These little in-ears are Monster Cable's most affordable pair of in-ear headphones out of the in-ear series of headphones they offer including the Turbine which I reviewed a while back and really loved. Monster seems to have a trend of making their in-ear headphones entirely out of metal enclosures and that proved to bring toughness and extreme durability over time. The Lil' Jamz are no different and have the same design characteristics as its older brother, the Turbine in-ear speakers. So how do these stack up with the more expensive Turbine in-ear speakers? Find out in the full review after the jump.
To my surprise, the Lil' Jamz sound very similar to the Turbines. There are little differences in the sound quality but in the built quality department, they are both built like a tank. I really like the smaller form factor of the Lil' Jamz and they make for great portable in-ear headphones. Even while the Lil' Jamz are so tiny, they pack a massive amount of good quality bass. It's thumpy yet smooth. I found the Turbine to have a bit more bass presence which was not all that smooth. The Turbine feel more like little speakers inside your head and the Lil' Jamz do a better job with bass responce. It looks like features like tangle-resistant cable and larger drivers make the Turbine more expensive than the more affordable Lil' Jamz.
The sound quality on the Lil' Jamz is superb. It's clean and very clear throughout the sound spectrum and the bass does not at all overpower or drown the mids. I'm very impressed by the Lil' Jamz's performance over the Turbine which has a little more power and wider soundstage. The Lil' Jamz perform really well especially in the dance, hip-hop and rock music genres. Even at high sound levels, they Lil' Jamz do not distort in their sound quality which amazes me. I don't know how Monster did such a good job with their lowest end in-ear headphones and managed to live up to their name, because sound does matter. So lows are very smooth and deep but not as powerful as the Turbine which is still very sufficient and I think you will really enjoy the bass on the Lil' Jamz. Mids are detailed and highs are crisp. For $89.95, the Lil' Jamz would be my choice over the more expensive Turbine in-ear speakers.
There are two different models of the Lil' Jamz. One comes with Monster's ControlTalk feature while there is a ControlTalk less model for $89.95. The one I reviewed has the ControlTalk feature and it will run you $119.95. As you would expect the ControlTalk feature works as advertised and can control your music even on the new iPad 2. The mic quality is nothing to be excited about but it works and gets the job done. It's very clear but it does pick up a lot of background noise very easily. I cannot recommend the Lil' Jamz as a primary headset just because there is just too much background noise being picked up by the mic and it will impact the caller on the other side of your call.
I didn't find the supplied silicon ear tips to isolate outside noise well. It's important to get a good seal for the best sound quality and at that I would highly recommend a pair of foam tips like Comply. They will isolate a great deal of outside noise while improving the sound quality. The Lil' Jamz are very comfortable to wear for long periods of time and like I said, they are fantastic for travel as they are very portable and durable.
I really like the Monster design here with the iconic red and blue rings to help you tell the difference between right and left. I think it adds a great deal to the overall design of the Lil' Jamz and the black chrome color look very good too. I would highly recommend the Lil' Jamz by themselves without the ControlTalk feature at $89.95.