Monitor Audio Platinum 100

This baby model in Monitor Audio’s gorgeous Platinum ‘flagship’ range features a ribbon tweeter

Founded in 1972, Monitor Audio now qualifies as one of Britain’s longest established speaker brands, especially amongst those still in UK ownership. Although it’s best known for successful ‘mainstream’ models like the Bronze and Silver series, the company took a significant step towards the high end in 2007, with the introduction of Platinum models like this £2,500 per pair Platinum 100 two-way standmount.

A ribbon tweeter is the hallmark of all the Platinums and here it’s combined with a 165mm bass/mid driver in an exceptionally solid and beautifully finished enclosure with a decidedly complex shape. The back and sides are formed as a continuous curve, with mildly convex sides, a slightly concave back and quite gently curved edges. (The unusual shape is created by laminating thin layers of MDF with the help of a jig/press.)The outside is beautifully finished in high-gloss lacquer (allegedly no fewer than eleven layers thereof) over high-quality real-wood veneer – a lovely patterned ebony, Santos Rosewood or piano-black. The front panel is made from MA’s ARC (anti-resonance composite), a mineral-loaded resin covered by charcoal grey leather. Metal trim adds further decoration and concealment around the front and a hefty bolt tensions the back of the enclosure to the front.

The rear also accommodates a generous flared reflex port, plus twin platinum- plated terminals, allowing separate feeds to the drivers, for bi-wiring or bi-amping. The driver line-up consists of a 165mm driver, with a 120mm diameter cone, crossing over at 2.8kHz to a ribbon tweeter with a mesh-protected 7x55mm C-CAM (ceramic-coated aluminium/magnesium) diaphragm. The main cone is an RDT sandwich: thin, deep-anodised magnesium/aluminium alloy skins bonded to a Nomex honeycomb centre, create an exceptionally stiff, yet light diaphragm.

SOUND QUALITY

In an admittedly strong group of similar models, the Platinum 100 scored a little below average. This slightly disappointing overall result involved some disagreement between the listeners and probably came about because the Monitor Audio followed the presentation of two somewhat larger models, leaving this rather smaller model sounding just that.

It does have a rather bright and lightweight character. Bass authority is rather weak, though and there’s some lack of generosity through the lower frequencies and some of the panelists consequently found it difficult to retain their interest.

Cabinet coloration is exceedingly low and the sound is unquestionably crisp, clean and open. It’s all very evenhanded and the top end is smooth and fundamentally sweet. Stereo images are reasonably well formed, but the rather bright and forward character does tend to reduce apparent depth somewhat.

Moving the speakers closer to a wall does help add some extra bass weight, but this also tends to make the port output rather too obvious, while still leaving the upper bass rather lean.

The Platinum 100 is a very pretty loudspeaker and a very capable one, too in a number of respects. But it’s rather light, bright and forward balance leaves the bottom end sounding somewhat undernourished.

LIKE: Very attractive styling and finish, plus an open, smooth and evenhanded sound
DISLIKE: Balance is a bit bright, lacking in bass warmth and authority
WE SAY: Gorgeous looking speaker with very low cabinet coloration

DETAILS
Origin: UK
Weight: 13kg
Dimensions: (WxHxD) 225x370x285mm
Features:
• 55x7mm C-CAM ribbon tweeter
• Complex ‘triple curve’ enclosure
• High-gloss lacquer over veneer
• Advanced RDT composite main driver cone
• Tensioning bolt between enclosure front and back
Distributor: Monitor Audio
Telephone: 01268 740580
WEBSITE: monitoraudio.co.uk