M-Audio SP5B monitors

Member for

6 days 13 hours
Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 04/26/2002 - 08:49

My woofer blew out on my other set of monitors and if i turn them up past 1/3 way, i get nothing but farting noises. After calling tech support and finding out it's going to be a while before i get them fixed, i decided that i'd go to the local music superstore and see if i can find a small pair of monitors that can get me through this time. I decided to go with something small because i'm planning on having a portable setup so i need something portable and because i want to check my mixes on something radically different from what i have when mixing at the studio.

So right when i walk in, i see the M-Audio pair for only $300. They are plenty small and have a cheap looking plastic ring around the woofer. They were attached to that new Roland DAW guy so i tried to listen to some music but all that was on there were drum tracks. Regardless, they sounded pretty clean and the stereo image sounded good to my ears.

Next, i checked out the new KRK V4's. These were attached to a Yamaha DAW thing. (why do music stores TRY to make it hard for you to compare products!?!?!?) The bass sounded punchier and louder than the M-Audio pair, but the KRK's were more than $200 more. Also, i could hear one of the woofers was a bit loose, and being that my nearfields at home were going through the same thing, i decided they might not be the monitors for me.

I also tried the small even PS series monitors. Although they sounded ok, i thought that i wouldn't be able to mix too well on them. They just weren't my style.

I also quickly listened to the small Yamaha powered speakers but those didn't really float my boat either.

So after talking with some salespeople, we decided the M-audios were the way to go. I mean, $300 for a pair of auxilliary monitors isn't that hard of an investment to swallow.

So i got them home, plugged them in and started playing cds through them for about 2 days straight. I really wanted to get a sense of how things sounded through them and to learn how bass would sound in such a small set of monitors. They have movable tweeters, which to me seemed like a gimmick because moving them didn't change the sound that much to my ears. Maybe i'll play with that more later since i'm more used to the monitors now. Anyhow...

The first thing that struck me is that vocals literally jump out at you when you are listening to the M-audios. I could hear breaths and nuances i've never heard before and i could hear how annoying the reverb is on the vocals on Blink 182's "enema of the state". Since i do a lot of comping and punch ins, i thought these monitors would be perfect for revealing shitty punches and pops and clicks.

After 2 days of listening, i decided to jump in and start a mix. At first i had some serious trouble with the bass end, but after about 2 hours, my ears really adjusted to what was going on. The monitors are clear and easy to listen to, and do actually go pretty loud for something so small.

I just looked at the enclosed frequency charts and i can visually notice a different dip in each speaker at about 4.5K. Weird...i didn't hear it when mixing, so maybe it is not an issue. There is also a boost at around 1K on both of the monitors.

I guess the moral of the story is that these guys WILL get me through some projects before my other monitors get fixed and they will definitely fill in as excellent "utility" monitors. The fact that they are light will also increase their value to me when i start doing overdubs on my laptop. I have 30 days to return them, but i don't think they are going back...


Member for

6 days 13 hours


Sat, 04/27/2002 - 09:46

Thanks for the review of the m audio's. I'm new to this whole recording game, and I've been in the market for monitors. As you may have guessed, the budget is tight, so I was looking at the sp 5b. Now I feel reassured about buying a pair b/c the next thing up is the yorkville's, which would cost me 200 more- do you think it's worth it, or will the little guys do just fine?

Member for

6 days 13 hours


Sat, 04/27/2002 - 18:07

I never heard the Yorkville's, but i know that most places you can buy the M-Audios at have at least a 30 day return policy. So it might be worth it to just give them a shot and see what happens. I've been listening to them for a few days now and i'm still very happy.

I burned those mixes i was working on the other day and other than me turning up the bass guitar a little too loud, they translated pretty well to other systems. I don't know if M-Audio makes a subwoofer, but it might be worth getting down the road so you can check exactly what is going on in the low end.

Otherwise, you can just check your mix everywhere you can and make sure everything is nice and nice.

So i guess i'm saying, get them! I don't regret it.

Member for

6 days 13 hours


Sun, 04/28/2002 - 22:01


Did the same A/B thing on the Studiophiles against the Event 20/20 and KRK models. I agree that the M-Audio speakers really stood out against more expensive monitors.

I picked up a pair and think for a small room these are just the best. There is a review in the latest Computer Music magazine which gives them a 7 out of 10 not because of their sound but because they put the on/off switch on the back of the box.

The magazine points out that you need to leave about 3 feet behind the back of the cabinets to let the bass port push out the low end and I found this true. If you keep them away from the walls they sound crystal clear on top and you get good bass response.

Th vocals do stand right out there and I've noticed that subtle movements on my software effects and sliders can actually be heard now.

Best $300 I've spent on my home studio.