Most helpful positive review
75 of 80 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Performance vs. Size & Price
on April 10, 2008
SUBJECTIVE REVIEW: Behringer MS16 2-Way Active Personal Monitor System
- Accuracy, soundstage & imaging!!
- Connectivity & Front Panel Controls (Right CH Speaker):
.... INPUT 1 (1/8" TRS) Connector
.... INPUT 2 (RCA Right & Left) Connectors
.... ADJUSTABLE 1/4" TRS Microphone Input - mixable w/stereo inputs for playback and vocal monitoring applications
.... 1/8" TRS HEADPHONE Connector w/auto-mute loudspeaker function.
.... FRONT PANEL Controls (Bass, Treble & Level)
None except deep bass - which can be resolved by adding a powered-sub like I did!!! ;-)
NOTE: All subjective comments based on:
1) SPEAKER LOCATIONS:
.... a) Free-standing near-field monitor location, 4' apart, slightly tilted-in (closes walls 10') - Music by my Polaroid 30 GB MP3 player (NO powered-sub )
.... b) Keyboard: L & R location installation, slightly tilted-in (with & without Altec Lansing FX2021 powered-sub**)
**NOTE: Adding a powered-sub relieves the Behringer MS16 4" woofer speakers of reproducing the lower frequencies thus lowering the possibility of distortion or breakup when played louder, - 85 dBc to 90 dBc Fast SPL Peaks!
2) Critical listening SPL = approx. 85 dBc to 90 dBc Fast SPL Peaks measured @ 8' to 10' away from the speakers.
.... a) Radio Shack SPL Analog Meter: Dial = 80 or 90 / Weight = C / Speed = Fast
One of the Behringer MS16 hallmarks is the accuracy in reproducing encoded musical sounds from my MP3s, ... like, a violin sounds like a violin, a trumpet sounds like a trumpet, a tenor sax sounds like a tenor sax, a Grand Piano, like the Grand Piano that Diana Krall uses in her "Live in Paris" CD (I use to own a 6' Yamaha Grand in my HT/family room), etc. What is unusual for this price range, is the MS16 ability to reveal subtleties and the resolution of the high frequency characteristics within the encoded music/instruments, . . . they are just more evident with the Behringer MS16 vs. other speakers in this price and some costing more; i.e. with close mike recording of an acoustic guitar, you can hear the artist fingers (George Benson; Earl Klugh; Russ Freeman) sliding up and down the frets; you can tell that that two violins are playing a melodic line, rather than just one violin; the air harmonics off the crash or ride cymbal sounds, just like our Tama Rock Set w/Zildjian cymbals; Diana Krall breathing during some of her songs Intro ("Live in Paris" Music CD). Here - I do chalk up the sound quality to Behringer MS16 1.5" (38mm) Diameter High-Resolution Tweeter., which is a nice size for a small personal Studio near-field Monitors.
The left to right placements of instruments & voices are excellent, providing a precise, very wide, beyond the speakers soundstage. The Behringer MS16 front to back (depth) soundstage is also excellent, as well as the dynamic's resolution (soft vs. loud) in playing back the encoded instrument sounds which helps provide excellent location placement of the instruments. Though the front to back soundstage can be a result of how close the microphones were to the instruments, no doubt, the quality of the best recordings, will be revealed by this speaker and the opposite is also true, poor recordings will be revealed as poor. The Behringer MS16 plays back all my Jazz CD Music with relative smoothness, with no surprising in-between the eyes, unnatural frequency peaks because of it's super flat & wide Pro Monitor like frequency characteristics. I also own the JBL N24 w/4" woofers (JBL NSP1 PKG) which was raved by Brent Butterworth for its super midrange playback (voices) and in direct comparison, the Behringer MS16 is equal to task providing the same balanced, natural, clear unstrained playback! (Samples: "Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim" 1967 Digital remastered DDD Music CD; Diana Krall "Love Scenes" & "The Look of Love" Music CD; Bob James "Fourplay" Music CD; David Benoit "Fuzzy Logic" Music CD [Album Of The Year - 2003 National Smooth Jazz Awards], etc.).
