Monitor Audio, Focal, and B&W

To Aron Garrecht,

I read your review on the Monitor Audio Gold GX300. I am interested in a pair but there are none available to demo around me in Michigan. I did hear a pair of RX8s and liked them much better than the B&W CM9.

For sound and value for the dollar, how would you compare the RX8, GX300, Focal 836 V and Focal 836 W? I have kind of ruled out B&W.

The RX6 is not bad at all. The RX8 I liked very much, and I have not heard the GX300 or any Focal. I plan to use for movies (two-thirds) and music (one-third). I prefer to stay under $4000 a pair but would buy the matching center and maybe the sub. I would probably use an integrated amp and could use a recommendation for Yamaha vs. Denon vs. Pioneer Elite. I hate to ask two such broad questions, but there are not many places to demo these. I wanted to get a few recommendations and then travel to demo.


Both the RX8 and GX300 are terrific speakers. If you prefer a smooth-sounding speaker that leans on the warmer side of neutral with a healthy bottom end, then I recommend going with the RX8s. They offer one of the best values in the market today when considering build quality and bang for the buck, and they were compelling enough for fellow reviewer Vince Hanada to purchase my review samples. If, however, you want to hear every last detail your system can muster, I would recommend making the move up to the GX300s, as they will offer a more lively, open, 3D soundstage over both the RX8s and the Focals. The GX300s with their ribbon tweeters also truly disappear into the room, and provide a very realistic presentation at more than just the sweet spot. Although I did not review the GXC350 center-channel with the GX300s, I have heard it a number of times and found that it, too, was an excellent speaker, offering a large center image and very articulate vocals. The only drawback I have noted at times with this speaker, and the GX300s for that matter, is that they can sound a bit aggressive when played really loud. However, proper component matching will help alleviate this, which brings me to the receivers you have mentioned.

With respect to the options you have listed for a receiver, I am going to assume that you are looking at the comparable Yamaha RX-A3020. Having listened to all three of these receivers in numerous showrooms and in some of my colleagues’ homes (Yamaha and Pioneer owner), and ignoring their feature sets, I would recommend pairing them as follows: Yamaha with the MA GX300/GXC350, and the Pioneer with the RX8/RX Centre. Although Denon makes a good product, I have consistently found their house sound to be a bit dark, and a bit lean when compared to the other two here, but that’s just my opinion. The Yamaha has a nice warmth to it, which is why I would pair this with the GX300s. The Pioneer is a very neutral- and lively sounding piece and pairs very well with the RX series. In fact, several of the local A/V stores consistently demo Pioneer/RX series together as it is a compelling combo.

One final note on subwoofers, since you asked. If you are going to purchase a subwoofer to round out this system, might I suggest that you consider JL Audio’s f112 subwoofer. The GXW15 is a great subwoofer, but for the money, I find the JL a bit more articulate and accurate when it comes to pitch definition. I own three of the f112s, and have admittedly become addicted to their effortless performance. I hope this helps, Donald, and please feel free to write if you have any more questions. . . . Aron Garrecht