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M-Audio BX5 D2 Studio Monitors


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  • M-Audio BX5 D2 Studio Monitors

    Purchased a set of these the other day. I was checking if anyone uses these to get some feedback on how good they are. I have two DAW setups and a mastering computer and I'm doing some switching around. My monitors. I'm not sure If I'm going to use these for mixing or mastering yet. Guess the decision will be made based on the results I get. I'm thinking 70W/100db is plenty loud for either.

    The reviews are good on them considering the price range. I had some extra cash and figured I'd invest it where I needed it the most. The retail is $399 and I got them on sale for $200 including shipping. Not bad cause even used/seconds sell for $180 plus shipping.

    The reviews say they have a fairly warm response.  I Already have monitors that have a strong mid response that makes you focus on mid separation, plus other subs and sets of big monitors. I'm thinking these will be less fatiguing when you spend allot of time mixing like I do. 

    Just curious about what others think.   


  • #2

    Thought I'd fill you in on the results. Got the monitors last week and had a few days to use them on a new project.

    I had a band come in to record some cover tunes for a demo CD. The session was a long day starting at 100AM and ending at 70PM. Nine hours straight with minimal breaks.

    I got five versions of each of their songs once I got their sound quality ironed out. The key to a decent session is good sounding drums and a drummer that can play them and I had both this time.

    The drummer had to bring his own drums of course. Guess my studio set wasn't good enough for him. He had double kick drums, (not one of those double kick pedals), so that took up some time. He only used the second kick on one song which was kind of a waste.

    He was a good drummer and knew how to tune his drums. He Used those new Evans oil filled heads. I wasn't hearing any nasty resonances coming from them. Saved me all kinds of time not having to deal with tuning/padding them for good recording tone.

    The bass player just plugged into my bass rig that was ready to go. I had some tweaking to do on his sound. I've known him for years and thought he's know enough not to put new strings on the day before a recording session. Bass strings really need a week or more to settle in. He had some issues with the strings being overly bright and a bit buzzy. He tracked with pretty much a slap bass tone. I did a suck check after the first few takes and found I could EQ the overly bright tone down deeper so I let him go.

    Guitarist was using one of those big Line 6 amps with the 4X12 cab. He's into the scooped metal tone and I suppose it did OK. I tried one mic and a DI box for the direct guitar signal as a backup. It only took me one song to find out that wasn't going to work and switched to two mics instead. He had the pups adjusted too close to the strings and had inconsistent picking technique which made the clean track useless.  He used 100% saturated sound which is a crutch to many players who have poor technique. Its a modeling amp you can connect to a computer to make tweaks. It took him about 20 minutes to fix one patch manually through the amp panel. He had one that was crapping the bed for tone. The upper lows were horrendous and broke up so bad I knew I couldn't fix that mixing.  The rest was good enough for me to tweak. I'll likely have to add back allot of the mids he scooped out. He was a good player for his sound which is all that really counted.

    The female vocalist did he scratch vocals well. I used a hand held condenser and tapped the signal from the channel insert. Some of the tracks are going to be good enough where I wont have to have her retrack her vocals. I may have her come back and just do one on each. Sometimes there's a word, phrase or verse that just isn't good enough. If the cadence is tight enough it can make a really fat sound using both tracks. I played with her in bands before and its unlikely her discipline to cut two tracks that tight will happen. On top of that she's got a short fuse when it comes to having patience which makes it really difficult to work with.

    All in all I captured some good material to mix with. I'm not a big fan of the metal stuff but it was done well and I shouldn't have to work too hard at getting it mixed well.

    I spent a few hours with the new monitors mixing to try them out. I first ran a calibration CD that I have that has tracks full of test tones. Got the levels set to a moderate 85db with my db meter. I then ran my audio analyzer (Ral) on a laptop with a reference mic on a stand where my head would be sitting at the console. The test tones run all the way from 40hz up to 22K. My old ears couldn't hear much above 16K but the speakers were producing sound all the way up. I'll need to do some rearranging of my setup. I was getting a little too much reflection from the rear bass port which made the bass stronger than it should be but its still isn't anything I can compensate for.

    After mixing one song I really started liking the monitors. They aren't as harsh as some reviews I read. They are very transparent and the mix between them is very three dimensional. I had no problems with instrument placement within the stereo field. I like how they handle the bass too. I was able to dial up the optimal bass levels in short order. The mids will take a little getting used to. I'm used to having work hard to get the mid frequencies properly set. It may be the drivers reproduce mids with good separation. The test will be playing the mixes back on some low fi systems to see if the mids are all clusterd together. If that's the case, continuing to use A/B comparisons with my other sets of monitors will still be essential.

    The highs are very good too. So far I see no major issues being able to get those set. The cymbals and vocal air/presence is definitely there. I may have to curb my love of high clean frequencies if anything.

    In all, I really like these monitors and $225 for a pair of 70W dual amp monitors is a really good buy. I was kind of worried that I should have spent the extra $100 on a pair of Yamaha M50's (pretty much a studio standard for checking mixes) But I'm quite pleased now that I've had a chance to use the M-Audio's. If worst comes to worse and I get board, I can get a good price selling these used and upgrade. " id="smiley" src="https://guitarcenter.i.lithium.com/i/smilies/16x16_smiley-.png" alt=":smiley:" title="Smiley Very Happy" />


    • VTEC_Dreams
      VTEC_Dreams commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey, thanks for the review!

      I was thinking about getting new monitors one of these millenia, and I could get a good deal on those M-Audio units you're talking about.

      Might think about it now.