Monitor Audio Apex - Performance and Verdict

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Monitor Audio Apex

Summary

Our Score:

9

We’ve auditioned plenty of satellite systems recently, but Apex is in a different league to anything we’ve heard before. You’d expect that for this sort of money, but even with that price firmly in our minds we still weren’t quite prepared for how good Apex sounds.

The intricate internal construction of each speaker, coupled with the inert enclosures, enables the Apex to deliver an astonishingly fast and detailed sound. When you feed them movie material – in this case The Dark Knight on Blu-ray – the way those Apex A10 satellites zap effects around the room will leave you feeling like a kid at a fireworks display. Oohs and aahs abound.

They dig out the smallest, most insignificant high-frequency details in the movie’s soundtrack, stuff you probably never even noticed before. But they’re not just about the delicate stuff – they’re remarkably powerful too. Even without the AW-12 sub's input, the Apex A10s muster the sort of explosive, muscular bass that you simply don’t expect from cabinets this compact.

But you’d be a fool not to get the AW-12 involved. It’s a phenomenally powerful bass purveyor, dredging up low frequencies from the depths of hell and turning them into a thrilling visceral experience. You can literally feel every blast from the Joker’s rocket launcher and the rumbling engine of the Batmobile course right through you. Transient bass sounds, such as punches and gunshots, are taut and punchy. It is, in a word, awesome.

What’s more, the Apex A10s and Apex A40 centre integrate flawlessly with the AW-12, creating a wonderfully cohesive soundstage, while the interplay between channels is mesmerising. Dynamic shifts are effortlessly handled, surround effects are expansive and dialogue is crystal clear yet full-bodied. We defy anyone to hear this system in action and not be completely and utterly hit for six.

The Apex system is equally assured with music, reproducing vocals with life-like purity. Sade’s breathy voice on the Soldier of Love CD is more haunting and ethereal then ever, while a Dolby TrueHD performance by jazz singer Jane Monheit on Dolby’s The Sound Of High-Definition Blu-ray is spellbinding. The speakers pick out minute musical details, lending irresistible texture to the overall sound.

Verdict

The Apex system is the holy grail of style speaker systems, one that delivers audiophile standard sound quality without making huge demands on your living space. It offers the sort of powerful, insightful audiophile sound that you don’t automatically associate with satellite speakers, a result of the astonishing build quality and clever technology that lies within each unit. The price tag might seem exorbitant at first, but have a listen for yourself and you’ll soon appreciate how easily they justify the expense.

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Performance 10
  • Value 7
  • Features 9
  • Design 10

PGrGr

August 20, 2010, 2:05 pm

In the publicity photos which your review sports, there don't seem to be any wires. Is this truly possible?!

Hamish Campbell

August 20, 2010, 2:47 pm

Is it only me who finds these remarkably ugly?





I'm sure build quality would help get the pill down, but my wife would never let these in our lounge, and I can't blame here.

Dave 1

August 20, 2010, 5:28 pm

Possible yes, but not the case here - if you look at the bottom of the stands the terminals can be seen on the rears. It mentions in the article that the stands have a passthrough for the audio connections.

Mark Etheridge

August 20, 2010, 6:50 pm

I don't think the lady in the first picture is really getting the surround sound experience!

Randy

August 20, 2010, 7:01 pm

@haim





Agree.





In a World where Apple has a final word on style, at least in press photos they look chaotic in my opinion. I think it's because there's too much going on on front panel of those satellites. Tweeter is clean, yellow and covered with metal mesh. Next is the white textured mid-range speaker, followed by bass hole with it's own styling details. It looks as if 3 different people were styling it independently, if you catch my flow.


And i think that theese curved edges and square subwoofer is similiar to low-end speakers so we subconciously avoid them.





God it must be pain in the ass to make new things theese days when people are busting Your proud design from the word go. ;)

Jmac

August 20, 2010, 9:43 pm

Seems TR has received a glut of very high quality speaker packages in 2010, with these, the Teufel System 8 THX Ultra 2, the Teufel Theater LT 6 THX Select, the Klipsch WF-34 and the Monitor Audio Silver RX6 AV12 all coming in at £2-3k and scoring an overall 9. It's great to see, but decisions, decisions! Realistically I'll probably end up balking at the price and getting the Crystal Audio TX-T2-12 at £1300, but it's still great to see this kind of choice of quality product in the marketplace.

V.Dawideit

August 22, 2010, 4:12 am

@Mark Etheridge





In a room like this, with no curtains, no carpets and a glass table, it probably wouldn't matter anyway...

Jaybird

October 7, 2010, 9:40 pm

Lot's of cute comments about visuals of the marketing photos but have any of you heard them yet? They're amazing! Danny's review is spot-on.


Haim, I did catch your flow, but did you notice the magnetic grill with a grill cloth designed to cover the woofer, tweeter, and 'bass hole'?


John, review scores cannot begin to describe the sound of such different systems as Klipsch, Teufel, and Monitor. Listen before purchasing!!

Delboi

January 4, 2011, 7:17 pm

When you tested this set of speakers, what AV receiver was it partnered with?

buttman52

December 19, 2012, 4:29 am

If you can afford this over priced junk then your not looking hard enough ,there are lots of better speakers,than these fuckin price is a joke.

Alok Agarwal

November 17, 2013, 1:10 pm

Which on wall speakers do you recommend?

Chris

January 24, 2014, 10:11 pm

Have just bought these for bedroom, so I'm impressed have gx in my lounge not a lot in it as sound goes in tv,.. Have pl in music room, no words to describe.. The guy at top or page says too pricey not good speakers, if your looking to match your old tandy system, yes will be difficult...

Clifford Schall

January 9, 2015, 6:49 pm

Buttman52 is a good name for someone that has heard [ or most likely not heard the speakers] .

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