Monitor Audio Gold 5G 300 loudspeakers

‘If you want to hear your music like never before with quality, scale and an ease that takes you from what may have become a mechanical or background process, to something compelling and immersive, these are the speakers to take you there.’

All about the new Monitor Audio Gold 5G (5th Generation) 300 Loudspeakers 

Loudspeaker design and manufacture has come a lot further in the last 20 years than you might expect and the new Monitor Audio Gold series prove this in a number of ways.

So just how much better can a speaker be? And what will you hear?

There have been conversations with clients lately where we have grappled with how to explain what we hear as significant improvements made within audio – Is progress readily apparent to me, as an effectively professional listener, going to be as compelling for you?

In the past I’ve been in demonstrations between components and systems that were unconvincing at best. Sometimes it might have been the unfamiliar music chosen, the compromised environment, poor setup or maybe just that there really wasn’t that much of a difference anyway – this made me feel a bit thick and inadequate. No-one likes to feel this way.

Yet every so often we get hit with something that’s so obviously better in every way, it makes me just shake my head in wonder. There’s no better feeling than to forget about the system and just revel in hearing the music that you really enjoy, sounding like you’ve never heard it before.

This is the thrill of the new and it’s what makes better quality hifi worthwhile. It’s how it should be.

Monitor Audio have been firing on all cylinders over the last 2 years – the introduction of the flagship Platinum II range, the upgrading of the Silver series with their 6th generation and the release of the Studio – made it obvious that the Gold range was also due for an upgrade.

The Studio was introduced just on a year ago and quickly became my favourite Monitor Audio model – it’s radically different from anything else in their range and quite a departure in terms of the sound. This polarised reviewers – the qualities that stood out for me proved to be too much for some who I think were expecting a more traditional approach. But the attack and accuracy of the Studios really spun my wheels and the more I listened, and further I went with amplifiers, the more I liked them.

Eventually the Studios became the voice of the receiving end of the full NuPrime Evolution system; vastly more costly with unnerving power and resolution, the Nuprime models seemed to be asking for a more appropriate speaker system. Or putting it another way, while we were hearing the Studios perform at their absolute best and sounding just stunning, they are a relatively small speaker with limits in bass performance and a very particular way of spreading sound (dispersion).

The Studio also introduced real anomaly in the Monitor Audio range – although less in cost than the Gold series speakers, it drew on Platinum level technology with significantly better components which delivered greater resolution.

The new Golds address this and restore the hierarchy of performance between the ranges – but as you read on you’ll find that it’s far more than this – the magnitude of improvement suggests that Monitor Audio have undertaken a greater program of development than originally intended and I suspect that this is why this range is being released now rather than in 2018 as originally intended.

While the previous changes to the Gold series have been iterative with subtle driver and grille changes, the new range is a complete reworking – all drivers changed and resized, the cabinets reshaped, refinished and a host of other details.

The new Gold 5G series also has options for surround sound – centre, surround and subwoofer and the changes made with these are equally significant. We’ll go over the other models at the end of this review.

As our introduction to the range let’s look closely at the largest floor stander – the substantial and handsome 300s.

Gold 300s outside.jpg
The new Monitor Audio Gold 5G 300s – NZ$10,000 the pair including GST.

There’s good reason to start with the biggest and best. When evaluating the Silver 6G series I concluded that  Monitor Audio have cracked the problem of maintaining a continuous timbre of sound across the frequency range. The use of all metal drivers,  careful crossover design and cabinet construction all came together to give a seamless sound from top to bottom. It became obvious as the assessment progressed that for a relatively small difference in cost, the largest model delivered substantial improvements without any the downsides we might associate with big speakers – such as booming or slow bass, excessive cabinet resonance or placement issues.

And with all my previous reviews, we’ve always been cautious, dropping one model down to the slimmer floor stander, perhaps looking to emulate the qualities of the best small stand mounts. So, making an effort to put preconceptions to the side we ordered the new 5G 300s.

And we’re glad we did…

Looks might not guarantee great sound but they go a long way in showing how much care a designer puts into their product. The finish of the new Gold 5G series is simply as good as it gets;  rich pair matched ebony veneer coated in thick flawless gloss lacquer, perfectly rebated drivers with no visible attachments (all bolted via the rear panel) and a clean new footer arrangement with rubber for polished floors and conical feet for carpet.

