Published on April 8th, 2013 | by Greg0
Bang For Your Buck: M-Audio AV 40 Monitors
Looking for a two-piece powered speaker system? Don’t have space or need for a separate subwoofer, and looking to spend under $150? We’ve got a great option today, from a company that you might not know. And whether you’re looking for a bookshelf system or to plug in your laptop or computer to something that sounds great for music listening, then you should definitely move the M-Audio AV 40 Monitors to the top of your list.
These models aren’t new, but are an upgraded (MK II) version of a previous edition with the same name. Magnetically shielded like many desktop speakers but unlike plenty of audiophile gear, the AV 40s offer 20 watts per channel over 1-inch tweeters and 4-inch woofers. They’re fairly small- bigger and bolder than your normal 2.1 speakers, because they include a woofer in each speaker instead of requiring an additional component. This has an upside- the bass sounds better spatially- but a potential downside as well, since you’re not going to feel it in the floor as much and they simply can’t quite pump out as much air and sound as a huge subwoofer.
That said, when we tried them in place of other units in the same price range, it was a no-brainer. These outshine most competitors, and are some of the best speakers we’ve heard for general music listening considering their cost and size. These aren’t for party sound or meant for home theater use- they don’t aim to fill a living room and they won’t blow the lid off of your neighbors. But this is the perfect set for those who like to appreciate detailed tracks, perhaps have a vinyl collection or a proud selection of high bitrate MP3s and a DAC like any of the several that we’ve checked out. We threw on Zulu Winter’s track “Let’s Move Back To Front”- which features both strong spatial dynamics and a sharp contrast between the spacy instrumentation and vocals and some hard bass- and were impressed. You can close your eyes and float.
There is very little audible distortion on these, testament to solid building and design. Mids and highs especially are clear and clean, with an emphasis on accuracy and no obvious shift towards warm or cold, which is great for studio-caliber monitors. And bass will surprise you for units this size. If you’re an audiophile in the market for more, you can spend upwards of $2000 on a solid combination of DAC and speakers and cables like the all-in-one solution from CEntrance that we really liked. Or you can save yourself a lot of dough, and spend only about $140 for these excellent monitors. There aren’t any extra features- these are all about the sound- and they get it right. Available now, online and in stores, and highly recommended.