Familiarity can breed contempt, they say. Well, Monitor Audio's Bronze BR2s prove how wrong ‘they' can be.
We've regularly played 'em, tested 'em and published reviews on 'em for a few years now; we've given them a Best Buy Award in 2007, and we still find them far from contemptible – the fact that they've been reduced to four-star status by the emergence of talented rivals notwithstanding.
By the general standards of their price, the BR2s are big (though there are no compromises in build quality) – and they deliver a correspondingly large-scale sound.
Ample muscle and plenty of driveThat 165mm mid/low frequency driver offers ample muscle, as well as plenty of drive; the 25mm dome tweeter is musical and integrates with its partner cleanly.
Playing The Flaming Lips' She Don't Use Jelly shows off many of the BR2s' strengths: a large, convincing soundstage, fulminating dynamic potency, sparkling high frequencies and the sort of excitement that only comes from a speaker eager to attack a tune.
More after the break
The Monitor Audios unearth plenty of detail, organise it well and time confidently enough to keep a listener's toes tapping through even the most complex rhythms.
Feed them quality source materialIt's a similar story with Wagon Christ's processed, programmed Sorry I Make You Lush but, for the first time in our long relationship with the BR2s, upstart rivals have revealed a few chinks in the armour.
They don't have quite the midrange transparency or coherence of the very best and, while they're more than happy to go loud, voices can get edgy.
This is a trait that becomes more apparent if you feed the BR2s compressed MP3-or-similar music. No speakers enjoy poor-quality source material, of course, but it spooks the BR2s more than most.
These few shortcomings aren't the end of the world, of course, and those who admire the BR2s' invigorating, hefty sound might easily overlook them.
We're still fans ourselves – but, after all this time, our heads have been turned by newer contenders.