Brian Kahn is the longest tenured writer on staff at HomeTheaterReview.com. His specialties include everything from speakers to whole-home audio systems to high-end audiophile and home theater gear, as well as room acoustics. By day, Brian is a partner at a West Los Angeles law firm.
The Gratitude In-Ear Monitors are one of Monster's newest in-ear headphones and continue Monster's trend of pairing up with celebrities to develop and market headphones. In the case of the Gratitude Monster teamed up with the musical group Earth, Wind and Fire. Notably, Earth, Wind and Fire had a very successful album with the name Gratitude in the late 1990's.
In recent years Monster's recent headphone releases have risen to prolific levels and as such it can be hard to keep track of all their new headphones. I personally have not listened to most of the newly released headphones but am happy that I had an opportunity to listen to the Gratitude.
The Gratitude headphone's are relatively solid and heavy with metal bodies finished in an attractive rose gold finish with a modern, angular design and complementary colored cabling and remote. The earpieces have a substantial heft with their sturdy, metallic bodies and appear to be well built as one would expect with their $229 asking price.
The Gratitude come nicely packaged in a fold open box similar to Monster's Beats headphones. Opening up the package the Gratitude headphones are nicely presented above one of two carrying cases, a larger case with a fold over flap design. A smaller pinch style case is also provided and is the one I used. The Gratitude come with a total of 12 pairs of SuperTips in varying sizes to ensure a proper fit. Flat, tangle resistant cabling with Monster's ControlTalk microhone and remote round out the package.
I used the Gratitude headphones for both listening to music and to make phone calls on an iPhone 4S. I did not have any problems being understood when using the ControlTalk microphone and voices were clear on my end as well.
Read about the high points and low points of the Gratitude on Page 2.
• The Gratitude are attractive and well made, despite their heft and seeming large upon first glance, they did not feel heavy when worn.
• As with Monster's other higher end in ear headphones, the Gratitude come with a wide assortment of ear tips should which should allow most people to find a size that fits them properly.
• The sound quality was very good, the balance was even with a slight bump in the midrange.
• The ear pieces are not clearly marked with "left" and "right", small red and blue bands at the strain relief would have been welcome.
• The buttons on the remote were on the stiff side at first but broke in after a few weeks of use.
The Gratitude In Ear Headphones are well balanced and not surprisingly reminded me of Monster's Turbine Pro Copper headphones. In comparison I found the Gratitude to have leaner bass and a more forward midrange. The tuning of the Gratitude is quite different than that of the Beats. The Beats and their progeny have exaggerated bass which may enhance listening pleasure with some music types but is shunned by audio purists. The tuning of the Gratitude lean more towards a natural, neutral presentation. If anything, the bass may be a touch on the light side. While we didn't measure the headphones with test equipment, there seemed to be a slight bump in the crucial midrange. I do not know Monster's intent with the tuning but this apparent bump should enhance midrange clarity in noisier environments. All in all the Gratitude provided a nice listening experience with good clarity, no harshness and comfortable earpieces.