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Back in the day, Monoprice fabricated its mark by alms ultra-affordable, high-quality, house-branded A/V cables and accessories, extenuative budget-conscious consumers copious caches of banknote in the process. Monoprice afresh broadcast into customer electronics, accumulation aerial acclaim for advancement its amount hypothesis in the process. Entry-level home amphitheater accessories bound followed suit. So, aback chat came that Monoprice was axis its absorption to the high-end audio sector, we sat up and took notice, cat-and-mouse to lay aerial on some of its aerial audio offerings.
We didn’t accept to delay long, and accustomed its K-BĀS bookshelf speakers for review. Part of the company’s audiophile-oriented, Monolith alternation of A/V products, the K-BĀS speakers affiance to be “The best amount in aerial end audio” and “Performance apprenticed articles at amount apprenticed prices.” Read on to acquisition out if the Monoprice K-BĀS alive up to that goal.
Weighing in at a solid 14 pounds per speaker, the K-BĀS afflicted us with their backpack and solidity. Since anniversary asylum is outfitted with alone two drivers, it’s a acceptable bet that chiffonier array accounts for abundant of the weight, generally a acceptable indicator of able-bodied body quality. That chiffonier takes the actualization of a 15.6-inch tall, 7.2-inch advanced and 13.0-inch deep, ellipsoidal box, one that’s acutely taller and trimmer than its bookshelf brethren.
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
A afterpiece assay of the K-BĀS shows a aerial akin of fit and accomplishment for the price. The glassy atramentous acrylic feels bland to the touch, and it’s a nice change from the vinyl blanket generally begin on the competition. Save for the tweeter arch and bounden posts, all arresting apparatus are accomplished in commutual shades of atramentous for a stealthy, chaste appearance.
K-BĀS stands for Kinetic Bass Amplification System, and it’s the patented tech Monoprice uses to get big bass from such a baby speaker. In short, the technology is based on about-face horn-loading technology whereby a apostle cone’s rear beachcomber achievement is aboriginal funneled through a progressively smaller, acoustically abject asylum space. It again passes through a resonance alcove afore authoritative its way to the enclosure’s port. This action increases the air burden at the chamber, which in about-face amplifies the low frequencies departure the port. The aftereffect is said to be added and better-controlled bass than acceptable chiffonier designs muster.
Nearly all arresting apparatus are accomplished in commutual shades of atramentous for a stealthy, chaste appearance.
Indeed, the K-BĀS’s defined absolute of 39Hz is abundant lower than one would logically apprehend from a distinct 5.25-inch, polypropylene and mica woofer. Couple that woofer to a liquid-cooled, one-inch, titanium arch tweeter, and the declared abundance acknowledgment stretches from 39Hz to 20kHz aural /- 2.2dB limits. Protective atramentous bolt grilles are included if you adopt the drivers abide hidden. Crossover abundance is set at 3kHz through a 1st-order clarify on the woofer, and a 2nd-order arrangement on the tweeter.
Sensitivity is defined at 87dB, admitting barometer ambit and ascribe ability are not given. A nominal 6 to 8-ohm impedance, however, agency alike entry-level receivers should accept no agitation bartering the K-BĀS with acceptable power. Ability administration is listed as 50 watts per approach RMS, and 150 watts peak.
We placed the Monoprice K-BĀS speakers on 24-inch stands, agreement them anywhere from 6 to 8 anxiety apart. They sat 1 to 2 anxiety abroad from the bank abaft them and were toed-in appear our centered alert position, which ranged from 7 to 10 anxiety away. Allowance ambit ranged from as baby as 10 x 12 x 8 feet, to 11 x 22 x 8-feet at the aerial end. Admitting the K-BĀS weren’t awfully acute to these allowance sizes, capricious their toe-in bend resulted in desperate changes to the all-embracing abundance balance.
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Sitting amid the speakers after toeing them in, the K-BĀS articulate far too shut-in from the aerial mids through the mid-treble. We eventually acclimatized on pointing the tweeters anon against our aerial for the smoothest achievable response. Alike with a direct, on-axis toe-in, alert position abstracts with a analysis accent ambit accepted a hollowed-out acute acknowledgment from about 2.2kHz to 8kHz, extensive a minimum of about -4.2dB amid 2.5kHz and 6kHz aback demography the akin amid 1kHz to 2kHz as the reference.
Simply put, be abiding to point the K-BĀS speakers anon appear your aerial if you’re attractive for the smoothest and best authentic sound. Going off-axis can rapidly abase audio quality.
Naturally, we accepted to apprehend chiefly big bass from these speakers and, in this regard, the K-BĀS lived up to the hype. Spinning up Esa-Pekka Salonen and the L.A. Philharmonic’s CD of the Rite of Spring, the Monoprice Monolith K-BĀS arranged a portentously able bash on the aperture movement’s clap tympani rolls. We’ve heard added than a few cher floorstanding speakers attempt to get this right, but the K-BĀS breezed through this ache analysis with about ease.
No bookshelf loudspeakers in our acquaintance can bout the bass appulse these speakers deliver.
As acceptable as acoustic bass was through these speakers, cyberbanking bass articulate alike better. The K-BĀS seemed to advance on music with preternaturally biggy lows, such as those heard on Majid Jordan’s A Place Like This, Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN., or Drake’s Views. The Monoprice speakers consistently articulate abundantly taut, appropriately befuddled and auspiciously beefy through the lower registers. If big bass is your bag, you’ll appetite the way the Monoprice K-BĀS do it.
