If you're looking for that perfect set of small footprint monitors to add to your room OR as your main set of speakers then you need to give these a try. I was blown away by the huge open sound (once broken in), detailed mids, punchy low end, and silky highs and with a phantom center image that will make you swear the vocalist was sitting a few feet in front of you.
They are supposedly DSP tuned at the factory to ensure consistency should you want to use more than two for surround or one single monitor for mono. Honestly, I have had a few sets, and while I stand by them as worth the money, I did find that they are slightly different despite the DSP tuning. However, having said that, when I listened to them both together, they are pretty accurate.
Being that they are only 5.25" coaxials, their frequency response is only 53Hz-20kHz, but as I've mentioned earlier, they sound huge regardless.
I was especially thrilled to see the D5s ported in the front, as with speakers this size, they most often tend to get placed close to a wall due to room constraints. The D5s have 3 boundary selections (which Equator calls voicings) to fit most most mix rooms as well as a rotary input sensitivity adjustment...+4dB, -10dB or whatever. Connections are via a balanced 1/4 TRS or XLR, and outputs a modest 100watts (RMS).
When listening to various genres of music, the D5s performed beautifully. Nothing jumped out and everything was in it's place. I ended up remixing a few old songs that were done in a big name studio in my untreated bedroom and they were actually pretty close. I am not going to suggest that these will replace a pair of your favorite $3000/pr monitors, but for $299 you'd be hard pressed to find anything that comes remotely close. Also, if you are worried about the extended lows, you can always add a sub.
As a side note worth mentioning, when dealing directly with the manufacturer instead of a third party vendor, you end up getting excellent customer service as I've had to deal with them for over a month to get mine corrected, but worth it.
Unfortunately they're not sold at any retailer, but they offer a 60 day money back guarantee...not sure how much longer the $299 offer will stand, they said it's an "introductory" price.
Last edited by jaketanner; 21st December 2011 at 04:32 PM..
Reason: not enough personal info, too much like a marketing strategy
A Short But To The Point Review of the Equator D5s...
Brief History: I`ve monitored through the Mackie 824s for the last 12 years in my own studio. I`ve worked on NS-10s, Westlake Audio LC monitors, Genelecs 1032As and my favorites, the DynAudio BM6As.
I have lived with the D5s for several days now and I won`t hesitate to say, these are keepers! I did not think a pair of $300 near-field monitors could ever sound this good. The D5s are definitely ideal for any of us with personal studios who are looking for a small footprint but honest near-field. If you run a professional place, these would still work well as the "B" monitors. There are three settings (1, 2, 3) users can adjust to tweak to their own rooms. I would say that #3 setting has the best overall sound with slightly more bass, therefore a more pleasant experience if you`re just listening to music. However, for mixing, I`ll be using #2.
Some observations about the D5s...
1. The Overall Balance of the D5s is excellent. The D5s have a tight & focused bottom but do not possess (for lack of a better term) "the bowel moving sensations" of a larger monitor. For example, I`m coming from 12 years monitoring on the Mackie 824s which had a tremendously deep low end but lacked focus. The 824s were always a little too loose/wobbly in the low end for my tastes as well so I actually prefer the D5s in the low end. The best word I can think of to describe the mid and top region of these monitors is "crisp". Coming from the 824s, I originally thought they were harsh but after a few days of running music through them, the D5s are smoothing out. I would imagine after a few more days of "breaking in", they will sound even better! [One of the more demanding pieces of music is from the movie "Inception", entitled "Dream Within A Dream". If you know the soundtrack, you know how deep and throbbing the low end is on this soundtrack and the D5s not only survive the low end assault but actually reveal so many more nuances that the 824s failed to. Which brings me to...]
2. The Stereo Image is really amazing on the D5s. Listening back to everything from heavy metal to orchestral pieces, to soundtracks to pop records... the D5s really do a exceptional job of placing instruments in their place. I would say I am most impressed with the imaging on these and thats comparing them to some higher end monitors I mentioned earlier. There is a detail in the D5s that I only recall the Dynaudios possessing which cost $1200/pair.
3. Transients: The quick & punchy response of the D5s makes listening a pleasure without the harshness of a typically hyped speaker. Its nice to hear a high hats roundness/crispiness, a kick drums thump (instead of just feeling it) and vocals... I swear I can hear saliva flying out of the singers mouths. Seriously, there are many nuances I am hearing for the first time!
