Audio Monitors: Better, Smaller, Cheaper
This year’s crop of small broadcast monitors shows that increased performance can come in smaller — and less expensive — packages. Self-powered has virtually become the norm, a welcome point for truck designers, who can always use the extra space that rack-mounted amps used to take up.
The SX-Series monitor system features the company’s proprietary X-ART transducer technology, ultra-low-distortion broadband A/B amplifier, and new Hexacone woofers with more linear excursion to optimize efficiency and accuracy. Models include the S4X-V/H three-way system with X-Art tweeter, 5-in. midrange driver, and two 9-in. woofers (V version priced at $4,795; H version, at $4,195); S3X-V/H three-way near-midfield system with 9-in. woofer (V version $2,745) and two 7-in. woofers (H version $3,395); S2X two-way nearfield system with 7-in. woofer ($1,895); and S1X two-way nearfield system with 5-in. woofer ($1,295).
The cost-effective AX Series monitor system, also featuring X-Art technology, is ideal for mobile- and remote-broadcast use. It includes the A8X with 50-W amp for the X-Art tweeter and 150-W amp for 8.5-in. midwoofer ($899); the A7X with X-ART tweeter driven by a 50-W A/B amp and a 7-in. midwoofer driven by 100-W pulse-width modulation ($599); the A5X with X-ART tweeter and 5.5-in. midwoofer, each driven by 50-W amps ($499); and the compact A3X measuring only 9.9 in. high x 5.9 in. W x 7.2 in. deep and 10 lbs. ($299).
Sky System One 5.1 ($6,165) is the original manifestation of Blue Sky’s approach to accurate, full-range 5.1 surround-sound monitoring. Each 100-W bi-amplified SAT 6.5 MK III satellite speaker uses a 6.5-in. hemispherical driver and a 1-in. ferrite tweeter with a dual concentric diaphragm and integral wave-guide. The integral 12-in. subwoofer features a single long-excursion 12-in. woofer and a 200-W low-distortion amplifier. Bass management is provided by Blue Sky’s Bass Management Controller (BMC MK III), which provides calibration, level control and other features.
In professional applications such as postproduction, the Blue Sky ProDesk ($4,865) is a full-range 5.1 surround sound monitoring system specifically designed for critical mixing and monitoring on the desktop. The SAT 5 MK III satellite speaker features a proprietary 5.25-in. hemispherical driver with a Danish tweeter and is powered by dual 60-W power amplifiers with adjustable gain control and a BOO optimized crossover. The SUB 8 MK III features an 8-in. woofer driven by a 100-W power amplifier. The BMC MK III makes this a high-performance compact 5.1 surround monitoring solution.
Blue Sky’s entry-level all-new MediaDesk MK II 5.1 system ($1,798) is optimized for computer-driven desktop audio recording, production, and “professional” home-theater applications. It features the SAT 4 MK II satellite speaker with a removable grill, 65-W power amplifier, new 65-W SUB 8, and remote controller.
Air-6 monitors ($,3790/pair) have onboard DSP offering EQ to tune the speakers and user ability to select dispersion patterns to overcome anomalies faced in truck environments. The tweeter features an Esotec 1.1-in. soft dome, rear chamber, magnetic fluid, 4-mm diecast-aluminum front, pure-aluminum wire voice coil. The woofer has a 6.5-in., one-piece molded-polypropylene cone and 3-in. pure-aluminum voice coil, magnetically shielded.
Measuring 6.7 in. x 10.2 in. x 9.3 in., the Dynaudio BM5a ($1,250/pair) achieves a frequency response of 55 Hz-21 kHz. Bi-amplified with 50 W for the 5.7-in., one-piece molded-polypropylene cone woofer and with 50 W for the Esotec 28-mm/1.1-in. soft-dome tweeter. The speakers are crossed over at 1500 Hz, with 6 dB per octave.
The 8000 Series’ innovative enclosure delivers a wide-frequency response with superb imaging qualities. From the compact 8020B (bi-amp, 4-in. woofer priced at $575) through the self-calibrating DSP 8260A (tri-amp, three-way at $5,850), all models use an all-aluminum minimum-diffraction enclosure (MDE) design with integrated advanced Directivity Controlled Waveguide (DCW), large internal volumes, curved edges, and high mechanical strength. All 8000 systems are magnetically shielded for use in environments where video monitors are in close proximity.
The 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 comprises the LSR2328P ($439) bi-amplified 203-mm (8-in.) studio monitor with 165 W of amplification; the LSR2325P ($249) bi-amplified 133-mm (5-in.) studio monitor with 90 W of amplification; and the LSR2310SP ($499) powered 254-mm (10-in.) studio subwoofer with an integrated 180-W power amplifier.
The Reveal 501a ($229) and 601a ($249) monitoring solutions have a matched 60-W integrated amplifier with a 5-in. LF/MF driver and 1-in. soft-dome tweeter. The 601a uses a larger, 6.5-in. LF/MF driver and 1-in. soft-dome tweeter, with a total power output of 90 W. Both monitors feature front-firing reflex bass port to negate boundary-coupling, a bass unit developed to minimize offsets and linearize the suspension components, wideband tweeter design extending the amplitude response beyond 20-kHz audibility to 30 kHz to improve the phase response from within the audible band, and sculpted and rigid front-baffle design to minimize diffraction.