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Floorstanding speaker
Monitor Audio Monitor 4

Price: 1600 zł (2 pcs.)

Polish distribution: Audio Center Polska

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


WWW: Monitor Audio
Polish language www: Monitor Audio

Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Krzysztof Kalinkowski

The Monitor series is a result of stubbornness of a few Monitor Audio dealers. As you know, there is an exchange of all models in all series of the company, which started with the new Silver RX series (replacing the Silver SR). The Bronze BR will be replaced by Bronze BX, and Gold by a series with unknown name. All those changes were made after the technologies employed in the flag Platinum products gained enough, to be able to be transferred to lower price ranges. This is how we should “read” the changes – each series has the solutions found in the more expensive series before that, and something extra. And although they tried, the CEO of the company, David Hobbes, tells us, they could not keep the prices at the same level. The new products are slightly more expensive than the ones they replace. This was the reason, that some dealers requested the company to prepare something, that could compete in the most basic price range with the C series from KEF. So the Monitor series was created. In fact, those are loudspeakers from the Bronze series, with improved cross-overs and in an enclosure with plastic veneer, and not a natural one. It is available only in black, and a lot cheaper than the Bronze.

o date we tested:

  • Floor standing Monitor Audio Silver Rx2 – test HERE.
  • Floor standing Monitor Audio Silver Rx6 – test HERE.
  • Floor standing Monitor Audio Bronze BR6 – test HERE.
  • Bookshelves Monitor Audio Platinum PL100 – test HERE.
  • Bookshelves Monitor Audio Gold GS10+GS Stands – test HERE.


Discs used for testing:

  • Bill Evans Trio, Portrait In Jazz, Riverside, RISA-1162-6, SACD/CD.
  • Bill Evans Trio, Portrait In Jazz, Riverside/JVC, VICJ-61322, K2HD CD.
  • David Gilmour, Live In Gdańsk, EMI Music, 235488, 2 x CD; review HERE.
  • David Sylvian, Secrets of the Beehive, Virgin/EMI Music Japan, VJCP-68879, CD.
  • Dennis Kolen, Northeim/Goldmine, Stockfisch, SFR 357.4059.2, SACD/CD.
  • Depeche Mode, Fragile Tension/Hole to Feed, Mute Records, 12BONG42, 2 x 180 g, maxi-SP LP.
  • Frank Sinatra, Sinatra&Strings, Warner Music/Mobile Fidelity, MFSL 1-313, No. 199, 180 g LP; review HERE.
  • Kraftwerk, Tour The France Soundtracks, EMI Records, 591 708 1, 2 x 180 g, LP; review HERE.
  • Max Roach & Clifford Brown, Daahoud, Mainstream Records/Mobile Fidelity, MFCD 826, CD.
  • Mel Tormé, Mel Tormé Sings Shubert Alley, Verve/Polydor K.K. Japan, KI 8212, LP.
  • Metallica, ReLoad, Sony Music Japan, SICP-481, CD.
  • The Bill Evans Trio, Moon Beams, Riverside/JVC, VICJ-61325, K2HD CD.
  • The Doors, Limited Edition Vinyl Box, Warner Brothers/Rhino, 7 x 180 g LP.
  • Yamamoto, Tsuyoshi Trio, Midnight Sugar, Three Blind Mice/Cisco Music, TBM-23-45, 0080/1000, 45 rpm, 2 x 180 g LP; review HERE.

Japanese editions of the CDs are found on CDJapan.

Inexpensive products have their flaws, which every experienced audiophile/music lover would like to quickly forget. Hence the never ending search, expedition into unknown, by exchanging the devices, tuning the system, fighting resonances, exchanging the recordings for their better versions, etc. But even in the lowest price region we can find devices, loudspeakers, accessories, which create a coherent sound, which can make listening a pleasure, regardless of the system they are plugged into. Why the sound of some loudspeakers for – let’s say – 1500zl “jumps” directly in place, and from others, which sometimes present some aspects of the sound better, does not? This is of course physics and psychoacoustics, not magic, but a part of the success is in the “guts” of the constructor. And this brings things much closer to art, so to a thing, that is not so easy to describe. We can of course try to find an answer, how this was achieved, but only AFTER a product was made, a posteriori. It is much harder BEFORE, because here much depends on experience, taste, feeling for music, etc, everything, that can be described as talent.

