Mon­i­tor Au­dio

Mon­i­tor Au­dio Sil­ver Se­ries 500 Loud­speak­ers (6th Gen­er­a­tion)

NOVO - - REVIEW - by Ge­orge de Sa


the past few years Mon­i­tor Au­dio’s R&D team has ob­vi­ously been drink­ing some cre­ative Kool-Aid with all the in­no­va­tions we have been see­ing from this com­pany that hails from the U.K. No doubt, prod­uct up­dates and new prod­ucts are great for mar­ket­ing but with Mon­i­tor Au­dio, their lat­est prod­ucts ap­pear to con­sis­tently be based on solid per­for­mance en­hance­ments.

Two years ago I had the chance to re­view Mon­i­tor Au­dio’s, then new, Gold 300 loud­speaker, a bril­liant up­date to their pre­vi­ous GX se­ries. Some­time af­ter that I re­viewed Mon­i­tor Au­dio’s CP-IW460X in­wall loud­speaker, which ben­e­fited greatly Mon­i­tor Au­dio’s R&D on their Gold Se­ries. Most re­cently, NOVO Mag­a­zine re­viewed the com­pany’s Plat­inum Se­ries II 300 loud­speaker, a ground-up re-de­sign that has re­ceived much ac­claim from press and con­sumers. With such con­tin­ual ad­vance­ment and in­no­va­tion, the new Sil­ver 6G Se­ries ben­e­fits greatly from trickle-down tech­nolo­gies. For this re­view, I re­ceived the Sil­ver 500 ($2,500 US / pair); top-dog in the new Sil­ver 6G Se­ries, a world first re­view op­por­tu­nity.


One sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tage larger au­dio prod­uct man­u­fac­tur­ers like Mon­i­tor Au­dio have is the abil­ity to in­vest sub­stan­tial re­sources on R&D since re­sults can ben­e­fit nu­mer­ous prod­ucts / prod­uct lines; the new Sil­ver 6G Se­ries is no ex­cep­tion. Mon­i­tor Au­dio has lever­aged much of their learn­ings from their new Gold and Plat­inum II in the new Sil­ver 6G. Ex­ten­sive re­search and FEA mod­el­ling and their DCF cou­pling mech­a­nism, a di­rect trickle down from Plat­inum II, de­liv­ers greater driv­ing force with re­duced dis­tor­tion. An all-new teardrop shaped mid/HF mo­d­ule brings the tweeter and midrange acous­tic cen­tres closer for more pre­cise and con­sis­tent imag­ing on/off axis. The 25mm C-CAM tweeter is a groundup re-de­sign, which de­liv­ers the smoothest and low­est high-fre­quency dis­tor­tion ever for the Sil­ver Se­ries. Mon­i­tor Au­dio’s Na­tional Phys­i­cal Lab­o­ra­tory re­search, in­clud­ing laser mea­sure­ment, has aided the elim­i­na­tion of un­de­sir­able cabi­net res­o­nance nodes; while an op­ti­mized cross­over net­work max­i­mizes sig­nal trans­fer with zero dis­tor­tion and a be­nign 8 Ohm im­ped­ance. Ports are now on the rear, based on new HiVe II tech­nol­ogy, for smoother air­flow, im­proved tran­sient re­sponse and tighter bass. The new Sil­ver Se­ries now has greater con­sis­tency across the line for a true ‘fam­ily sound’, ac­cord­ing to Mon­i­tor Au­dio. The mod­els within the Sil­ver 6G Se­ries now fol­low the nam­ing con­ven­tion of its Gold and Plat­inum II Se­ries brethren – the Sil­ver 1 is now the Sil­ver 50 and so on. Avail­able fin­ishes re­main the same apart from a new Satin White that re­places the for­mer High Gloss White. There are two new cen­tre speak­ers (Sil­ver C150 & C350) and the

new Sil­ver 50 and 200 mod­els are now more com­pact.

The Sil­ver 500 loud­speaker is the largest floor­stand­ing model within the new Sil­ver Se­ries. It is a 3-way, 4 driver, bass-re­flex con­fig­u­ra­tion with an all-new 1” C-CAM tweeter, and spe­cially de­vel­oped 4” mid and dual 8” bass driv­ers. It has a fre­quency re­sponse of 30 Hz – 35 kHz (-6db); 90 db/1W/1m sen­si­tiv­ity; 8 Ohms nom­i­nal im­pen­dence and; 250 watt (RMS) power han­dling. Weight is just over 50 lbs.

The Sliver 500 loud­speak­ers I re­ceived had a Rosenut wood ve­neer and were won­der­fully fin­ished, as ex­pected from Mon­i­tor Au­dio. From the driv­ers, to the tear-drop shaped mid/tweeter mo­d­ule, down to the out-rig­ger feet and the dual 5-way bind­ing posts, all was of high qual­ity and im­pres­sive for a speaker in its price range.


