When it comes to getting a true Dolby Atmos home theater sound experience, your choices are pretty simple. You either buy an A/V receiver and hook it up to a bunch of wired speakers, or you go the soundbar route. But now there’s a third choice, with Platin Audio’s new Monaco 5.1.2 wireless home speaker system, which can be pre-ordered starting September 13 for $1,499, with deliveries beginning in mid-October.
The Monaco 5.1.2 includes two front speakers, two surround speakers, a center channel, and a subwoofer, all of which communicate via the WiSA system for wireless audio. This means that each speaker is independently powered and can be placed anywhere within the same room. The speakers get their signal wirelessly from the included WiSA Sound Send module, which can transmit eight channels of lossless audio at up to 24-bit/96kHz, with incredibly low latency, so audio sync problems shouldn’t arise.
Platin Audio is no stranger to the WiSA platform — we checked out the company’s Monaco 5.1 system in 2021, and found it to be a worthy alternative to similarly configured soundbars. But at the time, we noted two challenges. First, it wasn’t compatible with Dolby Atmos, which seemed like a missed opportunity given the increasing popularity of the spatial audio format. And second, the system relied almost entirely on the TV being the center of all audio playback.
In other words, with the exception of an available optical port, all audio had to be channeled through the Sound Send’s HDMI input from a TV’s HDMI ARC or eARC port. And while that’s fine for movies, TV, and sports, it’s very limiting when it comes to almost any other audio like streaming music, Bluetooth, local digital music, turntables, or devices like a Sonos Port.
The new Monaco 5.1.2 still suffers from these music source limitations, but at least the Dolby Atmos part of the equation has been addressed. The two left and right front speakers are now equipped with up-firing drivers that can bounce sound off of the ceiling and back to your listening position for that key Atmos experience: height channel effects.
At $1,499, the Monaco 5.1.2 competes with some impressively equipped systems like the combo Sonos Arc/Sonos Sub at $1,648, the Sony HT-A5000/SA-SW3 combo at $1,500, and the soon-to-be-available $1,500 Sennheiser Ambeo Plus soundbar. Those products can’t match the Monaco’s discrete surround speakers at those prices, but they offer a lot more versatility in terms of listening to a variety of music sources.
Still, WiSA systems offer a compelling alternative to both A/V receiver-based systems as well as soundbars, so the Monaco 5.1.2 might be just what some folks are looking for — all of the speakers, but none of the wires.
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