If you’ve spent any amount of time researching the infamous Monster Product, Inc. cable company, you’ve likely heard an ill word or two about their products in the past. Monster products of old (particularly their HDMI cables) came under fire for allegedly being priced exorbitantly without offering any real increases in performance that would justify the price. Controversial claims ran rampant. The amount of these accusations peaked several years ago, but fortunately Monster seems to have responded as their cable quality seems to have gone up substantially since this time. There’s perhaps no better example of this than the Monster Jazz 1/4” Cable. This quarter inch cable features all kinds of innovation meant to improve its sound quality and durability. Over the course of this review, we’ll try to pick apart some of these upgrades, so that consumers feel more confident before purchasing the Monster Jazz.
As the name implies, the Monster Jazz cable targets the jazz and blues audience, who oft play through archtop guitars. The cable subtly warms up an instrument’s tone, which is done by slightly attenuating higher frequencies and boosting the overtone structure. It’s worth noting that this effect is quite subdued, making this cable suitable for use in other types of music (remember, cables are all about subtlety). In fact, any type of distortion will likely mask this effect. However, this makes the Monster Jazz a non-ideal choice for connecting monitors or PA speakers, where you’d want a cable with a flatter response.
A thick black rubber jacket coats the cable, which gives it a solid feeling to the touch without restricting flexibility. The Monster Jazz is capable of standing up to thousands of hours of play, in addition to the usual yanks, kicks, tugs, and tramples a cable has to stand up to.
Additionally, the cable features an ample amount of ground shielding. This innovation consists of braided copper wires, which surround 95% of the central signal wire. Ground shielding prevents noise from external electromagnetic activity from affecting the sound. While this feature is by no means exclusive to Monster, it’s a critical piece of maintaining high quality sound.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Monster Jazz is the “2-Way Time Corrected Windings.” Basically, this technology means that the cable contains both a high-frequency and mid-frequency copper “winding”, allowing the cable to accentuate certain portions of the frequency spectrum. Not only does this explain why the Monster Jazz sounds different than the Monster Rock or the Monster Bass, but it’s also indicative of the new features Monster has started to include in their cables to justify their high prices.
Unfortunately, consumers have very few cosmetic customization options with the Monster Jazz. The cable does not come in any colors other than the standard black with gold tips. However, players may choose between a variety of lengths. Unlike many of their competitors, Monster offers this cable as a patch cable and in a variety of lengths all the way up to 21 feet. Interestingly, the cable also comes in a 1.5 foot option, which the ideal size for patching between a pedal board and an amplifier in a home practice setting. They also have the option of switching one of the straight plugs with a right angled tip. Occasionally, models with two right angled plugs surface, though they are uncommon.
The Monster Jazz is widely available both online and offline, and typically retails between $35-50 new. While the Monster Jazz definitely does its job well, it’s a bit more difficult to deduce whether or not it’s a good deal. Similarly priced cables have a much flatter response, giving them a greater flexibility in their placement in the signal chain. On the other hand, the Monster Jazz’s attenuated response is the product’s main selling point. If you’re a jazz player or need a warm guitar or keys tone, the Monster Jazz is definitely a great value. Otherwise, you’re better off investigating other cable options. Amazon.com typically has competitive prices, although these can also commonly be found in brick and mortar stores and prices aren’t too bad there either. Regardless, it’s evident that Monster has stepped up, and they’ve done an admirable job in making their price points accurately reflect the quality of their products.