Bookshelf speakers are a delight to review. With their simple design, the aural pleasure that they provide to their listeners, especially for the price that they come at, is highly rewarding. It is scary that many of the similar priced and similar configured speakers have increasingly been sounding similar, raising the question of are we having monoculture of the loudspeakers? What happens to plurality and shades of differences? Sometimes it is good to have a loudspeaker that assures that there still is plurality alive! Monitor Audio Bronze BX2s assure and reiterate the fading faith in this direction.
Out of the box
It is a pair of large bookshelf speakers that remind you of the olden times when people were ready to invest their real estate for good sound, and this size was not referred to as large but was considered standard for a bookshelf loudspeaker. But if you have to compare them with satellites, which are more being termed as small bookshelf speakers, they are big!
A bit on the large side
The Monitor Audio Bronze BX2s are a large pair of bookshelf speakers that come with flawless black ash vinyl finish and the magnetic grilles that add a neat touch to their entire aesthetics. I appreciate the balance in the design where the woofer in the centre is flanked with the port below and the tweeter above in symmetrical fashion—it simply looks orderly. At the back panel, you will find four 5-way binding posts for bi-wiring or bi-amplification. These are not slanted and occupy space behind restricting their closeness from the rear wall for good reason. More is revealed when one refers to the instructions for hanging the speaker on the wall; a special bracket (not supplied) is needed that maintains this distance.
The woofer rim is unusually thin and they have done away with those ugly-looking screws and bolts on it. This is due to the fact that woofer has been ‘anchored’ with a single custom bolt from the rear of the cabinet. White coloured ceramic-coated woofer looks neat on the black ash cabinet. Thankfully, the copper-gold coloured tweeter dome is partially veiled behind its own grille, else it would have looked slightly out of place among the black and the white matt finished materials.
Very neat fittings
The Monitor Audio Bronze BX2 consists of a 6.5” woofer and 1” tweeter with a ported box—a typical design for budget bookshelf speakers. However, every loudspeaker claims some specialty and the Bronze BX2s are no exception to the game. They have their proprietary C-CAM woofer, tweeter coatings and HiVe II flow-port technology. Apart from this, there is a significantly different way how the woofer has been mounted on the front baffle.
The woofer is a C-CAM (Ceramic Coated Aluminium/Magnesium) material woofer with RST (Rigid Surface Technology) cone construction. The aluminium and magnesium alloy here undergoes three-stage stress relieving process to remove surface deformations and molecular weaknesses; once cooled, the alloy cone is subjected to a high temperature anodic coating process wherein a layer of pure ceramic alumina is depleted onto its surfaces to a depth of 50 microns, producing a completely rigid sandwich of alloy and heat-dissipating ceramic material. A cone made of this material and process is ultra light and super rigid; in short, an ideal material for the loudspeaker cone.
The woofer has been mounted with a single long bolt from the rear of the cabinet. This bolt from the hole in the rear side gets connected to the centre of the rear magnet of the woofer. This mounting has many advantages. Due to lack of direct linkage (the screws) the baffle is better insulated from the vibrations of the woofer. The bolt, when tightened, also works like a strut that always keeps the front and the back of the box tension, giving more rigidity and inertness to the overall cabinet.
The tweeter also undergoes a similar process and has an additional gold anodising on top of the aluminium/magnesium coating. This, according to Monitor Audio, aids in stiffness and damping characteristic. The new profile and cone surround geometry along with the coatings have pushed the break-up frequency beyond 35kHz, producing linear response in the audible region.
The Bronze BX2s are stunning entertainers, which is very evident from the first note they played. The sound has superb dynamic range and the mids are crisp and clear. I liked the leanness of the mids and the highs that lends quality depth and soundscape to the overall imaging.
Has that old school type look and feel
However, I had problems in the lower-mid and bass region as it sounded bloated and had an over-pronounced presence. I tried to distance the speakers from the surrounding surfaces, only to find this thickening effect not reducing considerably. Later, I tried on the supplied foam bungs in the bass ports and the sound did fall into place. This helped in speeding up the woofer response, making the overall sound tighter. However, the complaint is that the speakers should have sounded correct, or at least less bloated without the bungs! So the Bronze BX2s are not the right bunch for the purists. But with the right extended boost into the bass region and adequate tonality to the mids and highs, they certainly sound very entertaining. With a powerful amp, you can rock the room with some trance music and your friends will love the punch and attack. The problem of accentuated bass response can be tamed with the active subwoofer being crossed over at relatively higher frequency points—in case the speakers are a part of your home theatre setup.
Verdict and price in India
The Monitor Audio Bronze BX2s, priced at Rs. 32,000, may not be the purist’s choice, but they are definitely an exciting and entertaining pair of boxes! They are good at everything, but not aces in any particular trait. If you are looking at a speaker with decent size, sensible price tag, great finish and all around performance, then Bronze BX2 has all these moderations.
AV MAX is a special interest audiophile magazine that focuses on reviewing high-end AV equipment like amplifiers, stereos, floorstanding speakers and related news
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Oct 28, 2016