I posted a mini-review of the Monitor Audio Platinum PL300 floorstanding speakers in the "Jounery to find the perfect speaker" thread, but in case you aren't following that, here is a description of my experience with those fine speakers.
I went to listen to the Monitor Audio Platinum PL300's the other day, but they were not set-up optimally. Needless to say it was hard for me to get real read on their sound quality.
So I got a call from the dealer today to inform me that they had them better dialed in. I spent about 1.5 hours listening to an assortment of my own music, and here are my thoughts.
Well, I'm usually not one to use grandiose terms to describe sound quality because it is all so subjective, but the Platinum speakers are pretty amazing!
They have to be the most detailed speakers I have ever heardand I have heard a bunch. It was like watching HDTV for the first time. But before you interpret the term detailed as code for bright or etched, I can assure they are not-- not by a long shot. Unlike a TV that punches up the contrast, or uses edge enhancement to fake detail, the sound of the Platinums is like true high definition. In fact many of the songs that brought along to test for sibilance and brightness were much more listenable than I thought they were, while still retaining all of the detail. I might even go as far as to say that they sounded more transparent than an ESL speaker, but without the draw backs of that tech.
The separation of instruments is hands down the best I have ever heard. I know it is cliché to say, These speakers let me hear things in the recording that I have never heard before!, but it is really true with these speakers. Well, it's not so much that I heard new details, but that those details were so much more cleanly exposedfocused and delineated are two words that come to mind. I have to say it was almost a bit of information overload at times. Every sound is just so distinct, that it is easy to get distracted from the musical whole of the piece. I guess some would say that these are analytical speakers in that sense, but analytical is too negative a term for what these speakers do IMO. Anytime I've used that term, it is was usually in regards to a speaker that seems to highlight the flaws in a recording. The Platinums certainly reveal all the details and differences between recordings but they don't ruin the music in the process. Not for me anyway. The effect is memorizing.
In terms of tonality, they pretty much sounded dead neutral to me. Just when I thought they might be a little forward, pushing things like vocals up front, the next track would show that the mix has the vocalist back behind the speaker plane. The only thing I still couldn't get a read on was the bass. Now that the dealer had taken the time to better position the speakers, the bass was much better, but still not the most defined that I've heard. Based on all of the other comments I've read about the bass quality of these speakers, I have to assume that the room had too much influence here. This is further supported by the fact that when I walked around the room I could hear the bass tighten up in one spot but lose bottom-end weight, while another spot had good weight but not very good punch.
The soundstage was as broad and deep as the recording allowed. Sometimes it was wrap-around huge and with other recordings it was all between the speakers. The only thing I noticed occasionally was that some sounds seemed to stick to the speaker locations. The speakers were spread fairly far apart though, so maybe with more optimization of the positioning this effect could be reduced.
In regards to coherence between drivers, I heard no problem at all in the transition between the ribbon tweeter and the midrange. Even the bass sounded like part of the whole, even though the performance in this range was greatly affected by the room. I also checked the dispersion of the ribbon tweeter. As long as I was at least 3-4 feet away there was little difference between sitting or standing, but get much closer than this and the treble rolls off pretty sharply when standing.
If I could think of anyone criticizing these speakers, it would be that they offer a somewhat dry presentation. Depending on your perspective, because their sound is so colorless, focused and delineated, I could see some audiophiles calling them clinical. I personally like a clean uncolored sound, though I like the more euphonic presentation of other speakers as well. Either end of the spectrum is great if done well IMO.