It seems that every month a new studio monitor hits stores. Companies with many years in the game, like JBL, Tannoy and Genelec, are constantly facing competition from new upstarts. So how can any product cut through the competition and allow itself to be heard?
Genelec speakers, manufactured since 1978, are as common today in professional recording environments as the venerable Yamaha NS-10s were in the 1980s. Various models have become staples for recording, editing and mixing, but for some budgets these transducers are just out of reach. By introducing the M-Series (M030 and M040), Finland-based Genelec brings a more-affordable design to project studio owners.
Mackie has been a mainstay in the studio equipment world since the early ‘90s, making its early mark with mixers and making big inroads with the introduction of the HR824 monitors in 1997. The new MRmk3 series of monitors fits right into the company mission of quality and affordability.
This German company started out in 1999 with strictly high-end offerings, which were endorsed by many high-profile audio engineers. That “high dollar, rarified air” club has been brought down into the realms of affordability, with several offerings in the home studio and project arena, all of which keep the philosophy of the air motion transformer tweeter design intact. This high-frequency transducer has characteristics all its own, which some engineers prefer. The ADAM F7 is the latest offering that breaks price barriers and delivers performance to the tabletop production environment that has been, in recent years, unobtainable in a speaker with this tiny of a footprint. Built for near-field environments, the F7 delivers reliable, linear response for home, project studios and editorial stations, at an affordable price point.
Coaxial, or dual-concentric, speakers have been around for several decades, falling in and out of favor. The PreSonus Sceptre S6 active studio monitor combines the best attributes of coaxial design with corrective built-in DSP that purportedly removes the artifacts that have been the archetype’s downside.
Thomas Barefoot may not be a household name, but any serious recording engineer has heard of his speakers, even if they have not had the pleasure of working with them. I first heard about Barefoot Sound studio monitors about five years ago. At the time, I had been using several different and well-known reference models, including ADAMs, Genelecs and B&Ws.
Seven years ago, I reviewed Yamaha’s HS Series monitors (the HS50M monitor and HS10W subwoofer in Mix’s April 2006 issue) and was mightily impressed. The overriding hallmark was an eminently crystal-clear sound when placed on console-top shelves—positioning that defenestrates most other monitors’ clarity of reproduction. Nevertheless, Yamaha saw room for improvement. The HS Series has been updated, with better performance promised for the three full-range monitors and subwoofer comprising the product line. For this review, I took a stereo pair of the largest two-way model, the HS8, for a spin.
TRI-AMPED CO-AX DESIGN WITH AUTO ROOM CALIBRATION
INTELLIGENT CONTROL, ADVANCED NETWORKING AND AUTO-CORRECTION DSP
HIGH-END, TRANSPARENT MONITORS FOR MIXING AND MASTERING