Monitor Audio Hyphn Loudspeaker – In-the-Field Review

It’s not often one gets a private listening session with a six-figure loudspeaker but my desire to get some personal time with Monitor Audio’s all-new Hyphn flagship speaker was fulfilled this past November. The Hyphn was premiered in 2023 in commemoration of Monitor Audio’s 50th Anniversary that was achieved in 2022. A year late but not really, as Monitor Audio did debut their Concept 50 prototype at the 2022 Munich HiFi Show, for their 50th celebration and the Hyphn is the promised production model of the Concept 50. Visually the Concept 50 and Hyphn are virtually identical but for the addition of the Hyphn’s outrigger feet. On a sonic front, no doubt Monitor Audio has continued to refine their concept with the production Hyphn.

Monitor Audio has put several years into the concept and R&D for the Hyphn, taking a cost-no-object approach to the design and engineering. Monitor Audio’s objectives was to produce the highest performing speaker possible, with a forward-looking perspective. Essentially a real world, top performing loudspeaker that is ready for today as well as tomorrow. The Hyphn looks both sleek and stylish, yet this form does follow performance and function. Beneath its relatively compact form is a 3-way 11-driver loudspeaker that is non-imposing with a contemporary-futuristic aesthetic.

How are they constructed?
Each Hyphn loudspeaker is comprised of twin pillar cabinets (legs) that house two pairs (4) force-cancelled 8 inches RDT III bass drivers. The bass drivers are mounted facing inwards in left / right pairs set just above and below the horizontal level of the midrange-tweeter assembly (the M-Array). The central focus point of the bass drivers’ output being in the gap between the legs of the Hyphn. The M-Array is a horizontal bridge structure fitted across the legs at the upper 3rd of the loudspeaker. If you’ve seen the movie Interstellar, I could not help thinking of TARS when looking at the Hyphn.

The M-Array contains 7 transducers: six 2” mid-range drivers that encircle a single 3rd generation Micro Pleated Diaphragm (MPD III) tweeter and is a floating alloy structure that is affixed but separate from the twin pillar cabinet. The M-Array seamlessly blends the midrange and tweeter, into a virtual point source. The mid-range drivers themselves are full-bandwidth, capable of output without breakup from 100 Hz to over 10 kHz, with maximum reach above 20 kHz with up to 3 mm excursion; while together with the tweeter, the M-Array covers the frequencies from 350 Hz to 60 kHz. This near point source arrangement ensures seamless mid-to-tweet transition for maximum imaging and soundstage.

The Monitor Audio Hyphn cabinets are made of acrylic stone – a combination of acrylic, minerals, and natural pigments with extremely high mineral content. The result is a very heavy and inert cabinet to house the multi-driver configuration. The materials allow for thinner walls than would typically be needed with MDF, permitting greater internal cabinet volume for the same outer dimensions. The construction of the Hyphn involves thermoforming the acrylic stone and hand polishing it to a fine finish, creating a discrete and unimposing structure where performance is the priority. Monitor Audio refers to the Hyphn as being the ‘shape of genius’.

Let’s look at the specifications
With a sensitivity of just 86 dB and an impendence of 4 Ohm (nominal) / 3.5 Ohm (minimum), the Hyphn calls for solid high-current amplification (recommended 200 – 1600 Watts RMS). The Hyphn has a full range loudspeaker with a frequency response of 18 Hz to 60 kHz (-6 dB, in-room) and is capable of a very high maximum SPL of 129 dB @ 1 m. The modest 54 13/16” x 19 ¾” x 20 ½” hide the fact that the Hyphn is a very heavy loudspeaker, weighing 106.9 kg / 235 lbs per loudspeaker, naked.

Three colour choices are available, including: Pure Satin White, Matte Black or Matte Heritage Green. The price of the Hyphn is £70,000 / €92,500 / AU$135,000 / CAD$ 130,000 per pair, making it the most expensive product and new flagship loudspeaker from Monitor Audio.