The top of the speaker features a ‘soft touch trim – giving a luxurious, premium quality furniture grade touch and appearance’. I’m going to note that this does not appear to be real leather but rather a facsimile – this is a good thing on both a practical level given that it’s inevitable that things will be placed on top of the speaker and a gloss finish will inevitably be scratched or marked. But I’m also having issues with the use of leather on ethical grounds, especially if it’s just to add some perceived prestige.

Taken together the aesthetics are a step above the much more costly and somewhat brutal Platinum IIs. The drivers are visually identical to the Platinum series – the new MPD (Micro Pleated Diaphragm) tweeter replaces the ribbon used in the previous Golds, the cones are a seamless dish with a subtle honeycomb pattern that hints at the layered construction.

Here is where the significant visible changes are made to the previous model 300. The bass drivers are larger – 8″‘as opposed to 6.5″ in diameter. Given there are two, if we look at the total radiating area this a large increase. Despite this the cabinet is incrementally less tall at just on 1m high  but the volume is actually greater given the width and move from a tapered profile.

In contrast the midrange driver is reduced in size – this new 2.5″ unit appears to be unique to the Golds with both Platinum and previous 4G Golds running a 4″ unit. The MPD tweeter is protected by a perforated metal cover that surrounds but doesn’t cover the small midrange unit.

The specification changes are subtle and in some ways are contridictory. You will note that the high frequency response is actually reduced but you will shortly learn why this cannot be taken in isolation and actually distracts from the substantial improvements made.

Listening to the 300s

I’ll say this at the outset – I believe the new 5G Gold 300s are the best loudspeaker that Monitor Audio have built. They are neither a cut down Platinum or a warmed up revision of the previous Golds but a completely distinct, and to my ears, far better speaker system that will thrill anyone who listens to them.

Straight out of the box, the new Golds bettered the Studios in every way and immediately redressed the imbalance between the previous Golds and this newer model. This is remarkable in that the qualities we’d ascribed to the smaller speaker – detail, specificity of image and sound staging, the generation of space and the impression of the speaker ‘disappearing’ were all better with the much larger Gold 5G 300s.

Not surprisingly the bass was also much deeper and efficiency higher. We are struck by not just hearing more, and having better intelligibility, but also by the projection of midrange detail within the soundstage. The dispersion characteristics are much better, the sound being consistently balanced over a a much wider listening area, both vertically and horizontally and the way in which the sound travelled to all parts of the room was far more balanced.

Of course this is just the start as we all know with new speakers that there is a physical run in period where not only do you find the overall response of the speaker opens out and we also get to grips with the best placement options. The movement of the bass drivers becomes easier as the surrounds ease up and it’s always worth remembering to tighten the driver mounting bolts at the rear as the mechanical parts settle in.

It’s also immediately obvious that the Gold 300s are an easy speaker for amplifiers to drive – with good efficiency (90dB) and a broad frequency response you’ll be able to fill any room with music. As with many modern speakers the new Golds have a nominal impedance of 4 ohms rather than 8 ohms.

Like many, I’ll admit to having a bias and it has favoured the classic Sonus faber stand mounts  – the logic of a smaller but higher quality speaker at any given price as always won out over the desire for extra bass, there have been placement and aesthetic issues and although I’ve been able to identify virtues in many larger speakers I’ve always found my way back to stand mounts. Until now.

Turning the maxim on it’s head, the Gold 300s are a big speaker that sounds like a small one – but with all the quantitative values we associate around larger models – bass, dynamics and efficiency.

Coherence & Continuitythe new 5G Gold 300s are the best

The coherence and continuity of sound throughout the the frequency range is quickly becoming one of Monitor Audio’s key strengths – I’ve noted previously with the 6G silvers and a number of other reviewers have also expounded upon this with both Platinum and previous Gold models.

The new Gold 300s take this up another level and while I don’t have inside information, I’ve got a good working theory as to what is going on…

The new smaller 2.5″ midrange and it’s relationship to the MPD tweeter, set the two floor standing Gold models apart from every other speaker in the Monitor Audio range.

The Micro Pleated tweeter is a variation on ribbon technology with some very cool features. Despite being small, it has a surface area of around 8x that of a conventional dome tweeter. This driver first appeared in the Platinum II range and allowed these models to have a response right up to 100kHz. The Gold’s appear to have exactly the same unit yet the response is only up to 50hHz – that’s slightly down on the previous generation which featured a more conventional ribbon. So why is this?

