Monitor Audio Studio 2SE Floorstanding Speakers

Studio 2SE

User Reviews (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7  
Bob Barton   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 06, 2011]

I have owned these delightful MA's for several years; they aren't my main speaker but I can't bring myself to part with them. They seem to be becoming rather rare but it really is worth chasing after them if they become available to you. They are a charming miniature that do all the things that would be expected of them. With a good amp behind them they produced an exceptionally detailed sound and with the right recording can produce an enormous soundstage.
A sub really helps, I know this is illegal in hifi land but it works for me. This doesn't mean I don't like the bass on the MA 2se's,It's very good but of course a speaker no more than 10 inches high has limitations. So there you have it detailed with a good soundstage with decent bass for their size. It must be the oldest hifi cliche I can think of - 'these are small speakers that sound big' but in this case it's true! Just one other thing; the wow factor. Not everyone's cup of tea but if you like them you'll learn to love them very quickly.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
henner   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 15, 2007]
Strength:

Excellent vocal reproduction. great clarity and transient speed. very good musical communication at the price. Superb cabinet quality. Great looks. Easy load impedence.

Weakness:

Percusiion can be better.

Agree with the others who love this little gem of a speaker. Reading the reviews here it seems it has its own small following, so figured I'd chime in with my experience. True they are no longer made but once in awhile they come up for sale used. Or perhaps as one reviewer mentions an old new stock can still be found somewhere. The drivers are a Seas L 14 RC/P magnesium/aluminum cone woofer with a bucking magnet attahed which slightly raises its sensitivity spec a bit, and the tweeter was also made in Norway by SEAS (I figured out the woofer and UK reviewer Martin Columns states the Monitor audio Gold dome tweeter is made by SEAS in his stereophile review of the studio 50). Very few speaker companies actually manufacture their own drivers. The only draw back of using metal cone woofer is it makes the crossover more complex, the studio 2se uses 3 inductors, 4 capacitors and 2 resistors in the crossover. I have also used Epos ES 11 which have no cross over component on the woofer and one capacitor on the tweeter, and can say there is a benefit to that design philosophy. I have had my MA Studio 2se for 9 years, I bought them "B stock" at a great price right before Monitor audio got bought out, so I guess the distributer was clearing out the existing stock. The company is no longer under the direction of its founder. Though I have heard the company still makes pretty good speakers, many consider the Studio series to be the best Monitor Audio ever made. The studio series combined excellent sound quality and for those who it is important, among the best cabinet work. I have tried other speakers in the time I have had these, some more expensive, some less and some the same, I always return to the Monitor audio studio 2 mainly because I guess they just work better in my room than anything else. While they are a "mini monitor" they do not sound small, the sound from these tiny speakers has to be heard to be believed. And unlike many minatures (the Ls3/5) they do not lose their composure at higher levels. If the design goal was an LS3 sized speaker but with balls, they certainly achived it! They do all kinds of music very well, maybe they don't get the visceral bass for rock, but they do electric guitar extremely well. There is no major boosting of the mid bass to achieve phantom bass, for this reason they work great in smaller rooms. Space them off the rear and side walls a bit, and they image well, particularly in the treble, though the midrange is very slightly closed in from top to bottom. Tilt 'em back some and it can be improved. Depth imaging is incredible for their size. They do vocals, and all the background vocals in the mix superbly. The vocal reproduction is exceptional, especially considering these are not ultra expensive speakers. Also classical Piano concertos are breathtaking. The soloist is placed in the hall, the piano rings out in space. Everything has great clarity. Transient speed is ultra fast. Jazz music instruments are handled very well for the most part. Muted trumpet is very lifelike, sax is good but could do with a touch more body. If the speaker has a downside it is how percussion sounds, other speakers I have used usually outdo the studio 2 on drums, cymbals and "timing", particularly the Epos ES11 or ES12. Not to say the studio 2 does'nt pass fairly well. Speakers are a compromise, not every instrument will be perfect at any price. This is the best overall small speaker I have used. The cabinet quality cant really be bettered nowadays even at higher price points (cabinets used to be made in Denmark instead of China), and good quality wood is getting harder to come buy in speakers or anything else. In its time the studio 2 was essentially a "mid priced" speaker, it of course can be out done. With speakers it is more than anything a matter of subjective preferences and room acoustics. I just really like the combination of qualities these little guys have, and they look great too. Not all gaudy. The studio 2 are very good at communicating the emotion of the music, that's the thing that makes me keep them. They respond very well to a high quality stand and couple the speaker to the stand with "blutack". I have used them with tubes, class A solid state and class AB solid state, achieving different but good results with each. Used with a quality amp, the tweeter is not bright to me, but clean and open. About 30 watts of class A solid state power and they sing beautifully, banishing any trace of treble grit or grain. They are really easy to drive. To sum up I consider the Studio 2 to be a classic.

