"Silence before the storm" review Monitor Audio Pl-500

Some years ago there were some rumors about a Monitor Audio Platinum Statement. However, these rumors quickly disappeared.

In 2016 finally the Monitor Audio Platinum Series II was launched. It took 9 years before the first Platinum series which came out in 2007 was succeeded.

AudioFacts already has experience with the Platinum series since september 2007. And has become an important loudspeaker series for us. We have used the Platinum series a lot both in stereo and surround for our clients

We are a company that goes much further into detail of sound compared to any other company in our world. In over 18 years of time we have done thousands of tests in sound&vision.

This is a concious choice which we thank to research and testing. This way we are able to achieve a significantly higher level in sound quality out of each product and audio system.

Based on how we work and think by Tru-Fi we also know the DNA of each product we test.

When you compare the first Platinum series with the current series, the differences in many aspects are larger than you might expect at first sight. Based on the appearance first you would think the differences are not that big.

For the new Platinum series Monitor Audio only covers the drivers and tweeters with a subtle cover. This makes the beautiful Muirhead leather suddenly come more forward. Making it more luxurious and gives it it a more expensive look.

The Pl-500 uses a D'appolito speaker configuration. This means that the loudspeaker uses 2 mid-range drivers instead of one. This gives it a much more open sound and tangible image.

Another great advantage is that the distortion is significantly lower thanks to the use of two mid-range drivers. Please bear in mind that the midrange area is the most important frequency range of any loudspeaker. Because here it is where the magic happens of the music.

With the new Platinum series Monitor Audio substantially goes further into detail than the previous Platinum series. We can see this in the way the drivers are made as in the housing of the driver. They still use ceramic drivers reinforced with aluminum and magnesium. 

The profile of the diaphragms have become shallower. And is without a centre hole in the middle of the driver like most other drivers use. The back of each driver is reinforced with carbon fibers. What reduces the distortion as well. 

Now they use a ' DCF ' ring made of nylon what is being placed under the driver. What works like a spring. This creates a more natural sound. Also on very low volume the drivers can create more dynamics and more layers. They made a big step in a much faster response of the drivers.

Monitor Audio has replaced the previous true ribbon tweeter from the first Platinum series by an AMT tweeter. Which MDP diaphragm is about 8 times greater than the surface of a traditional dome-tweeter.

An AMT tweeter consists of a folded membrane with aluminium conductors. Once the AMT tweeter gets a signal high pressure air is pressed through the membrane.

Advantages against a dome-tweeter are: bigger power handling, significantly less distortion, bigger stage, more natural sound, better dynamics, a better timing and a more flat impedance.

Each Pl-500 uses 4 woofers of each 20 cm (8 inch). This creates a better distribution of the load to the drivers. And a lot less distortion. Immediately you will hear it back in the ultimate power handling and a lot of grip in the low frequencies.

The curved and braced cabinet of the Pl-500 provides more strength and for substantially less standing waves. At the baffle (front) of the speaker and for the housing of the mid drivers ARC is applied. It reduces cabinet vibration and gives it a more pure sound.

Inside the Pl-500 a matrix construction with different curved surfaces is being used. What creates a more strength structure inside. This makes standing waves to be excluded.

Thanks to Tru-Fi we are able to create a much higher level of sound quality from each Platinum speaker. Because you can reach and use all the properties/talents that the Platinum speakers possesses.

We will now show you based of all 8 parts of Tru-Fi in which the new Platinum Pl-500 stands out from its competitors.

A 3-dimensional sound image is the most important part in which ' true highend ' is distinct from ' hifi '. Because it creates the sound stage far behind the speakers. The Pl-500 is even able to create the stage beside and in front of the speakers. It brings you closer to the music and you'll feel more connected.

The previous Platinum series showed us during shootouts with well-known high-end speakers already that the stage was deeper and wider. But in addition also the physical image was more tangible.

Thanks to research, we know exactly which brands and products can build a deep and wide stage. Because in this part the Pl-500 can take a large distance of all its competitors and even of many more expensive ' high end ' loudspeakers.

In our configurations, the stage of the Pl-500 is of an ultimate level. As a result you become one with to the music. And you will experience your music so much more intense and above all, more emotional. 