It could be a couple of things – in the Platinum 300s the tweeter is expected to cover a huge range from 3.4kHz right up to 100kHz – compare this to the midrange which works over a span of just 2.9kHz.

In the new Golds the tweeter only covers half this range and is likely having to work less hard. The new midrange also covers a slightly reduced range (and the bass drivers kick in at 650Hz). There is nothing to suggest that the MPD won’t do 100kHz if required – I think Monitor Audio may have intentionally limited the range within the crossover design. So, if you have drivers which are effectively over specified and running well within their limits, chances are they will sound better for it.

There is another consideration lurking in the background – many amplifiers are capable of producing output well above our hearing range and up into the 50-100 KHz area. The problem is that if there is high frequency rubbish coming into the system from sources such as computers, wifi modems, lighting systems and other contributors to power line noise this could well be contaminating the sound. We might not hear the actual interference but the byproducts (harmonics) could certainly affect what we hear. There is a chance that Monitor Audio have picked up on this as a problem and hence reduced the upper frequency range as a solution.

In both cases this would not affect one of the MPD’s crucial advantages over the previous ribbon tweeter – the extremely fast rise time – which means the enhanced clarity afforded by the MPD is not reduced.

By also reducing the size of the midrange driver Monitor Audio will also have sped up it’s response and made matching of the cone with the MPD unit that much better again.

Taken together we have two drivers effectively acting as one with an effectively imperceptible transition between them.

The top end and midrange from the 300s have a level of clarity I’ve simply never heard before from any speaker system including both the Platinums and Studios – the detail and precision is a revelation and this translates into the most convincing sound staging I’ve yet encountered. Yet there is no harshness or ringing – the sound is open and sweet, non fatiguing and musical. This is no mean feat – the Studios impressed with detail and speed too but it sometimes becomes an edge of the seat experience – the 300s are more detailed yet also more relaxed if that is possible.

The new Golds project the midrange and treble out into the room with far greater ease than the Studios and the listening sweetspot is much greater – careful positioning pays dividends yet the sound remains consistent no matter where you choose to sit.

Of course the whole reason to select larger speakers is to enjoy the full range of music and this is what the 300s are all about. On paper the bass extension is unchanged from 30 Hz despite the larger bass drivers. But as with the other parts of the design there is more to the story than just one number. Larger drivers will move the same amount of air with smaller extension and the more advanced cone materials – a sandwich of extremely thin anodised aluminium, honey cone Nomex and Kevlar backing  give a more rigid cone with less distortion – both physical and audible – and despite being greater in area I believe the physical weight may be the same or even reduced which means the speed of activation and control exerted to stop the driver at the appropriate instant is improved.

So the bass is deep by virtue of the cabinet and driver dimensions but also fast and responsive. This ties in neatly with the mid/treble array.

Flow

It’s taken a few weeks of listening but I think I’ve come up with the defining characteristic that makes the new Gold 300s (and slimmer 200s) special.

As much as we hate thing admit it, the reproduction of music by an audio system is a mechanical (and electrical) process. The conversion of the flow of electrons from an amplifier into physical movement of a series of drivers to give us sound is a small miracle in many ways and the fact that we’ve got so far in terms of fidelity with this system is still a source of wonder and fascination. To make significant progresses always is going to be a challenge but in this case Monitor Audio have taken us appreciably further.

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The new MA Gold 300s in our system.

The sound of these speakers has flow – they have laid bare the mechanical artefacts that we’ve been listening to before where speakers can sound forced, or you have this feeling that the electronics are working hard. All the parts might be there but until you hear music with that missing ingredient, what seems best described as flow – an effortless transmission of not just the parts of music but a presentation of a seamless whole.

I have a feeling that in the 3 years that have elapsed since the design of the Platinum series was finalised, Monitor Audio have looked at this design quite critically and worked through more iterations of the new 5Gs than originally intended. Its clear that much work has been done with the crossover network as this is effectively a series of filters and lesser designs are more than capable of simply loosing music and dissipating it as heat. Likewise, the drivers, while looking very similar to the Platinums have detail changes – it’s not clear if the DCF ring that is a feature in some of the Silver and Platinum drivers is in use and this ties in with the Studios.

With so many variables it becomes obvious that the production of such a speaker is very much a team effort. We have gone far beyond what a single designer can do either with inspiration or trial and error.

