I have reviewed all VE earbuds in the past (Monk, Asura, Zen), and they never seize to amaze me, especially their $5 Monk which recently was updated to Monk+. Now, Wild Lee is back, taking Monk+ to another level with balanced termination in both 2.5mm TRRS and 3.5mm TRRS flavors. The biggest surprise, they are STILL $5 !!!
If you have any DAP with balanced HO (either 2.5mm TRRS A&K style or 3.5mm TRRS HFM style) – these are a must have! L&P L3 balanced pair up was excellent, and so does Opus#1, but I especially like the synergy of L3 and Monk+. Definitely an improvement in soundstage expansion, and I even hear a little better resolution with sound being a little more dynamic to my ears. Now, keep in mind – balanced termination by itself is not magic and WILL NOT change or improve the sound of Monk+. It’s the same driver, just a different plug termination. What balanced termination does is open a door of opportunity to explore different DAPs with balanced outputs where in some cases you will hear a sound improvement.
I also found cable to be very soft and pliable, and plugs were of a high quality with a good grip and adequate strain relief.
Oh, and it gets better. I had a taste of Lee’s cable adapters (2-connector for PONO) when I was testing Zen 2.0 balanced. Now, he made adapters for his balanced Monk+. Actually, these are universal and can be used with any single connector cable. And again, EVERY combination is covered, the wires are very durable and the connectors (both male and female) are high quality with a nice housing. Everything snaps in and stays connected secure. The best part, each adapter is $5 !!!
You can choose between 2.5mm TRRS to 3.5mm TRS adapter (bal to se), 2.5mm TRRS to 3.5mm TRRS (bal to bal), 3.5mm TRRS to 3.5mm TRS (bal to se), and 3.5mm TRRS to 3.5mm TRRS (bal to bal). Every combination is covered. If you are getting balanced Monk+, these adapters are definitely a “plus” to get as well so you can use Monks with your smartphone or other DAPs/DACs/amp that only support single ended connection. Or if you have 2.5mm TRRS and 3.5mm TRRS DAPs, makes sense to get a pair of balanced Monks and adapter to go between either connections.