Monitor Audio Silver RX Series Speaker System Page 2

PERFORMANCE

I started my listening sessions with the grilles off, as I do with most of the speakers I review. But while I enjoyed the speakers’ crisp, present treble, it sounded just a bit too bright for me. Placing the grilles on the speakers tamed the treble perfectly. But suddenly I was in a weird situation. Normally people might remove their speaker grilles for listening, then replace them to protect the speakers from accidental damage. I was doing just the opposite — leaving the gorgeous speakers to stand naked but covering them with the grilles for listening.

Speaker grilles tend to dull the upper treble, but not in this case. High-frequency percussion instruments came through particularly clearly. When I played the jazz/funk classic “What I Say” from Miles Davis’s Live-Evil CD, the pandeiro (tambourine) and agogô bells played by Brazilian percussionist Airto Moreira seemed to float right between and about a foot above the speakers. The percussion stood out from the group’s sonic fracas as if I were hearing the music performed live in a small club.

At the other end of the sonic spectrum, the RX6 staggered me with its deep, dynamic bass. The towers perfectly replicated the fast, fat groove of Michael Henderson’s electric bass on “What It Is” and even took a stab at the couch-shaking, ultra-deep pipe organ notes on Michael Murray’s recording of Joseph Jongen’s “Symphony Concertante” with the San Francisco Symphony. For a small speaker with two 6-inch woofers, the RX6’s performance is astounding. With so much great stuff going on in the highs and lows, I almost forgot to evaluate the speaker’s mids. But that’s partly because they sounded so natural that they didn’t call attention to themselves.

The RX6’s dynamics left me pining for a dumb, loud action movie. Luckily, I had on hand the Blu-ray Disc of Fast and Furious, a classic “ram all the faders to the top” soundtrack mix. The RX series system perfectly reproduced the four different sounds in Fast and Furious (roaring engines, squealing tires, throbbing music, and pummeling of lowlifes by Vin Diesel). Had I been blindfolded for this test, I’d have thought I was listening to a high-end system designed for a 25-seat home theater. The RX6 and Monitor’s surprisingly potent little RXW-12 subwoofer’s dynamics let them accurately deliver this over-the-top movie’s soundtrack with a complete lack of audible distortion even when I played them really, really loud.

The RXFX surround speakers’ timbre matching was superb — as objects flew past me during the movie’s driving scenes, the sound effects were remarkably consistent as they shifted from the front speakers to the surrounds. This characteristic helped the system produce an enveloping effect that drew me into whatever I was watching.

The RX Centre seemed subtly brighter-sounding than the RX6, even with its grille on, but I noticed that only when I was listening critically; once I got into the movie or TV show I was watching, I immediately forgot about the difference.

BOTTOM LINE

I’m surprised at the raw power of Monitor Audio’s Silver RX speakers. I’m delighted at their vivid sonic imaging. And I’m charmed by their gorgeous looks — with or without the grilles attached. If you’re seeking a compact, do-it-all system, I doubt you can do much better than this one.

Ratings
Design: 7
Performance: 8
Value: 7
Overall Score: 7.3
Certified + Recommended YES

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