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March 26, 2012

KRK Rokit Powered 10-3 Review

To read the full detailed article see:  KRK Rokit Powered 10-3 Review

KRK —the brand with the yellow cones— took everyone by surprise at Musimesse 2011 when they announced the coming of a new three-way monitor with a 10″ woofer for about $500. The weight-to-price ratio is unbeatable for a monitor speaker, but what about the specs?

A December afternoon in the AudioFanzine office:

- Knock, knock, knock.

- Who’s there?

- I’m the delivery boy.

- Good, we were waiting for you. Please put the package in the kitchen, next to the stove.

- Isn’t that a bit awkward?

- Why, if I may ask? A fridge is usually placed in the kitchen!

- I think you’re mistaken, this is not a fridge, but the KRK Rokit 10-3 speakers!

- Oh! When I saw the size of the package, I thought you were delivering the fridge. Do you want a drink?

- I’d love one. I sweat a lot and it’s very hot in your office, I feel so dizzy…

KRK Rokit Powered 10-3

Sorry, we have to interrupt the story here and go back to the new KRK speakers. The Rokit 10-3 are huge! Considering their 46.3 lbs, we had to double-check if our monitor stands could withstand the load. It measures 21.2″ 12.7″ x 14.3″, and you can setup the speakers horizontally or vertically depending on your room. The speakers have the typical KRK look with two yellow-cone speakers — 4″ aramid-glass composite midrange and 10″ aramid-glass composite woofer. The monitor also features a soft-dome tweeter and a back-lit logo that indicates the speaker is on. The monitor has the exact same design as the other Rokit speakers, which constitute the budget series in KRK’s product range. In fact, in spite of the three-way design, the 10-3 are very affordable: $500! Few manufacturers offer three-way systems in this price category and we hail KRK’s initiative.

KRK Rokit Powered 10-3

The rear panel offers no surprises: you get a pair of shelf filters to adjust both high and low-frequency ranges (+/-2dB @ 300Hz and -2/+1dB @ 5kHz). The speakers also feature a sub-filter (30Hz) and a volume control (-30/+6dB). The bass port is placed on the rear panel, which is a good thing, even if the manufacturer recommends to place the speakers at least 3 ft away from the nearest wall. The connections are comprehensive enough: balanced XLR and 1/4″ jacks plus an unbalanced RCA input. Unfortunately, the power switch is placed on the rear panel, as is generally the case with most budget monitor speakers.

The 10-3 are real three-way active monitors with three class AB amps: 80 watts for the woofer, 2×30 watts for both the midrange and the tweeter. The crossover frequencies are set to 350Hz and 3.5kHz.

Now let’s take a closer look…

Conclusion

Three-way studio speakers with a 10″ woofer for $500 — very rare! This KRKs are designed for people who want a speaker reaching low frequencies down to 30Hz and have enough space in their home studio to set them up properly. Faultless look and sturdiness: the manufacturer has proven its skills in the past. We like the comprehensive connectivity and the rotatable tweeter/midrange baffle that allows you to set up the speakers either horizontally or vertically. As for sound, we were surprised by the low-frequency response, which we expected to be more emphasized due to the 10″ woofer. In fact, the response stays flat and authentic. The only disadvantage is the uneven high-frequency range including an attenuation at 3.5kHz and a boost at 6kHz. However, you can partly solve the problem with the high-shelf filter on the rear panel. For $500, the KRK Rokit 10-3 are definitely an appealing product. Just make sure your monitor stands can withstand such a load and watch out for backaches when you set them up!

Advantages: 
  • Price considering it’s a three-way speaker…
  • … Actually reaching down to 30 Hz
  • Manufacturing quality and sturdiness
  • XLR, 1/4″ jack and RCA input connectors
  • Can be used as near-fields
  • Horizontal and vertical setup
Drawbacks:
  • 3.5kHz attenuation and 6kHz boost
  • Very heavy and bulky
  • On/off switch on the rear side

To read the full detailed article see:  KRK Rokit Powered 10-3 Review

January 27, 2012

sE Electronics Munro Egg 150 Review

Filed under: Monitors — Tags: , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 11:13 am

sE Electronics is a Chinese-British company that was founded over 10 years ago to compete in the microphone market. Now sE Electronics has decided to enter the studio monitor market. In order to break into this market segment, the manufacturer went all the way and asked Andy Munro, a famous designer, to give an original look to its brand-new product. Egg laying has begun!

sE Electronics Munro Egg 150

The introduction of the Egg is a big challenge for sE Eletronics, considering that entering a new market is never an easy process. That’s why sE Electronics wanted to have a famous name on board. They met Andy Munro from Munro Acoustics who has had many well-known recording studios (Air Studios, Sphere Studios, Metropolis) and several famous artists (Massive Attack, U2, Coldplay) as his clients. He also collaborated with Dynaudio, so it is not his first attempt at this! In the past, sE Electronics already cooperated with Rupert Neve, another big name in the audio industry, to launch high-grade microphones (RNR1 and RN17). So it is not a first attempt for sE Electronics either!

