For this review, I had two CP-IWX460 loudspeakers professionally installed in my room. Installed 8 feet apart on the front wall, and 13 feet away from my listening seat, they were wired up with Tributaries SP812UL 12-guage long crystal copper speaker cables. The CP-IW460X’s come with magnetic paintable speaker grills that fit like a glove to conceal the drivers.
When I began my evaluation, the first thing that caught my attention was these speakers’ impressive clarity and high frequency definition. The ribbon tweeter in the CP-IW460X is truly a high-end transducer, revealing minute inflections and fine detail in a most refined manner. This amazing tweeter is also very well integrated with the flanking twin midrange drivers, calling no undue attention to itself. I found the mid-to-high frequency response to be reminiscent of the Monitor Audio Gold 300 loudspeaker that I reviewed in 2015. In that review I stated that “the treble possessed plentiful detail and was well extended with a refined smoothness”; this description would equally apply to the CP-IW460X. Like the Gold 300, the CP-IW460X also had an organic warmth across its upper midrange and treble – superb detail without any tendency towards coldness, dryness or sterility. Voices reproduced by the CP-IW460X possessed a vibrancy, combined with warmth and lifelike texture that enriched my listening sessions.
On Esperanza Spalding’s self-named album “Esperanza” and the track I Adore You, I was smitten by the abundance of dynamic bass energy, weight and definition. Esperanza’s voice came across as sweet, natural and relaxed. The opening kettle drum strikes were stirring and the CP-IW460X seemed to have no problem conveying the ominous Congo jungle flavour of this track. Raspy notes from the shakers were textured with wonderful definition, no doubt enhanced by the ribbon tweeter’s speed and transient proficiency. A generous soundstage was revealed with a clear sense of depth and front to back layering – percussion falling behind Esperanza’s glorious voice, brush strokes on the drums a little more forward. Imaging was handled with aplomb, with the various elements taking defined positions in space.
Sony Rollin’s track, God Bless The Child, was a pleasure to listen to through the CP-IW460X loudspeakers. The opening upright bass plucks were deep and resonant, having realistic timbre. Yet, it was Sonny Rollins’ sax play that had my emotions welling. Delivered with dimension, it was as if Sonny was playing just within the confines of my room. There was a caramel sweetness to the sound of the sax, which was well accompanied by the fulsome glow of the guitar notes playing to the other side.
On Outlands, from the TRON Legacy soundtrack, the CP-IW460X exposed the sinew character of the violin strings with evident variations in stroke intensity. The timpani drums were conveyed in an impactful manner, while the brass instruments sounded rich and resonant. The overall soundstage was large with impressive depth and the CP-IW460X’s were able to deliver the vastness of the soundscape across the front plane of my room.
Bass with the CP-IW460X was very well handled. With a 50Hz low frequency extension, you wouldn’t expect the CP-IW460X to reveal the nether regions and they don’t. However, the CP-IW460X should not be underestimated. It has substantial bass, enough to rival a large bookshelf or even mid-size tower loudspeaker. I did try a 2.1 arrangement with a Monitor Audio Silver W-12 subwoofer. Once adjusted, it was clear that the W-12 subwoofer reached deeper into the bass and added some size to images. The W-12 is a musical subwoofer and therefore, well complemented the CP-IW460X; yet, despite the bass enhancement adding in the W-12 did not result in a night and day difference. What I mean is that the CP-IW460X can hold its own on bass for the large majority of music. Home theatre though would be another story, a high quality subwoofer like the W-12 would be indispensable to fully appreciate movie sound effects.
The days of compromising on sound to meet décor trends is a thing of the past with a speaker as capable as the Monitor Audio CP-IW460X. With its paintable grills, any interior decorator should be satisfied, without compromise to high-end sound. Like a ‘sleeper’ hot-rod, the CP-IW460X delivers delicious high-end performance behind a most unassuming exterior.
Monitor Audio CP-IW460X In-wall Speakers
$2,200 US / each