Since undergoing a rebrand, the Munro Sonic Egg 150’s have improved upon the original model with the refinement of the amplification stage. Aesthetically, the Egg’s may not be to everyone's taste, and there is some question with regards to the choice of cable, but their sonic capacity is undeniably excellent and, largely, on point for their intended purpose. The inclusion of a dedicated headphone amp is also pretty handy.
When announced in 2011, the Munro Egg 150 monitor speakers were amongst the first of their kind to take advantage of the acoustically optimal ellipsoid shape. To arrive at such a radical design wasn’t necessarily the original intention, but the design trio, James Young, Phil Smith, and the legendary acoustics expert ‘Andy Munro’, soon begun to understand that the traditional ‘box’ speaker cabinet design had a detrimental impact upon the output sound quality. Turning to nature for a way to minimise the cabinet effect, specifically the Egg, was the ‘Eureka!’ moment where the measurements suggested that they may be onto something. Soon, in both theory and practice, the shape categorically proved that it was able to afford the designers with ultimate control over the output sound quality; where the drivers would be able to speak for themselves with minimal cabinet effect. The result was a pure output transmission with massive resolution, and consequently the Egg 150 monitor speakers went into production.
Before continuing, it’s important to understand that when the Munro Egg 150 monitor speakers were announced in 2011, they were marketed under sE Electronics. In 2015 this all changed when the monitors became a brand of their own, known as ‘Munro Sonic’. Both brands are owned by Sonic Distribution and the difference between the old Egg’s and the new Egg’s is that the midrange EQ control on the amplifier has a much more subtle approach at 2kHz, where you can push or cut the frequencies by ± 1.5bB, with a broader fixed Q-
Finally, the only thing left to say with regards to the differences, is that, in early 2015, Munro Sonic announced a smaller and more affordable ‘Egg 100’ monitoring system. Where the Egg 150’s currently retail at £1999.00, the Egg 100 retails at £1299.00. If you are unsure of which pair of Egg’s will best suit you, Munro Sonic offer a free seven day evaluation period so you can test them out in your own listening environment without any pressure from a salesman, or the uncertainty of online purchasing.
When the Egg 150’s arrive, it’s clear that Munro Sonic have gone for the efficient approach as everything is packaged into one large box. My problem with this is that it requires the muscles of Thor as its sheer 36kg dead weight is an absolute pig to wrestle into the unboxing position, and has the potential to put your back out for a week or two. The moral of the story is; you’ll need two people to safely locate it into position. But now that we’ve cleared that up, the Munro Sonic team have definitely thought about how to best protect their Egg’s. Nope, the internal packaging doesn’t reveal an egg box carton that you can repurpose as acoustic dampening for your control room, but instead you have separate compartments for each component, where everything is suspended within a modular plastic foam cradle -
In terms of the package contents, Munro Sonic have made it so that the Egg 150’s have a complete set-
Now that we’ve naturally progressed onto a discussion about the build quality, it’s best to continue, but I’ll first begin with something controversial -
With my [minor] frustrations aside, we’ll begin by taking an in-
Other than the thickness of the brushed aluminium faceplate, access to all of the controls appears logical and they are all appropriately labelled. With the new amplifier design the potentiometers now have a centre point for reference and they feel slightly loosely smooth to the fingers. However, if you cast your eyes over to the centre of the amplifiers faceplate you’ll notice that there’s an unlit red LED just above the on/off button. This LED is an indication that the monitors are peaking (aka. overloading) and means that the user should take immediate action to protect the monitors from being damaged. Unlike many other monitors on the market, Munro Sonic have chosen to not to implement any intelligent DSP, ie. limiting, in the signal path to automatically protect the monitors. Limiting obviously has an impact on the sound quality, which is not ideal in a reference environment. Some may see the lack of this protection circuit as a downfall, but ultimately these are professional monitors that should be used in the correct manner and never driven to excess. You also have to remember that, ideally, the tracking, mix, and mastering process should be performed at a modest volume to stop ear fatigue, maintain good clarity, and balance that will translate well. Likewise the danger is that mixing at high volumes can mask critical errors. There’s just no point in having super sensitive monitors, such as the Egg 150’s, and not using them for what they were designed for. If you do intend to blast the Egg 150’s then do this in the presentation phase, the bass player will appreciate this.
Moving over to the far right section of the amplifier we notice that there is a ¼” headphone output socket. Munro Sonic have handily built in a separate headphone amplifier into the Egg 150 monitoring system and, when headphones are connected, this will mute the speaker output. There is no way to allow the monitors to play at the same time, which is slightly annoying if, for some reason, you want to tap off a ‘how you doing’ signal for the live room. When the headphones are connected the respective selected output potentiometer becomes the headphone amplifier control. If you are using high impedance headphones then you will have to remember to unplug them after you turn down the volume otherwise you could get blasted by the monitors, and potentially damage them without any of that DSP protecting them. It probably would have been better to provide a separate headphone output control that can be set to your comfortable listening volume. There is, also, little information provided as to the specifications of this headphone amplifier, but I have tested it with my 250Ω Beyerdynamic DT250’s and 250Ω Beyerdynamic T90’s, to which the amplifier performs admirably with more than sufficient headroom. As it is not a critical component of the playback I won’t be providing an in-
Turning to the rear of the device is a fairly standard affair showing us the crucial ins and outs, and even an extra little treat -
With the Eggs being, well, egg shaped, you might wonder as to how Munro Sonic make them, and what material they actually use to create their ellipsoid shape. The answer to this question is injection moulded ABS plastic… Now don’t go letting out the worlds longest sigh yet… Yes, we know that monitor speakers in this price range typically use high density woods and wood materials (usally MDF with a veneer), or injection moulded metal (typically aluminium) for their ‘superior’ acoustic qualities, and that plastic enclosures are usually used for cheaper monitor speakers, but Munro Sonic have created something ‘out of the box’ here. You have to remember that the shape of the cabinet has been implemented to minimise cabinet effect, and inside Munro Sonic have created wave guides along the inner surface, which are then dampened an acoustic material. The result is an annoyingly impractical shape for everything else, that, arguably, performs much better than traditional box housings. Needless to say that they are cheaper (in the long run) to manufacture, and some will find them pretty ugly -
Let’s forget aesthetics now, because you probably want to know what makes these near-
Previously we mentioned that the amplifier doesn’t really have any protection circuits to prevent overloading. Whilst this is the case for the amplifier, it isn’t strictly true for the monitors themselves. Inside the Egg 150’s is a thermal cutout fuse for the high frequency driver (the tweeter) which passively monitors the temperature and cuts the signal if overheating is detected. Munro Sonic advise that the amplifier has enough juice to heat the voice coils inside the monitors if used at volume for long enough, or if there is a short period of excessive volume. The tweeter cutoff is used as a protection, but there is no protection on the mid/bass driver so if this happens you’ll need to stop using the monitors for a number of minutes to protect the drivers as they are not covered by the warranty.
