Current testing methodology is v1.2
July 11, 2016
Price not available
5.31 x 3.15 x 0.79 in
Venture Electronics, or VE for short, is an audio company based in Malaysia.
The Monk Plus is a single dynamic in-ear monitor from Venture Electronics, an audio company based in Malaysia. Its creator and tuner are called ‘Wild Lee’. Being an audiophile and a member of the audio community it won’t really come as a surprise how good the Monk Plus is. It’s the ultimate sleeper in-ear that will catch you off guard with its prowess. It has a clean, open-sounding, organic signature that’s detailed and spacious. It’s a retro design inspired by ’90s earphones and definitely a bold statement to the audio community: You don’t have to pay big to experience high-fidelity audio.
And knowing this tidbit of information, I had high expectations when I purchased the VE Monk Plus even though it only costs less than $10. But let’s see how it actually does in this review.
VE MONK Plus
Old-school earphones design with an impressive sound.
The VE Monk Plus is a single dynamic driver in-ear monitor from the Malaysian brand Venture Electronics. It has a retro design reminiscent of 90’s earphones.
With a retail price of under $10, it’s the ultimate sleeper in-ear that’ll catch you off guard with its prowess. It has a clean, open-sounding, and organic signature that’s detailed and spacious.
The fit of the Monk Plus can be an issue but it’s overall a great set and I was pretty impressed with what it offers for such a low price.
- Driver: 15.4mm Single Dynamic Driver
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz
- Impedance: 64Ω
- Sensitivity: 112db/mw
What’s in the Box?
- VE Monk Plus earphones
- 3 x pairs foam covers
Stuff I like
- Warmth and organic tonality and timbre
- Forward midrange presentation and detailed treble
- Wide soundstage
- Clarity is reminiscent of open-back headphones
- Scales well with beefy power sources
Stuff I like less
- Fit issues
- Sub-bass dissipates due to the fit
The VE Monk Plus came in sealed transparent plastic packaging, which was unimpressive, to say the least.
Just by looking at the packaging, you can already see what’s in it which are the earphones and the included accessories.
The earphones come in a classic design. They looked like those really cheap earbuds you get at a flea market somewhere in Asia or the included earphones you’d get if you purchased a mobile phone in the 90s.
The first time I ever used the VE Monk Plus, I straight up plugged them into a very powerful source, which was Venture Electronics’ own Megatron DAC dongle. My expectations were blown out of the water.
For a little earphone like the Monk Plus, I didn’t expect that it would sound so good. I was proven wrong as it had tremendous clarity, plus it just sounded really clean.
The mids were noticeably forward in the soundscape and sounded very transparent and open.
I was a skeptic turned believer, considering that this little thing came out of a little pouch.
The VE Monk Plus, at first glance, looked cheap as it’s made of a plastic material.
I wasn’t very keen on its design until I learned that it was probably inspired by early niche earphones from the 1990s.
Upon inspection, the plastic is quite durable, and I kid you not how flabbergasted I was when I did the tap test. It was really hard which is clear evidence of quality construction.
The shell has a smoked gray finish, but you can still see the inner components, which is cool. The cable reminded me of a QKZ cable, but it didn’t have that weird finish that made the plastic resistant.
Overall, the build quality of the Monk Plus is great.
Fit and Comfort
I would like to go on record and say this is the part that the majority of users will find troublesome.
Due to the design of the VE Monk Plus, they either had to go with a hard exposed surface like on those free white Samsung earphones everyone gets with their phones or go with that but add some kind of foam.
They went with the second option but did it make any difference? Yes, it did.
However, the wearing experience is still generally uncomfortable since you can’t get a proper seal due to the fit. This also means that there will be a good amount of noise that will leak inside the earphone during use.
This might be a deal-breaker for some and that’s understandable.
When I was testing them out, I probably lasted for about 30 minutes listening to music before it started to become irritating to my ears, which was a bummer.
The VE Monk Plus is a very good attempt at a true neutral signature.
The bass is lean but still presents a lot of warmth. The midrange is intimate and very transparent sounding. The treble is very airy and brings in a lot of details.
When you listen to it as a whole, I think the antithesis to it would be a very warm sound signature with a lot of heft and coloration, like the QKZ x HBB.
