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  1. #1
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Monitor Audio S1's arrived

    My Monitor Audio S1 bookshelf speakers arrived today. So far I'm satisfied. Fit and finish is excellent and it has a real beechwood veneer with rounded corners and excellent binding posts for bannana's or bare wire and biwire capability. Paid $399 from saturdayaudio.com and they arrived in 3 days. They retail for over $600. They were marked down because the new RS1 version is available now.

    They are a demanding little speaker and they require 30wpc minimum per the manufacturer. I did have to turn up the volume to get them to play loud on my 120wpc JVC AVR. ( I hope to be able to use my vintage technics integrated at 41wpc or my vintage yamaha integrated at 40wpc).

    Now for the sound. They are a warmer sounding speaker. Not as warm as the NHT Classics but warmer than the B&W 685's. Bass was very punchy and deep for a small speaker. They are rated as 45Hz at +/- 3dB. No boom or muddiness. Treble was clear and just a smidge muted but I was using my Denon 1910 DVDP and I will be using my Music Hall CDP. At very loud volumes they became edgy and the sound started to fall apart as was stated in reviews I have read. But at moderately loud levels they sounded very good and composed. They actually sounded larger than they should for a small bookshelf just like the B&W 686 and the NHT Classic's did.

    They come with tuning plugs for the rear ports. I'll have to play around with them and see if they make any difference. They will also need some breaking in. I read some where that the company stated that they need about 60hrs of breakin.

    So far I would have to rate them just below the NHT Classic 3, and the B&W 685's but above the NHT 2's and B&W 686's. The NHT Classic 3's and B&W 685's were my favorites and more than I was willing to spend. But for the $399 price tag the MA's were a better bargain than any of those speakers and perfect for the occasional listening in my bedroom. I'll post again when they breakin.

    Other speakers considered were Paradigm Monitors, PSB Image 25's, Infinity Beta 20's, Monitor Audio B2's and Silver S2's.
    Last edited by blackraven; 04-02-2008 at 03:59 PM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  2. #2
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I just hooked up the speakers to my yammy integrated with 40wpc and its not really powerful enough for the speakers. I have to turn the volume up 75% to get it to play at a comfortable listening volume. I can turn it up to 100% and it still plays at a moderate volume. I think you will need at least 75 wpc for these speakers.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  3. #3
    Ajani
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    So overall are you happy with the purchase? and why do you rate them below the 685s (I'm just curious since you described the NHT as being warmest, then S1 and last the 685)?

  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The 685's were smoother with better treble. The S1's have punchier bass but do not have as a refined sound. The midrange is a little edgy. So far I'm satisfied with the S1's but I don't love them. I'll give them 60hrs of playing time before I decide whether I'll keep them or sell them on Audiogon. I should be able to get my money back. I guess I shouldn't really expect too much from a $399 speaker. I've heard a lot worse in that price, but I certainly would not have paid $600 for them.

    I just hooked up the speakers to my vintage Technic's SU-7600 integrated amp which is 41wpc. I had to use the AUX connection because there is no digital input because CDP's were not yet available. The amp must be way under rated in power because I only had to turn the volume up 1/3 to get it to play as loud as my old yamaha A-400 40wpc integrated at almost 90% volume. I have to get some tuner cleaner to clean the contacts on the control knobs. That technics amp was a sweet amp in its time.
    Last edited by blackraven; 04-02-2008 at 09:29 PM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  5. #5
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Pics?
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I have a nice digital camera but I have never posted pic's on the internet. I'll get my daughter to show me how, she does it all the time.

    I've fine tuned the sound of the speaks a little using the tone controls. I've tweaked the treble just a hair and now its sounds very good. I have an old BSR equalizer that I may hook up to fine tune the midrange a little, but I think I'll let them break in first and also get some speaker stands since they are sitting on top of my wife's double long dresser.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  7. #7
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    Blackraven
    I would give them time more time to break in. I have no experience with the specific model you got - the S1, but Monitor Audios are notorious for a long break-in period, and more than a few components can sound very closed-in, muddy, and harsh before proper break-in has occured. I've experienced this all too often myself. You think you've got a pig in a poke, then hey presto, gradually the improvements become very noticable until by the end of break-in its like your listening to a different component. If the driver surrounds are anything like the GR60s, it may well be that you'll need more than 60hrs before they start to 'relax', maybe as long as 200 hours. Then again, I don't know about the S1s so can't say for sure.

