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


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    Gorgeous design

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    plenty of punch

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    rich, warm presentation


  • -

    Could do with a bit more detail and speed

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

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?, 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, Reading 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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