Monitor Audio Silver RX1
A combination of good looks and great performance that’s a match for any price-comparable rivalWrite your own review
- enviably finished
- big soundstage
- dynamic, detailed sound
- Won’t work with any old electronics, so system-match with care
It's nobody's fault but our own, of course, but somehow Monitor Audio's pint-sized Silver RX1s have avoided the Group Test spotlight until now, despite having scored five stars in a First Test back in March 2010.
No product can rest on its laurels forever, though, and the arrival of KEF's Q300s means the RX1s must abandon their life of leisure in our stockroom and fight their corner.
Bags of warmth and detail
These are usefully compact stand-mounters, a fact only reinforced by the chunkier rivals on sale in which they find themselves.
In terms of perceived value, they're up there on a par with contemporary four-star rivals the Castle Knight 2s – their weighty, round-edged MDF cabinets are finished with real wood veneer, and the complement of drivers (25mm gold dome tweeter and 15cm mid/bass driver, the latter having dimples for extra rigidity) manages to look discreet and purposeful.
Around the back are biwire terminals and a bass reflex port that's ribbed in a push for accelerated airflow and reduced turbulence.
Give them a bit of space
Atop some weighty stands, toed-in just a fraction and enjoying a little free space (the RX1s are tolerant of proximity to rear or side walls, but they still give of their best given decent clearance), the Monitor Audios are capable of combining drive and delicacy to impressive effect.
Scott Walker's If Ships Were Made To Sail is delivered with all its gossamer vulnerability intact, pinned expertly to a broad soundstage and with torrential levels of detail communicated through the midrange.
There's real texture to the piano notes and a sense of spaciousness to the RX1s' delivery that's a match for any comparably priced rival.
Intimate, explicit and, above all, musical, the Monitor Audios invest the recording with as exactly as much emotional weight as it warrants.
Shift gears with Roots Manuva's Clockwork, and the RX1s' snappy timing, straight-edged low-frequency response and convincingly even tonality come to the fore.
Bass is taut and solid, with meaningful punch on tap without any kind of squeeze on the rest of the frequency range evident.
And as well as ample dynamic heft on tap, the Monitor Audios are happy to be wound to levels best described as ‘anti-social' and left there. There's no perceptible hardening of their sound – just an increase in volume.
They aren't the most neutral speakers available, though. Between the weighty bass and the rich, detailed midrange the RX1s are definitely on the warm side, but take a little care with system-matching (by which we mean avoiding similarly inclined electronics) and the Monitor Audios are good-looking, compact speakers with a list of talents long enough to make them a compulsory audition.
It's back to the stockroom for the RX1s, and we've no doubt that when they're next called upon they'll impress all over again.