Monster Clarity 8.0 earbuds review

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For many people the Monster brand is synonymous with their first premium audiophile products. For decades they’ve produced more premium versions of cables, power conditioners and other elements that serve to improve your system while still being accessible at your local retailer. Among their myriad offerings they’ve long produced speakers and headphones, from the earliest iteration of Beats by Dre right through to their current offerings. While numerous other companies have focused either on entry-level devices or a range of relatively high-end offerings, Monster’s slate seems to firmly take the middle ground, offering affordable yet capable devices that strive to fill a niche at this price point. Do the Monster Clarity 8.0 earbuds live up to the task?

Monster Clarity 8.0 earbuds specs

  • Bluetooth 5.2, ultra-low power consumption chip
  • 10mm speaker drivers
  • Fast USB-C charging (5 minutes for 1 hour playtime)
  • Wireless charging for earphone case
  • -42dB Active Noise Cancellation
  • 6 microphones for calls/noise cancellation

First impressions of the Monster Clarity 8.0 earbuds

These earphones come in a tall, simple cardboard box that indicates many of the features on the outside printing. Inside, you’ll find the case with the earphones, a small black container with a USB-C to USB-A cable, small and large replacement earpads (the default medium is pre-installed), and some sparse documentation.

The texture on the outside of the case feels premium, and doesn’t easily leave fingerprints. Its grip is satisfying, and it doesn’t feel like you’ll inadvertently drop it like several other more shiny offerings. The earphones themselves have a touch sensitive central portion, with a “stick” that descends out of the ear with microphones embedded, providing a more directional aim for when doing voice calls, talking to your virtual assistant, or simply engaging noise cancellation.

Setting up the Monster Clarity 8.0 earbuds

On my Android device general Bluetooth pairing was a breeze, with both earphones quickly connecting without bother. I found the distance one could stray from your phone quite satisfactory. The specs list a 10 meter range, but I managed to squeeze out a bit more without the music breaking up.

The case has a QR code to download the Monster app for the earphones to tweak some settings, but despite many attempts the Android version simply refused to operate (the many, many negative reviews on Play Store attest to this). The Monster site hints at a future app update, but for now, any settings change made on your Android is basically impossible.

Luckily, the features of the earphones are selectable via a series of gestures on the devices themselves. The manual lists the variety of options, from changing volume to turning on/off ANC. The state of software is a knock against the model, but luckily it’s a minor inconvenience when you manage to get things sorted through other methods.

Based on the published information, iPhone users are able to use a find-my-device feature, customize the ambient sound modes, among other features. So, while, for now, one can be patient, it’s clear that Monster should not leave the millions of Android users hanging while the software bugs are worked out.

Monster Clarity 8.0 earbud controls

Without being able to tweak the settings in the Monster app, I used the default gestures on the earbuds. I kept trying to control via the “stick” that protrudes, but it’s actually the centre of the bud itself that serves as a control surface. By default the left ear controls play/pause with one tap, last track with two taps, answer call with one tap, and reject call by holding down for two seconds. The same hold-down will control whether you’re engaging ANC, ambient mode, or simply turning that off. The setting is remembered even after the battery drains.

The right side uses double tap for next track. With most other devices using the right side for play/pause it took some adjustment, but I was soon able to make the selections I wished, and thanks to the wider surface I rarely found myself having to reengage to make sure the selection was correctly made.

Monster Clarity 8.0 earbuds sound quality

These earphones certainly held their own, particularly against other models in this price range. The sound is clear and engaging, with slight bass boos, which may prove enjoyable or fatiguing, depending on your general preference in music. The 10mm drivers deliver punch when they need to, and the highs are rarely shrill or brittle. Imaging is decent, with a soundstage that leans wide, and when listening to mono recordings the sound accurately is situated in a suitable virtual space right in the middle, a feat that some other earphones of this range find difficulty in doing.

While higher resolution Bluetooth offerings like APT-X or LDAC are absent, the modern Bluetooth processor inside gives you a decent sound with the advantage of sipping power, resulting in decent battery life and quick recharge.

I listened to a wide range of sounds from Spotify, Tidal Master Audio, and even some 192/24 FLAC and DSD/DSF files, and the overall feeling was that these are a capable set of earphones that would work well as either a beginning pair or even a regular, everyday set. With so much attention paid to portable audio these days, having a couple go-to devices is not uncommon and the Clarity 8.0’s seem to work well as daily drivers. If you require higher end audio, you will need to look to more advanced models.

Final thoughts

Overall, I found the Monster Clarity 8.0 earphones to be satisfactory, with decent sound, good performance, and capable delivery of a wide range of musical offerings. The frustration with the software is hardly unique to this particular brand, and it’s to the credit of the engineers that setting things up on the devices itself is well implemented, making the need for the app a bonus rather than an imperative. With robust listening time, lower power consumption, good range and quick charging time, the Clarity 8.0 earbuds are a great option to consider for your on-the-go set of earphones. They’re a big jump up from other earphones that are only slightly less expensive, making these an attractive entry point for those wishing to take their listening to another level.

Shop more of portable Monster audio at Best Buy.

Jason Gorber
Jason Gorber, M.A., is a film, technology, and media journalist and member of the Toronto Film Critics Association. He is the managing editor and chief film critic at That Shelf and a regular contributor to POV Magazine, SlashFilm, and CBC Radio. Jason has been a Tomatometer-approved critic for over 20 years, is an avid collector of music, movies, LEGO and many other aesthetic and technical treats.

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