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Standmount loudspeaker
Monitor Audio Silver RX2

Price: 2790 zł (set)

Polish distribution: Audio Center Poland

Malborska 56, 30-646 Kraków
tel: (12) 265 02 85, fax: (12) 655 45 12


WWW: Monitor Audio
Polish strona: Monitor Audio

Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Krzysztof Kalinkowski

The Silver RX series from Monitor Audio is “hot”, for some time already. Awards, won comparisons, positive reviews, etc, this all makes the RX become a major player in audio. Of course those are not ideal – there are no such products – because they do not cost so much (especially given the technologies applied, and the sound), this is why it is worth to notice some elements, and which were noticed first in the review of the model RX6, by Krzysztof Kalinkowski. But looking at those loudspeakers we cannot suppress the impression, that everything was done there, what could be done for the given money, adding some elements, that were previously reserved for the more expensive lines of loudspeakers. For example let us look at the drivers applied – earlier those were used in the Gold series (the tweeter, the gold plated C-CAM) and Platinum (the mid-woofer, coated with a ceramic composite). And the unusual mounting of the drivers, taken directly from the Platinum series, where the speakers are not bolted to the front baffle, but to the back plate and tighten the cabinet together, what eliminates vibration. It is worth mentioning, that the first company to use this type of mounting, at least on a broader scale, was the American company Magico, where the front baffle was made from metal. But Magico is an ultra hi-end company, and it can afford to do some things. The Monitor Audion, and especially the RX2, are just cheap in this context, and such solutions for the money, are something completely unique.

The test was done with the reference system, with the addition of:


I used the following discs:

  • Kenny Dorham, Quiet Kenny, New Jazz/JVC, JVCXR-0049-2, XRCD.
  • Julie London, Julie is her name. Vol.1, Liberty/EMI Music Japan, TOCJ-90014, HQCD.
  • Paco Puente, Dance Mania, RCA/BMG, BVCJ-37436, K2 CD.
  • Nat King Cole, After Midnight, Capitol Jazz/EMI, 520087, SBM CD.
  • Bill Evans, Peace Piece and Other Pieces, Milestone, M-47024, 2 x LP.
  • Kraftwerk, Tour the France. Soundtracks, EMI, 591708, 2 x 180 g LP; review HERE.

If I would have to characterize those loudspeakers using the previously tested bookshelf speakers as examples – I mean the Dynaudio DM 2/6, KEF iQ30 and Xavian Primissima, then I would say as follows: the Monitor Audio are as well balanced as the Dynaudio, have the bass reaching even lower than the KEF, and have equally good treble as the latter ones. And from the Xavian they inherited the ability of creating big virtual sources without the need of overexposing the bass region. But if I would not like to call upon anything, then I would say, that the RX2 sound with a well balanced, very clean sound, with very well defined sound spectrum extremes. And this is really something. The sound is detached from the loudspeakers, and we can really notice, that the rigidness of the enclosure was in scope of the works, as there was no sign of any boxiness, or any coloring of the sound by vibrating wood. It reminds me of things proposed by Harpia Acoustics in their loudspeakers – albeit at a higher price level. This is a sound similar in timbre, and getting loose from the loudspeakers in an equally easy way. This was observed splendidly with the monophonic disc Julie is her name Julie London, where the sound was big, not compressed to the size of a finger cup, came from the midline between the speakers, slightly behind the line connecting their fronts. Nothing, really nothing, pointed to the fact, that in reality the sound came from the two boxes on both sides of this “window”. Everything came out from a black background.

