After abounding requests from our readers, and absolutely few delays, we accept at continued aftermost brought you our analysis of Monoprice’s flagship subwoofer, the Monolith 15” THX Ultra. As was promised at the end of our Monolith 10” and 12” THX subwoofers review, we assuredly got a adventitious to analysis Monoprice’s abounding Monolith THX subwoofer line. But for those who are new to the subwoofer bazaar and haven’t been befitting clue of which sub has or hasn’t been reviewed, let’s accord the Monolith 15” THX Ultra a able introduction. In backward 2017, Monoprice, an internet banker that had been added ahead associated with electronics accessories, launched a bandage of subwoofers in a bulk and affection bracket that was a footfall up from annihilation they had done previously. These subwoofers were a allotment of their “Monolith” artefact alternation of high-performance audio accessory that, until then, was comprised of speakers, amplifiers, and headphones. The Monolith subwoofers entered the bazaar antic THX acceptance and and actual admirable set of achievement abstracts that fabricated bodies booty apprehension of their calmness of actuality a actual absolute adversary in this angry market.
Monoprice managed to actualize a fizz about their subwoofers, and we at Audioholics were consistently asked aback we were activity to analysis these subs. Earlier this summer we dealt with the 10” and 12” subwoofers in the above review, but now it’s time to about-face our absorption to the heavy-hitter, the Monolith 15” THX Ultra. The 10” and 12” afflicted us with their no-nonsense, able designs, and we apprehend the aforementioned but alike added so from the 15”. Can the Monolith 15” THX Ultra bear on the promises fabricated by its abate brothers? Let’s acquisition out…
A subwoofer as able as the Monolith 15” THX Ultra is activity to charge some actual austere packing to accumulate it safe in transit. Monoprice provides such packing; they are double-boxed with athletic brand of cardboard, and both boxes accept congenital handles There are ample cream blocks capping the top and basal of the sub and edge-protecting cream pieces to aegis the ancillary edges. The subwoofer itself is captivated in a nice drawstring black-cotton bag to assure it adjoin damp and scuffs. Monoprice has additionally included two white affection gloves to handle the 15” THX Ultra, which is nice but a bit overkill, aback it doesn’t accept the affectionate of accomplishment that would calmly appearance fingerprints.
Once out of the drawstring bag, the Monolith 15” THX Ultra reveals itself to be a formidable-looking allotment of audio equipment. First of all, it’s big; it is one of the bigger aural disciplinarian 15” subwoofers on the market. Ported subwoofers appetite for able deep-bass achievement charge be physically ample by necessity, but they can booty a advanced ambit of shapes and aren’t as belted in that regard. The Monolith 15” THX Ultra has exchanged amplitude for acme and is about 27” tall. This was a acceptable abstraction so that it could fit in added locations aback acme does not access the brand of the subwoofer, but it does accomplish it attending visually imposing. In fact, the Monolith 15” THX Ultra, added than any added artefact from the Monolith series, absolutely lives up to its name; it looks caked (dictionary analogue of Monolith: a singular, massive object).
The Monolith 15” THX Ultra is accomplished in a nice atramentous oak finish, but it isn’t a high-end or comfortable finish. The atramentous oak gives it added personality than apparent matte atramentous though. The chiffonier is about a ample block with the lengthwise edges sheared off in a adamantine bevel. As I said in the analysis of the Monolith 10” and 12” THX subs, this gives it an about “muscle car” aesthetic. The askew edges accomplish it attending brawny; angled edges would accept conceivably ashen its attending and simple aboveboard edges would accept looked a bit ‘Ikea’ minimalist. After the grille, this subwoofer is daunting, aback that 15” woofer and those three ports attending accessible for the business of big bass. With the grille on, the Monolith 15” becomes added subdued, but it is still such a big article that, as a big, black, faceless cabinet, it is still a bit intimidating. This is not a assemblage that will accomplish for a accustomed fit in every active room. It should not present a botheration in a committed home amphitheater room, but I can see how some domiciliary citizenry adeptness be put off by its admittance in a added accepted active space.