For the eval­u­a­tion, I used the Sil­ver 500 with my Brys­ton BP-26 preamp and 4B3 am­pli­fier, Moon by Si­mau­dio 280D DAC/ player, Rega Apollo CD player and VPI Scout 1.1 turntable. Cabling was pri­mar­ily Nor­dost (Heim­dall 2 / Tyr 2) with some Zavfino in­ter­con­nects/power cords. The Sil­ver 500 was also used with a Rega Elex-R in­te­grated with sat­is­fy­ing re­sults. For com­par­i­son pur­poses, I used my Au­dio Physic Scorpio 25 Plus loud­speak­ers. I thought I’d in­clude a cou­ple tracks from the reper­toire I used in my eval­u­a­tion of the Mon­i­tor Au­dio Gold 300 loud­speaker. First up, Yes, Please! by Four­play and the track “A Lit­tle Four­play”. From the first few notes it’s clear that this track has great bass and con­veys strong rhythm, which is why it’s one of my go-to tracks for test­ing au­dio gear. Much like my ex­pe­ri­ence with the Gold 300, the sonic char­ac­ter that jumped to the fore­front with the Sil­ver 500 was its dy­namic prow­ess. The pre­sen­ta­tion had a some­what overt fla­vor, though not of­fen­sively so but to the con­trary, it was sim­ply ex­hil­a­rat­ing. Bass was won­der­fully taught and no­tice­ably punchier and more dy­namic than my res­i­dent Scorpio 25 Plus loud­speak­ers, most no­tice­ably from lower through to mod­er­ate vol­ume. The Sil­ver 500 pro­duced bass that was ca­denced with no over­hang and well-ar­tic­u­lated. Fun? Oh yeah, and then some. When it comes to bass, the Sil­ver 500 is a ter­rific player, tick­ing all the essen­tial boxes not only at its price point but at mul­ti­ples of its price. As much as the bass was ex­cel­lent, I also took note of how well the Sil­ver 500 han­dled fe­male vo­cals on this track, not only was the voice de­liv­ered clearly but there was a life­like warmth and smooth­ness to it as well as de­light­ful pres­ence.

On to “Sweet Jane”, from the Cow­boy Junkies The Trin­ity Ses­sions. Here the Sil­ver 500 showed its abil­ity to con­vey Margot Tim­mins sul­try and gen­tle voice in a life­like man­ner, with de­tail and fleshly warmth, yet ab­sent of any un­de­sir­able em­pha­sis on sibi­lants. The in­stru­men­ta­tion was well sorted out within a well-sized sound­stage, hav­ing depth, breadth and lay­er­ing. Taps of the ride cym­bal rang out with pris­tine clar­ity and au­then­tic metal­lic tim­bre. There was no treble dry­ness or harsh­ness to dis­tract from en­joy­ment of the mu­sic. It soon be­came ev­i­dent how well in­te­grated the midrange and high fre­quen­cies were, a con­sis­tency that car­ried right down through to the low fre­quen­cies. Fo­cus­ing on the bass re­gion, the open­ing kick drum strikes were pro­duced with con­sid­er­able weight, puls­ing through my room with tac­tile feel as much as sound, the dy­nam­ics ev­i­dent at mod­er­ate and even low vol­umes. Turn­ing up the vol­ume re­sulted in bass that re­mained well-con­trolled yet shud­dered within the con­fines of my 13’ x 19’ room. The Sil­ver 500 can surely rock, while at the same time be­ing well man­nered and fi­nessed.

Next up was vo­cals by Keb Mo, and the song “Am I Wrong”, from Lee Rite­nour’s al­bum 6 String The­ory. Keb’s voice hailed up-front and clear, with that smooth throaty char­ac­ter that makes him so sat­is­fy­ing to lis­ten to. The Sil­ver 500 flat­ters great vo­cal record­ings, com­bin­ing del­i­cacy and smooth­ness with cap­ti­vat­ing mu­si­cal vi­brancy. Pay­ing at­ten­tion to the driv­ing bass gui­tar, I heard all the body, grunt and tex­ture I’ve come to ex­pect from the track. Body and colour, com­bined with re­al­is­tic en­ergy was how the Sil­ver 500 con­jured up the har­mon­ica - no thin­ness or shrill­ness to speak of, demon­strat­ing high qual­ity of the tweeter and cross­over. From mem­ory, I would say that this 6th gen­er­a­tion Sil­ver Se­ries is a clear step up in so­phis­ti­ca­tion and per­for­mance from any pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion. Heck, you might even want to call them ‘Gold’.

Im­prov­ing on some­thing that is al­ready very good is not an easy task but Mon­i­tor Au­dio has done just that with the Sil­ver 6G Se­ries. The Sil­ver 500 is a true all-rounder, able to coax gen­er­ous de­tail from record­ings, while con­sis­tently sound­ing mu­si­cal and pos­sess­ing tremen­dous dy­namic abil­ity. It’s a speaker that is happy to go from play­ing cham­ber mu­sic and clas­si­cal, onto jazz, pop and rock, as well as even punk or heavy me­tal. At its price point, the Sil­ver 6G Se­ries is likely the sweet spot in the Mon­i­tor Au­dio loud­speaker line-up; a speaker to please the au­dio­phile, mu­sic lover and even those that party-hardy.

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