Monolith by Monoprice M-TWE True Wireless Earbuds Review Page 2

I noticed a few things right away about the M-TWE before settling in for a serious listening session. Cycling through the various modes, I was surprised by how much of an effect they had on the sound. It was the most natural and accurate with noise cancellation turned on. Ambient mode was still accurate, but the level of added external sound seemed excessive. For example, I was sitting in my very quiet listening room where there are no air-handlers or fans, but I still heard quite a bit of additional noise. The biggest surprise was how drastically the sound changed with Ambient mode switched to Off. Instead of just eliminating ambient sound, the soundstage collapsed to near-mono and the tonal balance became thin with very little bass response. For the rest of my audition, I used the M-TWE in noise cancellation mode.

The Monolith earbuds use the new SonarWorks SoundID app (PC/Mac, Android, and iOS) that is an upgrade from the True-Fi version I reviewed a few years back. Based on analysis of specific headphone models, SoundID tests your preferences with simple A/B comparisons to create personalized ideal playback curves. I wish the app was slightly more customizable, because after completing the analysis I ended up preferring the clean, unaltered sound. Even so, SoundID does provide options to make a good headphone better.


To check out some music, I queued up Sia's latest, "Hey Boy," on Spotify. The upper bass sounded tight and punchy, and the kick drum had a satisfying impact, although the deep synth bassline in the chorus lacked a little definition. Sia's voice was clean and natural and its pleasant gruffness accurately conveyed. Stereo imaging was also good, and the soundstage sounded wide and open.

The M-TWE continued to shine when I listened to "You (with Marshmello & Vance Joy)" by Benny Blanco. The song opens with an acoustic guitar firmly planted in the middle, and reverberant vocals widely panned across the soundstage. The male lead vocal has a slightly audible doubling, and that detail was conveyed nicely by the M-TWE, while the vocals were well-balanced with the guitar. The kick drum in the second verse was neither over- powering nor withdrawn, and it formed a nice contrast with the handclaps in the upper register.

Finally, I tuned into Philip Glass/Mark Steinbach's "Mad Rush." The deep pedal tones of the organ sounded full, rich and solid, with the M-TWE deftly handling this recording's wide dynamic range. I did hear some distortion at maximum listening levels, but the sound overall was satisfying. Importantly, the M-TWE earbuds remained quite comfortable even after listening for a few hours.

With aptX Bluetooth, Sonar- Works SoundID, and active noise cancellation, the Monolith M-TWE is a feature-packed wireless earbuds option. Long battery life, a sweatproof IPx4 rating, good sound (with noise-cancellation active), and two included carrying case options also add to its appeal. If you want wireless earbuds that provide good basic performance plus the ability to customize the sound to your listening preference, check out this affordable model from Monoprice.