I’ll spend an inordinate amount of money on a videocard because it makes every game’s framerate better. I’ll do the same thing for a monitor, because it makes every game look cleaner. Keyboards and mice are my primary input devices, so they get the royal treatment. I’ll even spend a ton on a desk and chair because they are directly linked to my overall comfort. So why is it that I tend to completely ignore my audio solution? After seeing the solid work Monoprice has done with their gaming-focused gear aimed at the Steamdeck, or the Dark Matter fight stick (our review), I thought I’d give them a look to improve on my eight year old speakers.
Back in the days of Creative Labs 5.1 Surround Sound add-in cards and speakers to match, I spent real money on my audio – ironic as the audio was trash back then. The speakers were too, being more loud than clear, but you may have noticed that these days are over. Finding a 5.1 surround sound speaker set for the PC or consoles is downright rare now, and the speakers you can find are often tinny and underpowered. Don’t take my word for it – take a quick spin at Amazon and you’ll see for yourself.
Monoprice may have started off in the cabling game, but they’ve come a long way since then. Sure, they sell cables, wall mounts, and various adapters, but now they sell HDMI switches, desks, monitors, networking gear, home security, musical instruments like guitars, and even pro-level audio gear, and that’s not even close to everything. At this point, I’m not sure what they don’t sell. Looking over their professional grade gear you find a wide array, nearly all carrying the brand name Monolith.
Monolith as a brand reaches back to 2017, with roots in home theater high-fidelity audiophile gear. Living up to their name, these started as massive tower speakers flanked by subwoofers. With Monoprice’s more recent forays into the gaming space, they wanted to build a more affordable version of some of their flagship entries like the T6, B6, and C6 devices from their theater line. Enter the MTM-100 – Bluetooth enabled compact 100 Watt speakers for consoles and PC, though as we would find in our review, with a few more options up its sleeve.
The power in these speakers is delivered through a pair of 4” woofers on each speaker, as well as a 1” silk dome tweeter, and a beefy 5.25” passive radiator. These give them a frequency response of 45Hz to 20Khz, give or take 3db.
Unboxed, the MTM-100 has a number of surprising features that aren’t immediately obvious. On the rear of the primary speaker you’ll find a USB-C, S/PDIF optical port, and a set of RCA ports. The RCA port connects via a Y cable that has two cables on one side and a single 3.5mm on the other, making it a single cable connection to just about any device. Your Nintendo Switch, Steamdeck, phone (probably with an adapter – I miss 3.5mm audio jacks), Xbox Series X, PS5, or PC can all connect this way easily. The USB-C can be used in a similar fashion, though your options are more limited that way as you’ll obviously need an open connection of that type.
More likely, however, is that you’ll pair this device wirelessly. Powered by a Qualcomm aptX DAC, the same digital to audio converter present in the highest end wireless headphones and earbuds on the market. The purpose is simple – make a Bluetooth connection sound just as crisp and warm as a connection with a wire. It does so magnificently as, to both my wife and my ears, there was no discernible difference. Bluetooth 5.0 means this device can pair with just about anything that has Bluetooth connectivity, though I did struggle to get it connected to my Google Pixel 6 Pro, but it happily connected to my Switch, Steamdeck, PC, and laptop easily enough and rather instantly. I suspect that’s more to do with my phone than the speakers, so I can’t fault them for it. Connecting can be done via holding in the button on the front of the device, or by using the pair button on the included remote.
The optical connection offers some additional utility, though it’d be rare for most folks to use it. I find that most configurations that require a S/PDIF connection are often a purposeful split between having HDMI for video and optical for audio. I’ve done this in the past when I hadn’t upgraded my receiver to match my TV, so I separated the audio and video signal. If you find yourself in that situation, you’ve got that capability at your disposal.
Next to the RCA port lies an RCA jack for a subwoofer. While these do possess a great deal of bass on their own, you can plug in a subwoofer and amp up the sound according to your needs. While I did switch to a dynamic microphone to try to capture the wholeness and warmth of the sound, it simply doesn’t do it justice. My surprise when I unleashed my attack in Marvel’s Midnight Suns is genuine – these things blew me away.
By way of comparison, and for reasons I can’t readily explain, I’ve not invested heavily in my audio setup. The speakers I have connected to my PC are from a company called “Genius”. While they do sell higher quality high-powered headsets now, back in 2015 I bought a set that had a whopping 30W of power — 15 for each speaker. They’ve done ok thus far, but they aren’t exactly blowing my hair back. The difference between those and the 100W of power (50 each) offered here is night and day. Frankly, I can’t go back. It’s the difference between BluRay and DVD. It’s the difference between black and white TV and color. I just didn’t realize what I was missing until I heard it for myself.
One of the things that surprised me the most was just how rich and warm the tone of the speakers are. Even at higher volume levels, the bass doesn’t top out or rattle, instead just filling the space with a good solid thump you can feel in your chest. Similarly, the high tones were crisp without heading into the sharper spaces that so many lesser speakers seem to hit when they peak out.
I tested out a number of different audio experiences during my time with the Monolith MTM-100, from the mundane meeting to the mind-blowing explosions of movies like Saving Private Ryan and Devotion. Both of those movies are particularly brutal on anything but the very best audio equipment, with Devotion being the rougher of the two with the roar of the Corsairs. I expected a speaker at this price range to “fuzz” the sound, making it sound more static at high volume as the roar of the fighters maxes out the range. I was surprised to clearly hear the roar of the Pratt and Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp 18-cylinder engine. Those sorts of moments put goosebumps on your arms and make a movie memorable, and good audio is key.
I was also happy to find that the center channel audio was also crystal clear. This is crucial for hearing dialogue clearly, and it wasn’t lost when you were trying to hear orders shouted over the din of battle. Any audiophile out there will happily show you their 9 speakers and a pair of subwoofers to capture the entire range of sound, but just one of those speakers is more expensive than this pair, and by a wide margin. Here we have a self-contained auditory feast that brings scenes to life, be they in a game, in a movie, or your favorite action show.
Put simply, none of this was possible with my cheap speakers. I would never think to watch a movie in my office as I want that whole body envelopment of sound experience, and my previous speakers are simply not up to the task. These are, which I thought was impossible for the price range and size.
As always, the last stop on the list is always warranty and price. Monoprice is offering a 30 day money back guarantee for a full refund, or 3 years of full replacement warranty after that. The hitch is that they retail for an eye-watering $499.99. Thankfully, Monoprice seems to be landing at an equilibrium price of around $339 at the time of writing. I could see them coming down under three bills during a sale, so keep your eye out – you’ll want a pair of these on your shelf.
Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming.
Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter.
Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 27 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
Monolith MTM-100 Speakers
With a wide variety of connectivity options, and audiophile-quality audio on offer, the Monolith MTM-100 delivers stunning audio for a highly reasonable price. It also helps that they look the part.