Elac Elegant BS 312.2 monitor speaker – The art of subtlety

Germany's Elac Electroacustic GmbH needs no introduction. The company has been around for 95 years and is one of the bigger players in the...


Introducing new Naim 200 series – NSC 222 – NAP 250 – NPX 300

Recently, Naim introduced the new 200 series. We were fortunate to be able to attend both one of the introduction presentations as well as...


Pure Music Xavian Premio Esclusivo bookshelf speaker

Some images do not require any textual clarification. Music is enough! Our goal is to make samples of as many products as possible. Purely...

A monitor – or bookshelf – speaker is a smaller model of speaker that in many cases belongs on a special standmonnt: a ‘foot’.  Although, of course, the name suggests that it may be used on a bookshelf. However, we strongly advise against that in many cases, considering the qualities of a decent monitor speaker, as we like to call it.

Bookshelf, bookshelf… monitor?

The term monitor speaker actually comes from the pro industry. The studio or on stage. That’s where these speakers are used to “monitor” the music.

The hi-fi name is often standmount or bookshelf. While we can live with the first name, we find “bookshelf” or bookshelf speaker really misleading.

The reason is that a decent bookshelf speaker can play unprecedentedly well. Yes: they are often smaller, but no: that does not have to come at the expense of playback quality at all.

In fact, a decent monitor often plays more holographically and precisely than an equally priced floorstander! This has to do with a couple of things. The most important: simpler design (less can go wrong and there is sometimes less in the signal path) and a more compact, thus more rigid cabinet. Which in turn results in less vibration and thus less smearing.

No way like a two-way!

At Alpha Audio we are real fans of two-way speakers. Exactly for the above reason: simplicity. That just often works much better than ultra-complex designs. Yes: that can work too, but gets very expensive very quickly.

We therefore very often recommend – if imaging and precision is important – to choose a two-way monitor instead of an equally priced floorstander … give it a try!