Mid Century Monger Eames Replica ($1100)
Being been sorely upset with my Renky Eames replica for so long, I’d recently started hunting online for reviews of nicer Eames replica’s out yonder beyond the horizon. I returned with a lot of positive feedback from a company named Mid Century Monger: a highly recommended Eames replica producer and one that didn’t skimp or cut corners for materials used.
I have to admit, I am impressed. It isn’t as good as an authentic Eames chair from the 60’s, but this is definitely the best replica I’ve come across. When I assembled the chair, which took all of 5 minutes, I’d noticed the base screws didn’t cause the underside of the chair’s wood to flake off. That was a great sign, I thought, but how will the chair feel compared to the rock hard Renky that I was just about ready to toss through my 2nd story window?
It seems this Eames replica has the same issues as the Renky model, but with less of a severe aptitude for being uncomfortable. The padding is noticeably softer than the Renky version, but still isn’t what I would consider plush or something I desperately want to sit on for hours.
An important thing to note is that the leatherette and padding used on this model is vastly superior to the low cut, cost effective materials used in the cheaper Eames model I’ve mentioned. I’ve researched quite a bit and many Eames replica producers are on the fence about creating a tight knit leather appeal, meaning there are no creases in the fabric that you can see.
This is a terrible idea and I am very happy that Mid Century Monger lets you see the wrinkles near the buttons that adorn the seat and back rest. Without that sign, you can’t really tell if the chair is stiff and uncomfortable, or if it is more plush and forgiving. Real Eames loungers had lots of wrinkles and damned if those chairs weren’t extremely plush, offering a nice sense of sinking into their wooden bases. In the world of chairaphiles, the lack of wrinkles is the red flag for a very stiff material used and is something sight unseen buyers look for before purchasing.
I’ve opted for Walnut this time around, instead of Rosewood and something to contrast the Renky’s deeper tonal hues and grain patterns. I quite like it a lot and it gives off an extremely high end vibe as well that reminds me of the Audeze or older Denon D-series of headphones. The wood cuts are of a higher grade that can be felt with your bare hand, no need to check the specs sheet if you are worried about it; these guys did a nice job choosing very heavy, thick cuts of walnut for this model.
I’ve also noticed that there are no gaps in between the leatherette edge work and the wooden base, another great sign of that time was put into each model during the building process. Also, there are no odd creaking sounds as there is when I move around in that awful Renky Eames replica. The base of the chair is also a solid, much heavier cut of metal than I’d expected: where the Renky model had poor quality metal feet, this Mid Century Monger Eames replica seems like it is using a much thicker cut of steel.
These chairs cannot recline, but they do offer a great, upward angled seating arrangement that is well suited to those who want that zero-g type of feel. Combined with the included wooden footrest, I can sit for hours without any discomfort, although I do wish the padding/stuffing used offered a softer appeal.
This chair is the pinnacle of seating for us chair enthusiasts. I realize it is a weird combination and maybe a foreign fetish for those in the audio community, but I enjoy art and I especially love to sit and listen to my audio rig for hours upon hours. Eames has been a staple of the Hifi community since the late 1950’s, so it was only natural that in more recent years and with surges of popularity in the audio community for expensive gear, that Eames replica’s would be springing up more and more for us to enjoy.
It isn’t at all hard for me to consider this chair an essential part of my audio rig; I consider it the focal point for my listening room. I need that escape while I test and review audio products, as well as when I want to forget the stresses of my day and chill out with a nice glass of sake and some great headphones…I can’t really do that unless my home listening area is what I consider comfortable. These Eames chairs really fill the gaps and checklists for what I’ve always wanted to be included in my audio rig room, so far nothing else has really done it for me on a subjective level.
Most of us in the high end community pay thousands of dollars for wooden cased speakers or headphones and we grow weak over the images our peers share online of their high end rooms and for good reason: they have it made and most of us aspire to have a high end room like that dedicated for audio enjoyment. To me, the Eames chair is vital to a listening lounge and I recommend this Mid Century Monger version without a second thought. It is beautiful, comfortable and stylish.
The Price Tag
The price tag is a bit much, but consider the majority of your friends or family, peers online and audiophiles who happen to stumble across your photo via a net search will absolutely be jealous of you. This chair is the very definition of what high end is supposed to be and to me, at least, it belongs right where it is with my high end audio set. This chair is incredibly well made and supremely stunning in design, but my only gripe is that type of padding they’ve chosen to include. At this price I would expect memory foam instead of a typical stuffing material, as well as a slightly higher incline for the bucket seat to accentuate the zero-g feel these chairs offer their owners.
Consider that some audio companies like Audeze wooden headphone cups sell for hundreds of dollars and Sieveking Omega headphone stands cost $180 a piece. Considering the size of the cut of wood in the Eames chair replica’s, they are worth the price of admission for the wood alone, much more even when you consider the fact that these Eames designs require licenses to produce, are crafted with heavy duty metal bases and high quality leather in some cases. When you consider the bigger picture, owning one of these fills the niche for what Hifi audio is all about. Most of us have an appreciation and taste for beautiful things.
Eames & Hifi
As mentioned, Eames and Hifi have gone hand in hand since the 1960’s and I cannot possibly imagine myself without one of these chairs in my listening space. I think Mid Century Monger is offering an insane deal when you consider all the factors involved in the purchasing process, as well as the idea that their version of this chair is very good and not that far away from the original Eames loungers. If I had to gripe, it is absolutely the type of padding they’ve opted for: I really want a much more plush experience than this, but considering everything I’ve mentioned already…this might be asking too much at this point.
Renky & DXRacer
Renky and DXracer need to take a huge step backward and rethink things. DXracer still hasn’t fixed the false advertising image on their website even after I submitted video proof of it and after a long debate via email, so I am truly not sure what to say about them beyond this point. I am shocked and baffled by the low quality “everything” the DXracer chair employs in its design and I’ll never recommend it to anyone.
Both the Renky and DXracer are chairs that I consider “unsittable” and something that causes real pain after a short time of usage; however the Southern Style recliner just might be the throne I’ve always wanted in my media room.
The Renky chair performed the worst of the crop and is a $550 or so piece of art, nothing more. I cannot classify the DXracer and the Renky models as actual chairs for the simple fact that you can hop over to your local Walmart and buy a $79 desk chair that exceeds both in comfort and build.
Southern Style takes the win by a mile, of course. With exceptional comfort and an excellent price tag to boot, they’ve done an incredible job with their recliner and I cannot see another chair coming along to best it in price to performance for some time. With that in mind, it doesn’t scream Hifi lounger to me in the slightest and doesn’t at all look like it belongs in my listening area. It is very out of place near my audio setup and not the style of a chair that I want to use outside of watching movies and television.
This has been a really interesting ride for me, as a chair enthusiast, an avid art aficionado and audiophile, I can safely say that I’ve not had so much fun simply sitting down and enjoy my tunes. As a reviewer, I don’t get to enjoy my audio gear as much as you might think, but this review really opened my eyes and made me remember what Hifi is all about. I was able to just relax for extended hours while listening to my headphones, but without the requirement of detailing the audio hardware involved. This hasn’t happened for years and I’ve never been happier to consider myself an audio nerd.
Now that I’ve a great Eames replica in my home as well…there are no words for how ecstatic I feel over the thought of future hundreds, if not thousands of hours of just casual listening that lay in my future.
The real reason people like me love this chair is simply because we’ve seen our fathers and grandfathers sitting in, enjoying life, for so many years that it became etched into our brains. It is something to aspire to own and show off to others, but also something very sheik and trendy while at the same time being retro and very comfortable.