The Monitor Audio Silver Series RX1 loudspeakers come across like many in the seemingly endless parade of unassuming, though attractive, small box loudspeakers on the market. Because of this, the RX1s do almost nothing to prepare you for the sonic excellence that awaits you once they are installed.
"Almost nothing" may be a bit too strong. The British loudspeaker maker Monitor Audio enjoys a reputation for being one of the pioneers in the development of drivers whose diaphragms are made of metal (in order to exploit the light, stiff, responsive characteristics they afford). But perhaps more importantly, Monitor is also known for delivering value for money.
As we’ve noted before, Monitor has, by tradition, named most of its speaker families after precious metals, starting with the Bronze range and progressing upwards through the Silver, Gold, and Platinum ranges. Of these four families it would be fair to say that the Silver range is Monitor’s standard or basic product line—a line sophisticated enough to offer advanced technology, yet affordable. We’ve reviewed other models in the Silver Series line, and found them to be outstanding, so maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised when the baby models really worked. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Monitor’s engineering team began work on the Silver RX range with the thought that, this time around, they would raise the Silver line’s performance bar in substantial ways. To this end, the engineering team spent a full two years refining and reworking its FEA (finite element analysis) design tools in order to develop computer models that could more accurately and precisely predict real-world speaker performance.
That’s nice, but oftentimes in the past, the engineering team concentrates on one or two models and then does their best to fill out the line—with mixed results. In this case, though, the $675 per pair RX1 impressed me as much as the $1750 RX8 towers did Chris Martens in his recent review for The Perfect Vision and upcoming review for The Absolute Sound.
Consider this system if: You find yourself in agreement with statement like “the midrange is the heart of the music” or “get the midrange right and the rest takes care of itself”. If you place a high priority on sonic resolution and detail the RX1s might make you wonder why people pay thousands of dollars for speakers. Expect a lively, dynamic, and well-defined sound, but without a painful or aggressive character. Your room should be on the small side for the RX1s, but if it is, and you’d like something that sounds remarkably “high end”, your speaker may have arrived.
Look further if: you require full and/or deep bass. You might also prefer another speaker if you’d prefer your sonic character to be slightly warmer or darker than is strictly accurate rather than on the lean side—though again not in a painful way. The RX1 will reward very high quality ancillary equipment; on the other hand, if you aren’t prepared to upgrade you may find weaknesses elsewhere in your system exposed.
Ratings (relative to comparably-priced bookshelf speakers)
Silver RX1 technical highlights: