As we covered a few weeks back, Monoprice is currently being sued by Energy parent Klipsch for allegedly copying its Energy Take 5.1 speaker system, but most of our observations at that time were on the surface level. CNET writer Geoffrey Morrison and audio guru Brent Butterworth decided to find out just how similar the systems are beneath the skin by gutting and measuring both systems to see for themselves.
I won’t spoil the entire article, because it’s fantastic detective work and you should read it for yourself, but based on their findings, it doesn’t look good for Monoprice. The crossover, one of the more difficult and expensive pieces of a speaker to implement, is virtually — if not completely — identical. That, of course, could have just been bought from the same supplier, and by itself it’s not damning proof, except that the subwoofer is identical inside, as well.
Brent Butterworth’s measurements of the systems’ performance tell a similar, perhaps more damning tale, with most of the variations attributable to the minor variations you’ll find from unit to unit of any speaker at this price point.
There’s a final piece of evidence, and… well, I won’t spoil that, either, but take a look at the images of the Monoprice subwoofer’s manual in Geoffrey’s story.
The courts will make the final determination, but I hope for Monoprice’s sake that my previous speculation is correct, and that the OEM is to blame in this, because CNET’s findings seem to make Klipsch’s case all that much strong:
It’s impossible for us to say if the Monoprice 9774s are built in the same factory as the Energy Take Classics. However, they’re far too similar — down to the screws, connectors, and fonts — to be mere coincidence. What we can say is these two speaker systems are as similar as you’re likely to see from two different companies. The lawsuit certainly shows that Energy feels they’re too close. Are they the “same”? Not by the strictest definition, but you’d be finely splitting hairs if you want to argue they’re not.