Equator Audio Q8 - Pair by John Eppstein
To start with, you should probably reference my review of the Equator D5
I bought the D5s and was so delighted with them that when Equator offered a direct discount deal on the Q8s I jumped on it as soon as my finances permitted. Results have been, er, mixed.
The Q8s are bigger, louder, have more bass extension, and come with a sophisticated setup program. Also, they're a hell of a deal at $1000 for a pair on monitors that has been selling in stores for $3,000.
But........ for me, the D5s are better for mixing. It could be that I need to recalibrate with the setup program (and if that's the case I'll be editing this review), but it seems to me that the Q8s don't image nearly as well as the D5s - there's a bit of a "hole in the middle" of the soundstage, and they exhibited a definite boxiness that took extensive work tweaking the manual EQ adjustment in the control program to deal with. Prior to that mixes done on the Q8s came out a little deficient in the upper midbass.
I was able to get the overall tonal balance close to that of the D5s by tweaking. It's also possible that the response in this region may change as the speakers break in.
It's also possible that the imaging problem could be due to having the speaker placement a bit too close to the chair, but I shouldn't think that would be the case - I'll have to see.
HOWEVER as tracking monitors with a guitarist or bassist playing in the control room they're great.
The two pairs complement each other rather well.
It has now been several months since I wrote my original review, and I find a need to modify my original judgements.
THESE SPEAKERS ARE A TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE OF SPEAKERS THAT REQUIRE A BREAK IN PERIOD.
About two months after purchasing these speakers I began to notice that most, if not all my original reservations had gone away. They no longer required the EQ tweak to sound as good as the D5s, the sound stage had improved noticeably, the slight midrange boxiness had disappeared and they had become the monitors I expected when I purchased them. We are now using the Q8s as our primary reference monitors.
Zero-Point Reference (Two Drivers. One Sonic Point Source)
Phase & Time Coherence Along the X, Y, & Z Axes
Exceptional Off-Axis Imaging in both the Horizontal & Vertical Planes
Internal DSP/Digitally Controlled Transducers
Automatic Driver Tolerance Compensation (Matched Transducer Output)
Equator Control Software for Three-Stage (Length/Width/Height) Room Standing Wave Correction & Boundary & Placement Compensation
NOW INCLUDED Secondary Reflection Correction via Equator Room Analysis Software
Description: Powered 8” 2-way Reference Monitor
Frequency Response (-6dB): 38Hz - 22kHz
Recommended Line Level Input: 10mV-2V
Amplifier Power (LF/HF): 200W/200W
Amplifier Peak Power (LF/HF): 400W/400W
Sensitivity: 1w/1m output, 88 dB
Max SPL (per pair): =110dB
Input Impedance: 10k
L.F. Driver VC Size: 2.5 ”
L.F. Driver (4- ohm): 8”
H.F. Driver (8-ohm): 1” Titanium Dome Forward Firing Compression Driver
Crossover Frequency: 2kHz
Inputs: XLR, USB, RS485 in/thru, ¼” phone jack
Protection: Compression (LF & HF), thermal, short circuit, under voltage
Magnetic Shielding: Yes
Enclosure Alignment: Bass-Reflex
Enclosure Construction: 1” HDF baffle & 3/4” 13-layer Baltic Birch
Finish: Black/Micro-Metallic gray
Dimensions H x W x D (in.): 13 x 13 x 13
Shipping Dimensions H x W x D (in.): 19 x 19 x 19
Shipping Weight (lbs.): 34
Note that the stated USB and the RS485 inputs are for use with the calibration software, they are not an audio inputs.