I will be honest that I was skeptical at first of a studio monitor priced at nearly 5 bills a pair. The wood finish did however catch my eye, and the brand logo of M-Audio music gear always seems to get me going (whether that’s because of conditioning or I’m just a huge fan, probably both!). However, M-Audio never disappoints me when it comes to the build and overall quality of their products, pparticularlystudio monitors as they’re pretty infamous for reference-type of gear. Here we have the M-Audio M3-6 three-way active studio monitor speaker, and we want to take a look at the specs on this one.
As we saw in our info of the M-Audio BX studio reference line, the BX8 Carbon monitor review showed some pretty powerful features. Even their lowest model, the BX5 Carbon monitor showed us a big punch in terms of woofer, tweeter size, and overall quality. The M3-6 however takes it a step further and if you have a few extra dollars to drop on a pair of monitors, you need to see for yourself.
Main features\specs of the M3-6 monitor
- Retail price: $250
- Frequency response: 40Hz – 22kHz
- Weight: 23 lbs (each)
- Dimensions: 9.25″ x 15″ x 9.06″ (W x H x D)
- 5″ mid-frequency driver (woven Kevlar)
- 6″ low-frequency driver (woven Kevlar)
- 1″ tweeter (silk dome)
- Three-way design
- Inline speaker
- Tri-amp Class A/B
- Onboard 3-Band EQ
- Low-Cut filter
- Sleek real wood veneer build
- Volume\power control are rear-mounted
- Inputs: one XLR, one 1/4″ balanced, one RCA unbalanced
In terms of features, these have an average sized tweeter but larger woofer than normal. The emphasis of three-way gives you the confidence that you’re going to be able to distinguish and really get an emphasis on all three possible frequencies. The amplifier power includes a 110-Watt LF, 30-Watt mid, and 20-Watt HF. The frequency response goes down to 40Hz which is plenty for any bass sounds you have — I haven’t heard much difference between 40 and other lower frequencies unless you want to get really technical. Very suitable for home or even semi-pro studios. Not to mention the wood finish makes them look like you’re in a Victorian church.
Build and stability
This is real wood covering the monitor, and lacquered to perfection at that. When you get down to the nitty gritty, your monitor can look like a piece of trash for all some people care — sound is most important. However, aesthetics in my opinion should still be taken into consideration at times, especially if you have a studio (home or pro) that you have artists or friends coming over to hang out or record in. This user review of the M3-6 also praises the overall look and build of the M3-6. You won’t be disappointed with longevity or how it’ll make your studio look when you have others over to visit and make or listen to some music.
There have been cases of a slight hiss if they’re turned up pretty loudly,but other than that, the protection they have is quite solid: output current limiting, subsonic and pop filters, transient and over-temperature.
Sound quality of the M3-6
I particularly like the silk dome tweeters M-Audio uses for the studio monitors. The highs really come in clear. There’s a very accurate balance when it comes to listening to the highs, mids and lows with the M3-6. Not quite as clear as their older sister M3-8 monitor, but these are still worth it if you’re concerned with overall tuning — flat, flat, and more flat. I’ve always been a huge critic of any studio monitor our there, because some don’t come close to getting the most important factor of a reference speaker: frequency distribution and flat tune. With listening to these, I was actually quite happy.
The reason you’ll be buying a pair of these is due to the inclusion of a mid-level frequency component. Although most monitors out there don’t necessarily lack mids, this will double check on that part of your listening experience. It’s particularly great for mixing vocals.
Overall verdict of the studio monitor
To put it clearly — if you have the money, buy the M3-6 three-way monitor by M-Audio. If you’d like even more powerful features in your studio monitor(s), take a look at the M3-8 three-way monitor as it’s a step up in terms of power but also costs a bit more. One of our favorite studio monitors on the market is the Studiophile AV 40 by M-Audio, and those only cost around $120 for a pair. This is an obvious price difference but if you’re looking for something cheaper you can also check out the our best studio monitor speakers article for more options if you’re still deciding.