Conclusion: The D5s needed a few days to settle but once they did, I experienced an overall balance, exceptional stereo imaging and quick transient response that I have only heard in monitors costing 4x the D5s $299 price tag. For anyone looking for a small footprint, great sounding near-field and on a budget, the D5s are going to answer the call 9 times out of 10. I`m not trying to say the D5s are equal to the Genelecs or DynAudios mentioned above but they do have similar characteristics like detail/stereo image and the tight/focused bottom.
For $299 & a 60-day money back guarantee, the Equator D5s are a great deal.
Suggestion for Equator... consider building an 8 inch monitor "the D8" and pricing it for $999. It will become a studio standard.
This is a great little monitor speaker and compares to speakers costing twice the money or more.
The detail is breathtaking. It allows you to "hear into the mix" in a way that other monitors in its price class simply do not. I never realized how bad my KRKs really were until the Equators arrived at my studio.
These monitors are very accurate and not hyped. Some other small monitors hype the midbass to try to fool you into thinking they sound like bigger speakers. These don't do that. The bass is there, but there's no exaggerated bump in the 200Hz region to smear the sound.
In the sweet spot the soundstage is simply amazing. Spatial location of each instrument is virtually perfect.
The speakers feature 100 watts of power, a 3 way boundary correction switch, a level control, and balanced XLR and 1/4" inputs. The 1" silk dome tweeter is mounted co-axially in the woofer to deliver superior imaging with an absence of the comb filtering and phase distortion common to non-coaxial designs. This also allows the cabinet to be smaller than other 5" monitors. The bass port is properly tuned (a rarity in monitors this size) and delivers tight low end with no floppiness or tubbiness.
I have to say a word about Equator's customer service. I received my first pair of D5s and listened to them for about an hour, then left them on while I went to dinner. When I came back the LED was out on one speaker and it was dead. The next business day I called Equator and spoke to a gentleman in customer service named Marty. He was very apologetic and assured me that they would ship me a new pair immediately. 3 days later the FedEx man had the new pair at my door, along with a return shipping label for the old pair at no cost to me. And this was during the Christmas rush! Now THAT'S service! I LOVE this company!
I replaced a pair of Mackie MR8 monitors with the Equator D5s. The Mackies had a recessed midrange, which made mixing guitars and vocals especially difficult. I sold them for $300 and bought the D5s - I don't regret the decision one bit.
After 2 hours of breaking in, these monitors sound great. The low end is impressive for such a small speaker; if you have a decent set of headphones to check the low end on, I wouldn't even bother getting a sub. I wouldn't buy these for hip-hop or bass heavy electronic, of course, but for pop, rock, acoustic stuff, etc, they work great.
The midrange is forward but honest. Extremely honest. These open up a whole world of stuff that I was missing with the Mackies, and are even more revealing than the ATH-M50 headphones which I had been relying on.
Highs are crisp, but not too brittle, and also revealing. The stereo imaging is very impressive.
I gave these a 7/10 for features because they do not have individual switches to boost or attenuate highs and lows. They have a switch labeled "1,2,3," which is supposed to adjust the monitors for specific room environments. 1 corresponds to a corner, 2 is for placing them next to a wall, and 3 is for "free-standing." To my ears, 1 has the most bass, while 3 has the least. 2 worked out best for my room. It would be nice to be able to adjust the highs and lows separately, but for $300 you can't be too picky.
Overall, I'm very pleased. The D5s come with a 1-year warranty, and a 60-day risk trial period. Try them out!
they sound like the "big boys"!! the low end is amazing, and the mid frequencies translate very well. The only think i didn't like was the highs...they were a little harsh to my ear. maybe they need to break in.
But overall for that price it's a ridiculous offer. these are way better than the m audios or the krks or even the yammahas that are about the same price.
the coaxial design is amazing, it's one of those things you just have to try.
I've been mixing for about half a dozen years on Meyers HD-1 speakers and I love them, they are my reference. When I read the reviews for the Equator D5s I was intrigued. I needed some new monitors for my home studio for a 5.1 mix job so I pulled the trigger on th D5s. They guy I talked to at Equator was super cool and straight up when answering my questions.
I received the monitors and immediately piped a loop of pick noise through them for the day...about 8 hours.
