DB Monroe Pro IEM Review
THE RETROVAGANZZA IEM
Debauche-Bacchus (in short DB) is a Chinese Company that is specialized in the production, design and development In-Ear Monitors.
The Monroe Pro is the upgrade version of the original Monroe and features a Dual Dynamic Driver configuration. This configuration is a combination of a 10mm diameter Graphene diaphragm + 8mm diameter Titanium film diaphragm dynamic driver.
I would like to thank DB (Debauche-Bacchus) for providing me this sample via Penon Audio for review purposes. I am not affiliated with DB (Debauche-Bacchus) and Penon Audio beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product.
The actual price for the DB Monroe Pro is 159,90 USD and can be purchased from Penon Audio under the following link:
Purchase Link: https://penonaudio.com/db-monroe-pro.html
Package and Accessories:
The design language of the company DB shows a combination of vintage/retro and pop art, which can be seen everywhere including the package.
The box of the Monroe Pro has a form of an old cassette player and there is a transparent window where you can see the Monroe Pro IEM’s inside a case in a form of an old cassette.
The box is wrapped with a cardboard in black color that shows the illustration of the IEM on the front and technical details at the backside.
Inside the box are the following contents:
- 1 pair x DB Monroe Pro In-Ear Monitor
- 1 pcs x Detachable Cable with MMCX Connectors
- 3 pairs x Silicone Ear Tips (size S/M/L)
- 1 pair x Foam Tips (size M)
- 1 pcs x 6.3mm Headphone Adaptor
- 1 pcs x Storage Case
- 1 pcs x Plate with Citation of Andy Warhol
- 1 pcs x Sheet of Stickers (Marilyn Monroe Pop Art Stickers)
- 4 pcs x Cards with Pop Art Illustrations
- 1 pcs x User Manual
Inside the box is a plate in gold color with the serial number of the product and the following citation of Andy Warhol;
“THE MOST EXCITING ATTRACTIONS ARE BETWEEN TWO OPPOSITES THAT NEVER MEET”
The protective storage case looks like an old cassette and is very stylish.
The label sheet with Marilyn Monroe stickers and the cards in pop art style are some nice additions.
Design, Fit and Build Quality:
The DB Monroe Pro has a vintage look with a design that reminds me to my old Sony Walkmans. The Monroe Pro is available in 4 different color options which are red, blue, black and yellow.
The front panel of the monitor is made of 316L grade refined steel and has this nice Walkman like look.
The back part is made of plastic and features the sound nozzle, a small bass vent and the left/right markings. The top of the sound nozzle is a metal grill/mesh to prevent the insertion of ear-wax, dust, etc.
On the top of the DB Monroe Pro monitor shell is the MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) female connector.
The overall build quality of the monitor is solid without to show any annoying burrs and gaps.
The DB Monroe Pro comes with a detachable cable which has MMCX connectors. The MMCX connectors are protected with a plastic housing that have a black mat surface. Each housing sports L / R markings, which are not very visible.
The cable sports on both sides ear guides, which offers extra comfort.
This cable of the DB Monroe Pro has features also a stylish metal y-splitter (with Monroe branding) and metal chin slider.
The cable part form the Y splitter up to the 3.5mm headphone jack has an insulation made of fabric material, while the rest form the Y- splitter up to the era guides are made of soft plastic material.
The 3.5mm unbalanced (TRS) headphone jack has a metal housing which is straight profiled and that features the DB branding logo.
Fit and Comfort:
The monitor of the DB Monroe Pro is a bit on the heavy side due to 316L metal front panel, while the size of the monitor is quite optimal, which is the reason why it fits perfectly in to my medium/average sized ears. It offers a fairly comfortable fit and fatigue free wearing experience, while the noise isolation is on an average level.
- Model : DB Monroe Pro
- Driver : Dual Dynamic Driver Configuration
- Driver Type 1 : 10mm Diameter Graphene diaphragm
- Driver Type 2 : 8mm Diameter Titanium film diaphragm
- Impedance : 32Ω
- Freq. range : 18 Hz – 22 kHz
- Sensitivity : 99dB +/-3dB
- Rated power : 10mW
The DB Monroe Pro is an In-Ear Monitor with a relative low impedance of 32Ω and a sensitivity of 99dB (+/-3dB) which makes it compatible with relative weak sources like Smartphone’s, Tablets and DAP’s with weak amplification.
Equipment’s used for this review:
IEM’s : DB Monroe Pro, TFZ King II, FiiO F9 Pro
DAP&DAC’s : Cayin N5II, Fiio M9
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (DSF) – Binaural Recording
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Wav 24bit/88kHz)
- Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Elton John – Your Song (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- David Bowie – Black Star (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Unplugged Album (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- B.B. King – Riding With The King (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- London Grammar – Interlude (Live) (Flac 24bit/88kHz)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say a Little Prayer (Wav 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Wav 16bit/44.1kHz)
- No Doubt – Hella Gut (Spotify)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Twerl – Lishu (Spotify)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Wav 16bit/44kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Photek – The Hidden Camera (Spotify)
- Tom Player – Resonace Theory (16bit/44.1kHz)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Portishead – The Hidden Camera (MP3 320kHz)
The DB Monroe Pro has a U shaped sound signature with a warm and musical tonality. The subbass has very good depth and intensity, while the midbass region is quite linear. The midrange and treble region is soft, forgiving and musical, while the overall presentation is highly entertaining
I can say that the double dynamic driver configuration does a good job in terms of natural and strong bass presentation.
