Monitor Audio Silver 100/ Wharfedale 11.2 Review

Emil93

Member
Creating this post to help others find insightful info, that cant audition this 2 speakers or just curious and share my take-on/ experience with this 2 particular speakers from an audiophile beginner/ music enthuziast/ lover to another, and also an acoustic guitar player. I am not an experienced audiophile nor did i experienced other hifi gear, but i like to think i have a refined passion and ear for speakers, how they work and music in general so please be gentle, its also my first post here and i do it to help others with realistic subjective facts. Because such as me, wished to find more random dudes insights and their unique views on certain speakers.

Im going to write a relative short impression and take on them, maybe this will help having more insights of this 2 particular brands ( Wharfedale and Monitor Audio )

Keep in mind im only half-way trough burning the M Audio (40h) on low-mid rarely high level volume and 2 weeks intense lissening to Wharfedale, with a not-so-great but warm receiver Denon 1600 x , all lissening trough Audyssey room corr calibration ( Only with Wharfs i found myself needing the pure direct for fast metal rock music sacrificing the wide holographic soundstage ). My room is 15feetwidex23feetlong with parquet, no covers, 2 sofas in front of the speakers, lots of vintage furniture and books and concrete walls. Speakers 30 cm away from the back walls blowing only in the half of my living, the left speaker being 50 cm away from the lateral wall bcs cant afford another sweetspot for em. Maybe not enough time on them to write an impression but i certainly feel changes happened trough intensive lissening and the experience is coherent enough.

Will start with M Audio in each chapter also comparing in tandem their differences/ perks and flaws on the run: ( Sorry for typing mistakes and probably trash english, not my native language )

->Highs: Not bright, only bright with bright music, edgy until burn in, compared to the more forgivin, dark, laid back Wharfedale wich i could binge lissen 10 times more on bright/ bad recorded music but ending borred sometimes by its dullness. M Audio are airy, crispy, a pinch of softness, smoothness that comes along with breaking in, the tweeter is faithfull to the source and has no problem bringing forth ambiental small details in movies that are in the h. freq. like birds, rain, cars or other dialogues/ effects in the backround that excites the higher freq range, compared to Wharfedale such ambient was NUL no matter how much i tinkered the calibration due to the soft dome. In music: synths/modulations/ piano/ violins/ trumpets were WAY better in M Audio, they got tonic energy, vivid emotion, authority, drums in the upper mids and cymbals way way better but a slightly sense of less extension, less reverb, clarity in that regard, body.


-->Mids: First impression was awfull, compared to Wharfedale very thinn, edgy in the upper mids, broken shrill and 0 extension, metalic, awfull percutions for example. After bit of burn in there's clearly a natural extension and polishing to those edgy spikes, very true to source, fast attack, retreating fast, no reverb/ decay, punchy, analytical, leaves room for detail but not as much detail/ extension/ clarity as in the Wharfedale's colored midrange strings for ex sounded so so sweet, full of body with a tonal, musical autorithy/ character, also warm vocals that are in the low mids freq sounded way way sweeter, musical with Wharf, could die for ( in movies i was being moved more by the soundtracks then the actors themselves, and every vocal timber had a pissing off but sweet tonality lol, musical, every movie was musical for me XD In M Audio the OST's are not engaging and moving me like Wharf, in a good way i guess im not distracted and hypnotized by music and that weird mid range vocal tonality in every dialogue and can focus better on the movies/ dialogues/ actors ).

--->Low end: Grippy, tight, true to source, no coloration, no fireworks there, after a bit of burn in they become more present in extension, body but not even close compared to Wharfedale where they had a knock to move ur jaw off, the kick, punch, bass strings, bass modulations, were so much fun, so extended creating a holographic, tridimensional audiophile feeling the music hugging you and holding u tight in that engagin rich low-mid range, hanging u there and begging like a bdsm slutt to be spanked by that whipping extended moving bass, knocking punch, kick XD.

---->Soundstage: M Audio decent imaging but restrained sound stage, Wharfedale are in another league at this chapter, not that they just image better but they have more forward engaging-authority, holographic tridimensional feeling, they literally leaves their zone and grabs u, but sadly at times grabing u by the shoulders and due to those highs asking u " pss, can u hear me ?" They give that 1k dollars worth audiophile experience, wider sound stage, way wider ( my feelings are due to the bass dispersion technology and maybe better magnets, maybe my room acoustics too adding up to that ).