Like I said, the volume of the sound was really big. Interestingly, a similar size of the instruments was shown by the, much smaller, DM 2/6 Dynaudio. Neither the Xavian, nor the KEF, could do it in an equally convincing way. And yet the Monitor Audio can do even more. The large mid-woofer showed its superiority over the smaller one, and finally we had physics kicking in. The RX2 differentiated the volume of the separate discs better, show the changes in recording techniques better. It was here, where switching to the XRCD disc Quiet Kenny Kenny Dorham it could be heard, that this technology gives a much warmer sound. The London disc issued on HQCD was not worse, it is not what I am talking about, just XRCD is warmer, more silky. But only turning on the disc After Midnight Nat King Cole showed, that the differentiation ability of those loudspeakers is above average. The copy I own is nothing special, no “Japanese”, nothing like that. But I am not buying any other version (maybe I’ll buy the vinyl version some day), because this standard version has such a splendid sound, which can be attributed in equal parts to the doings of Michael Cuscuna, responsible for the re-master, and the Super Bit Mapping technology, I am sure about that. This, slightly forgotten technology of converting the 24 bits words of the recording to the 16 bits of the CD is one of the best developments Sony did. Due to the proper shaping of quantization noise, it allows to record 16 bit material in a way, that dynamics approaches 20 bits. And it does not need any decoder. The loudspeakers showed this disc nicely, drawing big virtual sources, having a big dynamics, etc, and they gave kudos to the engineers of Sony, by way of speaking, whoever they were.

Like I say, the Monitor Audio differentiate the recordings brilliantly. This is the reason, that when the sound is slightly shrill (but not due to distorted timbre – about that later), then it will be shown as that, what was confirmed by the disc I just bought, Dance Mania Paco Puente, with hot mambo music, recorded in 1958 in the Living Stereo system, and re-mastered in 24 bit K2. Its sound is explosive, dynamic, but at the same time somewhat shrill. So we now come to the element, we need to spend more time discussing, because it will define the perception of the loudspeakers in an audio salon. Those loudspeakers have no rounded treble or warmed midrange. Definition by negation is maybe not the most precise one, but sometimes it is worth using it. Because in this case those define best what I want to convey.

The effect of this “no” in case of the RX2 is large amount of information coming from the upper midrange and midrange. I defined it by “non-warming” and “non-rounding”, because it cannot be called brightening or sharpening, and exactly those I would evoke writing about the upper midrange. And this is the way the Monitor Audio can be perceived, especially with less well prepared material. And this is wrong. Because I have not tested any of the loudspeakers from this series before, I can say, that I do not know it. So I read again the review prepared by Krzysztof of the RX6 model. His review has the idea, that the loudspeakers can sound too “light”. But because I know the Monitor Audio from many shows and exhibitions, I thought I know where is the problem, and that is why I added a comment to his review about a tube amplifier. Now I understand the problem better, I think. And it is not about warming the sound with a tube amplifier. It is about the fact, that the RX2 show so much information, sound with such an even sound, that if in the sound path, there is anything that dries the midrange just a little, or if the listening room shortens the bass, then the loudspeakers will sound too bright, a bit too light. But like I say, I think this is not a function of the loudspeakers themselves, but the way they react with the environment. I confirmed this listening first with a tube amplifier (what an amplifier it is!!!) Leben CS-660P, and then with some “budget” gear, like Music Hall cd 25.2. A tube is a tube, it sounded wonderful, but equally well – but at a lower level (the price level is also different!) with solid state amps. Devices like: iTube FatMan, A06 Xindak, V10 Xindak (yes, it’s a tube, but when I am mentioning them, then let it stay there), A57 Carat, etc, will be splendid partners for those loudspeakers. We can also try something with the source. Besides the Leben I used for the test also a turntable – and incredible construction Black Stork with Q3 tonearm from the Lithuanian company (yes, the name is the same as the Web page). Its characteristic point, is that it lacks any sharpening or brightness. And it sounded like that. The loudspeakers passed on – of course within their capabilities, those are “budget” speakers after all – music, keeping some of the characteristic points of that turntable. We can also think about a warmer digital source, like the CD 06 Xindak or DC-1 Audionemesis and this will also be good. Very good.

The RX2 sound with a very even, well balanced sound, which detaches from them completely. They built large virtual sources and have good dynamics. The frequency extremes are strong, reproduced without any veiling. This is why we need to adjust the electronics to them. Other manufacturers tend to soften the treble, either because the used driver is not good enough, or because the tonal balance would be shifted upwards when the frequency response would be flat. The Monitor Audio have the upper midrange stronger than the range between 600 and 800Hz, but we can live with that, and adjust to it. The lower bass in not as tight as with for example the Xavian, but after all this is a bass-reflex enclosure, and we would need to experiment with placing the loudspeakers near to the wall and with the foam plugs for the ports, which are supplied. They will not sound as they should in any room, also not every electronics will fit them. But I discovered elements in their sound, which point to a certain progress, and not a humbug… And this to my big satisfaction.


