Money-no-object, no-holds-barred, uncompromised and uncompromising loudspeakers are dead easy to build. Just use the most expensive and highest-performing components you can find, commission a hot-shot industrial designer to help with the looks, spend as long as you like in the ideal environment tuning and fettling – and there you go. A high-performance loudspeaker with the price-tag to match. The world is far from short of them.
Building a loudspeaker to hit a specific price can be tricky, though – and when that price is so competitive as to make compromises inevitable, it becomes trickier. If the speaker is from a brand with an auspicious global reputation that can only be damaged should this speaker not live up to expectations, well – ‘tricky’ and ‘trickier’ suddenly become ‘trickiest’.
Monitor Audio introduced its budget-conscious ‘Bronze’ range back when the world was young (or 1998, to be absolutely accurate). Through its subsequent generations, the Bronze range has been, if not outright class-leading, certainly there-or-thereabouts where affordable ‘proper’ hi-fi speakers are concerned. Any number of student loans have been invested in Monitor Audio Bronze speakers, and any number of audiophiles will acknowledge the Bronze as the gateway drug that hooked them into a lifelong habit.
This Bronze 200 speaker is the most affordable floorstander in the current Bronze line-up – and given that this magazine routinely reviews mains cables that cost more than £570, ‘affordable’ is a difficult descriptor to argue with.
Despite that eye-catching asking price, though, there are no overt signs of corner-cutting where the specification, build or finish of the Bronze 200 is concerned. The Urban Grey finish of our review sample (white, black or walnut are also available) is actually quite sophisticated, and the smoothly chunky 21mm front baffle is tactile and entirely free of screw-heads and the like. The rest of the cabinet is of 15mm MDF, vinyl-wrapped and internally braced for optimum rejection of unwanted vibrations. The overall dimensions result in a tidy and discreet floorstander, which is precisely what customers demand these days (particularly those who might favour ‘Urban Grey’ as a finish).