M Audio analytical clean highs and low end, punchy mids made my coffee better, finding myself at times craving to just blast'em and go batsh*t crazy on my drum and bass/ jungle playlist ( never did my jungle music was so funky andalive ). Khatia Buniatishvili ( hope i typed her name correctly lol ) piano take on Grieg's concert made me engage on an emotional level, indulge in every strike of her piano, full of emotion, never did i experienced such beautiful piano notes, highs trough a speaker. Female voices that are more in the high freq like Imogen Heap or Bjork, Elsiane gave me everything i need to fully feel their emotion, yet i would still wish for more extension, for the sake of spiceness and fun. Takeshi Inomata's drum battle 1975 blew me away. Black Metal/ Doom / Trash Metal sounded correct and unmuddy, clean, sweet, dynamic, amazingly timed and phased. Male and female voices in the lower midrange tonality left me craving for the wharfies signature. Strings too. At times M Audio Silver feels like a jack of all trades, leaving me space to get dreamy or hyped on the music, never dissapointing me during the audition due to their safe/ true to source nature.

Wharfedale made me do something i forgot in a loong time, something special that will always love about them, as first as i played Lisa Gerrard - Space Weaver, from that very first string of yangqin stroke, my livingroom, my world, my surroundings, my brains just shattered and ceded to exist. My couch was vibrating with emotion, i felt like snuggling in it, get comfy, close my eyes and just let her voice pierce my being. I never felt so sonically tenderly hugged by a speaker, i was blown away. I immediately throwed a Dead Can Dance album at the receiver, and he kicked me in the jaws with more vivid emotion, Persephone song made me cry internally of pleasure. Highs were exagerated rolled off, upper mids were pulled back but correct, crystal clear and low-mid range was colored as hell, forward, but guess what, it blew my minds and gave me more then i could handle out at night on 10% volume. Blues Company - My little angel gave me another kick to the head, the singer's voice is right in that sweet spot, that low colored midrange, the strings had lustful body to crave for, the extended emotion in his timbre made me melt again, i smiled like a kid and put it on a loop. It seems like all the warm blues i throw at them, warm masculine and female voices like Billy Holliday, Gloria Ann Taylor, Barbara Kelly, Ella Fitzgerald, Peter Green, Jackson C. Frank makes the tweetter shine like the most bizzare dark diamond shedding such reflections and solar warmth in the lower to mid freq. Soundtracks/ ambiental music never sounded so chill, so hypnotic, so tasty, Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre made me leave planet earth and pittyfull meaningfull sense of existence, all the psybient i throw at them is sweet, the atmosphere in intelligent drum and bass/ ambiental jungle never sounded so sweet and less fatigue at the expense of its energy. The speakers made me for days jumping in my couch like a lazy ass, forget about everything, make a tea and just reflect on life, read literature, poetry, gave me that amount of harmony and musicality i need in my life, of closeness, of familiar aproach i once had with my favourite music, at times leaving me hanging on new effects, modulations extents i never experienced before, boy they made me happy. M Audio's smooth character does the same but not at that level of emotion and intensity, they would need a sub for that ! Yet there's plenty of it in the highs and upper mids ( i guess u cant have it all :)) ) Like a warmed glass of refined cognac with a bean of coffee, this speakers are as melting and refined, sophisticated yet modest, simple, only leaving their public to make something out of the experience.




In my conclusion they both provide an audiophile experience, M audio are more close to the notion of monitor speakers, true to source, fast, analytical, very revealing in the high freq. no fireworks, all balanced and flat, loved loved loved the piano, the violins, the sax, the drums engaging rhytim, the smoothness of their clear vivid energy, eforthless and clean bass. Wharfedale on the other hand are more forgiving with all music genre, way way more revealing and atmospheric,tonality, musicality in the low-mid range, due to great extension i could experience sounds i never did know off in that area or at least at that emotion, intensity ! Superb sound-stage, holographic feeling, buttery melting warm audition, was sleeping eating reading waking up on them ! I like M Audio better for their true to source character and being so balanced in movies, but if i would like to be hypnotized, lounge and dive in music, those Wharfedales are beast for that ! Now i wonder if i wouldnt have gone better with Klipsch RP600m, i guess il never find out :)) cuz im not sending the M Audio, their just too RIGHT, true to source, like an innocent baby boys, and other speakers being so naughty and sinnfull :)) I will extend that low-end with a sub and it will be emotional enough i hope.

