Speakers

Monolith by Monoprice Encore Series Speakers: The New Budget Speaker Leader?


Undoubtedly, one of the biggest challenges facing beginner audio enthusiasts is the startup costs of our hobby. Sure, you can scour the used market for deals. Because a lot of people want the assurance that comes with brand new speakers, new is attractive. But there is a trade-off. Generally speaking, entry-level speakers are inexpensive. They use less expensive materials in their builds, their fit and finish are uninspired, and their sound can be lacking. Monoprice is trying to buck this trend with their Monolith by Monoprice Encore Series speakers. The Encore series prices the T6 tower at $399 (per), $179 (per) for the B6 bookshelf, and $249 for the C6 center channel speaker. The Encore series promises a lot of bang for your buck!

Each Monolith by Monoprice Encore Series speaker shares the same 25mm silk dome tweeter with a tweeter waveguide, and a 6.5″ woofer. So, because of this shared DNA, the Encore Series will have excellent timbre matching across the front soundstage. Monoprice claims a “sophisticated crossover network” that promises a flat response. The tower speaker has four binding posts allowing it to be bi-wired/amped, while the bookshelf and center have a pair of binding posts. Both the tower and bookshelf models are rear ported. You will need to be careful in placing them near walls or other boundaries. The center speaker is a sealed design.

The Specs

ModelMonolith By Monoprice T6 Encore Series Speaker ($399 each)
Colour and FinishBlack PVC
Main Woofers2x 6.5″ Long Fiber Pulp Cone with NBR Surround
Mid Woofer1x 6.5″ Long Fiber Pulp Cone with NBR Surround
Tweeter1x 25mm Silk Dome with Waveguide
EnclosureVented MDF cabinet with horizontal shelf bracing
Frequency Response37Hz ~ 20kHz
Nominal Impedance4 ohms
Sensitivity87.8dB ([email protected])
Crossover FrequenciesLow: 180Hz @6dB/octave
Mid: 1.35kHz @12dB/octave
High: 1.35kHz @18dB/octave
InputsTwo sets of 5‑way binding posts
Dimensions40.0″ x 7.9″ x 13.8″ (1016 x 201 x 351 mm)
Weight49.2 lbs. (22.3 kg)
Model Monolith By Monoprice B6 Encore Series Speaker ($179 each)
Color and FinishBlack PVC
Woofer1x 6.5″ Long Fiber Pulp Cone with NBR Surround
Tweeter1x 25mm Silk Dome with Waveguide
EnclosureVented MDF cabinet with horizontal shelf bracing
Frequency Response49Hz ~ 20kHz
Nominal Impedance4 ohms
Sensitivity85.0dB ([email protected])
Crossover FrequenciesLow: 1.2kHz @12dB/octave
High: 1.2kHz @18dB/octave
Inputs5‑way binding posts
Dimensions15.7″ x 7.9″ x 9.9″ (400 x 201 x 251 mm)
Weight15.4 lbs. (7.0 kg)
Model Monolith By Monoprice C6 Encore Series Speaker ($249 each)
Color and FinishBlack PVC
Woofers2x 6.5″ Long Fiber Pulp Cone with NBR Surround
Tweeter1x 25mm Silk Dome with Waveguide
EnclosureVented MDF cabinet with horizontal shelf bracing
Frequency Response56Hz ~ 20kHz
Nominal Impedance4 ohms
Sensitivity87.7dB ([email protected])
CrossoversLow: 1.5kHz @12dB/octave
High: 1.5kHz @18dB/octave
Inputs5‑way binding posts
Dimensions9.9″ x 22.2″ x 7.9″ (251 x 564 x 201 mm)
Weight22.0 lbs. (10.0 kg)

The Sound / Performance

Monolith designed the Encore Series speakers to have a flat frequency response. Because of this, you will see a very neutral sound that will reproduce both music and movies accurately. These will not appeal to listeners who like the “smiley” response curve with exaggerated bass and treble. That said, I think their sound signature will appeal to the majority of people.

Bass extension on the Monolith by Monoprice Encore Series T6 tower is decent at 37Hz. It could handle most music without the need for a dedicated subwoofer, but for movies, you will need to add a quality subwoofer (preferably two). Luckily, Monoprice offers a wide variety of budget-minded subwoofers that will fit any room or budget. The B6 is pretty typical of a bookshelf speaker with a response down to 49Hz. You will definitely want to add a subwoofer for both music and movies.

All the Monolith by Monoprice Encore Series speakers are spec at 4-ohms and have average sensitivity. As long as you are using them at 8-12′ from your main listening position, most AVR’s will handle these quite handily without the need for external amplification. If you push them quite hard and at a distance, the 4-ohm impedance may strain your AVR’s amps. That said, they don’t dip lower than 4-ohms very often so you don’t need to worry too much.

Monolith by Monoprice Encore Series Looks

So I admit that looks are wholly subjective and that you shouldn’t base your purchase on how a speaker looks vs how it performs. That said, I like to balance looks and performance when making a speaker purchase.

At their price point, the Monolith by Monoprice Encore Series speakers are pretty attractive. Because they feature MDF cabinets with thick internal bracing, Monoprice designed them to reduce internal cabinet resonances that could color the sound. They have a black ash vinyl wrap that should fit into most decors. The speaker features a typical peg and plug system for attaching the speaker grills. Surprisingly, the tower speakers feature an outrigger-style finish. I think this adds a more premium feel to this speaker, and I believe it is stylish.

Encore Build Quality

The tweeter and waveguide look premium. The waveguide on the Monolith by Monoprice Encore Series speakers features a raised Monolith logo, and it is flush-mounted into the speaker’s face and secured with black hex bolts. The woofer is all black and features a flat dust cap. Having been the victim of a pushed-in dust-cap, this is a welcomed design! It, too, is flush mounted and secured by black hex bolts. The flush-mounted ports on the tower and bookshelf models flow into the speaker with no gaps. Let’s be honest, no one looks at their rear ports, but I have had many speakers that added a port as an afterthought, and it looked as if they glued in a piece of PVC pipe. I appreciate this extra care by Monoprice.

These speakers will not visually appeal to everyone. In my opinion, they are attractive and will disappear when the lights go down. I would run these without the grills on. The flush-mounted waveguide, woofers, and ports, as well as the outrigger feet, give the Monolith by Monoprice Encore series speakers a more premium finish than their price would suggest.

Our Take

The Monolith by Monoprice Encore Series speakers is poised to hit a sweet spot in the speaker market. They offer reasonable pricing and good performance and power handling. They have a reasonably attractive exterior that looks more premium than its price tag would suggest. With a neutral sound signature, these speakers should appeal to a wide variety of enthusiasts. While I would have liked to see a few more wrap options available, it’s hard to be critical of a speaker that can get you a timbre-matched front soundstage for about five hundred bucks! Add a Monolith by Monoprice V2 THX Certified 10″ subwoofer for $549, and you have a pretty awesome setup for just under $1100! These should definitely be on your list of speakers to audition!


2 Comments on Monolith by Monoprice Encore Series Speakers: The New Budget Speaker Leader?

    • I mean…yes? You can drive any speaker with any amp to full gain. Something might clip or distort, but you can definitely turn the volume all the way up. If you want to know how loud the speakers can get at your listening position, use this calculator. Just remember, that’s for a single speaker. If you have two of them playing (as you often would for stereo sound), you can add 3-6dB to the output.

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