Mar 29, 2014

Monster iSport Intensity vs iSport Strive - Workout Earphones

Gear: Monster iSport Intensity, Monster iSport Strive, Head-Trip Twistz Sport, Jabra Active, Bose MIE2i, Bose SIE2i, Sennheiser HD 360 PRO, Technics RP-DH1200, Rolls HA43 Pro 4-Channel Studio Amp Mixer.

Earphones are wonderful little bridges that links us to the thumping world of audio waves. Over the years I have bought and used a variety of headphones and earphones. Although every company uses their own definitions I tend to say that earphones are the smaller devices that attach or go into the ears. Headphones in the other hand are the bigger ones that go over or around the ears and have a "cup-like" structure with a headband. Today I will go over two earphones: the Monster iSport Intensity and the Monster iSport Strive.

For consistency I'll try to keep the Intensity (green) related content on the left side, and the Strive (blue) on the right.

The reason for the selection of the Intensity and Strive is because they offer "ear hook" design. Since using some Bose earphones a few years ago I have to admit that I tend to align with earphones that "sit on the bowl" of the ear and posses this comfortable hook. I have never really enjoyed earbuds, the ones that go inside the ear canal and usually are shaped like a ball, as I find them uncomfortable (too much heat and the ear/auditory-canal gets irritated) and can allow acceleration of deafness by completely isolating you--it's easy to up the volume without noticing. A little ambient noise helps us keep aware of appropriate volume levels; and the same noise allows us to also hear vehicle traffic when working out.

As a side note, I stepped and broke my $5 Head-Trip Twistz Sport--so I needed some new earphones anyways. Bellow are my thoughts regarding various aspects of the Monster Intensity (green) and Strive (blue).

  • Both have excellent mids, clear vocals, good highs. Lows are not as good when compared to what the Bose MIE2i can achieve.
  • Both earphones reach loud volume levels; the Strive seems to be slightly louder. Since both of the earphones get loud they will leak audio. The Strive's design allows for more audio to leak when compared to the Intensity.
  • If you have used headphones then the audio achieved by earphones can seem at times a bit "hollow." The enclosure and bigger drivers of headphones (Sennheiser HD 360 Pro and Technics RP-DH1200 in my case) deliver overall richer audio. In a way though this can be an unfair comparison--but it's worth noting.
  • Both of these should be "broken in" for about 20 hours--afterwards they deliver their "real" audio quality.

  • Both are comfortable earphones, but not as good as Bose MIE2i. The Strive (blue) tends to be a little harder on the ears than the Intensity (green). This of course depends on the way your ears are shaped… what is comfortable to me could be uncomfortable to you.
  • Regarding "yanks/pulls" while working out… the Intensity will stay in your ears better. This of course depends on the angle of the pull more than the force of the yank--the more horizontal the pull the easier they will come out. When yanked, the Intensity earclips/earhooks tend to come apart from the rest of the earphones -- they will stay in the bowl of your ears. The Strive earclips/earhooks will usually remain attached to the earphones--which I found to be better, in a way, better than having to deal with reattaching the hooks.   

  • Both offer a "flat-tape" like plastic cord that seems sturdy enough for workouts. The length of the cord on each are identical.
  • I believe the Intensity would be slightly better at dealing with moisture--mostly because of its more closed earhook/earclip; the Strive has a considerable opening that more easily allow moisture to enter the earphones. Both of them are "water resistant" but NOT "water proof."

  • I believe the price is different is mostly based on this aspect. They both have remote functions for Apple devices like iPhones, and iPods. The remotes may not work well with Android phones (unless you know of a way of remapping commands).
  • The Strive has one multi-purpose button (play/pause).
  • The Intensity has two extra buttons, so it can do volume up/down.

Both of these are an improvement over the Jabra Active and the Head-Trip Twistz Sport. Regarding bass, the Bose MIE2i are better. Overall I feel that Monster has created a very good alternative to the curved earhook/earclip that Bose has offered in many of their earphones. If you are looking for clarity, meaning excellent mids, clear vocals and acoustics, then both of these will be good choices. Although the Intensity and Strive are similar in many ways I have to say that the Intensity is the better choice. If money is a limiting factor though the Strive are still very good earphones.


Bag included with the Intensity and Strive.

Same cord length.

The Rolls HA43 Pro allows me to compare headphones and earphones at identical or adjusted volume levels.

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