Monolith by Monoprice M-10 V2 THX Subwoofer Review
I’m not fond of the term “budget.” For me, “budget” implies compromising on quality, skipping features, or making sacrifices. But priced at $649, the Monolith by Monoprice M-10 V2 THX subwoofer falls into what we would consider the “budget subwoofer” category. Let me tell you a bit of a secret – it doesn’t lack quality, features, or sacrifice anything! So before I tip my hand too much, let’s take a hands-on review of the Monolith By Monoprice V2 THX Certified 10″ subwoofer.
I don’t expect a lot of companies in terms of subwoofer design. I don’t need fancy designs or finishes. In my experience, subwoofers share some common traits – large black enclosures, big drivers and ports, and a plate amplifier on the back with a bunch of knobs, switches, and inputs.
The new Monolith By Monoprice M-10 V2 THX subwoofer maintains a familiar look to its predecessor. Monoprice has a redesigned woofer with a tastefully embossed Monoprice logo in the center with rounded corners and a nice black finish. The round port is flush with the enclosure and nicely centered.
The speaker grill uses traditional pegs to secure it to the enclosure. It is flush with the edges and takes quite a bit of force to pull off. This tells me that little fingers won’t easily be able to access the driver or ports – added assurances for parents with curious little ones.
Controls and Inputs
The backplate shares familiarity with its brethren. It has gain, crossover, and 180° variable phase knobs. It also sports switches for power (always-on/auto-on settings) and two THX switches for enabling its Extended Bass mode (EQ and Crossover). Completed with a pair of RCA inputs and a single XLR input and output, you can rest assured that you have connectivity across many receivers and processors.
The Monolith By Monoprice M-10 V2 THX subwoofer uses High-Density Fibreboard (HDF) for its construction. This choice bucks the trend of using MDF for speaker cabinets. Monoprice claims that HDF and strong internal bracing create an inert resonance-free enclosure that guards against any unwanted rattles from the sub. In addition, HDF brings extra weight, with the 10″ weighing in at 73lbs! A quick knock on the subwoofer enclosure brings a satisfying and dull thud, confirming its density.
Again, here is where I have to bring up the term “budget.” HDF is considerably more expensive than MDF. Common sense would dictate that if a company wanted to offer a “budget” subwoofer, they would sacrifice materials and go with the cheapest option. So my back is the only thing I am sacrificing with the 75 lb Monolith By Monoprice V2 THX Certified 10″ subwoofer. Thankfully, I could get this beast into place by myself and not throw out my back!
At 20.9″ x 15.0″ x 18.9″ (530 x 380 x 480 mm), I would consider this a very average size for a quality subwoofer. Which is to say, quite large. If you are planning on ordering this sight unseen, we always recommend you build a cardboard box with the exact dimensions and place it in your room.
I think that the Monolith By Monoprice M-10 V2 THX subwoofer strikes the perfect balance between form and function. Although I have a dedicated space for my HT, I don’t want my room dominated by a massive subwoofer. The sub is not hard to place and has enough size and internal volume to allow for excellent low-frequency extension.
Monoprice has mated their 10″ driver with a 500w (900w peak) amplifier. The 10″ Monolith V2 THX Certified subwoofer has a low-frequency extension of 17-20Hz when placed in vented Extended EQ or sealed THX EQ modes, respectively.
A 500w / 10″ driver combo means that the Monolith by Monoprice M-10 V2 THX subwoofer is best in a smaller room, under 2500 sq feet. My 13’x21’x8′ room (approx. 2200 sq feet) is the perfect size for this subwoofer.
Monolith by Monoprice M-10 V2 THX Subwoofer Specs
|Cone Material||2 layer long fiber pulp/glass fiber cone|
|Voice Coil||60mm with high-temperature aluminum wire and black anodized aluminum bobbin|
|Surround||FEA optimized NBR (nitrile butadiene rubber)|
|Motor||FEA optimized, undercut T‑pole focused field|
|Magnet||Ceramic Y35, 2 pcs total 180 oz.|
|Enclosure||Sealed or vented HDF cabinet with horizontal and vertical bracing|
|Amplifier||Class D 500Wrms|
|Harmonic Distortion||<3% 20‑100 Hz (90dB @ 1m)|
|Variable Level Control||+15/‑20dB|
|Crossover||Inline/Bypass variable 40‑160 Hz|
|Inputs||RCA (2), XLR|
|Signal Turn On||Selectable always-on/auto|
|Auto Turn Off||30 minutes|
|Dimensions||20.9″ x 15.0″ x 18.9″ (530 x 380 x 480 mm)|
|Weight||72.5 lbs. (32.9 kg)|
|Frequency Response (‑6dB)||Sealed||Vented|
|Extended EQ||Not Recommended||17‑200 Hz|
|THX® EQ||20‑200 Hz||Not Recommended|
So even though I have a dedicated space, I balance form and function in my room. This means I have limited options for subwoofer placement based on furniture placement in my room. Luckily, the spots I have are almost optimal.
I put the Monolith V2 THX Certified 10″ subwoofer at the back of my room, opposite my 10″ SVS PB 1000. I followed our guide to setting up dual subwoofers. In no time they were gain matched and ready for room correction.
