It’s strange, but the only people who don’t realise just how mind-bendingly huge the British audio brand Monitor Audio has become… are the British. We still associate the brand with those beautifully finished loudspeakers of the 1980s and 1990s (so commonly spotted with Audiolab electronics) that represented the upgrade from Mission 770s for many a risk-averse purchaser. Today though, wherever discerning people buy loudspeakers in big numbers, they tend to buy a lot of Monitor Audio. And loudspeakers like the Silver 8 go a long way to explain that correlation.
Monitor Audio of today may remain true to the company’s roots of sensible pricing, and finishes that belie that price tag, but the intervening years have also brought significant innovation to the driver technology employed throughout. But, let’s not pussy-foot around – you still get a lot of box for the money; the Silver 8 offers a genuine three-way, four-driver design, housing those drivers in a decent-sized floorstanding cabinet finished in an impeccable wood veneer, for a frankly astonishing £1,250 per pair, or £1,375 for a sumptuous high-gloss finish.
The Silver 8 sits below the larger floorstander, the range-topping Silver 10, above a small floorstander, the 2.5-way Silver 6, and two two-way standmounts: the Silver 1 and Silver 2. AV users have surround and subwoofer options too. All the models in the Silver series benefit from ‘trickle-down’ technology developed for the Gold and Platinum ranges. The Silver 8’s all-new 165mm mid/bass drivers use aerospace technology C-CAM (Ceramic Coated Aluminium/Magnesium), in the form of dished metal cones without a centre cut-out. These are then dimpled for extra stiffness, in what Monitor Audio dubs RST (Rigid Surface Technology). The new drivers also benefit from larger voice coils and motors, and a specially designed coupling assembly. The midrange driver sits in a separate, damped, and optimised enclosure within the cabinet. The tweeter also employs a C-CAM dome, with careful attention to airflow and venting for reduced resonance and better damping. All this is said to aid improvements in breakup modes, with the aim of clean, low-distortion output.
The drivers are a ‘bolt-through’ design, fixing to the rear of the cabinet via tension rods and are effectively decoupled from the front baffle. This also creates additional bracing, to aid cabinet rigidity. The elimination of fixings to the front baffle and the uninterrupted dish of the drivers makes for a very neat and modern appearance, all the better with the grilles removed. The loudspeakers are configured for bi-wiring; replacing the supplied links with dedicated links from Chord brought a useful improvement in overall coherence, and I used the loudspeakers single-wired with either Studio Connections or Audiomica cables.