steve rb

Monopulse A loudspeaker review

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I guess you folks know my speaker journey.... it's not a pretty sight....here's a quick overview without me going through it all...

Anyway, following some rather unpleasant experiences losing my Avantgardes to fund a forthcoming big climb, and the subsequent baaaad choice of going with some Klipschs, I was clutching at straws to get something in here that would keep me happy on a budget. I happened across a pair of Monopulse A speakers being sold by the owner and designer Alan Hendry, brand new, fully boxed, excellent price, having read some of the reviews, figured if nothing else it's a chance to try something different and would work as a stop gap until the bug bit or I found funds for something different. Honestly hadn't heard of them before, doesn't seem to be any advertising and few owners out there on the forums, but the reviews have been gushing :

____________________________________________________________

Model A wins top, five star, award. "fabulously, uniquely brilliant."

whathifi.gif
"MONOPULSE IS
serious about its timing. The company's idea is to get the leading edges of all notes, from the entire frequency range, to the listener at the same time.

It's what single-driver speakers are famed for, but MonoPulse uses two precisely placed drivers in conjunction with a specially designed crossover to create a 'single impulse wave front'. The result should be a rhythmically seamless presentation. It is.

"Astonishing precision results in excitement by the bucket-load"

Play the scuzz-rock/disco-pop mix of Marmaduke Duke's
Everybody Dance
and the 82As astonishing precision results in attacking excitement by the bucket-load. Every note begins with pinpoint precision, but there's no sacrifice in texture or natural note degradation - these aren't clinical to the extent of sterility.

A joyful presentation

The As are chunky and full-bodied with sensational bass punch, depth and definition. Vocals are equally impressive - full of life and nuance.

The overall presentation has excellent width and three-dimensionality. Dynamics, both small-scale and large, are a joy, and although the rhythmic integration of instruments is seamless, it doesn't prevent separation in the soundstage, allowing you to identify individual strands with ease.

The Model A speaker at its second Best Buy award from the prestigious Hi-Fi Choice.

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"remarkably impressive coherence, especially through the voice band, which seems to be MonoPulse's particular stock in trade. This in turn helps to sharpen the image focus and precision, more accurately and convincingly defining the position of a performer in space." "The large main driver helps deliver fine performance through the bass and midband, with good overall balance and ultimate bass extension."

"Best of all is dynamic expression, which is comfortably ahead of the pack and further enhanced by the superior timing and across-the-band time coherence."

"Superb voice coherence. 25Hz bass extension."
LAB REPORT
. Sensitivity is a pretty generous 90dB.

VERDICT
. Splendid dynamic expression and wonderful time and coherence. Fine bass to mid balance and dynamics. Remarkably impressive coherence through the voice band.

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“sheer vividness of their music making … the shock of reality … a fine partner for low powered valve amps … remarkable immediacy of performance ... the sheer speed and integrity."

"Does bring a crispness and a very welcome dose of realism by preserving good leading edge integrity."

"Dynamics somehow seem to sound punchier and more believable. Superb transient integrity with very little to criticise elsewhere in the performance. Makes listening to any source unusually easy and interesting."

"Plenty of deep bass extension. Imaging is impressive, giving notably precise soundstage focus."

"Music sounds beautifully coherent, so that one is rarely conscious of any intrusion of the speakers themselves, while the brain focuses instead on the subtlety of the music making process."

"A genuine audiophile product at a very realistic price.”

hifinews.gif"Fancy electrostatic sound from a sharp looking conventional speaker? Meet the MonoPulse Model A. It brings the kind of resolving capability and imaging one would normally associate with electrostatics like the Martin Logan to a far wider audience.

The ability of these speakers to capture the subtle nuances and inflections in vocal performances is outstanding. High frequencies were richly detailed, ensuring that instruments buried way down in the mix, are clearly discernable as individual instruments and are never allowed to dissolve into a high frequency hash as is so often heard on lower cost speaker designs. Allan Hendry has identified a key component of delivering realistic sound. Outstanding speed and imaging at the price."

____________________________________________

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Still can't say I've ever remembered seeing them in any magazine or even heard anything about them on here, strange for such universal applause.

Anyway, he hand delivered them and was very helpful with positioning, stressing that a wide placement really helps their imaging which is a major strength of his design, something I can definitely do in this room. They are not the best build, very unorthadox construction, that doesn't make it wrong, but little details like the feet, the terminal panel etc don't really seem to fit with a £3.5K speaker.

Bottom ported I had them set on large granite plinths and genuinely didn't hold out much hope for a simple 2-way in this room, especially one with a meagre 8" bass driver....

First few lines of the the first track told me these were something a bit special.

