While not the best choice for record player beginners, the Monolith Turntable is nevertheless a stylish and well-built piece of audio kit that'll give your music collection the platform it deserves.
Clean and stylish design
Good Bluetooth connectivity
Allows you to save music to your PC
Extremely fiddly to set up, especially for beginners
No RCA cable provided
Vinyl is in a strange place in its lifecycle right now, with original listeners being joined, and perhaps newly inspired, by the cultural comeback of records in the mainstream. The coldness of streaming and the non-existent allure of CDs have put records in an interesting class of their own.
And so record players are big again, and more and more brands are getting in on the fun. Monoprice, for example, isn't exactly a stranger to the home audio world, but the Monolith turntable is the brand's sole entry into this realm (for now). As newly-converted vinyl lovers ourselves, we wanted to see whether the Monolith could be the final nudge to start our music collection.
You can read what we thought below, and you can head on over to our guide if you're interested in seeing which products we rate as the best record players.
Monolith Turntable: Key specs
- Drive: Belt drive
- Operation: Manual
- Cartridge: Moving magnet (Audio-Technica AT-VM95E)
- Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 RPM
- Platter: Aluminum die-cast
- Dust cover?: Yes
- Colors: Gloss black, walnut
- Outputs: Bluetooth, RCA, USB
- Dimensions: 19.5 x 17 x 8in
- Weight: 13.3lbs
Monolith Turntable: Set-up
Make no mistake - unlike a lot of modern turntables designed for younger users jumping on the vinyl revival, the Monolith isn't ready to go out of the box. Monoprice has opted for the old-fashioned approach of manually assembling and adjusting elements until you have the perfect setup.
As such, included in the box were the turntable base with cartridge, dust cover (which just slots onto the base), counterweight, anti-skating weight, platter with belt, slipmat, and cartridge alignment protractor.
For the most part, the instruction manual shows you how to put all of these parts together, but newbies (like this reviewer) will struggle to get it all right the first time. Whereas set-up for all-in-one record players has taken us around 5-10 minutes in the past, this took a total of 45 minutes to get right.
It starts simple with the clear plastic dust cover and turntable platter slotting into place exactly how you would think, but the next steps include fixing the belt to the motor pulley (which the product helpfully gives you a ribbon for) and getting the counterweight just right for optimum performance.
Of course, all of this is part of the experience for hardened vinyl fans, and most likely a fun pre-listening activity for some, but those who haven't done something this in-depth before will need to keep the instruction manual close by.
Monolith Turntable: Performance
After you're all set up, it's time to listen to some tunes. The Monolith doesn't include a speaker, so you will need to choose whether you want to connect a stereo system via the RCA port or use Bluetooth connectivity. We opted for the latter, using the Audio Pro addon T3+ speaker to test the quality of the record player's output.
This was simpler to get right than we anticipated, with a flashing blue light on the back of the device indicating that the Monolith is looking for nearby Bluetooth connections. Once we put out T3+ in pairing mode, it took just a few seconds for the two systems to find one another.
The two knobs on top of the base allow you to switch between 33 ⅓ and 45 RPM, and turn on the player. Once you've done this, you simply need to adjust the small lever, position the needle over the record, and adjust again. Voila!
You can also connect the turntable to your PC via USB, allowing you to record or convert your vinyl collection into MP3 either for a modernized listening method or just as a backup in case your precious records become damaged down the line.
Music sounds pretty great piped through the Bluetooth speaker, and those with dedicated sound systems definitely won't miss an in-built offering (which, let's face it, tend to be lacking). There was, however, a small amount of crackle that we couldn't get to the bottom of even after changing records, dusting them down, and making sure the arm was adjusted correctly.
Monolith Turntable: Design
The minimalist design of the Monolith turntable will suit almost everyone and, though our review unit was in Walnut, it is also available in Glossy Black. The controls of the latter are silver, while those on the Walnut are a lovely black. The branded slipcover is also a nice touch, as it adds a touch of style for those times when the record player isn't in use.
Though the single plank base was a little sparse for us, it will help the player fit into a variety of interior styles including for minimalists. It's almost as important for vinyl players to look as good as they sound, since almost everyone will have theirs on display in the lounge or office.
We'll also note that, while the Monolith makes no attempt to be 'compact', it's also not overly large and will fit on most side or coffee tables.
Monolith Turntable: Maintenance
Monoprice Monolith 600046 Turntable comes with an Audio-Technica AT-VM95E cartridge included, but you can replace this with another moving magnet cartridge if you want. The instructions for this do remind the user, however, that 'cartridges themselves cannot wear out with use'.
The stylus is also replaceable, as this can start to create distorted sound after around 300-500 hours of playback. These can cost anywhere between $40 and $700, depending on the brand.
Monolith Turntable: Our verdict
The Monoprice Monolith 600046 Turntable blends classic style and modern features really well, which will no doubt please those looking for something that doesn't betray the preferred vintage look in service of ultimately useless bells and whistles. The ability to listen over Bluetooth and connect your music to your PC are both great and genuinely needed by the average user, and the choice between Walnut and Black finishes shows that Monolith didn't take its eyes off the all-important aesthetics. Beginners might want to opt for something a little simpler to get started, however.
About this review, and the reviewer
Caroline is the smart homes editor for Livingetc, spending much of her time testing and reviewing everything from smart speakers and record players to air purifiers and TVs. As with all reviews on the site, the Monolith Turntable was used in a genuine home environment to see whether it could be honestly recommended to our readers. Caroline's environment during preparation for this review was a small studio space within a larger house, and the record player was used alongside the Audio Pro addon T3+ Bluetooth speaker.
Caroline is the smart homes ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.
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