January 24, 2007

Onix Reference 1

I was very lucky to find a pair of Onix Reference 1 monitor speakers in piano black from someone who was upgrading at an incredibly good price. These are two-way rear ported speakers with a 5.25" woofer and Vifa XT concentric ring radiator tweeter and a fourth-order crossover at 4kHz. Luna and I listened to these side-by-side with the Monitor Audio Silver S8 speakers. Personally I prefer the Reference 1 over the S8, although some people would not.

In my opinion, the Reference 1 features a more even overall frequency response, which allows for more of the original material to be heard. This means detail is not lost across the entire spectrum. I also think the tweeter behaves better in comparison to the S8, although that may also be because the frequency response appears flatter on the Reference 1. On the other hand, the Reference 1 sounds somewhat dry or empty compared to the S8. This actually translates to more accurate audio reproduction, but may not be what everyone is looking for.

The S8 has a mid-range boost, which I think ends up masking some of the higher frequencies, and also more cabinet vibration which may contribute to the more full and warm sound which is one of their attractive characteristics. It is a little similar to what I heard when I placed the Monitor Audio Silver SLCR center channel in direct contact with its stand; the stand vibrated in response to the speaker enclosure and the sound was less clear.

The S8 also goes a dozen or so hertz lower than the Reference 1, and I think handles the frequencies below 100Hz with a little more ease. That's not too surprising considering the difference in driver complement, but both the Reference 1 and S8 should be paired with a subwoofer.

I do think the S8 has better off-axis response than the Reference 1. Moving in either the vertical or horizontal direction off-axis had a very audible effect with the Reference 1, while it was not as much of an issue with the S8.

Posted by josuah at January 24, 2007 5:57 AM UTC+00:00

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