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Attack of the clone: Monoprice and Energy speakers compared (pictures)

Monoprice's new 9774 speaker set is virtually identical to Energy's Take Classic 5.1 system, with near-identical sound quality and design. The big difference? Monoprice's speakers cost $150 less.

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Matthew_Moskovciak.jpg

Matthew Moskovciak

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1 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

The sincerest form of flattery

Monoprice's 9774 speakers aren't just similar to the Energy Take Classic 5.1 speakers -- they're basically the same product. Here we see Energy's satellite speakers on the left and Monoprice's on the right. Aside from logos and slightly different speaker grilles, the design and finish are identical.

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2 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Satellite speakers, side by side

Side by side, these two speakers are barely distinguishable. And the resemblance isn't just surface-level, as the speakers sound the same too.

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3 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Satellite speakers, back panel

Details like the speaker connectors, keyhole slots, and bass ports are in identical positions on both speakers. Even the tiny silver label indicating the brand (Monoprice on the right, Energy on the left) is in the same spot.

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4 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Center channels

The center channels share the same design as well, with only the speaker grille and logo differing between the two.

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5 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Center channel speakers, back panel

Again, the exact layout of the back panel is identical on these two speakers. Energy's center channel is on top, Monoprice's on the bottom.

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6 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Are the subwoofers different?

The Energy subwoofer looks larger at first glance, but that's just because its plastic feet on the bottom are larger. The actual subwoofers are identical in size. Same goes for the bass port on the front. The Energy's port looks larger, but that's just because of the surrounding plastic; the actual port is the same size.

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7 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Downfiring drivers are the same

Flip over the subwoofers and it's more of the same. There's slightly more plastic surrounding the 8-inch driver on the Energy, but we didn't find that made any difference in the sound quality. They both even feature the same "ribbed elliptical woofers" that Energy has long trumpeted as a patented design.

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8 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Same back-panel layout

Even details like the positioning of the subwoofer back-panel controls are identical.

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9 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

Near-identical, except for the price

These two speaker systems are as close as any two products will ever get, except the Monoprice 9774 system costs $150 less. Unless you can't live with speakers labeled "Monoprice," the Monoprice 9774 is by far the better deal.

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