Monoprice is already known for offering a ton of affordable audio gear from super-cheap in-ears to tube amplifiers and home theater systems, but at CEDIA, the company has decided to up its game. The company has announced its new Monolith series, which features new speakers aimed at both home theater enthusiasts and audiophiles, as well as a first for the company: planar magnetic headphones.
The new Monolith M560 might be substantially cheaper than other planar magnetic headphones on the market, but that doesn’t mean Monoprice has skimped on features. The M560 features replaceable ear pads as well as removable wooden exteriors on the back, allowing them to switch between open-back and closed-back configurations. This is also the only set of planar magnetic headphones we’ve heard of that sells for $200.
The M560 aren’t the only pair of planar magnetic headphones coming from the company. The new M1060 is a full size open-back headphone, similar to offerings from Audeze, Oppo, and others. While those companies sell their models for as much as $3,000, the M1060 will sell for just $300. We haven’t been able to spend much time with either headphone yet, but we’re expecting they’ll sound pretty good, especially considering the price.
For home theater fans, the Monolith line also includes the new Air Motion speaker series, a higher-end offering than the company’s previous (and fairly capable) surround-sound offerings. Part of this series is a compact bookshelf speaker featuring a 5.25-inch driver on the bottom and a folded-ribbon tweeter on top, something usually found in fairly expensive speakers. This set, however, sells for $200 each, or $400 a pair.
The Air Motion series also includes a three-way center channel speaker, and while the entire line is well built, this model seems especially so: we could barely lift this speaker off of its table. Like the bookshelf/surround speakers, the center channel speaker also features a folded-ribbon tweeter. This speaker sells for $300.
If you’re more the audiophile type but don’t like paying the high prices usually associated with that term, the Monolith K-BAS Reference Series speakers might be more up your alley. Using K-BAS (Kinetic Bass Amplification System), Monoprice tells us the speaker is capable of reproducing bass as low as 33 to 35 Hz.
These speakers also feature an inverted midrange woofer and tweeter design with a bass port on the bottom. Like the Air Motion series, this features a solid cabinet design built using MDF. The Monolith K-BAS Reference Series sells for $250 per speaker, or $500 for a pair.
If you’re looking to power the new planar magnetic headphones, Monoprice has a new stereo tube headphone amp selling for just $140, and featuring a 24bit/96kHz USB DAC (digital to analog converter). We haven’t heard this yet, but based on the company’s other tube amp designs, we’re expecting good things. To power the speakers, the company also offers the massive $1,400 Monolith 7-channel power amp, which was introduced in May.
With the exception of the Monolith amp, which is available now, and the M1060 headphones which have no release date yet, all of these products are expected to become available this fall.
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