Screen

SCREEN: HP’s Envy 27 Inch Monitor with Beats Audio – Week One

by Winston "Stone" Ford

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Sound quality is first and foremost a priority in my everyday life. I wouldn’t consider myself a huge audiophille, but as someone who listens to over 100 tracks a day, both mastered and unmastered, sound quality effects what I do on a daily basis.

So my interest was piqued when HP’s Envy 27 Inch Monitor with Beats Audio arrived in The Couch Sessions lab. With Beats technology being all the rage lately (and a bit controversial in audio circles) the brand has become more of a fashion statement than a audio revolution.

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When I first plugged everything in and played a track I was disappointed. My first thought is “this is dopey as hell! I thought this was supposed to be Beats!” Little did I know, pressing the small Beats logo on the lower bezel activates the sound quality. One press of the button is like going from 0-60 sonically. In a Ferrari. The audio quality is crisp and clean with minimal distortion. On some tracks you can hear every guitar note and . The only thing I can describe this as is like having real recording studio monitors in your bedroom. The sound is that crisp. Ever since I hooked up the monitor I’ve been playing all of my songs in my collection over again and for some tracks it’s like hearing them for the first time. Little nuances that I couldn’t hear on my iPhone headphones are brought out into the open through the monitor’s speakers. For instance, I didn’t even really the vintage crackling vinyl sound is not as prominent on The Stuyvesant’s’ Brooklyn’s Finest album until I head it through the speakers.

Albums such as Toro Y Moi’s Everything in Return or Little Dragon’s Machine Dreams pop out and come to life. As with Beats headphones, tracks with little or no bass sound a bit tingy, and unmastered tracks (which I have a lot of) sound downright dreadful. And having that said, tracks from iTunes (with higher compression) or CD sound better than streaming from Soundcloud or Spotify. But hey, garbage in, garbage out right?

So the question remains, with everything shifting to laptops and tablets, do you really need this monitor? If you’re a budding producer, designer, programmer or any creative type I would say that a second screen does make your work experience a whole lot better. Going from my 13 inch MacBook Pro to this 27 inch screen is like night and day.

Next week, we’ll explore using this monitor and your computer as a television (for all of you cord cutters out there)!

And yes, you can win your own HP’s Envy 27 Inch Monitor with Beats Audio! Contest details soon!