A “quick” 17 position measurement later with Dirac Live, and my dual subwoofers were ready for a test.
Note: As seen above, I played with placement. The Monolith V2 THX Certified 10″ subwoofer is great at the front or back of your room. Testing different placements, I prefered the punch I got with it corner loaded. In sealed mode, I much prefer the corner placement.
Ok, so my editor is no fun at all! He told me that I needed some sort of methodology to follow when testing. I needed to download boring ole sweeps and test tones and then repeatedly listen to them! All joking aside, test tones are a great way to test your subwoofer’s capabilities, dial-in placement, and level matching. But he also wanted me to play some of my favorite movie scenes that I knew well and some music.
So let’s talk objective vs. subjective testing. All of my tests are subjective, meaning that they are my personal opinions and feelings. So while I would love to take some measurements, the fact is that I don’t have the right environment to do it correctly, and I am not skilled enough to interpret them.
That said, I have been doing this long enough to have faith that I can accurately interpret what I am hearing and give it the proper weight when I conduct my test.
The last point is that humans can start to hear tones at 20hz. So this means that we can not hear anything below 20hz, and the chances are that I won’t pick up anything until closer to 25hz. However, we can feel tones under 20hz. My room will tell me when the subwoofer starts to play a frequency under 20hz.
I ran over to our favorite test tone generator that allowed me to create a custom sweep. The site also had a preloaded one that announced which frequency was playing. This sweep was incredibly useful because it gave me a sense of the subwoofer’s capabilities.
As expected, although the sub was silent to my ears at 10hz, as I neared 20hz I could feel my room reacting. What does this “feel” like? Like the air around you is excited and you can hear faint buzzing as things in your walls (or in other rooms) start to vibrate. This tells me that Monoprice didn’t exaggerate the claim of a 17hz extension. From 30hz on, I could hear the tone clearly, and the sweep finished at 200hz with no distortion audible.
Unsurprisingly, the remaining tones I created and ran were smooth and confirmed my subjective belief that the Monolith By Monoprice M-10 V2 THX subwoofer could handle its rated frequency response smoothly. The subwoofer didn’t chuff or distort, even at reference volume.
Ok, as exciting as test tones and sweeps are, I am sure you all want to know how it performs with movies. I have a couple of go-to movies to wow my friends with my subwooferiness. They mix prolonged low-frequency tones, punchy explosions, or an all-out bass smorgasbord! These scenes will put any subwoofer to the test and reveal any flaws with port chuffing (slapping or hooting sounds) or driver over-extension.
My first is the opening scene to Edge of Tomorrow. A low-frequency tone plays throughout the scene and dips well into the infrasonic territory. While you can’t hear it at first, the room absolutely starts to rattle and hum and eventually makes it to a point where you can hear it. I had an older 12” sub that over-extended and chuffed terribly during the scene. Not the Monolith By Monoprice M-10 V2 THX subwoofer! Aside from clean bass, there was no sign of chuff!
My second test was the opening scene to Iron Man. When the explosion rocks through the column of Humvee’s, my room shakes, and you feel the explosion hammer through your chest and my sofa. I’ll be honest, the sudden punch from the sub made me jump, and my wife said that all her wine glasses in the room above rattled!
The last two movies are both Kaiju movies. Pacific Rim and Godzilla have incredible LFE tracks throughout both. When the Kaiju rips through the bridge and battles the Jaeger, I reached for the remote! At reference volume, the bass was uncomfortably loud. Same with Godzilla. I turned down the sub for both movies to be able to maintain reference volume. Needless to say, the Monolith By Monoprice M-10 V2 THX subwoofer brings the boom!
So I believe that no matter how capable you think your speakers are for music, a subwoofer is a must. My music taste varies, and it wouldn’t be uncommon for me to listen to jazz, blues, rock, and old-school hip-hop in a single session.
Despite the audiophile belief that a sealed sub is best for music, the Monolith by Monoprice V2 M-10 THX subwoofer performed flawlessly. Bass was tight, punchy, and accurate. If you want a sealed sub, the V2 ships with a port plug and can run in sealed mode. I did run a short playlist in both sealed and vented, but I preferred the vented mode if we are being honest. Whatever your preference, you won’t be disappointed with the Monolith By Monoprice M-10 V2 THX subwoofer!
What It’s Missing
It’s hard to find anything wrong with this subwoofer. The only thing I can point out that it’s missing compared to its competition is the lack of an app for control and any integrated EQ. Honestly, while those are nice quality-of-life features, they certainly aren’t necessary. I know I’m not the only one that thinks these are good omissions in order to save money.
If it’s not apparent to you yet, I LOVE this subwoofer. From the premium fit, finish, and materials to the insane performance, I can’t recommend this subwoofer enough. It’s perfect for my room. If you have a similar room, get it! If you have a larger room, Monoprice has other offerings for you. They are just as price conscience, but they do get much heavier. So you’ll need a friend to help you set it up.
This subwoofer is an absolute steal at $649. Its performance to price ratio is outstanding, and I dare say the Monolith By Monoprice V2 M-10 THX subwoofer is my “must-have” subwoofer for the AV enthusiast.