I am a member of avsforum.com. Several months ago there was a preview thread about Monoprice’s new Monolith subwoofer line. Since the company is local to me, I expressed my interest in reviewing the 15” subwoofer. Therefore, I quickly accepted the opportunity to do so when an employee contacted me. I received this product on loan from Monoprice for a fair and honest review.
When I picked up the Monolith 15” from Monoprice, it almost did not fit into my Mini Cooper Clubman. The box is humongous! Because the cabinet is made of HDF, the 15" sub weighs as much as my relatively light 18" sub JTR Captivator 1400!
The sub is double boxed with foam top and bottom. I was happy to see that there are even corner and edge guards. Upon examining the box, I found out inadvertently that Brent Butterworth just reviewed and returned this unit. Man, I am honored to review this unit after a heavy weight like him! The cabinet and grill have their own cloth bag. 2 pairs of gloves are included. I love the white glove treatment!
I calculated the cabinet volume of the Monoprice Monolith 15". It is almost as big as my JTR Captivator 1400. The Monolith 15" is wrapped in wood-grain PVC. Knuckle test confirms that the cabinet is inert. The driver has rubber surround. So far, I haven't seen anything that suggests it's not a well-made product.
In my 22’ x 14.5’ x 7.5’ family room, I measured the Monolith 15 in 2 ports Extended EQ mode with REW. My AVR was in pure direct mode.
The Monolith 15's frequency response showed excellent extension down to 11.5Hz -- enough to hang with my JTR Captivator 1400, a 18" sub with a powerful driver that is known for its output and extension. Not bad, not bad at all.
The output compression for the Monolith 15" showed that it achieved 105dB @ 11Hz, 110dB @ 13Hz and 113dB @ 20Hz. My JTR Cap 1400 did dig deeper and had about 5 dB more headroom from 16~80Hz. I like Monolith 15's measurements so far. That is a lot of sub for the money.
I picked a frequency response curve where Monolith 15" produced 110dB @ 20Hz to examine its THD. The following are the THD numbers:
12Hz, 108.9dB, 14.4% THD.
16Hz, 109.9dB, 10.7% THD.
20Hz, 112.1dB, 6.75% THD.
25Hz, 112.1dB, 3.97% THD.
30Hz, 107.9dB, 7.49% THD.
So far, the Monolith 15” has exhibited an excellent extension, a lot of output and really low distortion... Those are the trifecta for a great sub.
Then I started listening to the sub. Within minutes, I had my first impression: if you like how sealed subs sounds, you are going to love this 15" sub.
I turned the gain to the max to try to level match with my Captivator 1400. Even at 6dB lower than my usual listening level, I could already tell that the sub is very clean, tight, and controlled. I played Bassotronics - Bass I Love You, Justin Bieber - Baby in convert, the notorious first 40 seconds of Edge of Tomorrow and Olympus Has Fallen - Washington Monument scene. The sub handled all of them with finesse and authority. I even felt a little of the port wind that I love. I have heard very minimal chuffing during Edge of Tomorrow Intro. That is great amp control and/or port design.
The kick drums in Eagles - Hotel California and Justin Bieber - Baby were stopping-on-a-dime precise and did not linger. There seemed to be enough tactile response and port wind as well. I am spoiled by my JTR Captivator 1400 but the Monolith 15” has shown enough to make me want to find out what else it can do.
After some more REW measurements at a different spot, I found that the Monolith 15" actually has slightly better extension than my JTR Cap 1400. That is pretty amazing for a 15”, $1300 product. I am not that surprised as its in house CEA 2010 max burst numbers rival that of the Rythmik FV15HP on data-bass. After comparing the frequency response and output compression measurements with those of my JTR Captivator 1400, I have no reason to believe that the Monoprice in house numbers are exaggerated in any way. Objectively, if the Rythmik FV15HP ($1338) is considered a poor man's SVS PB13-Ultra ($2000), the Monolith 15" would certainly qualify as another.
Sound quality wise, I actually liked the Monolith 15” better than the Rythmik FV18 ($1700) I heard at a forum get-together. Even though I had exclusively listened to the former in extended EQ mode, its DSP still limited the THD to a refreshingly low level. As for untoward noises, there was very faint port noise in World War Z - Grenade scene. In the first 40 seconds of Edge of Tomorrow, I noticed distinctive port noise at 20Hz, but very faint ( read: the lowest and least noticeable among the top 15” and 18” ported subs I have heard so far. Do remember that I auditioned this sub with the gain maxed out! ) at 25Hz and 15Hz. I did not hear any vent pipe resonance no matter how loud I played it.
On New Year weekend, my sister and brother-in-law came over for movies. I played Life (2017) with the Monolith 15" for them and they were blown away! Since they are less into bass than I am, I played back at 4dB lower MV and 8dB less bass than my usual listening level. The Monolith 15" still managed to shake my HT with authority. Having watched Life (2017) with my JTR Cap 1400 before, I know the movie is pretty intense in the low end. This time around, I only watched parts of the movie and never did I feel that the Monolith 15" was lacking. That is a praise as some of top 15" and 18" ported and sealed subs I have heard just do not fulfill my needs.
Monolith 15" doesn't hit as hard as the top $2000 ID subs out there, but it can provide a glimpse of what the top $2000 subs sound like. Heck, its extension and SQ are already there. It just has less output, which is to be expected. I also like that the Monolith 15” amp plate has enough control to suit the listener’s needs but not too many that might be overwhelming even for a tweaker. This is the most impressive $1500 and under sub that I have heard, period.
|商品尺寸||71.12 x 52.07 x 63.5 cm; 33.11 公斤|