Monitor Audio Studio 89 Speaker Review

Simon Lucas auditions a new mid-priced model that features some impressive new tech…

Monitor Audio

Studio 89 Standmount Speakers

£2000 RRP

Monitor Audio Studio 89 Review

Before Monitor Audio streamlined its speaker range into easy-to-understand Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum groups, Studio was the name given to its premium speaker range. Studio 89’s new livery isn’t the company’s first attempt to revive the name, but it’s certainly the first time it’s attempted to do so using a typeface that resembles the original Ford Sierra’s bootlid badge. Oh, and it’s also the first time the company has been able to deploy technologies developed for the flagship Hyphn speaker as well…


This is a compact speaker that is significantly deeper than it is tall; in 340x157x361 mm [HxWxD], Studio 89 has unusual proportions. Bespoke stands (£500 per pair) wrap well into place and are a harmonious match. The build quality and finish offered here cannot be disputed. The glossy black polish is so shiny you can see your face in it. The copper-bronze badges at the bottom of the diaphragm curve bend to one side of each cabinet and in colour, they echo the speaker driver array and speaker stand details.

Monitor Audio Studio 89 Review

The driver complement includes Monitor Audio’s MPD III tweeter with 108mm RDT III mid/bass drivers above and below it, positioned vertically in an ‘MTM’ arrangement. The company says the ‘vertical symmetry’ of this layout offers the great ‘point source’ sound dispersion that is one of the main pillars of its ‘Transparent Design’ philosophy. The high-frequency MPD III unit (micro-crack diaphragm) has a specially shaped radiating area to provide equal directivity in both the vertical and horizontal planes, and the waveguide behind it also contributes to this. The rear volume of the transducer has been optimized in an effort to keep “grumble” to a minimum in the audible frequency range.

Monitor Audio Studio 89 Review

The two RDT II mid/bass drivers represent the current state of the art ‘C-CAM’ (Ceramic Coated Aluminium/Magnesium) that Monitor Audio has been perfecting for quite some time now. Each unit features three super-thin layers of ceramic-coated metal, a Nomex honeycomb core, and carbon weave. It is driven by a large and powerful motor system that contains 85 mm magnetic structures—larger than the cone itself.

Monitor Audio Studio 89 Review

The driver group is housed in an aluminum front cover that is separated from the main body of the cabinet by a layer of dense foam. Both the shield unit and the drive it supports are secured using a bolt-on method that connects the back of the drivers to the back of the cabinet. The result is a very rigid structure in which the driver group can do its thing in isolation, and there are no visible screw heads or other fasteners anywhere in the cabinet.

Monitor Audio Studio 89 Review

The third-order crossover that takes care of the signal transfer is a new design that uses custom polypropylene and polyester capacitors in series. The junction board also features air core and low loss laminated steel core inductors. The back of the cabinet features a couple of narrow ‘speed’ ports – one at the top and one at the bottom. Despite the visual appearance, they represent a relatively large port area. They are designed to keep internal pressures and airflow within the cabinet balanced, as well as to keep turbulence to a minimum. Also, around the back of the cabinet, there’s only a single red and a single black terminal, quality rhodium-plated stuff, of course.


If you’re after a red-blooded, amazing style of music-making, then the Monitor Audio Studio 89 might seem a little too considered for your tastes. There are plenty of other speakers of a wilder nature to watch out for. If, however, you’re looking for a complete and accurate window into the record, this might be for you. This speaker is equal to the extent that it is satisfied with all types of program material and, to a lesser extent, with its quality.

Monitor Audio Studio 89 Review

During the audition period I heard songs such as bounce BY Sweet Baboo as a 16-bit/44.1kHz TIDAL file, a vinyl copy of PärtS ‘ Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten BY Hungarian State Opera Orchestraa compact disc i Redondo Beach BY Patti Smith and a 24-bit/96kHz FLAC file Arooj AftabS ‘ Last night – and this speaker sounded very confident and comfortable with all of them.

In terms of tonality, it’s studiously neutral and seems happy to get out of the way of a recording without adding or subtracting anything. This kind of sonic objectivity and impartiality becomes more welcome the longer you listen. It stays coherent right from the bottom of its bandwidth to the top.

Monitor Audio Studio 89 Review

Many fine details are carefully picked up and presented in their proper context. The wide kicks always take center stage, and, as a result, the Studio 89 sounds naturally flawless. Low frequency presence is substantial but not muscle related; the leading edge of the bass information is straight and clear, so the rhythms are expressed convincingly and the momentum never lags. There’s plenty of low-end variation to go with the direct punch of this speaker; it may not be the heaviest hitter, but its fast and maneuverable nature more than makes up for it.

Treble has just the right bite and crackle to go along with its brilliance, and even if you choose to listen at unsafe volume levels, there’s no hint of harshness or harshness. And between these two extremes, the middle level communicates in a luxurious way. An absolute wealth of information has been revealed, especially when it comes to the details of a singer’s technique, attitude and intentions. There’s decent articulation in the midrange, so the speaker never seems distant or removed from everything that’s going on. This crossover design seems to be very well done indeed.

Monitor Audio Studio 89 Review

The Monitor Audio mount creates a large, well-defined soundstage, ensuring you’re satisfied with just a lift of your fingers to your sitting position. There’s plenty of room, left to right and front to back, to work with, and a real sense of authority and organization. Every element of a recording, even if it is complex, has room to act. Again, this is not at the expense of the unity or sense of singularity that Studio 89 creates.

There’s plenty of dynamic headroom available, so no matter if it’s quiet to loud shifts in the Patti Smith Registration or gradual but inexorable increase in apparent intensity in Avro Pärt parts, they are described with a genuine positivity. Furthermore, Monitor Audio is just as confident with the less obvious, but no less significant, dynamic variations that a recording of a solo instrument or unaccompanied voice may contain. All in all, then, it’s a pleasure to play music through this particular setup.


If you have a reasonable amount of money to spend on a pair of high-performance compact speakers, then you’re spoiled for choice. To this shortlist, you should now add Monitor Audio’s new Studio 89. It’s a subtle and detailed yet charming and eye-catching design that is sure to entice many potential buyers and is so worth an audition.

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