Thanks to an impressive blacklevel voices and instruments stands completely free and true to life tangible in space.

Every time you'll listen to these speakers they bring you to another dimension. Because it brings you this close to music. The sound image can be build up to many meters deep behind the Pl-500.

The new AMT tweeter is able to spread a much bigger stage. This makes suddenly the differences in height of voices and instruments easily observable. 

Piano attacks sound more realistic(higher) in height. With many recordings with a trumpet you'll experience this again. Cymbals are also presented much higher what makes it more realistic than ever.

What makes a great impression is the fact that the room of a recording much clearer is observed. Thanks to the AMT tweeter and great crossovers the stage of a recording even can be heard far beside and even in front of the Pl-500.

It is therefore not only the complete disappearance of the speakers what is impressive. In fact it brings you often back at the time of the recording.

The realism of instruments and voices sound life-like. It is through a greater diversity in sound of this speaker what makes you aware of how much bigger the layering is in sound than its competitors.

Especially with classical and acoustic recordings you can hear that the authenticity in sound is of a rare level. Diversity in sound is the most important part that brings out emotion in us humans. 

Thanks to research and our own developed Statement Audio Pro measurement, we can create greater diversity (layering) in the entire frequency range. What makes the experience of music more intense and emotional.

In real instruments and voices often sound small in dimension and very directly (sensible). Despite that the Pl-500 is a large speaker it can show you an exeptional intimate presentation of a recording.

The D'appolito system makes an important contribution to a breathtaking intimate focus and tangibility. Never before we have experienced music so lifelike and physically tangible

In timing and speed the Pl-500 makes you aware of how impressive the design and new techniques are. The energy of instruments are completely separated from the speakers

With a bass drum you hear how physically tangible the energy is in the middle. When you're listening to a double bass you'll hear not only exactly where it stands. But you can feel the energy of the strings where it stands. This brings the music experience to a next level and above all to a much more realistic one.

The resolution what the Pl-500 can let you hear is unmatched. Never before we were able to perceive details in the high frequency so natural and unrestrained. The grip what the AMT 100khz showed us was a new experience for us.

When you compare the high frequency of a diamond (dome) tweeter and beryllium (dome) tweeter with those of the AMT tweeter. The Platinum shows how big the contrast is.

The AMT tweeter sounds more lifelike, however, with clearly more authority as well. Where the differences in height of voices and instruments is being displayed more accurate.

The frequency range of the Pl-500 is 22hz up to 100kHz.The Pl-500 can show an impressive dynamic and detailed low frequency. To achieve this you need an amplifier that both have a lot of power and current. (With an amplifier of only 2 x 100 watt you never will reach this impressive level) 

Nowadays, we use various of professional lasers and we even work on half a mm. accurate. This results in an even higher level in sound quality what we can achieve with the Pl-500.

In the last 2 years we have audtioned all the major competitors of the Platinum Series II for several times. But from Tru-Fi we can let everyone hear that with the new Platinum Series II we can create a higher level in authenticity and emotion in sound.

When you judge the Pl-500 by Tru-Fi, then you can draw the conclusion that it is absolutely a statement in its price range. And with that, in fact it has no competition. Even many speakers that are significantly more expensive will not be able to reach the level of the Pl-500.

I just read the review of the PL 300 in Sterophile last night, and I have to say that if I used a high power amplifier and I could afford it, I would be really tempted. It seems that Monitor Audio has really jumped ahead of the pack, and the prices aren't crazy considering their performance and what their competitors are charging, like the Vandersteen Model 7, just to pull one out of the air.   
The are far ahead of many brands. But......when you focus on their commercial power, they are far behind of a brand like B&W.

Audio these days is more build on money than on real and honest quality. People believe more in words than in ’real’ quality.

I always ask my clients: What would you like to hear? The truth or the things you would like to hear?

Many people will choose for the last. I had many conversations about this with a friend who is a psychologist. Most people choose for what they think is the most safe way.

But at the end they take the wrong decission. Monitor Audio is ahead in the material and techniques they use.

Most ’highend’ is still ’hifi’. This is based on the fact that these products can only build a 2-dimensional stage. Many companies use the word ’highend’ a lot. They are only using the word, at the end it has nothing to do with ’highend’.

