Monitor Audio’s Radius Lineup has been around for many years – it’s seen incremental improvements but the same general design and spirit, if you will, of these speakers has remained. Which is? Dispersion and a wide listening field. While many bookshelf speakers, smaller near-fields in particular, are very much designed to sound forward towards a small sweet spot, the so called Radius speakers are designed to sound consistent throughout a room, regardless of location. In addition to the satellite speaker reviewed herein, the lineup consists of a subwoofer and cc speaker.
The goal of dispersion is immediately apparent in the way this speaker is designed. The cabinet is a single piece all around (though this seems to have changed from prior versions) save for the holes where the drivers are housed. While tweeters are often horn or waveguide loaded and drivers are depressed within a cabinet, the opposite is true for the Radius speakers. The tweeter is a very nice looking 1 inch gold dome that protrudes beyond the baffle, and the woofer is a 4 inch proprietary metallic blend called C-Cam. While most bookshelf speakers use cones, the Radius 90 has a symmetrical concave driver, which will fire much more evenly throughout the range of dispersion. It also looks really cool. Driver vulnerability is understandably an issue with this kind of set up, but fortunately the speakers come with hard removable grills that cover both the tweeter and driver.
The Radius 90 has pretty impressive power and volume specs for being so compact. 100W of combined continuous power handling with a max SPL of 102 dB @ 1m will be plenty loud for just about any non-large room. While the speakers are 8 ohm rated the efficiency is rather low, so they’ll need comparatively more driven power, and maybe a nicer amp/receiver to get the job done.
While the tweeter has a very impressive ceiling of 35k Hz, the response floor is fairly mediocre at 80 Hz, but that’s about what you can reasonably expect from a 4 inch woofer while maintaining even response, which is primarily important. While some two way bookshelf speakers can fare without a subwoofer, we’d say these will definitely need one to sound complete, and as we said the Radius Lineup does indeed include a subwoofer.
In the back you’ll see a large rear firing port, also built per another of Monitor’s proprietary designs, and some nice looking but simple +/- terminals. All Monitor passive speakers come with a five year warranty which is fairly top of the line for affordable bookshelf speakers.
Our Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition
A radial bookshelf speaker is a great concept, and something we don’t see too often, not until you get to really fancy speakers like the KEF monitors that have coaxial drivers, but those such products definitely get prohibitively expensive. The Radius 90s however remain quite reasonably priced.
We’re not sure why Monitor opted to focus on making these so compact, because a speaker like this definitely wouldn’t be suited for near-field listening, unless maybe you’re really keen on sound remaining consistent as you intermittently get up and move around the room. They might’ve been able to get more power and range out of them if they’d let the cabinets and drivers be bigger, and if you’re going to place them on stands or shelves anyhow, we don’t see why most people wouldn’t mind the slightly lesser convenience. Just a bit of an off the cuff observation on our part.