Reviewing Monoprice

If you’re on Facebook and are public about your musical habit, you’ve likely seen ads from Monoprice. They sell their own branded musical instruments—products ranging from band/orchestral to rock band gear and associated portable PA—and, most recently, pro audio products, as in a 2.25 lb., large diaphragm, multi-pattern condenser microphone, one of the three products I review for Pro Sound News in the April 2015 issue.
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If you’re on Facebook and are public about your musical habit, you’ve likely seen ads from Monoprice. They sell their own branded musical instruments—products ranging from band/orchestral to rock band gear and associated portable PA—and, most recently, pro audio products, as in a 2.25 lb., large diaphragm, multi-pattern condenser microphone, one of the three products I review for Pro Sound News in the April 2015 issue.

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All their eggs aren’t in one basket, though. They also sell, and I list alphabetically, Android/Apple and Bluetooth/mobile communication accessories; an impressively broad array of prosumer products—speaker systems, cables, photo/video studio gear and associated lighting; security products; some connector networking components; and even printer cartridges. All are Monoprice-branded and have been cleverly gleaned from the global marketplace, imported from Asia by the company, then sold direct. Like the name implies, there’s only one Monoprice product per type: one at one very low price. (Interestingly, you can also buy “no logo products” delivered in white boxes from Monoprice under certain circumstances…contact Monoprice for more info.)

Early on, I dipped my feet into the Monoprice idea with an impressive and amazingly affordable backup kick pedal—the “Single Chain Pedal for Bass Drum” at $36.96 direct. To me, it looked like a Tama foot pedal on a Gibraltar chassis, and it felt good—an overall solid, medium-tensioned kick pedal. Having an Axis A pedal (http://www.axispercussion.com/axis-pedals/a-single-pedal/) I’ve used for 20 years now and am very comfortable with, the Monoprice pedal is certainly no replacement. Yet in fairness, it is a formidable understudy.

Following Monoprice generating buzz at subsequent NAMMs, I recently had the opportunity to review the 600850 Lollipop-Style Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone at $349 direct—considerably more expensive than my $36.96 pedal.

Monoprice’s pedal is 4.8 times less than its closest likeness, a Tama Iron Cobra ($180 street), which to me is at least as functional a solution as my Axis A in a pinch, though I’ll work a bit harder for the performance. Based on that formula, can the 600850 rival a $1,699 multi-pattern LDC? Similarly spec’d products at that street price point include very lovely models from Lauten and sE, and even AKG and Neumann, among others.

I find it all very interesting, and perhaps you will, too. For more, please read Pro Sound News’ upcoming Pro Audio Review section in April 2015 for a link to stereo 600850-on-piano audio clips, “in use” descriptions, a few conclusions and more.

Meanwhile, check out the 600850 and much more at Monoprice’s website: http://www.monoprice.com.

Strother Bullins is Reviews Editor for NewBay Media’s AV/Pro Audio Group as well as an active musician, self-recordist and gig-level live sound wrangler. sbullins@nbmedia.com