The subass area is the most remarkable frequency region of the DM Monroe Pro. This area is dominant and prominent in the general presentation. The tonality is warm, thick, full bodied and soft, yet with a very energetic and dynamic character. It sounds controlled and doesn’t show negative situations like muddiness or mixings.
The subbass quantity and intensity from electronic / hip-hop to metal and jazz music are quite successful.
The midbass region of the DB Monroe Pro is very successful in terms of intensity and impact. It is slightly behind the subbass region in terms of quantity and emphasis and shows a very balanced and controlled tuning.
I can hear the pretty hard hitting midbass of the DB Monroe Pro in Michael Jackson’s – Billie Jean, which has a moderate performance in terms of speed and tightness, which should be quite sufficient for most music genres.
The DB Monroe Pro has in general an above-average bass amount and emphasis. It is controlled, balanced and detailed, yet neither too slow nor too fast.
The midrange presentation of the DB Monroe Pro is clean and musical with average level of transparency. It is slightly positioned slightly behind the bass region and shows a warmish tonality.
The lower midrange of the DB Monroe Pro has an average thickness compared to the subbass region, while it shows less depth compared to the lows. The presentation of male vocals is pretty musical, clean and is slightly colored.
Female vocals on the other hand sounding more pronounced and detailed then male vocals due to the good upper midrange emphasis. The upper midrange is strong up to the 4 kHz area, without to show any unwanted sibilance and sharpness, on the contrary it sounds pretty smooth and pleasant.
The instrument presentation of the DB Monroe Pro is vivid and clean with a slightly warmer than neutral tonality. The pianos are a bit bright, pronounced and vibrant, while acoustic guitars are slightly warmish, fairly transparent and musical. Other instruments like violins are vibrant but not harsh in tonality, while violas are pretty emotional.
Upper Midrange & Treble:
The DB Monroe Pro shows a soft and controlled upper midrange presentation which is not very upfront or too recessed. The transitions of the upper midrange transitions are quite soft and controlled without to show any remarkable harshness.
From the female vocals to the instruments such as the violins, pianos or flutes, the upper midrange extension and intensity is on a sufficient level.
The treble range of the DB Monroe is not as pronounced like the subbass and upper midrange regions, while the tonality is slightly warmish, soft and forgiving. The treble presentation is concentrated to the lower treble (presence) area with a peak around the 7 kHz region. There is a fast roll-off after the 7 kHz area which is the reason while the treble extension is a little bit short.
The level of airiness in the treble range is moderate and offers a very fatigue-free listening experience.
The DB Monroe Pro has a suitable soundstage for a fairly precise instrument placement. The soundstage shows more depth than width, while it shows a sufficient performance in terms of airiness, separation and precision.
Some Short Comparisons:
DB Monroe Pro versus TFZ King II:
The TFZ King II is an in-ear monitor with a fun, V-shaped sound signature that features sweet / lush mids, a fairly deep and fast bass, and a pretty controlled treble presentation.
Both IEM’s have a good subbass reproduction, while the DB Monroe Pro has the upper hand in terms of depth, extension and quantity. The TFZ King II is slightly better when it comes to the bass speed and control.
The midrange of both IEM’s is recessed and has a thick and full bodied presentation.
I found the TFZ King II more successful with male vocals, while the DB Monroe Pro has the upper hand for female vocals.
The upper midrange and treble region of both IEM’s is controlled and fatigue-free, while the DB Monroe Pro offers more emphasis and slightly better detail retrieval
When it comes to the soundstage performance, the TFZ King II is slightly better in terms width, while the stage of the DB Monroe Pro has better depth.
DB Monroe Pro versus FiiO F9 Pro:
The FiiO F9 Pro has a mildly V shaped sound signature with a fairly linear bass response and good midrange/treble detail and clarity reproduction.
DB Monroe Pro has the upper hand in terms of subbass depth and extension, while the FiiO F9 Pro shows an average performance.
The FiiO F9 Pro shows a quite linear bass tuning and has the upper hand in terms of speed and tightness. The DB Monroe Pro on the other hand is superior to the F9 Pro in terms of impact and slam effect.
The midrange of the DB Monroe Pro has a warmer, softer and more emotional tonality than the FiiO F9 Pro, which offers a thinner and more neutral tonality. The DB Monroe Pro has the upper hand for male vocals, while the F9 Pro sounds a bit more successful with female voices.
The upper midrange of the FiiO F9 Pro is slightly brighter and more pronounced compared to the DB Monroe Pro. The treble range of the F9 Pro has better extension, while the DB Monroe Pro offers a softer more fatigue free and controlled presentation.
The soundstage of the DB Monroe Pro has the upper hand in terms of depth, while the FiiO F9 Pro has the better width.
The DB Monroe Pro is an In-Ear Monitor, which offers an entertaining and fatigue free listening experience with a good amount of detail retrieval for this price range. This sound comes from a pretty stylish monitor with a nice vintage look that offers a unique box and well thought-out accessory set.
Pros & Cons:
- + Bass Performance
- + Fatigue-free Presentation with Good Detail Retrieval
- + Upper Midrange Control
- + Unique & Stylish Monitors and Packaging
- – Upper Treble Roll-Off
- – Soundstage Width