Hardware Reviews

Monitor Audio Silver 100 7G

MA Silver 100 LE main

Seeing that Monitor Audio is celebrating its 50th birthday, it seems an ideal opportunity to look at one of the brand’s most popular models which has just has just been updated and relaunched. First launched back in 1999, the 7th generation Silver 100 remains a compact, two-way bass reflex design for stand-mount use, or bookshelf as the company’s website refers to it. There’s also a Limited Edition anniversary version with a classic Heritage Green finish, an anodised gold C-CAM bass driver and gold-effect badging to mark the firm’s Golden Jubilee. The Silver 100 7G sits above the ‘entry-level’ Silver 50 and alongside floorstanders, surround sound speakers and even a sub-woofer as part of the range.

I need to confess here and now that I am far from a fan of the majority of the innumerable models from many mainstream loudspeaker producers but, having heard an earlier version of the Silver 100 at the Axpona show in Chicago before Covid 19 hit the planet, I felt that this newly-launched iteration would be to my taste. For me, too many of today’s loudspeakers are a mix of over-blown bass and unnecessarily accentuated treble; not far from a ‘boom and tizz’ balance which tends to put performers far too close to the listener for my kind of realism.

My hunch was confirmed, however, and the new Silver 100 proved a great match for my everyday Hegel H190 integrated amp/streamer/DAC and I used a variety of sources including Apple Music streaming, satellite radio and the Atoll TU80 FM tuner.

MA Silver 100 LE fb

We have here a 200mm (8 inch) mid/bass metal-coned drive unit coupled with a 1-inch gold-dome tweeter with waveguide, crossing over at 2.3kHz using a third-order filter, the bass aided by a rear-firing 42Hz port. This uses a straight-rifle design to accelerate airflow and reduce turbulence, thus giving a faster and more powerful bass response. The speakers can be bi-wired via the twin set of rear terminals.

The main driver has a ceramic-coated aluminium cone with a dimple pattern for increased rigidity and to reduce breakup. This makes it thin and light yet rigid, able to cope with high sound levels without audibly distorting. The tweeter also relies on ceramic-coated aluminium technology, finished in an attractive gold colour (not the actual rare element). The idea is that it acts as a rigid piston through the entire audio range it handles and pushes breakup modes outside the audible band.

MA Silver 100 Iso Pair Black Walnut

Monitor Audio has design teams at its Essex HQ for both the aesthetics and the electro-acoustic development of their products. There are even identical anechoic test chambers at the UK design centre and the Chinese production unit in order to ensure consistency.

The internally-braced cabinet has been designed with rigidity in mind and the whole optimised to create a richer sound and deeper bass than from many floorstanding designs. It did not exhibit any obvious unwanted resonances during use. Externally, the finish is a choice of real wood veneers including black oak, natural walnut, ash or modern options of satin white and high-gloss black.

Monitor Audio supply ready-cut foam plugs to insert in the rear-facing reflex ports, as required. In my current listening room, I felt them a necessity and also had the speakers perpendicular to the rear wall for what I felt was the ‘right’ amount of energy from the metal-dome tweeters. Fitting the optional (magnetic fixing) black cloth grilles also tamed the treble response to my liking, probably giving some attenuation between 5-10kHz. Others may well prefer a sans-plug and toed-in arrangement. It is lovely to be given the option and means that these speakers should be usable in a wide variety of rooms.

MA Silver 100 LE Close Up Bass Driver

Frequency response is quoted as 35Hz to 35kHz (-6dB) although, even with the port plug removed, I struggled to achieve anything meaningful below 50Hz in my listening environment. Sensitivity is a claimed 87.5dB and around the norm for this size of enclosure, with an amp-friendly 8 Ohm impedance. Maximum output is given at 106dB, so enough to entertain the neighbours and a high figure for a compact standmount design.

Sound quality
Having heard an earlier version of the Silver 100 in Chicago I was pleasantly surprised to find that, in current form, it was even more enjoyable than I had remembered. Clearly there has been some further design development, and all for the better as far as I am concerned.

Overall, the impression from the speaker is of a smoothness and clarity beyond what could reasonably be expected at this price-point. I was presented with a clear and detailed soundstage and struck by the level of transparency achieved across a range of classically-orientated music.

Moving to rock and pop, and the Silver 100 reveals its dynamic credentials with a crisp and dynamic attack to prove that it can handle rhythm and timing very well. Many a loudspeaker costing a great deal more would be embarrassed by just how good the Monitor Audio design is. Basslines are portrayed with tremendous realism, with a deep and full bottom-end, as well as being warmer than I was expecting.

