Monitor Audio Bronze 2 £279
Quality speakers come and go, but Monitor Audio’s Bronze 2s have been quietly and consistently collecting the Award in this price bracket for the past four years. With competition as fierce as it is in this sector, that’s no mean feat.
The company is known for turning out classy boxes and these 2s reinforce this reputation. These boxes are solidly made, the quality of finish is terrific, and they’re available in four vinyl finishes: Black Oak, Walnut, Rosemah and White Ash.
A lesson in composure
It’s worth playing around with the toe-in angle to firm up the stereo imaging, but even so, these speakers aren’t especially demanding – something that points to well-designed drive units and a carefully calibrated crossover.
We start with Debussy’s Clair de lune, and it’s a test that these Monitor Audios sail through. There’s nothing showy in the presentation but these speakers have delicacy when required and handle dynamics deftly. There’s plenty of insight here, from the way notes’ trailing edges decay gracefully into silence to the Bronzes’ ability to track subtle pace changes. It’s a spellbinding performance, far superior to what we’re used to hearing at this level.
These standmounters have a chance to show off their impressively assured bass as we move to Hans Zimmer’s
Inception soundtrack. Low frequencies are full-bodied yet articulate and delivered with plenty of control. This confident low-end performance gives tracks such as Mombasa a firm foundation delivered with authority.
We’re impressed by the Bronze 2s’ ability to stay composed, even at relatively high volume levels. For the most part there are no rough edges here. This is a carefully honed pair of speakers that brim with refinement.
Built to last
It’s not often you find such sonic polymaths at this price, but the Bronze 2s really are multi-talented. For their size they dig deep in the bass but are tonally balanced and deliciously detailed too. Add solid build and a high standard of finish and there’s much to applaud here.
The newer Q Acoustics 3020i are worthy rivals (and equally well finished) but even they can’t top the Bronze 2s. When it comes to next year’s Awards, we wouldn’t bet against these speakers making it five in a row.
This is the Bronze 2s’ fourth Award, and we wouldn’t bet against them making it five