Over the years, U.K.-based Monitor Audio has established itself as a premier loudspeaker manufacturer, and it has built this reputation through several product lines that combine performance and value.
Following CES this past winter, Kevro International, the US distributor for Monitor, gave me the opportunity to review the company’s top-of-the-line Gold Signature series products. This opportunity would allow me to not only verify the numerous accolades that company has received, but it also give me the chance to experience a benchmark-level product within the company’s line.
Jeff Myatt of Kevro, who lives a short distance from me in Boston-area suburbia, arrived at my house with his SUV full of speakers. Jeff helped me unpack and set up a 5.0 system that features a pair of floorstanding GS60s, a pair of GS-FX surround speakers and a GS-LCR.
The three-way GS60s incorporate two of the company’s 6 1/2-inch RST2 woofers, a single 6 1/2-inch RST2 midrange driver and a 1-inch gold C-CAM tweeter. The GS-FX surround speakers utilize Monitor’s dual-mode monopole/dipole technologies.
Internally, the GS-FXs feature a slim-profile enclosure that houses a multiple driver array. In monopole mode, the speakers employ a front mounted 6 1/2-inch RST2 driver, 1-inch gold C-CAM tweeter, and custom-install switches, which allow the surrounds to be customized to their environment.
In the dipole mode the speakers use the side-firing 4-inch C-CAM midrange drivers and 1-inch gold C-CAM tweeters in concert with the front firing RST2 driver.
As the name implies, the matching GS-LCR can be used as a left, center or right speaker and it features a pair of 6 1/2-inch RST2 midrange drivers that flank a single 1-inch gold C-CAM tweeter.
On the speakers’ rears, the front three channels have dual binding posts for bi-wiring while the surrounds feature a single set of binding posts and a 12-volt trigger that facilitates the operation of the dual-mode functions.
With Jeff’s help, we unpacked the speakers, mounted the plinths to the GS60s, positioned the speakers and connected my Transparent speaker cables. Most of the two-hour install time involved the unpacking. In my system, we set the rears up for monopole operation, the surround’s boundary switches at the “0dB” position and location switch to the “L/F” position. Wrapping things up, we adjusted the settings in my Bryston pre/pro to match the system.
Out of the box, we listened to Steve Morse’s cover of Rush’s “La Villa Strangiato” and the Rush “R30” DVD in 5.1 with an RBH 12-SE sub. My overall impressions were good. I thought the system showed a lot of extension in the low and high ends, a rich midrange and a strong image.
Jeff informed me that some of the midrange richness would dissipate after break-in, but Monitor is typical of the U.K. companies that emphasize that trait.
After a couple of weeks running the speakers, I sat down and listened to two-channel and multichannel content such as Dave Matthews and Audioslave and movies such as “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Departed.”
Once broken, in the system delivered tons of detail, smooth octave-to-octave performance, precise imaging and a broad soundstage. I’ve heard systems that offer bigger sound stages or more bass extension, but this system was balanced and refined in all performance aspects, which make it perfect for music and movies.
I was thoroughly impressed with the Monitor products. I can sum up my experience by giving them my highest complement: they make listening fun.
I highly recommend that installers check this line out. It’s vast enough to fulfill any application and priced to serve the requirements of any custom consumer. —Robert Archer, CE Pro senior editor
- GS60s are $3,999 per pair
- GS-FXs are $1,499 per pair
- GS-LCR is $999 each
Visit www.monitoraudio.co.uk for more.
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