To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

OneOdio Monitor 80 review: Budget-friendly studio headphones

Our Rating :
£99.99 from
Price when reviewed : £100
inc. VAT

Creating an at-home studio on the cheap? The OneOdio Monitor 80 offer well-balanced audio for a very reasonable price


  • Extremely flat, well-balanced sound
  • Very comfortable
  • Accurate presentation for the money


  • Niche appeal

There may not be a huge amount of demand for open-back headphones outside of the audiophile community, but the OneOdio Monitor 80 cater to a niche audience very well.

They deliver a pleasing level of detail and a flat frequency response in a package that’s comfortable and affordable, making them a superb option for budding audio engineers and hobbyist audiophiles on a budget.

OneOdio Monitor 80 review: What do you get for the money?

You can pick up the OneOdio Monitor 80 for a touch under £100, which is an appealing price for a pair of open-back headphones with Hi-Res certification.

As is the case with all open-back cans, the Monitor 80 have gaps in their earcups that allow air to pass freely through them and create a more natural and spacious sound than their closed-back counterparts. That sound is delivered via 40mm drivers with an impedance of 250 Ohms, which is much higher than most similarly priced alternatives.

The Monitor 80’s plastic build is very lightweight at just 299g. That lack of heft doesn’t inspire much confidence in their durability but the headphones are supremely comfortable. Soft velvet is used for the padded ear cushions which, while fairly stiff, sit agreeably over your ears. There’s enough interior space to encompass the entirety of an average-sized ear, and this, paired with the open-back style, ensures your ears won’t overheat during longer listening sessions.

A quote declaring ‘The power of music !’ on the right earcup is a little cringe-inducing and certainly not necessary, but besides that, the design is inoffensive, with silver accents working well against the matte black plastic.

Two detachable audio cables are included in the box: a 3m long 3.5mm to 3.5mm option and a coiled 3.5mm to 6.35mm cable jack that can be extended from 1m to 3.5m. You can plug the latter into the 1/8in jack socket on the right earcup and either into the 1/4in socket on the left, so there’s no need to fish out an adapter when changing audio sources.

There’s also an accompanying EVA carry case to put them all in, which is probably the Monitor 80’s aesthetic high point. The roomy, egg-shaped case is semi-rigid and lightweight, and does a good job of protecting the headphones, though it’s quite large so will take up a fair amount of space in your bag.

OneOdio Monitor 80 review: What do we like?

The OneOdio Monitor 80 offer up an extremely flat frequency response and deliver a well-balanced listen. This ensures artistic intent is retained, making the headphones a solid choice for individuals needing a neutral base to mix and master audio.

Since the Monitor 80 have a high impedance of 250 ohms, it’s suggested you use them with a powerful audio source such as an amplifier. They sounded fine when hooked up to my MacBoook with volume set to around 75% but the audio experience improved significantly as soon as I plugged them into my amp and fed them high-resolution source material via Tidal Hi-Fi or as .WAV files.

The rich array of samples on Jlin’s Black Origami LP, for instance, had great treble extension and proved snappy at the top end, while retaining a rich, tight low-frequency response across the 808 drum patterning. Mid-range frequencies were less prominent, which wasn’t a problem for instrumental music, but I found vocals on tracks like Justin Bieber’s ‘What Do You Mean?’ sounded a little recessed, though still natural.

The neutral sound won’t appeal to everyone – those seeking real bounce and energy may find it rather uninspiring – but given they’re specifically designed with studio use in mind, the Monitor 80’s accuracy is a great strength. This neutrality also ensures you can listen to the headphones for hours on end without becoming fatigued.

It’s worth restating how good the headphones feel on your head – at times I almost forgot they were there. They’re some of the most comfortable headphones I’ve tested and their velvet ear cushions add a level of cosiness that’s rare at any price point. The headphones felt a little loose when shaking my head from side to side but, since you’re unlikely to be moving much when using them, this isn’t a cause for concern.

OneOdio Monitor 80 review: What don’t we like?

Many of the Monitor 80’s limitations are a result of their open-back design, so it’s difficult to be overly critical given this is integral to their ability to provide an insightful listening experience.

So, it’s less of a case of “What don’t we like” and more of a case of what you’re sacrificing to achieve that experience. Their open-back nature means a lot of external sound gets in if you’re using them in a noisy environment, so they’re not a great choice on commutes or in the office. Their connectivity options cover the main bases for studio use, but most people won’t be able to use them with their phone unless they buy an adapter, further restricting their usability.

The Monitor 80’s mainstream appeal is also hampered by their neutral sound. The very flat tuning is designed with musicians, audio engineers and audiophiles in mind; if you don’t fall into one of those categories, the chances are you’ll find them overly analytical.

OneOdio Monitor 80 review: Should you buy them?

Whether you should buy the OneOdio Monitor 80 ultimately comes down to two considerations: how you use your headphones and what sort of sound you’re after.

If you typically listen to music in a quiet environment over a wired connection and want something resembling reference-grade sound, they’re an excellent choice. Their flat, well-balanced EQ delivers a level of detail audio enthusiasts and those creating a studio setup on a budget will really appreciate.

The downside is that you’ll be missing out on all of the welcome functionality found on mainstream closed-back options, including Bluetooth connectivity, active noise cancellation and audio customisation. But that’s the trade-off with open-back headphones, and if you’re willing to make those sacrifices for spacious, articulate sound, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value option than the OneOdio Monitor 80.

Read more