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The process of buying studio monitors has never been an easy one. Choosing from a plethora of products in a dealer's showroom can be difficult enough,

The process of buying studio monitors has never been an easy one. Choosing from a plethora of products in a dealer’s showroom can be difficult enough, but these days, monitors come in every conceivable size, design style, type and price — ranging from compact near-fields to gargantuan ultra-SPL main systems. Users must also decide between various options such as powered and unpowered models, analog or digital inputs, stereo pair or 5.1 array, dedicated center-channel models, subwoofers, bass-management features, and even remote and network-control functions.

The “old standard” monitors that were so popular 10 years ago won’t necessarily cut it in today’s production environment, especially with the growing need to work in high-resolution analog and high-bit rate 96/192kHz digital formats for surround and stereo mixing. To help you sort out what’s available, we decided to check out some recent entries in the monitor market, focusing on models that have debuted during the past year, listed alphabetically, with Websites provided for more information.

Available in both powered and unpowered versions, the ADAM Audio ( S2.5s and SV4s are designed for stereo and multichannel applications. The S2.5 includes an 8-inch woofer and an A.R.T. (Accelerated Ribbon Transducer) HF driver and handles 120 watts RMS. The powered version of the S2.5, the S2.5-A, drives each component with separate 100W amps. S2.5 frequency response is 38 to 35k Hz, and the S2.5-A dips lower to 24 Hz. The larger three-way SV4 and SV4-A add an A.R.T. midrange and an 11-inch woofer. The SV4 handles 150 watts of program power; the SV4-A has three separate 100W amps. The SV4 has a stated response of 32 to 35k Hz, and the powered SV4-A brings the bottom end down to 28 Hz.

British speaker manufacturer ATC re-enters the U.S. project studio market with its T-16 ($3,000/pair) monitor. These active monitors were designed with modern music production in mind and are tailored to the sound of rock, hip hop and dance music. The T-16 houses a 6.5-inch mid-bass driver and a 1-inch tweeter in a ported enclosure. All power is derived from the internal amplifier, which delivers 200 watts to the woofer and 50 watts to the tweeter. The T-16 also includes controls for variable sensitivity and bass boost. ATC is distributed by Transamerica Audio Group,

Bag End’s ( INFRAsub-18 PRO and INFRAsub-12 PRO models offer new features for pro studio surround monitoring, such as six balanced XLR inputs and five highpass-filtered, balanced XLR outs. In addition, an ELF (Extended Low Frequency) calibrated slave output is provided for additional subs. A remote concealment indicator allows for monitoring remotely from the bridge of the mixing console. Both models have internal 400W amps and Bag End’s exclusive ELF dual integrator for a flat response to either 8 Hz (INFRAsub-18) or 20 Hz (INFRAsub-12).

Betting that three speakers are better than two, Blue Sky adds another satellite/subwoofer system to its catalog with the introduction of the ProDesk package, which includes the SAT 5 Active Satellite and the Sub 8 Active Subwoofer. The two-way SAT 5 drives a ¾-inch tweeter and a 5.25-inch woofer with two 60-watt amps. The SAT 5’s LF cutoff is at 80 Hz with an internal crossover at 1.8 kHz. The overall response of the SAT 5 at ±3 dB is 20 to 20k Hz, with the LF filter bypassed. The Sub 8 pushes an 8-inch woofer with a 100-watt amp, and its typical room response is 20 to 200 Hz. For pricing information, visit

Earthworks ( now offers its TEC Award-nominated Sigma 6.2 monitor in a solid cherry version. It’s flat from 40 to 40k Hz within ±2 dB, with a time-accurate output across this range. Price: $5,000/matched pair.

Based on the Swedish Embracing Sound Experience patent, EMES launches its second ESE-System monitor package. Distributed by X Vision Audio (, the Mini-OWL is a biamped, mag-shielded, compact (13×11.5×8-inch) monitor. All amp stages deliver 80W continuous power to each driver — in total 320 watts. Frequency response is 60 to 20,000 Hz (±1.5 dB). MSRP: $1,550.