When I came home I started listening to some music and I was shocked at the scary good imaging! The voicing is beautiful as well. I have them set @ 2 for the boundary.
After doing a number of mixes I just love these little guys. I feel like I'm never guessing or second guessing. I think I even like them better than the Meyers right now.
I will recommend these to anyone!
These are good little speakers. They have their limitations compared with my Mackie HR624MKiis - no low bass, not as flat, restricted dynamics, not as many bells and whistles. However, for the money they are excellent. I'd recommend them for a near-field situation any time. Add an inexpensive powered sub-woofer and some room correction (I use ARC 2) and you can have some very fine sound in a small room for small money.
So like many of you out there in gearslutz land, I was on the hunt for the best monitors I could afford within my budget. Monitors and room treatment should be two of our top considerations for where we're gonna spend that hard-earned money. However, that doesn't mean we have to spend a disproportionate amount on monitors when there are monitors like these out there punching far above there weight class.
We've all seen the glowing reviews and hype on the forums, so with a no questions 60 day money back guarantee, I decided to give them a go.
I may not have quite the experience that some folks have under their belt, but I do have a keen ear and have heard some high end monitors and hi-fi equipment. I also A/B'd these directly with a pair of Mackies of the same driver size and price range, the LSR2300's. Besides, we're in the low end here and I figure a lot of us are coming from the same place and good real world evaluations from people of all different skill levels can be valuable.
On to the testing. I don't want to bash the Mackies, so any attribute that isn't compared and contrasted to them, assume the Equators were the winner. I'll try and focus on the practical qualities that make these such a fine choice rather than getting too flowery with my language about how they sounded aesthetically to me. That can never be known until you listen for yourself anyhow.
-Best feature: Detail galore. These are definitely "I never heard that before" monitors. Most likely due to the excellent midrange.
-Because of that midrange they are in the "forward" sounding camp. Not to any extreme degree though. The Mackies were more laid back, but to the point of almost being dull and murky.
-Some people mentioned slightly excessive highs. I didn't find this to be the case and they certainly weren't fatiguing. The Mackies highs were nice as well, but with less "air".
-Wide sweet spot. Coaxial design helps here.
-Nice soundstage and imaging, although I didn't feel they were as exceptional in this regard as some reviewers seemed to feel.
-These are ported, but not hyped. Therefore, while they would need a sub for critical bass work, they also don't suffer from "one note" bass. They made the right compromise here. I feel after learning them better I should be able to judge the bass quite fine. If not, I'll check on phones or get a sub. Many of us have untreated or small rooms, so nice bass behavior is appreciated here.
-They sound excellent in the Very near field. Another plus here with our project studio quality rooms you can listen close and at lower volumes to lessen the effect the room will have on your listening environment.
-Casual listening. Some folks didn't like them for this. With an EQ adjustment, I thought they were quite good, but wouldn't be my first choice.
They have a bass contour switch to accommodate different placements along with input sensitivity dials and the usual in/out options. The blue LED is a bit bright, but can be easily covered with sticky tack.
I think all this adds up to a very practical and affordable product that should definitely make your list of must try monitors for the price and even at any price under a thousand dollars.
The icing on the cake for me was the excellent customer service I received when there was a small mistake in my order. I like to support companies that I feel have an interest in maintaining my satisfaction even after they have my money.
I would like to ditto most everything that's already been said about these monitors. They are certainly great "band for the buck" monitors. BUT, regardless of price, they are great. For small, near field monitors, they are hard to beat. Sure, 8" or 10" Genelecs, or similar, wouldn't be a fair comparison, but these will surprise you, or at least, they did me. I use them mainly for mixing, and I use Mackie HR824's for tracking.
I've had the D5's for almost a year now. My previous monitors were a set of Wharfedale actives, which for the money, were good (I paid 200 eur).
However, the time came when I wanted to upgrade to something better. I looked around and listened to the usual suspects; Yamaha's, Genelec's, Adam's etc.
Then I saw the threads about these on this very forum and started reading. People were saying good things about the D5's!
I live in Finland, and there wasn't a single pair to go and listen to. After a while I made the order without ever hearing them.
A week or so passed by, and the package was in my hands. I replaced my Wharfedale's with these and started listening to some of my favourite reference material.