MA Silver 100 Iso Pair Black Oak

One piece of the marketing hyperbole is certainly true: these do sound much bigger than they are, and they do put quite a number of floor-standers to shame by being able to play remarkably loudly but without confusion, congestion or perceived distortion.

BBC Radio 3’s Lunchtime Concert brought us the Belgian clarinettist Annelien Van Wauwe, joined by cellist Louis Rodde and pianist Paloma Kouider, for clarinet trios by Beethoven and Brahms. Beethoven’s Trio in B flat major Op.11 for clarinet (or violin), cello and piano, the so-called Gassenhauer Trio was conveyed in a smooth, clear and detailed way which reflects the timbre of the instruments. I was aware of excellent transparency combined with a crisp dynamic attack. The overall sound can be considered neutral with the Silver 100s not obviously trying to add anything to the mix. The violin had just the right amount of brightness, sounding airy and without unwanted harshness or grain. The cello, likewise, retained a wonderful woody resonance to make the performance so realistic such was the uncoloured nature of the reproduced sound.

Surprisingly and delightfully natural for a speaker of this size and price, the bass performance is also notable, especially so given the cabinet volume but helped by the 200mm drive unit in the wide baffle. Integration is also good and one hears the combined output of the drive units as one, as should be the case. The bracing spareness and raw, muscular energy of the music were reproduced well across a wide soundstage with good stereo imaging and a higher-than-expected sense of realism from what is almost a ‘budget’ speaker. The sound is so much bigger than I expected from such a diminutive enclosure.

MA Silver 100 Satin White Lifestyle

Changing genre, and it became clear that when driven hard the 7Gs can retain their clarity without falling into the all-too-common trap of sounding muddy and even distorted. Full marks here to the design team at Monitor Audio. I could really wind up the volume on Phil Collins’ But Seriously and the vocals remained clear, free from strain while the bass came through with depth and power, not tight as such but free-flowing and in the right proportions (at least with those ports plugged).

I listen to a lot of human voice, usually via BBC Radio 4’s drama, documentaries and current affairs. This can be the nemesis for many a loudspeaker which manages to perform well on musical input. Not so the Silver 100 7G though. It handled speech material competently, not like a studio monitor but well enough, and better than I had hoped. It managed to avoid most of the usual blemishes such as sibilance, chestiness and nasality such that voices were portrayed as silky-smooth, clear and incisive with decent weight and body to the rendition. There was a lovely degree of presence to the voices I know and love in an involving and beautifully refined presentation without the rough edges that one sometimes experiences with more affordable designs.

I was hugely impressed by what the Silver 100 7G could achieve across a range of material. So much so that I left then in situ for several weeks after the formal listening sessions had ended. It speaks volumes that I was able to use them in this way rather than simply re-boxing them once the job was done.

MA Silver 100 Iso Pair Ash

We have here a compact loudspeaker that’s capable of delivering a refined sound, fairly neutral in its balance, free from unwanted aberrations and audibly clean and detailed. There is good integration between the drive units and, the ability to discard both the grilles and port plugs means it can be tuned for a wide variety of acoustic settings. The bass performance was way better than one might expect from an enclosure of this size, it goes deeper and plays louder than I had first imagined. Stereo imaging is to a high standard and the reproduced soundstage is far wider and deeper than is often achieved at this price point.

All in all, while not a studio monitor as I am used to for my everyday listening, its price and size we have something of an audio bargain in Monitor Audio’s Silver 100 7G. One to definitely put on the shortlist.


Type: 2-way reflex loaded standmount loudspeaker
Crossover frequency: 2.3kHz
Drive units:
Mid/bass: 8″ C-CAM RST II
Tweeter: 1″ (25 mm) C-CAM Gold Dome with UD Waveguide II
Nominal frequency response: (-6dB) 35 Hz – 35 kHz in-room
Nominal impedance: 8 Ohms
Connectors: bi-wire binding posts
Sensitivity: 87.5dB @ 2.83v/1m
Dimensions HxWxD: 375 x 230 x 332mm
Weight: 9.4kg
Finishes: satin white, high gloss black plus black oak, natural walnut, ash real wood veneers
Warranty: 5 years

Price when tested:
Manufacturer Details:

Monitor Audio Ltd
T 01268 740580


standmount loudspeaker


Trevor Butler

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