Designed for the near-field needs of budget-minded users is the TR (Tuned Reference) Series from Event Electronics, The Series includes the TR5 ($399/pair, list) and the TR8 ($599/pair), based on the popular 20/20 and Project Studio monitors. Both the TR5 and TR8 utilize a biamplified design, boasting a frequency response of 53 to 19k Hz, ±3 dB, and 35 to 20k Hz, ±3 dB, respectively. The TR5 uses a 5.25-inch woofer and a neodymium, 25mm, soft-dome, HF driver. The TR8 uses a similar 8-inch driver and 1-inch silk-dome tweeter. Both units are magnetically shielded and include balanced XLR/¼-inch and unbalanced RCA connections.

The FAR Audio ( Tsunami-10 active monitor is a two-way, biamplified system featuring a 10-inch woofer and 1-inch soft-dome tweeter with symmetrical waveguide. The drivers are mounted on a triple-layer front face that sandwiches a resilient layer between two 22mm MDF panels. Frequency range is 35 to 22k Hz, and maximum SPL is 125 dB (two cabinets @ 1 m). User-adjustable HF and LF contour presets include a lowpass filter and highpass filters. Dimensions are 19.5×12×17 inches; weight is 62 pounds. Inputs are XLR and ¼-inch, with a link connection for multispeaker applications. Additional features include a switchable limiter, exceptional power handling and accurate time alignment.

The FAR Audio OBS is designed specifically for remote vans, broadcast facilities and editing rooms. This powered, mag-shielded, two-way speaker has a 5.5-inch woofer and 1-inch soft-dome tweeter, with a high-power, low-distortion amplifier and Butterworth passive crossover. Frequency range is 60 to 22k Hz; maximum output is 112dB SPL (two cabinets @ 1 m). Dimensions: 10×9×7 inches; weight is 13.2 pounds.

The Fostex ( PM-1 is a biamped powered monitor system, offering 50 to 20k Hz response (±2 dB) and a $499 retail. Onboard 75- and 45-watt amps drive the 6.5-inch aromatic, polyamide woofer, and 1-inch, low-mass dome tweeter to peak SPLs of 118 dB. Dimensions are 15×8.5×11.25 inches; weight is 23 pounds.

Genelec‘s ( 7000 Series is a revolutionary line of active subwoofers. The four models (in 8, 10, 12 and dual-12-inch woofer configurations) feature proprietary LSE (Laminar Spiral Enclosure™) technology, which virtually eliminates acoustic nonlinearities from port turbulence. The three larger models offer Genelec’s new 6.1 bass-management system, with six signal input and output channels (LCR front and LCR rear), a discrete LFE signal input with selectable 85/120Hz lowpass filter and a summed signal output. Connections include balanced XLR I/Os and an RJ11 that has different functions: remote-overload LED indicator, bypass and remote selection of +10dB gain in the LFE channel. The 7000 Series includes the 7071A to complement Genelec’s 1032A, S30D or 1037B; the 7070A, for use with the 1030A and 1031A; the 7060A, matched to the 1029A in a multichannel application; and the 7050A, for stereo applications with the 1029A and 2029A/B Series.

At last month’s AES, Genelec ( showed its top-of-the-line 7073A active subwoofer, featuring four 12-inch woofers, full onboard 6.1-capable bass-management system and 1 kW of internal amplification offering 124dB SPLs down to 19 Hz. Its wide, low-profile 56.75×22.6×22-inch (W×H×D) cabinet is ideal for placement under projection screens or studio windows. Retail is $6,500.

The Hot House High-Output Series ( HOS 115 Modular Main Monitor is the primary building block in a new range of high-SPL, large-format discrete monitor packages. (The 137dB HOS 312 is also available.) Designed to be used with Hot House ASB 115, ASB 215 or HOS 218 subs, SBX Crossover/Controller and Model Two Thousand amplifiers, the HOS 115 system provides 10.5 octaves of dynamic reproduction. The modular system can be configured in various ways, ranging from freestanding midfield with subwoofer as pedestal to large in-wall/multiple subwoofer installs. Frequency response is flat within 1.75 dB from 80 to 24k Hz and extends down to 15 Hz with the ASB subs. The HOS 115 is 18×24×20 inches (W×H×D). System pricing starts at $36,000 (four-cabinet), depending upon sub and amplifier requirements.

