Mon­i­tor Au­dio Mon­i­tor 100

FOR Clear, pre­cise sound; well in­te­grated; sweep­ing dy­nam­ics AGAINST Lacks warmth and re­fine­ment; lacks tim­ing

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

“Any doubts that a com­pact bud­get speaker can sound con­fi­dent at vol­ume are soon put to rest”

It is said

that the best way to cap­ture some­one’s at­ten­tion is by stimulating their senses. Speak­ers are un­likely to en­tice you through taste or smell, and aren’t usu­ally soft enough to cud­dle, but they can make a vis­ual state­ment in ad­di­tion to an au­ral one. We’ve seen pairs with trans­par­ent horn de­signs and those that re­sem­ble sea­horses and trom­bones. But the aes­thetic am­bi­tions of a £200 speaker are more in­her­ently limited.

Baf­fling colours

Yet with its new en­try-level speaker se­ries, Mon­i­tor Au­dio has found a way to grab you by the eye­balls – orange speaker cones mounted on a grey baf­fle. It’s per­haps a shade of orange bet­ter suited to a pair of foot­ball boots than a speaker, but it cer­tainly makes an im­pres­sion.

But do the 100s, the larger of the range’s two standmounters, have the skills to jus­tify the look? We play The Tallest Man On Earth’s There’s No

Leav­ing Now and it’s clear the 16.5cm MMP II (Metal Ma­trix Poly­mer) bass driver and 25mm black C CAM (Ceram­ic­coated Alu­minium Mag­ne­sium) dome tweeter (de­rived from Mon­i­tor Au­dio’s next-level Bronze se­ries) make a good team. There’s a stark clar­ity to Kris­tian Mats­son‘s ten­der, nasal tone, and plenty of scope within the spa­cious sound­stage for it to soar. Any lin­ger­ing doubts that a bud­get, com­pact pair of speak­ers can sound clean and con­fi­dent at a good vol­ume are put to rest af­ter just a few mo­ments with the Mon­i­tor 100s.

It’s not the warm­est or most re­fined of de­liv­er­ies. The vo­cal has a coat­ing of sun-kissed coun­try twang that the Mon­i­tor Au­dios doesn’t quite lay bare, and their some­what coarse man­ner at higher fre­quen­cies doesn’t ca­ress the piano har­mon­ics quite as they should. But the 100s’ pre­cise and ar­tic­u­late ap­proach, es­pe­cially with the midrange, goes some way to com­pen­sate for that.

The low-end har­nesses enough sub­stance and tex­ture for the bal­ance to avoid feel­ing light­weight, too – as is ev­i­dent when the drub­bing mass of drums and elec­tric gui­tars in Caspian’s

Halls Of The Sum­mer comes through the Mon­i­tor 100’s driver. And, show­ing off the speak­ers’ im­par­tial han­dling of fre­quen­cies, the twin­kling synths that cut in above ring through loud and clear.

A fine sense of drive al­lows them to go full speed ahead, and that space and scale keeps things eas­ily di­gestible. A fair de­gree of dy­namic flex­i­bil­ity within its con­sid­er­able range saves the track from sound­ing in any way con­strained too.

The stum­bling block is their han­dling of rhythms. Per­fume Ge­nius’s Just Like Love is an ex­otic Afrobeat-like ar­ray of per­cus­sion, key­boards and bass gui­tar, and the plaited rhyth­mic struc­ture feels a lit­tle hap­haz­ard through the Mon­i­tor Au­dios. But, while not quite ex­perts in tim­ing, they cap­ture the track’s sprightly na­ture with dy­namism.

Seen and heard

Whether or not you choose to hide the orange cone and grey baf­fle be­hind the grilles, the Mon­i­tor 100s – also avail­able in black, wal­nut or white – war­rant a place where they can be seen as well as heard. They don’t favour be­ing placed right against the wall, as giv­ing them too much free­dom in a room only high­lights their lack of warmth and weight. We’d sug­gest plac­ing them around 30cm away for the most agree­able sonic bal­ance.

On a prac­ti­cal note, two sets of bind­ing posts mean they can be bi-wired (con­nected to an am­pli­fier via two ca­bles, one for the high fre­quen­cies, the other for the low) or bi-amped.

Nam­ing prod­ucts af­ter the brand sug­gests a cer­tain level of con­fi­dence, and the Mon­i­tor 100s do the com­pany name proud. How­ever, a lack of re­fine­ment and outright rhyth­mic dex­ter­ity means they aren’t quite as suc­cess­ful as the com­pany’s pricier three-time Award-win­ning Bronze 2s.

The orange hue may be bet­ter suited to foot­ball boots, but it makes an im­pres­sion

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.