ALESIS > M1Active 320 USB Speakers
LIST PRICE: $199.00
Alesis has introduced the M1Active 320 USB Speakers, a competitively priced semi-pro speaker system. These are plug and play speakers, meaning you do not have to have any drivers or special software to use them. Simply plug them in and they will blast sound with ease. You can also use the speaker’s other inputs to record line-level sources to the PC or Mac. Let’s face it, studio monitors are ridiculously expensive, but you usually get what you pay for. These tiny speakers are an exception to the rule. They are inexpensive and offer an incredible range of frequency (lacks some highs) and lots of sound for the price.
When I test speakers there is one album that always offers the best palette for comparison: Steely Dan’s Aja. This gloriously engineered gem was recorded so perfectly that you can instantly tell the difference between two speaker systems. I started the song and immediately found that every nuance and color can be distinguished from subtle snare drum ghost notes to the attack on an auxiliary hand drum. The speakers also have a bass boost switch if you need a little more low-end. This made me feel as though I was sitting in the recording console watching Walter Becker and Donald Fagen record the album. Also, I listened to some un-mixed tracks of my own. I put these up against a pair of M-Audio speakers priced about the same, and the Alesis speakers were noticeably more crisp, clear and true sounding. My tracks sounded a little more jumbled and muddy on the M-Audio speakers. This can present a problem when mixing because you think the track sounds better than it really does. When listening to my guitar parts on the Alesis I immediately discovered my EQ problem in the mix. Not bad for $99!
Whether you are in your home studio engineering the next big thing, or just jamming away to your favorite tunes, I feel that you will get superb results from these affordable speakers. These are definitely not high-end speakers, but will make a great addition to any home studio.