Heavy deep, thunderous bass, clear unfatiguing highs, smooth mids and above all, fantastic imaging. Further back than I am used to, but then the AGs were the equivalent of someone sitting in your lap and shouting in your face - very impressive but a little intimidating at times. I've got them very wide and there is certainly no 'hole' in the middle, soundstage is rock solid and detailed. These speakers were so smooth too, they don't shout, they don't slap you with detail, it is presented as music, it all gelled, I listen more now without a break than I have before. Also astounding for me is the bass, they fill this room with relative ease, they punch, and they are verrrry deep, I'm talking Gallo ref and AG Duo deep, really a testament to the design to achieve that from such a small driver and design. They are also 'fast' if that makes sense, almost horn like in their ability to respond to small changes quickly, they have the presentation of a much more efficient design but clearly like the power, they sounded awesome with my Eastern Electric M520, but, in this room at least, the low powered valve compatability didn't hold much water and sadly that had to go. My NVA monoblocks really do the trick and I suspect something like a Krell integrated would really make them sing, they are definitely on the warm side of neutral which in my mind opens up more possibilities on the amp front, especially given their claim to prodigious power handling.

So I am very pleased, they are modern styled, efficient and very relaxing speaker with the ability to do dynamics, imaging and pressuring a room when called upon.

Weaknesses? Well, the aformentioned build, but that's an intrinsic side of low volume production and not using a normal wooden box i guess, also the mids can be a little reedy at times compared to the likes of the Zingalis I had, the bass is quite strong, I like it, others may want to tune it down a little, which can easily be done with the adjustable feet and by using them on carpet rather than on a plinth.

Worth seeking out!

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Great video Steve. You've had more kit than I've had hot dinners. Have to say that in my estimation your standards are slipping :nerves:

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Great video Steve. You've had more kit than I've had hot dinners. Have to say that in my estimation your standards are slipping :nerves:

Yep, I know, deliberately so - call it a temporary cash re-direction of the grounds of altitude insanity....

Actually enjoyed (in part...) the challenge of putting something together on a 'budget' having spent years on the way up, it's been very enlightening to see the laws of diminishing returns at work on the way down. There is some seriously good kit out there, not saying the F5/RWA/Duo combo wouldn't blow this away, I'm sure it would if put back in the same room now, that said, aural memory is short and this ticks nearly all of the boxes I remember being previously ticked and I can't say that for all of the kit that's been in and out in an effort to find the sweet spot.

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WOW! spooky, just digging out some older mags and trying to read up about Open baffles when i found Hi Fi World Oct 2008 and although i was reading about old wharfdale OB's fron the 50's i was just reading the review on the Monopluse as well, nearly bought these twice before but the wife didnt approve.

they have gone up a fair bit over the years but every time i read about them it sets me thinking again, i could have bought a used pair a while back for £500.

glad to see someone using these i always like the small companies in the UK putting it up the big guys from time to time.

THAT VIDEO IS PURE AUDIO PORN, THANK YOU.

2 OR 3 COMPONENTS I ALWAYS WANTED TO TRY CAN YOU TELL ME YOUR THOUGHTS

1 THE USHERS

2 THE CAYIN 860 MONOS

THANKS

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WOW! spooky, just digging out some older mags and trying to read up about Open baffles when i found Hi Fi World Oct 2008 and although i was reading about old wharfdale OB's fron the 50's i was just reading the review on the Monopluse as well, nearly bought these twice before but the wife didnt approve.

they have gone up a fair bit over the years but every time i read about them it sets me thinking again, i could have bought a used pair a while back for £500.

glad to see someone using these i always like the small companies in the UK putting it up the big guys from time to time.

THAT VIDEO IS PURE AUDIO PORN, THANK YOU.

2 OR 3 COMPONENTS I ALWAYS WANTED TO TRY CAN YOU TELL ME YOUR THOUGHTS

1 THE USHERS

2 THE CAYIN 860 MONOS

THANKS

They've had a bit of a convoluted history, I had to ask eventually as there was the 42a, the 50 something a, then the 82a, then just the A. All steps up and changes from each other, the last version was about £2K from memory so it's a fair step up to the current 'A' but it's supposed to have been completely reworked with new drivers, crossovers and power handling...

Thanks for the vid comments, I think, the Ushers were some serious speaker for the money, very solid and well built, but I just didn't get on with them, real boom boxes, no definition or slam and the bass pretty much overpowered everything regardless of position, and I have a big room. May suit some, but they didn't stay long here and those that heard them I think shared that opinion. The Cayins were one of the few components I wish I hadn't sold, which I did, for a song, they were powerful, sweet and extremely well built, my first foray into valves. They went as they were clipping on my Adagios on peak vocals and also they were pretty noisy, moving to higher efficiency speakers solved the clipping but made the noise a lot worse, i compare them to the M520 which is almost completely silent.... If you can get them at a good price I still think they are a brilliant bet, so though is the M520...

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owned the 82 a myself believe this was and export only model , very musical speakers i found best results sitting them on granite with a slight tilt backwards and plenty of toe in , but as normal set up is all room and system dependant but never had any issues ran them with valves and solid state

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They've had a bit of a convoluted history, I had to ask eventually as there was the 42a, the 50 something a, then the 82a, then just the A. All steps up and changes from each other, the last version was about £2K from memory so it's a fair step up to the current 'A' but it's supposed to have been completely reworked with new drivers, crossovers and power handling...