Getting back to the the quality of flow – if a speaker system is easy for an amplifier to drive, the sound becomes more effortless. The combination of a completely new driver array, with a significant revision in sizes plus new thinking on the crossover front have all combined in the new Monitor Audios have made these speakers a far better match for a wide variety of amplifiers.

There as been the implication that big speakers need big amplifiers. In the case of the new 5G 300s this can no longer be unquestioningly applied. The high efficiency means that even modest amplifiers will produce the goods in terms of volume. But more importantly, the ease with which they drive allows any amplifier to stay well within it’s comfort zone and sound appreciably better.

Just to confirm this from another source, read this Absolute Sound review of the previous 300s – you’ll see that all the initial listening was with a little NuPrime IDA-8 integrated amplifier

It’s only when you hear previously obscured detail that you realise just what was being lost before.  When you hear better tonality and a seamless reproduction from bass, through midrange and up to the highest notes it all makes sense in a way that you don’t have to be some expert audiophile to hear. To go from talking about the concept of a soundstage to experiencing an immersive and sometimes quite alarming 3D aural picture is what these speakers can do for you.

The 5G 300s also surprised us in other ways – with so much extra detail and clarity we were enjoying listening at lower levels more. In the past I’ve found that bigger speakers need to get over a ‘hump’ in terms of volume coming in to sound coherent and balanced – the bass divers especially just don’t seem to start moving till you hit a certain level. The larger cones of the 300s seem to move more easily – and as we’ve suggested above, by virtue of the increased size they don’t have to move as far to have the same effect. The (assumed) easier loading on the amplifier also allows for a better sound at a lower indicated volume level – so where previously we might have listened at ’30’, now we’d be at ’25’ or less and enjoying it more.

In addition to this the way the sound carries into the room means that again, we’re simply not running amplifiers so hard. It’s a virtuous cycle.

But it’s also fun to be able to push your system along a bit and for many types of music the dynamic contrasts revealed at higher levels are exciting and thrilling. This is another reason for larger speakers.

In a perfect world the performance and character of sound of a speaker should remain the same as volume is increased. In reality this is far harder to achieve, especially with the overall frequency balance, room and electronic interactions.

Again, the new Gold 300s have proved to be the best speaker I’ve heard in this regard. As we turn the volume up the 300s simply step up and up, retaining composure and detail. It’s very much like walking from the back of a room where a band is playing up to the front.

With a smaller speaker pushed hard, we’ll always get to the point where the music starts to compress – there is only so much that small drivers can do, both physically and electrically as heat can start to build up (which occasionally leads to Chernobyl like scenarios). The Gold 300s can be downright scary – they just keep smoothly increasing the levels.

With a smaller lower cost amplifier such as the NuPrime IDA-8 this creates a real conundrum – I’ve never heard this model deliver so much in any other context – so when looking at system building, the normal strategies of keeping source/amplifier and speaker system in some kind of balance fall apart.

The high efficiency and ease of matching with the Gold 5Gs mean that a good lower cost amplifier will perform well above it’s normal level. So if you want these speakers, you are not constrained to having to spend an equivalent amount on electronics in order enjoy them. You will be surprised by how good even the most modest amplifier can sound with these speakers.

But on the other hand, the capabilities of these speakers in terms of resolution do mean that you’ll hear any improvements to the incoming signal made far more obvious than would have otherwise been the case.

So when we match the new Golds with better amplification and sources, we’re not trying to compensate for a difficult load but will instead be able to enjoy the full quality improvements afforded by higher quality signal coming in.

Should you wish to explore the full potential of these choices, the 300s make the real differences even more obvious than would have been the case previously. So as an example, despite having Nuprime’s entry level IDA-8 sounding at it’s very best, the contrast when moving up to their flagship models – the Evolution DAC and One mono amplifiers – was made greater and even more compelling than it already was. The increase in detail and transparency, scale of soundstage, and dynamics afforded by these components make my initial assessments seem almost cautious.

As much as I was impressed by Monitor Audio’s launch of their Platinum II series two years ago, they didn’t grab me in the same way. On a technical level the Platinum 300s and huge 500s may be better but the ease and flow of the new 5G Golds takes us further with real world electronics and rooms. The Platinums made me feel like they had more to offer if only the electronics or set up was better. With the new Golds we’re finding there was never a problem with the source, we just had to find a way to open the door a little wider.

