Mon­i­tor Au­dio

Con­trolled Per­for­mance In-Wall (CP-IW460X) Loud­speaker


Mod­ern liv­ing en­vi­ron­ments and con­tem­po­rary dé­cor trends gen­er­ally don’t em­brace tra­di­tional au­dio/video sys­tems with large speaker en­clo­sures. Just flip through one of the lat­est home dé­cor mag­a­zines and tra­di­tional loud­speaker boxes are nowhere to be found. Rather, to­day’s in­te­rior de­signs call for small life­style set­ups, Blue­tooth speak­ers or per­haps a svelte sound­bar. Au­dio per­for­mance is com­pro­mised as such life­style ori­ented set­ups just don’t per­form like high-end tower or book­shelf loud­speak­ers. Cater­ing to this trend, many high-end au­dio prod­uct man­u­fac­tur­ers have in­tro­duced high per­for­mance on-wall / in-wall speak­ers; speak­ers to be heard, not seen. UK based Mon­i­tor Au­dio is one of these com­pa­nies and their Con­trolled Per­for­mance CP-IW460X in­wall speaker aims to pro­vide stealth with­out sonic com­pro­mise.


The CP-IW460X in-wall speaker is com­pact con­sid­er­ing that it is a full three­way, five-driver loud­speaker. Its sealed-box con­struc­tion al­lows it to de­liver op­ti­mal per­for­mance in vir­tu­ally any in-wall ap­pli­ca­tion, when in­stalled prop­erly. The high­est qual­ity com­po­nents, ma­te­ri­als and con­struc­tion are used to en­sure max­i­mum per­for­mance. First, the CP-IW460X uses Mon­i­tor Au­dio’s lat­est speaker driver in­no­va­tions – pro­pri­etary C-CAM (Ce­ramic-Coated Alu­minium Mag­ne­sium) cones with ‘dim­pled’ Rigid Sur­face Tech­nol­ogy (2 x 6.5’ and 2 x 4’) as well as a sin­gle C-CAM Rib­bon High Fre­quency trans­ducer. These driv­ers have the ca­pa­bil­ity of delivering high-out­put with great speed and min­i­mal dis­tor­tion. Sec­ond, a high-qual­ity three- way crossover is in­cor­po­rated, with ad­justable high, medium and low fre­quency (bound­ary) con­trols, al­low­ing seam­less driver in­te­gra­tion and tai­lor­ing of speaker sound for room acous­tics and per­sonal taste. Fi­nally, the en­clo­sure is a cast poly­mer cab­i­net with die-cast alu­minium baf­fle, which has ex­cep­tional rigid­ity and thus, lim­its vi­bra­tional dis­tor­tion. With a fre­quency re­sponse of 50 to 60,000 Hz, the CP-IW460X cov­ers most of the au­di­ble spec­trum. Mon­i­tor Au­dio has aimed high with the CP-IW460X; it is de­signed to em­u­late the per­for­mance char­ac­ter­is­tics of Mon­i­tor Au­dio’s own Gold range of loud­speak­ers.

For this re­view, I had two CP-IWX460 loud­speak­ers pro­fes­sion­ally in­stalled in my room. In­stalled 8 feet apart on the front wall, and 13 feet away from my lis­ten­ing seat, they were wired up with Tribu­taries SP812UL

12-guage long crys­tal cop­per speaker ca­bles. The CP-IW460X’s come with mag­netic paintable speaker grills that fit like a glove to con­ceal the driv­ers.


When I be­gan my eval­u­a­tion, the first thing that caught my at­ten­tion was these speak­ers’ im­pres­sive clar­ity and high fre­quency def­i­ni­tion. The rib­bon tweeter in the CP-IW460X is truly a high-end trans­ducer, re­veal­ing minute in­flec­tions and fine de­tail in a most re­fined man­ner. This amaz­ing tweeter is also very well in­te­grated with the flank­ing twin midrange driv­ers, call­ing no un­due at­ten­tion to it­self. I found the mid-to­high fre­quency re­sponse to be rem­i­nis­cent of the Mon­i­tor Au­dio Gold 300 loud­speaker that I re­viewed in 2015. In that re­view I stated that “the tre­ble pos­sessed plen­ti­ful de­tail and was well ex­tended with a re­fined smooth­ness”; this de­scrip­tion would equally ap­ply to the CP-IW460X. Like the Gold 300, the CP-IW460X also had an or­ganic warmth across its up­per midrange and tre­ble - su­perb de­tail with­out any ten­dency to­wards cold­ness, dry­ness or steril­ity. Voices re­pro­duced by the CP-IW460X pos­sessed a vi­brancy, com­bined with warmth and life­like tex­ture that en­riched my lis­ten­ing ses­sions.

