Monitor Audio’s Studio loudspeaker was introduced in 2018 and was touted as having Platinum-level drive units in a clean, simplified cabinet (Platinum is Monitor’s flagship speaker line). As I needed something to fill the (speaker) void left when I moved from my longtime residence to a rental house, while my family and I searched for a larger home, I promptly bought a pair. I detailed this purchase in “Jeff’s New Temporary Audio System,” published in May 2018 on SoundStage! Ultra. The $1400-per-pair Studios (all prices in USD) would be driven by a vintage Coda Model 11 class-A, 100Wpc stereo amplifier. When we moved into our current residence in summer 2018, the Monitors and the Coda moved, too. Although I built a new reference system, the Studios and the Model 11 were set up as part of a simple A/V system that I still use today for streaming movies and listening to music over YouTube.
I recently learned that the Studio was discontinued in 2020, and as a result, I asked myself this question: As an owner of Studios—speakers that I’ve been super happy with in the multiple roles in which I’ve used them—what would I upgrade them to if I wanted even better sound quality? I immediately went back to Monitor Audio’s speaker lineup and also had an e-mail chat with Sheldon Ginn, President of Kevro International, distributor of Monitor Audio across North America. Sheldon fired right back with a suggestion: a pair of Gold 100s. Game on, I said.
The Studio (13 3/8″H x 6 1/8″W x 14 13/16″D, 16 pounds, 9 ounces) has two 4″ RDT II bass drivers, one each mounted above and below a Micro Pleated Diaphragm (MPD) high-frequency transducer. There are dual HiVe II slot-shaped ports on the rear and a single set of high-quality binding posts. The cabinets for my pair are in a tasteful matte-white finish. That’s really all there is to them, with the exception of the discreet Studio placard on the bottom corner of each speaker. This is a fairly wide-bandwidth design: the rated frequency response is 48Hz to 50kHz, -6dB. Monitor states that a pair of Studios will play to 110dB, though I am sure I never played them that loud.
Enter the Gold 100.
The Gold 100 is physically a larger loudspeaker at 14 13/6″H x 7 11/16″W x 13″D, with a weight of 20 pounds, 2 ounces. The cabinet contains a 6 1/2″ RDT II bass driver and a Micro Pleated Diaphragm tweeter. A pair of Gold 100s will also play to 110dB, but the rated frequency response is 40Hz to 50kHz. How much of a difference would that 8Hz of added bass extension and the larger cabinet make?
As I unboxed the Gold 100s—they come one pair to a box—I admired the beautiful finish of my review samples: in a shade of dark walnut. Immediately I noticed the dual pairs of binding posts on the rear; the Studio, by comparison, is single-wire only. The leather-like material on the top panel gives the Gold 100 a rich, furniture-like appearance, whereas the Studio has a much cleaner, if less luxurious appeal.
Although it may be difficult to judge from the photos, the Gold 100 is definitely sporting the greater internal cabinet volume, which bodes well for bass extension. On the other hand, while the Gold 100 has a large 6 1/2″ bass driver, the Studio has two woofers, although much smaller at 4″ each. The MPD tweeter is similar in each model, but are they tuned the same way?
Next time, you’ll read about the sonic differences I noted when playing back Netflix and YouTube.