M-Audio M3-8 by DD Star Music
I must preface I gave the " sound quality " rating a 4 only because I believe my Adam S3X-H monitors are a 5. With that being said these M3-8 monitors were mentioned to me by an engineer who's opinion I've learned to respect. I have been trying to find a set of monitors for my new room that make up for a couple pair of monitors. I was raised on the luxury of switching between monitors for reference. These new M Audio monitors are truly sleepers in the market. I will go ahead and mention that there is the slightest bit of signal hiss with these monitors. I'm just going to chalk it up them being $598 a pair with free shipping. So I got over it quickly. Once signal is present you'd be hard pressed to notice any of it. I also listen to a load of vinyl for reference which has its own obvious sonic inhabitants.
The ability to truly create a monitor that achieves a confident balance and structured palate by tweaking highs, mids, and lows...and mean LOOOOWS on these speakers is the selling point for me. I was able to put my NS10 up side by side and recreate the same mid forward tonality and then add the highs and lows per my preference. So one more amp I can turn off and two sets of monitors I can put away. These monitors have a very strong low end but it is clean and not of the cheaper boomy class. I am so used to listening to my Adams and the NS10's that I felt completely confident with this new addition. The highs are in no way harsh or fatiguing. As I am writing this I've been listening to Steve Wonder "Inervisions"and now "Songs In The Key Of Life". Both albums has an sense of immediacy in the vocals that inspires me to listen. Vocals are so true and clear. There is no garbage surrounding the low end relationship of the kick, bass, and synths. Keys and guitars are clean and clear. I can really hear and feel the movement of the Rhodes chorused tremolo, slightly beyond the width of the cabinets. Everything has a defined sense of its own space. No clutter. Again I wasn't looking for another pristine set of $8k monitors. I've had 7 different sets of monitors in my possession to find that,low and behold, these $598 dudes were the ones that worked in my room and even more so in my ears. They have an amazing sound stage, wide sweet spot, depth, and are NON fatiguing. Reverb tails in classical halls are present and not hyped. Jazz is realistic (Miles, Coltrane) and intimate. They have an "alive" representation in many respects to their performance qualities. They don't just play music. You can feel it, understand what the mix engineer was going for in placement and mix structure. For me at least, they do what I was hoping a set of monitors would do for me in my needs of daily operation. Mixing, tracking, composing, producing, and daily listening to my inspirators. For $598.
Monitors are so personal, so even writing this review is kind of senseless but I felt the need to share my thoughts and values. For instance I recently had the sE Munro Eggs ( for a second time in a year ) in here to see if, again, I was missing something due to their media hype and performance perception. Ugh, yea, I realized immediately that the Eggs,again, were not for me. And no disrespect to sE, they are an awesome company with wonderful reps. But the reviews of theses Eggs led me to believe these were close too mastering grade monitors and perfect for mixing. For some they just may be the Holy Grail. Just not for me, simply put. Note: I just sold them to someone who sent me an email stating these were the best monitors he'd ever heard and "thank you".
So, as I recover from that tangent, the new M- Audio M3-8 monitors are really an incredible deal and incredible performer for any type of music at any price. My son who does EDM and remixes was blown away by the low end response and clarity. Another engineer listened to his mixes on them and immediately found a couple simple fixes he was not hearing on his Dyns. There ya have it, finally a review other than the only one on CNET.
Look at it this way, $598 for 3 way speakers with 8" woofers, 5" mid, and concentric silk dome tweeter, low cut attenuation 80hz and 100hz,
Bass, mid, and high atten @ 6 db +\- AND a digital in, housed in a beautiful real wood veneer solid cabinet, you can find some way to make them useful in your audio world. Or you can just return them!
I'm keeping mine...in much confidence.