If you’re reading this on your laptop (even one of the best laptops) or tablet, take a quick look at the little grids on either side of the keyboard – or the edge of the screen, shooting out of your handheld.
Now look at the pair of powered speakers above, designed specifically for your desktop and each with two four-inch woofers, a one-inch silk dome tweeter, a 5.25-inch passive radiator, and 50W. of Class D amplification, which you’re able to plug in (or not – hey, it’s your system) to find the ideal listening position. Hardly a contest, is it?
The product is the Monolith MTM 100, and as well as being a powerful 100W proposition, it’s also well-connected: pair them with your compact smartphone and your Bluetooth 5.0 computer with aptX HD, or connect them with a pair of RCAs for listening analog, 3.5mm aux input or Toslink optical and USB-C for digital connection using the built-in high-performance DAC.
They also come with a wireless remote and also have a connection for a subwoofer – let’s face it, not many of the best Bluetooth speakers have these…
Opinion: These desktop speakers aren’t just for work
Having tested some of the best party speakers on the market, the team at prides itself on knowing the kind of sound quality (and volume) needed for a party in full swing, and that’s it – although there is a headphone jack attached. in front of a speaker if you are a group of one today.
To quickly explain what powered speakers are: each of the products in our best stereo speakers guide can be categorized into three different species – active, powered and passive. Passive speakers are the traditional driver-packed boxes that require an external pre/power amp combo to produce sound – but they don’t have to be traditional looking, as my favorite, slightly terrifying Wilson Audio speakers prove. What happens is that once the signal from the amplifier arrives at these speakers, an internal crossover inside the speakers detects and sends the appropriate frequencies to each of the drivers (tweeter, midrange driver, woofer, etc.)
Active speakers have all this amplification built in – and crucially, they have a dedicated amplifier unit for each ‘via’. Thus, a two-way speaker with a tweeter and a mid/bass driver unit has two power amplifier modules, one for each driver (or ‘via’) powered by an ‘active’ crossover.
Then powered speakers – which is what we have here (although another good example is the Q Acoustics M20 HD). Here, the amplifier is still built-in, but it’s usually hidden in one of the cabinets and powers all the drivers within the system, meaning one speaker is designated as ‘master’ and the other as ‘slave’.
Powered speakers tend to be a budget option because you don’t have to fork out separate hi-fi extras (in a passive setup) or extra dedicated amp modules (in active speakers). And even though I haven’t heard it yet, in just $499.99 (opens in new tab) (around £440 or AU$795, but we’re waiting for the official price), I think these speakers are worth talking about.
See, that’s $100 cheaper than the Q Acoustics option above, though it should be noted that you’re getting 2 x 65W of power, which I’d say is a bit much for the average office setup.
My advice? Whether you’re an avid gamer, musician, content creator, or just someone who loves powerful audio at their desk and wants a variety of connectivity options, an alternative to even one of the best PC gaming headsets or best speakers Computer speakers can be revealing – and the Monoprice Monolith MTM 100 is worth a look.