The difference was huge. Stereo imaging was much much more detailed and the separation was great. I fired up some of my old mixes and could instantly hear stuff I should've done differently.
After a while of breaking the monitors in the sound got even better and more balanced. I really didn't have to "learn" these monitors.
When a mix sounds good & balanced on these, it'll translate. I was able to take my mixes to another level.
I do everything from solo piano and orchestral to metal.
I really like the balance of the D5's, and for their size they pack a nice controlled, punchy low end.
I'd recommend these to anyone looking to upgrade from the low end stuff like Rokit's or Hs's or something like that.
These sound better than some of the more expensive units.
I'm sure there are better monitors for more $$$, but in their price range these are unbeatable.
Just wanted to add to all the reviews here. This was my first pair of monitors I did a lot of research on different types and in this price I was only considering D5's or Eris E5 (yet to be tested). I produce electronic music so for me it was pretty crucial that lows are well expressed. I'm not a pro or an audiophile but as good as these speakers sound in highs and excellent in mid, low end just falls short here. The problem according to Equator is
"The D5s low end extends down to 53 HZ. The front-mounted port tubes helps
allow them to extend down to that range. But we do know that with some
bass-heavy source material (you mention an 808), the D5s can sometimes
struggle causing port tube turbulence and/or chuffing, especially with
narrow band low frequencies. If you really want to showcase frequencies
below 100Hz, I would suggest adding a subwoofer to the mix to relieve the
D5's LF responsibility or upgrading to the D8.
At lower volumes the D5 should fairly represent the low frequency
fundamentals of say a kick drum or upright bass for mixing purposes and your
treatment of the low end should translate well to other systems. The D5's
primary design was to focus on mid-range information. That's really where
they shine. We've known for quite some time now, that the midrange is not
only the most difficult area to get right but also the most critical area
when you're mixing. It's where the most complexity exists in typical audio
production. The D5's coaxial design, DSP aided crossover, matched left
right output and detailed voicing were all done to enhance mid-range detail."
At low volume I also had problems wit turbulence. Lows were making the tube move too much creating really annoying noise. Maybe i was expecting too much from them but if you produce electronic music these might not be for you. Or as Marty (their main guy mentioned upgrade to D8 or add a sub). Just my 2 cents. Wish I could try D8 but a price was a bit too much. Guess I'm going to have to save more money for something more expensive to meet my requirements.
Had these speakers for a while now.
Can't really see any reason to upgrade, since the sound is really just that great.
The mid-range is well defined, but smooth due to a slow, non-linear rise.
The upper mid-range is really tight with a snappy attack, almost with an edge.
Lower highs from 3,5 kHz to 6 kHz are really articulate and rounded.
Upper highs are really smooth, but still show when the source isn't.
Good bass, distinguished from the mid-range. Goes surprisingly deep,
but the roll-off is quite big, so it doesn't quite match the levels you get when,
for example you listen to your mix with headphones.
The depth is also quite amazing, for such affordable speakers.
Although I bought them when the price was still lower.
You can really notice the difference between the reverbs used,
even in a fully mixed song.
Those really short time delays sound amazing with these.
Each instrument differentiates itself in a really well-defined manner,
and doesn't tend to blend with others. Some might not like this, but for me it's great.
The glue doesn't come easy, so to speak.
But once you get it, you notice what a good mix really is.
The build is really tough-feeling and their look doesn't give them a fragile feeling either.
Sort of dark gray, body with a hint of warm blue. The amount of screws holding things together.
Really seems like a solid piece of engineering. The elements seem to be well in place,
and for example, the the mid-placed high end cones on the element,
don't seem to nudge at all when wiggled. The knobs on the back are also good and solid,
with a rubber nice texture. The regional power switch is also hard to move accidentally,
which is good.
I had one problem though, with one of the speakers, from since when I bought it.
The speakers low and mid-element was scraping against the other element's body.
This caused a small resonance problem with bass when the volume surpassed a specific point.
I, being a handy guy (I wish) I fixed the problem by bending the material with a flat tool,
creating an even hole around the centered high frequency element.
Other problem includes the oscillating noise problem, which seems to lower when
any sound, even background noise, is played through the speakers.
This incites to me, that the problem might be somehow related to them using
AC to power something and it not being properly grounded.
Not a big problem though, but can me slightly annoying.