5. Adam Audio T5V
Adam Audio T5V
Affordable nearfield monitors that are great for small rooms
Launch price: $398/£298/€339 (pair) | Frequency response: 45 Hz – 20 kHz | Speaker configuration: 2-way | Driver size: 5″, 4″ | Tweeter type: Ribbon | Inputs: RCA, XLR | Powered: Yes (50W) | Digital connectivity: None
- + Clear precise top end with EQ adjustment if required
- + Sensible choice of inputs for either balanced or unbalanced connection
- + Compact footprint for 5” monitor
- – Rear mounted power LED a bit pointless
One of the most affordable Adam monitors to date, the T5V is built around a 5-inch woofer and Adam’s U-ART (Unique Accelerated Ribbon Tweeter) tweeter. This Class-D powered two-way design with rear-ring bass reflex is the smaller of the new T Series designs.
Sonically, the top-end is very well tuned, while the HPS waveguide delivers a broad horizontal sweet spot. This contributes greatly to the overall imaging and separation, which is excellent. Although the cabinet is quite deep, front to back, the units feel compact.
The low mid range frequencies could be more prominent, but this certainly isn’t a deal-breaker, and by setting the LF EQ to -2dB we achieved a much better result. Adam’s desire is to make the T5V your first Adam monitor, and judging by what we’ve heard here, it could easily make you a fan for life!!
4. Genelec 8010A
Best compact mid-range 2-way design monitors
Launch price: $440/£259/€305 (single) | Frequency response: 67 Hz – 25 kHz | Speaker configuration: 2-way | Driver size: 3″, 0.75″ | Tweeter type: Metal dome | Inputs: XLR | Powered: Yes (woofer 25w, tweeter 25w) | Digital connectivity: None
+ Accurate frequency response
+ A large sound for a tiny monitor
+ Rugged aluminium enclosure
– Pricey, but a solid investment
At the smallest end of the Genelec 8000 bi-amplified monitor series is the 8010A. Though relatively light (1.5kg each), the 8010As are solid thanks to the die-cast aluminium enclosure, with metal driver grilles to prevent damage in transit. Portability is key, with power and input sockets neatly tucked in at the rear.
They come with tiltable Iso-Pod rubber stands attached, simultaneously taking care of axis angle and transmission reduction. They feature standard 8000 series mounting sockets for a variety of options, from truss hanging to floor stands. These are rear ported (bass reflex) enclosures, and just beneath the port is a recess housing five dip switches. Three contour the low-frequency response: -2dB and -4dB bass tilts which combine for -6dB, and Desktop Control which dips -4dB at 200Hz.
3. Yamaha HS5
Familiar white cone delivers the harsh truth on your recordings
Launch price: £128/$199/€155 (each) | Frequency response: 54 Hz – 30 kHz | Speaker configuration: 2-way | Driver size: 5”, 1” | Tweeter type: Kevlar | Inputs: Combo input XLR / 6.3mm balanced jack | Powered: Yes (70W) | Digital connectivity: No
+ A budding mix engineer’s dream
+ Iconic design
+ Amazing value
– Controls located at rear
The famous story about the old Yamaha NS10 studio monitors was that they were chosen not because they sounded great, but because they didn’t. The theory being that if you could mix a track to sound good on them, you could be confident it would sound good anywhere. Of course, times have changed and even modern entry-level monitors will do a job, but the appeal of owning a piece of genuine studio history is strong.
The Yamaha HS5 series are reference speakers which are built solely with mixing and monitoring in mind. There’s no Bluetooth or graphic EQ, and room correction is basic at best. For sheer accuracy, however, they’re hard to beat at this price range. Get your mix right on these and it’ll sound fantastic anywhere.
