The BR5 represents Monitor Audio’s most entry level floor standing speaker, as part of its award winning Bronze loudspeaker range.

First Impressions

Outs of its packaging, the finish is as you would expect from entry level speakers, where the finish is a striking vinyl that could pass for ‘real wood veneer’ but we believe that the finish does not actually aspire to be anything than a vinyl. The cabinets are solid, yet fairly light compared to more substantial floor standing speakers.

Standard 4mm binding posts on the rear of the speakers are quite close to the floor, which will make cable management an unnecessary exercise. The binding posts support the use of 4mm banana plugs, spade terminal bindings or direct binding. The speakers do support bi-wiring/bi-amping.

The footprint of the BR5’s is relatively small for floorstanders, making it a great choice for those rooms with limited space. It would actually occupy less floorspace than standard bookshelf speakers installed on standard speaker stands. Obviously as these do not require any stands, their price point is worth considering, as there is no additional AV furniture required.

Sound review gear

We started our audition on the suitably entry-mid level Yamaha RXV-1065 AV receiver, ensuring we had a weighty 155W to drive these speakers. We used the Chord Companies’ Epic loudspeaker cable, Chorus analogue interconnect and a TEAL digital coaxial interconnect. We later changed the amplifier to a more pedestrian Cambridge A300 amplifier, reducing the watts to 30; the audition of two amplifiers allowed us to review the speakers in home cinema and traditional stereo scenarios.

Audition

We set the speakers through its paces hearing an amazing level of sound seperation, but what is immediately apparent is the BR5’s love to thump out the lower frequencies; great for those fans of indie, rock and electronica. Despite its definite thumping capabilities the midrange frequencies are responsive and well defined, the upper ranges not too harsh. We found however that the bass notes were very dominant on ‘Dark Side of the Moon’s’  Speak to Me created an unpleasant resonance when we drove the speakers very loud on the Yamaha, and found that we had to turn off the PureDirect Settings and tone down the bass, or, god forbid, turn down the volume to a level where our ears stopped bleeding.

We found that these BR5’s and indeed all other Bronze speaker are better listened to without the speaker covers; they do, unfortunately seem to dull sound more than perceptably. We started the audition with the covers installed, after a while we removed them, the sound added a further dimension of clarity and verve. It is a great pity, because the BR5’s do look very nice with the covers installed.

When we changed from the Yamaha home cinema amplifier to a rather pedestrian integrated stereo amplifier, the sound quality improved considerably, we noticed the speakers became warmer, and less clinical – if you like, not as natural, where the harmonic qualities of the stereo amplifier made the BR5’s somehow more pleasant and therefore more enjoyable. This reveals two important points: home cinema amplifiers, whilst capable amplifiers, still do not deliver the same satisfying listening experience that a stereo amplifier can deliver, and also that equipment matching with the Monitor Audio BR5 speakers should be carefully consider; make no mistake we do not doubt that plugged into any good equipment the BR5’s will satisfy even the most demanding ears, but you could be missing out on the full capabilities of these excellent speakers.

Verdict

For the money, these are great speakers. We recommend these for those starting out with their first set of hi-fi speakers for your front room, or as part of a package for home cinema applications. Very capable, responsive, well built speakers, with plenty of detail and punch.

Specifications

Price £400 per pair
Finishes available (vinyl) black oak, pearlescent walnut, pearlescent cherry
Frequency Response +/- 3dB 36 Hz – 30 KHz
Sensitivity (1W@1M) 90 dB
Power Handling (RMS) 120W
Recommended Amplifier 30-120W
Cabinet Design Dual chamber bass reflex – Ported front and rear
Drive Unit Complement 1 x 5.5″ MMP®II Bass 1 x 5.5″ MMP®II Bass mid-range, 1 x 1″ (25 mm) gold dome C-CAM® tweeter
External Dimensions:

(H x W x D)

850 x 165 x 247 mm

33 7/16 x 6 1/2 x 9 3/4 inch

Weight (Individual) 11.5 Kg (25.3 lb)