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M-Audio StudioPro 3

M-Audio StudioPro 3

3.25 3.25 out of 5, based on 1 Review

Mid-shelf Active Reference Monitors

6th December 2011

M-Audio StudioPro 3 by matt1558

  • Sound Quality 2 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 2 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.25
M-Audio StudioPro 3

M-audio StudioPro 3's are a budget solution for desktop monitoring. They sell new for under $100 and are available on the used market for peanuts. Of course, with low price comes compromises, which I will get into in this review.

The "features" of these monitors are somewhat esoteric. The manufacturer description lists off facts such as the cabinet material not being plastic but rather some composite, magnetic shielding so your PC doesn't mess with the signal, internal damping foam, an aux input, bass boost... ultimately none of this should matter unless you're an audiophile, in which case you probably won't be interested in bargain basement monitors like these anyway.
I have found the aux in useful in various situations, and I've never had a problem putting them next to my PC so I guess the features are working as advertised.

The Sound Quality coming out of StudioPros is actually very nice, having quite a bit of presence and clarity in the high and midrange frequencies. I purchased them for mixing and they get the job done. However, there are two drawbacks - volume and bass response. These are powered, active monitors, but they are overall very quiet. I would almost say a pre-amp is a necessity with these monitors. It isn't as if you can't hear them without one, but you won't get a powerful sound. Secondly, they have very weak bass response in the 60-100hz range, and benefit greatly from the addition of a subwoofer. There is a 'bass-boost' feature, but I imagine that defeats the purpose of a reference monitor by attenuating frequencies different from the source material. The Studiopros themselves do not have a sub output, so finding a pre-amp with one is a necessity.

These two factors influence my "bang for buck" and "sound quality" ratings. The sound quality is actually very good and you are getting this quality at a bargain price - but when you factor in having to purchase a pre-amp and a sub, it is worth asking whether the total cost might justify a more high-end pair of monitors that don't need external help to sound loud and powerful.

In summary, these are decent monitors for a beginner looking to get into mixing/recording engineering. But if you are looking for a "bumpin'" sound system or producing bass-heavy music, there are likely to be better solutions at an only slightly higher price point.

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