| 15.4 mm Driver |
? We usually do not review earbuds (at least for now) but the VE Monk Plus are a highly famous budget earbud that promises great sound quality for a super cheap price, so we thought it deserved a review at The Phonograph. VE (Venture Electronics) has already on the market some earphones and earbuds, so they are not a new kid on the block. The VE Monk Plus are the 2nd generation of the budget VE Monk line, the first generation being called VE Monk without the + and lately a special edition was offered at Massdrop.
… there are 30 different combinations possible regarding inline microphone, button control, iOS/Android compatibility, cable type/quality and accessories provided.
The VE Monk Plus model that we own and are reviewing is made entirely of a blackish translucent plastic, that looks good but feels cheap regarding the quality of the material used (feels as tough as any other normal earbud). The cable is rounded and slightly rubbery to avoid some tangling issues, it’s quality is average, nothing fancy or special about the cable. They offer the option to get an inline microphone and 1 button control, 3 button control and inline microphone or the plain cable version without any mic or control.
… we do not let hypes bias our results and opinion so we will see if the VE Monk Plus lives up to it’s reputation.
At the time of this review you can buy the VE Monk Plus either in translucid black, royal purple or coffee gold and there are 30 different combinations possible regarding inline microphone, button control, iOS/Android compatibility, cable type/quality and accessories provided. In the past we have reviewed other highly praised budget earphones that after our tests we were not very excited about their results like the Monoprice 8320; we do not let hypes bias our results and opinion so we will see if the VE Monk Plus lives up to it’s reputation.
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VE Monk Plus - Review
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Accessories & Packaging
If you get the Standard Edition option, the VE Monk Plus come in a simple branded bag with the earbuds inside and 4 pair of earfoams.
Bass & Sub Bass
Earbuds by the nature of their design have some issues keeping up with IEMs when talking about bass depth and impact; we do not expect the VE Monk Plus to be exempt from this fact. To our very surprise, bass from the VE Monk Plus is exceptionally good (even more considering they are earbuds), energetic, warm and fun. Mid-bass has great punch, even stronger than a couple of iems that we have tested (like the Joyroom JR-E102 or the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 iem). Sub-bass depth struggles to compete with many iems, but for an earbuds they have a very respectable performance. An EQ helps to improve bass response by a very noticeable degree.
If you press and hold them tighter in your ears the VE Monk Plus driver will show you what it is truly capable of producing and you will be amazed
If you press and hold them tighter in your ears the VE Monk Plus driver will show you what it is truly capable of producing and you will be amazed at how much stronger mid-bass punch gets and how vastly sub-bass depth improves. Of course, it is plain nonsense to use them while holding them with your fingers. We did not get the full accessories package but there is an option that comes with rubber rings that could help holding them inner and could possibly improve bass performance (and fit) but we cannot assure this unless we test it.
Applying the finger-pressing method we just explained the VE Monk Plus are able to become very punchy and even get a fair amount of basshead rumble and impact.
When using a custom basshead EQ and connecting them to a Fiio E12 portable amplifier set to high gain and with bass boost turned on, the VE Monk Plus were able to handle up to 50% of Fiio’s maximum power and consequently mid-bass will gain a good quantity of punch, sub-bass will improve its depth but will start to sound distorted. Applying the finger-pressing method we just explained the VE Monk Plus are able to become very punchy and even get a fair amount of basshead rumble and impact. Of course, do not get too excited about it you will not get anyway near the impact and rumble of iems like the Sony MDR-7550/EX800ST, Sony MDR-XB50AP, Plextone X41M, Pioneer SE-CX8, Pioneer SE-CX9, Senfer 4in1, Doboly Q18, Puma Bulldog, Xiaomi Mi Pro HD, Xiaomi Mi Quantie Pro Hybrid, KZ ZST, KZ ZS2.
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Mids & Vocals
Mids are present, vocals feel energetic enough (in a good way) and fairly clear, there is some recession of the lower mids and lower male vocals. Higher mids are much better reproduced without being recessed and at the same time they are not particularly harsh. Overall, mids are warm, smooth and do not suffer from too much muddiness.
Overall, mids are warm, smooth and do not suffer from too much muddiness.
Equalizing the VE Monk Plus can enhance mids and help remove some of the recessed lower mids without introducing boxy vocals.
Highs & Treble
Highs have enough detail, definition and brightness but they are not particularly cutting-edge. With very strong and high peaks as high notes of a piccolo they get piercing. Sibiliance is not an issue with the VE Monk Plus, you are safe from feeling any trace. An EQ can be applied to enhance detail, definition and brightness and the VE Monk Plus will respond fairly well but piercing highs will get more noticeable and frequent.
We know, they are earbuds and nothing but high sound leakage can be expected. Sound coming from them can be clearly and loudly heard by people near you even on medium to high noisy places.
Same thing as said about their sound leak performance, earbuds have the design limitation of not being able to provide good sound isolation. Even using extremely high volumes you will never be able to totally isolate from surrounding noises using the VE Monk Plus.
Once again, being earbuds an extraordinary comfort cannot be expected from them. They are large and struggle to keep their place securely (standard earbud issues). Nevertheless, they are as comfortable as any other average earbud, which is fair. Using the foams provided fit improves vastly and if you buy the more complete packages you can use the rubber rings or wings provided to highly improve fit. With or without the foams comfort will become an issue after a while of wearing them.
Response to Equalization
The VE Monk Plus respond fairly well to custom equalization, most of all regarding bass performance. Highs can gain some more detail, definition and brightness at the cost of enhancing piercing highs. Mids can be enhanced and clear up some of the recessed lower mids without introducing harshness nor boxy vocals. Bass will gain a respectable amount of mid-bass punch and sub-bass depth.
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|Cord||Y-type, round cord|
|Plug||Stereo mini plug|
|Supplied Accessories (Standard pack)||2x blue foam covers; 2x red foam covers|