RX2 are two-way, bas-reflex stand mount speakers, but they are quite large. On treble we have a gold plated dome tweeter, with 25mm diameter, covered with a mesh. Its diaphragm was made from C-CAM, what upped the border frequency to 45kHz. On midrange and bass we have a big, 200mm mid-woofer (BRX204-8P), also from C-CAM, using also the RST technology. Just a quick explanation: C-CAM stands for Ceramic-Coated Aluminum Magnesium. Those diaphragms have a core from an aluminum-magnesium alloy, covered with a thin ceramic layer on both sides. This results in a very rigid construction, where the parasite vibration is well damped. RST on the other hand stands for Rigid Surface Technology and describes the way the membrane surfaces are made. A classic diaphragm is flat, while here we have small recesses, in a shape resembling a golf ball, only bigger. They are meant to increase the rigidity of the diaphragm. There speaker is also mounted to the back plate of the enclosure, what eliminates the bolts in the front baffle, that blemish 99% of other loudspeakers. Let me just add, that the tweeter has a profiled front, that helps integrating it with the midwoofer, and the latter received a chrome plated, plastic dust cup, which imitates a metal phase corrector. The loudspeaker spider is from high pressure cast plastic. It has a large magnet, and a long metal rod is bolted into it, that holds the speaker against the back of the enclosure.

Double wire terminals – gold plated, nice, but nothing out of the ordinary – were screwed to a rigid, plastic cover on the back plate. Metal strips for connecting the terminals are delivered with loudspeakes, placed in the packaging polystyrene. Those were probably regarded as optional, so it is worth to exchange them for cable cramps, for example from Chord (this is the same distributor, Audio Center), or Wireworld (also the same distributor). The cross-over is mounted on the wire terminals from the inside. The manufacturer decided to attach the plastic plate firmly to the cabinet, trying to eliminate any kind of slot between those. The cross-over uses only polypropylene capacitors, an air coil in the treble section, and a core coil in the midrange section.

Like I mentioned, those are bass-reflex loudspeaker, with the port venting to the back. The port has its own acronym – HiVe II (High Velocity Reflex Port). It is the name of a design of a bass-reflex port, that is optimized to allow high airflows without turbulences. The HiVe port was improved further for the Platinum series and in this version it was used also in the Silver RX – its output has recesses, that allow the airflow to be more laminar, and reduce turbulence. We receive also foam plugs with the loudspeakers, that can be used to regulate the amount of bass in the RX2, adjusting them to the room and electronics. The enclosure is made from thick MDF and uses natural veneer. This veneer is not a standard one, but a thicker version – I forgot the name, maybe you will know it better. From the inside there are two grommets – a vertical and horizontal one – that increase rigidity of the cabinet, and the whole is damped with pieces of sponge. The following finishes are available: black oak, natural oak, walnut, rosenut, and two high gloss varnished versions – black and white. In the box there were also two black grilles provided, but the test was done without those.

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  • CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Prime (tested HERE)
  • Phono preamp: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC (tested HERE)
  • Preamp: Leben RS-28CX (tested HERE; soon to be changed to Polaris II, tested HERE)
  • Power amp: Luxman M-800A (tested HERE)
  • Integrated amp: Leben CS300 (reviewed HERE)
  • Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann (tested HERE)
  • headphones: AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, 600 Ω version (reviewed HERE, HERE, and HERE)
  • interconnects: CD-preamp: Wireworld Gold Eclipse 52 (tested HERE; soon to be changed to Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, article HERE), preamp-power amp: Velum NF-G SE (tested HERE)
  • speaker cable: Velum LS-G (tested HERE)
  • power cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9100 (CD; reviewed HERE) and 2 x Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC7100 (preamp, power amp (reviewed HERE)
  • power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2 Filtering Power Strip (reviewed HERE)
  • audio stand Base
  • resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD (article HERE ) Turntables change continuously, as do cartridges. My dream setup: SME 30 with Series V tone-arm and Air Tight PC-1 cartridge (also in the PC-1 Mono version).