In our latest 6 of the best roundup we check out the best monitors for all price points and a variety of studio set-ups and situations…
Best All Round – Focal Alpha Range
The Alpha 65 is the monitor of choice for the editor of this very website (this week anyway), but Huw Price looked at the extreme ends of the range for this test, and also found them to be excellent, particularly the entry-level model…
“With the equalisation set flat the Alpha 50 produced more thump and width in the lows. In small rooms or close to walls you may find the port-assisted lift a bit too much, but notching the bass down by about 2dB tightened the 50’s lows. Our favourite thing about the CMS 40 is the sense of acoustic depth and realism in the soundstage.
The clarity, accuracy and sheer audio quality this monitor provides is rare indeed at this price point.” He concluded: “Both of these models have much to recommend them, but for high-quality studio monitoring the Alpha 50 is the one we’d choose.”
Best High-End – Unity Audio Boulder MK II
Price £5,997 pair
Contact 01799 520786
Web www.unity audio.co.uk
The Boulder is one of the largest midfields on the market. You might be paying some serious money for them, but they are serious monitors. Reviewer Huw Price said: “Tonally, these are right on the money, and they have a tremendous sense of power and scale. Transient response is also first rate, revealing lightning-fast leading edges and no flabby overhang.
Stereo imaging is also excellent, making precise instrument placement within a deep and wide soundstage easy”. He concluded: “Superb monitors with superior bass response, impeccable midrange and treble coherence. The tonal accuracy reveals all the fine detail. These new Boulders really are truly world-class monitors.”
Best With Sub – Dynaudio BM Compact MK III
Price £514 each, sub £946
Contact TC Electronic – 0800 917 8926
When reviewer Huw Price tested these, he tried them with and without the sub. “Although the Compact MkIII is an accomplished speaker on its own, we found the BM9S elevated its performance. There was an immediate improvement in clarity, image depth and imaging. Most importantly, the midrange detail was significantly enhanced.
The Compact worked superbly with the BM9S II, so if your budget will stretch to it, buy the entire system. Sounds superb, great build quality, easy to use. This is a high-quality near-field that works even better in conjunction with the matching BM9S subwoofer.”
Best Budget – Tannoy Reveal 402
Price £99 each
Contact TC Electronic – 0800 917 8926
For the money, there’s little out there to match these. Indeed Huw Price was blown away… “Things are getting a bit silly when you can get speakers as good as the 402s for so little money.
Sure you can pick them up on some deficiencies here and there if you want to be hyper-critical, but the frequency balance, imaging and clarity create a very good overall impression. The bass remains solid, even down to 50Hz or so, below which there’s a fairly rapid roll-off. You may notice a peak around the 120Hz mark, but it’s pretty much in line with what you would expect.
They have ample power, great looks and impressive sound quality for the price. Fine-sounding, a range of connection options and plenty of power.”
Best Midfield – Adam S3X-H
Price £2,000 each
Contact Adam – 07590 069007 or 0207 737 3777
These might be among the priciest – not to mention the largest – monitors in this round-up, but they are also right up there with the best sounding. “Ultimately, these Adams deliver the forensic detail, imaging accuracy, transient response, wide frequency range and flexibility needed for top-end professional monitoring.
They’re also commendably quiet, considering the sheer power of the amplifiers, and they can go extremely loud – but, most importantly, they’re very enjoyable to listen to,” said reviewer Huw Price before concluding: “They have an extremely transparent sound. You have every right to expect stellar sound given the price, but the S3X-H ticks every box, and won’t disappoint
Best With Amp – Munro Sonic Egg 150
Price £1,9 99 pair
Contact Sonic Distribution – 0845 500 2500
These Eggs are based on the respected sE Munro system and include a midrange EQ option, so are a great choice for a wide variety of uses. They are an excellent choice for project studios who are on a budget and might not want to invest in multiple monitors, but still want a high-end solution.
Reviewer Mike Hillier said: “The low-end feels punchy with a fast response that makes the bottom end sound a little more alive. This in turn leaves the low-mids sounding less strained, making it easier to make fine EQ decisions in this area,” concluding: “The new Egg 150 monitoring system is a solid improvement on an already great pair of monitors.”