May
2024

Country of Origin

Korea

VC2

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (i5, 256GB SSD, 40GB RAM, Sonoma 14), 4TB external SSD with Thunderbolt 3, Audirvana Studio, Qobuz Sublime, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, LHY Audio SW-8 & SW-6 switch, Laiv Audio Harmony and Sonnet Pasithea; Active filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos & Gold Note monoa on subwoofer; Headamp: Kinki Studio THR-1; Phones: HifiMan Susvara, Meze 109 Pro; Loudspeakers: Qualio IQ [on loan] Cables: Kinki Studio Earth, Furutech; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: FiiO R7 into Soundaware D300Ref SD transport to Cen.Grand DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe; Preamp/filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Amplifier: Kinki Studio EX-M7; Headamp: Cen.Grand Silver Fox Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini + Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF, Akiko Audio Corelli; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; DAC: iFi Pro iDSD Signature; Head/speaker amp: Enleum AMP-23R; Speakers: Acelec Model One
Headphones: Final D-8000 & Sonorous X, Audeze LCD-XC, Raal-Requisite SR1a on Schiit Jotunheim R
Upstairs headfi system: FiiO R7; Headphones: Meze 109 Pro, Fiio FT3

2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m

Review component retail: $6'000/pr monitor, $11'000 base, add $700/pr for navy-blue anodized finish

The MonAcoustic PlatiMon VC1 had been an exciting find. I reviewed it a year ago and still remember it. Then my samples trekked to Berlin where John Darko took his own listen, preferred them to his Wilson TuneTot and called out better value. Docked atop the new bass extender, you could be forgiven for thinking the resultant tower a YG, another member of the expanding Club Aluminator. Once you look closer, a question mark should flicker. What's with the wave-guided beryllium tweeter? An 8-inch woofer now of the Korean firm's own design is normal for a bass bin if perhaps smaller than anticipated. Yet a 25kHz+ French super tweeter—Mon refer to it as harmonic tweeter since it produces zero fundamentals—is utterly unexpected. Add a 9-step rear adjustment to it, then the ability to run the stack in 3½-way parallel or 4-way series mode to high-pass PlatiMon at 210Hz. This isn't your usual fixed passive proposition. It's a flexible changeling claimed to do 20Hz to 40kHz. Given its heavy-metal aluminum 6061, add 70½lbs for the base, 32lbs for the head. Total cost is $17'000/pr. Axpona was the VC2's coming-out party. Stereophile's Jason Victor Serinus loved its demo with Accuphase electronics. Two days prior to the Munich show, Mon CEO and US importer Young Byun alerted me that I'd been put in the review queue. Splendid. A reunion with lovely PlatiMon was welcome indeed. Hence I was katana keen to learn what the super-tweeter and bass additions plus choice-laden tuning variability had wrought. With only three pairs made by then, I hadn't the faintest on timing. I simply agreed. One day my door bell would ring with a very cranky delivery driver. I'd have some coffee for him by way of apologizing for the combined weight.

In 4-way high-pass mode, the monitor's bass ports become ineffective.

This photo shows how designer Jun-hyeok Seo's local dealer has ambitious competition to conduct comparisons. Mon clearly don't design in a vacuum. They have their finger on the pulse of the current state of hifi affairs. True, super tweeters are contentious. Armchair engineers remind us. Human hearing doesn't exceed 20kHz. CD resolution lacks HF content beyond the same threshold. Ergo, such devices can't work. Anyone who says otherwise is gullible, a crook or has a runaway imagination. But VC2's harmonic tweeter can turn off. We have instant A/B. Do we really think that turning it on won't be audible to activate (cough) spontaneous sales prevention? If it makes a diff we simply can't understand, should we deny our experience in favour of paper theory?

I've reviewed Elac's 4pi omni ribbon, EnigmAcoustics' self-biased electret Sopranino monopole and Franck Tchang's dispersion-lens diamond-dome omnis. I'm on the beats-me-but train already. Shaky arguments for theoretical support of super tweeters might include improved in-room power response in the treble, superior sub 20kHz phase response? That's me in the rickety armchair. I prefer leaving that seat to the peanut galleries. They love arguing for argument's sake. It's easier than minting personal experiences.  [Above, Fyne Audio's SuperTrax super tweeter¹ gets €3.5 or 4K/pr in gloss back or walnut and fires a carbon-composite dome tweeter into a dispersion lens for omni radiation.]

Not that lending an open-minded ear is so difficult. It might just require a bit more of an effort? Stereophile's reviewer made it: "Mon importer Young Byun spent a while demonstrating the Two's super tweeter which only adds information from 25kHz up. When it was active—it can be set to various levels—the presentation benefitted from significantly more air and ambiance. I've experienced super tweeters that sound bright and metallic, especially when they're AMTs, but that was not the case here."

Not only did Jason listen, he had the guts to share his theory-defying comments under his own name not a forum handle. Would I channel him when my bell rang? Time will tell. The angled insert above shows easy colour options for Mon's isobaric 4" mini monitor because they're a simple swap of the front and back plates.

Just so it's possible that VC2 could come with its own alternatives to classic black and silver. If that's you, ask. Mon clearly appreciate style and its demands. Navy is already available for a $700 surcharge to get this entire floorstander dressed in understated blue. My upstairs system runs that super-compact lilac version which Jun stands behind. Having reviewed two of his models and bought one, I'm a fan of his work so came back for thirds.

At right we see the complex crossover required to accommodate two different modes of operation.
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¹ Potential 'troubles' with add-on super tweeters are looks, finishing, sensitivity and high-pass slope which mismatch our speakers and their tweeter. And successful employ in the first place requires that our speakers have a flat top. Yun's built-in solution eliminates all potential compromises and the running of separate cables to an add-on tweeter. In 4-way mode, our only extra cable is a set of short jumpers between base and head. In 3½-way² mode of course we need classic bi-wire because now we don't want to filter the monitor through the base's crossover.

² As always, preceding a two-way monitor with a high-pass filter prevents it from seeing any LF below it. The higher that filter, the more it reduces excursion requirements and related distortion. It also reduces voice-coil heat which over lengthier bass-heavy sessions can drive up impedance to act like a resistive damper on dynamics. Less distortion and dynamic compression across the bandwidth of a mid/woofer converted to just midrange duties are obvious benefits. Purist could counter that running a mid/woofer wide open at the bottom eliminates energy-robbing parts in the signal path and their potential phase shift. VC2's two hook-up modes allow us to compare their relative merits/demerits. The parallel 3½-way connection's lower Ω will obviously tax our amplifier more so on that score, the series 4-way connection wins. Aside from the electrical differences, a very obvious win of the roller-ball docked concept is that wherever numerous stairways must be navigated to install VC2, moving the monitors separate from the bass bins is just easier than dealing with a monolithic enclosure. In fact my very first spec whether to accept a speaker review solicitation or not is weight. If I'm not comfortable that I can safely unbox and rebox loaners by myself without any help because they're too unwieldy on size and weight, I opt out.