🔷 Monoprice Retro

This is the official thread for the XXXX. This thread is for discussion and reviews.

  • Over Ear
  • No Amp needed
  • Closed Back
  • Needs Pad Change

:red_circle: HifiGuides Amazon link


[Z Reviews]


(Brainwavz XL Hybrid Pads)

These headphones have a cheap plastic chemical stank to them, like you would get from some knock off Chinese product. Otherwise sound bassy, but I would get a Porta pro before this

These are great in my opinion. For the price you get a great sounding pair of closed back headphones. The sound is very clear in detail and just a little boosted in the bass region. I was impressed at the clarity of vocals and musical instruments. Using these I am able to hear the effect of the recording environment on the sound of the instruments being played, which was a first for me and pretty impressive. The build quality is terrible, it’s very light weight and everything about it feels cheap and plastic. These are not for being portable - they don’t collapse and would probably break the first time you tried transporting them in a backpack without a case. With that in mind, if your on a budget I would recommend these. The stock ear pads are meh, okay but definitely worth replacing (even though it will double the total cost of your purchase). The headband doesn’t have any padding at all and is attached with spandex cord so it constantly pulls downward. Its okay when your wearing it, but if you try to lift one ear cup it pulls the headband sideways along with your hair which is annoying. Not a deal breaker but FYI. The Retros sound fine using my laptop’s soundcard, but does require it to be turned up quite a bit. They definitely had added life and punch when plugged into my Topping DX7s, so I would recommend using them with an amplifier if possible.

Worth noting that these are very responsive to modding. The ear cups are large and spacious, so there is a lot you can do to modify the sound profile. The cord can be made detachable, the headband can be changed, and the ear pads can be swapped. I ended up using the Yaxi TH900/610 pads on them (which cost more then the headphones) because I like how the thicker bottom half compensates for the “C” shape of the headband. The Yaxi pads make the headphones feel incredible on the head and noticeably increase the bass, which combined with the detail clarity makes for a sound profile I really enjoy. I plan on doing a full mod diary on the Retros in a separate post, but basically I highly recommend them for modding potential.

The only headphone I have to do A:B comparisons with are the V Moda M-100s. In stock form with no EQ, the Monoprice Retros sound way better then the V Moda M-100s. The V Moda M-100s sound muddy and thick by comparison, but clearly have the ability to go lower into the sub-bass region. Once you start applying an equalizer, you can make the M-100s outperform the Retros by cleaning up the mids to improve clarity and boosting the sub-bass to highlight where the M-100s shine. Once you start fully modding both, you end up with a fairly even pair of kick ass headphones. The Monoprice Retros are the clear winners in detail clarity, and I prefer them for vocals and gaming. The V Moda M-100s are the clear winners in sub-bass, so I prefer them when watching action movies and listening to bass heavy music. I would give it to the M-100s for build quality (one of the main reasons I purchased them originally), but mine are held together with gorilla tape where the headband adjusts because that one part is weak plastic that broke on both sides. And when you pull the drivers out of the M100s you realize the ear cup shell on them is as cheap and thin of plastic as is used for the Retros (all of the weight on the M100s comes from the frame the driver sits in, which is noticeably heavier and thicker then the Retro’s driver frame). So I’ll call it a draw on build quality.


This is the Monoprice Retros with the Yaxi TH900/610 ear pads on them.


I bought these purely out of curiosity. I didn’t expect them to compete with my daily drivers but I thought they might be fun to mess around with from time to time. I refunded them almost immediately. These aren’t like Koss products where you get insanely good sound quality for almost no money. These sound like what I would expect a 30 dollar headphone to sound like. Muddy as hell and the bass is boosted to a ludicrous degree. I bump the bass in almost all of my headphones. I love me some low end. This though? Totally overpowering. They might be okay for gaming but listening to music with these was not enjoyable to me on any level.


makes for good eq practice



How are you measuring?
Do you have a PEQ in a format which can be imported into a player, or at least the raw numbers for frequency, Q and dB?

Currently mine have the Brainwavz Round XL Micro Suede pads and I removed the thick plastic stickers from the driver cover.

i’m using peace eq which is only on pc, and peace let’s you import an image overlay so i just got the best graph i could find. there’s a player on the app store called EQ player 4 which i use for mobile, and you can sort of emulate peace like that.

Sorry to bring up an old post, but did removing the stickers help with anything?

Not significantly according to my ears at the time. There may have been a little more treble, but I made no A/B comparisons and did no critical listening to validate.

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Just finished modding these. Dampened the drivers and they kinda sound like the th900. Very happy with it so far.


That’s high praise! I’m sure I’m not the only one interested in reading and maybe seeing more of your mods including the balanced connectors.
Is that a Shiit Asgard 3?

Are those Brainwavz XL Hybrid pads? I settled on the Brainwavz XL Gel pads for mine.
Brainwavz sales are not unusual, but I notice that they now have a category for the pads specifically for the Modern Retro.


And yes, I felt like these and the perforated pleathers had the cleanest sound. Not quite satisfied with the midrange but compared to stock they’re more forward and fuller. Gonna keep experimenting.
The hybrids bass response btw is very close in amount to my th900 which have th610 pads on them.

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Just bought these with pleather brainwavz, for the memes…I’m pretty mindblown tbh, the way these image and soundstage (bass in particular) kills every usual budget recommendation imo, I’d 100% take these over shp9500s or any of the cheap koss.

Yes they sound great in their own weird way.
I would say if you’d also want to game and do other stuff the 9500 or kph30i are superior. Atleast in an unmodded state.

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I only own two pairs of headphones this board would care about. HD6xx and Modern Retros. While I can appreciate what the HD6xx do better. I find myself coming back to the retros half the time. Love these headphones.

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How did you dampen the drivers? I bought the hybrids and they sound a bit off… Please do tell

The Modern Retro is a good pair of headphones for low budgets. If you are thinking about buying them you need to know that they are V-shaped.

I was experimenting with EQ, I tried the setup that Delta posted above and modified it.

Preamp: -9.5 dB
Filter 1: ON LSC 5 dB Fc 147 Hz Gain 4.5 dB (adjust gain to preference for bass)
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 215 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 0.2
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 330 Hz Gain -1 dB Q 0.3
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 338 Hz Gain 6 dB Q 1
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 543 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 0.2
Filter 6: ON LSC 5 dB Fc 865 Hz Gain 5 dB
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 993 Hz Gain 4 dB Q 0.8
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 1193 Hz Gain -2.5 dB Q 0.8 (adjust gain to preference for mids)
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 2021 Hz Gain -0.5 dB Q 0.8
Filter 10: ON PK Fc 3600 Hz Gain 5 dB Q 2
Filter 11: ON PK Fc 5000 Hz Gain -12 dB Q 10
Filter 12: ON PK Fc 5981 Hz Gain 2.5 dB Q 2
Filter 14: ON PK Fc 8119 Hz Gain -7.5 dB Q 1
Filter 15: ON PK Fc 11451 Hz Gain -1.5 dB Q 1.41 (adjust gain to preference for airiness)
Filter 16: ON PK Fc 10608 Hz Gain 7 dB Q 0.2

I know this is an old thread but there isn’t too much info about these headphones on the internet and the only eq setup I find is the one Delta posted. So I want to contribute.