KRK Systems‘ ( M118 three-way studio monitor can handle the workload of most dual 15-inch cabinets and still not lose the bottom end. Perfect for post-production, CD mastering and more, the monitor can be in-wall mounted or freestanding. The woofer is an 18-inch, high-strength, paper-impregnated cone; a 7-inch Kevlar cone driver handles mids; and the tweeter has a carbon-ring diaphragm loaded by a symmetrical horn. Frequency response: 19 to 20k Hz (±2 dB).

The KRK Exposé E12 DSP is a complete, active three-way system, featuring low distortion, excellent imaging and high power handling, with a digital crossover and 620 watts of triamplification. Its driver complement includes a 12-inch woofer, a 5-inch Kevlar cone mid and a 1-inch inverted-dome titanium tweeter. Response is 29 to 22k Hz, ±2 dB; maximum SPL is 115dB music or 122dB peak. The 125-pound system measures 29.25×19.75×17.4 inches (H×W×D).

KS Systems now offers a full 5.1 monitoring package with analog and digital inputs, rackmount external amplification and an optional advanced remote/system controller. The system is available either as a complete 5.1 unit or as a stereo/expand-to-surround-later system, featuring a single 12-inch subwoofer and five two-way (6.5-inch woofer/1-inch dome-tweeter) ADM 4 satellites with die-cast enclosures and internal video shielding.

The latest in M-Audio‘s ( Studiophile Series, the BX8 is a two-way near-field with a mag-shielded, 8-inch woofer and a swivel-mounted, 1-inch silk-dome tweeter, the BX8 is powered by 130 watts of biamplification. Frequency response is 37 to 20k Hz. Input is via balanced XLRs and TRS connectors. Dimensions are 15×10×12 inches (H×W×D); weight is 20 pounds. Price: $599.95/pair.

Similar to the BX8, M-Audio’s SP-5B is a two-way, biamped design featuring mag shielding, a 5-inch polypropylene woofer and ¾-inch, swivel-mounted silk-dome tweeter. Response is 48 to 22k Hz; the total amplifier power output is 75 watts. Dimensions are 10×6.5×8 inches (H×W×D); weight is 28 pounds/pair. Price: $399.95/pair.

Offered to complement the BX8 and SP-5B, M-Audio’s BX8 bass-reflex powered subwoofer has a single 8-inch polypropylene cone with a Stereo Bass-Management System, which takes a stereo input and splits the signal at the user-defined crossover frequency (50 to 180 Hz), routing LF to the sub and HF to the mains. Frequency response is 30 to 180 Hz. Connections include two XLR and two TRS balanced inputs, two XLR balanced outs for the satellites and one XLR out to an additional sub. Controls include level, phase, subwoofer and satellite frequencies, and satellite highpass output bypass. Dimensions are 15.6×10.6×12 inches (H×W×D); weight is 36 pounds. Price: $499.95.

Mackie Designs ( HR624 two-way, biamped monitor includes THXpm3 certification, and delivers the same flat response as the HR824 but in a smaller package. The HR624 can be used as primary stereo or surround monitors (with or without Mackie’s HRS120 sub) or as rear-channel sources for 5.1 and 7.1 systems. Features include a 6.7-inch LF transducer with cast-magnesium frame and polypropylene cone. The liquid-cooled, 1-inch, aluminum-dome tweeter is the same as used in the HR824. Both drivers are magnetically shielded. The HR624 also incorporates a rear-firing passive transducer that provides bass extension to 49 Hz (-3 dB). Integrated amps provide 100 watts to the woofer and 40 watts to the tweeter. Inputs are TRS/XLR balanced and RCA unbalanced. Controls include an 80Hz highpass filter, HF shelving and an Acoustic Space control for optimizing bass output in various room placements. Response is 50 to 20k Hz (±1.5 dB). Dimensions are 13×8.25×10.4 inches (H×W×D); weight is 25 pounds. Price: $649/each.

The Mackie HRS120 is a THXpm3-certified, 400-watt sub to complement Mackie’s HR624 near-fields or any multichannel monitoring system that requires a dedicated LF channel. The HRS120 has a 12-inch RCF Precision woofer with 4-inch voice coil and cast-aluminum frame, and a 12-inch passive radiator. Power is via Mackie’s 400-watt FR Series low-distortion amplification. Controls include an adjustable crossover with highpass outputs for use with full-range monitors, 110Hz elliptical filter for Dolby AC-3, output level switch for AC-3/THX.1 recording, polarity and a rotary-input sensitivity control. Connections are balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA. Slave In and Master Out options allow multiple woofers to be daisychained together, while two ¼-inch phone jacks accommodate a subwoofer bypass footswitch and bypass indicator. Free-field frequency response is 21 to 150 Hz, ±1.5 dB, and the unit produces 100dB SPL @ 1 m. Dimensions are 21×18×21.3 inches (H×W×D); weight is 94 pounds. Price: $1,499.