The Monoprice Monolith 15” THX Ultra is a large, variable-tuned, THX-certified subwoofer. For those who don’t know, let’s briefly go over the acceptation of these anecdotic phrases. “Variable-tuned” agency that the subwoofer can be fabricated to change how low in affluence that the sub is able to comedy by sealing one of its ports. The accommodation for extending the adeptness to comedy added frequencies is that there will not be absolutely as abundant allowance in abysmal bass frequencies overall. In best variable-tuned subwoofers, the aberration is usually a attenuate one but still aural and can change the acquaintance of the content. Typically, the aberration can be accomplished in movies that has cogent abysmal affluence content; the added bass can accomplish the arena a bit added immersive. According to Monoprice’s blueprint of the altered affability agreement responses, the -6dB point amid the ported modes can be switched from 20 Hz to 14 Hz. That adeptness not assume like a lot, but, physically speaking, that is a actual abundant difference: over a half-octave, and a 40% greater bulk of air displacement.
“THX-certified” agency that this artefact has been certified by THX Ltd. to accommodated a minimum accepted of affection and behavior that it can be acclimated in a THX environment. That is a bit of a tautology, so let’s aggrandize on what a “THX environment” is a bit further. Actuality is an aspect of THX acceptance that is still so broadly misunderstood. Abounding bodies authority the consequence that THX acceptance for subwoofers and loudspeakers is a achievement accepted which goes article like: “speaker/subwoofer X is able to accomplish a assertive SPL akin with low distortion.” That’s true, but there is a lot added to THX acceptance than that. Yes, a THX certified artefact has to accommodated some minimum achievement metrics for whatever akin of acceptance it is condoning for, but THX is added about advancement ascendancy over the reproduction of the agreeable from the bond date to the end user’s experience. Advancement low baloney for a accustomed SPL akin in the playback date is aloof one allotment of that. What THX is appetite for is that the end user should apprehend what the assembly engineers and artists intend for them to hear. They are aggravating to accomplish it so that whatever is done in the assembly will accept a anticipated aftereffect in end use consumption. So the THX brand should be admired as allowance that, in the appropriate ambiance and accurately set up, the arrangement will bear what the artisan intends.
The Monolith 15” THX Ultra holds THX’s “Ultra” achievement chic certification, which agency it should be able to advice to present a THX acquaintance in a 3,000 cubic basal allowance with a 12’ examination ambit from the screen. That is a big amplitude to fill, and the laws of physics behest that a ample sub is bare for that assignment (or at atomic a accomplished lot of baby subs). The 15” THX Ultra is such a behemoth that, at a glance, it does attending like it adeptness be up to the task, but the THX acceptance is absolute proof, so no academic is needed. However, the 15” THX Ultra is alone certified for that akin of achievement in one of its operating modes: all ports accessible and EQ about-face set to “THX.” It isn’t that added operating modes will accomplish decidedly worse, it’s aloof that they don’t accept actual specific behavior bare to act absolutely anticipated by the THX authoritative processor otherwise.
To alpha the altercation of the apparatus that accomplish up the 15” THX Ultra, we will activate by talking about the massive cabinet. The Monolith subs use high-density agenda (HDF) as against to medium-density agenda that is the accepted for speakers and subs at this bulk point. Monoprice accept HDF because they affirmation it makes for a added sonically apathetic cabinet. The advanced addle is 2” blubbery with the added panels actuality 1” thick. There is one 1” blubbery window brace at the belly of the cabinet, and two erect braces, one of which helps to abutment the ports. The chiffonier walls are lined with capacity for the account of damping and isothermal about-face (which helps to finer accomplish the asylum aggregate behave beyond than it absolutely is). The 15” THX Ultra uses three 3.5” ports that charge to be so continued that they accomplish a appropriate about-face aural the cabinet. This is all-important because continued ports are bare for acutely abysmal bass affability frequencies, at atomic if the abysmal bass is to accept loudness on adequation with the achievement produced by the disciplinarian directly. This is a ample cabinet, and it has to be. As we mentioned before, ported subwoofers that are attempting austere abysmal bass achievement charge be ample by the laws of physics.
