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Monitor Audio R90HT1 Review - Drivers, Performance and Verdict Review


Monitor Audio R90HT1: Drivers

Monitor Audio’s C-CAM (ceramic-coated aluminium/magnesium) technology plays a major role in the performance of the R90HT1 system.
The Radius 90 features a new 4in C-CAM bass driver, which has filtered down from the company’s Platinum and Gold GX ranges, as well as Monitor Audio’s first C-CAM tweeter.

This 1-inch tweeter also uses a rear-venting design, which is said to be more efficient than regular tweeters because it releases air trapped at the back of the tweeter dome and moves it to the rear-loading chamber.

The Radius 200 uses two of these 4in C-CAM bass drivers, placed either side of a C-CAM tweeter, while the sub’s bass arsenal includes twin side-firing 10in C-CAM drivers – one active, one passive bass radiator. The juice is supplied by a 200W Class D amp.

Monitor Audio R90HT1

Monitor Audio R90HT1: Performance

The R90HT1’s sound quality is sensational. What’s most impressive is the sheer size of the soundstage it creates – these speakers may be compact and bijou but their sound is anything but.

And if any movie is going to show off a system’s sense of scale it’s Pacific Rim on Blu-ray. When the Jaegers and Kaiju go head-to-head, the Radius does a brilliant job at conveying the size and heft of these feuding giants, blasting effects into the room with considerable force and dynamism. 

Big stomping footsteps, clanking metal and roaring monsters sound genuinely frightening, and you can push the volume up loud without fear of distortion.

Much of the credit for this commanding performance goes to the top-drawer subwoofer. Not only are its bass notes deep and solid, but they’re also remarkably clean, stopping and starting quickly with no overhang at all.

Monitor Audio R90HT1
During quiet scenes the 390 rumbles away diligently, padding out ambience and music. But it does this while remaining anonymous – you know it’s there, but doesn’t draw attention to itself. However, we found the Impact bass mode a little overpowering – stick with Movie or Music and job’s a good ‘un. 

What also makes this system so persuasive is its cohesive, unified sound – the speakers blend seamlessly with each other, and when effects sweep around the room they do so with no discernable variation in tone or timbre (the beauty of using identical satellites). The subwoofer’s fluid but hard-hitting bass meshes invisibly with the R90s’ midrange.

The R90HT1 doesn’t only dazzle during the big blockbuster set pieces. Give it a talky scene like Idris Elba’s expositional chats with the ‘wacky’ scientists in the lab and it draws out all manner of minutiae, like the delicate rustle of clothing or the squelch of Kaiju guts slopping on the floor. It’s impressive stuff, offering levels of lucidity you only get from an audio expert like Monitor Audio.
The Radius 200 is a formidable centre speaker, bringing clarity and gravitas to a script that probably doesn’t deserve it. There’s a richness and immediacy to voices, which are underpinned by agile bass notes.

The R90HT1 can also add musicality to its CV, offering a passionate, organic-sounding rendition of Lianne La Havas’ Gone. It reveals the beauty in the singer’s voice and the rich tones of the stripped-back piano arrangement.

Should I buy the Monitor Audio R90HT1?

If you’re looking for a speaker system on a £1,500 budget then stick the R90HT1 on your shopping list pronto. We’ve heard some pretty special speaker systems of late, including the Quad L-ite Plus and the Cambridge Audio Aero, but the Radius trumps them all.

It’s beautifully made, offers powerful, polished sound quality and looks stunning – pretty much everything we look for in a speaker system. If you have the cash, it’s worth every penny.


A sublime speaker system that mixes stunning looks, luxury design and gob-smacking sound.

Trusted Score

Score in detail

  • Performance 10
  • Features 9
  • Value 9
  • Sound Quality 10
  • Design 10

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