“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Monolith Air Motion Cinema 5 Bookshelf & Center Channel Speaker Conclusion

By

As I wrap up this review, I am listening to the Air Motion Bookshelf Speakers, and, even though they didn’t measure perfectly, they still sound pretty darn good. Some readers may be tempted to dismiss them out of hand due to the spikiness in the response above 5 kHz, but before they do, they ought to consider that our measurements are very unsparing of any nonlinearities in the responses. Their dream speaker with a perfectly flat response is going to cost considerably more than $200/ea, at least by our rigid measurement methodology. That being said, the high frequencies certainly exhibit some room for improvement.  After discussing our findings with Monoprice, the product manager for the Monolith speaker lines have told us that a modification to smooth out the response is likely to be forthcoming in further production runs of the Air Motion speakers. Even so, as I mentioned, in listening to the speakers I didn’t detect anything badly out of sorts. From listening to a recording here and there which I had familiarity with, the only thing that may have been different that I could tell was the higher pitched percussion such as cymbals and hi-hats might have been a bit more pronounced than on the speakers I was used to. Some recordings using bell sounds were also a bit more pronounced than I was accustomed to.

conclusion_pair

For under  $1k, you can assemble a hard to beat 5.0 Air Motion speaker system.

Notwithstanding the higher frequency rockiness in the response, there is a lot to like about the Air Motion speakers. Horizontal dispersion is relatively wide, and since it lines up well with the direct axis response, the higher frequency jaggedness is something that can be partially tamed by automated room equalizers like Audyssey. As was seen in the polar maps, these speakers have good coverage out to 40 degrees off direct axis, so they give you an 80-degree angle of reasonably good sound coverage. They also have very good dynamic range for modestly sized bookshelf speakers. One aspect in which the Air Motion speakers have a big advantage over the K-BAS speakers is the Air Motions sound very good in near-field use. The K-BAS needed some distance to sound good and just did not work well for a desktop speaker, but I am happy to report the Air Motions sound fine as desktop speakers, so long as they can be elevated or angled back so the tweeters are at ear level.

They may not be the most neutral speaker, but the Air Motion speakers sounded pretty good with some optimal placement and toe-in, and I think most people who give them a chance would be quite happy them. Also in the plus column, they also look very nice and are not very large. The build quality is exceptional for a bookshelf speaker at its price point. Furthermore, they have an electrically friendly load that can run easily on any amplifier. They come with a 5-year warranty and a 30 day window of return for a full refund if you do not wish to keep them for any reason. I think four Air Motion Cinema 5 Bookshelf Speakers and an Air Motion Center Channel Speaker would be a sweet little 5.0 system for under $1k- just add a good sub and you are set for movie night. If Monoprice can get the cone breakup issues in check in further production runs of the Air Motion Bookshelf speakers, they will have some real gems in that price range.

Monoprice Monolith Air Motion Cinema 5 Bookshelf Speakers and Air Motion Center Channel Speaker Review
MSRP for Air Motion Cinema 5 Bookshelf Speakers: $199.99 / each
MSRP for Air Motion Center Channel Speaker: $299.99 

Monoprice, Inc.
11701 6th Street
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

www.monoprice.com
877-271-2592

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
MetricRating
Build QualityStarStarStarStar
AppearanceStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStar
ImagingStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarhalf-star
ValueStarStarStarStar
About the author:

James Larson is Audioholics' primary loudspeaker and subwoofer reviewer on account of his deep knowledge of loudspeaker functioning and performance and also his overall enthusiasm toward moving the state of audio science forward.

View full profile

Confused about what AV Gear to buy or how to set it up? Join our Exclusive Audioholics E-Book Membership Program!

Recent Forum Posts:

panteragstk posts on May 16, 2017 01:57
Pogre, post: 1187468, member: 79914
Ah, so there are distinct differences. I wish brick and mortar stores were still around for hifi audio. I'd love to get out and listen to more.

They are, just depends on where you are…and if you are willing to drive.
Pogre posts on May 15, 2017 18:55
shadyJ, post: 1187452, member: 20472
Hey Pogre,

AMTs and ribbon tweeters are not the same at all, at least in design. AMTs use a folded membrane, and it collapses and expands the folds to squeeze air in and out of these folds. It does so at a frequency determined by the voltage signal. Ribbon tweeters oscillates a light film back and forth as a whole. AMT tweeters tend to be more robust, but they can range in quality from good to blah. I have heard very good AMTs and also very good ribbon tweeters.
Ah, so there are distinct differences. I wish brick and mortar stores were still around for hifi audio. I'd love to get out and listen to more.
shadyJ posts on May 15, 2017 17:52
Pogre, post: 1187439, member: 79914
How does the AMT tweeter compare to a Raal? I have very little experience listening to ribbon tweeters.
Hey Pogre,

AMTs and ribbon tweeters are not the same at all, at least in design. AMTs use a folded membrane, and it collapses and expands the folds to squeeze air in and out of these folds. It does so at a frequency determined by the voltage signal. Ribbon tweeters oscillates a light film back and forth as a whole. AMT tweeters tend to be more robust, but they can range in quality from good to blah. I have heard very good AMTs and also very good ribbon tweeters.
zieglj01 posts on May 15, 2017 17:32
They look like they have potential, however for now I will wait and see if they improve the tweeter response. First order on the tweeter at this price point disturbs me.
Pogre posts on May 15, 2017 16:55
How does the AMT tweeter compare to a Raal? I have very little experience listening to ribbon tweeters.
Post Reply