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Gale Gold Monitor review

They've been around for some time, but the Gale Gold Monitors can still hold their own in today's market Tested at £100

Our Verdict

The Gold Monitors are very capable, yet also somewhat frustrating

For

  • (Mostly) poised, confident and engaging sound

Against

  • Ill-tempered and ill-integrated treble

In one incarnation or another, Gale's Gold Monitor has been around for quite some time – before the dawn of the 21st century, at least.

So given the fact it's been ticking over quite nicely through Richer Sounds stores up and down the country all this time, a reappraisal is overdue.

Memorable design is hard to come by at this price point – some rivals' curved cabinet edges are about as exotic as things get – but although they don't make for an exciting photo, the Gales are perfectly well assembled and finished.

Biwirable, gold-plated speaker binding posts are a nice flourish, and there's a reflex port at the back of the cabinet too.

Positioning pays dividends
Run in, and with room positioning thoroughly investigated (the Gold Monitors undoubtedly sound more purposeful when close to a rear wall), the Gales turn in a performance that in some areas nears class-leading quality.

The grinding rasp of David Bowie's Cracked Actor sounds authentically sleazy, and the glam stomping is timed well and sharply focused.

Tonal variation to the (prompt, straight-edged, decently punchy) low frequencies is good, and the GMs remain poised, even as the song hits its histrionic heights.

A switch to the altogether-calmer Jackson C Frank's My Name is Carnival allows the Gales' nicely judged, communicative midrange to shine. These are eloquent communicators, meticulous and lyrical all at once where vocalists are concerned.

Unnatural treble
So far, so really quite impressive. But this good work is slightly undone by the GM's unnatural, distracting treble reproduction.

Coarse when it should be crisp, the top end of the frequency range is, at best, on nodding terms with the rest of the sonic information, and has a nasal, almost phased quality that sets it completely at odds with the Gales' otherwise-confident sound.

The tweeter is to blame, of course, and like the inflatable boy who took a pin to his inflatable school, it's let everything down.

The Gold Monitors offer a five-star sound in many ways, yet we can't recommend them unequivocally.

Forewarned is forearmed, though, so if you've a budget amp that's soporific at the top end, these could be just what you're looking for.

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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, New York 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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