Marking five decades as a dedicated loudspeaker manufacturer, Monitor Audio can claim a legacy that’s richer than most hifi brands.
We sit down with Chief Executive Officer Rob Barford to celebrate the company’s half century and look ahead to what’s next in the brand’s story.
How does it feel to be celebrating this 50 year milestone?
Rob replies: “Our 50th Anniversary is a wonderful highpoint for us as a brand. We’ve utilised the year to release a number of products that really spread accessibility across the breadth of the brand, from the limited edition, Silver 100 7G Heritage Green bookshelf speakers, to the soon to be launched Hyphn Statement loudspeaker that essentially bookends our Anniversary. It has been a great opportunity to show the world what we’re capable of at these differing price points!
“It has also given us the opportunity to realign on how we want the Monitor Audio Brand to be presented over the next 50 years, so excitingly over the next few months of 2023, you’ll see a lot of visual changes to the brand as we sharpen our identity and ensure that Monitor Audio remains true to its core values and design ethos, and importantly, deliver on providing our customers an enhanced sound experience.”
Looking back over Monitor Audio’s rich history, what are your standout products and tech from the last 50 years that have shaped who you are today?
“The one clear technological differentiator for Monitor Audio has been the use of metal cone drive units. We championed this very early on and became a world-leader in metal cone technology, which continues to this day.
“What was started within a tweeter back in the very early ’80s, quickly found its development path onto mid and bass drivers. The brand has innovated with using more exotic metals ever since, adding aluminium, magnesium, ceramics and now Nomex honeycomb and carbon fibre – improving lightness and strength for lighter, more rigid drive unit cones for optimum performance.”
What do you think the golden thread is running through your products and approach over the last half century that’s been central to Monitor Audio’s success?
“You’ve touched on it with ‘Golden’! The gold dome tweeter, mid and bass drivers introduced in the very late ’80s really cemented Monitor Audio’s reputation. The gold dome tweeter, becoming synonymous with the brand. Today, we’re continuing to evolve how we reproduce greater audio performance, and the gold is finding its way into our Ribbon Transducer technology. However, we still have gold dome tweeters in the portfolio, some 30 years after their initial creation – that consistency and constant determination to evolve a technology has certainly contributed to some of our success. It has proven pedigree.
“The other element is our people. We’re lucky to have a strong culture – we’re independently owned, and we take the time to invest in our team. Some of them have been with us for decades, and that’s testament to the constant support and development we offer as an organisation, and the results and passion that find their way into our products.”
Where do you see the company going over the next decade?
“Monitor Audio speakers have been very consistent over the years, the technology development, the core ranges and the quality of the fit and finish – something we are very well known for as a brand. What I think you’ll see from Monitor Audio in the coming years, is a brand that is comfortable in its own skin, delivering reliable premium speaker ranges, but perhaps more ambitious.
“We will be extending our designs into more exciting market segments, utilising more interesting, materials and technologies, underpinned by providing the connected consumer with the best possible way to consume their entertainment.
“We want to be more disruptive and bolder. The next five years is an exciting time for us.”
If you were to summarise who Monitor Audio is in three ways, what would these be?
“Proudly independent, confident and forward-thinking.”
Find out more about Monitor Audio with the products and technology that have shaped its history.