MonoPulse S speakers
England holds quite few unique audio jewels that are many times hidden from us. There are quite a few amplifiers, speakers, cables and other accessories like high-end receivers that are less known to the majority of audiophiles and music lovers.
I wouldn't say that Monopulse is not recognized. They have already got some accolades in the UK audio press, but I'm not sure they're known to the many of audio lovers worldwide.
Contemporary Art Deco?
I've been in this never-ending audio quest of high-end for more than 20 years and seen many different designs and approaches to building speakers. Each speaker company holds in their products that special inherent view about sound and through the medium of speaker design and functionality; they convey their language of music reproduction.
MonoPulse S is a uniquely designed speaker. I'm not sure how exactly to describe the shape of it, but my final word would have to settle somewhere between future and retro. Contemporary Art Deco? Elegant use of materials and construction hides the real value of materials used and gives the S a kind of classic-timeless appearance. I always check aesthetics of new gear with my wife for second opinion. She gave an instant nod to the elegance and freshness of S speakers.
Class A friendly
I will leave the specs to speak for themselves at the end of review, but let me note just the 87dB efficiency. Minimal recommended power for tubes amp is 18 watts and for solid state around 35 watts. This puts them into very interesting position. 18 watts might not get you pure triode class A, but 35 watts of transistor power will open up the world of pure class A. Lately quite few of legendary companies are bringing back this topology and MonoPulse have a great advantage here.
From warm to neutral
Leben CS300 is one of my favorite tube integrated amplifiers. The musical character, that somehow transcends the typical sound we often connect with tube amplifiers pushes Leben into the more contemporary audio league, which is a good thing. MonoPulse S was simply sweet (but, not over sweet) in this combination. All the attributes that trigger my audio review sensors positively were there. Music never failed to come alive, and connection with performers was always on the reach of the hand. Switching to the Burmester 051 integrated amplifier pushed the sound a bit further in the realms of audio reproduction. Burmester 051 might be one of the most transparent solid state amplifiers in their price range and above. While there is some hint of Burmester in-house sound imprint of X-amp technology, it's still minimized to the maximum. MonoPulse S speakers gained some more neutral flow with the Burmester and lost the slight warmness of the Leben CS300. It might be discussed what's more natural, but the point here is that the S performed with the level of authority that I surely didn't expect from the speaker in this price range and from such a slim design. It shows that MonoPulse have really thought everything out carefully and made well balanced sound possible.
The hall effect
What does it take to make speakers disappear? I guess many things. There are lot's of theories on how to achieve this, but at the end the speakers speak for them selves. I just love to put all the pressure on the new gear under review with the Stefanovski/Tadić remarkable Treta Majka CD album. It instantly shows the quality of reviewed item with its unforgettable syncopated guitar attacks and the reflections of the sound created. Recording maestros have really outdone themselves with this recording, as Cowboy Junkies did with their Trinity Session. You simply cannot fail to judge the correct behavior of speakers with these two recordings. I'm not talking gibberish sound-stage, detail, image etc., but the actual feel of the space, reverberation and atmosphere in connection with the music. Not saying I'm "grande experto", knowing how some particular album should sound or how it was recorded, but I can sense that aura and sensation of space surrounded in musical impact with my so called audio mileage and my experiences attending numerous live shows and concerts. It helps to balance my view with reviewing.
MonoPulse S conveyed the atmosphere, feeling of music and surroundings,were very involving and with recognized anchors (so to speak). The S speakers disappeared unlike many I have heard over the years. I’m not sure what is the exact reason or technical solution behind it, but they manage to fill out the room around them without giving out their exact position. Salute! This works great for stereo and I vividly daydreamed about surround setup with MonoPulse S speakers. This would make any videophile more than happy and fans of SACD recordings (for example 2L recordings) would jointly embrace them without much consideration.
With music, at least for me, these past few years, what matters mostly is musicality and the way that review components connects me with certain music and performer. Normally technical specs must make sense and stand on their own, but they mean nothing without emotional connection. Rhythm, pace, micro dynamics, transitions even the "mojo" will always prevail in my perception and importance regarding music played through any reviewed gear. Most of the time (unless one have his own recordings and know the exact momentum of recorded situation) we simply don't know the exact conditions at which some album was recorded. What we can experience and revive (when the system is correctly set up) are the true emotions, impact of passion and energy being involved when creating or recording the music. Arguably live recorded music makes this distinction much easier, but there are many great musical recordings that captured the real spirit, rhythm and energy of performing artisans.
Alongside remarkable disappearance of speakers, MonoPulse strikes you with rhythm and pace of the music that is rarely found in this price range At a few moments I would swear that its micro dynamics are coming from a horn based speaker. These two aspects alone are more than worth considering when you're in the need of new speakers.
These are not full flagged large dynamic speakers like my listening reference Acoustic Preference Maestozo 2. MonoPulse never even try to be more then what they are. They succeed to marry the two above mentioned characteristic in such a way that it's both instantly captivating and hard to forget. Listening to MonoPulse S speakers leaves you in special harmonious mood, like long decayed notes from masterfully played piano maestro does. Don't bypass these speakers.
Dimensions: 92cm high x 17.5cm wide x 20cm deep, and 12Kg each.
Power: 300 watts maximum and 150 watts continuous.
Bass/mid units: 160mm, Kevlar-coned with 54mm 4 layer aluminium-wound
HF drive units: Ferrofluid-cooled, 28mm, silk-domed with Neodymium magnets,
rated at 500 watts for 10ms.
Response range: From 27Hz to 30kHz for fully reproducing vinyl sources. The
bass is reflex tuned at 39Hz.
Impedance: 8 ohms nominal, 8 ohms minimum. That minimum impedance is touched
at five at points across the frequency range giving an even load for valve
Sensitivity: We specify at 87dB. The high drive-impedance reduces the
measured figure, but these speakers are very efficient, so give good output.
The combination is ideal for valve amplifiers, and also makes the Model S
much less sensitive to differences between solid-state amplifiers. We
recommend valve amplifiers have a minimum of around 18 watts, and solid
state amplifiers around 35 watts.
Crossovers: Unique and patented asymmetric circuitry using only film
capacitors and air-spaced coils. The HF circuit is fourth-order, with 24dB
per octave attenuation from 4kHz. The LF element is first order.
Terminals: The bi-wire panel will take 4mm plugs, 7mm spades, or 5mm bare
wire. The units can be bi-wired or bi-amped.
Matej Isak: text
Mono & Stereo high-end audio magazine
September 2010, All rights reserved