M-Audio EX66 review - stay away at DVinfo.net

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Old August 20th, 2007, 07:42 PM   #1
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M-Audio EX66 review - stay away

After satisfactory results from the BX8a's I've had for a couple years I decided to try the new EX66 monitors from M-Audio, which was supposed to be the "next step up" in the M-Audio lineup. It is a step-up in cost, but not performance.

Although the EX66's are much more efficient and have various tone controls on the backplane for tuning to an environment they are also incredibly noisy. So much so, that when in a quiet environment such as our edit suite - and with no input at all going to the speakers you can easily hear them "hiss" from 10 feet away. That's unacceptable, obviously.

At first we thought it to be a wiring/ground or other user-error in the install, but we quickly determined it is in fact the speaker electronics that is causing the above-average and nasty noise floor. When we returned them to the dealer they too were stunned to hear them "hiss" at us when hooked up to their "perfectly tuned" studio environment with line conditioners etc. We also thought that maybe only one of the monitors was hissing, but both of them were, ruling out the possibility that one of them had a manufacturing defect. It might still be a defect, but not manufacturing and instead just bad design. Hard to imagine that my "lowly" BX8a's were far quieter with almost no perceptible floor noise. Just for kicks, we hooked up a pair of DynAudio BM6a's and two different JBL models - no perceptible floor noise at all. And they are all in the same price-point; roughly $600-700 per monitor.

I'm now only going to consider either the DynAudio BM15a or the new JBL 4300 series that has built-in room acoustics tuner hardware (don't remember the actual model number).

If you've got the budget for what the EX66's sell for, which is around $1300 street, you've got much better options.
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Old August 21st, 2007, 12:30 AM   #2
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Also...

Robert:

You are a pro. M-Audio? You should know better. Home hi-fi speakers masquerading as professional monitors, always have been. They are the modern version of those Rolands that every Media Composer had on them in the 90s. Awful. Almost as bad as any of the KRKs.

DynAudio is a better bet

Also check out the Genelecs, I have been using the 1029As with the 1091b sub for almost a decade, still sound more accurate than most other monitors other than really high-end. They don't make the 1029s anymore, I think the replacement is the 8040.

JBLs. Hmm...lotsa people like 'em but to me, almost every JBL fatigues my ear rather quickly.

Lotsa other good monitors in that price range that are actually relatively accurate. Don't forget the room treatments, tuning the room, spectrum analyzer and EQ. All of these together are 10 times more important to accuracy than the monitor, as long as it's somewhat accurate.

Dan
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