Audio Show 2016 • Hot Product

It’s fair to say that Monitor Audio have built themselves a reputation for delivering superb $1000 boxes -- speakers that produce real bang for your bucks. So firmly entrenched is the brand at the value end of the market that the arrival of the new Platinum series came as quite a shock -- especially the flagship PL500 II, an imposing tower that stands six feet tall with a full, seven-driver D’Appolito array. It looks even bigger in the flesh, while standards of fit and finish put many a high-end wannabe to shame (irrespective of price) with a black lacquered central cabinet visually offset by the leather baffles and high-gloss veneers on the larger enclosures top and bottom.

That all adds up to an attractive and impressive package -- and one that’s hard to photograph -- but there’s far more to this speaker than just a pretty face, with plenty of technology to back up the bold visual statement, a fact underlined by the sheer scale and power of the sound on offer. But, subtly underpinned by a REL 212-SE subwoofer, this wasn’t just about brute force, the speakers proving capable of considerable air and delicacy when required, making these genuine high-end contenders.

Yet perhaps boldest of all is the price: at €20,000/pair, this is a product that threatens to cut a lot of the competition off at the knees.

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