Monitor Audio to preview revolutionary loudspeaker at High End

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Monitor Audio will be previewing a prototype of its new revolutionary loudspeaker at High End in Munich this week.

Due to go into production later this year, the loudspeaker currently goes by its prototype name, Concept 50. Distilling five decades of loudspeaker expertise and development into creating this single stand-out product, Concept 50 has been designed to deliver unrivalled sound like no other loudspeaker on the market.

Appealing to the audiophile, luxury market, Monitor Audio has pushed the boundaries to combine its highest-quality sound, refinement and luxury to create the Concept 50 prototype.

In its quest to deliver audio that sounds human and as close to perfect as possible, the idea for Concept 50 was born two years ago when Monitor Audio’s technical director, Michael Hedges, and design director, Charles Minett, carried out an experiment to see how far they could push passive loudspeaker design. Their work quickly paid off when they realised the opportunity to create something unique.

Explaining why Concept 50 is different to other loudspeakers, Hedges said: “No loudspeaker is perfect. Using our experience and understanding of the physics, we’ve strived to design a real loudspeaker to be as close as possible to perfect. This has been attempted by other many times but with Concept 50 we believe we’ve got closer than anyone has before.

“There are two key elements that are often ignored, perceived source size and directivity,” he continued. “For sound stage and imaging to be as accurate as possible, the sound must come from a single point and have a consistent directivity. Concept 50 achieves this through the innovative placement and design of each of its drivers, a tightly grouped tweeter and mid-range cluster called ‘The Array’, plus a compact inward facing pair of force cancelled bass assemblies.”

‘The Array’ is an ultra-compact multi-driver midrange and tweeter assembly that has been intricately designed and is a testament to the collaborative approach of acoustic and mechanical engineering within the Monitor Audio Research and Development team. Using Monitor Audio’s RDT III cone technology, the six midrange drivers together have a surface area that is greater than a Platinum Series midrange. This is an approach that brings multiple benefits.

The first benefit is that each midrange has an exceptionally wide bandwidth and can cover much of the range of a traditional tweeter to ensure smooth crossover to the tweeter and low distortion.

Secondly, traditional dual concentric drivers add additional intermodulation distortion to the tweeter due to the displacement of the midrange diaphragm, which forms the tweeter waveguide. This can be reduced by limiting the lowest frequency the midrange operates to, but is never totally removed. As Monitor Audio’s tweeter waveguide is fixed and the drivers create a flat baffle around the tweeter, there is no additional intermodulation distortion contributed and the midrange can run to its full potential without compromise.

The second part of ‘The Array’ is the definitive version of the Micro Pleated Diaphragm (MPD) high frequency transducer. The Concept 50 uses Monitor Audio’s third generation MPD tweeter which has improved almost all aspects of its design including linearity, distortion, directivity and power handling.

Created with Newton’s Third Law in mind – “Every force has an equal and opposite reaction” – the Concept 50 bass drivers are anchored together in pairs facing each other in a ‘Force Cancelling’ configuration. This exact symmetry means the unwanted vibrational energy each driver generates from an audio signal is cancelled by its opposing twin. This is especially useful on bass drivers which usually transmit these unwanted vibrations through the cabinet.

Additionally, the drivers are not being shaken themselves leading to reduced distortion and improved control. As a result, the loudspeaker delivers a frequency response in-room (-6dB) of 21Hz-60kHz with minimal distortion.

Concept 50’s enclosed bass cabinet is made of mineral and acrylic stone which has been thermoformed and precision machined. The mid and high frequency drivers are mounted within a precision machined solid aluminium baffle combined with a custom designed and 3D printed enclosure tuned to the midrange drivers’ requirements.

Minett added: “Our mission to create a loudspeaker like no other both in performance and looks was no easy challenge. However, by using Concept 50’s two unique driver configurations as the backbone of its structure, we have been able to create a unique aesthetic which demands attention but does not overpower a space like many of its contemporaries. This allows us to make a statement which looks forward not back. Concept 50 is about generating ideas that can form the basis of our loudspeaker development for the next generation of audio enthusiasts.”

Currently a prototype loudspeaker, Monitor Audio will continue to develop a flagship product which will go into production later this year.

Monitor Audio will host four private demonstration sessions on trade days in Atrium 4, Room F131 at High End in Munich on 19 and 20 May.