The MPS-1625P from M&K Professional ( is a tri-amplified, self-powered Tripole Surround loudspeaker. The driver complement includes a polypropylene 6.5-inch woofer, a 1-inch, soft-dome, Ferrofluid transmission-line tweeter, and two 3.25-inch mid-tweeter drivers on each side baffle (the dipole drivers). Separate amps deliver 150 watts to the woofer, 100 watts to the tweeter and 100 watts to the side-dipole drivers. A remote relay switch lets users compare the sound produced by the direct-radiating speakers, the dipole configuration or the Tripole configuration. Suggested retail price is $2,499/each.

M&K’s MPS-RK2 and MPS-RK3 rackmountable monitors are designed for machine rooms, transfer rooms and other pro environments where high-quality monitoring is essential but space is at a premium. The RK2 provides two channels of monitoring on a single chassis, and the RK3 provides three channels (for left, center and right) in the same unit. Each channel has a single 1-inch, soft-dome tweeter with a 4-inch woofer, fed by an M&K Professional Phase-Focused crossover. An acoustically transparent mesh-metal grille protects the speakers. Retail for the RK2 is $649; the RK3 is $849.

The M&K MPS-422 “Wraparound” multichannel monitor delivers close-field monitoring for seven channels in a single chassis, designed to fit around a standard 19-inch broadcast video monitor. Each channel has a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter with one or two 3.5-inch woofers. The left/center/right channels have two woofers; the four surround channels have a single woofer. All channels use M&K’s Phase-Focused crossover technology. Used with M&K’s LFE-5 bass-management controller, an external amplifier and an M&K Professional powered subwoofer, the combination becomes a complete multichannel monitoring station with features that include a multichannel volume control, channel mutes, level trim pots and M&K’s technically correct bass management. Retail: $2,199.

Distributed by Bryston, PMC ( offers a wide range of studio and consumer loudspeakers. PMC’s latest is the DB1, the world’s smallest transmission-line design, with an effective line length of five feet in a compact two-way system, with LF output suggesting a much larger enclosure. Intended for stereo or surround applications (with the optional TLE subwoofer), the DB1 combines a 5-inch magnesium, cast-frame woofer with a 1-inch aluminum-dome, Ferrofluid-cooled tweeter. Usable frequency response is 45 to 25k Hz. Dimensions are 11.4×6.1×9.2 inches (H×W×D); weight is 10 pounds. Retail is $795/each; options include a DB1-M horizontal center-channel speaker, a shielded version, four finishes, stands and wall brackets.

The TLE1 active subwoofer puts dual 6.5-inch woofers in a 21.5×7.5×19.5-inch, 42-pound enclosure using PMC’s transmission-line loading system, yielding an effective length of 9.5 feet and frequency response down to 22 Hz. Features include an onboard, 150-watt, Bryston-designed power amp, stereo balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA inputs, and controls for level (with calibrated THX spec setting), phase (0° to 360°), LF roll-off and LF roll-off defeat. Retail: $2,495.

The latest from Quested Monitoring Systems ( is the F5 ($695/each), a compact, self-powered active monitor with a 5-inch bass driver and ¾-inch soft-dome tweeter powered by 80W RMS amps of onboard biamplification. This near-field reference is designed to provide the characteristic sound of Quested’s higher-end designs, and features an infinite baffle design with front-mount volume, HF and bass boost/cut controls. Magnetic shielding is standard.

To complement the F5s, Quested also offers two self-powered subs, each with an 180-watt, Class-D amplifier and a 10-inch, long-throw woofer. The $1,495 F19 is intended for stereo applications, adding bass to existing full-range stereo monitors ($1,495). Designed for surround production, the F19.1 provides LCR I/Os, bass management, variable lowpass filters settings, phase adjustment, separate LFE gain, and sub output/direct input to allow for multiple cabinets and caters to all surround formats ($1,895).