London Hen

sE Electronics Munro Egg 150
Also available in white finish, other colors coming soon.

The first step of this review took place in Hitchin (less than 30 minutes from London) at Sonic Distribution’s office, the headquarters of Ishmaev-Young and Phil Smith who have been sE Electronics’ partners in the UK since 2002. There, we had the chance to meet the agreeable Andy Munro to talk about his new babies. Of course, it was also the opportunity for us to listen to the Egg 150 in the studio built in Sonic Distribution’s basement.

Andy Munro explained to us everything, starting with the very original shape of the speakers. Even if its original design is a plus with regard to marketing and sales — the Egg is definitely an eye-catcher in the studio monitor market segment— there are, first and foremost, acoustical reasons to it. The manufacturer asserts that this shape reduces diffraction interferences and smooths the frequency response curve, while reducing the size of the speaker and lowering the crossover frequency to avoid phase shift. Of course, the goal of this development was to get the most linear frequency response curve and a smooth energy diffusion within a room. Munro asserts that the ovoid shape is the second best solution after the wall-recessed speaker installation you can see in high-end recording studios. By the way, do notice that the transducers are mounted on a flat surface instead of being part of the egg shape itself.

For the shell construction, Munro chose a rather thin but very rigid plastic material in order to reduce resonances. That way, the resonance frequency is way above the woofer and the crossover frequency. And since the tweeter is mounted in a sealed volume, there is no resonance frequency problems anymore. As for the electronics, the designer made very clear choices. He designed a fully analog system using neither DSP nor digital processing.

If you want more information, watch the full video presentation with Andy Munro here:

 

We had a very good impression when we heard the Egg for the first time in Sonic Distribution’s studio (very good acoustic treatment by the way). A well-balanced frequency response and a tight and precise bass reproduction (although we had no other monitor for comparison). However, before giving our opinion about it, we wanted to wait until we received the Egg two weeks later so that we could compare it with another well-known 6″ studio monitor: Focal’s Solo6 Be.

But first of all, let’s have a look at the Egg.

Conclusion

sE Electronics Munro Egg 150

The Eggs need not be ashamed in front of the Focal Solo6 Be. In fact, these speakers signed by sE Electronics and Munro prove to be very versatile thanks to the controls on the external amplifier. They allow you to get a typical hi-fi sound reproduction when you want to listen to music for yourself or show your work to your clients, but also a Focal-like analytic monitoring (by boosting mids and attenuating the high and low ends). It’s obvious and it’s no secret that sE Electronics aims for two different markets (hi-fi and pro audio). Anyway, this versatility is a priceless advantage for home-studio owners who want to use their monitor speakers for purposes other than studio work.

sE Electronics has bet on originality (both at the concept and design levels) and it could prove really profitable. With its acceptable price and new 4″ and 8″ versions coming soon, the new studio monitor range signed by sE Electronics and Munro seems to have a bright future ahead.

Advantages: 
  • Original successful design
  • Sold in matched pairs
  • Easily accessible settings thanks to the external amplifier
  • Detailed and well-balanced sound
  • Mid-frequency control
  • Aux input
  • Headphones out on the front of the amp
  • Zero downtime three-year warranty
  • LEDs for a better placement
Drawbacks:
  • The amp takes space
  • No separate headphones volume setting
  • No scratch-resistant Egg surface

To read the full detailed article see:  Munro Egg 150 Review

May 27, 2010

ADAM S3X-H Active Monitors Review

First launched in 2009 at Musikmesse, the ADAM S3X-H is the successor of the jewel in the crown of its previous product range. But is it really an innovation or just an upgrade from the German manufacturer? R&D is back…

ADAM AUDIO has enjoyed a great reputation for a decade thanks to its active loudspeaker range making use of ART ribbon tweeters (ART stands for Accelerated Ribbon Technology, a patented technology conceived and developed by the German manufacturer). The inherent advantages this technological choice provides have been widely approved by an ever-growing user community and have also helped reinforce the singularity of the brand as the only one in this particular market to use ribbon transducers. The new X (“eXtended”) series builds on the main features of the previous product line, but brings some real improvements with itself.

ADAM S3X-H

First of all, the new X-ART tweeter is still based on a low-mass, folded ribbon; however, this new system offers an extended frequency and level response in the high end. The new tweeter actually features a higher frequency response (up to 50 kHz at -3 dB) and a higher level (+4 dB / +3 dB SPL) compared with the previous version!

