Then came Ludovico Einaudi’s “Experience,” and analysis of the soundstage width, depth, and imaging. Imaging was tight and detailed, though images were a little too aligned down the center. Changing toe-in solved this issue somewhat, yet image detail started to fade away a tiny bit. Since I’m more interested in image detail versus soundstage separation and width, I left the Silver 10s with the original ten-degree toe-in.
The Silver 10s are really great speakers, especially for the price, but there will be necessary compromises between ultra-wide soundstaging and imaging that might be a little stacked up in the center. They did, however, produce a surprisingly deep soundstage that reached far into the music. The harp that is so often shrouded by violins on the Einaudi track remained audible, and there were no issues with instruments sliding across the soundstage. The piano stayed positioned to the right, with the notes flowing toward my listening position, rather than toward the floor. This “image sliding” is a curious phenomenon that seems to affect some speakers, but not others. I’ve heard sliding on all types of speakers, even the ultra-expensive. You’ve probably heard this yourself. Instruments seem to move across the soundstage, generally dipping toward the floor, and then return to their original position. Over the years, I’ve come to prefer speakers that do not exhibit this effect of an instrument moving in a spatially unnatural way, back and forth across the soundstage as if they were sliding a few feet, and then snapping back into place. This could probably be called a type of smear, though it is more of a time or phase issue than an imaging distortion. The Monitor Audio Silver 10s were surprisingly accurate in this regard.
Monitor Audio recommends 80–200W for amplification, but most of my listening occurred in the 20–50W range. The Silver 10s can be driven to 105dB SPL with about 40W. My recommendation would be 50W or more, with a minimum of 25W for tube fans. If you like to rock out at really high SPLs, the Silver 10s can handle a lot of juice.
Overall, the Silver 10s are a lot better than their “typical box” look would suggest: great voicing, solid bass when properly distanced from the rear walls, an engaging soundstage, and an ability to sound great with a wide range of music. Really, what more could you want from an affordable speaker? And while $2500 isn’t pocket change, it’s an attainable goal for most everyone serious about audio, including my cash-strapped friends. This is great, because the Monitor Audio Silver 10s have renewed their faith in high-end audio, and mine as well. I see a new speaker purchase in their sonic future.
SPECS & PRICING
Driver compliment: Dual C-CAM RST long-throw 8" woofers, one C-CAM 4" midrange, one C-CAM gold dome tweeter
Frequency response: 30Hz–35kHz
Sensitivity: 90dB 1W/1m
Nominal impedance: 4 ohms
Max SPL: 117.8dB
Recommended power: 80–200W
Bass alignment: Bass-reflex, twin port
Crossover: 550Hz, 2.7kHz
Dimensions: 41" x 9" x 14"
Weight: 57 lbs.
902 McKay Rd., Suite #4
Pickering, Ontario, Canada
Analog: VPI Scout 1.1; Rega P1, RP3, P5; Acoustic Signature Wow XL; Funk Firm Flamenca; Ortofon 2M Black; Pro-Ject Tube Box II
Digital: Rotel RD-15100; TEAC UD-501; Bluesound Vault; Music Hall 25.2; iMac, iPad Air; Asus RT -N66U gigabit router; Drobo 5N 16TB NAS storage; Audirvana; Amarra; Pure Music
Preamp/Amps/Integrateds: Classe CP-1000; Rogers High Fidelity EHF-200 Mk2; Arcam FMJ A19; TEAC AI-501DA; Stein Music Stateline Amp2; Harman Kardon A500
Cables: Nordost; WireWorld; Wywires; Audioquest