Monoprice 10565 Speaker System Measurements

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The World's Most Controversial Speaker System


Does that description sound hyperbolic? It's really not. Earlier this year, there was a big kerfuffle when Monoprice -- an Internet merchant devoted to delivering audio products and accessories at a fraction of the prices charged by competitors -- introduced a $249 5.1 speaker system that appeared to be practically identical to the well-reviewed $395 Energy Take Classic system. CNet reviewed both systems and found no significant performance difference between them.

Then they asked my colleague Geoff Morrison to dig a little deeper into the two systems. He in turn asked me to run some lab measurements on the speakers to see if there were any differences. In the resulting article, we found enough differences to say the two speakers weren't technically identical, but enough similarities to say that they were functionally identical.

A lawsuit ensued, which was settled on undisclosed terms.

Now Monoprice has introduced a new system, with the model number 10565. It appears quite similar to the previous 9774 system. The woofer in the satellite speaker has a dished dust cap, instead of the convex dust cap (styled to look like a phase plug) on the original. The crossover in the new one has one fewer resistors but the same number of capacitors and chokes. All components are of the same size as the previous ones and, we assume, the same value or at least pretty close.

Fortunately, I have a super-accurate and completely objective and scientific way to find out if there's a difference between the new and old systems: my Clio 10 FW audio analyzer, which I use in conjunction with a Clio MIC-01 measurement microphone. The Clio could tell us exactly what was going on by measuring the frequency response of the new one so I could compare it directly to the measurements I took of the original. I used quasi-anechoic measurement technique, with the microphone placed at a distance of 1 meter.

Want to read a subjective, hands-on take of the system? Home Theater Expert Robert Silva has a full review and photos/specs for you.

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Frequency Response, Energy vs. Monoprice vs. Monoprice

Brent Butterworth

The above graph shows the frequency response of the satellite speakers from the Energy Take Classic (red trace), Monoprice 9774 (gold trace) and the new Monoprice 10565 (green trace). As you can see, the differences between the Energy and the original Monoprice system are negligible, but the differences between these older systems and the new Monoprice 10565 are significant.

The big difference is that with the new model, there's a boost averaging about +3 dB between 1 kHz and 3.6 kHz -- possibly the result of that removed resistor. This roughly 2-octave-wide boost should be clearly audible, and should have the effect of making voices more pronounced but also giving the speakers a somewhat brighter sound.

The new model also shows a bit less treble extension, with the high frequencies down about -3 dB at 15 kHz relative to the older models, and dropping quickly above that frequency. This would suggest the new model might have a little less "air" and ambience compared to the older models.

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Frequency Response, Monoprice 10565 Satellite

Brent Butterworth

This graph shows the frequency response of the 10565 satellite at 0° on-axis (blue trace) and an average of 0°, ±10°, ±20° and ±30° measurements (green trace). Even with the boosted midrange, this is still an excellent result, with flatter response than many much more expensive speakers can deliver. Off-axis response is excellent; response is almost the same across the ±30° averaged window as it is on-axis. The -3 dB bass response is 95 Hz, better than the rated 110 Hz.

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Frequency Response, Monoprice 10565 Center Speaker

Brent Butterworth

This graph shows the frequency response of the 10565 center speaker at 0° on-axis (blue trace) and an average of 0°, ±10°, ±20° and ±30° measurements (green trace). It also shows the boosted midrange characteristic of the satellite speaker. The two appear to have the same drivers, but the center speaker places the tweeter alongside the woofer instead of on top of the woofer. The center speaker also has a larger enclosure with two ports instead of the single port on the satellite. Off-axis response is not as good as with the satellite because the drivers are side-by-side instead of top-and-bottom, but it's still pretty smooth when averaged out. The -3 dB bass response is 95 Hz, again better than the rated 110 Hz.

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Freqeuncy Response, Monoprice 10565 Subwoofer

Brent Butterworth

Here's the frequency response of the 10565's included subwoofer, which has an 8-inch driver in a ported enclosure driven by an internal amp rated at 200 watts. Response measures ±3 dB from 33 to 170 Hz.

I also did CEA-2010 output measurements on the sub. They're pretty impressive. All values reported at 1 meter per CEA-2010 requirements. An L after the result indicates that a limiter or the maximum gain of the amplifier prevented CEA-2010 distortion thresholds from being exceeded. Averages are calculated in pascals.

Ultra-low bass (20 - 31.5Hz) average output: 97.4 dB
20 Hz    86.0 dB
25 Hz    93.7 dB
31.5 Hz    103.8 dB

Low bass (40 - 63 Hz) average output: 115.4 dB
40 Hz    110.1 dB
50 Hz    114.8 dB
63 Hz    119.1 dB L

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Impedance, Monoprice 10565 Satellite and Center Speakers

Brent Butterworth

This chart shows the impedance of the 10565 satellite speaker (blue trace) and center speaker (green trace). Both average about 7 ohms. The minimum impedance of the satellite is 3.7 ohms at 350 Hz with a phase angle of -9°. The minimum impedance of the center is 3.4 ohms at 350 Hz with a phase angle of -11°.

Sensitivity measured with a 2.83-volt signal (1 watt at 8 ohms) at 1 meter, average from 300 Hz to 3 kHz, is 82.7 dB for the satellite and 83.6 dB for the center. Thus, these speakers may tax a cheap little amp, but they'll be fine with pretty much any A/V receiver.