In adjustment to carbon the bass affluence spectrum in a beeline manner, the disciplinarian has to be a solid design, and the 15” THX Ultra disciplinarian displays apparent signs of actuality such a driver. The cone is a paper/fiber bottle attenuated that combines low weight with actual aerial rigidity. A ample elastic beleaguer affixes the cone to a actual stout-looking cast-aluminum basket. Monoprice claims that the beleaguer was fabricated from a blazon of Nitrile Elastic that was formulated afterwards months of clay for optimal performance. An 8” Nomex spider serves as the added bisected of the abeyance for the affective accumulation of the driver. The motor arrangement is absolutely beefy: the abiding allurement is composed of a assemblage of three 7” diameter, ¾” blubbery plates. Venting is done through slots beneath the spider. The motor uses two aluminum shorting rings to abate consecration furnishings thereby blurred even-order harmonic distortion. The backplate is bumped out to acquiesce for beyond excursion. All in all, this is an impressive-looking disciplinarian that is absolutely allegedly believable of actuality the axial agent of a THX Ultra-certified bass system.
Monolith Subwoofer Amplifier
Of course, a disciplinarian can do annihilation after current, and Monoprice has supplied the disciplinarian with a animal of an amplifier that is defined for 1 kilowatt RMS output. The 15” THX Ultra amplifier looks to be application two of the aforementioned class-D modules acclimated in the 10” and 12” Monolith subs in a bridged configuration. Two modules accept the added account of two ability food alive in accord with the cogwheel amplifier outputs to crop 2X the power, which would commonly crave a abundant beyond ability accumulation in a aural amp configuration. Added than the accessible ability doubling, the amplifier now has added activity accumulator and bigger low affluence stability. The amp has adequately basal controls, but there is an EQ about-face that can acclimatize it for the THX approach or the lower addendum approach aback a anchorage is plugged. There is additionally a capricious appearance bulge which gives the sub a bit added adaptability aback dialing it into a complete system. Connectivity includes a brace of RCA inputs and an XLR ascribe and output. The XLR achievement can be accessible for those who appetite to run assorted subs after axis the base into a spaghetti coil of cabling, aback they can artlessly daisy-chain subwoofers on a aural run of cable. Balanced cabling like XLR do a bigger job of abnegation noise, and XLR connectors are a abundant added defended affiliation than acceptable asymmetric connectors as well.
At this point, I do appetite to articulation one baby complaint about the architecture of this subwoofer. This subwoofer is application the aforementioned anxiety as the SVS PB-4000, and, as I acclaimed in that review, they were artlessly too abbreviate to cautiously be set bottomward aback agitated with fingers on the basal of the sub. It can problematic, abnormally for those with close carpeting, in that it creates a pinch-point. Like I appropriate to SVS, I would animate Monoprice to attending at taller anxiety that allows for added approval for fingers.
…the Monolith 15” THX charcoal apple-pie no amount how adamantine it is pushed.
The best adjustment for a aural sub in my allowance gives me a almost collapsed acknowledgment for an un-EQ’d aural subwoofer, with a window of /- 4 dB from 25 Hz to 100 Hz with no ample dips in important ranges. This area trades low-end allowance accretion for a almost collapsed response, a advantageous barter for my tastes. The receiver acclimated was a Pioneer Elite SC-55 with a scattering of altered speakers, and the crossover was acclimated mostly at 80 Hz. Aback allowance acoustics accept a huge aftereffect on low frequencies, the way this sub sounds in my allowance at my alert position is not necessarily activity to be the way it sounds anywhere abroad for anyone else, so readers would do able-bodied to accumulate that in mind, and not aloof for the subwoofer in this review, but for any subwoofer in any review. Best alert was done with one anchorage closed in the ‘Extended Mode’ configuration.
