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In-depth Feature:  M-Audio Studiophile BX8 + SP-8S
Words like impressive, vibey and loud spring to mind
Nick B writes:
  • Specifications .

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    M-Audio seems to be everywhere these days. Not only do they make MIDI and audio interfaces – both USB and PCI, keyboards, mixers, microphones, preamps, cables and accessories but they also have a range of self powered monitor systems. It’s not surprising that they are have been rated as the fastest growing music tech company for the last two years!

    There’s a little story behind the development of the BX8. Originally M-Audio released the SP-8, a more basic version of the BX8 – without the rolloff and switches. These were considered to be good but had room for improvement and as a result were sold heavily discounted by many stores as part of a package with the SP-8S subwoofer unit. If you can still find these it’s a cracking deal. However, the BX-8’s have had several tweaks sonically, cosmetically and electronically and offer considerably more flexibility in their setup.

    Behind The Cones
    The BX8 is an active 2-way near-field studio monitor with a quoted power rating of 100W – they obviously come as a pair, are bi-amped – meaning there are two separate amplifiers inside each BX8 one rated at 55 watts to drive the 8” mineral-filled polypropylene woofer and a 45W amp for the 1-inch silk tweeter. The crossover frequency – the point at which the audio signal is split and sent to each amp is 1.25kHz and is handled by 4th-order Linkwitz Riley crossover networks – which sounds impressively techy. The Sub-Frequency Port at the rear discharges extreme low frequencies under 30 Hz. The BX8 is designed to take advantage of this port to generate extreme low frequencies despite the small size of the enclosure, meaning it’ll probably send out gusts of bass air when working hard – but don’t worry – it’s completely odourless. Any further bass enhancement is handled with the SP-8S, a sub-woofer unit designed to match the BX-8 and give it a bit more welly down below.

    The BX8s come in an impressively large box and are unsurprisingly, fairly substantial units themselves (a pair weighs 57lbs). Don’t expect to carry them back from the store without months of serious work in the gym and generous helpings of steroids.

    woof woof
    SP8-S subwoofer
    Out of the box, what immediately caught my eye was the rather sexy looking blue LED power indicator mounted on the top edge of the 8” driver. I know this ain’t really going to do much for the sound but it’s a great touch and useful for well, a power indicator – and looking cool when you have the lights down in your studio – clearly an important factor in any equipment purchasing decision.

    There is no speaker grill or covering on the BX8s – it’s always nice to have the option but you don’t get that sadly. The SP-8S does have the usual cloth frame covering, which makes sense as it is likely to be mounted on the floor where the occasional wildly tappin’ foot may stray.

    The SP-8S subwoofer is more substantial, being slightly larger and weighing considerably more – presumably the higher rated amp (200W), crossover and beefier woofer would account for this.

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