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Monitor Audio Apex AW12 review

Impressive looking aesthetically, Monitor Audio's Apex AW12 subwoofer has real ability too Tested at £950

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

It’s hard to resist such a beautiful looking sub, and you’ll be rewarded with plenty of punchy bass


  • +

    Gorgeous design

  • +

    plenty of punch

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    rich, warm presentation


  • -

    Could do with a bit more detail and speed

The Monitor Audio Apex AW12 subwoofer shows the company's usual care being taken over the design: in a world where subs are often ultilitarian black or grey boxes, the elegant AW12 is an exception.

Mind you, that shouldn't come as a surprise: after all, this subwoofer is part of the Monitor Audio Apex speaker system, winner of our 2011 Award for Best style speaker package £2000+.

Monitor Audio AW12 – in high-gloss black or white

Monitor Audio AW12 – in high-gloss black or white

The metallic high-gloss black enclosure – also available in white – is sealed, with internal bracing, while the heavy lifting is done by a 30.5cm C-CAM (ceramic-coated aluminium/magnesium) forward-firing driver, powered by a 500W class-D amp.

Good quality spikes are provided, complete with a polymer cup/cover for use on hard floors, and the sub has line inputs and outputs, so it could be used between a preamp and power amp in stereo systems, and the option of automatic on/standby switching or 12V trigger control.

Get the bangs and crashes going and there’s lots of punch and attack here, along with decent detail.

There’s a rich character that can make the AW12 sound a bit tubby compared with the leaders in the field, but this never grates.

Superb though it looks – Monitor Audio even offers a special Sheer Brilliance Lacquer Polish for the finish, made by car detailing specialists Autoglym! – the AW12 is definitely no case of style over substance: there’s real ability behind the looks.

See all of our Subwoofer Best Buys

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What Hi-Fi?
What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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