APS Audio COAX Active Studio Monitor by matthew11490
A few months back I heard some good feedbacks from peers about APS speakers. Therefore I approached APS and they sent me a pair of Coax and Aeon for demo. I wasn't sure what I am getting into at first. But as far as I know now, I ended up keeping them both, they helped my work in a tremendous way and I am grateful to have them.
I have been doing audio engineering for quite a while, worked in many great studios and worked on a lot of speakers. To name a few Yamaha, KRK, ATC, PMC, Focal, Dynaudio, Ausburger, Exigy, ADAMS, Barefoots, lipinski, JBL etc. I got very picky on speakers since I know what it takes to make it a good mixing speakers. I was using Yamaha ns-10, PMC two two 6 and a 10" sub to finish most of my work before I got the APSs.
First of all, I have to say APS customer service was superb, they are easy to reach and they explained patiently and took care of everything I worried.
I was told the Coax sounds like NS10 with better imaging, faster transient response and clearer.
When I first got the APS Coax, The build quality was superb, mine was in ebony cabinet, it was elegant. It was quilt heavy considering the small size. It is almost twice as deep as the NS10. height and width are similar.
When I first listened to it, it was much brighter than what I expect as an "NS10" type of speaker. I ended up lowering the high frequency by 1.5db otherwise I got fatigue very quickly.
After some discussion with the folks in APS, I let the speaker to run a few weeks to "warm it up" before I draw any conclusion.
After a few weeks warming it up, I did couple of mixing recently with it.
Here's my thought about it:
I tried them in various position, and they all worked well, doesn't matter I put them wide or narrow, ear level, higher/lower than ear level, just like my pmc, they don't have dramatic change in tone and color even if you move your listening position. This is great.
It was less harsh and bright than when I first got it. It's still bright but in a way "airy" bright just like my PMC twotwo6, very smooth high end, I don't have to roll off some high frequency anymore when I work on it.
The stereo image is very wide and clear, it's simply amazing, I put them roughly 2ft away, woofers on the outside, i felt like they were 4-5ft away. Totally great and suitable to small spaces where you cannot put monitors further apart to get a proper stereo image. I used to have problems with speaker putting too close to the center and the mix was translated narrow as a result.
Frequency response was similar to an NS10, the lows gradually roll off around 60hz, you can hear 60-70hz more clear (due to coaxial design I expect) and define than the NS10. The different would be the Coax has much better highs, you can hear 15-20khz without an issue.
Transient response is really quick. Great for playback but maybe not great for mixing as it might deceive you to think your drum sounds good enough.
After using it for couple of mixes, I realized a few things that Coax really stand out.
It sounds better than my PMC two two6 in a way that it has more mid range instead of scooped mid range like PMC two two 6. Other than that I found them really close in terms of sound quality, depth of the sound (reverb, delay etc), revealing small details of the mixes. For the price of Coax, I will pick it over anything else.
I found Coax is great for revealing 500-700hz and 3-5khz of the mix, I was able to pick up some problem in those area on Coax than on other speakers.
Another thing is nowadays I do all the automation especially vocal volume ride on Coax exclusively. The Coax is so responsive that I could hear very small dynamic changes (like a db or so) and I could make decision to smooth it out and make better decisions on riding the vocal so it sit in the mix better. To me this is another factors that surprise me.
If you haven't try it, you should. Coax is a great upgrade of near field. I wish APS would make a bigger model of Coax that has a deeper low end like Aeons and perhaps maybe 0.5-1db lower in the high end, that would be dream.
P.S. After I recommended APS to the studio I am currently working in, and they are happy with the AEON they got and expecting a pair of Coax soon.