If you were looking for studio monitors, NAMM was the place to be, with new models in seemingly every size, shape and color at prices affordable to just about anyone. And besides these new models, there was an ample selection of established models from numerous other suppliers, such as ADAM Audio, Alesis, ATC, JBL, M-Audio and others.
Akai Professional RPM3
Akai Pro''s new hybrid reference monitors and USB audio interface system, RPM3 monitors provide full-range frequency response to ensure audio reference that is true, yet powerful. A bass boost switch helps emphasize low frequencies, enabling users to tailor the speaker''s response to a wide variety of listening environments. Their lightweight and portable design means the system can be easily transported for reference monitoring anywhere. Combining high-quality reference monitoring with a USB audio interface, RPM3 monitors let users simultaneously play audio from and record audio to a computer through the included USB cable. No special drivers are required.
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Fostex PM0.4n Studio Monitors
Fostex has updated its popular PM0.4 studio monitors. The new PM0.4n models feature cosmetic upgrades and a high-efficiency bi-amped design, with twin internal 18-watt amplifiers driving the 4-inch woofer and 0.75-inch dome tweeter. The dual-ported enclosures (available in five high-gloss colors) feature smooth, radiused edges to minimize diffraction effects, and threaded inserts on the speaker base accommodate optional wall-mount brackets.
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KK Audio Labs DS-6
This two-way powered reference monitor combines a 6-inch LF driver using proprietary composite-cone material together with a 1-inch, custom-designed titanium composite tweeter. KK Audio Labs amplifier modules deliver 200W to the tweeter and 350W to the woofer. A unique feature is four tuned presets that can be used to optimize the monitor for any listening environment. The DS-6 has balanced XLR inputs and handles a frequency range of 44 to 22k Hz (+/-2 dB) with a maximum peak SPL of greater than 111 dB (per pair) of music power. The 13.9x12.6x12.9-inch enclosure is constructed from high-density MDF with a custom gray finish. Each unit weighs 25 pounds.
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Mackie announced a complete redesign of its best-selling line of affordable powered studio monitors: the MRmk2 Reference Monitors. Both the 5.25-inch woofer MR5mk2 ($199/pair, MSRP) and 8-inch MR8mk2 ($329/pair) are powered two-way designs with a 1-inch soft-dome neodymium tweeter on a wide-dispersion waveguide. Inside the rear-ported cabinets is a Class-A/B amplifier section with XLR, TRS and RCA inputs, and user-adjustable controls for acoustical correction. The enclosure''s optimally sized custom waveguide and molded baffle offers balance to the HF/LF content while increasing both the stereo imaging and depth of field. The monitors are slated to begin shipping worldwide in February.
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SE Electronics The Egg
The Egg is SE Electronics'' first outing into studio monitor design. The egg-shaped monitor, designed by SE''s Zou Swei and Andy Munro (formerly from Dynaudio''s design team), boasts neutral internal intrusion on the drivers resulting in better accuracy, detail and naturally flatter frequency specs. The crossover and biamplification are placed outside the cabinets, making for a more feature-rich and accessible user interface. Cabinet resonances and diffraction are main causes of coloration in sound radiation, yet few manufacturers have addressed the difficulty of forming a rigid acoustic enclosure of such complex geometry. By removing step changes in radiation impedance and virtually all internal vibration modes, the Egg has no spectral distortion other than the drivers themselves.
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Sonodyne SM 50Ak, SM 100Ak
An increasingly popular monitor choice in Europe, the Transaudio Group now brings Sonodyne monitor technology to the North American market. The SM 50Ak ($1,050 pair) is the smallest monitor in the Sonodyne range. Its active biamplified design delivers 45W to the 5.25-inch woofer and 45W to the tweeter to smoothly reproduce 70 to 22k Hz. Its aluminum enclosure and well-considered shape contribute to the open high end, honest midrange and tight bass. The SM 100Ak ($1,400 pair), also biamplified, offers 80W to a 6.5-inch woofer and the same 45W powered tweeter. The Sonodyne SM 100Ak delivers more low-end response, a larger sweet spot in front and greater SPL.
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