Monster always has a dope set of headphones for all of your needs and budgets. Last year I got try out the Clarity headphones which are an inexpensive set of on-ear bluetooth headphones with touch control. They weren’t bad but they needed a little something extra. Monster came back this year with a refresh and with that we got the Clarity 200BT headphones. Let me reiterate, last year’s Clarity’s were great because of the minimalistic design, sturdy plastic, comfortable ear pads and headband as well as having an overall solid sound quality and for a price just under $150 bucks. It was a pretty good deal. Still is. What’s the difference in the Clarity 200BT from it’s predecessor? Ease of use. As much as I liked the Clarity’s of last year the major problem with them was the touch control in the headphones. I hated it. I can always appreciate a little innovation but sometimes it doesn’t work and it didn’t work here. It wasn’t absolutely necessary that you use the touch controls but they’re there so why not try to use it.

The problem was that the Clarity’s used this tap/touch/swipe system to get the volume, pause and next track functions to work. I could never get the sequence of taps right. My fingers always seemed to be in the wrong place so my touches didn’t register and instantly I reverted back to my phone to do everything the touch controls should have been doing for me. I’m not accentuating on the negative as much as I’m describing the differences with the refresh. This time around, Monster went with simplicity and instead of the touch controls, we get push buttons. Perfect. It works. Good thing is, Monster didn’t have to change much because the Clarity’s weren’t broke figuratively speaking. It just needed a slight change. Everything you got with last year’s version internally you get with this one. Same build, same drivers, same experience. No real changes here at all and I’m totally ok with that.

Clarity’s bluetooth functionality is the point with this refresh. That’s why Monster went back to tactile buttons on the 200BT’s ear cups. Monster teamed up with Melody to help push their music app bring out their voice control capability and make the experience of using the 200BT more hands-free. I messed around with it for about a month and I had a good time with it.

Melody is a voice controlled AI music app that allows you to sync up your favorite music services within the app to give you a universal music hub. It functions similar in principal to Siri and Soundhound. You can use your own music from your iTunes Library as well as your synced playlists. Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, Pandora, iHeart to name a few of the services that are available to you within Melody. It’s all a part of Monster Products “Monster Talk” capability which is enabled on few of their current bluetooth headphones aside from the Clarity 200BT, The iSport Freedom V2 fitness and the Elements series headphones are also a part of Monster Talk and possibly some in the future. It all ties in to use with Melody and Speak Music.

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As long as the app is open you can pair it with any bluetooth capable device and listen to your music via voice operation. Whether it be a speaker or your car, Melody will work smoothly. It’s a free download and it’s available for iOS and Android. I used it walking around in NYC and on my nightly runs and it worked seamlessly. Other than having to constantly press the microphone button on screen every time I wanted to change a song it was a good experience but I just created a playlist long enough to not have to use the mic button.

It’s always good to have hands free be an option when you’re listening to music and the Melody app coupled with the Clarity’s was good choice. Hands free is always a good thing when it works well and everything seemed to be ok. It’s isn’t revolutionary as an app but my inner nerd always wants to check out a good app and make comparisons to the apps I use normally like SoundHound. Melody isn’t bad at all and as it updates it’ll get better. Good to have options. If you’re more of a purist and you like to keep your headphones jacked in then if you’re using an Android phone you can connect direct to your phone via micro usb cable for direct digital audio or a standard 3.5 mm headphone cable. If you wanna pick yourself up a pair of the Clarity 200BT’s head over to monsterproducts.com and grab a pair and remember to check out the Melody App in your respective App Store. Enjoy your music.

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Mike Bitter is a born gadget head and true lover of technology. It all started with computer classes at age 10 and his first PC the Tandy 1000. From then on he found his love and he became a gamer and a PC builder and has not stopped since. He specializes in hardware, troubleshooting and custom PC building. He’s known as the “fixer” amongst his friends whenever there is a problem with a PC or a Mac. He’s also fully immersed in all things that pertain to the world of computers and gaming. He's an 80's baby and he grew up watching technology evolve from the NES to PS4 and from the Commodore 64 to the iMac. He has a unique and minimalist perspective on technology and is here to help the average person to understand technology today.