manbat

The best floor standers money can buy! Monitor Audio Platinum PL300 Floor Standing Speakers

59 posts in this topic

The best floor stander money can buy! Quite Possibily…

 

Monitor Audio Platinum PL300 Floor Standing Speakers (UK)

 

Tech Spec

 

Frequency Response: 28 Hz - 100 KHz

Sensitivity ([email protected]): 90 dB

Nominal Impedance: 4 Ohms

Maximum S.P.L (Per pair in room): 118.6 dBA

Power Handling (RMS): 300 W

Recommended Amplifier Requirements (RMS): 100 - 300 W

Bass Alignment: Twin Ported HiVe II Technology  

Sealed Mid-range TLE

Mid / H.F Crossover Frequency: 4000 Hz Bass Low Pass Crossover Frequency: 550 Hz Driver Unit Complement: 2 x 8" long throw RDT bass drivers

1 x 4" RDT mid-range driver

1 x C-CAM high frequency ribbon transducer

External Dimensions -

Including Fixed Plinth & Feet

(H x W x D): 1113 x 410 x 470 mm

(43 13/16 x 16 1/8 x 18 1/2) Weight (each) including Plinth: 43.8Kg (96.4lbs)

 

See more at: http://www.monitoraudio.co.uk/products/platinum/pl300/#/specification

 

attachicon.gifIMG_1564.jpg

 

Special Mentions:

 

Ribbon Tweeter –

“Monitor Audio's proprietary ribbon tweeter design uses an ultra-thin sandwich of C-CAM alloy suspended in a powerful transverse magnetic field of high energy NeFeB rare earth magnets. The ribbon serves as both voice coil and radiating diaphragm, with every part of the ribbon driven directly and simultaneously without energy storage. Having a mass of just 18mg, its diaphragm is able to start and stop in an instant, producing a transient response capable of defining the leading edge and natural harmonic resonance of complex musical sounds. Specified to reach ultra-high frequencies up to an elusive 100 kHz, Platinum’s magical ribbon tweeter will reproduce with ease every last nuance and detail from vinyl, CD, DVD-A and SACD, together with the wider bandwidth of Blu-ray.â€

 

RDT C-CAM

“RDT is a unique technology developed specifically by Monitor Audio's engineers for the Platinum series of loudspeakers*. Designed to reduce mass and increase cone stiffness, RDT applies ultra-thin skins of C-CAM to a core of honeycomb Nomex®** material, creating a structure which is extremely light but incredibly rigid. At only 40 microns thick, the C-CAM skins are half the thickness of a human hair, yet when bonded to the Nomex core they form an RDT cone, which is 150 times more rigid than a single layer of 200 micron C-CAM alloy, but has a fraction of the overall mass. These properties allow the cone to operate as a lightning-fast piston for a clearer more natural sound. The RDT cone's concave geometry has been refined by FEA analysis to provide a smooth frequency response and to eradicate break-up. “

 

See more at: http://www.monitoraudio.co.uk/products/platinum/pl300/#/technology

 

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Background

 

Obsession can sometimes be destructive. A Buddhist may say the search for perfection equals suffering, and life is full of suffering as it equates to humanities preoccupation with material needs and wants. However, sometimes obsession can be a good thing. For without obsession, we would never have products like the PL300’s.

Over five years I had a mission, to explore strange new speakers, to seek out new tweeters and drivers, and to boldly audition like no one has auditioned before.

 

The mission took me to some serious testing sessions, some of which are now vague memories. Some others included an array of speakers from a host of manufactures including but not limited to following– B&W, Sonus Faber, Klipsch Palladium, Klipsch THX series, M&K, Monitor Audio, SGR, PMC, Linn, Dynaudio, Quad, Martin Logan, Krix, etc. etc.

 

Now all the speakers above were good, some were great. But dollar for dollar, pound for pound (and in my humble subjective opinion) the PL300’s are probably the best floor standers that you can buy for the money.

 

A friend of mine said, “Buy in haste and repent at leisure.†He’s not wrong. I took his advice and auditioned the hell out of all manner of speakers/amps before I bought the PL300’s, even taking the baby ones home to play with. The local dealer was extremely patient, and understanding, and let me listen on numerous occasions. I was going to buy the full gambit of speakers of another model, but persevered and bought the PL300’s instead.

 

Here is why…

 

attachicon.gifIMG_1568.jpg

 

Sound

 

Having spent 2 years with the PL 300’s it’s been a very enjoyable and sublime relationship.

