|Monster THX Speaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Thursday, 01 June 2006|
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Music and Movies
Monster states that their speakers are designed to work equally well on movies, music and gaming. I am not a gamer, but I had plenty of music and movies to put the speakers through their paces. New speakers deserve a new movie, so I watched “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” (Walt Disney Home Entertainment). When Edmund was visiting Narnia and the White Witch’s sled first arrived, the bass was palpable and clearly tracked the onscreen action in its positioning within the soundstage. The vocals were clear and distinct from each of the listening positions, easily portraying the strength of the Witch’s voice and the trembling quality of the young boy’s speech.
Moving from fantasy to a more traditional action flick, I watched “X2: X-Men United” (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment). I watched the scene in which the fighter jets chase the X-Men’s plane, listening to the DTS soundtrack. The system had no problems with the multitude of sounds in this scene. The surround channels did well with the effects as the planes went through the storm clouds. The timbre of the surround channels matched the fronts, which isn’t surprising, as the speakers in the series all use a similar driver complement. The storm clouds and missiles moved around the 360-degree sound field without any noticeable gaps.
I came across the “The Rock” on one of the high-definition satellite channels, which also featured a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack. The movie is filled with explosions and gun battles. During the many gunfights, the speakers were able to distinguish between the different weapons and their firing positions. The explosions were deep and powerful, with enough detail to discern the various secondary explosions and impacts. Sean Connery’s voice is very distinctive and remained so when played through the Monster THX speaker system.
I continued watching action flicks, moving on to “The Fifth Element” (Columbia/TriStar Home Entertainment). The Diva’s vocals during the concert scene were strong and dynamic. The high frequencies through the Monster THX system were not as open or as airy as the best speakers, but they were never shrill or harsh. I listened to the Diva concert/battle scene at high volume and the speakers remained composed throughout the frequency range, with only slight compression at levels that were beyond my listening comfort. The music and explosions provided plenty of dynamic bass, which the system was able to handle and blend well between the subwoofers and the rest of the system. I used the Velodyne SMS-1 to maximize my control options and flexibility with good results.
Moving back to something a bit more current, I watched “The Wedding Crashers” (New Line Home Video). The song “Shout” is prominently featured in many of the reception scenes and has a bass line that made the subwoofers slightly sluggish when compared to the rest of the system.
I moved on to 5.1 music, listening to Medeski Martin Wood’s “Uninvisible” (Blue Note Records – DTS). This DVD-Audio disc played on my Marantz DV-9600, utilizing the analog outputs for the best possible sound. The title track is an energetic jazzy piece that is fast-paced and complex. The piece has good horns that are portrayed energetically, without being overly bright. The horns were dynamic and textured, with a good sense of separation from the other instruments. The bass notes were properly blended between the main speakers and subwoofers, with a good sense of timbre and decay.
Listening to a favorite, the Eagles’ “Hell Freezes Over” (DTS ), I was able to compare it to music I have heard live and through many different systems. The track “Hotel California” features drums that were reproduced slightly fatter and slower on the decay than with my reference Cantons. The guitars were lush and relaxed, while lacking ultimate detail on lower notes; any errors were those of omission rather than the addition of unnatural artifacts. Moving to the song “New York Minute,” the piano notes were natural and full-bodied. The soundstage was a bit further from the listening position and was wider than it was deep. The chorus presented itself as a solid wall of sound without any holes.