Flashback 2001 – Battle of the Bookshelfs

Fifteen years ago Al Griffin and David Ranada teamed up to conduct a double-blind listening test with a half dozen $300-a-pair bookshelf speakers. (Gotta love those caricatures!) Models from Acoustic Energy, Boston Acoustics, Jamo, KEF, Monitor Audio, and NHT were set up in two groups of three with each stereo pair situated so the “listener only had to turn his head slightly to bring the sonic image of each pair into focus.”

The speakers were level-matched to ensure a level playing field and hidden between a black acoustically transparent veil so Griffin and Ranada never knew which speaker they were listening to while switching between them. They rated each speaker on a scale of 1 to 5 for tonal balance, dynamics, bass, and imaging.

Monitor Audio’s Bronze 1 took top honors, with scores of 4 and 5 across the board. Griffin: “The Monitor Audio’s most obvious qualities were its wide dynamics and pleasing tonal balance.” Ranada: “The Bronze 1 did a better job than the Acoustic Energy and NHT of clearly reproducing complex orchestral textures. It also gave an excellent sense of space in cathedral choir music.”

As we’ve seen time and time again, good speakers never die, they just get refined and updated. The Bronze 1 is still in Monitor’s lineup and can be had for $390/pair at audioadvisor.com.

thehun's picture

I really liked his articles, and frankly I miss his frank "objectivist" views as well. Hope all is well for him.