Thanks for the vid comments, I think, the Ushers were some serious speaker for the money, very solid and well built, but I just didn't get on with them, real boom boxes, no definition or slam and the bass pretty much overpowered everything regardless of position, and I have a big room. May suit some, but they didn't stay long here and those that heard them I think shared that opinion. The Cayins were one of the few components I wish I hadn't sold, which I did, for a song, they were powerful, sweet and extremely well built, my first foray into valves. They went as they were clipping on my Adagios on peak vocals and also they were pretty noisy, moving to higher efficiency speakers solved the clipping but made the noise a lot worse, i compare them to the M520 which is almost completely silent.... If you can get them at a good price I still think they are a brilliant bet, so though is the M520...

Thanks Steve,

very informative. M520? what are those please.

SORRY JUST SAW THEM AT THE END OF THE VIDEO-NICE!

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.....and there we go, the Wam at work. Come on here after a couple of weeks 'off' to post a couple of reviews, and end up buying yet another pair of speakers :doh: Still, wife is away so at least they'll make it into the house uninterupted, and let's be honest, it's been over a month now since there were two pairs in here.

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.....and there we go, the Wam at work. Come on here after a couple of weeks 'off' to post a couple of reviews, and end up buying yet another pair of speakers :doh: Still, wife is away so at least they'll make it into the house uninterupted, and let's be honest, it's been over a month now since there were two pairs in here.

So Steve,

Whats been the high and lows of your speaker and hi fi journey, can understand the klipsch as i heard a pair before and wondered WTF was that?

Particularly intersted in the Zingalis and the always wanted to hear a pair of 909 amps but never got round to it. Cheap as chips now. What is the first pair of speakers in the video and the last white pair with the fostek or lowther drivers? very nice

lovely big room that you should have a blast at Open baffles wow i can imagine that would be special. Cost effective too im getting great results with very little spend. So much so im considering selling my living voice and building a serious pair with really good drivers and a serious crossover or active dont know yet. But its really addictive and hard to go back to boxes.

( just what you need another excuse sorry LOL)

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So Steve,

Whats been the high and lows of your speaker and hi fi journey, can understand the klipsch as i heard a pair before and wondered WTF was that?

Particularly intersted in the Zingalis and the always wanted to hear a pair of 909 amps but never got round to it. Cheap as chips now. What is the first pair of speakers in the video and the last white pair with the fostek or lowther drivers? very nice

lovely big room that you should have a blast at Open baffles wow i can imagine that would be special. Cost effective too im getting great results with very little spend. So much so im considering selling my living voice and building a serious pair with really good drivers and a serious crossover or active dont know yet. But its really addictive and hard to go back to boxes.

( just what you need another excuse sorry LOL)

Well Ron, not too many lows, I'd say the Ushers were perhaps the least enjoyable and shortest lived, the Gallos were amazing, hugely powerful and deep, sounded enormous but were perhaps the smallest speaker I've owned, sadly they just didn't image well, soundstage almost omnidirectional, massive scale but no definition to it. The Proacs also, fantastic for the money, but not in a massive room. The Glenairs were not for me, but I suspect I had partnered them all wrong, AVI solid state stuff where I should have been feeding them 300B... As for the best? the Adagios were simply stunning, really amazing speakers and I can't recommend them highly enough - they couldn't quite fill my room, otherwise they'd still be here now. Obviously the Avantgardes were stunning, still a world removed from everything else, including the Zingali HMs. As i said above, they are very 'in your face', but stunning clarity, detail, dynamics and seemingly limitless sense of space and ease. The Klipsches were superficially very good, seemed to do everything, but that's a Bose trick I reckon, live with them for a while, valves or solid state and my ears were bleeding. The Monopulses I am genuinely a bit surprised at, didn't expect them to be as good as they are, suspect they may have a 'marmite' effect on people but I think they are fantastic, and yes, now I have some Mowgan Mabons coming to sit along side so that'll be the next write up.

As for open baffles, yes, maybe I should. I still hanker after trying some Martin Logans in here, either Spires or SummitX, I know that will be a whole new amplification chain too, but I suspect when the climb is done and I have a bit of financial freedom again, this will be my route for a while.

Cheers

Steve

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Cool thanks.

the zens are nice, so they were the best? very interesting.

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Cool thanks.

What are the first speakers in the clip?

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Cool thanks.

What are the first speakers in the clip?

These are the Zens :

4416741330_f66419c5e8.jpg

And these are Tannoy D700s (super...)

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And no, certainly not saying the Adagios were the best, both the Zingalis and Avantgardes were in a different league, but then they cost 4 times the amount.

In the sub £2K (used) catagory and if you have the space to let them breathe (but not so much that the transmission line can't pressurise the room) I'd say they were bloody good. Compared to the PB1s I had in to demo, these were far more dynamic, detailed and sweet....

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read many times about the monopulse and sometimes nearly bought. thanks for excellent write up

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