Monster makes an array of headphones, including plenty of new ones designed to compete with Beats models, which carried the Monster label until the two companies severed ties in early 2012. While Monster has heavily promoted its DNA and Inspiration lines, what's getting the most attention these days is a flashy, female-friendly model called the Diamond Tears Edge On-Ear.
How hot are the Diamond Tears? Well, the list price for the headphones apparently started out at $299.95, but due to high demand, they has since risen to $349.95, though you can get them online for $300.
As with most brand-driven products, you can argue over whether the Diamond Tears are worth $300, and the short answer -- as far as performance goes, anyway -- is no. You can find headphones in the $150 to $200 range that sound as good. Along others we like the Harman Classic, the Bowers & Wilkins P3, and Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones, all of which offer excellent sound for around $200 or less.
High price aside, I do like the Diamond Tears -- and I like their sound better than other Monster on-ear headphones such as the DNA. They offer a more neutral or balanced sound profile than some Monster headphones and many Beats. And while bass lovers probably won't be smitten with them, I found the bass ample and, just as importantly, not overbearing. The sound is pretty clean and fairly open (for closed-back headphones). They lean toward the aggressive and are strong through the midrange and treble while avoiding being harsh.
That said, if you're looking for a creamier, smoother-sounding headphone, something like the Bowers & Wilkins P5 would be more up your alley. And at the $300 price point, we're also big fans of the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 earphones, an over-the-ear model that earned a CNET Editors' Choice.
All about the aesthetics
Of course, for a lot of folks, the sound of these headphones is of somewhat secondary consideration -- or at least looked at through a different lens -- since the Diamond Tears' eye-catching aesthetics are arguably the main attraction. They obviously won't appeal to everyone, but the headphones certainly are unique-looking and loaded with bling factor. Women like them. Or at least, most of the women I showed them to did. Men, less so; some guys expressed the opinion that the Diamond Tears represented a case of fashion over function.
At the time of this writing, the Diamond Tears come in two colors -- a "crystal" model with white earpads and a bluish/purple model with black earcups. But several more color options are due to arrive in 2013.
They ship with three headphone cords -- one standard straight cord with no integrated remote or microphone for audio purists, one ControlTalk cable for Apple iOS mobile products, and a ControlTalk Universal cable for Android and other mobile phones. The three-cord combo is becoming a standard feature for Monster's higher-end full-size headphones, and it's certainly appreciated.