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Monster’s Roc Sport Freedom headphones is one of the first headphones to distinguish itself apart from the Beats by Dre brand. Despite some of the negative mumbling from Dr Dre regarding Monster, Monster continues to sell headphones at a solid pace and better establish both the brand and tech. While not always a success, Monster’s Roc Sport Freedom headphones are an interesting blend of quality, tech and sound.

Build/Design

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Within moments of noticing the box, you’ll see Monster’s biggest eye sore in regards to packaging: Christano Ronaldo. Fan or not, the usage of the athlete is both a bit enigmatic and odd at the same time. Ronaldo, while being a rather successful international athlete, does seem like a bit of an odd choice. I would have rather seen a more recognizable American athlete grace the box. Especially with the US market being so big into sports headphones. That being said, Ronaldo’s usage is too drastic, almost to the point of nausea. If you’re a fan of Ronaldo, and his talents, then this is the perfect packaging for you.

Beyond Ronaldo, the box comes with the headphones, a zip up carry bag, headphones and some instructions. All together the box is well designed, keeping together the familiarity of Monster/Beat from years ago.

That being said, the Roc Sport Freedom’s are a bit on the flimsy side. Sure, their gold design is eye catching, perhaps almost too much, but the build feels a tad too plasticy. The core headband can be wiggled back and forth, feeling entirely flimsy in your grip. Headphones at this price point need to feel more durable, more intangible in hand, these do not.

Furthermore, the overall fit of the Roc Sport Freedom’s is off. The ear cups are far too small, even for those with small ears. Not only that, but the actual ear cups are made of a rugged rubber that feels cheap and easily irritates your ears after a long play through. The choice of cup size is questionable, especially with Monster employing a total isolation sound design.

The build and design for the Roc Sport Freedom headphones is the biggest downside. At $300 dollars, it is hard to justify the cost when both the design is too much and the actual quality feels entirely lacking. Sure, they lasted rough workouts but there is no idea how long these will last with future play throughs. Durability always managed to play into every equation.

Sound

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I must admit, out of the box, the Monster Roc Sport Freedom headphones were a disappointment in both sound and build quality. The first initial song I played was a bit washed out, felt flat and produced an over abundance of bass. The ‘uh oh‘ alarms started.

However, audio quality improved greatly after several hours of burn in. Notably, most headphones do require a day’s worth of burn in, and in previous headphone reviews, this was never the case, as most headphones maintained their highest achievable sound from day one. In this case, thankfully, the Roc Sport Freedom headphones changed greatly.

Yes, as a Monster product, expect a lot of bass. However, unlike the packaging, the bass shows resignation and maturity through most of all music. Some pop tunes do sound a bit too bass-y, forcing itself relentlessly over vocals. In terms of Monster’s history though, this is scaled back and shows notice to consistency, rather than the bass beating you to a pulp. Those expecting upbeat songs to be hard charging you with the beat, particularly in today’s rap music, will not be displeased as clearly the Roc Sport were designed with this intention.

The true shining moment didn’t come from a rock song nor a pop or even rap song but an orchestrated instrumental. A good test scope is using famous orchestrated group Two Steps From Hell. Two Steps From Hell is famous for their extensive work in video game/movie trailers. While instrumental, their music is uplifting, upbeat and uses a variety of instruments in such a cohesive fashion that it blends so seamlessly. The Roc Sport Freedom shine the most here, providing enough breathing room through each distinctive instrument group, punching it’s way through the headphones as they rock your ear. Honestly, in terms of playing Two Steps From Hell, these are some of the best headphones as they achieve consistent sound throughout with clarity and balance.

 

Technology

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Bluetooth? Check. Wired? Check. Sweat proof? Check. Total noise isolation? Check. On ear controls? Check. Decent battery life? Check. In terms of tech specifications, the Monster Roc Sport Freedom’s check off majority of the list. This comes as a huge sigh of relief, especially at the $300 dollar price point.

Would it have been nice to have more technology here? Absolutely. Quick charge is becoming a big name in the sports headphone market, the Roc Sport Freedom’s despite their reliable battery could have used this as well.

That being said, Monster’s Total Noise Isolation works like a charm here. With an absolute phrase like ‘total’ you would expect some exaggeration. This, thankfully, is not the case, as the headphones stay composed in loud environments.

Just as well, the ability to go from wired or bluetooth is charming. Those looking for a sports headphone will lean more towards the bluetooth end, and for the most part, the headphones hold up in terms of audio quality. Obviously wired will always present better sound, but those seeking freedom from a wired will be surprised by the audio quality retention via bluetooth.

Value

The previously reviewed Klipsch X12i headphones were the most expensive reviewed headphones on GNG. At $350 dollars they proved to be too expensive, even with their incredible durability and absolutely fantastic sound. Unfortunately, the same is to be said here with Monster’s Roc Sport Freedom headphones. The box and sound is worth a special mention, but the overall build quality is lackluster especially at the price point.

Verdict

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Monster Roc Sport Freedom headphones are what you would expect most teenage gym goers to wear. They’re loud, a bit obnoxious and flimsy. Better yet, they put themselves at a price point obstacle that makes them hard to justify. Furthermore, the usage of Christano Ronaldo is so interesting, and yet evasive to what Monster is trying to do now. Perhaps this is why Monster can justify the steep price point? Despite this, there is some guilty pleasure here thanks to some well used technology and pleasant sound quality. Does it warrant the purchase? At $300 dollars it is hard to justify.