So Akai has decided to bring forth some studio monitors — their new series of the RPM500 and RPM800. The only difference between the two, which we’ll highlight in more detail later, is the increased frequency range and wattage in the 800. In our opinion, these are pretty solid studio monitors and worth looking at. I have been so happy with Akai for the past 10-15 years in my experience of the music instrument category that it’s hard to say no to anything they make.
Main features of the Akai RPM500 monitor
- Frequency response of 50Hz to 30kHz
- 90-watt Class A/B amp
- 50-watt (5.25″) woofer with a 1.5″ voice coil
- High-damping rubber surround
- Proximity control
- HF Trim, MF Boost and LF Cutoff for mixing
- Monitor isolation pad for structure-borne resonance decrease
- Magnetic shielding for signal purity
- Integrated radio frequency protection
- Recessed amp mounting
- External heat sink
- 14-gaauge wiring to transducers
- External mains fuse and on/off transient protection
- Output current and over-temperature limiter
- Subsonic filter
- Inputs: XLR, balanced 1/4″ TRS and RCA
- Flared rear-firing bass port (helps with low-frequency depth and definition)
Comparing to some other monitors I’ve experienced, these are more expensive but a lot more powerful in terms of specs. For example, the RPM500’s have bigger woofers (around an inch larger) as well as 70 more watts of power in the amp. The magnetic shielding should always be included in studio monitors that you’re looking at because you never want interference between your other music equipment.
As far as the sound quality goes, this speaker is very satisfactory. It’s intended to offer a neutral/balanced reproduction and it does just that — perfect for mixing and getting that accurate tracking down. You also don’t need an external amp as the one built-in is very powerful. The inclusion of isolation pads only add to the accuracy. The sound quality is just flat and accurate – not much color, which like myself and a lot of other producers out there who have a very sensitive ear prefer this approach to audio — we just can’t help it.
In terms of size, the Akai RPM500 studio monitor speaker weighs about 18 lbs and the dimensions are 12.5″ x 10.1″ x 8″ — not that this matters necessarily since I don’t recommend traveling with them, but it’s good to know if you’re trying to plan your setup.
Everything else works as intended with this speaker, the main concern should be the price — but you get what you pay for. You receive the studio monitor speaker standards (doesn’t lack anything, really) as well as an increased wattage in the amp and larger woofer as compared to other competitors out there. Not to mention the aesthetics are very pleasing (love the black and red — looks nice next to my MPK249).
When comparing to other studio monitors on the market, We think these give the popular M-Audio Studiophile 40v monitor speakers a run for the money. Albeit, they are around twice the price (the Studiophile’s come in pairs).
Some other monitors to take a look at that can compete with these include the JBL LSR305 and the KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 Generation 3. Try comparing before you drop the cash. They also have a smaller pair of speakers, the Akai’s RPM3 monitors with USB or read our Akai RPM800 review for more info on their higher model.
Check out our top 10 best studio monitor speakers article for some more options.
Difference between the RPM500 and RPM800
- $100 increase in the 800
- Frequency response:
- RPM500: 50Hz to 30kHz
- RPM800: 38Hz to 30kHz
- Class A/B amp:
- RPM500: 90-Watt
- RPM800: 120-watt
- Woofer size and amp:
- RPM500: 50-Watt (5.25″ or 133.3mm)
- RPM800: 80-Watt (8″ or 203.2mm)
- All other features are the same