Monkey Banana Turbo6 and Turbo10s

Jun 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Bobby Frasier

Affordable Monitors and Sub Bring High-End Sound

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Monkey Banana monitor

Monkey Banana speakers are designed by two engineers and studio owners, in the town of Schliengen in the southwestern part of Germany, then manufactured in China. The Turbo Series is being rolled out with a 4-, 5-, 6- and 8-inch woofer (all using the same 1-inch tweeter), and a 10-inch subwoofer. The review units were two Turbo6 monitors with the optional Turbo10s subwoofer. The speakers come in red or black.

The Shape of Things

The first thing you’ll notice is the shape. The speaker box is in the shape of an elongated or “non-regular” hexagon. According to Monkey Banana, this shape is “most effective in minimizing standing waves inside the enclosure,” thus minimizing distortion. It is definitely unique and immediately identifies the brand. Monkey Banana uses MDF as its choice of material for the cabinet structure, providing an inert, low-resonant housing for the transducers and amplifiers. The interior of the cabinet is lined with blended wool to further dampen internal reflections.

Both the woofer and tweeter are slightly recessed into the cabinet, creating circular waveguides. All cabinet edges are slightly rounded, and along with the recessed transducers, give the speaker a soft appearance. The 6-inch woofer is made up of a patented high-tech mixture of polypropylene, carbon fiber and ceramics, making it lightweight yet rigid, enabling a fast transient response and quick return time.

The published frequency response of the Turbo6 is 50 Hz to 30 kHz. Another patented design, the 1-inch, rear-chambered, silk-dome-style tweeter uses a neodymium magnet structure; it’s a joy to listen to. Using “aerospace technology,” the nano-magnetic materials provide excellent heat dissipation, low distortion and a lower frequency range than conventional tweeters, reproducing a great deal of detail without being edgy. Dual onboard Class-A/B amplifiers produce 30W for the HF and 60W for the LF.

The back panel has a rear port mounted at the upper portion of the cabinet. Conspicuously absent are any heat-sink fins for heat dissipation; the air movement through the rear port is used to cool the amplifiers. Inputs are on a Neutrik XLR/TRS combo jack for +4dBu levels, an RCA jack for unbalanced -10dBv levels, and an RCA co-ax for S/PDIF digital input. A Thru connector is supplied to send the S/PDIF signal on to the next speaker. A toggle switch is provided to select the channel at the speaker if you are using the S/PDIF input along with the Thru port. Another toggle switch is included to select either analog or digital input. This is a handy feature, allowing you to have both a digital source and an analog source plugged into the speaker at the same time. Other features include a volume control and HF and LF shelf controls, offering ±6dB at 10 kHz and 100 Hz, respectively.

Enter the Sub

Sporting the now-familiar non-regular hexagonal shape, the 10-inch subwoofer weighs in at just over 49 pounds. This sub acts as a bass manager, summing the bass information of your two stereo channels below the selected crossover frequency. The crossover is continuously variable from 40 Hz to 120 Hz via a rotary control on the back panel. Frequency response for the sub is 20 Hz to 120 Hz. A healthy 300 watts powers the low end, with .08 percent distortion at the rated output. Again, there are no heat-sink fins on the back of the cabinet; like its little brothers in the midrange, the dissipation is mounted inside. One difference in design application for the sub is in the driver. The designers chose to use a paper cone instead of the PP/ceramic/carbon fiber mixture of the Turbo4, 5, 6, and 8s.

A full complement of controls on the back of the Turbo10s should make it easy to integrate into your current environment. Along with the variable crossover, a switch for reverse polarity operation is included, as well as a volume control. Inputs and outputs include XLR, TRS, RCA unbalanced and RCA digital. There is a jack for an on/off footswitch, and a Standby Mode selector for Always On, Auto and Off.

Testing…Testing…

My first listening tests where without the subwoofer. Precisely matching levels with my current reference speakers, JBL LSR6328Ps, I found the Turbo6’s imaging to be remarkably three-dimensional. The soundstage is wide, and the phantom center is firmly placed between the speakers. The circular waveguides create a much wider sweet spot than I would have imagined.






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