M-Audio is normally associated with audio interfaces or keyboards, and not studio monitor speakers. However, when Studio-Speakers.com dug deeper we were surprise to learn that the BX5 monitor were the best-selling studio speakers in the US just a few years ago. The M-Audio BX5 D2 monitor, which basically became the budget monitoring speaker standard for some time, was later redesigned in both appearance and internal construction and gave birth to the BX5 D2, which is what we are reviewing in this post. The BX5 D2 is another great speaker from M-Audio, read on to find out why.
Features of the BX5 D2 monitoring speakers
The M-Audio BX5 D2 is a studio monitor that sounds great despite its compact size and budget price. Measuring only 7.7” x 7” x 10” and weighing only 11 lbs, the BX5 D2 monitors are ideal for small to medium-sized home recording studios. Like may other small near-field monitors, they offer great stereo imaging, and they also work well in a broad array of applications including pop and dance music.
The BX5D2 is finished in an attractive satin-black vinyl laminate, and its solid cabinets have rounded corners that are said to reduce edge diffraction. Featuring a bi-amplified design, there are two Class-A/B amplifiers that provide a total of 70W of power; 40W for the woofer and 30W for the tweeter, with a crossover point between the two at 3 kHz. Each monitor speaker has a 5” Kevlar cone and 1” silk natural silk dome tweeter that is said to counter the audible ringing inherent in the poorly crafted materials often found in other budget studio monitoring speakers. The flared edge of the woofer opening allows for a smooth transition from the roll surround to the baffle, a technique commonly used to reduce diffraction. M-Audio have also completely isolated the tweeter’s high-frequency dome from the rest of the enclosure, with the purpose of minimizing distortion and creating an ultra-smooth frequency response all the way up to 22 kHz. The quoted frequency response is 56 Hz to 22 kHz, however no tolerance figures are given so it is difficult to tell from this just how much roll-off there is, particularly at the low frequencies. We found the bass to be acceptable, but not as pronounced as other speakers in it’s price range. Also, with its high crossover frequency at 3 kHz, they’ve helped to keep the critical midrange frequencies nice and clean and free of speaker crossover artefacts.
The rear ports are optimized to provide improved low-frequency response and to reduce air turbulence and resulting distortion. However, the rear port location causes the usual placement issues associated with this design, making the speaker’s bass response quite sensitive to wall positioning. The monitor is also equipped with a balanced XLR and 1/4” balanced or unbalanced TRS plus a volume knob.
M-Audio claims that the BX5 D2 is designed to deliver extraordinary transparency and sonic definition, allowing users to enjoy long mixing sessions without their ears feeling exhausted. We found this to be the case too with our testing too, although we did find that the tweeter was a little bright to our taste.
A nice feature is the pinhole power LED that makes finding the listening sweet spot quick and easy. They’re at their brightest when the speakers are aimed properly at the listening position. This can save you time when positioning the monitors in your studio. It’s also nice to be able to visually check and see that you are seated in the best position to achieve optimum sound quality and stereo imaging.
|Tweeter||1” Silk Dome|
|Power Output||(30W High / 40 W Low)|
|Frequency Response||56Hz – 22KHz|
|Max Peak SPL||n/a|
|Input Impedance (Ohms)||20K Ohm Balanced, 10K Ohm Unbalanced|
|Dimensions||7.7”x 7”x 10” (195x176x252mm)|
Studio-Speakers.com have found that the M-Audio BX5 – D2 performs surprisingly well given its size and pricing. While the BX5 – D2 has brighter high frequencies and less extended bass than other speakers in its class, it’s still impressive and can produce some great mixes. It goes as loud as you need it with nearfield placement and delivers a reasonably accurate impression of mix balances. The lack of deep bass extension may make the BX5 – D2 less useful as a main monitor for mixing dance music, but for pop, rock or acoustic, it should do a pretty good job. Basically, this model sounds better than you would expect given its relatively low price, so if you’re looking for a pair of compact nearfield studio monitors that deliver great performance for the price, the M-Audio BX5 D2s would be a good choice.
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The M-Audio BX5 – D2 performs surprisingly well given its size and pricing.
- Excellent sound for the price
- Can be used to produce well balanced mixes
- Has pinhole power LEDS to guide speaker positioning
- High frequencies can be a bit bright
- Bass is less extended than others
- Rear porting makes it sensitive to placement near walls
- Has no level adjustments (unlike competing products)