Would i recommend both speakers in their price range low-to-mid range for a stereo system to a beginner friend like me ? Certainly YES, but with some notes to take.

1. Monitor Audio if u wanna go safe, with a dedicated sub, true to source, monitor-like sound, flat, neutral along the freq range, balanced, airy, clear in the highs, controlled tamed clean tight bass, good with fast pashed music metal punk acid rock jazz orchestral drum and bass jungle percution breakcore acid jazz etc etc. No space fussines or position, good fast puncy dynamics and clear highs both for movies and music, neighbours friendly, wife friendly, got the vintage looks.

2. Wharfedale if u dont care for movies, if u want sophisticated, refined, unique audiophile experience. If u have enough space for them to breath and have distance between them and ur lissening spot for the bass extension to develop cuz their very bassy, boomy and u dont wanna get fatigue/ overwhelmed by the low end, they dont need a sub either, their knocking it enough for you. If u wanna get musically hypnotized in the instrumental low-mid range, ambient soul music reggae dub trip hop jazz funk stoner prog rock lounge indy goth post punk grunge 50 60 70 80 90 music etc etc but can adapt to borring highs and dull upper mids with no punch and slow dynamic, neighbours enemy, wife friendly, earthquacking the ceilings, looks hot as fudge and sounds like it, like that naughty girl u love and both hate for its mysterious unpredictable bizzare character and is both tender yet fudges u like a mad man :)) ( srry not sorry for bad language :D )

Alternatives with similar characteristics for M Audio - Klipsch/ Dali. For Wharfedale - Triangle BR03 /Elac

Low budget pairing notes on them, my subjective newbie advice would be for a stereo dedicated system:

M Audio - Cambridge Audio CX-A80 for its lush, neutral, analytical sound that fits like a glove to their signature.
Wharfedale - Denon PMA-600 or 800 depending on budget, denon warm rich low to mid range signature fits like a glove to develop that holographic feeling on the Wharfedale.

Not pare with : M Audio - bright amps ( Yamaha ), Wharfedale bassy amps ( NAD )

Also if anyone is curious of what songs/ music i digged in them along the sessions and got me smiling for each u can ask me and il give more details.

Sending love to all the music enthuziasts and i hope this review helps !
 
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Tony212

Active Member
Thanks for the detailed review. I'm thinking of getting the Silver 100s, especially after the very good review on here.

Monitor Audio Silver 100 HiFi Speaker Review | AVForums

It seems like they give you a far better all round experience, whereas the Wharfdales are better at the low end and lower mids. If the upper frequencies are as bad as you say with the Wharfdales then they're not worth it.

I presume that was your opinion, which was why you opted for the Silvers in the end? How are you finding them now, after a few weeks?

The review on here praised their bass, not so much for the deepness but for how the 8" woofer delivered it. I think for me, in a medium sized room, that would be all I need and I probably wouldn't need a sub to help them. Your room is quite large, so I can see how you would want a sub to maximise the bass impact.

As an alternative I'm thinking of the Dali Oberon 5. I've actually listened to them and liked the sound - it's a good all rounder with nice warm mids and punchy bass. I listened to Massive Attack on them and the bass and high female vocal all came across very well. Very engaging and not boring.
 

Emil93

Member
I opted for Silvers because my use of the speakers is 50 % movies - 50 % music, Wharfies at least the 11.2 were extra bad at movies because of bad slow dynamics and muddy low end extensions, the low end was cloacking the ambient noises and the voices, it didnt sounded transparent, right and was frustrating at times, also the low to upper mid vocals were coloured, they sounded melodic lol due to the decay, but the soundtracks were amazing, i never experienced and been so touched by a soundtrack before while watching a movie.

Wharfedale are anything but not bad speakers! Their refined speakers with amazing holographic soundstage, coloured and weird, believe it or not their weird melodic decay and laid-back signature made everything way more clear and enjoyable ( in music ) , like i dont know ( dumb analogy incoming ) imagine urself on the beach enjoying a calm sea counting and enjoying all the wide tidal waves one by one going out and in over the seashore, the tidal waves are the instruments and the voices ( freq ranges, vibrations ) the wideness of this waves are the soundstage, the seashore are ur ears, the calm soothing flowing sea are the Wharfies, u sit there and say " man thats such a big rounded beautiful warm calming sea, would sleep right here and enjoy it forever. Thats their magic if it makes any sense ? Monitor Audio are not like that, their energetic, bold, blunt in ya face, they got muscle, they got rhytm energy and dynamics, transparency, organized analytical feeling but they dont knock like a Wharf in the low end neither do punch like Wharfies do, neither do they sound as clear and melodic as Wharfies. because their too neutral, nothing really shines for them, that can be good.. and bad.

