CEDIA 2018: Monoprice Further Shatters Budget Image with New Monolith Branded Gear
The all-new Monolith Atmos enabled 3-Way Mini(September 5, 2018) Monoprice has spent the last several years using CEDIA as a launching pad for its surprising high-performance Monolith brand. During 2017, the company landed in San Diego with a healthy roster of intriguing models, headlined by three hard-hitting subwoofer designs (including the Monolith 12”, reviewed here). This year, the company showcased two new heavy-weight multichannel amplifiers, prototype versions of Atmos-enabled home theater speakers, and more.
While it’s tough to pick which new model lineup is the most exciting, it’s hard not to shine the biggest spotlight on the company’s all-new Monolith 9- and 11-Channel amplifiers. Priced from $1,999 to $2,499, respectively, both models can be used to drive immersive sound speaker arrangements with cash to spare. Monoprice has endowed each with unbalanced RCA and balanced XLR inputs, tapping toroidal transformers to generate 200 watts per channel (8 ohms) over 3 channels, with an additional 100 watts per channel across all remaining channels. These output configurations are designed deliver the most juice and dynamic headroom to a system’s front three speakers, which are commonly the largest and most active in a home theater environment. Also, Monoprice says that adjusted output to surround and height channels keeps the amps’ total weights in check (less than 100-lbs) and lessens overall power draw.
Both amps are projected to begin shipping before the end of the month.
The company also showcased two new Atmos enabled speakers featuring front- and top-firing drivers. Both models – a true bookshelf ($349/each) and larger 3-way mini design that requires the use of a short stand ($499/each) – are currently awaiting THX Ultra Certification and feature front-mounted 6.5” drivers, top-side 5.25” drivers, and cloth dome tweeters. Overall frequency response on the larger 3-way design is rated at 70Hz-20kHz (4 ohms, 89.5 dB sensitivity) for the main channel (120Hz-20kHz for the height channel); bass response bumps up slightly on the bookshelf (performance down to 75 Hz). Like other Monolith in-room speakers, these models have hefty cabinets covered in an attractive black PVC finish.
A prototype version of the new Monolith 11-Channel AmpMonoprice had working pre-production versions of each speaker (including a matching center channel design) at their CEDIA booth. Overall fit and finish (including quality magnetic speaker grills) and cabinet lines looked great. And sound quality – from what I could hear in a very difficult environment – was promising. Look for these speakers to begin shipping sometime during January or February of 2019.
Monoprice is also prepping to release a trio of two-way and three-way Monolith THX Ultra Certified in-wall speakers. Costing between $299 - $399, these speakers feature the same drivers found on the speakers detailed above. The company is also releasing non-Monolith branded in-walls (called Caliber and Alpha) priced below $100, in addition to ISF Certified Ultra HD projection screens ($599 -$1799) that will ship in motorized, recessed ceiling, and fixed configurations.
I was also shown a handful of personal audio prototypes, including a slick handheld Monolith-branded headphone amplifier, a new THX certified desktop headphone amp with Dirac correction, and two new “Monolith Liquid” headphone amps (one being a balanced amp) designed by Alex Cavalli (former owner of Cavalli Designs). Look for these models and other exciting home theater gear to be revealed between now and CES 2019.
Monolith THX Certified In-Wall Speakers
Prototype handheld Monolith Headphone Amp
Liquid Platinum Headphone Amp