    By the way, I revisited a post from three or so weeks ago, and you had mentioned you were in Seal Beach (I think). Pity I didn't know. You could have popped over to listen to the system and had some tea. Let me know if your going to be out here again.
    Cheers mate

  8. #8
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Thanks O'Shag. I'm going to give the MA's 100hrs of break in before I decide what to do with them. Its those metal coated woofers that need that long break in! I think they will smooth out. And once I get them on speaker stands and biwire them, I hope the sound will improve. The bass and treble controls on that old amp really help tweak the sound. (I actually believe that all amps/preamps should have tone controls which can help adjust for room acoustics and minor deficiencies of your speakers. I know some will disagree with that statement). Just turning the treble up +0.5 to 1 on the control knob really brought out a nice sweet treble. I'm actually amazed at the bass that these put out for as small as they are. They are about the same size as the B&W 686's.
    All the reviews on this speaker (user reviews and professional) were excellent, so I have to give them a chance. I think the problem is that I have 2 pairs of Magnepans in the house and my expectations are high.

    I fly out to visit my brother and mother in Seal Beach and Laguna Woods 2-4 times per year. Next time I go will be this summer. I'd love to hear your system then.

    Larry
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  9. #9
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I figured out why my vintage yamaha integrated couldnt drive the speakers loud. It was my mistake. I forgot this amp has a mute setting which does not turn off the sound but reduces the volume and it was turned on. Its been years since I used the amp. I knew there had to be something wrong like a bad amp or a wrong setting. It just didnt make sense.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  10. #10
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    I figured out why my vintage yamaha integrated couldnt drive the speakers loud. It was my mistake. I forgot this amp has a mute setting which does not turn off the sound but reduces the volume and it was turned on. Its been years since I used the amp. I knew there had to be something wrong like a bad amp or a wrong setting. It just didnt make sense.
    Sounding a bit better now?
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The wifes been sick and in bed so I really heavent had much time to listen to them. Its going to take a long time to get 100hrs on them. But I think that once I get them on stands and broken in that they will be great. I'm still amazed at the deep, punchy bass that they put out.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  12. #12
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    The wifes been sick and in bed so I really heavent had much time to listen to them. Its going to take a long time to get 100hrs on them. But I think that once I get them on stands and broken in that they will be great. I'm still amazed at the deep, punchy bass that they put out.

    When I first got my psbs, I would put on a Cd track of sweep tones (20Hz - 20KHz) and hit repeat while I was at work. I did this for 2 weeks. Not sure if this helped but didn't hurt or cost anything. Hope the wife feels better soon.
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I've done that before as well to break in my Magnepans and my CDP's.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  14. #14
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Ok, the MA's are starting smooth out and are sounding pretty good, even when played very loud.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  15. #15
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    Ok, the MA's are starting smooth out and are sounding pretty good, even when played very loud.
    So does that mean we have a new MA fanboy on the forum??? Maybe we'll even get you to give up the Maggies and Buy some more expensive MAs.... lol

  16. #16
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Nah, I'm a planar fan for life. I live outside the box now! I'd like to jump up to the 3.6's or even give some Quads a look some day. If I was still heavily into rock it would be a different story, but with my taste in music now the Magnepans are perfect.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  17. #17
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    Nah, I'm a planar fan for life. I live outside the box now! I'd like to jump up to the 3.6's or even give some Quads a look some day. If I was still heavily into rock it would be a different story, but with my taste in music now the Magnepans are perfect.
    How are they with Blues?
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The magnepans are great for blues because its alot of guitar, piano. horns and vocals which the planars excel at.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  19. #19
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    By the way. The MA's came with foam plugs for the rear ports so you can tune the speakers to your liking. I placed the plugs in the rear ports and it tightened up the bass and they sound better. I'm listening to Lucinda Williams right now and she sounds excellent.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  20. #20
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    The magnepans are great for blues because its alot of guitar, piano. horns and vocals which the planars excel at.

    Never really considered them for the next upgrade. I'm not overly familiar with planars and the limited exposure I have has always been with Jazz or Instrumental. I'll have to check out now. Thanks.
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  21. #21
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    You have to listen to the QR1.6's or higher, the MMG's and even the MG12's dont do Planars justice. The sound stage with the bigger maggies is tremendous along with improved bass.. But they can be a polarizing speaker, you either like them or you dont. Many people dont hear them properly placed or amped and listen with the wrong music. They will sound terrible with poorly recorded music because they are so revealing and detailed like many planar and electrostatic speakers are.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

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