What is it?
Monkey Banana is the rather strange brand name for a new range of studio monitors. The entire Monkey Banana range is designed and engineered in Germany before being assembled in China and a quick inspection of their Facebook page and dab of Google translate led me to the thinking behind the new brand. Turns out the founders were unhappy with the quality of the monitor they were getting for their money, so they did what most engineers wish they could, they decided to design and build a set of monitors for themselves. This humble starting point provided the platform for them to begin building the same monitors for their friends before getting started on building the Monkey Banana brand in Europe back in 2010. So the apes make their way to Africa; let’s take a look at the starting point in the Monkey Banana range, the Gibbon 5. They come in a choice of a black or striking red rear-ported cab. The Gibbon 5 is a bi-amplified monitor with a 45W amp driving the 5 1/4” polypropylene woofer cone while the 35W HF amp drives a 1” silk dome tweeter unit. The frequency range is 48Hz to 22kHz and the Gibbons are crossed-over around the 3kHz mark. All this equates to a peak of 90db on the tops and 95db on the LF. The entire face is covered by a waveguide with a light-up Monkey Banana logo when they’re switched on. They are also fitted with an automatic switch that will put the monitors into a stand-by mode if they aren’t playing anything for 5 minutes. The logos will dim to let you know they are in stand-by mode and it automatically disengages when simply playing something through them. The rear panel of the Gibbon 5s make provision for most analog inputs by offering either RCA (unbalanced) or two balanced inputs in the form of XLR or TRS (1/4” Jack) inputs and there are adjustable EQ’s for both HF and LF right below the volume knob. The Gibbons are made from MDF and each monitor tips the scales at 5.9kg. Monkey Banana includes a power cord and a set of small rubber feet to settle your monitors on.
Who Should Own One?
The Gibbon 5s are going to impress a lot of ears both trained and untrained. They would suit all sorts of applications where accuracy is vital so whether you are monitoring in your bedroom, recording in a pro-studio or editing and mixing down in a post-production suite you will be thrilled with the Gibbon 5s. Even compared to monitors that have slightly more wattage or bigger cones, the Gibbon 5 will still put up quite a fight.
I am well impressed with the Gibbon 5. One is naturally a bit hesitant and maybe even sceptical when confronted with a new product especially when it breaks the mould of all the scientific names pro-audio and studio gear companies normally choose. Maybe some zoology is needed. And that is what was so amazing about the Gibbons, they really exceeded my expectations of what you can get out of a 5” monitor system priced at the budget end of the market. What really stood out for me was the incredible stereo image they presented. Most speakers and some entry level monitors sound like the audio is coming directly out the speaker (which it of course is) but with the Gibbons running in my test position and set a ½ metre apart the stereo image felt right in the centre. It’s such an important part of the mixing and mastering process and it’s often overlooked by new producers just because they are at the limits of the gear they are working on. You could really get your head into the mix the Gibbons present you with and this allows one to isolate, EQ and filter with far more accuracy in your own studio space to get a tight and balanced mix before you attempt to master or send it off. Your trust would be well placed with a set of the Monkey Banana Gibbon 5 studio monitors.
R 5710.00 Supplier: Viva Afrika | (011) 250-3800
Monkey Banana Details