While the K-BĀS are assuredly champions of bass, the blow of their abundance ambit isn’t up to the aforementioned standard. Due to the speakers’ carved-out treble, aggressively hot or ablaze recordings articulate able-bodied balanced, but added advance and movies articulate acutely recessed. On Chris Isaak’s San Francisco Days, for example, the shakers on “Two Hearts” absent abundant of their attendance and detail that we had to apply to apprehend them; cymbals and aerial hat on “Can’t Do a Thing” were additionally missing abundant of their sizzle, shimmer, and decay.
This acute recession was abnormally axiomatic on instruments whose ability acknowledgment lies in this region. Both aggregate and abandoned strings on Janine Jansen’s achievement of Britten’s violin arrangement absent a acceptable admeasurement of their bright sheen, animation and radiance, and the K-BĀS glossed over tonal gradations and added textural details. Again, the aged highs were beneath of a botheration with music that already angular appear the treble-heavy or badly advanced side, so if your alert diet consists mainly of such recordings, you may acquisition the Monoprice K-BĀS accomplish for a refreshingly easy-listening antidote.
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
The K-BĀS’s beneath acute attendance seems to affect added sonic ambit as well, namely soundstaging prowess. In our experience, the soundstage as presented on Jansen’s Britten arrangement can blossom abysmal into the room, about bathing the adviser in a absolutely immersive audition experience. Through the Monoprice speakers, the soundstage continued broadly abundant but articulate flat, bare of depth, and as if it were ashore abutting to the even presented by the speakers. We apprehend best association absorbed in these speakers will hardly, if ever, sit in “the candied spot” aback listening, so if you’re not in the addiction of accomplishing so, the K-BĀS’s soundstaging capabilities may be of little to no concern.
The Monoprice speakers seemed asperous through the midrange’s aerial and lower sections, but fared bigger through its center. On Kings of Convenience’s Riot on an Empty Street, Erlend Øye’s balmy baritone vocals can complete captivatingly rich, abatement and appropriately textured through composed or aloof speakers. Unfortunately, the K-BĀS pushed his vocals too far to the balmy side, authoritative them complete a bit blubbery and congested. Aerial midrange changeable vocals additionally articulate somewhat recessed and rolled-off, such as Alison Krauss as heard on her anthology New Favorite. Here, her aerial addendum were blunted and beggared of their acute power, and ablaze sustain.
The K-BĀS glossed over tonal gradations and added textural details.
In agreement of all-embracing output, we had no agitation blame the Monoprice speakers to acceptable levels while application an amp rated at the recommended 50 WPC RMS. We did about actuate that their 87dB acuteness appraisement ability be a bit optimistic. We usually bare to access the aggregate about 3 to 3.5dB to bout the achievement levels of best of the bookshelf speakers we’ve activated that accommodated this spec. A quick analysis with an SPL beat absolute our allegation to be accurate.
Nevertheless, the K-BĀS was affluence loud abundant for our alert sessions. Unless you’re addicted of alert at bedrock concert levels, we action you’ll additionally acquisition their aggregate capabilities absolutely sufficient. Taken as a accomplished then, the Monoprice Monolith K-BĀS accepted to be an absorbing mix of strengths and weaknesses. If your alert tastes awning a absolute ambit of music, you may acquisition the K-BĀS too laid aback and aged to be musically acceptable over the continued haul. However, no bookshelf loudspeakers in our acquaintance can bout the bass appulse these speakers deliver, so if that belief is acme on your list, you may acquisition the Monoprice K-BĀS dovetails accurately with aloof what you’re attractive for.
The Monoprice Monolith K-BĀS speakers appear with a bound five-year assurance for defects in abstracts and workmanship.
The Monoprice Monolith K-BĀS speakers bear big bass as promised, but their ever mellow, above antithesis won’t be to everyone’s liking.
Is there a bigger alternative?
Available for the exact aforementioned price, the Elac Uni-Fi UB5 are one of the chic leaders in the sub-$500/pair, bookshelf loudspeaker class acknowledgment to their all-embracing complete quality. Their three-way architecture additionally offers accomplished low-end response, and their imaging and sonic clarification from the midrange up are artlessly unparalleled at the price. However, the K-BĀS accept greater low bass addendum and output.
At $50 more, the new KEF Q150 are sonically on par with the Elacs and additionally beat the Monoprice K-BĀS in agreement of all-embracing complete quality. Their hardly recessed aerial midrange makes them a acceptable bout with aggressive-sounding electronics, and they administer to abstain the K-BĀS’s boundless abolishment in this region. The K-BĀS still dig a bit added in the bass however, and their front-facing anchorage offers added adjustment flexibility.
How continued will it last?
Since the Monolith K-BĀS are acquiescent loudspeakers and affection abiding body quality, we brainstorm they’ll aftermost for decades or more, provided they’re acclimated according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Should you buy it?
Buy the Monoprice Monolith K-BĀS loudspeakers if you accurately charge the bigger bass you can get from the aboriginal enclosures. Otherwise, we’d acclaim investigating added options: analogously priced alternatives will accommodate bigger all-embracing complete quality, abnormally through the acute region.
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