Having spent the past several weeks working with Monster’s Miles Davis Tribute headphones (or MDs, as some enthusiasts call them), I would first observe that there is a strong family resemblance between the sound of the MDs and the Turbine Pro Coppers—a resemblance that hinges, first and foremost, on sonic resolution and plenty of it. With both designs, there is a certain purity, openness, and a kind of cohesive and “cut-from-whole-cloth” sound that I found tremendously appealing.
With some top-of-the-line multi-driver in ear headphones (that is, ‘phones that use separate, miniature bass, treble, and in some cases midrange drivers) you get wonderfully balanced full-range sound, but sometimes at the expense of subtle yet audible textural discontinuities between the ‘phones separate drive units. In contrast, designs such as Monster’s Miles Davis and Turbine Pro Copper models, which use a single, full-range, high performance driver, the discontinuity problem never arises in the first first place, which is undeniably a good thing. So, count top-to-bottom sonic coherency as a major plus for both of Miles Davis and Turbine Pro Copper models.
But the big differentiator between the models is tonal balance. Much though I admire and have enjoyed the sound of the MDs, complete with that model’s gentle band of emphasis in the midrange, it only took me an hour or two of critical listening to conclude that the Turbine Pro Copper is the more accurately balanced model of the two, and therefore the one I prefer overall. Heard side-by-side with the MDs, the Pro Copper’s seem no less articulate or compelling through the midrange, but—in relative terms—seem to have more powerful bass and somewhat more extended highs. If you are graphical thinker (as I sometimes am), then picture the frequency response graph of the Miles Davis model as having a very gentle (and subtle) rise in the midrange, with the response curve dropping back down to the baseline level in the treble region. With the Turbine Pro Copper, picture that same basic curve being flattened out—to near textbook-perfect neutrality—so that bass and highs are on the same basic level as the mids.
What this adds up to is a headphone that is very revealing, very articulate, and almost perfectly neutral—in other words, a remarkable honest transducer that appeals in much the same way that well crafted high-end loudspeakers do. The only caveat is that the Turbine Pro Copper, like top-tier loudspeakers such as the hyper-revealing MartinLogan CLX, will not and does not “sweeten up” or “gloss over” the flaws in imperfect recordings. Be that as it may, however, I’m really impressed with these ‘phones because, on good recordings, their richly detailed sound can be terrifically engaging—and sometimes downright breathtaking.
Are the Turbine Pro Coppers competitive with other top-tier models? I think they are. In a sense, they combine much of the powerful and well-balanced full-range sound of the Shure SE 530s, much of the comfort factor of the Klipsch Image X10s, and overall sonic purity as good as if not even better than that of the terrific Etymotic ER-4Ps. That, I would argue, is a formidable combination.
Next month, I plan to offer a full-length review of the Turbine Pro Copper in Playback. Until then, happy listening.