The Monitor 4 – it was not hard to guess, was it? – you can enjoy joy from the very first listening. Well, maybe from the second one. Because you need a while to set them up in the room and experiment with the foam bass reflex plugs. It seems, that those loudspeakers should stand wide apart. Placed close together, 2m or less, they will play a bit too dense, there will be too much happening between them. Bending them is a matter of individual taste, but I suggest starting the search for the right angle from the almost straight setting, with the axes crossing a meter behind the listeners head, or even farther. And finally the distance from the back wall. This is the key item to achieving the things I achieved, when I listened to many discs with joy and surprised, that many hi-end systems I heard in my life, did not give me that satisfaction from music, I had from listening to those black loudspeakers. The thing with setting them up is, that the Monitor 4 have a big, strong bass. It is maybe not problematic in itself, it may also be greeted with appreciation. But in this case, when we place the Monitors closer than 1m to the back wall, there will be too much of it, and it will be not so well controlled. And the control will not depend on the power of the amplifier, but will be a part if the too long reverb of the low frequencies. This is why you need to try both foam plugs. In my case, I did achieve a king of “golden middle” with the front bass-reflex port plugged and the back one opened. But you can have a different solution – you have to try all the possibilities.

When we have everything setup, everything connected, nice electronics (I will tell some more about that later), then the Monitor 4 can turn out to be something exceptional. It is really hard to find such a sound for such money. The high notes I give to them is mostly related to the coherence of the system. Within their limitations, everything has its place, create a logical emission. Logic is maybe not a very good comparator, because the listener does not have to analyze and put things together in his head, when listening to those speakers. I wrote about those things many times before – music is a whole, and it has to be perceived like that. The listener should invest only the minimal effort – and that an subconscious one, those things happen inside the brain, and we do not know about them – in putting together the things he hears. Convincing ourselves, that the things we have in front of us are the “real thing” should happen as smooth as possible, imperceptible. I had this impression with the Monitor 4 I had exactly this feeling – I knew their problems, that those are not expensive loudspeakers, but not because they annoyed me with something, that they had a big flaw somewhere, but because I knew how a disc should sound, and how it sounds in the most expensive systems known to me.

I started with the bass, it was necessary to describe the process of setting them up in the room. But this was not coincidence – the sound of the Monitors is set lower than for example the Silver RX, or the Gold, the more expensive series of Monitor Audio. Their sound is massive and full – something desired in inexpensive systems. Because what do we get – credible size of instruments and good scaling. I started the session with the disc I bought recently Moon Beams The Bill Evans Trio in K2HD, and I knew it was good. The piano of the leader, place in the middle, in front of us, had a very good attack, it was nicely situated on a large stage, slightly to the back, but also without thinning of the lower frequencies. Its frequencies were limited a little from top and bottom, but this is just the way it was recorded. The contrabass provided a strong base. And it served me for setting up the Monitor 4, because without the plugs it was too big, too optimistic in its sound. Really interesting with this disc, but also with other jazz discs, like the Daahoud Max Roach and Clifford Brown, was the treble. Looking at that in an objective way, it is hard to tell, if it was slightly darkened, or the opposite. The Monitors are loudspeakers, which rather follow the recording with the treble balance, than impose their mark on it. With Evans, they were slightly warm, a bit withdrawn, and without the top most spectrum. With newer recordings, like the newest Stockfisch issue, the disc Northeim/Goldmine Dennis Kolen the treble opened, but its lower end, on the edge of the midrange, got impoverished. But in general the recordings from the 50-ties and beginning 60-ties were characterized with a brilliant saturation of this subrange, what was splendidly shown in the Monitors.

Because the loudspeakers differentiate the sound surprisingly well, especially taking into account the price we needed to pay for it. To verify this statement I compared two versions of the disc Portrait In Jazz Bill Evans Trio – one issued by Fantasy (the owner of the right to the Riverside catalogue; now a part of Concord Music Group) on hybrid SACD, where the CD part was mastered using Direct SBM process from DSD tape, and a second one, issued by JVC as K2HD. The difference between them was obvious – dry, bland sound of the hybrid and the full, deep K2HD. I had no doubt, that the Fantasy issue was flawed.

