Monitor Audio Bronze 100 Loudspeaker

hfnoutstandingA foundation range for two decades, MA's Bronze series goes for gold with the standmount 100

Is it brave to label a loudspeaker series 'Bronze', with the implication that its models are worse than second-best? Monitor Audio doesn't seem to think so, and has been using its precious metal hierarchy long enough for its Bronze lineup to now be relaunched in sixth-generation guise, five years after a previous update [HFN Feb '16]. The promise, as always, is of speakers that hit the price/performance sweet-spot via trickle-down driver tech, while looking good, too. Silver, Gold and Platinum are ranged above, and below you'll find the Monitor series, presumably because Copper felt like a step too far...

For this '6G' release, Monitor Audio has overhauled the entire range. This means that in addition to the £325 Bronze 100 here, there's a smaller £260 Bronze 50 bookshelf and two floorstanding models – the £570 Bronze 200 and £770 Bronze 500. Home theatre builders are also catered for with centre channel, surround (dubbed 'FX') and Dolby Atmos speakers, plus an active subwoofer.

To Sit Or Stand?
Monitor Audio describes the Bronze 100 as a bookshelf/standmount model, but its actual size might make it a little tricky to use as the former. At approximately 380x230x325mm (hwd), this loudspeaker isn't one that you can place anywhere comfortably. Standmounting makes more sense, but note that Monitor Audio doesn't make a Bronze-specific option, and that its Stand model – designed primarily to partner its Gold 100 speakers – sells for £350 per pair.

The speakers' detailed manual gives recommended placement as between 15cm and 30cm from the rear wall, at least three feet from side walls, and 1.8m to 3m apart to create an equilateral triangle with your listening position. Accepting that these optimal conditions might not be a possibility for every Bronze 100 end user, particularly regards rear wall proximity, Monitor Audio provides a pair of foam bungs to plug the speakers' HiVe II reflex ports. The latter are a long-running brand speciality, first introduced in 2006, and are both rifled and flared to reduce turbulence. A key difference over the previous Bronze 2 standmount – these speakers' closest relation – is that the reflex port is now rear- rather than front-facing.

Accounting for the Bronze 100s' girth is their star attraction, a 200mm bass/mid driver. This is the same unit used on the range-topping Bronze 500 floorstander, and an unusual find in a market dominated by 135mm and 165mm units – indeed, the aforementioned Bronze 2 used a 165mm bass/mid. Made from Monitor Audio's bespoke C-CAM composite it also debuts Damped Concentric Mode (DCM) technology here, an FEA-optimised architecture of the driver cone and surround said to further improve linearity and combat breakup modes. C-CAM is used again for the Bronze 100s' 'Gold Dome' high-frequency drivers, as it is on the step-up Silver series [AMT tweeters are preferred for Monitor Audio's Gold and Platinum models – see HFN Aug '19].


A new refinement here is the Uniform Dispersion Waveguide, which aims to better control off-axis dispersion from the slightly recessed dome tweeter and fine-tune time alignment with the bass/mid. Furthermore, it also allows for a lower crossover frequency – 2.2kHz, rather than the 2.4kHz of the sixth-generation Bronze 50 or the 3.1kHz of the older Bronze 2.

Hip To Be Square
Despite the affordable price tag, there's nothing 'budget' feeling about these cabinets. Chunky, gold-plated binding posts support bi-wiring, and while there are right angles wherever you look (which makes the rounded magnetic cloth grilles a bit incongruous), it's a handsome, modern aesthetic and arguably more appealing than the slightly rounded edges of the Bronze 5G models. Build quality is solid, without ever reaching premium levels.

The speakers weigh 7.8kg each and use 15mm MDF enclosures internally braced to limit vibration, with additional rigidity coming from the bass/mid driver installation itself, which sees it anchored via a large bolt that connects to the rear. This system also works to decouple the driver from the front baffle. A head on the back is provided to tighten the bolt fixing via a provided Allen key, as Monitor Audio suggests it may 'become loose over time'. Protecting the 25mm dome tweeter is a grille with an acoustically transparent 'hexagonal dispersion pattern'. Flush to the baffle, rather than gently protruding as before, this adds yet another slice of contemporary appeal.

Finish options are more varied than usual, with Black, White, Walnut and a new, on-trend Urban Grey to choose from. There's a two-tone approach to the styling too, with the front dressed in either satin dark grey (for Black and Walnut) or satin light grey (White, Urban Grey). The silver mid/bass drivers and gold-coloured tweeters bring a level of visual charm that many other speakers around this price lack.

sqnote Ton Up
Worthwhile successors to the highly-rated Bronze 2s, the Bronze 100s provide a level of enjoyment that's over and above their down-to-earth asking price. While the 200mm bass/mid drivers catch your eye (and ear), there's a thrillingly unfettered treble here that adds sparkle and openness to recordings, joined by a midband performance that's expressive and nicely attacking. Lively and energetic, these are value for money personified.

Monitor Audio Ltd
Rayleigh, Essex
Supplied by: Monitor Audio Ltd
01268 740580