Listening in the Field
Though I did not get the privilege of hosting the Hyphn in my own listening room, I was given free reign with the Hyphn loudspeakers during a private multi-hour private listening session at a friendly dealer, namely EQ Audio Video. Over the past year, I’ve visited EQ Audio Video several times and become accustomed to their large main audition room – a purposefully designed and acoustic treated 17’ (W) x 21 ½’ (L) x 9’10” (H) space.

The system used for my auditing was comprised of a MICHI amplification : a P5 Series 1 stereo preamplifier and S5 stereo (dual mono) amplifier with a Musical Fidelity digital source chain : M6x DAC, Mx Stream digital steamer, combined with a ROON Nucleus+. The cabling was all from Audience and included the following models:  frontRow powerChord; frontRow XLR, StudioTWO USB and; AR12 conditioner. Last but not least, the full room acoustic treatments were from Viacoustic.

The music itself
The track Ambergris (Tipper) from their Fathoms EP was one of the first tracks I listened to. With the volume up at an average of 85 dB, I was amazed by the incredibly tight and impactful bass notes. The experience was visceral. The dynamic power and control of the bass was amazing, maintaining great clarity in the pulsing notes and absent of any perceivable overhand or cabinet resonance. The images within the large soundstage floated in space with the Hyphn effectively stepping out of the picture.

On the track Momma Sed (Puscifer), I took note of the guitar textures, which were ever so apparent through the Hyphn. The bass notes were solid, both stiff and impactful, while the Hyphn’s proficiency with delivering articulate bass across the low frequency spectrum was evident.

The track Human (Sevdaliza) exhibited the Hyphn’s ability to fill a room with sound, conveying an apparently unbounded soundstage that reached well beyond the speaker edges and going beyond the room walls. Bass articulation and composure again was obvious, the very low bass notes delivered with a concussive punch, exuding macro dynamic prowess.

State of the Art A.E.I.OU. (Jim James) through the Hyphn presented an incredibly deep soundstage with the Hyphn’s showing their ability to disappear. The soundstage was grandiose, wrapping around and totally immersing me in the music. I loved the way that the Hyphn was able to render the sound of the guitars and the distortion effects – clear without embellishment, my own notes stating…’dirty good’. There was no rounding, softening or beautifying but rather unwavering transparency.

One of my old favourite demonstration tracks that I first heard perhaps twenty years ago was Jazz Variants (O-Zone Percussion Group). On this track, the Hyphn’s capability with mass scale dynamics was once again proven – the speakers unflinchingly pounding out the tympani in an anvil like manner, while relaying the skins textures and the resonance of the drums. Yet, it was also on this track that I took note of the delicacy and micro detail present in the Hyphn’s rendering of the various bells, chimes, cymbals and percussion. Metallic tones were full, wholly developed, not only the shimmer and sparkle but the complex harmonics and timbre allowing one to easily distinguish bells, chimes, and cymbals.

Moving to the track Norbu (A. Filetta) I was taken aback by the lifelike presentation from the main vocal to the background child murmurings, bird chirps and the choir voices. The Hyphn’s produced a sweeping sound field with impeccable clarity. The tympani strikes were thunderous and ground shaking yet delivered in a most believable manner, with great precision and control.

I heard Eivør for the first time on the Hyphn, the track Trøllabundin was nothing less than entrancing. Her voice was angelic and ethereal with the Hyphn revealing naturalness together with the enwrapping echo of the recording. The Hyphn is a very transparent and revealing speaker that relays recording without editorialization, both energy and dynamics abound across the audible spectrum, apparently without constraint.

These were but a portion of the tracks I got a chance to listen to during my several hour-long listening session, with the Hyphn but it hopefully gives you some idea of my listening experience.

The performance that Monitor Audio has achieved with the Hyphn sets a new bar for this British audio product company. Yes, Monitor Audio has produced many very high performing speakers; their latest Gold Series and Platinum Series being truly high-end products. Yet, these prior achievements seem like precursors to the Hyphn – a speaker capable of delivering delicate nuance through to thunderous majestic climax. Expensive? Sure. Yet, not really compared to the market its positioned to compete. For those that prioritize unrestrained and exacting performance with a unique and forward-looking approach, Monitor Audio’s Hyphn loudspeaker must not be overlooked. Astounding!