Welcome back to the second part of our monitors round up, this week we’re going to be casting our eyes upon the midrange monitors, those that for a slightly larger amount of dosh – deliver often markedly superior results over the budget choices
Lots of big names are here, Eve, Fostex, Adam and some more surprising choices as well. We feel that these monitors represent added quality, a higher class of sound and durability. All for a not entirely unreasonable price-tag.
The £400 to £800 range is where feature lists start to grown and sound quality starts to ramp up. It’s also at this point that everything seems to get a bit bigger too! Most monitor manufacturers provide a range of products but it is more most obviously at this price point where there will be some correlation between price and cabinet size, power, driver dimensions or maybe even a combination of all three. In a range of similarly spec’d monitors you’ll typically get bigger woofers and larger cabinets for your hard-earned cash.
So let’s take a look at some of the most desirable choices on the market right now:
Fostex PM 8.4.1
Price £499/pair Contact SCV London 020 8418 1470
Three-way monitors are uncommon in this price bracket. Papered Kevlar woofer (8-inch) and midrange (4-inch) sit with a 3/4-inch soft-dome tweeter. The speaker enclosure is divided for the bass and mid drivers. Measuring 270 x 432 x 290mm and weighing 13.6kg you’ll need space and sturdy stands.
Producing a loud, room-filling sound with well proportioned bass they are also clear and transparent. The treble can be strident and there was a little port chuffing.
Price £790/pair Contact Adam 02077373777
A plus for front-panel power switching and indented volume control. EQ adjustment includes -6dB to + 6dB of cut/boost below 150Hz and above 6kHz plus a Tweeter Level control (-4dB to +4dB). A 50W amp drives each driver – a 6.5-inch Rohacell/Kevlar woofer and ART ribbon tweeter. Effortlessly clear and open presentation provides the wow factor.
The midrange has a natural and unforced quality that carries vocals and guitars with ample detail. Complex guitar picking comes across with brilliant vibrancy. Left/ right imaging is precise and the soundstage has airy depth. Professional-quality monitors suited to both electronic and acoustic material.
EVE Audio SC205
Price £699/pair Contact Nova Distribution 020 3589 2530
Two-way with a 5-inch SilverCone woofer and an AMT ribbon tweeter. The woofer has a honeycomb structure and glass fibre coating for stiffness. Analogue inputs feed Burr-Brown converters, allowing the signals to be processed digitally before reaching the PWM-class digital amplifiers. A multi-function front knob adjusts volume, activates standby and accesses filter settings.
The SC205s have nicely controlled and clear bass and a remarkably open and deep soundstage. With natural acoustic recordings you get a real sense of the recording space. There’s no hype in the low mids/upper bass and it’s very even down to 50Hz. Low-end performance is impressive, while left/right imaging is crisp and fine details are conveyed with ease.
Price £564/pair Contact SCV London 020 8418 0778
Recommended for post-production and home studio use as well as full-size pro studios, two 25W Class-A/B amplifiers power a 10cm Polyglass cone woofer and an inverted dome tweeter. The reinforced cabinet has the level control and power switch on the front. LF and HF shelving switches apply +2dB correction from 450Hz and 4.5kHz. Rubber ‘feet’ and table stand minimise vibration.
These look small but sound huge. We detected a small amount or port turbulence, but we’ve heard far worse. Imaging is outstanding, bass lines are deep but tight, and transient response is lightning- fast. Without being bright, hyped or forceful, the degree of detail and clarity is simply amazing.
Dynaudio BM5A MKII
Price £782/pair Contact HHB 020 8962 5000
A rear-ported enclosure contains a 7-inch woofer, wire-protected 26mm soft-dome tweeter and 90W of amplification. There are boost/cut switches for HF and LF and an attenuation switch for the low-mids. The HP filter with Flat/60Hz/80Hz settings allows the BM5As to be matched with a subwoofer and the input level can be set to +4/0/-10dB.
With the frequency switches set flat the BM5A produces a huge, room-filling sound with deep bass that retains its rhythmic drive, punch and harmonic content. Stereo imaging is way above average and the soundstage is very deep. Essentially neutral in character, the comprehensive equalisation allows them to be used in rooms with or without acoustic treatment.
Price £758/pair Contact Source Distribution 020 8962 5080
Quoted power figures include 80-watts long-term power, 120-watts burst power and 250-watts peak power into the woofer. Rear controls set gain (+12dB), HF shelf and LF shelf (both +3dB). You can really crank the 20/20s without losing clarity, low-end composure or your sanity.
They are upfront but non-aggressive, have character without colouration and left/right imaging is very sharp. You’ll hear plenty of detail, with room ambience and reverb tails clearly audible, but the 20/20 doesn’t have an especially deep soundstage. So they’re less involving with acoustic music, but excel with electronica and rock.