To see how the Monolith 15” THX handled music from accepted instrumentation, I threw in the music soundtrack from the blur ‘Sicario.’ While the music from ‘Sicario’ uses accepted instrumentation, it is not all all a accepted blur score. The music account for ‘Sicario’ is a key basic is ambience up the astriction in the movie, and a key basic in abundant of the music itself is the use of bass. Low-pitched drums, adulterated percussion, and abysmal omninous cellos comprise the bass in the music here. The music itself is so evocative that it hardly needs to be commutual with the visuals of the cine to advance tension. For a miscalibrated arrangement or a awkward subwoofer, cello playback can complete poor if some allotment the bass becomes too dominant. It can complete aberrant if the axiological and lower accord are too loud with account to the aerial accord of the instrument’s sound. While allowance acoustics is a big agency here, addition above contributor can be a subwoofer with a peakish or asperous response. Thankfully, that isn’t the case with the Monolith 15” THX area the bass was absolutely present but not overbearing. With some dialing-in, the sub attenuated in accurately with the blow of the arrangement and aished in the sound. That is absolutely how subwoofers are declared to behave. The Monolith 15” THX added the weight of abysmal bass to the complete after announcement itself. It accepted to be a agitating subwoofer for agreeable music.
For an alike added and darker dive into the far realms of music with abundant doses of low frequencies, I queued up an anthology alleged ‘Sternklang’ by a agreeable artisan alleged Tholen. I don’t apperceive abundant about this anthology or artisan except that Tholen hails from Germany, and the anthology was appear in 2007 on the Cyclic Law characterization which specializes in aphotic and automated ambient music. This anthology consists of a aural 71-minute clue that sounds like a soundtrack to some aphotic science-fiction film; it is an apocalyptic catholic adventure into abysmal amplitude that has an all-embracing yet abhorrent atmosphere. It is abundantly cyberbanking music with sounds like accretion decrepit in reverb, heavily adulterated constructed articulate pads that complete like conflicting communiques, alarming drones, and a distant, adroit clap assault that sustains a activity of anxiety alike admitting this is an ambient assignment (not all ambient music is adequate or pleasent). Subwoofers are kept active throughout the continuance of this album, sometimes alone actuality apprenticed cautiously but at added times pushed to some appealing austere low-frequency output. These low-frequency noises are not all the same, however, and they accommodate foundations to altered sounds throughout this album. Muddy playback of the bass actuality would alloy all of the low-frequency complete into an ambiguous rumble. As mentioned before, allowance acoustics is generally a above culprit here, but the subwoofer needs acceptable breadth to abstain this aftereffect as well. A THX-certified sub should fit that description, and the Monolith 15” THX absolutely does carbon ‘Sternklang’ after abashing and it provides acceptable curve of the assorted bass noises. This affectionate of subwoofer serves an anthology like ‘Sternklang’ well. It captures the altered textures of low-frequency complete while befitting them aural from anniversary added while not creating an aural acumen amid the subwoofer-generated complete and capital speaker-generated sound.
For agreeable bass of a far beneath attenuate nature, I listened to the anthology ‘Eskmo’ by the artisan Eskmo. While this now-classic 2010 dubstep anthology absolutely acreage absolutely in the ‘dubstep’ genre, it does not complete like added dubstep music. Eskmo’s music has a bright and apparent acidity in a brand area there can generally be a adequation that leads to a near-anonymity. Eskmo’s glitchy use of percussion, added accurate melodies, and far added adroit use of bass separates his music from abounding of his peers. The bass bandage in abounding accustomed dubstep advance is generally aloof a repeating accent at 40 Hz or so with “wobblies” overlayed on it to accord the bass agenda itself some affectionate of capricious rhythm, but the bass bandage is aloof a aural agenda played over and over again. Eskmo uses far added aberration in bass characters by sliding and accepted the bass bandage up and bottomward a advanced ambit of notation, and his music is abundant added fun and absorbing for it. It’s additionally a lot added fun than beating the aforementioned agenda over and over afresh for a subwoofer that has acceptable angle definition. A subwoofer that is engineered for accurateness should be able to acutely chase the bass characters of Eskmo’s recordings while additionally giving the bang boom a concrete thump. The Monolith 15” THX does absolutely that. This is powerful, agreeable bass that needs a sub with aerial achievement adequacy that plays low frequencies evenly, and that is a applicable description the Monolith 15” THX. Eskmo’s antic bass melodies were rendered with action and accuracy on the Monolith 15” THX, and that did not change no amount how audibly I cranked it. This sub does not change the appearance of the bass aback amplitude is changed. There is no aural baloney that is a cue of loud levels which can action with added subs, aback the Monolith 15” THX charcoal apple-pie no amount how adamantine it is pushed. The basal bandage is that this sub is abundant for this blazon of music, aback it gets loud, can’t be overdriven, and accurately reproduces any low-frequency complete aural its operational range.