System contextThe Monitor Audio 5G Gold loudspeakers make sense @totallywired.nz

There is no presumption that I’ll ever be able to mirror everyone’s system, room or musical taste with this assessment of the Gold 300s but I’ll give you quick run down of what we’ve been listening to.

So far all our music has been digitally sourced via the new Nativ Vita touchscreen/server/streamer. I’ve been so taken by this, and the new Evolution DAC from Nuprime that our analogue front end has been put to the side for a little while. There has been a real convergence of quality and while we’ll never have exact duplication between analogue and digital, the real differences have never been smaller.

The little NuPrime IDA-8 integrated (100 watts) has been used with the Nativ (via USB) to provide a direct point of reference with Judy Mullins review of the previous Gold 300s. (see below).

The NuPrime Evolution DAC and Mono power amplifiers have been used for the greater part of our listening as the DAC and Nativ have been the subjects of our most recent reviews.

The systems are all cabled with Keith Eichmann’s KLEI cables – using the best of the versions we have in stock for AC, pre/power, USB and speaker connection. For consistency we’ve been using the KLEI bi-wire jumpers although the quality of the provided MA jumpers is higher than most.

On the speaker front we’ve alternated between the Monitor Audio Studio and our resident Sonus faber Auditor M stand mounts to inform our comparisons. I’ve been torn between these two speaker systems as each is brilliant at what they do but they are so different from each other – never did I expect to find a speaker that outperformed both in every way. But that’s exactly what the new Monitor Audio 5G 300s do.

Musically we’ve thrown everything at the new Gold 300s – classical to Te Reo metal, dream pop to goth electronica, sound tracks, alt country, you name it. In every case we’ve loved the extra layers of music revealed, the ability to run from the most delicate sounds to levels that we really shouldn’t. As you’ll see in some of our photos, the Monitor Audios have been positioned on either side of a screen and they have done wonderful things for the viewing experience – the enhanced clarity and depth make the act of watching a movie or series just that much more involving.Gold 300s & Loewe.jpg

300 or 200? Gold or Platinum?

The choice between the two Gold floor standing models is worth looking at. We could have suggested that the smaller model 200 would be better suited smaller rooms as the 300s might have loaded up in the bass or that higher powered amplifiers would be required.

This isn’t the case. The bass with the 300s is articulate and well controlled so near wall placement is less of an issue than with the previous generation. The 200s also feature larger bass drivers than before which actually makes them more of a direct replacement for the previous 300s. Yet they are still appreciably more compact. In both cases the dramatically improved finish means you’ll not be wanting to hide them. Both models have identical midrange and treble units so the resolving qualities are effectively identical.

There is a little less deep bass with the smaller 200s, and slightly lower efficiency. So there are significant benefits in heading up the model range if you can and in many cases these will more than spending the same amount on better electronics (as much as we’d love this to happen).

All this said, as a model the 200s still offer stellar performance, well ahead of the previous Gold 300s for less cost, and are perfect for more constrained positioning and tighter budgets.

This logic is inverted when comparing the new Golds with the Platinum series –  it’s my personal view the Golds are simply better speakers as they are more accessible, easier to match and the cost difference between the two ranges is enough that better electronics will more than swing the balance even if the specification differences suggest the PL-IIs should sound better.

The higher levels of specification with the Platinums may (and this is just a hunch on my part) mean that the crossover is more complex and places a greater load on an amplifier – this is probably not seen as an issue as most people looking at the Platinums will have similarly costly electronics which would deal with this but it does factor into my thinking.

Likewise this is the conundrum of the Studios which appear to have the treble/midrange array of the PL-500-II transplanted into a lower cost cabinet – the specification is clearly not the same but they can’t be dropping that much. Yet the performance I hear, especially with the treble and midrange with the new Golds is dramatically better than the Studios.

We would all love to hear more from Monitor Audio on the story behind the new Gold 5G development. It will have been around 3 years since the design of the Platinum II series was locked down and production started. Monitor Audio have proved that they don’t hold back their best technology from lower cost models with the Studios. With both critical listening and continual development going on background, just how much extra has gone into the Golds?

There will be speakers that go some places the Gold 300s don’t but you’ll be looking at some pretty serious outlay to get there. For  bass enthusiasts, the matching W12 subwoofer – either as a single unit or as a pair will take the system performance to another level again – significantly this will not impact at all on amplifier performance given the W12 sports 650 watts of inbuilt power.

Bringing it all home

Now let’s go back to our original questions – how much better, what will you hear?

