We’ve always liked Monitor Audio’s mid-market Silver speakers, so we were excited to hear the whole range was getting an update.
Gone is the ‘RX’ suffix: it’s now just the ‘Silver’ series, with the Silver 1 being the smaller, standmounted model.
As we unwrap the speakers, it is hard not to marvel at the luxurious build quality. They’re heavy, for starters, and feel very solid.
The natural oak finish on our review sample is smooth and polished to touch, and the fixings all over are nothing short of exemplary.
This is the kind of build quality we’d expect from speakers twice the price, but we’re not surprised by Monitor Audio – indeed, this is one of the company’s areas of consistent strength.
There’s even a nice range of finish options: rosenut, walnut or black oak, as well as glossy black or white. What’s more exciting, however, are the improvements this update brings.
The 6in mid-mass driver has a larger motor and a more efficient drive assembly, which ought to increase dynamism and accuracy.
The new tweeter vents internally to eliminate distortion from air pressure, and promises improved response at lower frequencies. The walls of the MDF cabinet are also thicker, with more internal bracing for greater rigidity.
The tweaks work: the Silver 1s are a clear improvement on the RX1s they replace. The soundstage is wide and there’s ample headroom. It’s a refined performance with a clean sound and plenty of detail.
They’re also an engaging listen. Throughout the frequency range you get nicely extended dynamics.
There’s a good degree of agility, particularly from the midrange upwards, and plenty of bass, which goes a lot deeper than we’d expect from cabinets this size.
Out of the box, the treble feels hard-edged. Play a bit of big band (any Frank Sinatra will do) and horns at the top end can sometimes come across as harsh. This disappears with time: we’d recommend a thorough running in before any seriously listening.
For us, it was about 72 hours before the Silver 1s got anywhere near sounding their best, but by then the treble was nicely smoothed out. The level of detail improved during this time, adding greater insight and a sense of delicacy.
The competition? We found these to be lively enough to make the KEF R100s seem a little safe, but in the face of the B&W 685 S2s’ boundless energy and snappier timing, the Monitor Audios feel a little strait-laced.
Be sure to play around with positioning, as these speakers can be a little fussy. Give them too much free space and they sound a bit cold.
Put them too close to the wall and the bass begins to overwhelm. We are happy with them about 60cm from the wall, slightly toed in towards the listening position.
So they can be a little picky about their environment, and there are better all-rounders for the money.
But what you get is a wonderfully detailed, dynamic and spacious performance, wrapped up in an exceedingly well-built package.
The Silver 1s are another excellent set of midrange standmounters with plenty to admire, and Monitor Audio has a right to be proud.
MORE: Best buys hi-fi speakers