Near-Field Reference Monitors | Innovation and Accuracy

Feb 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By George Petersen



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The first Blue Sky monitor designed to be used with or without a subwoofer, the SAT 6.5 EXR is two-way, bi-amplified near-field with dual 100W amps and two independent XLR balanced inputs—one for full-range operation, the other with an 80Hz highpass filter for use with Blue Sky’s SUB 12, SUB 212 and SUB 15 Universal. The monitor’s 6.5-inch, cast-aluminum-frame woofer has a hemispherically shaped, mica-filled polypropylene cone with rubber surround, paired with a 1-inch dual-ring radiator tweeter with integral waveguide. Retail is $949 each.

The next evolution of Blue Sky’s EXO stereo monitoring system, the $499 EXO2 package combines a 110W subwoofer, two 35W satellites and a controller. Like the original, the EXO2 combines true full-range monitoring with the convenience of a desktop remote-control hub. Each 3-pound (7.2x4.8x5-inch) satellite has a 3-inch cast-frame neodymium woofer and a 1-inch fabric-dome neodymium tweeter.

The redesigned BM5A MkII ($715) from Dynaudio Acoustics features a new 7-inch driver, high-resolution soft-dome tweeter and a dual 50W amplifier delivering 117dB SPL. Three integrated analog room filters allow for adjustment and compensation at low, midrange and high frequencies, and there is a (60/80Hz) HPF and a +4/-10 sensitivity switch.

Equator Audio Direct 5

Equator Audio Direct 5

At NAMM, we got a sneak preview of the Direct 5, the next release from Equator Audio, a 5.25-inch coaxial, direct-field design with matched transducers, silk-dome tweeter, onboard factory-preset DSP and 100W of onboard amplification, all within a front-ported enclosure just more than nine inches tall. Street pricing is approximately $299/pair.

The latest addition to Focal’s Compact Monitoring System line, the CMS 40 ($465 each) is targeted for broadcast and post-production environments, and allows near-field listening from as little as 16 inches without compromising sound balance. An aluminum/magnesium inverted-dome tweeter provides high frequencies to 28 kHz, while its 4-inch polyglass woofer extends LF to 60 Hz. Dual 25W Class-A/B bi-amplification has analog XLR and RCA inputs. The optional CMS Sub is $1,095.

Focal SM9

Focal SM9

The Focal SM9 puts two independent speaker systems within the same cabinet. The SM9 features a 1-inch inverted beryllium dome tweeter (100W), a 6.5-inch midrange driver (100W), 8-inch woofer (400W) and an upfiring passive radiator. The system boasts a 30 to 40k Hz (±3dB) response and can be switched into two-way mode, which shuts down the woofer and radiator but reconfigures the crossover for two-way use.

Fostex PM0.4n

Fostex PM0.4n

Fostex has updated its PM0.4 studio monitors. The new PM0.4n ($199 pair) models feature a high-efficiency, bi-amped design, with twin internal 18W amplifiers driving the 4-inch woofer and 0.75-inch dome tweeter. The dual-ported enclosures (available in five high-gloss colors) feature smooth, radiused edges to minimize diffraction effects, and threaded inserts on the speaker base accommodate optional wall-mount brackets.


Genelec 8260A Review

Genelec ( expands its 8200 Series of DSP-driven monitors with the 8260A, a three-way design incorporating a proprietary Minimum Diffraction Coaxial (MDC™) mid-high driver on a Directivity Control Waveguide for smooth, flat on/off-axis response. With the MDC, the midrange driver cone forms a continuous surface for the tweeter output, coupling both drivers into a single coincident point source. Genelec Loudspeaker Manager software manages crossover filters, driver EQ, driver alignment, room-response correction, calibration filters and distance-compensating delay so the 8260A can be used with other 8200 Series DSP monitors and 7200 Series subs in the same setup. Genelec’s AutoCal automated room-calibration/system alignment provides accurate response for multichannel audio systems in varying room environments.

The redesigned M-v2 Series active studio monitors from iKey feature a front-firing bass port, soft-dome tweeter and glass-aramid composite woofer. There are four different models: M-505v2 (5-inch woofer, 50W/25W bi-amped; $209), M-606v2 (6-inch, 65W/25W; $239), M-808v2 (8-inch, 100W/25W; $319) and the 175W M-10Sv2 10-inch subwoofer ($399). All have HF or crossover adjustment and a rear panel volume control.

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