Unfortunately the Munro Sonic Egg 150’s are not available in a surround sound, multichannel, configuration. You are unable to buy the Egg 150’s individually, nor does a dedicated subwoofer exist. You cannot use any external amplifiers with the Egg 150’s, and you cannot use the amplifier with any other speakers. This may come as a disappointed to some and I doubt that a multichannel system is in the works as the demand for a surround sound system may not be large enough.
Lossless tracks varying from 44.1kHz to 192kHz and 16bit to 24bit, Pro Tools 9, Apple ‘Logic Pro’ X, MacBook Air Mid 2013 i7, Lynx ‘Hilo’, Chord Electronics ‘Hugo’, ARCAM ‘irDAC’, Epiphany Acoustics ‘Astratus IEC’, The Chord Company ‘Chameleon XLR’, The Chord Company ‘Chameleon RCA’, Channel D ‘Custom TRS to RCA’, The Chord Company ‘Signature Tuned ARAY RCA’, The Chord Company ‘Cadenza RCA’, Tilbury Audio ‘Passive Preamp, and Computer Audio Design ‘USB’.
Please note that these monitor speakers should be burnt in for a period of at least twenty-
As expected, the Munro Sonic Egg 150 monitoring system is an excellent and effective package for delivering a [mostly] faithful reference signature with superior resolution, and a clean naturalistic edge. Having just said the word ‘natural’, or at least its synonym, I think that this is probably the best way to describe the general aura of these monitors even if they try to be on a level playing field. Apart from this general vibe, what’s also most immediately noticeable about the this Egg system is the smoothness and clarity that it delivers across the entire frequency spectrum. You never have the sense that these are a pair of monitors that are hard to listen to, or would take their toll on your ears for prolonged periods of use, simply put they have no aggression or edginess. However, the Egg 150 system is also capable at delivering huge amounts of detail without the veil attached, but it doesn’t choose to do this with saccharine brilliance or an overly dry cold presence, it does this by being an energetic, musical, and a slightly rounded confident beast, which is why I feel that the ‘natural’ descriptive only seems appropriate here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the Egg 150’s lend themselves more to a Hi-
At the top end, the Egg 150’s appear to sufficiently extend, but they don’t appear to go super high. In terms of super high frequency presence, it’s certainly there, it’s just not there in spades. It’s best to say that it harbours a smooth, silky, airy presence with superb cohesion that allows various elements to come together and not sound fragmented or hyper-
In terms of projection, I’ve found that the 6½” mid/bass drivers punch well above their weight and are, surprisingly, more than capable of filling a mid to large studio with limited effort and will still retain the bass impact. In fact the amplifier still has a surprising amount of headroom past the average listening volume and I seriously doubt that you’ll ever be able to max it out, not unless you wish to loose your hearing completely, or loose all credibility as an engineer. If you are worried that your room is too large, then it might be best to look at an alternative monitor with an 8” driver to really fill the room because, currently, Munro Sonic do not offer a larger monitor design. If we come onto the stereo image now, I’d have to say that the Egg’s project a slightly wider than natural image that is highly pleasing to the ears. I’ve personally found that this image is consistent across smaller or larger rooms and the sense of width still appears to be carried well. In use, the transparency across the range and its brilliant resolution makes pinpointing the spot you want to occupy or amend a breeze. It even translates well and I would definitely say that the image is exceptional for a pair of monitors in this price-
Now that the Egg 150 monitoring system has undergone a number of notable improvements it seems as if the Munro Sonic team have, in many respects, hit the nail on the head. In general the package appears to be well executed, even if there are some ridiculous limitations in terms of physical flexibility (ie. no user replaceable signal cables), and it offers a whole host of additional features (headphone amp, AUX in, midrange balance, room equalisation, etc.) that go a long way to help the engineer get the perfect mix that will translate well, and sound good in most environments. Whilst some will find the look of the Egg’s garish, I personally feel that they offer substance over style and, in terms of build quality, they are solidly made even if the Egg material is a little cheap, and should last for years to come, but if you run into any difficulties that two year warranty helps. Having discussed the superior sound quality of the Egg 150’s, I feel that they project well, are competitive at their price point, offer a coherent naturalesque stereo image, are highly agreeable, and are ultimately ideal for use in a professional studio. All in all The Pro Audio Web Blog feels that it just scrapes into the four and a half star region.