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Monitor Audio W380-LCR In-Wall and C380-FX In-ceiling Speakers with RSW12 Subwoofer Abilene TX

The W380-LCR is a three-way rectangular speaker with an eight-inch woofer and a dual-concentric midrange/tweeter module that can be pivoted up to 18-degrees to direct the sound toward the listening area. The C380-FX is an eight-inch two-way round speaker with dual tweeters that can be configured for bipole or dipole (direct or diffuse) sound radiation patterns depending on speaker placement or listening preference, such as movies or multichannel music.

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Monitor Audio W380-LCR In-Wall and C380-FX In-ceiling Speakers with RSW12 Subwoofer

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September 23, 2008 By Gary Altunian

Has Monitor Audio Done it Again?

Consumers are sitting in the sweet spot when it comes to choosing in-wall loudspeakers. The selection of in-walls is so broad, there is sure to be a speaker for everyone’s listening tastes and room decor.

British speaker manufacturer Monitor Audio's products are highly regarded by audiophiles and music lovers. I’ve reviewed a few of their in-room speakers and reported excellent sound quality, so has Monitor done it again with in-wall speakers?

One of their newest in-walls is the flagship W380-LCR, which, if you didn’t guess, is intended for left, center and right channels, and can also be used for surround speakers. Since many homeowners prefer in-ceiling surround speakers, I installed a pair of the Monitor Audio C380-FX speakers, the in-ceiling complement to the W380-LCR for this review. I also tested the Monitor Audio RSW12 powered subwoofer in the system.

Features

Monitor Audio W380-LCR FrontThe W380-LCR is a three-way rectangular speaker with an eight-inch woofer and a dual-concentric midrange/tweeter module that can be pivoted up to 18-degrees to direct the sound toward the listening area. The C380-FX is an eight-inch two-way round speaker with dual tweeters that can be configured for bipole or dipole (direct or diffuse) sound radiation patterns depending on speaker placement or listening preference, such as movies or multichannel music.

Both the W380-LCR and C380-FX borrow Monitor’s C-CAM® (Ceramic-Coated Aluminum/Magnesium) and RST® (Rigid Surface Technology) driver technologies found in their Gold Series in-room speakers. The woofers use the company’s C-CAM cone material combined with Monitor’s RST. The RST speaker cone resembles the surface of a golf ball with hundreds of dimples on its surface designed to reduce cone break up, enable smooth frequency response and increase power handling capacity.

The RSW12 powered subwoofer is from Monitor Audio’s Silver range of speakers. Its forward-firing design incorporates a twelve-inch C-CAM woofer with a four-inch voice coil, powered by a 500-watt D-class digital amplifier in an acoustic suspension enclosure. The RSW12 has one of the most solid, inert enclosures I’ve seen in a subwoofer. A rap on the side of its gloss black cabinet reveals no resonance and it weighs in at 56 pounds, which begs for two people to unpack and move it.

Installing the 300 Series

Since I’m reluctant to cut holes in my living room walls to test in-wall speakers, I built several testing bays or portable walls. They’re moveable walls constructed like a typical residential wall with 2 x 4 studs spaced 16-inches on-center, covered with ½” drywall and filled with R-13 insulation. The bays are big enough to simulate the cavity volume of a real wall, but portable enough to move around the room.

The C380-FX in-ceiling speakers have a depth of 6 ¼”, so I built separate enclosures to accommodate their greater depth. The extended depth of the C380-FX may present ...

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