Review: Monitor Audio Bronze 100 – Affordable speakers
Following the revamp of the Silver and Gold lines, Monitor Audio Bronze 100 is now tackling the affordable Bronze speakers. Just like with the bigger brothers, these budget speakers get a lot of technology from the expensive MA products. And you can hear it.
Monitor Audio Bronze 100
With the Monitor Audio Bronze 100, Monitor Audio is responding to the emerging trend of larger monitors that prefer a stand rather than a bookshelf. It already did with models such as the award-winning (but more expensive) Gold 100 and the Studio, but with this model the British loudspeaker manufacturer also offers suitable sweets at a lower price. The Bronze 100 is not the entry-level model in the new Bronze 6G series, or the sixth generation of this popular loudspeaker line. That role is reserved for the smaller Bronze 50, which is really very compact. The family also includes the Bronze 200 and 500 floorstanders, the Bronze C150 center speaker and the W10 subwoofer.
Monitor Audio has always had a heart for surround enthusiasts, but with the new Bronze, it goes a step further. In addition to a 6G edition of the FX wall speaker designed for surround channels, the British are presenting a solution for Dolby Atmos for the first time. The Bronze AMS is a Dolby speaker that reflects sound from the height channels from the ceiling. You place it on top of a regular Bronze speaker.
In this review, however, we are going to zoom in on the Monitor Audio Bronze 100, a speaker that promises to combine the advantages of a monitor with those of a floorstander. A compact speaker that still performs in the low, we find that interesting of course. With these characteristics, the Bronze 100 should be a suitable choice for anyone who wants to listen to music in a higher quality in a smaller room or flat.
The previous generation of Bronze was significantly more functional than what we have here. get the box. For the 6G family, Monitor Audio has gone to great lengths to make these affordable speakers much more attractive. The bar is much higher than a few years ago, because many rivals have proposed beautiful products that are much more in line with interior trends than before. Think of Dali’s Oberon or ELAC Debut Reference HD for example. A characteristic of Monitor Audio is that they immediately offer a wide choice than you would expect at this price point. There are a total of four colors to select from: Urban Gray, Black, White and Walnut.
As before, the build quality of the Bronze 6G is excellent, especially the finish that comes with the sixth generation. seems a lot hipper and more valuable. The contrast between the veneer used for the speaker cabinet and the color of the baffle is beautiful, and is really nice, especially with the walnut and Urban Gray version. Our test samples were a nice walnut color with a dark gray front, very handsome. We are curious about the Urban Gray edition. It offers something original in this price segment. We are also surprised to find decent bi-wiring loudspeaker terminals with a loudspeaker at this price point. At the back, the finish is slightly more functional, but that is not a deal breaker.
Monitor Audio is known as a company that works on a very thorough and process-oriented way. The Bronze 6G was also worked on by the entire team for about two years, about the same time as with the expensive speaker families. One of the goals was to create a new affordable loudspeaker line that did not come across as a compromise. All too often this is the case. Most manufacturers are mainly focused on their more expensive speaker families. The cheaper models are then considered – consciously or not – as something they have to do to serve the budget buyer. The “good enough” attitude is often seen in the industry. Of course, those buyers don’t like that, because they spend a budget that is significant to them. They don’t want a speaker that feels inferior. Monitor Audio wanted to prevent that with Bronze and design a loudspeaker that offers as much as possible for the price.
An important improvement in visual design and sound is the moving of the bass port to the rear. The Bronze 100 is immediately more beautiful and there is now room for a larger midrange woofer. The connection with the more expensive Silver and Gold lines is also reinforced by equipping the C-CAM tweeter with a grille with a chaotic pattern. That tweeter has a gold-colored dome, which subtly enhances the appearance of the appearance. Between the grille and the tweeter there is also a waveguide that should make the appearance as smooth and as wide as possible.
Surrounded by fine details
Who thought that a speaker of 455 euros / pair is only suitable for playing music? in a commercial way will be surprised if she hears “Personal Effects” on the Bronze 100. With this album, Deutsche Grammophon continues his mission to release all of the music of the late Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson, in this case a soundtrack that he created twelve years ago. It is more melodic work than he sometimes produced, neoclassical but not too avant-garde. The clean reproduction that Monitor Audio aimed for turns out to be very successful here, because you really have the feeling that you are listening to an orchestra in a larger room. Also nice: that experience is also there when we sit in a different chair and look at the speaker at an angle. Put “Give the People What They Want Up,” and chances are you’re supposed to be listening to 1960s Motown Soul. But Sharon Jones and her 8-piece Dap-Kings band recorded this album (ALAC CD quality) a few years ago, which you quickly realize if you really listen to the lyrics. However cheerful and danceable the songs are, they regularly touch the concerns of the common American. Jones has a great voice, with a lot of power, which is what the Bronze 100’s convey effectively. Great about these British speakers that they not only let you focus on the singer, but that the extensive orchestra is also well represented. Rhythm is everything in soul music – or at least a lot – and the MA speakers convey that perfectly. Even those small details that often disappear into (or into) the background, such as a tambourine, are very present, while the thick texture of the reed instruments is also beautifully reflected. These are great performances.
When listening and experimenting with the placement, we notice that these speakers are best turned in. They radiate broadly, but with a good toe-in you get the best soundstage with a lot of detail and clear stereo separation. That is typical of a more high-end speaker, intended for music lovers who would like to gain more insight into their music. For those wondering: “What is a good placement”? Do not aim the tweeters directly at your ears, because then you will experience a peak around 6 KHz, but somewhere at a point a meter behind your head. The Bronze 100 also relies heavily on that bass port at the back to give music more body and you have to take that into account. Just like that more balanced view. First we found the Bronze 100 a bit absent in terms of bass due to those two things. Partly because you don’t expect such an exuberant presentation with a speaker of this price range, but also because we had placed movable acoustic panels behind the speakers that muted a little too much.
We removed these panels again to muse away to the ambient neoclassical ‘Atomos’ by A Winged Victory for the Sullen (FLAC CD quality via Qobuz), where slow synth lines and deep tones are combined with romantic cello and violin lines. It is an album that is perfect for a rainy day, also with the Bronze 100’s as reproducers. If we compare what we now hear with the Q Acoustics 3020i’s and the Bowers & Wilkins 606’s from our speaker library, then the Bronze 100 offers a more balanced, three-dimensional reproduction (where the more difficult to control 606’s put more energy in the bass , which is impressive, while the 3020i’s have a more commercial, flatter reproduction and are more compact)
The clear, detailed presentation that comes from the Bronze 100 is not that of a speaker of the affordable class. Monitor Audio gives this solid chunk of a balanced reproduction that is more reminiscent of an audiophile product. It did surprise us a bit, but it certainly didn’t disappoint. Combine that with a finish that is more sophisticated than before in this new Bronze generation, and you are talking about a very nice speaker that offers performance from a higher segment for a reasonable price.