M-Audio is by far my favorite creators of studio monitor speakers. If anybody ever asks me which kind of monitors they should buy, especially if they’re new to the speaker game, I appoint them to M-Audio. We saw Akai recently come out with very powerful studio monitors, their RPM500 and RPM800. However, M-Audio has some crafty monitors out that can give them a run for their money, especially in terms of price (they also give you pairs). The M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 is one of my favorite pairs out there in terms of price and capabilities. And it’s only at $150 retail (we’ve seen it as low as $120 on some channels).
Main features of the M-Audio Studiophile AV 40
- Weight: 14 lbs.
- Dimensions: 8.75″ x 6″ x 7.25″ (HxWxD)
- Frequency response: 85Hz to 20kHz
- Type: Two-way desktop reference
- 4″ woofers (polyproplene-coated)
- 1″ tweeters (ferrofluid-cooled silk cone)
- Waves guides = optimage III tweeter
- 20-Watt-per-channel amp (Class A/B)
- Magnetic shielding
- In the box: Two (2) AV 40 speakers, interconnect cable for speakers, 4′ 1/8″-to-Stereo RCA and Aux cable, user guide
So what do these terms mean? In terms of the woofers, this is important for bass. The 4″ size is pretty good for woofers inside of studio monitors, and the coat helps give it some tight and accurate sound. The tweeters help with highs, and 1″ is standard to help with clarity for mixing. In terms of balance, the wave guides help provide an accurate stereo field as a whole (I need accuracy!). The 20-watt amp is a little lower than some others on the market, but if you want higher you’re going to have to pay more cash. The wattage is sometimes pretty important, but 20-watt is feasible.
Overall build of the Studiophile AV 40
These things are built very well. When I look for studio monitors, I need a solid build with premium material because it just gives me that much more confidence. Speakers to me are like the tanks in front of the battle field — and they need proper armor. The Studiophile’s are also self powered so you don’t need an external amp for them.
They are very clear and accurate in terms of frequency distribution. I keep them at ear level (it is recommended by M-Audio to do so), so try to keep that in mind when setting up your rig. Mine have been going strong for about 2 years now. Flat and smooth. There’s no bass kick up or distortion going at higher volumes, so if you want to bug your neighbors, you can probably get their attention if you get that urge. When mixing, the Studiophile AV 40 provides me the same attention to vocals as it does drums, bass, or even the higher treble noises. Great quality for the price.
Possible cons with the AV 40’s
Well, there are definitely more expensive studio monitors out there. These however were first on our top 10 best studio monitor speakers buying guide. Professional studios spend up to a thousand dollars on theirs, but if you’re somebody on a budget yet still need a good pair of monitors these are great in terms of price. Also, they do not have a ‘bass boost’ switch, but if you’re looking for a flat accurate sound that isn’t necessary. I’ve heard owner’s of the AV 40 also say that it’s only lasted them a year, although mine have been fine for two (it’s time to upgrade soon). You’re looking at a lifespan of 1-2 years here. Lastly, they’ve been known to get overheated. Make sure your studio or room is set to a nice temperature otherwise you run the risk of heating them up too much.
If you are looking to save some money, check out their M-Audio Studiophile AV 30 as they’re a bit cheaper (around $40 difference). Here’s a table comparing the two — it’s up to you to see if it’s worth it or not.