Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

From Monitor Audio Studio to Gold 100 Loudspeakers: Part 3

Happy with the transition from a pair of Monitor Audio Studios to a pair of Monitor Audio Gold 100s, I wanted to see what it would take to get to the next level of sound quality with my A/V setup. The current system is powered by a vintage Coda Model 11 stereo amplifier capable of outputting 100Wpc in pure class A. The Coda is fed by an Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray player using its analog RCA outputs and integral volume control. Cables are AmazonBasics speaker cables and RCA interconnects. The primary source for this system is an older Roku digital media player connected to the Oppo via an HDMI cable. I watch Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, YouTube, and FloSports over this system.

Monitor Audio

If you’re already happy with the general sound of a pair of loudspeakers, including the soundstaging and imaging they produce in your room, there’s still one way to improve your overall experience: get more bass, especially if you have standmount speakers. For that, you need a subwoofer. Since I was now listening to a set of Gold 100 speakers, the easy choice was a subwoofer from the same manufacturer, and in this case even the same product line—the combination of Gold speakers and Gold sub would hopefully produce excellent synergy.

Monitor Audio

Monitor Audio sent a Gold W12 subwoofer ($3300 USD) to pair with the Gold 100 loudspeakers, and I was anxious to see just how the combination would improve the sound. I knew I’d get more bass, obviously, but would the integration of the sub be seamless? Would I be able to achieve sound equivalent to or better than a large pair of floorstanders? Most importantly, would the system be well suited to the media I would be playing?

Monitor Audio

The Gold W12 is a beast of a sub. This front-firing subwoofer features a long-throw 12″ C-CAM driver equipped with a 3″ voice coil and is capable of 19mm of peak-to-peak excursion. The driver is powered by a 600W amplifier built by Hypex. The W12’s bass output is augmented by a pair of 7.9″ passive bass radiators. The sub weighs about 60 pounds and measures 17 1/2″H x 16 1/8″W x 17 1/16″D. Although my sample of the W12 was in the Piano Gloss Black finish, you can also get it finished in Piano Ebony, Satin White, and Dark Walnut.

Monitor Audio

There are a plethora of controls and adjustments available on the Gold W12. A full description of these is beyond the scope of this blog, but I used an 80Hz crossover point for the subwoofer, and with the Gold 100s set to Small in the Oppo settings menu (a high-pass filter is applied to the main left and right speakers in this case). One super useful feature of the Gold W12 is the rotary control and LED indicators on the top of the subwoofer’s cabinet. The Gold W12 also comes with a handy remote control.

Monitor Audio

I placed the W12 just to the right of the right Gold 100, a couple of feet from the front corner of the room, and used the supplied screw-on spikes to anchor it to my carpeted floor. I ran some quick frequency-response measurements to level the sound between speakers and sub and, voilà, I was ready to call in my 15-year-old son for a spirited listening session, which you’ll read about in the fourth part of this series.

Jeff Fritz
Editor-in-Chief, SoundStage!

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