Pro audio equipment manufacturers trade on their reputation, and that’s never more true than in the monitors market. The focal point of most producers’ studios, it’s vital for monitors to sound great, and look distinctive enough to be recognisable. New starter Monkey Banana have certainly nailed the latter, so where do they stand in the all important sound stakes?
For the more traditionally minded amongst you Monkey Banana will supply their monitors in jet black, but the adventurous will surely fall for the bold red trademark design. The hexagonal shape is unique and eye catching, and a subtle backlit logo indicates the power status of the unit.
Bass ports are rear mounted, with a grill shielded soft dome tweeter weighing in at 20W and exposed woofer that hits 50W, and that equates to each of them reaching over 95dB. Volume and pressure wise it puts them ahead of the KRK Rokit 5 and about in line with the Yamaha HS50. The size and weight of the unit is about average – there’s not a great deal of difference across the market with 5” speakers tending to come in at around 6kg and the Turbo 5 is no different.
The bass response of the Turbo 5 is very clear and well rounded for a 5” speaker
The bass response of the Turbo 5 is very clear and well rounded for a 5” speaker, and the highs are exceptionally transparent. Whilst most manufacturers state flat response up to 20kHz, Monkey Banana boast their tweeters can handle 30kHz, way past the threshold of human (and most dog) hearing limits. The result is an air that allows tweaking of those high registers without straining and a general tone that works well from rough electronica through to acoustic classical.
The Turbo range outshines pretty much all the competition when it comes to inputs, with a TRS/XLR combo input, RCA, and S/PDIF. S/PDIF is handled by including a pass through and a left/right switch on the speakers and is a really welcome addition. All three sound great, the digital input is as clear as you’d expect and the same goes for the balanced ins, but even the RCA inputs have a great SNR.
The Turbo 5′s rear is impressive
Another area the Turbo 5 really stands out is in its tone control. 100Hz and 10kHz each get a +/-6dB adjustment pot that allows you to tune the speakers to your room with much more accuracy than the switch based cut and boost on most competitors, and it’s this versatility that really puts the icing on the Monkey Banana cake. We found the bandwidth of each to be wide enough to smooth out issues with bass and those resonant top mids, not so wide that they simply relegate the mid ranges into negative space. Many of you will have less than ideal spaces to work with that give a slight boom to a certain trouble area, and the Turbo 5 have more scope than most to fixing it.
All in all we really, really like the Turbo 5s
Niggles? Manufacturers seem to insist on placing their on/off switch at the rear of the unit, and Monkey Banana are an equal culprit. Maybe an option to switch off the backlit logo would be nice. We think you’ll agree, these are small issues. We’re tempted to wish for front mounted adjustment controls, purely for the level of tweaking that can be done to get things just right, but it’s a general no-no across the board and we’d hate for the form of the Turbo 5 to be spoiled.
All in all we really, really like the Turbo 5s, and would assume that the rest of the range is similarly great; it’s rare for a new speaker manufacturer to come in and throw itself into direct price competition with the entry and mid level market, and the features and quality of the Turbo 5 means that we’d definitely want a pair of Turbos in our studio.0
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