The  comparisons I’ve been making have been with recently released speakers, or in the case of the Sonus fabers, something undeniably special and although older, very much in the same price territory.

If we look at the Monitor Audio range, the Gold GX series was introduced around 2010, the 4G Golds about 2014 and were incrementally improved through their run. Over this time the changes were worthwhile but nothing like the level of revision we have with the 5G series.

MA-Gold_5G-300-stock.jpegPrevious to (and for a time concurrent with) Monitor Audio we passionately supported New Zealand made, first with Lambert and then Image, as well as being Shahinian owners and strong Linn dealers. Obviously I’ve been at this for too long but the point is that we’ve seen appreciable progress almost every year and taken together this makes the difference between the speakers most people listen to, and the new Monitor Audios, huge.

The quality of parts and finish is also vastly better. It’s very cool that most speakers made in the last 20-30 years are still working perfectly well, but in direct comparison with the new 5G Golds the older speakers aren’t even in the same territory. The only speaker I can see that compare are the new, more costly handmade Italian Sonus faber. 

All of Gold 5G series models are beautifully made, right down to the feet, and will look great in many settings – the design neatly combines modernity with the classic 4 driver speaker array. The clean lines and all round dark ebony gloss finish are fair more appealing to a much broader range of listeners, both male and female, than the ‘man-cave’ aesthetic we often see in high end audio. The dark cloth front cover for the drivers is there if you want to use it (ours have stayed in the box with the arrival of a new cat) and with no central dust cap and a well protected tweeter, there is little chance of damage from young and inquisitive fingers.

The high gloss finish is effectively the same as that found on premium cars and there are plenty of products that will allow you to care for you new speakers, and even rectify scuffs and damage that may happen over time, despite the best intentions. The softer inner bag that comes with them is perfect for protection when not in use for longer periods.

Given the build and finish quality, (and to some extent the price) we see these speakers as a genuine lifetime investment. Far lesser speakers manage to soldier on for two decades or more so while the recently extended 5 year warranty is certainly welcome, the likelihood of it ever been used is vanishingly low. It is worth knowing that because Monitor Audio build all their own drivers they do carry high levels of stock parts well past the date of production. The can still replace drivers from many models that are now 20 years old and sometimes even more.

Musically we’ve thrown everything at the new Gold 300s @totallywired.nzBecause all of the listening that informs this review has been done in a real living room, you’ll experience exactly the same, and possibly even greater improvements within your own system, especially if compared to older speakers. You are welcome to visit us and take as much time as you like to audition these speakers – we have a broad variety of electronics on hand, other speakers to compare and plenty of varied music on hand. You are also most welcome to bring both your own electronics and music in any format.  And given the cost of the 5G 300s, no matter where you live in New Zealand this opportunity is well worth considering.

That said, we’d like to think that over time we have also built up a worthwhile level of trust and credibility – I’ve taken quite a risk with this article given that at present there are no other full reviews of the these speakers. Certainly if you do the research there are some consistent themes in reviews of the previous versions and the Platinum series and these have been referenced. But a lot of what I’m hearing is well beyond this.

You’ll have to justify the value for money part of any purchase – we can at least provide a good level of context for you and show ways in which a system can be most effectively built around these loudspeakers.

So, if you want to hear your music like never before with quality, scale and an ease that takes you from what may have become a mechanical or background process, to something compelling and immersive these are the speakers to take you there.

Range and pricing.

Comparing the new Golds to the previous generation requires some care. As we have detailed, there are significant changes in the driver arrays, especially in size. The new 200 is the effective replacement for the old 300. The new 300 in turn is a completely new model and has more in common with the Platinum 300.

There is now only one stand/shelf mount model – the Gold 5G 100, one centre channel, one dedicated surround option and a completely remodelled subwoofer. The W12, as the name implies has a smaller driver and visibly much more compact cabinet than the previous 15″ models in the Gold and GX series but has augmented the response with the use of passive radiators, more advanced processing and uprated inbuilt amplifiers. This in turn makes for a better match to the improved responsiveness delivered by the Platinum level bass drivers and all models of front speaker including the compact Gold 100 stand mount.

The simplification of  the range and a rationalisation of stocked finish options have improved the economics so that if we really do compare like with like and factor in the improvements made, the new Gold series are the best value yet from Monitor Audio. As you have read, on a performance, technical and aesthetic  level, I rate them up with the far more costly Platinum series.