Another characteristic that the Behringer MS16 displays is its ability to image the specific instruments across the soundstage, with a floating in front, side, quality sound presence comparable to some JBL PRO Studio Monitors, though its point source is more precise due to the smaller cabinet side. The Behringer MS16 low-diffraction front cabinet geometry feature curved cabinet edges to eliminate diffraction, which ensures precise imaging and localization. I love the Behringer MS16 ambience reproduction in my room, because it gave me the feeling that "you are there" and if the recording is from a live concert, the ambience provided the right amount of reflections to make you think your listening to the performance outdoors, or in the symphony hall. ("The Corrs - Live at the Royal Albert Hall" Music CD; Diana Krall "Live in Paris" Music CD).
WITHOUT POWERED-SUB: (Bass adjusted slightly less than MAX @ the 5 o'clock position / Treble left flat)
The Behringer MS16 bass is rated down to 80 Hz, and after adjusting the Bass Control to near MAX (5 o'clock position), ... it easily matches my JBL 24s (Benchmarked down to 89 Hz -2.7 dB - Fronts location by Tom Nousaine for Sound & Vision Magazine) lowest rated frequency reproduction in my familiar jazz music (David Benoit, Bob James, Joe Sample, Diana Krall, etc.) MP3 encoded music is not as demanding as a keyboard or CD (pure digital recordings), so what I hear was more than acceptable @ 85 dBc Fast SPL Peaks! (louder than normal listening). The deep bass is lacking of course, which is expected for a 4" DIA woofer, but it wasn't MIA and actually sounded better than most free-standing speakers w/4" or 5" woofers. The upright bass (Diana Krall) and electric bass lines (Bob James "Fourplay" w/Nathan East on bass) reproduction was way above average and overall, ... it nicely filled my 20 x 30' room with well balanced, clean & smooth frequency jazz music.
WITH POWERED-SUB - YAMAHA PORTABLE GRAND KEYBOARD:
Reproducing a digital keyboard is demanding so to get that floor & air feeling bass SPL without distortion or breakup, I coupled the Behringer MS16 Speakers w/the Altec Lansing FX1021 2.1 Speaker System, or more specifically, Altec Lansing FX4021 Powered Subwoofer (w/Two 5.25" long-throw woofers in isobaric configuration). This unit is rated down to 32 Hz and takes care of the lower frequency duties. Matching the Altec Powered-sub to the MS16s took about 20 mins. using the Keyboard built-in MIDI DEMO files and by playing it personally! I'm finally happy with what I hear from my Yamaha DGX-505 88-key Portable Grand.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
If you want "budget" monitors that provides excellent imaging, revealing resolution, super flat & wide Pro Monitor like frequency characteristics, the Behringer MS16 is for you! At no time during my critical listening phase (w/85 dBc - 90 dBc Fast SPL Peaks) did I hear any distortion or breakup (with or without powered-sub) from my Behringer MS16 speakers!!!
- Although the following is an OPTION & NOT REQUIRED to ENJOY these powered speakers, you can add a powered-sub to round out the lower frequency foundation and once you balance the SPL between the powered-sub & MS16s, ... you've got a very nice killer setup for MP3, PC, Laptop, Keyboard & near-field Home Studio application @ a very reasonable price!
In my case, I'm guessing, that the Behringer & Altec powered-sub combination for my Yamaha Portable Grand Keyboard frequency response is approx. 40Hz - 18kHz ±5 dB in my 17' x 13' living room (see my attached Amazon photo's) and for the price, ... it just sounds GLORIOUS @ 85 dBc - 90 dBc Fast SPL Peaks!!!
Highly Recommended!!! (Another way to think about it is, ... you can't build a 16 Watt [2x 8 Watts] self-powered speakers like this for under $60 a pair!!!)
Background: Audiophile since 1980; retired Audio/Video dealer; retired semi-pro musician (piano, keyboard, acoustic / electric guitar, bass guitar & drums).