Monitor Audio R952MD loudspeaker John Atkinson February 1988
I reviewed this modest-looking, two-way (but three-driver), floorstanding loudspeaker last month. I concluded that the combination of high sensitivity, superb transparency, excellent imaging and, for me, optimally aligned bass, made them well worth the $1349/pair asking price, offsetting the rather forward mid-treble which is due, I am sure, to the intrinsically rising response of the twin woofers in this region. Prolonged listening has not changed my opinion of the speakers' sound quality. However, the overall ease of the sound makes it very easy to demand too much of them in terms of dynamics.
A week after Vol.11 No.1 went to press, I did something that we always warn high-end neophytes against: I continuously clipped a relatively low-powered amplifier (50Wpc) into the speakers with a track that already had a high proportion of treble (Dave Edmunds' "Crawling from the Wreckage," a real air-guitar special). The distortion components add to the load already being suffered by the tweeter, and in the case of a system using first-order, shallow-slope filter slopes, as with the '952, the result is a terminally damaged HF unit.
The moral of this tale? Use of shallow crossover slopes may result in increased transparency, but to be set against that is the increased vulnerability of the drive-units. Be warned. These Monitor Audios are thoroughbreds rather than streetwise punks, and should be treated accordingly.—John Atkinson