The Gadget: Monster's Turbine "In-Ear Speakers", their first ear buds and followup to the Beats By Dre cans, they claim audiophile quality for a reasonable price.
The Price: $US150
The Verdict: The Turbines are great, especially given the sub-$US200 price point. They sound every bit as good as more expensive Shures, with clean, deep bass and crisp, clear mids and highs. They're also the loudest pair of ear buds I've come across, blasting my iPhone and laptop to volumes I didn't know existed, without ever getting noisy.
In fact, the worst thing about the Turbines was discovering how crappy most of my MP3 files really sound. Songs purchased from iTunes or ripped from CD were fine, I was able to pick out each instrument and hear things I normally couldn't with lesser headphones, but files I've obtained with less reliable quality sounded like absolute garbage—the mix was all wrong, and the noise almost gave me a headache.
Also, by this point I expect most ear buds in this range to include a microphone/toggle switch, and was disappointed that these don't. On the plus side, they generously come with five sets of tips so there is definitely a size that will fit your ears. All in all, the Turbines are a nice entry into the in-ear headphone arena by Monster, and fantastic sound quality for the price—just make sure your music lives up to their high standards. [Monster]