New technology deserves new amplification… ADAM AUDIO developed a new, very low distortion class AB power amp for the X-ART ribbon tweeters that matches their efficiency level and allows them to make the best use of the full frequency range available.

Finally, the HexaCone woofers, based on a rigid honeycomb Nomex structure coated with two Kevlar layers, give the cone more rigidity making it more resistant to deformation. This results in a very high definition of transients and a better low frequency response. Moreover and unlike the previous model — the S3X-H (where H stands for “Horizontal” since the monitor is also available in “Vertical” format) — it features a 4″ HexaCone speaker to reproduce mid frequencies, which in turn ensures a better spectral separation. As a consequence, the manufacturer converted its 2-way flagship into a 3-way loudspeaker — which is quite rare for a “compact” monitor speaker.

With so many improvements over the previous A Series, this new monitor range promises a very interesting sound performance…

Conclusion

Once again, ADAM AUDIO distinguishes itself from other active monitor manufacturers by offering a compact, 3-way loudspeaker with outstanding accuracy and still based on its ribbon tweeter technology. Fans of the previous series — especially the S3A — might be really surprised by this evolution, considering the difference, in every aspect, between both models. The accuracy, spectral definition, stereo imaging, increased output power, and improved overall design of the S3X make it a perfectly reliable active monitor that can certainly find its place in any serious setup.

With a five year warranty and a price tag somewhere around $3,500, ADAM AUDIO has struck a decisive blow once again!

Advantages:

  • Output power!
  • Stereo imaging
  • Accurate low end
  • Overall sound definition
  • Control panel

Drawbacks:

  • Too bright with flat settings
  • Digital input card only optional

To read the full detailed review see:  Adam S3X-H Review

July 3, 2009

PSI Audio A214-M Active Monitor

PSI Audio shows us their new A214-M a “centre” speaker for surround monitoring applications featuring CPR (Compensated Phase Response) and AOI (Adaptive Output Impedance) technology that is a hallmark of the company.

To see more exclusive video demos visit Audiofanzine Videos.

April 15, 2009

Video Demo: ADAM SX-Series Active Monitors

ADAM presents their new SX series.

For more Musikmesse videos visit Audiofanzine Musikmesse

March 6, 2009

Video: Eddie Kramer and JBL Monitors

Filed under: Monitors, namm 2009 — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 7:58 am

Eddie Kramer tells us about his recent work on Woodstock live recordings with JBL studio monitors.

To watch all NAMM 2009 video demos visit us on Audiofanzine NAMM 2009.

February 3, 2009

NAMM 2009: Video Demo JBL LSR2300 Speaker Series

Filed under: Monitors, namm 2009 — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 8:06 am

Exclusive presentation by Peter Chalkin of the new LSR2300 series of active monitors from JBL Professional.

To watch all NAMM 2009 video demos visit us on Audiofanzine NAMM 2009.

January 23, 2009

NAMM 2009: Video Demo Alesis M1 520 USB

Exclusive overview of the brand new Alesis M1 Active 520 USB studio monitors.

To watch all NAMM 2009 video demos visit us on Audiofanzine NAMM 2009.

December 29, 2008

Test: M-Audio BX8a Deluxe Review

After having updated its entire range of audio interfaces, M-Audio now looks to update its monitors, especially in the wake of their excellent high-level EXS66 monitors. These updates have had great results on the small Studiophile AV40, so let’s see what’s happened to the BX8a, for which a Deluxe version was recently released.

M-Audio BX8a Deluxe

The BX8a Deluxe monitors are equipped, as their name suggests, with an 8″ boomer. The latter, made of curved Kevlar, is paired with a 1-1/4” natural silk, waveguide-loaded tweeter for a frequency range extending, according to the manufacturer, from 30 Hz to 24 kHz … In terms of power, these monitors are said to deliver 130 Watts. This means bi-amplification of 70 watts for the bass amplifier and 60 watts for the treble, which is more than sufficient for nearfield monitors. As for their looks, there’s nothing special to mention. Even if they’re not as original looking as the EXS66 monitors, the sober design, black matte finish, and the little blue power LED all look very nice. The well-adjusted ensemble and weight (26.4 lbs./unit) complete the impression of solidity and quality.

You might be a little surprised by the absence of features on the back of the monitors. In addition to the On/Off switch, the power cord jack, and TRS (Jack 6.35) and XLR inputs to connect the monitors to your audio system, there’s only a volume knob. No filter, no EQ, no boost: just a volume control with a middle position that’s not serrated. So it’s not possible to adjust the response curve of these monitors to adapt them to the room in which they’ll be used. Also you should be aware that there’s a vent at the rear of the enclosure: you will have to keep them a safe distance from the wall or it will affect the bass. This is a defect that was already present in the BX8a and which hasn’t been corrected in this version. In short, make sure you have enough space …

Conclusion

M-Audio BX8a Deluxe

Well-built and elegant looking, the BX8a Deluxe are nevertheless not perfect. Between the vent at the rear and a tendency to over-compensate the bass, we wonder why they didn’t include more than just volume settings in terms of adjustments. But compared to other speakers in the same price range, they clearly have their advantages. You’ll particularly like the width of their spectrum, particularly the highs which are very convincing. These latest M-Audio monitors have an excellent value and are likely to interest those who want to make their debut into the difficult science of mixing. Admittedly, there are better monitors, but more expensive,…even much more expensive.

