Hear Hear!: Speaking of Speakers

By Dan Daley

Audio speakers, along with microphones, are the last non-digital islands left in pro audio, and accordingly they induce the widest range of opinions. Fortunately, there’s plenty to choose from. The following is a list of some of the most popular options in the marketplace for those looking to ensure audio mixers and others hear what they need to hear.

The JBL LSR2300 Series Studio Monitor System addresses the demand for cost-effective, high-performance monitoring systems, driven by the proliferation of affordable, computer-based production and mixing systems. The LSR2300 Series includes: the LSR2328P ($439) bi-amplified 203-mm (8-inch) studio monitor with 165 watts of amplification; the LSR2325P ($249) bi-amplified 133 mm (5-inch) studio monitor with 90 Watts of amplification; and the LSR2310SP ($499) powered 254-mm (10-inch) Studio Subwoofer with an integrated 180-watt power amplifier.

Blue Sky’s Sky System One 5.1 ($5,395) is the original manifestation of Blue Sky’s approach to accurate, full-range 5.1 Surround Sound monitoring. Each 100-watt bi-amplified SAT 6.5 MK II satellite speaker employs a 6.5-inch hemispherical driver and a 1-inch ferrite tweeter with a dual concentric diaphragm and integral wave-guide. The integral 12-inch subwoofer features a single long-excursion 12-inch woofer and a 200-watt, low-distortion amplifier. Bass management is provided by Blue Sky’s Bass Management Controller (BMC MKII), which provides calibration, level control and other features.

In professional applications such as video post, the Blue Sky ProDesk ($4,140) is a full-range 5.1 monitoring system specifically designed for critical mixing and monitoring on the desktop. The SAT 5 MK II satellite speaker features a proprietary 5.25-inch hemispherical driver with a Danish tweeter, and is powered by dual 60-watt power amplifiers with adjustable gain control and a BOO optimized crossover. The SUB 8 Universal Subwoofer features an 8-inch woofer driven by a 100-watt power amplifier. The BMC MKII makes this a high-performance compact 5.1 monitoring solution.

Blue Sky’s entry-level 5.1 MediaDesk 5.1 system ($1,598) is optimized for computer-driven desktop audio recording and production. It features the SAT 5 MK II satellite speaker, dual 60-watt power amplifier, BOO optimized crossover and SUB 8 Universal Subwoofer, as well as the BMC MKII optimized for desktop audio.

The Genelec 8000 Series’ innovative enclosure delivers a wide frequency response with superb imaging qualities. Starting with the compact 8020B (bi-amp, 4-inch woofer) at $575, through the self-calibrating DSP 8250A (bi-amp, 8-inch woofer/1-inch tweeter) at $2,950, all models utilize an entirely aluminum MDE design with integrated Advanced Directivity Controlled Waveguide (DCW). All models use all aluminum, minimum difraction enclosure (MDE) design, with large internal volumes, softly curved edges, and high mechanical strength. All 8000 systems are magnetically shielded for use in environments where video monitors are in close proximity.

Tannoy’s Precision series of reference monitors include features such as Klippell symmetry and non-linear distortion analysis, laser scanning interferometry, and advanced acoustic CAD simulation. To ensure linear response and a wide listening field the Precision range is built around the Tannoy’s Dual Concentric driver, which offers a near-perfect point source. The Precision 6 ($429) and Precision 6D ($859, active version) offer a 6-inch constant directivity driver. The Precision 8 ($539) and Precision 8D (1,029, active version) offer an 8-inch constant directivity driver.

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