2. KRK Rokits
KRK Rokit RP7 G4
Affordable nearfield monitors that are perfect for electronic music
Launch price: £208/$239/€209 (each) | Frequency response: 42 Hz – 40 kHz | Speaker configuration: 2-way | Driver size: 7”, 1” | Tweeter type: Kevlar | Inputs: Combo input XLR / 6.3mm balanced jack | Powered: Yes (145W) | Digital connectivity: No
- + Graphic EQ at this price-point is fantastic
- + Bass sounds are quite phenomenal
- – There are monitors better suited to non-electronic music production
If you’ve ever stepped foot inside the studio domain of an electronic music producer, the chances are you’re familiar with the famous yellow speaker cones of KRK. The Rokit series – now in its fourth generation – is the Gibson-owned brand’s affordable nearfield range, and has a selection of neat features which make it worthy of note.
For starters, the G4 range is among the first monitor series at this price bracket to include a graphic EQ function on the speaker itself. In-built digital signal processing (DSP) offers a suite of tools, including a room analyser, to ensure the speakers’ output compensates the space you’re mixing in for any dead-zones or sonic blind spots you may be unwittingly harbouring. Some of the best studio monitors for smaller studios, and ideal for anything bass-heavy.
1. Barefoot Speakers
Launch price: £9670/$10,000/€9890 (each) | Frequency response: 20 Hz – 40 kHz | Speaker configuration: 2-way
The Barefoot Sound MiniMain12 is based on Thomas Barefoot’s original design from 2004. This no-compromises reference monitor uses seven state-of-the-art drivers to deliver an extremely wide dynamic range and ultra-fast transient response. And with Barefoot’s innovative MEME technology, you can emulate the sound of three classic studio monitors.
The MiniMain12 is equipped with two 12-inch aluminum cone subwoofers, arranged in Barefoot’s patented force-cancelling design that eliminates vibrations before they even begin for distortion-free low-end all the way down to 20 Hz. Along with the subwoofers, two 7-inch woofers and two 2.5-inch midrange drivers operate as perfect pistons for an incredibly detailed sound. A 1-inch dual-ring radiator tweeter delivers crystal-clear highs all the way up to 40 kHz while providing an extremely wide sweet spot for improved accuracy.
Barefoot has teamed up with Bruno Putzeys of Hypex to develop a powerful and completely transparent amplifier design for hyper-accurate sound. The MiniMain12 offers class-leading performance with almost 2,000 total watts of power. The subwoofers are driven by a massive 1200 W amp for rich, powerful low-end with zero distortion. The woofers, midrange drivers and tweeter are each powered by their own 250W amps for even, balanced sound. Paired with Barefoot’s innovative DSP crossover, high-end converters and cutting-edge filtering techniques, the MiniMain12 produces world-class sound.
MEME TECHNOLOGY (Multi-Emphasis Monitor)
All Barefoot Sound studio monitors are equipped with Multi-Emphasis Monitor Emulation, or MEME technology, which uses sophisticated DSP processing to emulate the sound of a wide range of classic studio monitors. Quickly reference your tracks on three additional monitor profiles and ensure your mixes will translate to any environment.
“Old School” mode emulates the sound of the iconic Yamaha NS10M monitors with an edgy, midrange-forward sound. The “Cube” setting is modeled after the legendary Auratone Sound Cube, giving your mixes a boxy, lo-fi sound. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the “Hi-Fi” setting emulates the sound of consumer hi-fi systems with a sweet high-end and warm midrange. And of course, the “flat” setting delivers the signature Barefoot sound that engineers, producers and musicians around the world have grown to know and love.
- + The best from the best: Barefoot Sound’s ultimate reference monitor
- + Speaker emulation technology eliminates your need for secondary references
- + Seven meticulously designed drivers deliver a linear 20 Hz – 40 kHz
- + Four years of R&D behind the seamless DSP crossover technology
- – Really fucking expensive!
“I find that the Barefoots are the truest for me. You hear the detail and the true definition of every sound. With Barefoot, it’s smooth top-in, perfectly clean. I like to listen to music loud, but these Barefoots don’t hurt. It’s loud but it’s not overpowering. Everything is tuned so perfectly.”
“I love them—they’re my best friends. How you hear music, and how you make music and listen to music is the most important part of this whole experience. For me, there is no other way now. You should have an experience with the sound and know that each part of song is being expressed correctly. The right speaker is what gives you that. That’s what Barefoot is.”