Design.
Lows, and very detailed highs.
Pleasant to work with.
Excellent value for the money.

Lows too prominent .
Almost no sound settings.

Read the full M-Audio BX8a Deluxe Review.

December 22, 2008

Gifts for Music Lovers

Christmas Shopping

Are you tired of receiving boxes of chocolate every Christmas? You can’t take another hand-knitted sweater from your aunt and you’d like the bottom of the tree to look a little more…musical? Here’s a selection of gift ideas for your loved ones who may lack inspiration …

For Home Studios

The ultimate audio interface?
Prominently listed among the highlights of this year, TC Electronic’s Studio Konnekt 48 is a Firewire audio interface that features 24 inputs including 4 preamplifiers, 22 outputs, 12 simultaneous analog channels and world class DSP effects. Supplied with a remote control for around $1200, it’s one of the select few able to overshadow RME’s FireFace which, despite its numerous qualities, took a serious blow …

ProTools to go!
ProTools on a USB key; who would have imagined it? They did. Of course, the audio interface is ultra basic but thanks to the MBox 2 Micro, you can work your ProTools session on any computer, for a little less than $250. And since Transfuser currently comes with the package …

Little Adam
Halfway between a multimedia speaker and a near-field monitor, the Adam A5 is somewhat unique … There is the famous ribbon tweeter for which the brand is famous, guaranteeing quality highs, and bass response, which, given the size of the speaker, is no joke and makes it a worthy sibling of the famous A7, for a little less than $440 each. The ideal monitors for working in your apartment without disturbing the neighbors?

A half-legend?
Walking in the footsteps of the illustrious C414, the C214 is meant to be a more accessible version of the classic AKG mic. Featuring only one polar pattern but having the essential of what made the reputation of the large membrane microphone for under $600.

Night terror
It’s small, cute, inexpensive and it works like a charm. For less than $150, the Novation Nocturne will let you control your DAW and plug-ins while tasting the comfort of Automap technology.

26+26=2626
M-Audio’s high-end Profire 2626 has it all for those home studio owners who need a lot of inputs/outputs. Its preamps and converters meet our expectations and the price is around $700; did someone request a great deal?

Deus in machina
Widely used by the pros, the UAD-1 DSP card was nevertheless beginning to get old. So imagine our joy when we saw the UAD-2 arrive with a cornucopia of new plugins each as attractive as the next. And with prices that are not so “pro”, because between the small Solo to the big Quad, prices range from $500 to $1800.

Big Groove
The reference in virtual drummers is back! With 10 full kits and 55 GB of sounds and above all a complete mixer with a great effects section, Fxpansion’s BFD2 is a must for just under $400.

U47 USB?
If you’re looking for a simple way to connect a microphone (static or dynamic) to your computer, know that MXL has created the Mic Mate, an XLR to USB “adapter” incorporating a mic preamp and phantom power. It works without drivers, at the very reasonable price of around $50!

Multimedia Killers
Of course, with their 4″ boomers the Studiophile AV40 won’t do as studio monitors. Still, we’ve rarely come across such good multimedia speakers, with surprising lows for the size of the speakers, highs that’s aren’t bad at all, and great balance … The latest speakers from M-Audio have struck a strong blow to the competitors who offer roughly the same thing for much more, like Creative Labs, Logitech or Altec Lansing. At $150, the AV40 is probably one of the best options you can find for a traveling setup …

What if you changed sequencers…
We’ve got a thing for Reaper, a customizable sequencer, extremely stable, only a few MB, and costs, for non professional usage, fifty dollars. Where’s the catch? Why the discrepancy in prices? Well, we’re beginning to wonder …

Swiss army knife?
A recording studio in your pocket? It’s possible with the Boss Micro BR, a genuine Swiss Army knife that combines 4 tracks, a multi-effects processor, 300 rhythmic patterns and basic editing functions. It’s MP3 compatible, stores on SD cards, has a tuner, and an integrated microphone. What more do you need to know? The price? Around $200.

What a sound!
They look good, and work great, and what a sound. These tube and/or transistor preamps from Universal Audio give the best of both worlds …

Still haven’t found what you were looking for?  For more ideas read the full Gifts for Music Lovers article.

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