Monitor Audio Apex review

Best style speaker package £2000+, Awards 2011. When it comes to combining alluring looks with entirely credible performance the Monitor Audio Apex Tested at £2400

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Big movie sound combines with fine musical performance for a grin-inducing package


  • +

    Large-scale sound

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    No-nonsense looks

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    Good integration

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    Plenty of punch


  • -


  • -

    Subwoofer lacks the last word in agility

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Originally released in 2010, the Monitor Audio Apex package is a previous Award winner, picking up gongs for two years running thanks to its powerful, articulate sound. And that sound is as strong now as it ever was.

Set to work delivering the jaw-dropping train-wreck sequence at the beginning of Super 8, the system delivers each crash, thud and scream of tearing metal with a ferocity and enthusiasm that could well have new visitors to your living room wondering where you’ve hidden the big speakers.

Music, likewise, is treated with an even hand, if not the last word in sensitivity. The DVD of Pearl Jam’s Immagine in Cornice – Live in Italy fairly motors along, with the Apex doing a great job of placing instruments on the stage around you in space.

Big cabinets make for a big sound

The extra cabinet volume that the Apex enjoys over its rivals makes a lot of difference, of course; physically bigger cabinets means a bigger sound. But the overall impression is one of big standmounters rather than bijou style speakers.

But for all that oomph, the Monitor Audio package still does a nice line in detail and articulacy. Dialogue is clear, and while the satellites don’t have the high-frequency finesse or fluidity of even pricier set-ups, they’re an eminently easy listen.

They keep the surround-sound field tightly controlled, although transmissions front to back could be a little smoother. Integration is solid across the frequency range, although we felt that the AW-12 subwoofer was the weak link in an otherwise strong chain.

There’s nothing wrong with it, per se – it delivers solid low-frequencies with plenty of punch and speed, and sits well with the satellites. It just doesn’t have the agility of the excellent B&W PV1D.

Superb build quality

The Apex package is superbly put together. There’s a variety of options mounting, whether on a wall, existing stands or using Monitor Audio’s dedicated ones, with their integrated cable-management (£125 each). You should be able to fit the package into any domestic setting.

It’s a luxurious proposition, this system. Of course, it doesn’t come cheap – especially if you bring the optional speaker stands to the party – but its sonic character and build do elevate it above the competition. It’s well worth every one of it’s five stars, too.

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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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