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Equator D5 Studio Monitors

September 19, 2012
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Equator is best-known for high-end speakers priced with four significant figures. So I can imagine the following happening when the D5 was first introduced. . . .
 
Someone sees an ad for the Equator D5 at $299.99/pair. Sensing that the company obviously made a typo, and buttressed by knowing the FTC would require them to honor that price anyway, he calls the company.

“I’d like to order a pair of your D5s. The ones for . . . $299.99.”
 
“Thank you for your order. What’s your shipping address?”
 
“First, just to make sure, you do stand by that price, right?”
 
[slightly confused] “Yes, they’re $299.99 a pair.”
 
“You realize that you have to sell them to me at that price, right?”
 
[more confused] “Well, yes, the price hasn’t changed since our phone call began.”
 
“But even when you get it wrong?”
 
[long pause] “Sir . . . excuse me, but are you feeling all right?”

Yes, they really are $299.99/pair.
 
Full disclosure: I don’t like reviewing speakers. They’re subjective, and I can’t include audio examples. Besides, the “best” speakers for mixing classical music aren’t always the best speakers for dance remixes. So, I’m writing this review to give you a heads-up. If you’re on a tight budget but think, “well, given the price, they can’t be that good,” you should know they are that good. Yes, there are better speakers—if you’re willing to pay a lot more, for something with a considerably bigger footprint. But if there’s a better speaker that’s even close to this price range, I haven’t heard it. The midrange has excellent definition, particularly in the upper mids—they’re smooth and non-fatiguing. The bass is superior to the response you’d expect from a 5.25" speaker in a small cabinet; I gave it a workout with some electro mixes, and it definitely holds its own.
 
What’s more, Equator apparently realizes it’s asking a lot to expect someone to buy speakers direct without hearing them so their 60-day money-back guarantee (less shipping) means people needn’t be reluctant to check them out. Yet I doubt they get many returns. After a day or two, these speakers settle in nicely; their distinguishing characteristics include accuracy that doesn’t grate, and the ability to make mixing a satisfying, not just clinical, experience.
 
Construction of the all-wood ported cabinet is solid, the size is right for smaller studios (9.75" x 7" x 8.5"), and the speaker is Equator’s trademark coaxial type with a a 5.25" woofer and 1” silk tweeter. It offers balanced XLR in, balanced/unbalanced 1/4" input, sensitivity control, and a rear-panel on-off switch. (I prefer front-mounted switches, but my workaround is a switched barrier strip.) The one exception to the no-frills approach is a three-position “boundary” switch, which optimizes response for speaker placements—corner, free-standing, or in front of a wall. This a surprisingly effective, and considerate for smaller studios where speaker placement may be constrained.
 
Even selling direct, Equator can’t be making a ton of money on these speakers; what’s more, they mention “introductory price” on their website. Given the reputation these speakers are earning, this low price might not last forever. These speakers are an exceptional deal, but don’t take my word for it: Given the return policy, you can find out for yourself. 
 
 
SUMMARY
STRENGTHS: Extremely cost-effective. Accurate. Non-fatiguing. “Boundary” switch is clever. 60-day trial period lets you evaluate in your own listening environment.
 
LIMITATIONS: Nothing significant.

$299.99/pair, direct sales only
equatoraudio.com
 

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