Let me give you some background of me: I've been working in audio industry for about 15 years, most of the time for smaller and bigger recording studios. I've had 3 home studios over the last 7 years due to moving to different places. I've worked with most of the great "classic" monitors yamaha, genelec, adams, rokit etc. I needed a pair of monitors for my new studio build and I wanted to get a good overall sound, including bass so needed at least 6.5 inch speakers. The price range I was going for was 300-450 for a pair since I still have access to high end monitors in my main studio. I tried all kinds of monitors in this price range (Eris8, Rokit8, Rokit6, Yamaha hs7, hs8, mackie mr8, and some others) but chose these. I have to say these sounded more flat than rokits for sure, had better bass response than yamahas (hs7 - not enough bass, hs8- too overpowering), the closest were Presonus and Mackie. since they both cost more I chose M-Audio an got some stands and they still were cheaper than the competitors.
First let me tell you - these monitors are BIG. definitely bigger than I expected them to be. The build quality of these is great - no problems whatsoever. I expected some minor flaws at this price range, but they came flawless. Very nice surprise.
Features - you have volume knob on both of them, 110 or 220V switch and that's it. No microadjustments, no EQ. Fine by me.
SOUND: These speakers sound flat (as they should). Despite some negative reviews the bass response is spot on - not too much, not too little. Make sure your room is treated properly before you judge the sound. there are some frequencies that would benefit of slight boost, but overall they sound great. There is no noise whatsoever - make sure you have grounded power outlets and use high quality cables.
OVERALL: These are great monitors not only for the money but in general. They are very basic and do what they are intended to do. Obviously they don't have a fancy name or a fancy look which is why people tend to lowball these from the get-go without even listening to them. They look discreet, professional (all black, nice looking finish) and sound great if only you treat your room properly. Honestly you can mix on anything since the most important thing is to know your setup well - that is the key to success, but why mix on something bad if you can get these for such a low cost?
I was in the market for a larger set of powered monitors than I was currently using (4") to try and dig out more in my mixes, and I didn't want to spend a lot at this stage. At the time of purchase there wasn't very much else on the market that offer the size of woofer for this kind of price.
These monitors have a generally good review from others, but a few people complain about a hum. This seems to only occur when you drive them at full volume on the speakers themselves. This is not a problem for me, I never listen that loud.
I've given 3 stars for quality for two reasons.
1. the first pair that I got were faulty. One monitor had a distortion. Thomman were perfect and took them back and sent replacements promptly and without extra charge.
2. Although the new monitors are in order, I'm a little disappointed with the finishing as the foil they stick on the units to give the colour and finish easily starts to peel and mark without any overtly rough handling.
So what do they sound like? Well to my ear they are very clear and clean. Lots of presence and depth in the sound stage. I think you'll need to pay quite a lot more to get something better. (my next logical step might be say Yamaha HS series, but I'd demo them first to make sure they really are an upgrade, despite the rave reviews)
Some people might bemoan the lack of on board settings for tuning the speakers to your room. Personally I think most problems can be corrected with placement and adequate baffling much more effectively. Again, for the price I didn't expect such luxuries, and I'd probably be afraid to use such things anyway. As it is, I made no adjustments in that regard.
All in all, a great sounding set of monitors, that look serious. Just be very careful with them, and they should serve you well.
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