Yet i have to agree with you that M Audio are better all rounders if you count the movies in, if its just for music audition here everything splits to subjective manners :
1.U into piano music or energetic music, modern pop, r & b, fast dance music, techno, deep house, fast rock music metal punk black metal death metal speed metal etc ? Monitor Audio Silver 100 all the way with a sub or Klipsch rp 600m.

2.U into more refined music such as ambiental, blues, jazz, soul, psychedelic, acid, post punk, instrumentalish music, warm music, 40 50' 60 70 80 90' music with bad recordings etc and prefer holographic feeling soundstage, you want to enjoy ANY music for hours without being distracted or frustrated by bad recordings or high pitched voices or shrill metalic instruments ? Wharfies is the answer. Their upper mids 600 hz - 1.2k are fine dont get me wrong, they are correct and clear to my ears, very melodic compared to M Audio, but depending on ur furniture, tweeter axis to ear and room size there can be a dip i think between 1.2k and 1.8k/ 3-4-5k freq range, and that roll of basicly makes a cymbal for example have no harmonic extension, or a piano, 0 harmonic extension also, high pitched rising vocalisations, pipe organs, flutes etc, you see instruments like this suffers in the harmonic region but they just suffer like 20% of their emotion if it makes sense, that 20 % also can get u fatigue really fast and tired of lissening so its a good trade ! I found myself enjoying albums i never liked because of their bad recorded nature or fatigue bright presentation like never before.. i think thats what an audiophile speaker should be about.
 
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joris95

Novice Member
Thanks for the review mate, nice detailed explanation of how they sound to you. I have the diamond 11.2's as well, but i think the bass is somewhate uncontrolled and even muddy. Could you help me with speaker placement? My apartment is 4 meters to 6 meters. I placed them on the short side at about 30 cms from the back wall and about 1 meter and 60 cms between the speakers. The listening position is at about 3 meters. Placing the speakers close to the wall makes the bass worse, and getting them more in the room doesn't really change a lot until i get them at about 1,5 meter from the listening position. However, that is very unpractical. So do you have any tips for getting better and clearer bass that isn't boomy, without taking the speakers very much out into the room? Thanks in advance
 

Emil93

Member
The placement is very correct and airy, the only placement factor would be left if there are reflective materials near the speakers such as windows or wood or stuff that doesnt dampens the bass ( in that case it would help to add some foam around them/ sound proofind. It was boomy for me too at times and muddy on high volumes, on low volume was just clear and defined yet still not tight/ controlled. The only tip i can give u to improve the bass is trying to add 4 spacers on each speaker, unskrew the bottom plate, add spacers and create more height/space for the bass to develop, you will have a bass more tight. Also you forgot to tell me your amp/ source, it can be tweaked maybe to end up with a more even/ controlled bass. They are indeed boomy/ overkill speakers expecially if u dont have carpets and sofas and other stuff in the vicinity to dampen that low freq it can resonate pretty bad and get boomy, for example i could make my walls shake from them lol :))
 

joris95

Novice Member
Thanks for your reactien mate! I have an old Denon dra 210 receiver, from my dad's. Couldn't really find a lot about it on the internet. In relationto the furniture, I have a couch and a tv at about 75 cm from the speakers on the sides of the room. And behind the tv there are 2 acoustic guitars on the wall. On the rear wall there is nothing apart from a low small stack for the receiver and record player. I definitely will try to add the spacers, tnx for the tip. However I can't imagine that it willmake a huge difference.maybe adding acarpet can help as we.
 

Emil93

Member
Lovely rare piece of receiver u have, adding a carpet will surely help, adding soundproof materials behind the speakers instead of those guitars also makes a substantial diff. , adding the spacers also makes a difference big or small depending on the height of ur spacers. I think the easiest tweak u can do with your receiver, depending on its connections is adding an equalizer, maybe a vintage one just like him :) With an equalizer u can play with the frequency band until it suits ur tastes and problem solved ! And should be pretty cheap adding an old model like Technics or idk. I'm happy i could help you and i hope you will end up enjoying ur Wharfies bcs they are very refined, unique and easy going, record friendly and clear warm speakers.
 

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