Samson Technologies ( offers the Resolv 65a (active) and 65 (passive) monitors, each featuring a 6.5-inch copolymer-butyl surround woofer and a 1-inch titanium-diaphragm, Ferrofluid-cooled tweeter with neodymium magnet — in a ported, tuned cabinet. The 65a models include internal biamping (72W LF; 25W HF) and a unique contour control that changes from flat response to the aggressive midrange of certain classic near-fields. Optional is the Resolv 120a active subwoofer, with a 120-watt amp, 10-inch woofer, 40 to 180Hz response, active crossover, phase switch and mute jack to switch the sub in/out of the mix.

At last month’s AES show, SLS Loudspeakers ( unveiled a 5-channel surround system based on its new S1065 speakers, which features dual 10-inch woofers, a 6.5-inch cone midrange and the PRD500 ribbon tweeter. The MF and HF drivers are mounted on a rotatable panel, which allows the speakers to be used horizontally or vertically, with the woofers oriented above, below or on either side of the mid/high section. The 26×36×12.5-inch (W×H×D) cabinet weighs 136 pounds and is capable of 121dB continuous SPLs (127dB peaks!). Response is rated as 35 to 30k Hz (±2.5 dB); retail is $3,000/each. Another new offering from SLS is the S1066, a high-SPL monitor with dual 12-inch woofers, twin 6.5-inch mids and the large PRD1000 tweeter. The planar ribbon drivers in both systems feature neodymium push-pull magnet structures, a high-temperature Kapton diaphragm and response out to 40 kHz.

Tannoy ( expands its Reveal line with the Reveal X, a dedicated center-channel monitor with a low-profile design that offers a consistent sound when panned across left, center and right units in a Reveal 5.1 system. Reveal X uses the same drive units as other Reveal models while doubling up on the mid-bass unit for greater power handling — ideal for the extra level that the center channel often needs to achieve. In pairs, the Reveal X is also ideal for DJ remix monitoring. Its shielded-driver complement is two 6.5-inch woofers, paired to a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter, in a ported, 8.3×20.8×10.25-inch, 29.3-pound cabinet. Response is 65 to 20k Hz (±3 dB).

The first of a new generation of monitors featuring Tannoy’s Wideband technology, the Ellipse 8 has a frequency response extending beyond 50 kHz. This fully time-corrected, three-way, active system combines an 8-inch Dual Concentric and SuperTweeter shielded drivers in a guaranteed, no-parallel-surface, 14.7×18.1×13.75-inch enclosure of laminated birch, with a massive MDF baffle and rear panel for nonresonant acoustical and mechanical performance. Discrete low-noise/distortion MOSFET power amps provide ample power to handle 118dB peaks. Response is 40 to 50k Hz (±3 dB). U.S. list: $3,595/pair.

Unveiled at last month’s AES were new versions of Truth Audio‘s ( entire line of studio monitors. All are two-way designs based around dual-woofers flanking a 27mm coated Sonotex cloth-dome tweeter. Truth monitors are available in unpowered passive (“P” suffix) or active (“A” suffix) versions with onboard amplification. All of Truth’s active monitors have recently been upgraded with amplifiers that have more robust linear power supplies for greater reliability. The TA-1P ($599) and TA-1A ($1,149) have twin 5-inch woofers in a rear-ported cabinet. The TA-2P ($899) and TA-2A ($1,399) have twin 6.5-inch woofers in a front-ported enclosure. The flagship TA-3P ($1,149) and TA-3A ($1,699) sport two 8-inch woofers and are designed for mid-field use. Also new — and shipping now — is the TA-SW12A, an active subwoofer with a single 12-inch woofer, available in powered form only for $1,649. Truth monitors are priced singularly, and various surround package pricings are available.

Tesseract ( debuts the LMH-1 and LMH-2 high-power, triamplified loudspeakers, intended for pro screening rooms, dubbing theaters, film and digital cinema theaters, and high-end home theaters. Built by Visioneering Design, Tesseract systems are designed and TMH-qualified by THX founder Tomlinson Holman. High-quality components are used throughout, including Electro-Voice and Dynaudio drivers and That Corp. differential input amplifiers in the LMH-1 crossover, which accepts six inputs, dividing the main screen channels into low, mid and high-frequency outputs to feed the triamped LCR speaker cabinets. The Tesseract LMH-2 utilizes the same crossover, but incorporates TMH proprietary bass management within the same rackmount chassis, providing a completely integrated 5.1 loudspeaker control unit. Price: $18,000 for three channels, including crossover.

