Equator Audio Research D5 Monitor Review

Feb 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Bobby Frasier



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photo of Equator D5 back panel

The back of the D5 offers simple sensitivity and boundary controls.

Because the D5s are coaxial and have a “point-source reference,” they exhibit a wide sweet spot, which means that the soundstage and imaging are anchored securely to the phantom center. This is one of the little speaker’s major features, along with its amazingly linear frequency response in the midrange.

Inevitably, every speaker is going to sound different, so I use several different reference speaker systems for comparison. In doing so, you must give credence to a baseline reference—one that you know and trust. That system, for me, is the JBL LSR-6328P with a JBL-6312P subwoofer. I also reference several smaller speakers, ones that I know and love. With that said, the Equator D5s exhibit a high degree of accuracy and imaging as compared to my reference speakers. Of course, there is going to be a difference: These boxes are much smaller than my references, but I can honestly say that in the critical vocal range, I could rely on the D5s to make mix decisions.

Listening to my reference mixes, the D5’s instrument placement is in line with much higher-priced speakers, and with an SPL rating of 103 dB, I can listen to the characteristics of high-SPL reproduction, and the obvious low-level details, as well. Equator has produced a speaker that everybody will love, whether editing dialog or mixing full-range in a home environment. I was simply blown away when listening to reference mixes I use all the time to test speakers: The D5’s imaging is superb, its sweet spot is wide, the silk tweeter is smooth and the low end truly goes down to 53 Hz. I’m impressed. At this price point, these speakers are nothing short of phenomenal.

Being a guitar player, I am always looking for accurate reproduction of this particular instrument; as a recording engineer, I’m looking for everything—the complex harmonic structure of piano, the bowing of strings and the grind of a Leslie-driven organ. The D5s reproduce the instruments of an orchestra with a great degree of accuracy; the soundstage is correct, as is the instrument placement and timbre. It reproduces drums faithfully, if not at ear-bleeding levels, with the snare and kick firmly planted in the soundstage with no hint of boxiness. The complex harmonics of piano are heard with little if any escalation or resonance of any particular frequency. And vocal reproduction is realistic, which is unheard of in a speaker this size and at this price.

I found them to be smooth across the entire frequency spectrum, and with nary a hint of listening fatigue after hours of production—a welcome experience. If you need more sound pressure, you will need to go with a different speaker, but the D5 is always a speaker you can refer back to, at a lower level. Granted, the lower octave below 53 Hz will need a subwoofer to truly get a feel for “what’s going on in the basement,” but for everything else, the D5s will suffice in a home studio environment or any near-field monitoring situation.

Equator has chosen to self-distribute a well-designed little monitor to further its brand name in the industry, and the company has done a remarkable job of creating a system that would fit comfortably in every home studio and professional environment around the globe. A point-source reference monitor, with this degree of accuracy, and at this price point, is a newfound paradigm. This is a no-brainer: Buy these speakers. You will not be disappointed. To ensure this statement, Equator has a 60-day, money-back guarantee. If you don’t like them, send them back. No manufacturer has offered this amount of confidence in its product in recent memory.

Speakers are getting better, and the D5s are at the forefront of this technological trend.

Bobby Frasier is an audio engineer, educator and guitarist for Beatles tribute band Marmalade Skies.

Equator D5 product summary box

Click on the Product Summary box above to view the Equator D5 product page.

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