Hands-On Review:M-Audio Studio Reference Monitors

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Number One—By Design


Over the past 20 years, M-Audio has developed a reputation for  pioneering innovative products that extend the boundaries of music  creation. The company began by mastering digital audio signal path  fundamentals in circuit design—quickly becoming the worldwide leader in  interface technology. In an effort to foster comprehensive end-to-end  music solutions, M-Audio then made a significant resource investment in  reference monitor research. Today, M-Audio’s studio monitors have become  highly successful around the world—and are the best-selling  professional monitors in the United States.


Studiophile BX Deluxe series


The original Studiophile reference monitors delivered quality  performance and accurate response by combining two extraordinary drivers  with unique crossover technology. Over the years, M-Audio has continued  to refine the monitors’ design and recently released the Studiophile BX5a Deluxe and BX8a Deluxe monitors.


The Studiophile BX Deluxe series updates the best-selling M-Audio  line with a variety of innovative enhancements. The new tweeter  waveguide provides exceptional high-frequency dispersion for off-axis  listening. That means you’ll enjoy a wider sweet spot and improved  stereo imaging. Additionally, the waveguide’s precise design serves as  an acoustic impedance converter, matching the tweeter’s complex  impedance for an extraordinarily accurate response.


The BX Deluxe monitors also feature integrated low-distortion  biamplification with separate amps for each driver. Combined with a  finely calibrated crossover, this design insures that both the high- and  low-frequency drivers are asked to deliver only the frequencies they  are most efficient at reproducing. The result? A more refined spectral  balance that delivers smooth highs, balanced mids, and tight low-end  frequency response.


To ensure a lifetime of service, M-Audio constructed the BX Deluxe  low-frequency drivers from woven Kevlar—the same material used to make  bulletproof vests. Kevlar’s high mechanical and thermal resilience makes  it ideal for use in speaker cones. Our engineers also created a curved  conical design that improves room dispersion. High-damping reliable  rubber surrounds provide percussive musical bass and ensure that the  cone reaches its optimal excursion for an extremely accurate  representation of low-frequency sound. The high-frequency domes are made  from natural silk to counter the high Q ringing that is inherent in the  poorly crafted metallic materials often found in other monitors. And  high-temperature voice coils reduce power compression, guaranteeing that  your monitors will deliver full performance hour after hour.


The Studiophile BX Deluxe monitor cabinets are designed for optimal  performance—right down to rounded corners for reduced edge diffraction  and superior imaging. Custom rear-port design audibly reduces the  turbulence and distortion caused by poorly designed ports. By paying  close attention to these subtle details and carefully integrating each  and every component, M-Audio has developed an outstanding new series of  reference monitors—designed for anyone who needs high-quality sound and  rock-solid performance.


The low-down on BX10s


The Studiophile BX10s active subwoofer is the ideal complement to any BX Deluxe monitoring  system. Comprised of a 10" composite driver, 240-watt internal  amplifier, and a variable 50 to 200Hz crossover, the BX10s delivers tight, clean bass in a compact chassis—perfect for project studios where space is often at a premium. BX10s is perfect for either two-channel stereo or multi-channel surround  monitoring environments and is designed to integrate with any powered  direct-field studio monitors, including the M-Audio Studiophile BX5a and  BX8a Deluxe active reference monitors. The BX10s even includes a subwoofer bypass function so you can judge how a mix  will sound without a dedicated subwoofer—controllable via the included  footswitch.


M-Audio Studiophile BX8a Deluxe and BX10s
M-Audio Studiophile BX8a Deluxe and BX10s

Studiophile AV 40—compact size, professional sound


The Studiophile AV 40 monitors are designed with the same quality materials and internal  electronics that are used in M-Audio’s acclaimed Studiophile BX Deluxe  series monitors. You’ll find features like audiophile-grade Class A/B  amplifier architecture and balanced 1⁄4" TRS inputs in addition to RCAs.  It all adds up to a big sound that belies the speakers’ small size.  With the Studiophile AV 40s, you don’t have to give up professional-grade fidelity to enjoy the ease and mobility of a compact speaker system.


Studiophile AV 20—audiophile sound for your computer


Designed specifically for today’s multimedia computers, Studiophile AV 20 features a unique angled cabinet that creates an accurate listening environment even when you’re short on desk space. With Studiophile AV 20,  you can enjoy M-Audio’s proven technology in a portable, powered  speaker that’s the perfect addition to any home computer or laptop.


Features & Specs

Studiophile BX5a Deluxe & BX8a Deluxe

  • 2-way studio reference monitors
  • Extended high-frequency response and refined sound
  • Low-frequency drivers with:
    • Curved Kevlar cones
    • High-temperature voice coils
    • Damped rubber surrounds
  • High-frequency drivers with:
    • Natural silk domes
    • Integrated waveguides
  • Magnetic shielding
  • XLR balanced and 1/4" balanced/unbalanced inputs
  • Volume control
  • Power indicator

Studiophile BX5a Deluxe

  • 70W of distributed power
  • 5" low-frequency drivers
  • 1" high-frequency drivers

Studiophile BX8a Deluxe

  • 130W of distributed power
  • 8" low-frequency drivers
  • 1-1/4" high-frequency drivers

Studiophile BX10s

  • 10" composite driver
  • 240W internal amplifier
  • Variable 50-200Hz crossover
  • Subwoofer bypass function
  • Video shielding for use near CRTs
  • Compact footprint for studios with limited space

Studiophile AV 40

  • 4" polypropylene-coated woofers
  • 3/4" ferrofluid-cooled silk-dome tweeters
  • OptImage III tweeter waveguides
  • 20W-per-channel amplifier with Class A/B architecture
  • Magnetic shielding for multimedia and video work

Studiophile AV 20

  • Optimized for computer audio including music, DVDs, and games
  • Acclaimed M-Audio technology used in pro recording studios
  • Separate high- and low-frequency drivers with crossover
  • High-fidelity 10W per-channel internal amplification
  • Custom cabinet with dense wood construction for full, warm sound