Big news from last month’s AES: The return of Westlake Audio‘s ( classic BBSM-6 monitors. Back by popular demand after a five-year absence, the udpated BBSM-6s are an all-cone, three-way design with dual 6.5-inch polypropylene woofers and, in a separate, sealed, nonresonant sub enclosure, a 3.5-inch midrange and 1-inch dome tweeter. Features include a rear panel input strip for biamp/bi-wiring connections, a precision 60-component crossover, video shielding and Westlake’s proprietary Super Flex silicon jacketed/laser-etched internal driver wiring. The 68-pound, front-ported enclosure measures 11×22×13 inches (H×W×D), and frequency response is rated at 60 to 20k Hz. Retail: $4,997/each.

Designed for low-profile, center-channel applications, Westlake’s Lc24.75 is a ported, two-way system with twin 4-inch woofers and a ¾-inch soft-dome tweeter. Frequency response is 65 to 20k Hz, (±3 dB). The 18-pound cabinet measures 6.25×6.5×7 inches (H×W×D). Other features include extensive electromechanical and acoustical dampening, point-to-point wiring and magnetically shielded drivers. Retail: $999/each.

Long a favorite with home hi-fi enthusiasts, Wharfedale ( now offers its Diamond Series speakers to the studio monitoring market. The Diamond models feature Kevlar woofer cones, neodymium magnets and bi-wire terminals. All U.S. models are wired internally with Monster Cable. Priced at $199.98/pair, Diamond 8.1 is a 296×198×191mm, two-way design with a 5-inch woofer and 1-inch silk-dome tweeter; response is 55 to 20k Hz. The larger (364×213×258mm) Diamond 8.2 ($299.98/pair) has a 6.5-inch woofer, 1-inch silk-dome tweeter and a 45 to 20k Hz response.

Since the unveiling of the NS-10M nearly 25 years ago, Yamaha ( speakers have been a regular fixture in studios around the world. At last month’s AES convention, Yamaha showed the MSP10 Studio, an advanced new near-field. The monitor’s two-way, biamped design uses an 8-inch cone woofer and 1-inch titanium-dome tweeter in an integrated waveguide for response extending beyond 40 kHz. The onboard power complement includes a 120-watt amp driving the lows and 60 watts to the HF driver. Pro features include radiused cabinet edges, mag shielding, balanced XLR inputs (with input-sensitivity control), HF and LF response trim switches, and a switchable 80Hz low-cut filter to use the MSP10 Studio with a subwoofer, such as Yamaha’s SW10. A wall-mount bracket is optional, and the MSP10 Studio ships this month.

Yorkville‘s ( YSM1p uses the same cabinet and similar components as the popular Yorkville YSM1, including a shielded 6.5-inch woofer and 1-inch silk-dome tweeter in a ported cabinet. The YSM1p’s overall sonic characteristics were designed to match the original YSM1, with the big change coming from the new monitor’s onboard power module delivering 115 watts (85-watt LF/30-watt HF) with less than 0.05% distortion at full power. Other features include +9/-6dB input trim, defeatable limiter, DIP switches to tailor the monitors LF/HF response and balanced inputs (XLR and ¼-inch TRS). Dimensions are 11×10×16 inches; weight is 25 pounds. Retail: $320/each.

At this year’s Summer NAMM show, Yorkville launched the YSS1, a complementary subwoofer for the YSM1p, for extended bass or surround system installations. The YSS1 features a 150-watt integrated power amp driving a 12-inch woofer for 35 to 150Hz response. Its built-in power module includes a variable frequency-selectable crossover (60 to 150 Hz tunable), volume pot, phase-reverse switch, two XLR/TRS balanced inputs and RCA unbalanced inputs. The internal preamp ensures stereo-input sources are summed in phase to the integrated amplifier, and two XLR balanced outputs pass stereo-input signals to feed full-range active monitors. Dimensions are 20.5×13.75×16.75 inches (D×W×H); weight is 44 pounds. Retail: $459.