“Children’s Song 12” captures the quartet in an intimate setting, with the first notes sounded by an almost otherworldly phrase played on the vibraphones (which in this instance manages to sound a bit like a glass harp), which lingers on the air for a good while before the other instruments join in. The sound of the vibes, as presented by the Bronze BX system, is simply gorgeous—rich, ringing, and full of beautifully balanced high-pitched harmonics. What is more, the sound of the vibes seems to float on the air in a literal way, so that the sound seems to emanate from a point above and between the front-channel speakers. Throughout the track, in fact, the imaging qualities of the Bronze BX system are superbly showcased, showing just how engrossing a low-cost speaker system can be once it is able to get the sound “off the boxes” (which, for many systems, is something easier said than done).
As the track unfolds, I noted the ease with which the Bronze BX system maintained clear-cut separation of the often complexly intertwined voices of the quartet’s instruments—in particular, the often overlapping voices of Bartha's piano and Siman's harp. When I use the word “separation”, here, I’m referring to both the timbral and spatial characteristic of the Bronze BX system. It offers sufficient textural and timbral refinement to allow you to distinguish voices of instruments playing at or near the same pitch, and it offers sufficient spatial resolution to also let you know those instruments are positioned at different points on stage. Finally the Bronze system did a great job of capturing the focused intensity of Michalski’s acoustic bass, creating an especially vivid image of the instrument as it takes its turn for a few bars as the center of attention. My point is that the Bronze BX system makes the most of sophisticated and well-made recordings, in the process showing that it really is something more than a traditional “entry level” speaker system.
Consider this system if: you want most, though perhaps not quite all, of the sonic riches of a great mid-priced speaker system, but at an entry level price. With the Bronze BX rig, the sonic sophistication/dollar ratio is pretty much off the charts.
Look further if: you like your music or movies played at earsplitting volume levels; raw (and I do mean raw) loudness is not this system’s forte.
Ratings (relative to comparably-priced surround speaker systems)
The Bronze BX system represents a deliberate and methodical attempt on Monitor Audio’s part to build an “entry level” speaker system that in many (indeed, perhaps most) respects sounds more like a very sophisticated mid-priced speaker system. It is, quite simply, a brilliant success. The longer you listen to this system, the more “right” it sounds, and for not a lot of money.
SPECS & PRICING
Monitor Audio Bronze BX5 2 ½-way, three-driver, bass reflex floorstanding speaker
Driver complement: One 1-inch C-CAM gold dome tweeter, one 5.5-inch C-CAM mid/bass driver, one 5.5-inch C-CAM bass drivers
Frequency response: 36Hz – 30 kHz
Sensitivity: 90 dB
Impedance: 8 ohms
Dimensions (HxWxD): 34.19” x 8.44” x 11.125” (main speaker with floor plinth installed)
Weight: 26 lbs. each
Warranty: 5 years, parts and labor