- Superb high-frequency clarity
- Punchy, agile bass
- Jaw-dropping build quality and styling
- Review Price: £950.00
- C-CAM ribbon tweeter
- 5.5in C-CAM, RST mid/bass driver
- 55Hz – 60kHz frequency response
- Black/white piano lacquer, Bubunga, Walnut and Natural Oak finishes
- HiVe II reflex port
We’ve reviewed speakers from Monitor Audio’s Bronze and Silver ranges, but now it’s time to go for Gold with the Monitor Audio Gold GX50. The step-up GX range shares the same technological blueprint as the company’s acclaimed Platinum series, but it’s built for those with slightly smaller budgets.
There are seven different speakers in the GX series, including the GX200 and GX300 floorstanders, GX-FX surrounds, GXC150 / GXC350 centres and the GX100 standmount speakers, but here we’re auditioning a pair of GX50 standmounts. We’ll test out a full 5.1 package of the GX series later, but for now we’re focusing of this pair by way of introduction. So if you’re after a two-channel stereo system for music or maybe even 2.1-channel movie playback, then this pair of GX50s might be an option – although with their £950 selling price, they’re certainly not aimed at budget buyers.
Naturally at that price you’re getting a very special pair of speakers. Build quality is absolutely sensational – they’re housed in some of the most substantial cabinets we’ve encountered on a standmount speaker, and the white piano lacquer finish of our sample screams luxury – but if that’s a bit too Miami Vice for you then a range of other finishes are available, including Bubunga, Walnut and Natural Oak. Below the shiny surface are eleven layers of lacquer – no wonder they weigh 7.5kg each.
The Monitor Audio Gold GX50s stand 300mm tall. The 20mm-thick MDF cabinets taper towards the back, and the curved front edges are not only an elegant touch but also increase rigidity and reduce internal standing waves. On the front, the drivers are beautifully embedded into the front with glimmering silver trims around each one. Removable metal mesh grilles are in the box if you want to cover them up, but when exposed they bring an alluringly futuristic feel to the design that you might not want to sacrifice – and because the grilles are magnetic, there are no plug holes to sully the look if you do leave them off.
Spin them around and you’ll find a die-cast alloy panel that houses bi-wireable, gold-plated speaker binding posts, linked up by high-quality spade type cables when not being bi-wired. Above them is Monitor Audio’s HiVe II reflex port, a rubber-lined opening with rifled grooves to help accelerate the flow of air and reduce turbulence for more dynamic bass response.
The Monitor Audio Gold GX50s can be placed on shelves or tabletops, but they’re really designed to be placed on MA’s optional dedicated floorstands, which feature die-cast alloy base plinths with hand-milled spikes.
The Monitor Audio Gold GX50 speakers use a two-way design and as mentioned above the drivers are based on the company’s Platinum series models. Most significantly, that means they use a ribbon transducer as opposed to a more conventional dome version. This is said to reproduce the “authentic tonal character” of frequencies above 60kHz.
Paired with the ribbon transducer is a 5.5in bass driver, which uses RST (Rigid Surface Technology) ribbing to improve stiffness. To integrate mid and bass frequencies with the ribbon, the Monitor Audio Gold GX50 speakers use large voice coils, powerful magnets and rigid die cast driver chassis. The cone is fashioned from Monitor Audio’s C-CAM (Ceramic-Coated Aluminium and Magnesium) alloy, used for its light-but-strong properties.
Elsewhere the drivers are mounted on a single tensioned through-bolt secured to the back of the cabinet, which further improves that all-important cabinet rigidity and reduce vibration – as well as decoupling the driver fixings from the baffle, which gives it a cleaner overall appearance. They achieve a frequency response of 55Hz to 60kHz and handle up to 100W.
But enough about the tech, how do they sound? Absolutely fantastic. Give them a chance to warm up and the first thing you notice is how incredibly polished the ribbon tweeter makes high frequencies sound. This is most apparent when playing music, where hi-hats and tambourines skip along with a level of finesse and smoothness that only comes from speakers of this calibre. We’ve heard a lot of compact 5.1 systems that dig deep for detail and offer pleasing top-end, but it’s all relative – step up to this level and there’s an extra transparency, openness and authority.
These sweet high-frequencies aren’t left hanging either – they’re backed up by solid midrange and gobsmackingly punchy bass, making the overall sound perfectly balanced and tightly knitted. Their nimble yet weighty bass performance really is superb, allowing them to thump dance music kick drums through your chest with impeccable timing, but with the sensitivity to add splashes of depth to gentler ambient noises.
Try them with TV or movies and you get a sense of the GX50 speakers’ versatility. They take noisy action scenes in their stride, coping admirably with dialogue and explosions – often simultaneously – and if you crank up the volume to unreasonable levels there’s not a trace of harshness to be heard. It’ll be interesting to hear how they fit into a full 5.1 system.
The Gold GX50s really do live up to their name – this is a performance that deserves to be on top of the podium. Immensely refined sound quality is the order of the day, offering sensational music playback but handling movies with equal authority – even in this stereo configuration. The ribbon tweeter is a revelation, shaping high-frequencies with a lucidity that many speakers can’t match, while bass performance is as punchy and agile as we’d expect. So if you’re after a musical pair of speakers and the GX50s fall within your budget, then rest assured that they really are as good as gold.