It does have a warm tinge but as you listen to it, the psychological equivalent the warmth gives you is a sweet tonality to the midrange. Coupled with the midrange’s pleasing timbre, the playback is very addictive.
You suddenly forget that you’re listening to a 3-minute song and just get surprised whenever it’s already the next track up for listening.
It’s very clean in the sense that instruments sound very well separated from each other. And since there’s a minimal amount of sub-bass interfering with the sound, it’s all the more accentuated.
As for the treble, despite being detailed and splashy, it doesn’t come off as being too clinical of a sound. It’s more musical than clinical.
On the subject of technicalities, the VE Monk Plus has good imaging and does a good job of placing instruments in the soundscape.
There’s also a good amount of headroom with the soundstage. It has a good amount of width and depth to it. The transient response is excellent, not to mention the timbre of the percussion instruments sounds organic and life-like.
Overall, the Monk Plus is the personification of a unicorn if there ever was one in the audio world. It’s hard to find an earphone that does all of this at the cost of less than $10.
But then again, Lee Quan Min wanted to prove a point.
The sub-bass on the VE Monk Plus has decent depth to it even though it was devalued for the most part because of the abysmal fit.
When listening, I had to push the earbuds closer to my ear to get a better seal and the proper evaluation of the sub-bass became possible.
It isn’t a sub-bass for bass heads. It’s relatively tame and presents its rumble as deep and textured vibrations that add character to the tail end of the vocals.
On its graph, the sub-bass of the Monk Plus is rolled off by a huge chunk. It doesn’t sound absent though – it’s just that it affects the frequencies more so than coming off as a separate entity itself.
The mid-bass has pretty good dynamism in its performance and good life-like tonality. It gives kickdrums a very robust and organic replay. The driver’s speed is rather fast and can keep up with very quick drum sequences.
I tried listening to Thone by Bring Me the Horizon, which I always pull up for the speed test and I can say that the Monk Plus didn’t whiff.
The midrange on the VE Monk Plus is very good, and I can’t perfectly express how articulate it sounds.
The timbre and tonality are on point and it’s terrifyingly good when you listen to live performances.
Listening to a live version of LaLa Lost You by NIKI was honestly captivating. It’s like you’re sitting inside the studio and they’re performing a few meters away from you.
The layering on the instruments is done very well and they come across as very distinct from each other. The lower midrange is presented as pretty neutral in its graph as its flat for most of the travel to the upper midrange.
The upper midrange on the other hand has a slow rise at 2kHZ and goes down a bit before it peaks at 3.5kHz. It sounds very energetic and lively and presents the signature with brilliant highs that are engaging without being fatiguing.
The treble on the VE Monk Plus is airy and expansive.
There’s no sibilance even though its graph shows its presence region boosted at 8kHz. It’s a mystery to me how Mr. Lee pulled that off without introducing any kind of unpleasant piercing grain to the treble.
There are a lot of boosted regions past 10kHz and still even has an extension on 20kHz. This must be the root of the Monk’s wide stage.
The transient response is superb and percussion instruments like cymbals, high-hats, and chimes sound splashy. Not only that but their timbral characteristics are pretty distinct and life-like.
Overall, the treble is a brilliant part of the tuning that brings detail and space to the sound of these earphones.
The part where I introduced Mr. Lee should’ve been enough to sell you the VE Monk Plus.
Of course, as I’ve gone on with the review, I’ve mentioned stuff like the sub-bass and the fit, and I’d understand if this can be a deal-breaker. But honestly, it’s hard not to like the Monk Plus.
I’ve seen a multitude of positive reviews about it and most of what they say, I agree with.
The Monk Plus is a clean and transparent set with great brilliance and expressiveness.
It’s another thing to make a bold statement, and it’s another thing to back it up without fail. This makes me happy as a lot of gear is often extremely hyped up and overpriced, which is an overstatement over a country mile for the Monk Plus.
The VE Monk Plus makes a bold statement to the audio community that it backs up pretty well: you don’t have to pay too much to experience high-fidelity audio.
Gavin is a college student who has a lot going on. From collecting IEMs and modding mechanical keyboards, to different hobbies like digital drawing, music mastering and cooking. It is safe to say he is a complete multi-faceted geek (and he's kinda cool too)
This post was last updated on 2023-12-02 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.