The Monolith “Audition” line comprises the T4 Tower, B4 Bookshelf, and C4 Center speakers. These are lovingly referred to by Monolith as products 43158, 43159, and 43160, respectively, but I’ll refer to them as T4, B4, and C4 in this review.
These product numbers are essential as they’re the easiest way to find each item on Monolith’s website. While the T4, B4, and C4 are the subject of this review, Monolith also offers slightly upgraded versions of each, predictably referred to as the T5, B5, and C5.
As the name implies, these speakers represent Monolith’s entry-level offering for the Home Theater market. Current pricing for the T4 is $199.99 per speaker, with the B4 priced significantly lower at $99.99 per speaker, and the C4 at $129.99 per speaker.
I’ll spend most of this review discussing the T4 since the C4 and B4 share the same drivers and basic cabinet design.
Monolith Audition Line Product Overview
The T4 is more or less what I expected physically and visually at this price point. Weighing in at under 18 pounds, the T4 is the lightest tower speaker I’ve encountered. While current information on Monolith’s website suggests the T4s are bi-amp ready, the pair I received had no such connectors.
The speakers have a rating of 4 ohms and can be easily powered, even with a modest amount of power. Monolith says they can be driven with as little as 40 watts, and I found no reason to doubt this.
The speakers came well-packed and included a standard fare snap-on grill sporting the Monolith logo and basic plinths to keep them in place. However, the cabinet is notably thin, which did cause some resonance and vibration during use. More on this later.
The driver compliment for the T4 consists of three 4-inch polypropylene woofers and a 20mm soft dome tweeter. Two woofers are used for the low end, with the 3rd crossed over at an aggressive 2.5Khz for mid-woofer duty. I call this aggressive because the 20mm soft dome tweeter is crossed at the exact same frequency. Unless this is a mistake on the Monolith product page, I expect the mid-woofer to be crossed somewhat lower.
As mentioned above, the B4 places a single polypropylene woofer and 20mm soft dome tweeter into a smaller cabinet. Similarly, the C4 places two such woofers and a single tweeter into a horizontally oriented configuration.
While the T4 is a 3-way speaker, the B4 and C4 are predictably 2-way designs. The C4 sacrifices some low-end capability compared to its siblings but has similar claimed specs. Upgrading to the 5 Series increases the woofers to 5.25 inches instead of the 4-inch drivers used here.
Any good reviewer will tell you speaker performance is highly dependent on the environment where the speakers are placed. My room is about 1,832 cubic feet, so not at all huge. I initially set up the T4s and C4 in standard LCR configuration.
I generally listen to 2 channel music without the aid of a subwoofer as my Legacy Focus SEs are quite capable down to around 25Hz. That is not the case for the T4s.
I did a little listening before running Audyssey MultEQ XT32 to establish a baseline. Without correction, the speakers were clearly over-taxed on the low end.
Audyssey did an excellent job of evening things out but, strangely, set the crossover to 40Hz. However, the 4-inch woofers used in these speakers suggested 80Hz, which made better sense, so I set that value manually.
The T4s definitely demand the addition of a capable sub to be fully enjoyed. This is not a negative, just something to keep in mind. When I switched in the B4s, this became even more apparent, as would be expected.
I threw a range of material at the T4 over about a week’s time, spanning genres from my personal favorite, Rap/Hip Hop, to both soft and hard Rock and even a little Classical.
Whether listening to Against All Odds by the late and legendary Tupac, Hotel California by the prolific Eagles, or The Boogie Bumper by one of my Big Band favorites, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the T4s told the same story: “Pair us with a capable sub and we’ll hold our own.” While there was notable cabinet vibration at even moderate volumes, I felt the coloration added to the sound was within an acceptable range for this product class.
For this review, I chose the opening sequence of the original Men In Black as it contains a nice orchestral arrangement. I feel it does a good job of testing a speaker’s dynamic range.
While they won’t be confused with my Focus SEs, once my subs were engaged, the T4s did a respectable job of conveying the feel of this soundtrack into my room up to moderate levels. If you push them too hard, they’ll quickly make it clear they are under duress but, for smaller rooms and with capable subs, I felt they did a competent job.
Next up, I popped in one of my stalwart review discs, Oblivion. The T4s weren’t quite up to the task of rendering this superb Atmos track in all its glory, lacking some depth and dynamic range in the soundstage. Positioning helped some but could not entirely compensate for the somewhat anemic overall sound, particularly in the midrange.
For both movies and music, however, the star of the show was the 20mm soft dome tweeter. Its waveguide design did make for surprisingly decent imaging at this price point. This came across most in my musical sessions.
The Monolith Audition Competition
For what they are, the Audition line by Monolith represents an excellent value proposition. However, another good rule of thumb in Home Theater is to purchase the best speakers one can afford at the onset and build the rest of your system around them. This is because a quality set of speakers can easily last 20-plus years, while electronic components tend to become obsolete within a comparably shorter timeframe.
If your budget can stretch to this amount, the Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 will give you a much more satisfying overall experience. The Klipsch KD 52F towers also pack a potent punch in this segment, although it should be noted the Klipsch “horn-loaded” sound can be fatiguing for some. Finally, there is the Dayton Audio MK 442 T, which, due to their “transmission line” enclosure design, are likely to perform much better on the low end than the T4’s, despite identical driver size.
The Monolith Audition line represents a great entry-level option for those wishing to get into Home Theater without breaking the bank. One should always consider their budget when purchasing speakers, but you also want to be realistic about expectations.
If you have the budget, I would recommend taking a close look at one of the other options I’ve presented here, along with countless others, some even available from Monolith.
Suppose your budget doesn’t allow for this, however, as long as you add a capable sub and are in a moderate to a small room. In that case, I believe the T4s will serve you well at average listening levels, although the Dayton Audio MK44 2 T present a strong case in their own right and are also worthy of consideration.
The Monolith Audition line carries a 3-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee. In addition, the company offers a “Concierge” service level that includes dedicated customer support, 60-day price protection and extends the return window to 45 days, but I wasn’t able to find any pricing information for this option.
Buy now on Monoprice:
- Monolith Audition T4 Tower
- Monolith Audition B4 Bookshelf
- Monolith Audition C4 Center
- Monolith Audition T5 Tower
- Monolith Audition B5 Bookshelf
- Monolith Audition C5 Center
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