These days consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to wireless surround sound systems. Right now if home theater customers want wireless connectivity, they can check in with brands like Sonos, or they can take advantage of the WiSA standard and use systems from companies like Klipsch and Platin.
While WiSA has yet to catch the public’s eye to the same level as some systems due to it lacking multiroom audio capabilities, integrators may want to check back in and see what products like the Platin Monaco 5.1 can offer for clients who value flexibility and simplicity in their home theater.
Features and Set Up
The most prominent feature of the Platin Manco 5.1 system, and indeed the one consumers are most likely to be interested in, is the product’s use of the WiSA standard to bypass the need for a wireless internet connection or bridge to pair the speakers together. Instead, the Platin Monaco system uses WiSA, a hardware and software standard designed to deliver high-res digital audio wirelessly for up to 8 channels. This allows integrators to move the speakers to different rooms, position them freely in a home without having to worry about networking issues, and transmit audio up to a 24-bit/48kHz or 24-bit/96kHz sample rate without the need for speaker cables.
The Platin Monaco 5.1 system is tuned by THX and is designed to wirelessly stream high-resolution audio with less than 5.2 milliseconds of latency, and while it doesn’t include multiroom audio capabilities, the speakers are synchronized within 1 millisecond of each other to increase clarity and accuracy. The speakers also support multiple formats including Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital+, Dolby TrueHD, and Dolby Atmos.
Included with certain bundles is the SoundSend device, which allows integrators to pair the speakers with any smart TV via the display’s audio return channel (ARC) or enhanced audio return channel (eARC). The SoundSend makes setting up the system fairly straightforward, although I did encounter a few issues that I don’t expect to be typical of the system.
The Platin Monaco 5.1 system arrives in a large box with ample padding, with each speaker wrapped in a generous layer of foam sheets to prevent issues during shipping. After unpacking the system, the only thing I needed to do was plug in the SoundSend and all six speakers into outlets and run an HDMI cable from the SoundSend into my TV’s ARC port. From there, I downloaded the recommended SoundSend app via the Google Play store and made sure each speaker was working before diving into the settings.
However, after getting everything set up, I noticed the subwoofer and both rear speakers were not pairing correctly with the three speakers in the front. After playing around with the “associate” button the back of the speakers, which is meant to reconnect any speakers that might disconnect from the SoundSend, I wasn’t able to find a solution, so I rang up Platin’s customer support and was provided with excellent customer service; the person I spoke with spent nearly 30 minutes with me discussing the issue and offering demo suggestions after everything was fixed. Either way, this isn’t an issue I expect many integrators to experience, as the support person I spoke with claimed the issue was very rare.
Once all of the speakers were linked up and my TV settings were adjusted to make use of ARC, I spent some time with the SoundSend app to dial in my preferences including speaker EQ, trim, and the thoughtfully included MyZone option that allows users to set the distance of each speaker from the seating area.
Performance and Final Thoughts
After giving the speakers 400 hours of testing mixed between films, television shows, YouTube, and music streaming, I’ve been very impressed with the package Platin has managed to create for customers. For reference, all of my listening was done in a small room (15-feet by 15-feet) with no acoustical treatments or dampening. I did perform a very basic subwoofer crawl, but the audio in the room often felt slightly echoey, an issue I’ve experienced with similar audio systems in the past.
Watching films like the jazz-centric “Whiplash” really put the speakers through the wringer, but I’m happy to report the overall experience was excellent. Since the main character is a drummer, there are many scenes throughout the film where the rear speakers were used cleverly to deliver hi-hat hits and the signature sound of crash cymbals while warmer instruments like the woodwinds and piano are firmly planted in the center channel. Bass response is similarly excellent once some EQ adjustments and the subwoofer trim level were increased a bit.
While the speakers are a treat to listen to while watching films and TV shows, my favorite experience with the Platin Monaco is listening to streaming music. My taste in music is pretty broad, so I spent a lot of time testing various genres and subgenres to see how the speakers handled different styles.
Hard rock sounds convincingly full, with a few welcome touches of added brightness noticeable in fast-paced tracks like Tesla’s “Don’t De-Rock Me” when compared to listening to the same song via JBL bookshelf speakers. The clarity of the sound can get muddied a bit with metal subgenres like doom metal and extreme metal, and songs with heavy mids without strong vocals can occasionally find the vocal tracks drowned out. While this is fixable via EQ adjustments, I wish the SoundSend app gave users the ability to save custom EQ settings for various genres.
Indie rock and other acoustic guitar-driven stylings show the warmth and beefy midrange the speakers are capable of producing, with records like The Mountain Goats “Transcendental Youth” showcasing the clean production the album is known for without pushing the bass too far forward into the mix like my previously installed Vizio 3.1 system often produced.
Admittedly, the full audio capabilities of the Platin Monaco system are not really used while watching videos on YouTube, but I did find the lip-sync between the display and the speakers to be perfect, perhaps due to the WiSA platform itself. Some videos from channels that take audio seriously like Rare Earth or Lie Likes Music showcased a vocal clarity I didn’t expect, as even the best audio is often dragged down a bit by YouTube’s compression.
I don’t have too much negative to say about the Platin Monaco 5.1 system, as my experience has been largely error-free. The difficult set up process felt more like a fluke than something integrators are likely to experience, and the speakers will very occasionally de-sync from one another and require a quick reboot, but this only happened twice in my three months of testing.
The speakers themselves are of good quality for the price point, and WiSA makes moving the speakers to another room simple and easy. In fact, it only took me 20 minutes to completely unplug, move, and re-set up the entire system in a spare bedroom, which shows the flexibility of the package Platin has produced.
Integrators with clients who prefer wireless audio or who want the added flexibility wireless offers should definitely look into the WiSA options available out there, especially the Platin Monaco 5.1 package. For its price point, it’s hard to match the flexibility and simplicity the Monaco 5.1 system offers for home theater customers.
CE Pro Verdict
- Easy to unbox and set up
- Excellent audio quality for the price range
- Bass response is a highlight when listening to music and watching films
- Wireless connection remains stable
- SoundSend app could use a few quality of life updates like being able to save custom EQs
- Vocals can be drowned out in mixes with heavy mids
MSRP for the Platin Monaco 5.1 is $999.99.