From newcomers to household names.
With regards to the densely populated space of studio monitors on the market currently there’s plenty that have flown way under the radar. Ranging from decades old speakers that are still available to brands you may not have even heard of, we’ve put together this list of five studio monitors you may have missed.
- M-Audio BXD3 series
- Monkey Banana Gibbon
- Event Opal
- Mackie MR series
- Alesis M1Active MK3
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M-Audio BXD3 series
Now, M-Audio are a very respectable audio brand but some of their studio monitors don’t get as much love as they deserve. The BXD3 series in particular are noteworthy due to their balanced sound profile and custom waveguide.
Utilising Kevlar woofers (similar to KRK’s approach) paired with silk dome tweeters and a rear firing bass port, the BXD3 series from M-Audio is a classy 2-way studio monitor. These monitors have crossovers set at 2.5kHz with 100W of bi-amplification across the two drivers in the 5-inch model. There’s a positioning LED on these which is probably one of the more inventive designs I’ve seen that shines a small beam of light at the spot the perfect listening position.
These hold their own as one of the best budget studio monitors that you may have missed, with a sleek design and quality sound you can trust.
Check out M-Audio’s BXD3 series studio monitors here.
Monkey Banana Gibbon
Monkey Banana have been bubbling under the surface of studio monitors since they released their first product in 2010. Their range of monitors are aptly named after different primates—Lemur, Baboon, Turbo and Gibbon—with the latter being their entry-level offering. Don’t let the fun branding mislead you, these products are manufactured for studio use.
Within the Gibbon range there are 4, 5 and 8 inch versions available with a matching subwoofer to boot. The 4 inch monitor, Gibbon AIR, is tailored more to the everyday user with built in Bluetooth, a front facing volume control and an input selector. The Gibbon 5 and 8 however are aimed at studio use with their multiple balanced connection options and sizeable bass response, making them a good fit for music production.
Perhaps the most surprising thing for the range of monitors is their competitive price. For a smaller brand, their pricing is on par with other monitors of the same ilk from larger manufacturers.
Check out the Gibbons here.
In 2009, Event were acquired by Australian microphone manufacturer RODE and subsequently released the Opal. This high end powered studio monitor became the brands sole focus, and were released to universal acclaim, praised across the board as a solid high end studio monitor that sounds incredible.
With a smooth mid range and deep bass response, these eight inch woofers provide a great lens to monitor audio through with a transparent, low distortion output. Part of this is courtesy of the series connected voice coil (X-Coil) that is wired out of phase to provide increased control over the driver and reducing distortion.
Event as a brand haven’t said a word for close to 5 years now, and production of these monitors has apparently been discontinued, but there are still a few retailers out there that are selling them for you to get your hands on.
Check out the Opals via Event’s website.
Mackie MR series
Another affordable offering from Mackie, the MR series is a collection of three rear ported 2-way professional studio monitors with a matching sub. The monitors utilise a logarithmic waveguide to increase the depth of the ideal listening spot and help with stereo imaging.
There’s an acoustic space controls on these monitors which allows for flexible placement of them within a room via bass attenuation at -2dB and -4dB. The high frequency shelf, which operates at 3 kHz can add or remove 2dB from this area to allow you to adjust the speaker to taste within a given range, as to not reduce the overall quality of sound.
The sound overall is very balanced for a speaker of this price range, providing a depth of detail for you to monitor your music through. It’s interesting how much this speaker is overlooked in studio monitor discussions despite its quality performance.
Check out Mackie’s MR Series monitors here.
Alesis M1Active MK3
Now these have really flown under the radar. The Alesis M1Active series MK3 are on the budget end of the market in terms of studio monitors and have seen little buzz since their release a few years ago. The monitors utilise up to 65W of amplification with a combo jack input for balanced audio signals.
Alesis opted to use aluminium woofers for a fast transient response due to the lightweight material paired with a precision-designed waveguide for controlled high frequency dispersion. By design, the two front firing bass ports provide a beefy low end for producers who want to feel the low end without a sub and cover 45Hz-22kHz in frequency response.
The monitors would serve great as desktop monitors as well as they would suit budding producers and engineers looking to sink their teeth into the audio world.
Check out the Alesis M1Active MK3’s here.