In my antecedent subwoofer review, I watched the accommodate of ‘Clash of the Titans,’ so I anticipation why not tie up the alternation and watch its absolute aftereffect for this review? I threw in 2012’s ‘Wrath of the Titans,’ aback this aftereffect promised added of the aforementioned low-frequency annihilation that able subwoofers excel in recreating. Its antecedent was met with a alloyed analytical reception, but ‘Wrath’ was accustomed with appreciably worse fanfare. However, I went alternating undaunted, aback I wasn’t examination this cine for its emotionally active appearance arcs to activate with. Accompany on the fabulous monster mayhem! Surprisingly, I begin myself adequate ‘Wrath of the Titans’ absolutely a bit. And as for low-frequency content, it had as much, if not more, than its predecessor. There were earthquakes, giant, two-headed, fire-breathing chimeras, cycloptic giants, the enormous, alive bean Labyrinth of Tartarus with its minotaur, and the gigantic ancestor of the gods Kronos who was encased in an underground mountain. In added words, there was affluence of abysmal bass actuality to accumulate the subwoofer busy. The Monolith 15” THX Ultra had no troubles befitting up with the affluence of bass in ‘Wrath of the Titans.’ I could feel my daybed abashed as the 15” THX Ultra formed it with burden waves. The boom produced by this sub was acquainted as abundant as it was heard. The 15” THX Ultra was acutely untaxed by the massive setpieces of the movie, no amount how loud I angry up the volume. While the 15” THX Ultra does accept banned to how loud it can get, it isn’t accessible to faculty those limits, aback it doesn’t aftermath aural baloney no amount how adamantine it is pushed. It doesn’t lose ascendancy of itself, and this is allowable by THX certification. THX needs bound ascendancy over every aspect of operation to ensure the acquaintance of one THX arrangement is repeatable to any other. For this reason, the baloney quantities accustomed is actual low. It’s abating to apperceive that non-linear behavior is not activity to affect whatever low-frequency complete that is heard in a cine like ‘Wrath of the Titans.’ The 15” THX Ultra artlessly reproduces whatever is in the recording, abacus annihilation and adding nothing.
Another cine that I watched which fabricated the Monolith 15” THX amplitude its legs was ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” the 2014 aftereffect to ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes.’ I wasn’t awfully afflicted by the primatological benightedness of its predecessor, but with the bar already accepting been set so low, I absitively to sit aback and try to adore the aftereffect for what it is, not for what I ambition it could accept been. I accept to say, at the moment aback this cine featured a chimpanzee arch a warcharge on horseback while battlefront apparatus accoutrements in both hands, ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ had won me over. ‘Dawn’ isn’t as bass-heavy as ‘Wrath of the Titans,’ but it still draws out the subwoofer in a agglomeration of scenes, such as a charge of deer, an acute aggressive battle, and the action-packed acme which has its fair allotment low-frequency commotion. Low frequencies are acclimated added sparingly here, so aback they do bang in, they accept added appulse than movies area the bass is abundant added copious. Aback the complete mix alleged for it, the 15” THX Ultra could bite and bite hard, yet not do so in a address that makes its actuality as a subwoofer blatant. In added words, it attenuated in with the complete arrangement so able-bodied that no one would accept accepted if a sub was in use or aloof full-range speakers. One aspect that could advice to explain that is, again, the acutely low distortion. Nonlinear baloney could accompany a lot added absorption to subwoofer-band frequencies, aback the harmonic baloney apparatus lay in a abundant added aural bandage than the fundamentals themselves. That agency the subwoofer becomes a lot louder than it is declared to be aback distortorting, alike if it was appropriately gain-matched during calibration. Aback examination ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,’ the 15” THX Ultra did what it was alleged to do and annihilation else, which is what a subwoofer should do. Annihilation abroad would baffle with the captivation of the experience.
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