Mon­i­tor Au­dio Sil­ver 200

FOR Bal­anced pre­sen­ta­tion; agility; flex­i­ble po­si­tion­ing AGAINST Noth­ing of note

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

So here we are in the pres­ence of the sixth gen­er­a­tion of Mon­i­tor Au­dio’s Sil­ver Se­ries speak­ers. Granted, it’s not quite as dis­tant as the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Danny Dyer and King Ed­ward III dis­cov­ered on re­al­ity TV show Who Do You Think You Are?, but still an im­pres­sively lengthy lin­eage, es­pe­cially when you con­sider how much we’ve en­joyed each pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tion.

This time, the fo­cus has been on cre­at­ing a family bond – a sonic char­ac­ter run­ning like a blood­line through each of the nine speaker mod­els in the se­ries. Mon­i­tor Au­dio sug­gests its new Sil­ver speak­ers be­come sim­ply more pow­er­ful and dy­namic the fur­ther you go up the range.

The Sil­ver 200s are the small­est of three new floor­stand­ing pairs from this se­ries. The ben­e­fits of their slen­der form have been re­dou­bled by Mon­i­tor Au­dio’s en­gi­neers, who have worked to tune the speak­ers so they work best around 50cm from the back wall, with only a mi­nor vari­ance in tonal bal­ance when they are placed closer to the wall, or a de­cent way out into the room. In ef­fect, they should be the most ver­sa­tile Sil­vers yet.

Laser-like pre­ci­sion

Ac­cord­ing to Mon­i­tor Au­dio, the whole range has been de­signed for ‘mod­ern liv­ing’, with two Hive II re­flex ports po­si­tioned at the back and slim mag­neticheld grilles for a neat, el­e­gant look. The Hive II ports use a straight-ri­fled de­sign to ac­cel­er­ate air­flow and re­duce tur­bu­lence – ef­fec­tively mov­ing air in and out more swiftly for faster bass re­sponse.

The com­pany also sought the help of the Na­tional Phys­i­cal Lab­o­ra­tory, us­ing its pre­ci­sion laser scan­ner when cre­at­ing the cab­i­nets. This, it says, iden­ti­fied res­o­nances then helped po­si­tion in­ter­nal brac­ings more ac­cu­rately, en­sur­ing rigid­ity and min­imis­ing any coloura­tions.

But that slim­line cab­i­net is just the beginning when it comes to the changes. Mon­i­tor Au­dio has made other al­ter­ations with the aim of boost­ing the Sil­vers’ per­for­mance and hon­ing them aes­thet­i­cally too. Equally eye-catch­ing is the speck­led grille, be­hind which sits a new ver­sion of Mon­i­tor Au­dio’s iconic gold-dome tweeter, fine-tuned for clearer, smoother and dis­tor­tion-free high fre­quen­cies.

Su­per­star DJ

The Sil­ver 200s are a 2.5-way driver de­sign, with a pair of 13cm C­CAM (ce­ramic-coated alu­minium/mag­ne­sium) driv­ers sit­ting di­rectly be­low the tweeter – the up­per func­tion­ing across midrange and bass, and the lower fo­cus­ing on bass fre­quen­cies. These units have also been re­designed, aided by a dy­namic cou­pling fil­ter (DCF) cou­pling mech­a­nism – a clever way to con­nect the voice coil to the cone – trick­ling down from the com­pany’s flag­ship Plat­inum II Se­ries, to lower dis­tor­tion and cre­ate cleaner-sound­ing highs.

Fi­nally, you should en­joy look­ing at your speak­ers as much as lis­ten­ing to them, so Mon­i­tor Au­dio of­fers six choices of fin­ish: black oak, wal­nut, rosenut, nat­u­ral oak, high gloss black or the satin white of our re­view sam­ple.

We’re no su­per­star DJ, but we could hardly have picked a bet­ter record than LCD Soundsys­tem’s This Is Hap­pen­ing to be­gin test­ing the Sil­ver 200s. The per­cus­sive in­tro of Dance Yr­self Clean im­me­di­ately shows off just how fast these speak­ers are.

