Monitor Audio has been an ultra-dependable brand when it comes to home cinema speaker systems in recent memory, consistently turning out easy on the eye, expertly finished performers.
So, we have high hopes as we unbox this kit. This system comprises four R90HD satellites and an R180 centre channel; these are married to Monitor Audio's new RXW-12 subwoofer.
While these are certainly most conventional-looking speakers, they are also flexible and unobtrusive, their generic appearance helping them melt in to any background. They're well made, too, feeling rock solid and built to last.
Sonically, this system is an energetic, exciting affair.
Listening to the explosive action of one of the more eagerly anticipated Blu-ray releases in recent times, Saving Private Ryan, the 'HD12 relays the necessary speed and power as planes and bullets fly around the soundstage, even if a little more scale and space can be had elsewhere. Treble frequencies certainly err on the lively side.
More after the break
Plenty to please the earsAt the other end of the tonal spectrum we find plenty to please our ears and, indeed, flap our trousers. The 12in driver shifts plenty of air to create powerful but punchy bass to underpin the most explosive action.
Subwoofers are crucial in surround sound systems, and the RXW-12 adds the necessary body and weight while remaining well integrated, even if it could sometimes be a little quicker on its toes.
While the new subwoofer adds scale and depth over the Award-winning 'HD10 package's performance, it also costs an extra £400 – and is, crucially, £100 more than the B&W MT-30 package.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we think the style and design of this system is simple yet effective, and thankfully it's backed up by sterling surround sound.
Unfortunately some of its peers have the edge, and that's why it's missing that final star.