I've been the proud owner of a pair of ASA MONITOR Standard for 20 years, so I was thrilled to take the latest version of these speakers out of their box!
The packaging is exquisite and I like the cotton cover around the speaker. The satin lacquer is understated yet well finished. It comes in four finishes: black, ivory, satin grey and red. The weight of the speaker speaks books about the quality of the cabinetwork! It is made of 28 mm thick MDF panel, which is almost twice as thick as the average speaker models in this range. The previous version used Dynaudio drivers. For quality and supply reasons, ASA worked with a famous Norwegian manufacturer. The drivers are produced to SEAS specifications. The treble is controlled by a tweeter with a 27 mm soft dome. The mids/bass are handled by a great 18 cm driver derived from the Norwegian manufacturer's Excel line. The system operates with a bass/reflex principle with a small port open onto the front. The speakers are symmetrical and must be used with the tweeter in the centre of the listening zone. The filters are definitely one of the centrepieces of these ASA Monitor Standard bookshelf speakers, as are all the brand's products. It has been optimised after playing and measuring for hours. The components used are of premium quality and perfectly measured and paired prior to coating. The capacitors are from Mundorf and the coils come from Jantzen Audio. The single connector admits banana plugs, spade connectors and bare wire.
It is fairly simple to operate. It is possible, and advised, to place them on a dedicated stand (ASA Monitor stands) or other average weight stands with a height between 60 and 80 cm. The height can vary depending on the space you have in the room you have your system in.
We used these bookshelf speakers with several mid-level and high-end tube and transistor amplifiers to assess their personality, qualities and potential flaws. In regards to the latter, they have very little...if not none. They require great quality electronics and Hi-Fi source. As they let everything through, the slightest harshness, the slightest weakest link benefits from the magnifier effect from these ASA Monitor Standard. Paradoxically, they are not very difficult to drive. Their 89 dB efficiency and quality, and definitely the apparent simplicity of their filters, do not require unnecessarily complicated systems to operate their drivers. Thirty watts from a tube amplifier or fifty watts from a good integrated transistor amp are enough.
They clearly display incredible potential in terms of dynamics, definition and neutrality. They beat their siblings on all accounts, the ASA Monitor Baby bookshelf speakers. They exhibit the great spatialisation, yet with more depth and precision in terms of section placement. The vocals are amazingly centred with stunning precision. Articulation and precision showcase the subtleness of the musician's playing. The bass is taut, with great dynamics and legibility. It seems devoid of any colouration and substance, as is unfortunately often the case. It goes deep down with dynamics and substance that speak books about the optimisation of the internal damping and loading, and the quality of the cabinetwork. The dynamics on the drums and percussion sections are extraordinary… They stand out with a lot of ease and realism.
We understand why some professionals use these ASA Monitor Standard speakers. But they are primarily designed for audiophiles with exacting standards looking for an authentic sound quality. These speakers are part of the flagship products of genuine French acoustics! Our top pick! Franck
Principle: 2-way bass/reflex
Woofer: 18 cm
Tweeter: Cloth dome mm
Frequency response: 37hz – 30Khz
Sensitivity: 89 db/1m/1W
Power handling: 90 W RMS
Impedance: 8 ohms
Connection: compatible with banana plugs and cables up to 6mm²
Enclosure: 28mm MDF
Dimensions: 370 x 250 x 330 mm
Weight: 12 kg unit
Finish: glossy varnish