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Review: Monkey Banana Turbo 5

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?


SPECS:

5″ woofer @ 50W, 1″ tweeter @ 20W – SNR >99dB / 95 dB. THD 0.02%/0.05%. Frequency response 55Hz-30KHz

 

PROS:
  • Distinctive look
  • Sound fantastic
  • Excellent tweaking controls
  • Balanced, unbalanced and digital inputs
CONS:
  • All rear adjustment slightly awkward
  • Not much else
Price at Review: €249The Turbo 5 is an excellent mid level monitor speaker that has the connectivity and adjustability to fit right in in your studio.
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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.

Visit Monkey Banana’s website for distributor information

Elektron Machinedrum

Musikmesse Highlights – Day 1

So, day one of Musikmesse is complete, and it’s time to give you a quick low down on some of the things that caught my eye.

 

Elektron’s little boxes both look and sound great, from the Machinedrum drum machine to the dual channel sampling audio mangler Octatrack. I’ll be interviewing the guys tomorrow, and getting samples in for review soon.

Elektron’s little boxes both look and sound great

Another thing with both looks and sounds going for it is the Synthlab SL1, a fully analogue mono synth.

the Synthlab SL1, a fully analogue mono synth

I’m serious, manufacturers, just put wood end plates on it and I’ll like it. Video demo is on the way, as is a review

model to give it a proper going over in

the Oh Drat studio.

 

Arturia’s Spark and Analogue Experience Laboratory made an appearance, and I got the lowdown on the them both, video’s on the way!

The pads feel really nice on the Spark

The pads feel really nice on the Spark, in fact it feels like a solid unit in general.

Rhizome is a totally standalone workstation

 

The Rhizome has been on the market for a few months but it’s not seen much action yet – it’s a totally standalone workstation, running on an embedded version of Windows XP meaning it can load all the VST plugins you’re used to and take advantage of their flexibility in its unique workflow. You know the drill – video soon, as is review…

Finally, these monitors from Monkey Banana caught my eye.

these monitors from Monkey Banana caught my eye

They’re available in black too, but if you’re considering hexagonal monitors in the first place (and I could definitely imagine these in the Oh Drat studio!) you may as well go all out! Perhaps not a video with these guys, but definitely a review.

More tomorrow, but for now make sure you let me know what you think….

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