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Monoprice has spent the last decade-plus cementing itself as the web’s ultimate budget destination for cables and audio parts. The phrase “bang for your buck” easily applies to the company’s traditional offerings, which have a reputation of being solid performers. And while good quality is certainly associated with Monoprice, notions of “high-end” or “audiophile-grade” typically don’t apply.

That, friendly reader, is about to change.

Last Fall, Monoprice invaded CEDIA 2017 with a new audio lineup (dubbed Monolith) that will forever alter how enthusiasts view the company. Monolith products are specifically designed to offer a “premium sound experience,” directly challenging competition costing two- to three-times as much. As cliché as that kind of statement reads, in this case it actually rings rather true. Loaded with robust features, high-end touches, and impressive build quality, Monoprice has rolled out several different multi-channel and headphone amps, Planar magnetic headphones, and speakers under the Monolith umbrella.

My first encounter with Monolith badged gear happened on CEDIA’s show floor, where I was lucky enough to spend some time with David LaVine (Product Manager – Pro Audio, Monoprice) looking over various models within the line. I walked away from the session impressed and fairly convinced that companies within the ID space were about to get a jolt; across the board, Monolith products are primed to disrupt the status quo. I also left knowing that a private test drive of the company’s new Monolith Air Motion Cinema speakers was a necessity. They simply looked and sounded too good to pass up.



 

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Glad to hear those on a strict budget have another option. Monoprice has always been a solid company, so with them now offering value products the consumer has more choices.
 

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Glad to hear those on a strict budget have another option. Monoprice has always been a solid company, so with them now offering value products the consumer has more choices.
These speakers are super impressive... refined sound. I think Monoprice will sell quite a few of these.
 

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Great review! I've been looking forward to hearing what you thought. Thank you for the work involved.

I told my son about the review you had coming out and is in the market for this exact item. We both began to research both the Monoprice AND the Emotiva B1 and C1 center channel. I was amazed how VERY similar the two products are.

The price point on the Emotiva was the tipping point for him. $299 for the pair and $249 on the center put the total at $550 vs. $700 for Monoprice. He went ahead and ordered the Emotivas.

He has had them up and running for a week or so. Odds are I'll never know which of the two, Monoprice or Emotiva, speakers sounds better. However, I will have to say these Emotivas are impressive little speakers also and should be put on the shopping list. Good, rich mid-range with good bass. We are using a sub for the bottom end and fills it out with a much bigger sound than expected. I am also a believer in this Airmotiv folded ribbon tweeter. Super clean/clear and excellent, pin point imaging. I've really enjoyed listening to them so far.

The Emotivas don't have the Oak finish but the finish is a nice, good quality flat black and the fronts have an angular modern design instead of 'flat'. It's a nice looking speaker. Black Kevlar drivers have a nice quality look also.

Comparing apples to apples these two companies are very, very similar. If the pricing was identical the decision would be more difficult... but it wasn't.

Emotiva C1...

 

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If these speakers are easily driven, why not drive them directly from the Yamaha AVR? Why use a separate amplifier?
It's the way my system was rigged... good point, though. I probably should have put them through their paces (separately). Honestly, though... I'd be willing to bet that the AVR wouldn't have had any issues.
 

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Great review! I've been looking forward to hearing what you thought. Thank you for the work involved.

I told my son about the review you had coming out and is in the market for this exact item. We both began to research both the Monoprice AND the Emotiva B1 and C1 center channel. I was amazed how VERY similar the two products are.

The price point on the Emotiva was the tipping point for him. $299 for the pair and $249 on the center put the total at $550 vs. $700 for Monoprice. He went ahead and ordered the Emotivas.

He has had them up and running for a week or so. Odds are I'll never know which of the two, Monoprice or Emotiva, speakers sounds better. However, I will have to say these Emotivas are impressive little speakers also and should be put on the shopping list. Good, rich mid-range with good bass. We are using a sub for the bottom end and fills it out with a much bigger sound than expected. I am also a believer in this Airmotiv folded ribbon tweeter. Super clean/clear and excellent, pin point imaging. I've really enjoyed listening to them so far.

The Emotivas don't have the Oak finish but the finish is a nice, good quality flat black and the fronts have an angular modern design instead of 'flat'. It's a nice looking speaker. Black Kevlar drivers have a nice quality look also.

Comparing apples to apples these two companies are very, very similar. If the pricing was identical the decision would be more difficult... but it wasn't.

Emotiva C1...

Thanks for the comments, Gdaddy. Great points about price... I'm trying to get some Emotivas for review. Will be interested to see how the speakers compare. Obviously, the ARX bookshelf speakers would also be competition.
 

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Thanks for the comments, Gdaddy. Great points about price... I'm trying to get some Emotivas for review. Will be interested to see how the speakers compare. Obviously, the ARX bookshelf speakers would also be competition.
Excellent! I am already looking forward to the review. I don't think a lot of people realize just how good they sound. Especially when paired with a good subwoofer.

Since these are so reasonably priced and give such a good 'bang for the buck' factor here's a comparison I would love to have as a blind listening test.

KEF LS50 @ $1,124.00 a pair vs. either Monoprice or Emotiva @ $299.00 a pair. Now that would be some comparative review!!!

I can hear the KEF people screaming already but I'd bet they're closer than you think for a whole LOT less money. The purity of that ribbon tweeter might just give the LS50 a run for the money.
 

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Excellent! I am already looking forward to the review. I don't think a lot of people realize just how good they sound. Especially when paired with a good subwoofer.

Since these are so reasonably priced and give such a good 'bang for the buck' factor here's a comparison I would love to have as a blind listening test.

KEF LS50 @ $1,124.00 a pair vs. either Monoprice or Emotiva @ $299.00 a pair. Now that would be some comparative review!!!

I can hear the KEF people screaming already but I'd bet they're closer than you think for a whole LOT less money. The purity of that ribbon tweeter might just give the LS50 a run for the money.
A speaker showdown would be great...but, I'd hazard to guess that KEF would be none too interested in participating. Not saying their speaker isn't superior...but I think they'd only want comparisons made within their price class.
 

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Hi Todd
In your review you mentioned your subs in your "Associated Equipment".
Can you confirm that in the home theater segment of your review, you did not use your subs?

BTW, would love to see an A-B review of Monoprice and the compatible Emotivas.
 
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