Full Review of the M-Audio Studiophile AV 20 Portable Desktop Speaker System
Hmm, M-Audio Studiophile AV 20 speakers, huh? We’re getting pretty classy around here. These things are advertised as being “home studio speakers” for those who want to do their own remixes and stuff. They’ve got to be pretty good to make that kind of claim, right?
Besides, this is a company that makes professional audio equipment, I’d expect good stuff out of them.
These desktop speakers are made for the audiophile, so I’d expect them to be pretty darn good. As I was taking them out of the box, it looked like I wouldn’t be disappointed. The first thing that caught my eye was solid wood cabinets; the man you don’t see that very often on desktop speakers, maybe these things really are made for audiophiles.
Although only a desktop speaker system, without a subwoofer, these speakers do have separate woofers and tweeters, with an actual crossover and 10 watts per channel amplifier in the speaker box. So, they ought to give a really good overall sound. There’s even a bass port out the back, not something you ordinarily see on a desktop speaker.
Power connection is an AC line cord, which I always like. All those little power supply transformers are a real pain when you’re trying to plug them in to plug strips. I’ve got four plug strips under my desk and the last thing I need is another transformer taking up space.
The audio connection is different too; they’ve got regular audio connections for stripped and tinned wires, not your typical 3.5mm stereo audio connector. Along with the unbalanced RCA auxiliary input jacks on the back of the left speaker, it definitely gives a true audiophile feeling to the speaker design.
I got a chuckle from one of my gopher buddies who was visiting the office when I was hooking them up. He started complaining that the instructions didn’t say which speaker was the left one and which one was the right one. I guess M-Audio didn’t think they needed to mention that little detail, especially since the back of the M-Audio Studiophile AV 20 Speakers are marked with “left” and “right.” BTW, if you have trouble finding those words, the volume control is on the left one. Who reads instructions anyway; especially for something like speakers?
These M-Audio desktop speakers look like professional speakers, with their black satin finish, wood cases and grilles over the visible speaker cones. They’ve even angled the fronts of the speaker cases so that the sound will come right at the old ear holes.
The volume control has got a nice little blue LED to make it more obvious. I guess that’s for people who like to use their computer in the dark.
If you’ve never dealt with real audio equipment, you might have trouble with the real speaker wire connections. Let me give you a hint, don’t try and put a 3.5mm plug into it. These connectors are designed for bare wires, or even better, tinned wires.
You won’t find a 3.5mm connector for your iPod or another MP3 player on these babies, either. For that matter, you won’t find a headphone jack. I guess they were thinking “professional audio” instead of thinking “desktop computer.”
After all the anticipation, somebody pricked my bubble when I turned these M-Audio Studiophile AV 20 speakers on. I mean, shouldn’t the sound volume be the same from both speakers? I would think so. I even checked it with a sound level meter, and sure enough, the right speaker is louder than the left; weird, huh?
I won’t complain about the quality of the sound, but that right/left balance thing was a bit too much for me. I was disappointed.
As nice as it might be to have true audiophile desktop speakers connected to your setup, I’d have to say that these aren’t the ones to buy. If you want some audiophile speakers, or if you’re set on buying M-Audio, spend the extra money and buy yourself the M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 Speakers, you’ll be much happier.