The previous Gold range had maintained their performance advantage over the newer 6G Silvers by virtue of the ribbon tweeter and construction but this new series makes it much more worthwhile for anyone considering taking the step up between ranges. You will now hear and enjoy a far greater improvement which is more proportional to the cost difference.

This takes away nothing from the Silver 6G series. The Silver 500s are the direct equivalent of Gold 300s in size – both feature 8″ metal coned bass divers in similarly proportioned cabinets, both a generous full 3 way designs and share many qualities in terms of integration of the drivers, efficiency, bass response and overall balance. In the same way that the Golds offer unparalleled performance and value at their price level, the Silvers do likewise.

Monitor Audio Gold 5g 300s – NZ$10,000 the pair including GST and delivery

Gold 5g 200s floor stander – $7500 the pair

Gold 5g 100 stand/shelf mount – $3500 the pair

Gold 5G 250 Centre – $2750 each

Gold 5G FX surround speakers – $4250 the pair

Gold W12 Subwoofer – $5250 each.

Finish options – Gloss Ebony will be the main finish carried in stock. When you see it you’ll understand why. There will be very limited stock of other finishes – black, dark walnut and satin white and in most cases these will have to be ordered in.

Background reading and Links.

Monitor Audio Gold (4G) 300 speaker review – Julie Mullins – The Absolute Sound August 2016

‘Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but the Monitor Audio Gold 300 represents a special breed of loudspeakers that successfully combines style with substance, as should be apparent from my experience. In addition to its stellar sonic capabilities (particularly throughout the midrange), consider that such a strikingly handsome speaker may be more likely to meet with partner/spousal approval. (I don’t want to let my review samples go.) Whether or not style is among your hi-fi priorities, the Monitor Audio Gold 300s are highly recommended for a long look and listen.’

Monitor Audio Platinum II 300 speaker review – Robert Deutsch – Stereophile October 2016.

‘However, my experiences with the PL 200 and PL 200 II didn’t prepare me for the sound of the PL300 II. Right out of the box, the PL300 II had an utterly natural sound that drew me into the music. …

As I write this, it occurs to me that the PL300 II combines some of the best aspects of my previous reference speakers: the Quad’s relative lack of “speaker sound,” the Dunlavys’ precise imaging, the Avantgarde’s dynamics. The PL300 II is also, by a considerable margin, the most physically beautiful of all of these speakers, with the highest decorator acceptance factor. It can be driven effectively by tubed or solid-state amplifiers, and will reveal, without exaggerating, the sonic characteristics of those amplifiers and of other system components. Monitor Audio has always been known for the solid quality and value of their speakers; with the Platinum PL300 II, they’ve hit one out of the park. It’s my new reference.’

Monitor Audio Platinum II 500 speakers system reviewJulie Mullins -The Absolute Sound January 2017

‘There are many variables that help or hinder great sound: crossover, cabinet, resonances, sensitivity, hunger for power. Happily, Monitor Audio’s myriad technical innovations have allowed the PL500 IIs to pretty well nail every criterion. The PL500 IIs proved endlessly enjoyable in their layers of depth and detail, delightful musicality, and overall coherence. They can also rock out and supply slam with the best of them. In sum, whatever your sonic and electronic preferences are, you really can’t go wrong with these towering transducers, however you power or configure them. This is a whole lot of speaker for the money—and a whole lot of speaker by any measure—and it took a whole lot of passion and painstaking research to get so many things right. Above all else, no matter what music you like to listen to, these big guns are a whole lot of fun to have around. It’s going to break my heart to see these guys go. (I even briefly considered chaining myself to them.) If you have a hankering for big, bold, immersive sound and have the room space (and partner approval) and the desire for a mighty flagship-level speaker that delivers almost all of the qualities of much higher-priced multiways for far fewer dollars, go for the Platinum—audition the PL500 II.’

Monitor Audio websiteand the Gold 300 5G page,

Totally Wired reviews and product pagesSilver 6G 300s, Studios, Gold 200s and  Platinum 200s.

John Ransley – www.totallywired.nz February 2019

Declaration of interest: Totally Wired is an independent specialist audio dealership based in Dunedin, New Zealand. We are Authorised Monitor Audio resellers but received no concessionary pricing on the Gold 300s and purchased our pair outright before review.

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Pyewacket – the latest addition to the Totally Wired team guards the Gold 300s.