impression of the Monitor Audio RS 6, RS 1 RS LCR

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by petetherock, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. petetherock

    petetherock
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    This is the first instalment of my impression of the Monitor Audio RS 6, RS 1 RS LCR with a Marantz SR 12.

    I like these brands and make no attempts to hide this fact. I had been searching for a new HT based setup, trying to keep an open mind, yet remembering my Bronze and Marantz system that gave a wonderful account of itself.

    An ensuing saga comes to a temporary halt. My search for a HT based system came to a fortuitous point thanks to a incidental purchase from friend. We had been communicating about his system and he came to point where he felt he wanted a musical system and was willing to flog off his MA RS system.

    This aided my decision process about choosing my speakers and solved my own dilemma about selecting either the GS or RS series from Monitor Audio. I had been considering that for HT, I may not be able to discern the extra expense of paying for the GS setup and I actually believe the main components which underpin the HT experience are the subwoofer and the centre speaker. If these are competent, the left and rights plus the rears will fall into place. Obviously a decent amp which can drive the selected speaker system will help and the appropriate application of DSP and surround effects plus a good source playing a well mastered disc will complete the HT experience and room treatment will transform the home into a proper Lido.

    But enough about how this set came into my possession. The system now consisted of
    a Pioneer DV 545 and a Panasonic EX85 as the source (both will be weaker than a proper CD transport);
    Marantz SR 12 S1 (7.1 channel THX Ultra II receiver) putting out 110 true watts per channel into 8ohms (more into 6 or 4);
    Monitor Audio RS series HT plus a SVS PB 12plus.

    The listening area is a 7by 10m room but with the speakers sited such that they are almost a metre from the rear walls and far from the side walls. No port plugs were used. They were toed in such that the speaker face points directly at the listening position. The hotspot was about 3m from each speaker in a 60degree angle.

    Ancillary connections consisted of Audioquest interconnects, QED XT300 tube wires (chosen for their neutral sound with no silver in them)

    For more information on the amp, it is an ancient amp by current standards with no auto-setup, HDMI and a full review can be found in issue 255 of Hi Fi Choice,
    http://www.areadvd.de/hardware/index/hardware.shtml a German magazine, plus Home Cinema Choice.

    The SVS PB12 plus has been extensively reviewed. Suffice to say, it represents a compromise of extension, tightness and slam with the main issue being that WAF is miserable (it weighs and resembles a washing machine)

    Reviews of the Panasonic DVD Hard disk recorder are also readily found online.

    This initial review is with the stereo pair of floorstanders. Visually the RS6 has high showroom appeal, with real wood veneers and a certain elegance only bested by speakers in a different price range, such as the GS series. At the listening position the tweeters are just about at my ear level or slightly lower. There is a plinth for the floor-standers and the speakers can be bi-wired. Build quality for a set of made in China speakers is very good. You get a feeling of high value for money.

    I began with stereo, and as the speakers had been in use previously there was no burn-in period. Using a single run of the QED XT 300 tube, the initial impression was pretty impressive, with a serious wall of bass hitting you. The Monitor Audio RS series is about fun, in a roller coaster fashion, and it is hardly subtle. The speakers make their presence felt, and the soundstage is forward, with a definite emphasis in the mid-bass region. In a more confined space the bass can dominate an become unruly or muddy. Give them enough space to breath and they will reward you with a extension and slam that you may not miss a subwoofer even for movies. However there is a definite emphasis of bass around the 60Hz region, which may account for a slam element which helps them become popular with HT or dance music. This can be disconcerting to those desiring a flatter response curve. There is not much output to note under 40 Hz or so.

    The treble has been noted in various quarters to be on the bright side of neutral, hence partnering this speaker is essential. Get it wrong and you will suffer a grating sound. A warmer amp will definitely help.

    A point to note is that if you audition this speaker in the showroom, and it is driven by tubes, or warm sounding amps and the room is pretty insulated, the treble maybe too much tamed and in fact the speaker may sound a lot more subdued than it really is. If your room is very much ‘alive' it may pay dividends to do some room treatment at crucial reflection points. Get some help from experienced brothers here.

    Stereophile gave this speaker a resounding recommendation (some might say too good a review) and some other magazines also gushed effusively about it. I like the sound, but it is definitely not the last word in sound quality. Neither is it the most neutral speaker in the world.

    With my Panasonic, there was a hardness to it with the treble poorly held in rein and it would be quite fatiguing for music in the long term. For HT, this was very exciting and gave a ride by the seat of your pants kind of experience, despite enhancing the HT fun.

    Swopping over to my warmer and I reckon better sounding Pioneer, I got more information retrieval without the hardness, and the ride whilst still exciting, became something I can listen to for hours, without my ears bleeding. Imaging was also more accurate and stable, with a deeper soundstage and individual instruments could be discern more easily.

    I reckon a warmer or neutral source, perhaps along the lines of the SACD 7001 from Marantz, or a NAD CD player will help bring the best out of the system. I look forward to trying it with the new DV 7001 Marantz DVD player which get most of the innards of the well regards DV 9600.

    So how should I describe the RS 6? If it was a person, she would be energetic, sporty, dynamic, colourful and exciting, with nary a dull moment. She would be beautiful and shapely, tall and slim with a vivacious personality to match her looks.She would also be capable of telling the truth, the whole truth and reveal most of the message, from the highs to the lows. She needs room to breathe, and does not like being hemmed in. give her her space and the songs she sings will be seared permanently into your memory. And at the end of it all, you will still feel she's the one :)
     
  2. Kelster

    Kelster
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    Nice Review:thumbsup:
     

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