Customer Service

On your own, the model is no longer supported by MA distributer.

Similar Products Used: Polk audio Monitor 7
Epos ES11 and 12
Totem Rainmaker
Triangle Comet ES
Aerial Model 5
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Cheeflo   AudioPhile [May 25, 2005]
Strength:

Warm vocal, detail, very good soundstage, imaging, natural sounding, fast, good transient, wonderful high & mid tones, very good finishing.

Weakness:

Not enough bass for people who like bass. But a good subwoofer would be able to help.

I have always been a Monitor Audio Fan. I had great experience with some previous model speakers like the Gold 9 and the MA-800 which is still one of my favorite speakers permenantly hooked-up at one system. I wanted to try the smaller Monitor speakers at my study. So I got this pair of Studio 2SE New Old Stock with the dark rosewood veneer from the Singapore Dealer. The first impression was the finishing was very good. Every bit as impressive as the other Monitor Speakers I used. It took about three months of burning in to sound really good. The vocal & detail from these speakers are very impressive. It sounds much bigger than its demunitive size... and the best part is that it is very easy for the speakers to disappear. I have tried to drive the speakers with tube pre-amps and a passive pre-amp & a 100 watts solid state & a 100 watts class A mosfet power amplifier and they all sound very sweet and detail and the bass is enough and well control for most music genre. I have tried a full tube pr-& Power set-up with 75 watts tube amp on the Studio2SE and the sound is even more amazing. These speakers like power just as the dealer recommends, definitely not for low power single ended tube amplifiers. And they need a pair of good speaker stands to give you good bass. I have been using a pair of Chinese made Sonus Faber type wood adjustable stands and the bass is quite impressive considering the small driver & cabinet size of the the speakers. After sometime, I have moved the speakers to try at my living room as a second pair of speakers. It is surprisingly adequate filling the bigger space with music. It may not have the bass & fullness of the MA-800. But the StudioSE is definitely one of the sweetest sounding small bookshelf speakers that I have used.

Similar Products Used: Artison, Celestion SL6S, AR-M1, PSB Status Mini, Yamaha NS-10M Studios, Genelec Powered Monitors, Sony SS-M3, Monitor Gold 9, Monitor MA-800
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Alex Ashworth   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 20, 2001]
Strength:

well what can i say...imaging, detail, clarity, base (for their size

Weakness:

need careful matching and the right size room to sound their best

I am writing this review the same day that i bought these speakers and the day i tested them against the list above...i played them constantly at home for 10 hours before i gave them a proper listen...but obviously they are still not run in (recommended 60 hours +) so i will write a further review in a month or two to inform you of any differences... so here goes:

I am a 17 year old student (i like to listen to unplugged rock and good rock (NOT LIMP BIZKIT etc. and indie music) and i decided to gradually build a very good system rather than keep buying new ones all at once...i initially had a Pioneer A400 and a pair of B&W 601 S2's and a NAD C520 CD player...so i first went to replace the amp with a $800 dollar budget and after long careful listening i decided on a Musical Fidelity X-A2 (which is wonderful)...i've had that for 6 months now...and i think it is a good complement for these speakers. So in the last month i decided to buy some speakers from a similar budget of $800...so i did a bit of preliminary reading and decided to audition the following:

B&W CM2 - i found these quite similar to my 601s with more detail and imagery but lacking in base...i think their looks were more important than their sound to B&W...but overall not bad.

