Monitor Audio Monitor 7 loudspeaker

And now for something completely different.

The Monitor Audio 7s—"Baby Sevens"—are from my friend Mo Iqbal. The speakers are made in England and retail for $379/pair. Add $150/pair for excellent stands, which can be filled with lead shot, sand, or (preferably) a combination of both.

Finish is exquisite for the price. Black only, but very expensive, almost lacquered-looking. (The cabinets are 12mm Medite MDF.) The speakers are quite small—only 13½" high—and should have very high WAF.

"Aha!" I thought.

Mrs. Anarchist was out when the Monitor 7s arrived, along with the superb new Musical Fidelity B1 integrated amp—both, fortuitously, arriving on the same day.

Now there is one thing Mrs. T. will not tolerate, and that is anarchy in the living room. She has never allowed a system in the living room, which is on the other end of the house from my listening room: hence, the difficulty of setting up a second pair of speakers off my main system.

While Mrs. T. was at her weekly piano lesson, I set up the Monitor Audio 7s on either side of her piano. Not the best speaker placement. Then I set up the British Fidelity B1 on a small Target stand behind the piano, where it couldn't be seen when you walk into the living room. I added a Marantz CD65 CD player and put a Chopin piano-recital CD on repeat. I left the room.

When Mrs. T. arrived home, she just sat down in the living room and listened. After a while, I joined her.

"The speakers are wonderful," she marveled. "And so unobtrusive. Clever the way you managed to hide the little amp. Is this system for me?"

"A Christmas present for you. Instead of the diamond necklace from Tiffany's." (Heh-heh.)

So delighted was Mrs. T. with the sound and the looks of this system that she let me move the piano to better position the speakers—near the corners on the short wall of our long living room. The bass was much better.

I would have moved the speakers into the listening room, but I didn't want to spike new holes in the living-room carpet. Besides, having presented them to Mrs. T., I felt awkward about taking them back.

Anyway, I don't have to move the speakers from living to listening room. I can tell. They are very fine speakers for the price. Equipped with a metal-dome tweeter, the Monitor Audio 7s are very smooth and extended. Treble definition is excellent.

What's lacking is the ultimate in smoothness and detail—the kind of finesse you might expect, say, from a pair of small speakers which cost $1500/pair or more. But we're talking $379/pair here, plus stands.

Also lacking, of course, is deep bass.

Mo wants you to know that these speakers cost him a lot to make. He must have written the spec sheet himself because he tells you this twice on one page—an Iqbal touch.

But heck, they do look expensive—nice enough for Mrs. T.'s favorite room. And the speakers sound good, too—which is what really won over Mrs. & Mr. T.—Sam Tellig

Postscript: After submitting this copy, Mr. and Mrs. T. became disturbed by a rattling sound emitted by both Monitor Audio 7s. Sam therefore withdrew his recommendation and requested that I eliminate the entire section referring to them, having subsequently replaced the speakers with a pair of Spica TC-50s. This struck me as rather too draconian, given that this may have been a sample fault, and I felt that the fairest way to handle the situation would be to leave his comments intact but to add a possible warning in this footnote that the 7s may well be a little delicate. We will investigate whether the 7 does have problems in a "Follow-Up" review.—John Atkinson

Sam wrote again about the Monitor Audio 7 in February 1990 (Vol.13 No.2):
Am I the only person who's continually afflicted with hi-fi gremlins? It seems that if anything can go wrong with a piece of equipment, it will—for me. This includes a pair of Quicksilver KT88 mono amps. One of the amps refused to play until after I turned it off, when it would play for all of about six seconds. Fed up, I kicked the amps out of the house...only to learn from the repairman that he could find nothing wrong with the one I thought had gone down. Weird, because I tried changing tubes from one amp to the other. Could it have been a problem with the MFA Magus preamp? With the Magus back at MFA, I'll never know.

As for the mechanical resonance problem with the Monitor Audio 7 speakers that I commented on last month, I'm not sure what was the cause—loose port, loose crossover inside, or whatever. It wasn't loose screws on the drivers—I tightened them. (Loose screws in my head are another matter.) I do know that speakers can take a beating during UPS shipment.

Mo Iqbal of Monitor Audio had another pair shipped to me, and these work fine. A good buy at $379/pair, the Monitor Audio 7 most obviously competes with the Celestion Model 3, which is cheaper at $269/pair, but not so well-finished or as smooth throughout the treble. Both the Monitors and the Celestions are best suited to small systems in small rooms, like my office. So that's where I'll be auditioning the Monitor Audio 7s at greater length.—Sam Tellig

Monitor Audio Ltd.
US distributor: Kevro International Inc.
902 McKay Road, Suite 4
Pickering, Ontario L1W 3X8, Canada
(905) 428-2800