Top positive review
Excellent, but might not be what you think it is.
December 13, 2011
My buddy has a pair of M Audio AV 30's, and whenever I would go to his house, I would think, dang, I wish my music sounded like that. Flat. Smooth. Not kicking up the bass, not distorting at moderately loud volumes. It just sounds good. It doesn't hurt your ears. It's a pleasure, like looking at a beautiful painting, when you listen to good music through good speakers. These are built for mastering music in a studio, but as far as studio monitors go, they're dirt cheap. Most professionals have something nicer than these, but as someone who only listens to music, with a budget, these are loads better than most computer speakers you'll find at best buy or whatever.
So, what the heck I thought, the AV 40's are ten dollars more, I'll go with those. They just came in today and I'm very happy with them. I have an Audio Technica ATLP 120 USB vinyl turntable currently playing Sigur Ros' album Inni, and everything is crystal clear. At low volumes, you can still make out detail. At high volumes, there's no distortion (until you crank it up to the very max... but nothing's built for that, really). Upgrading from a cheapo sony boombox to this is like night and day.
This isn't for you if you need something to fill an entire living room. I'm in a dorm room and it's great for that.
This isn't going to rattle the floors with bass and get the ladies to remove articles of clothing to little wayne. This isn't built for that, and you'll be disappointed when this doesn't have disproportionate thumpability or the ability to tweak EQ settings. Everything sounds flat. The vocals get the same attention to detail that the drums, guitar, and flute do.
This is self powered, which means you don't need an outside amp or receiver in order to make these things make noise, which is good. I was striving to keep the number of things I needed to a minimum. This does the trick. If I tried to hook these up to a separate subwoofer or amplifier, I do not think they would interface well. Keep that in mind.
One thing you need to be aware of is that these are the SECOND VERSION of the item. Notice that these go for $100 on Amazon, and the previous version goes for $150. These are the differences I have noticed:
1) These DO NOT allow you to manually select the voltage they take in. (So if you want to take these to Europe, you can't flick a switch like on the previous version. You'll need to buy a transformer.)
2) These DO NOT have a 'bass boost' switch. This isn't an issue. These things are FLAT and that's the way most people who buy them want it. But know coming in that you won't have the bass booster the previous version had.
3) These DO NOT have a detachable power cord. I think the size is sufficient, but I'm the kind of guy who likes detachable power cords. I think it's unfortunate they took it away. If something goes wrong with the power cable, I can't just buy a new one, it has to get replaced or repaired. Very sneaky, Avid!
4) These DO NOT take in 40 volts of power (20 per speaker). They actually take in 30 volts of power (15 per speaker). Does this make a difference? I think they sound fine. I was initially concerned, but one of Avid representatives on their forum commented that this was "a typo", and that they do, indeed, take in 40v. I don't have the equipment to test this myself. My theory is that they either understated the voltage (because this is better than overstating it), or that they changed the design to be more energy efficient. Or maybe it actually was a typo, but I don't believe that.
The previous design was prone to have overheating issues (remember, the amplifier is literally built into the speaker). If lowering the voltage, making design changes to the power cable connection, and taking away the power selection switch all make the new model more efficient and less prone to failure, that's awesome. As far as I'm concerned, if this was the only available model of the item, my first thoughts wouldn't be to include those things. They're fine as is, and $50 cheaper for it.
I have not had ANY trouble with this product. It sounds as fantastic as I had hoped it would. It was incredibly easy to set up. It does not heat at all, and the volume is consistent across both speakers.
Do not throw out the comic book style instruction manual that comes with the product. It explains the importance of triangulation when setting them up into position, and provides information on how to set up a room for maximum musical enjoyment.
MANY people across the internet have reported problems with *THE ORIGINAL* av 40 speakers, as well as the *MARK II* av 30 speakers. If you intend on buying either the new or old av 30 or av 40 speakers, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you do additional research on device failures before you decide to purchase.
After doing some reading, I would have not bought these had it not been for Amazon's competitive price point and return policy. I'd say I took a slight gamble that these might not have worked. Save yourself trouble, either buy from the guy across the street in the brick and mortar store where you can negotiate a price and return policy, or buy from Amazon (and not a third party dealer... trying to do returns with them is not as painless as with Amazon themselves).
What else is there to say? If this is what you're looking for, buy em. If you need something nicer for actual studio work, skip em. If you don't like your music crisp, and tweak your EQ settings in your car to +5 treble and +5 bass while effectively flipping the bird to the mid end, skip em. If you need something that interfaces passively with a receiver, skip em. I don't regret this purchase at all. If anyone scoffs at you, and says, "You paid $100? You got ripped off, my $15 logitech speakers work just fine", they haven't listened to these.