Check the specs! Download a PDF of product specifications for the Dynaudio Acoustics BM 6A MKII powered monitors
Dynaudio Acoustics' BM 6A has been a popular close-field monitor in pro studios for years. With the Mark II version, Dynaudio brings a new design and a lowered price to the table. Fortunately, the Danish speaker manufacturer hasn't lowered the quality on these excellent monitors.
Cool and Compact
FIG. 1: Dynaudio Acoustics'' BM 6A MKII features a 6.5-inch woofer and 1.1-inch soft dome tweeter in a distinctive compact cabinet.
The BM 6A MKII is a powered bass reflex monitor that sports a 6.5-inch woofer and a 1.1-inch soft dome tweeter (see Fig. 1). The relatively narrow front face features tapered and beveled edges on each side and a woofer mounting ring that overlaps the tweeter mount, giving the monitor a distinctive look. The woofer ring extends almost to the edge of the cabinet. The tweeter has a decorative cover, an inverted Y made of spindly metal tubing that provides some protection.
At the bottom of the front panel and just above the Dynaudio Acoustics nameplate are two LEDs. The first lights green when the monitor is powered on. The second lights orange when the output stage is close to clipping. It turns red when the signal begins clipping, at which point the monitor is automatically muted.
The woofer uses Dynaudio's well-known design: a polypropylene cone with a large fixed and vented dust cap, which provides more surface area and rigidity. The tweeter is Dynaudio's Esotec rear-chamber, magnetic-fluid soft dome, with an aluminum front and a pure aluminum wire voice coil.
The rear panel features a slotted port across the top of the solid black, all-wood cabinet (see Fig. 2). Half of the control panel is taken up by a vertical heat sink running the length of the metal panel. To the right of the heat sink are switches that control the amplifier's highpass filter, input level, and equalization.
The highpass filter switch has settings of 60 Hz or 80 Hz for matching the monitor to a subwoofer. You can also leave the unit set to flat. (The BM 6A MKII's listed frequency response extends to 40 Hz.) The Level Trim switch provides 0, +4, and -10 positions for matching to low- or high-output sources. Next to these switches is a second LED power indicator.
Below those are the EQ controls. The LF switch controls the bass gain level using a shelf-type EQ. The level can be set to +2 dB, 0 dB, or -2 dB. In small studios, this filter can help with bass buildup at walls or corners. The MF switch activates a bell-shaped notch filter, which can compensate for lower midrange response peaks, and provides -2 and -4 dB settings. The HF switch lets you boost or cut treble response by 1 dB.
The BM 6A MKII has a single XLR connector positioned below the EQ switches and followed by the power toggle switch and power cable receptacle. Internally the amplifier supplies 100W to the woofer and 50W to the tweeter with a 1.5 kHz crossover frequency and 6 dB-per-octave slope.
Although over the years I've preferred larger drivers in stereo monitoring setups (as opposed to desktop-speaker-and-subwoofer configurations, for example), lately I've come across some compact monitors with pretty nifty bass handling. As more modern mixes rely on deep bass frequencies (traditional pop music as well as hip-hop tunes with extensive sub-bass tones), a few monitors with 6-inch drivers have risen to the challenge admirably.
FIG. 2: The monitor accepts XLR connections only and has slider switches to control its highpass filter, level setting, and EQ adjustments.
Surely, though, the BM 6A MKII would fall short of this benchmark, despite the cabinet's impressive depth (13 inches) and 40 Hz reach. This monitor, I thought, is going to sound very crisp and transparent on top and cry out for a subwoofer on the bottom.
Wrong. I happened to be adding some Paul McCartney solo albums to my iTunes library when I first hooked up the Dynaudios, and I did a quick comparison between 1989's “My Brave Face” (coproduced by Elvis Costello) and 2007's “That Was Me” (coproduced by David Kahne). As I expected, the shimmering guitars, Beatle-esque layered vocals, and trademark bass fills of the '89 tune were rendered as though they'd been recorded yesterday, with Dynaudio's excellent stereo imaging apparent from the a cappella vocal intro.
The newer production, a swing-funk rocker, reaches way down for frequencies associated with modern R&B. I was amazed at the bass the BM 6A MKII was putting out. The sampled kick drum was massive without a hint of distortion, and Paul's driving quarter-note bass added even more depth (what I would have called mud in the '80s) without overwhelming the arrangement. The monitors' amps spit out this low-end mash effortlessly, and their 150 watts filled up the room as though they were driving soffit-mounted reference monitors with 15-inch speakers.
Of course, a pop-rock AAC file is not a hip-hop CD. Here too, however, on tracks like Rihanna's “Umbrella” and Timbaland's “The Way I Are,” the BM 6A MKII displayed uniformity across the frequency range and reliability for power handling and mixing that reminded me of the Yamaha NS-10M (if it were better-sounding and -looking).
On some traditional jazz mixes in my studio, the BM 6A MKII was a reliable reference — in fact, it rendered subtleties like reverb tails and acoustic guitar transients better than the very, very good (although less expensive) close-field monitors I've been using. The slight midrange honk of certain acoustic piano samples I like, which sound better in a mix than solo, came through without becoming undesirably prominent. The growl of an aggressively played acoustic bass was unmistakable in the mix — apparent without sticking out like a sore thumb pop.
Most of all, I was impressed with how the BM 6A MKII maintained its uniformity at high and low volumes and across several styles of music. My lead guitar lines on country demos lay in the mix the same way, whether the monitors were barely audible or shaking the rafters. The front-panel clip LEDs were fast and accurate. After listening to a lot of program material with the monitor's gain control set to 0, I set the switches to -10 and was able to crank the control room outputs of a Mackie Onyx 1220 mixer way up without any noticeable sonic alteration.
The monitor also sounded great in my room without any tweaking of the EQ switches. When I did engage them, they were properly subtle — the kind of setting that would clearly help balance a room without changing the entire character of the speaker. In my studio, there was no need for any bass boost. I still find this kind of bass response remarkable in a monitor this size.
I can't say enough good things about Dynaudio Acoustics' BM 6A MKII. Straight out of the box, it had the power and sound of some of the best monitors I've heard in its class. If this monitor fits your budget and space, it should absolutely be on your list for auditioning. It won't astound clients with its clublike vibe — for that you'll need a subwoofer. But when the partygoers go home and you're mixing by yourself, you'll definitely dig the versatility and sound of the BM 6A MKII.
Rusty Cutchin is a producer, engineer, and music journalist in the New York City area.
BM 6A MKII
$1,745 per pair
FEATURES4EASE OF USE5AUDIO QUALITY5VALUE4
RATING PRODUCTS FROM 1 TO 5
PROS: Excellent frequency response, stereo imaging, and overall quality in a small package.
CONS: XLR inputs only. Pricey.