On Esper­anza Spalding’s self-named al­bum “Esper­anza” and the track I Adore You, I was smit­ten by the abun­dance of dy­namic bass en­ergy, weight and def­i­ni­tion. Esper­anza’s voice came across as sweet, nat­u­ral and re­laxed. The open­ing ket­tle drum strikes were stir­ring and the CP-IW460X seemed to have no prob­lem con­vey­ing the omi­nous Congo jun­gle flavour of this track. Raspy notes from the shak­ers were tex­tured with won­der­ful def­i­ni­tion, no doubt en­hanced by the rib­bon tweeter’s speed and tran­sient pro­fi­ciency. A gen­er­ous sound­stage was re­vealed with a clear sense of depth and front to back lay­er­ing - per­cus­sion falling be­hind Esper­anza’s glo­ri­ous voice, brush strokes on the drums a lit­tle more for­ward. Imag­ing was han­dled with aplomb, with the var­i­ous el­e­ments tak­ing de­fined po­si­tions in space.

Sony Rollin’s track, God Bless The Child, was a plea­sure to lis­ten to through the CPIW460X loud­speak­ers. The open­ing up­right bass plucks were deep and res­o­nant, hav­ing re­al­is­tic tim­bre. Yet, it was Sonny Rollins’ sax play that had my emo­tions welling. De­liv­ered with di­men­sion, it was as if Sonny was play­ing just within the con­fines of my room. There was a caramel sweet­ness to the sound of the sax, which was well ac­com­pa­nied by the ful­some glow of the gui­tar notes play­ing to the other side.

On Out­lands, from the TRON Legacy sound­track, the CP-IW460X ex­posed the sinew char­ac­ter of the vi­o­lin strings with ev­i­dent vari­a­tions in stroke in­ten­sity. The tim­pani drums were con­veyed in an im­pact­ful man­ner, while the brass in­stru­ments sounded rich and res­o­nant. The over­all sound­stage was large with im­pres­sive depth and the CP-IW460X’s were able to de­liver the vast­ness of the soundscape across the front plane of my room.

Bass with the CP-IW460X was very well han­dled. With a 50Hz low fre­quency ex­ten­sion, you wouldn’t ex­pect the CP-IW460X to re­veal the nether re­gions and they don’t. How­ever, the CP-IW460X should not be un­der­es­ti­mated. It has sub­stan­tial bass, enough to ri­val a large book­shelf or even mid-size tower loud­speaker. I did try a 2.1 ar­range­ment with a Mon­i­tor Au­dio Sil­ver W-12 sub­woofer. Once ad­justed, it was clear that the W-12 sub­woofer reached deeper into the bass and added some size to im­ages. The W-12 is a mu­si­cal sub­woofer and there­fore, well com­ple­mented the CP-IW460X; yet, de­spite the bass en­hance­ment adding in the W-12 did not re­sult in a night and day dif­fer­ence. What I mean is that the CP-IW460X can hold its own on bass for the large ma­jor­ity of mu­sic. Home the­atre though would be an­other story, a high qual­ity sub­woofer like the W-12 would be in­dis­pens­able to fully ap­pre­ci­ate movie sound ef­fects.

The days of com­pro­mis­ing on sound to meet dé­cor trends is a thing of the past with a speaker as ca­pa­ble as the Mon­i­tor Au­dio CP-IW460X. With its paintable grills, any in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor should be sat­is­fied, with­out com­pro­mise to high-end sound. Like a ‘sleeper’ hot-rod, the CP-IW460X de­liv­ers de­li­cious high-end per­for­mance be­hind a most unas­sum­ing ex­te­rior.

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