Like I say – most important is the fact, that those loudspeakers sound coherent. A part of the upper midrange, but in a narrow band, is underlined, so you need to have a close look at the accompanying electronics. But it is not the typical plastic sound of cheap loudspeakers, a boost of a whole subrange, but something much more narrow. Because the recordings from Secrets of the Beehive David Sylvian sounded without any particular brightening – and this happens even to very expensive systems, when they are not well combined. I heard a large voice, very nice, deep piano and I did not have the urge to stop the disc, what happens to me rather often during testing. It was also not bad with stronger music – in fact it was good. With the ReLoad from Metallika, and Live In Gdańsk from David Gilmour the loudspeakers did not lose themselves, it was not a lava, but a very nice sound. The Monitor seem to be an easy load, they will perform nicely even in a big room, and probably this is the reason, that the events from the last two discs, were reproduced with proper might and power.

Of course those are very cheap loudspeakers and cannot do certain things. With higher volume levels there is chaos on the stage, and there is nothing we can do about that. The treble is really nice, but sometimes it is little selective. A part of the midrange, its upper part, is a bit withdrawn, what, together with a strong upper bass, results in a “heavier” sound than with other speakers. But all those things are just minor nitpicks, things that are present in the same or similar extent in other loudspeakers for the money. If the Monitor series was a response to Chinese production, with no European or American influence, or inexpensive loudspeakers from other European manufacturers, made also in China, then it is a very strong response. One more thing – I had to say a few words about electronics. It should be very well balanced. For example the series 15.2 from Music Hall (will be introduced to market shortly), the new NAD amplifier C316BEE and the fitting CD player, or the amplifier Fatman iTube and the CD plater Xindak 06. Or the complete 06 system. And the Monitor Audio distributor has some nice things available, because the first electronics you should try out with those loudspeakes is the system Arcam FMJ CD17 + A18. Good job Monitor Audio!!!


Monitor 4 is a floorstanding loudspeaker from Monitor Audio. In the series there is also the more expensive Monitor 6 and bookshelf speakers M1 and M2, as well as the center loudspeaker Mcenter. M4 is a two-and-a-half way box, based on two 165mm midwoofers and a 25mm C-CAM tweeter. The lower driver is used only for transmitting the lowest frequencies, the one in the middle handles also the midrange. In contrast to the M2 the loudspeaker has two bass-reflex ports – one firing forward and one backward. This solution allows for free air transmission and reduces the pressure, which usually compresses bass. In medium sized and larger rooms, as well as in home cinema systems the back port can be blocked with a foam plug, and in that way we can adjust the bass for a given room. New, high quality spikes allow for stable placing of the box and provide a fantastic isolation from external vibration.

I mentioned, that the Monitor series is a refurbished Bronze series. The changes are not big, but were made to almost all elements of the construction. For example the mid-woofer was redesigned, now having a solid eight point mounting system. New materials were used to make those drivers what resulted in a new version of the MMPII composite material (Metal-Matrix Polymer), very durable and light, which is the raw material for the diaphragm. The spiders are made from rigid plastic. According to the manufacturer, they have large holes to allow free air movement, reducing heat buildup and thus improving dynamics and reducing compression. Distortion was minimized by balancing the pressures within the driver motor. The magnet is shielded. The original Bronze series was praised for cleanness, smoothness and splendid treble. This was mostly attributed to the gold plated C-CAM tweeter. The Monitor series uses the same aluminum, gold plated tweeter, powered by a tiny neodymium magnet. The manufacturer claims, that this driver was also improved, especially in the area of diaphragm suspension and improving its profile. Also the bass-reflex ports were bettered – its internal outlet is covered with soft rubber to minimize the airflow noise, what results in clean, not distorted bass.

Changes did not leave the cross-overs alone. They were mounted on double, gold plated wire terminals. The cross-over is built on a PCB, where we find two core coils, one air coil, a polypropylene capacitor, with Monitor Audio logo, one electrolytic capacitor and one resistor. You should better exchange the jumpers connecting the bass and treble sections together to something better. I used the Audionova Pure Connect Reference. The cabinet is made from MDF, with two internal, horizontal reinforcements from chipboard, and is damped, quite heavily, with foam. The artificial veneer, imitating wood, is available only in black. The loudspeakers are supported by four spikes.

Technical data (according to manufacturer):
Frequency response: 36Hz-22kHz
Efficiency: 91dB
Impedance: 6Ω
Maximum power: 150W
Enclosure: bass-reflex to front and back
Drivers: 1 x 165mm mid-woofer MMPII, 1 x 165mm woofer MMPII, 1 x 25mm tweeter C-CAM
Dimensions: 850mm x 185mm x 255mm
Weight: 14kg

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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).