 

I have the speakers bi-amped with a NAD M25 amplifier. This gives a real and resounding 160 watts per channel designed in a mono block fashion. The NAD power-drive system means the power is doubled in those need to moments. The NAD has bags of authority and plenty of grip over the PL300’s. Like a giant hand clutching your nether regions they control every nuance squeezing as and when required, controlling speed, bass and high-end frequencies with pin point precision. The sound is typical NAD, a little dark and warm, which I enjoy. Having a sensitivity of 90DB the PL300’s are very efficient and easy to drive.

  

Listening to an eclectic catalogue of music in various formats, the Platinums bring out instruments in a three dimensional soundstage, revealing obvious differences and nuances that have not been heard before. The ribbon tweeter throws these variances with outstanding accuracy, never bright, never overbearing, but with pinpoint detail that envelops the listener. Clarinets, strings, flutes, cymbals, synthesizers, in fact any percussion ensemble resonates with tonality I rarely find in other speakers.

 

The frequency response of the bass is deep, sub territory, but never overblown or emphasised. It is fast, accurate and powerful. The duel 8-inch long throw RDT bass drivers perform exceptionally well in two-channel stereo and in any movie surround format, Dolby Digital, DTS etc. that you can throw at them. You may never want to listen to a bookshelf speaker again.

 

Midrange musicality is produced with a 4" RDT driver, balanced and mature, and is perfectly sandwiched between the bass and tweeter, never giving ground to either. This is a perfectly balanced full range speaker.   

Linn Records – Linn Selektions – (SACD) – Salvator Mundi – Voices sing out in cathedral like harmonics. The Platinums disappear completely leaving you suspended in the beautiful 40-voice Latin choir.

 

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (great soundtrack!)  - Space Oddity – David Bowie Feat. Kristen Wiig (Mitty Mix) (CD) – An excellent mix of the song with the Platinums showing precision imaging of vocals that transcend the drivers.

 

Pink Floyd (the Best Of) (DTS Master) – the recoding is smooth warm and velvet rich with a topping of fine detail. Imaging of instruments, vocals and sound effects is precise and the music fills the room.

 

Dire Straits – So Far Away CD - The synthesised beginning of this song resonates and slowly fills the room deeper, wider and taller. Likewise the atmospherics in Brothers in Arms is bought out in impressive fashion.

Angelique Kidjo CD – Voodoo Child from the album Oremi – is stunning. Little whispers are abounding, and you you hear them like never before. Bass is resoundingly powerful deep and fast.

Elbow - live (DTS) recording is detailed with an abundance of precisely imaged vocals, the soundstage –wide, deep and detailed.

A selection of High-Res Audio tracks in 24 bit 192 consisting of Jazz, classical and pop. The timbre of drums and vibration of strings is lovely – but what is also remarkably impressive is the ambience of the sound – the presence of music that surrounds the listener. This is quite particular in tracks such as synthesised music, strings and film sound tracks. Sometimes it’s a hair standing ovation, especially on the back of your head.

 

The extra bit depth to some of the music recordings and mastering was clearly articulated by the Platinum’s range and scope of playback. 

 

attachicon.gifIMG_1027.jpg

 

 

There is no doubt the Platinums are grand wizards of two channel. Imaging and soundstage are definitely its forte. Vocals are clear and give a fine sense of live presentation and clarity. This works with any kind of music from classical and jazz to hip-hop and dance.

 

I recently had the opportunity to try the system out with a Chord QBD76 HDSD. A brilliant piece of kit and to date one of the best DACs I have heard. The detail, bass, presence and scale of the Platinums was outstanding. I’ve never heard them sound so good, or realised that a CD or equivalent computer file could contain such an amount of information, or sound so incredible. 

Movies – every film played showed that the Platinums were clearly at home creating turmoil and uproar when needed, with subtlety in equal measures. The atmospherics in The Conjuring sound track added and extra layer of fear. Lord of The Rings – Fellowship, where Sauron gets his ring sliced off (literally J) – the resounding deep bass response was beautiful, as if there was a sub present. In fact I had to double check that the visiting Sub (REL 528) was switched off, which it was.

 

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – beautifully directed by Ben Stiller has a great soundtrack, which is equally presented by the PL300’s.

 

TV – Hannibal, the sound engineering in this show is excellent, from the opening title sequence and throughout with incidental music. The PL’s perform exceptionally well, conveying every emotion. The title sequences to Game of Thrones, Vikings, and Dexter are other great examples where the Platinums shine.

 

It’s not just in the big stakes where the drivers can slam and dunk. The subtle noises are important, whether it’s the intake of breath, a pen scrawling on paper, the distant sound of rain, a creak in a floorboard, the PL300’s perform exceptionally well, articulating what the sound engineers want you to hear. Listening for over 10 hours hindered zero ear fatigue.

