project loud enough for users to hear the difference.
Also, there is no indicator that the dedicated button for the feature is turned on or off. So you’ll have to just try to figure it out from listening to something.
Either way, it’s a nice feature to have. It should, however, be noted that spatial audio doesn’t work with all audio players, so keep that in mind.
Are these headphones comfortable to wear?
Here’s another area where Monoprice could improve on the Monolith. For the most part, these headphones are not comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. Sure, if you’re wearing them for 30-minutes or less, you shouldn’t notice any discomfort.
But from my experience, when I wore these headphones for more than 30 minutes, it hurt my head. This is because the headband doesn’t provide enough cushion in the middle of the band, and it would slowly dig into the top of my skull.
While it lacks in sound, Monoprice’s Monolith M1000ANC does offer some great features
I wasn’t sold on the audio quality, but that doesn’t make these headphones completely bad. I only experienced poor audio when connected via Bluetooth. Thankfully, a direct-wired connection improves the audio quality tremendously.
On top of that, the Monolith offers some intuitive gesture controls. Most notably, the conversation/ambient mode. By placing your hand over the earcup, you can lower the volume and easily hear conversations and surroundings around you.
I found this to be much easier than taking off the headphones whenever someone needed to speak to me.
Battery life is pretty impressive too. The company claims the headphones deliver up to 60-hours of playback, and 40-hours with active noise cancelation enabled. In my tests, I didn’t get all the way to 40-hours, but it was close.
Thankfully, the headphones offer a quick-charging feature that gets you two hours of playback on a five-minute charge.
Should you buy the Monoprice Monolith M1000ANC headphones?
If you like your music loud, these headphones are probably not for you. But if that’s not something you particularly look for in a pair of headphones, then sure, they’re worth a look.
I had a hard time gauging the sound quality due to its poor volume limitations, but at the same time, they’re certainly not the worst-sounding headphones. Again, it’s tough to judge the quality of sound when you can’t listen to music at its full potential.
And then there’s the issue of comfortability. If you plan on wearing these for hours on end, you’re probably going to feel the same thing I did: pain. Maybe it’s just me and my weirdly shaped head, but keep this in mind if you share these same qualities.
On the other hand, they offer a lightweight design, a bunch of features, and premium options that you wouldn’t normally expect to see in a pair of $130 headphones. The only thing holding these back are sound and comfortability, in my opinion.
Monoprice Monolith M1000ANC alternatives
Thankfully, other options are available if the Monolith M1000ANC doesn’t check all your boxes. For example, if you’re looking for something in the same price range, Sony’s WHCH710N or Anker’s Soundcore Q35 are excellent options that provide excellent sound and comfortability.
But if budget isn’t a concern and you’re looking for the absolute best of the best, we suggest checking out Apple’s AirPod Max, the Bose 700, or even Sony’s new WH-100XM5s. But just a heads up, all of these options will run you $400 and up, so fair warning.
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