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4" monitor shootout (M-Audio AV42, Mackie CR4, Fluid Audio F4W, Abacus C-Box 3)
Old 15th May 2018
  #1
4" monitor shootout (M-Audio AV42, Mackie CR4, Fluid Audio F4W, Abacus C-Box 3)

What? A test of the following three cheap and one not-so-cheap monitors:

Why? Yesn't.

Pic or it didn't happen!


4" monitor shootout (M-Audio AV42, Mackie CR4, Fluid Audio F4W, Abacus C-Box 3) by Johann, on Flickr

Background? Looking for cheap monitoring in a bandwidth-limited (guitar) situation. The C-Box is a bonus.

Room? 16 m² with about 600 € worth of GIK acoustics on the walls. Decay time is between 400 to 450 ms (T20) from 150 Hz on or so. Treated, but not overly so.

What are you testing these speakers against? Glad you asked, my Yamaha MSP-5.

Yamaha MSP-5 measurements


Yamaha MSP-5 by Johann, on Flickr

Abacus C-Box 3

I would have preferred detented volume pots. It's a fun little speaker that sometimes surprises with its bass, you just don't know at what frequencies it'll happen. Maybe it's my room? A bit too much between 1-5 kHz (REW says around 650 Hz)? Good stereo image, feels very wide. Not sure the bass dial on the back does much. Feels loud and quiet at the same time, very weird. Ride cymbals sound good on this box. Break - It's Coming didn't have any real bass, but good information overall. Amon Tobin - Golfer vs. Boxer had lots of bass.

These probably don't go too loud. At the volume I like listening to music at, I am at 2/30 clicks on my MSP 5's and at 7/10 on the Abacus. Not a speaker to terrorize your neighbours with.

Measurements


Abacus C-Box 3 by Johann, on Flickr

35 Hz my ass.

Summary

I can understand why some mastering guys like this speaker. It's accurate and fairly flat. The volume is definitely enough to work with. I think with a little EQ, this would be a wonderful little speaker.

Next.

Fluid Audio F4W

I think this one and all the other cheap ones are being made by the same factory in China. Whereas the C-Box had not a whole lot of bass, this one has too much, I think in the 75-200 Hz region. Very audible on Brutal Truth - Stench of Prophet which is a rather thin recording originally. Plump DJs - Soul Vibrates sounded just too boxy. REW says it has less resonances than the C-Box. Cymbals sound more like white noise.

Compared to the C-Box, this has bass like you wouldn't believe.

Measurements


Fluid Audio F4W by Johann, on Flickr

Summary

A bit low-end heavy and the high end feels a little recessed.

M-Audio AV42

Similiar character to the Fluid Audio. Is this the same speaker in a different case? Bassdrum on CONNECT.OHM - Snow Park is wicked boomy. I know I have ****ty cables that someone gave me for free for these but I can't shake the feeling that the left speaker is much lower in volume (=bad or no matching). Amon Tobin - Golfer vs. Boxer is just too much. Yes, REW confirms: Left speaker is 3.5 dB louder than right where my Yamahas are 0.7 db. Wew lad. Then, all of a sudden, my right speaker starts to buzz. Not happy.

Measurements


M-Audio AV42 by Johann, on Flickr

Am I starting to see a pattern here?

Mackie CR4

The Mackies seem to be affected by the poor speaker matching, too. Only this time, I'm using premium Cordial cables that I know are good. Well, REW now says that left and right are within 0.7 dB so what do I know? Plump DJs - Soul Vibrates sounds a bit less boxy. But not a whole lot of difference to the other Chinese speakers.

Measurements


Mackie CR4 by Johann, on Flickr

Frequency-wise, the woofer seems to be pretty much the same, but the tweeter looks smoother.

Summary

I guess I'm keeping the Mackie CR4.

Can I download your REW file? Yes.
Old 25th July 2019
  #2
Here for the gear
 

I still prefer my Mackie CR3.
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