Ag­ile de­liv­ery

It snaps in per­fect time, with all the clean­li­ness it owes to the track’s ti­tle, syn­the­sizer stabs ar­riv­ing pre­cisely on each bar’s first beat and each com­po­nent of a sparse ar­range­ment dealt with great or­gan­i­sa­tion.

It’s also a good op­por­tu­nity to trial that sup­posed ver­sa­til­ity in po­si­tion­ing. We find it rings im­pres­sively true. They are per­haps at their fastest when brought into the room, but rather than lose that pre­ci­sion when placed nearer the wall, a slight in­crease of the low-end weight brings a more nat­u­ral ren­der­ing of rhythm and tim­ing.

Wher­ever we po­si­tion the Sil­ver 200s, though, there is a sense of fun that has per­haps been lack­ing in pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions. They have power left over when it comes to driv­ing this par­tic­u­lar record, but also the dy­namic sen­si­bil­i­ties to do it shirt un­tucked, ca­su­ally fram­ing James Mur­phy’s ef­fort­less, al­most hor­i­zon­tally laid-back de­liv­ery.

But don’t think Mon­i­tor Au­dio has for­gone any sense of re­fine­ment in pur­suit of ex­cite­ment. This is still a very ma­ture per­for­mance, high­lighted by a pen­chant for rhyth­mic and in­stru­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion as well as a smoothly lev­elled bal­ance.

Again, bass fre­quen­cies and re­sponse will be marginally af­fected by po­si­tion­ing, but never to the ex­tent of skew­ing the

fre­quency range too much one way or the other. At the lower end, the Sil­ver 200s reach the puls­ing fre­quen­cies you feel more than hear, while there's plenty of head­room.

Wak­ing the neigh­bours

Most im­por­tant, though, is the rich­ness and clar­ity through­out: nowhere does it sound flabby, coarse or thin. We turn our am­pli­fier up high – as we are in­clined to do by the Mon­i­tor Au­dios’ per­for­mance – and at no point does any­thing other than a po­ten­tial noise com­plaint from the neigh­bours prompt us to turn it down.

Mon­i­tor Au­dio has taken care not to let the Sil­ver 200s be­come overly bogged down in an­a­lyt­i­cal de­tail. Hav­ing tested many pairs of speak­ers that favour res­o­lu­tion at the ex­pense of mu­si­cal­ity, we thinks it is po­ten­tially a wise move.

But that would be to un­der­sell the Sil­vers some­what, be­cause there is an im­pres­sive amount of clar­ity and de­tail here: to our me­mories, more than ever be­fore.

For­giv­ing speak­ers

Play­ing Clint Mansell’s score for Dar­ren Aronof­sky’s The Foun­tain, for ex­am­ple, the strings of the Kronos Quar­tet have a tex­ture that res­onates in the bod­ies of their in­stru­ments and re­veals the room around them. Their tim­bres are later jux­ta­posed when set against sounds that have been dig­i­tally treated.

If it’s in­sight you’re af­ter, the Sil­ver 200s cer­tainly aren’t lack­ing. They de­serve praise for how for­giv­ing they are when fed lower-res­o­lu­tion files and coarse bed­room record­ings. The Sil­vers treat them as pieces of mu­sic, rather than de­lib­er­ately ex­pos­ing their in­suf­fi­cien­cies for the sake of qual­ity but at the ex­pense of en­joy­ment.

There may well be ri­vals that of­fer a lit­tle more in terms of de­tail, bass weight, or even are more at­trac­tive – as we en­ter Awards sea­son we’ll surely find out – but if we were to cre­ate a tick list for what makes a great all-rounder, these new Sil­ver floor­standers would pass ev­ery test and have a great deal of fun while do­ing so.

“The Sil­ver 200s cer­tainly don’t lack in­sight. They de­serve praise for how for­giv­ing they are when fed lower-res­o­lu­tion files and coarse record­ings”

The Sil­ver range has been de­signed for ‘mod­ern liv­ing’, with the re­flex ports at the back

The 200s are the small­est of three new floor­stand­ing pairs from the Sil­ver se­ries Slim mag­neticheld grilles give the 200s a neat, el­e­gant look

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