Active acoustics are, on the one hand, a compromise solution, and on the other hand, a universal one. And it’s versatility that Magnat is relying on when promoting the Multimonitor 220 bookshelf. This is not the latest model – it went on sale last year, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant. Magnat Multimonitor 220 is far from the first active speakers in the Magnat portfolio, but at the moment one of the most modern. Visually, they practically do not stand out in any way – they are black matte two-way speakers with MDF bodies of the most familiar shelf proportions. The high frequencies are handled by the proprietary inch Fmax tweeter, which plays up to 40 kHz, and the midbass is handled by a 125 mm speaker with a sandwich membrane made of aluminum-ceramic composite.
The main visual difference, noticeable with the magnetic grills removed, is that on the front panel of the leading left column there is an indicator covered with convex glass. It uses LEDs of different colors to show which input is currently working – however, in order to figure this out, you will need to consult the instructions. This is not the most convenient moment: I think it would be quite possible to install a tiny one-character screen instead of LEDs, on which the first letters of the inputs would be displayed. And there are many of them here.
The Magnat Multimonitor 220 uses a classic design, in which one speaker is active and contains all the electronics, and the other is passive and is attached to the first speaker cable. The main speaker has a pair of RCA connectors that operate in both line-in and phono-input modes (the built-in phono stage supports MM cartridges), there is a 3.5 mm input, optical and coaxial. There is a washer for grounding connection, a subwoofer output, as well as a volume and source control.
Of the wireless connections, only Bluetooth is available – with aptX support. Above the panel with the inputs there is a large bass reflex hole about a third of the body wide. A passive speaker is no different from a regular bookshelf speaker – on the rear wall, in addition to the bass reflex, there are only a pair of acoustic terminals located in a niche at an angle. A three-meter cable that should be used to connect the speakers is included in the kit. The amplification is hidden inside the driving speaker. The class D amplifier produces 40 watts per channel. The built-in DAC is ready to recognize a 24-bit/192 kHz signal. Perhaps the only thing the Multimonitor lacks in terms of connections is USB. But perhaps this functionality is already suitable for higher class acoustics.
During the test, we used almost all the connection options that were available: we connected it via optical to the TV, via RCA to a turntable, via Bluetooth to my laptop. Switching between different sources occurs quickly, and with Bluetooth the signal is not lost. The included remote control is used for adjustments – simple, made of matte plastic with round rubberized buttons. The buttons do not stick, they are pressed clearly, but there is one peculiarity: the remote control must be pointed clearly at the leading column, a meter to the right and left – and it no longer recognizes the signal.
In addition to the volume and sources, you can also adjust the sound of the acoustics from the remote control – raise and lower the high- and low-frequency response. The detection mode buttons for Bluetooth and line input are displayed separately – apparently, as the most frequently used. Two emotions that I would like to use to describe the appearance of the Magnat Multimonitor 220 are restraint and understatement. The acoustics look strict, I would even say too ascetic. The only thing that catches the eye is the LED indicator, and this same indicator gives the feeling that the developers fell a little short in terms of usability. It won’t be possible to turn on the speakers and start using them without reading the instructions, because it’s impossible to understand which input is blinking with which color – unless Bluetooth is blue.
During the test, the speakers were first placed wide apart – there were 2.5-3 meters between them – and this did not do them any good: with such an arrangement, the integrity of the picture is lost, and the right and left channels begin to sound separately. You can, however, sit further away, and then the sound becomes more homogeneous, but still the format assumes that these are near- and mid-field monitors. Magnat itself praises the versatility of this acoustics, so I decided to start by watching the anime. The peculiarity of voice acting for anime, like any other animation, is that there is not a single random sound in it that was accidentally recorded: every note, every second is verified and is in its strictly defined place.
Kekkai Sensen makes heavy use of background music, and in Multimonitor’s performance it often sounded almost at the same level as the voices. In such a situation, subtitles will not hurt. At the same time, the acoustics seemed to bring forward small effects: rustling, drops, creaking doors, light clicks of weapon elements. In theory, they should be woven into the soundtrack and dialogue, but with Magnat they came forward a little, drawing attention to themselves. At the same time, the action scenes were pleasantly large-scale: the booming was loud and clear – here and there.
Both when watching videos and playing music, the sound seemed dark, a little flat, and a little rustic in the mid-frequency range. The lower mids showed themselves the brightest, but at the same time, high-frequency details sounded very convincing against its background. Sometimes it seemed that there was too much bass and midbass in the acoustics for such a body, and there was no room for it to develop at full strength – and therefore a dark, flat impression of the sound was created.
But these kids played high frequencies commendably. Acoustics seem to love the small, bright effects most of all, the top strings of guitars, dulcimers, and other strings and bows. Rodrigo y Gabriela sounded very pleasant on the Multimonitor – the dark, resonant sound contrasted well with the rich plucking of the strings. And in general, the melodies with acoustic guitars sounded correctly – both with depth and brightness. This character, by the way, showed itself perfectly in the old-school soundtracks of the games of the “Sonic The Hedgehog” series (relatively old-school, early 2000s): they are diverse, multi-layered, replete with samples and effects, something is constantly happening in them, something is changing, and Magnat conveyed these changes very well and did not lose anything, while slightly highlighting the top.
In horror games, they provided the presence needed to flinch in unpleasant moments, and in shooters like the relatively new Wolfenstein: Youngblood, they accurately showed the approximate location of enemies. The darkish coloring enhanced the epic sound of the shots, and the love for details splashed the blood almost three-dimensionally.
I didn’t notice any problems with the dynamics, using the same soundtracks as an example, as well as nimble guitarists and electronic music – the acoustics coped with the melodies without jamming either the overall outline or the lows. There was a bit of porridge in the early Nine Inch Nails, but the porridge was textured. Perhaps this phrase will evoke unappetizing associations with semolina with lumps, so I’ll choose another analogy. The sound, instead of coming as one muddy wall or a horde of individual notes, was presented as a rough and multi-level wall.
Acoustics, when positioned correctly relative to the listener, play seamlessly, seamlessly and tightly, with unobtrusive favoritism in the high-frequency range. I would call this character simply good and pleasant – the sound of Multimonitor is not exhausting, does not have any super-bright features or distortions. You probably can’t call it completely honest either – after all, the sound is dark and likes to bring to the surface what usually remains in the background, but, again, it doesn’t go too far in this. I think adding a subwoofer will help tame the darkness; the speakers will stop trying to play as much as 35 Hz and will most likely calm down a little. In the end, you can use the built-in tone block – with its help you can comb the top a little if Magnat’s love for the seventh swans in the fifth row is not to your taste.
The list of connection options really allows you to call Multimonitor a universal acoustics and justify the “Multi” prefix in the name: with it you can watch movies, play toys, play records, and listen to music from other places. Moreover, the character, with all its dim features, is suitable for working with these different sources. Of course, there is no super detail, airiness, holographicity, the format of the acoustics itself imposes restrictions on their placement… But this pair of active bookshelf speakers costs like good headphones. And for that amount of money their sound is more than decent.
Characteristics of Magnat Multimonitor 220
Acoustic design: two-way, bass reflex
Reproducible frequencies (±3 dB): 35 Hz – 40 kHz
Speakers: 1-inch Fmax tweeter with dome diaphragm, 5-inch midrange/bass speaker with sandwich diaphragm
Power: 40 Watts per channel
Crossover filter frequency: 3,200 Hz
Connection options: optical input, coaxial input, RCA (line + phono stage), 3.5 mm input, Bluetooth with aptX support
Dimensions: 298x235x178 mm
Weight: 5 kg – leading speaker, 4 .4 kg – driven