The MunroSonic EGG150 is a £2000 active monitoring system with a twist. Dan Worth takes a listen to this egg shaped speaker and tells us if it’s all it’s cracked up to be. 

Many have chosen to abandon the typical box shaped loudspeaker enclosure for one of a more curved profile, aligning drivers and chassis to eliminate standing waves and cabinet interactions, aiming for as inert an enclosure as possible whilst pushing technical craftsmanship and machining to their limits in order to sculpt a design which intrigues the eye, is domestically acceptable and most importantly sonically superior.munroeggs1

The ‘egg’ style design has been implemented by several companies over the years and I have heard many of them. However the shape has been mainly used for speakers who’s frequency ranges are higher than the typical ‘full range’ box design, leaving bass duties to a matching subwoofer.

MunroSonic a British company have created an active speaker design which provides a frequency response from an egg shaped speaker that is so life like I wanted to get a giant spoon and break the shell.

I believed, when I was aware of the potential for the review that as the EGG150s were active and deemed as a ‘monitoring’ speaker that they would naturally have two amps and crossovers installed into the perfectly scaled up egg enclosures and as people know I prefer to go into a review blind without any preconceived ideas or website information of any product, soI was indeed surprised to open a box hitch revealed unexpected contents.

When I unpacked them I was very intrigued to see the speakers accompanied by a control amplifier. Not a control amplifier as you would imagine for preamp duties, but rather a full integrated type.

The amplifier design incorporates all the electronics required to power the EGG150s with a crossover upfront adjusted by small screw trim pots for high and low frequencies and a midband equalisation to emulate either hifi or monitoring type frequencies. Four individual amplifiers rated at 50wpc with 100w of headroom powered by a large toroidal transformer power the passive eggs.MunroSonic+EGG150+Amplifier+Control+Unit

The amplifiers main input is via  balanced XLR and an AUX RCA input allows for other front end devices such as CD players and streamers to be connected. Each of the two inputs have there own volume control. Speaker outputs are via speakon sockets and a 3m pair of cables are supplied. To top things off MunroSonic have graciously installed a Class A headphone amplifier.

It’s not really thought of that often for pro audio gear and hifi to merge into each other’s environments. Manufacturers such as ATC can and do align their ranges with each type. For me, a long term user of active speakers, although I have greatly enjoyed many, I have also had some absolute horrors. I like a warmer and bouncier type sound from a typical monitoring speaker such as the Kevlar drivers of a KRK, but I also like the definition and reveal of say a Focal or ATC for instance. To be able to obtain the best of a monitoring speaker’s attributes and convert it into an everyday listener is no mean feat, so I approach this review with an open mind and intrigue.

The enclosures or monocoques of the EGG150s are pretty solid to a knuckle wrap, although I do not like their plasticky finish. It strikes me every time I look at them that they really are a scaled replica of an actual egg! There have been very similar designs but these are just uncanny. In order to seat the EGGs on any surface and to keep their downward firing port free and open the units come with rubber ‘Nests’ which allow the user to move the speakers up, down, left and right for perfect placement and a small LED above each tweeter (which can be switched off) allows the listener to align the sweet spot easily.nests

Setup in my listening space was on a pair of speaker stands in my main listening area with the EGG150s seated in their nests, ever so slightly angled back, about 6 feet apart, the smallest amount of toe in and my listening position placed at around 7′-8’away.

THE SOUND

On switch on for the first time I could hear buzzing coming through both drivers which I wasn’t prepared for and I back-tracked through the whole system before determining that this was 100% down to the review equipment. It was barely audible from my listening position but as soon as I moved closer to the speakers I could clearly hear it.

Playing music even at low levels masked the irritant and during the first few tracks played I knew I had to tailor the crossovers to open up the sound as it was very coloured out of the box with the trim pots set to full. It didn’t really make for a great first impression with me I’m afraid.

After trimming for my room and my tastes was accomplished, further listening tests were really beginning to prove that after some burn in time these speakers will have fantastic potential, with a warmth that slightly underlined a good transparent and neutral sound.

I often begin to listen to a speaker with a range of pop music, there’s usually so much going on in this type of music that any pros and cons quickly emerge, which I can then investigate further. On this occasion I found the top end to be simply stunning, a real nice handful of refinement and revealing detail and with some intent listening I found the ‘Hifi’ setting on the midrange pot to offer a far more open sound which gave more insight and emotion, where as going back a notch to ‘Reference’ and back again to ‘NS10’ made the sound progressively more compressed or closed in.

I listened to Loreena McKennits ‘Mask and the Mirror’ album and my findings were backed up when Loreena’s exquisite vocal went from pure and openly projected to a more monochrome sense to its display. Her vocal was more singled out on the pro settings and would be great for analysis, but for playback in a hifi sense, which is really the main concern here for review, the ‘Hifi’ settings was far superior.

Damien Rice’s ‘Older Chests’ allowed me to tune in to the upper bass particularly and also discern the transducers extension. The colouration I mentioned earlier was still apparent and although never overwhelming I would say that upper bass notes had a small hump which sometimes clouded notes had a link to lower mids which gave a richness especially to male vocalists such as Rice. Bass extension was light and very rolled off which I believe, especially in my room (regardless of the low frequency trim) allowed for this upper bass colouration to have more prominence.

Dance and R&B proved to be a real treat, whatever these speakers do to some music to cause any quarrels in my mind made them addictive in these genres and even with some nastier more forward recordings, a slight adjustment to reference or NS10 levels calmed any in your face hardness and still maintained excellent pace and rhythm, with micro details becoming the true star of the show.

Dynamically the EGG150s can also be a little confusing. Where the top end sores with all the control of a butchers knife the upper bass hump can over shadow the purity of the midrange in some instances, yet in others enhance mediocre recordings. The speakers, for me are screaming out for more clarity in this area, revealing more rather than clouding the sound which is something I thought I’d never say about a pro speaker, most warrant criticism for being way too analytical here.

There’s no denying that the EGG150s are a very musical speaker and criticisms although tough are based on my experience with many other active speakers and the ones I currently own which offer qualities I just don’t think the Munros posses and for me it’s aligned with the mid/bass driver and the use of the rubber nests, as when a friend held one up in the air the colouration minimised to a very nice level that with the correct stands and supports would transform this speaker from good to great and match its top end beautifully.

CONCLUSION

The EGG150 active speaker system migrates from the pro audio arena to in home hifi exceptionally well, but I would also like to see the guys at MunroSonic adapt the setup to a completely passive design with passive crossovers and a more premium finish to rival the likes of say the Kef LS50’s or even ATC’s SCM standmounts with complimentary stands.

The EGG150s provide a solid integration into the listening space and combine a truthfulness that converts intricate detail retrieval into a good all round listening experience.

When talking with our editor Stu about these he remarked ‘ if you can find pro audio gear that really suits the listening space of the home user, he or she can really obtain fantastic value for money.’ I agree, wholeheartedly and the MunroSonic EGG150s are a new breed of setup that can do just this and with a few little tweaks for the ‘hifi’ user (which is very different from a pro user) I can see these being a winner.

Price at time of review – £2000RECOMMENDED LOGO NEW

Build Quality – 8.0/10
Sound Quality – 8.0/10
Value for Money – 8.6/10
Overall – 8.2/10

Pros:
Adaptable to environment
Detailed hearty sound
Great flexibility compared to standard actives

Cons:
Premium finish desired for the hifi enthusiast
Nest stands look bad and add colour to the sound
No dedicated floor stands 

Dan Worth

You must be logged in to leave a reply.

Real Time Web Analytics