Dynaudio Audience 42 - I first listened to these and thought WOW (b4 i listened to the Monitor Audios of course) but i turned them up and their whole presentation fell apart and seeing i like it loud...well it wasn't to be.

Mission 780 + 781 - well basically the 781 is a 780 with mega base...sounds good...but not when compared to Studio 2SE...definately 2nd best of the lot (the 781)...but when compared to the 2se their imagery and clarity seemed amateur.

Now for the Monitor Audio Studio 2SE's...well what can i say...i had never seen them before and they were recommended by the dealer...at first sight they looked well build i admit but they were TINY...so i thought well no chance (i wanted better base than my 601s)...so i thought well i'll give them a go anyway and the sound that came out of them seemed like the sound coming out of a speaker at least half the side...the base is perfectly controlled and suprisingly deep (obviously not to match the missions) but in a bedroom 5m by 5m the base is easily enough...i am amazed with what they can produce...even at high volumes...as a previous reviewer said my ears went out before the speakers distorted. Now for the imagers...well WOW...u can hear sounds move accross the soundstage in perfect carity...especially with recordings like brian adams unplugged and van morrison...just amazing!!! The detail was enough to match even the CM2's and it was much more musical and dynamic...

what more can i say but....GIVE THEM A GO...of course the base may be lost in a very big room but otherwise i strongly recommend them :-)

Similar Products Used: I tested them against...Mission 780, Mission 781, Dynaudio 42s, B&W CM2
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
TC   an Audio Enthusiast [Apr 01, 1999]

Last year, i've bought this minature speaker after to compare this little baby with Xanadu DS14 Alu and several models from B&W and Totem.
I've played for many years with the B&W 802 MK1. This speaker needs no further intro. The limitation of this model (MK1) it's not the most informative speaker.

My first impression was the clarity, soundstaging, clearance, open, transpirity and a very detailed sound. It's unbelievable how beautiful, voices and instruments like violins, guitars, clarinets, etc especially with classical and jazz can play.
Midrange and treble are perfect (like electrostates), Bass is OK.
It's important that you buy the right stands. The Target R3 or 4, little pricey 800US$. It's worth for this speaker. Listen to your dealer.

My previous setup Rotel 980 pre/ power amp, Rotel RCD975 (Marantz 67 se) with Siltech FTM4 and the vanden Hul the Second Interconnect plays very loud and detailed but not natural, its sounds to round.

One month ago i've replaced the Rotel for the NAD C320 (ca. 1000US$ cheaper! than the Rotel pre/power).
The sound is more natural and you're more involved by the music especially with classical and jazz. Really for 250 US$, i've bought it in Germany.
For that price it's unbelievable.

For the NADC320 and the Monitor Audio Studio 2SE I gave at least 5 stars!!!!!!!



OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
David   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 21, 1999]
Strength:

Imaging, coherance, and finish

Weakness:

low low bass (what do you expect?)

These little speakers are absolutely gorgeous. I ran them with a Bryston 3B ST and BP-25 with a Rotel RCD-951 feeding it the source. I was amazed at the sound these little dynamos threw at me. Never before in this price range have I heard imaging of this level. It handled orcestral crescendos with ease I would have thought impossible to pull off with such a speaker. I found myself turning the volume louder and louder to find whether it would break up but my ears gave out before the speakers did. The bass is tight and punchy and much more than I expected but don't think you are going to get the low lows on these guys. Frankly, I was impressed on what they were able to put out. Very highly recommended, they look like David but play like Goliath.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
murr   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 11, 2000]
Strength:

imaging, clarity, detail

Great speakers for a smaller room, bass can be impressive
if the rooms the right size and the speakers are in the right place. and your'e listening directly in front of them.
They can sound awesome ., I've probably spent as much time
moving these speakers around as I have listening to them.
conclusion: Spine tingling if you get the room and placement/stands right, otherwise you'll never be happy,
you'll have no bass or be destined only to be able to enjoy
them from one sitting position. don't get me wrong I love these speakers and will most likely keep them for a long time but they are fussy. but sometimes it's worth the hassle for the end result. Bit like a racehorse. I will be buying
another pair of speakers for everyday listening that are
a little more forgiving.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-7 of 7  

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