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Monitor Audio RX8 loudspeaker review

Hi-Fi World - January 2010 issue




Noel Keywood finds Monitor Audio's new RX8 loudspeaker a thoroughly modern mover...


If you are looking for an affordable floorstander that delivers the goods in a very obvious way, then look no further. Monitor Audio’s new Silver RX8 costs just £1,000 – no fortune for a good hi-fi loudspeaker – and will bring a big smile to most faces. Yes, it even did to mine! This is a loudspeaker that hardly puts a foot wrong, and is more obvious in what it does than the floodlights at Wembley Stadium. But it’s also spot on engineering wise: a few Watts into the RX8 will have your cat straight out of the room!

Monitor Audio do a great job with finish and presentation so this weighty floorstander comes with a separate plinth to aid stability, adjustable floor spikes or polymer pads, and a single foam port bung. You can leave its shiny, dimpled alloy cones on display to intrigue onlookers or hide them behind a grill cloth for an altogether more discreet appearance. In this case the attractively veneered cabinets with smooth rounded edges will not jar the senses, because the standard of finish Monitor Audio achieve is about the best in the business, a nose ahead of both KEF and B&W methinks.
If you choose to leave the grille off then what confronts you is an intriguing array of hi-tech drive units entirely of Monitor Audio’s own manufacture.  At top is a one inch (25mm) gold dome C-CAM treble unit sitting behind a black protective mesh grille. Beneath it sits a large cone midrange unit, with chrome plated, bullet shaped dust cap at centre. Behind lies a sealed chamber.

Beneath this midrange unit are two similar drivers that handle bass duties, each loaded by its own rear reflex ported chamber. One vents through a front port close to the floor, the other through a rear port at top.

With stylishly angled descriptive legends and neat, gold plated bi-wire connecting terminals, at rear the RX8s look the part. They are conceptually positioned to be a thoroughly modern, high technology loudspeakers with a matching level of performance and in my view they achieve their promise.
But let us pause for a moment of reflection. 'Modern' surely means, ermm, obvious to the point of being brash, in your face and with inflated extremities to attract attention? Yep, the RX8s are a cock bird in season, with colourful plumage and a lot of noise to make. This is their milieu, and one they strut confidently, and with good reason. They are not all show and no go; there’s plenty of go to match their show. But their sound is very 'distinctive'...



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