 

With any partnering equipment there needs to be a degree of synergy. Not all components will work together in harmony, and personal tastes vary considerably. Therefore cable changes, and more importantly the amplifier and speaker combination must be right for the individual listener.

 

I find the whole Platinum range neutral in transparency which is excellent for tuning a system for greater flexibility. This is nice as they can be modified to suit personal tastes. As I said earlier, I love a slightly warmer sound and paired up with the NAD, the Platinums emulate this resoundingly.   

 

The build quality of the units is exceptional and far superior to speakers costing the same if not two or three times the price. Money has been no object in their presentation and construction. Even the metal grills are substantial and attach by strong magnets, providing a useful protective layer for the drivers. The acoustic plinth and machined aluminium spikes hold the speakers well, and isolate resonance effectively.

 

Looks are extremely personal and probably for me the least important factor. Having said that the speakers look exquisite, especially in Ebony real wood veneer with added leather to boot.

 

Matched with commensurate equipment the Monitor Audio Paltinums are one of the best floor standing speakers for two channel music and movies you can own. This ambidextrous duality is rare and exceptional. In summary massive detail, powerful bass, 3D soundstage with the ability to bring out everything on your chosen format with bags of transparency. They have the ability to fill a room with music, fully immersing and losing you in the experience of musical bliss. 

If you’re in the market for something quite special or thinking about an upgrade, put the Platinum PL300 on the top of your consideration list. For the money, you will be struggling to find something superior or even close.

 

What’s your best amp/speaker combination?

 

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PS

 

The actual measurements on the website are for the plinth, the speaker is smaller:

 

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Most of us fall in love with recent acquisitions and congatulations. But "Best Speaker Money Can Buy". No.

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Of course!

I made the mistake of placing a ! where a ? should have appeared in the tittle.

But still its created a little discussion which is good. I also should have added the caveat of "Probably" and "for the money" albeit I do say "quite possibly" and later on in the commentary I also add "for the money." Having said all that they are pretty pretty pretty good. Cheers!

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Posted (edited)

Being a recent returnee to HiFi after decades of absence I find most of these discussion about what is the best this or best that quite interesting, however I also know that 99% of the people who are into HiFi, like me, are not in a position to purchase these top end products from new.

 

In fact the vast majority of us can't afford them even when these top of line items come up for sale years later secondhand at way less than 50% of the original price. So most of these discussions in general comparing top end gear are purely academic at best.

Comparing top end speakers to say a $20,000 set of speakers to me also seams a bit pointless.

 

Discussions and comparisons about speakers that are all roughly in, say, the Monitor Audio Platinum price range are at least some what realistic for many who appreciate and are considering purchasing good gear now or in a couple of years time when these speaker start popping up second hand.

 

Thank you to the op for writing his post, some interesting reading about some lovely speakers, even if you did use a exclamation mark instead of a question mark by mistake. ... ;)

 

cheers Terry

 

Edited by TerryO
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On 03/05/2014 at 0:54 PM, teagle said:

Have a soft spot for Monitor Audio having had a pair of MA3s for many years, however, haven't heard these beautiful speakers which you clearly love & suit your taste. Doubt you'll find too many in total agreement with " The Best you can buy!" Good to read that someone has found their audio nirvana, & was an enjoyable read.

Thanks.

I had a soft spot for my MA83's until i heard a pair of Spendors.

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own a pair of monitor audio rs6 for quite a few years now, simply plain understated looking but fantastic sounding speakers,

agree with@TerryO comments, a great read

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Cheers - appreciate the feedback and the time spent reading the blurb. Should have said Probably or maybe for the title.

 

Spendors - great speakers.

 

I should get my finger out and write another article...

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Posted (edited)

On 2017-5-16 at 9:31 PM, manbat said:

Cheers - appreciate the feedback and the time spent reading the blurb. Should have said Probably or maybe for the title.

 

 

First of course thanks going to the trouble to write it up - your time spent to enlighten other members is always appreciated.

 

You hit it in one - say may or possibly.  There are many fine floorstanders out there.  The best I have heard is Mike Lenehans uber ML5 (I am working on tuning them with Rawl99) he will call reference or something like that.

 

Its great - but the best?  Love you Mike but not so sure of that - the Rockport's from what I hear from people I know that go to all the shows are really really up there:

http://rockporttechnologies.com/arrakis-01/

 

The other thing to realize is all the GOOD uber speakers, and the speakers I mentioned are no exception, need appropriate downstream matching.   They usually reflect what they are feed rather than  have a sound of their own.  I wont regale you with the uber floor-standers I know that break this rule, but with them to get good sound you need even more careful matching eg one brand I know of, very very expensive you would not dare to put anything but high quality valve gear - it sounds very sterile otherwise.

 

Thanks

Bill

Edited by bhobba

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