Audio is all about properties. But audio is being chosen by trial and error. This means you create a system by connecting an amp, speaker, source and cables. You will listen to the endresult. But when I ask a simple question:

Can you tell me why the stage and sound is what we hear? The answer is: I don’t know. This is why trial and error always will be a very ineffective way of creating an audio system.

I have the PL500's and they are my last speakers. Bo1972 what do you recommend as rears speakers in my HT system. I tried the Bronze 5's, because I was told the rears weren't important. I just didn't like them and aesthetically they didn't look good with the PL500's. 
The Gold FX for sure!!

Which F.idiot says that the rear speakers are not important?

When you use amps which are able to create a 3-dimensional stage, the stage field will become so much bigger. With the Gold FX, you can even create 3-4 metres of extra depth. This makes watching movies a different and more intense experience.

Stereophile has the gutts to tell the truth and that the Pl-300 II is in technique and sound a better speaker than Wilson Audio.

I hope that people will learn to look further, because in my world people should get the best for their money. Based on sound and quality and not based on paid reviews.

Read the Stereophile review and you will get an idea why the Pl-300 II is better. And in which parts.

I would like to see more audio battles. But real and honest battles. Based on facts. This is the only way audio can get a boast. Better quality for consumers will be the only way to create more people to buy audio.

I would like to see more audio battles. But real and honest battles. Based on facts.
I don't think "audio battles" resolve anything. Long-term listening is the best way to evaluate an audio component, imo. As for "facts," it's surely a fact that no audio component is absolutely perfect. So in the end, it's personal preference that matters most. Self-proclaimed audio experts and gurus prefer to think that they know best, but they can only know best for themselves.

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bo1972 - could you discuss Monitor Audio’s view on time and phase? They don’t ever mention it and you seem to be in the "know".
I cannot aswer this question either. But Monitor Audio is in all their price ranges better in timing and accuracy  than their competitors.

You need to understand and use this advantage. Here we see that many are not able to use it. We only sell and create a physical 3-dimensional image. 

Monitor Audio give us the space and properties to create it. But when you are not able to understand and you are not aware how to create it.

Monitor Audio will be a 2-dimensional loudspeaker like many pf their competitors. In almost all shops and even at audio shows all the sets were presented in a 2-dimensional stage.

This says it all. This means that people who work in audio are not able to create a 3-dimensional stage.

When I ask to people who sell only 2-dimensional audio; does a band who playes music stand on the same line togheter?

Then you will understand that in real music playes in a room with width and depth. This is how it should be experienced when you listen to your music.

Stillpoints are stunning tools to create an even wider and deeper stage. Beside this the intimate and realistic focus of instruments and voices is stunning.
Hi Bo
  I'm new to audiogon but i read every single word you wrote on this forum because I also hear and think that monitor audio sound it's the best for the money . I started with bx2 and bxc with yamaha rxa2010 then i got rx6 in 2 months time, after 1 year i got gx300 and gx350 replaced the yamaha with denon 4520 and i got also a parasound a21 and 2 bk electric subs . The yamaha compered to denon had a very tin sound with almost no stage and separation. At the moment the dept of the stage it's 1m.

My brother after audition  the gx300 in my house  sold his 5.1 b&w cm series and got pl300 pl350 pl100 and Gibraltar g2 driving them with yamaha rxa2040 and also parasound a21

I'm looking at the moment to change the denon with onkyo tx-nr 5010 
or i have to get the pr sc 5509 to get the best performance?
It's the parasound itself a 3d brand or 2d 
What you think about the a21

I live in Dublin and we have locally 3 hifi shops, when i ask them about 3d sound the response it's simple in stereo doesn't exist, another shop said that i have to stay between the two speakers in the middle for 3d sound 😱😱😱😱😱 

@ddkt, those dealers are buffoons. "Three D" means: Height, Width and Depth. Clearly achievable with two speakers. Do not do business with them. You also need pace, rhythm, timing, atmosphere, emotion and scale. The suspension of belief that "you are there" or "they are here".

They are many great threads on here that cover many of these topics. I suggest that you search around and do some reading. Try to get out and visit an Audio Show or a major city that has some respectable audio salons. You need to hear a properly set up system! You do not need to spend a fortune either. Knowledge is power!!! Good Luck :>)