The BX5 D3 and BX8 D3 studio reference monitor speakers represent M-Audio’s latest line of super-affordable, bi-amped active monitor loudspeakers. The BX D3 Series have an all-black “stealthy” look with woofers made of military-grade Kevlar®. The tweeters have treated natural silk domes and “fire” into a computer-optimized waveguide that looks great and is said to improve sonic imaging.
The BX D3 Series is available in two sizes: the BX5 with a five-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter and the BX8 goes with an eight-inch woofer and 1.25-inch tweeter. The BX5 D3 has a 60-watt amp for the woofer, 40-watt amp for the tweeter. Frequency response is 52Hz to 35kHz. The larger BX8 D3 has 80/70-watts respectively and a 37Hz to 22kHz range.
The BX D3 Series monitors use a bass reflex port mounted at the top of the rear control panel that includes a Volume control and both a TRS and XLR input jacks for balanced or unbalanced inputs. There is also a three-position Acoustic Space Control toggle switch with flat, -2dB, and -4dB positions. You should try to keep your monitors a good distance away from walls and avoid placing them directly on desktops to prevent bass buildup. But if that is not possible, try one of the three Acoustic Space switch positions.
I set up the pair of BX8 D3s on speaker stands with the Acoustic Space switch at Flat. However with them on my dining room table, I found the -2dB position good. The BX8 D3s have plenty of gain with no trouble filling the room with great sound.
I found the sound of the BX8s to have a slightly forward mid-range quality good for analyzing my mixes. It’s easy to hear music mixes I know to be somewhat lacking in high frequency air and upper mid-range edge. These speakers do not hype up the top end excessively.
Whether you’re adding a second pair of monitors to your existing studio setup or the BXs are going to be your “go-to”, main loudspeakers, I think they make a good affordable choice.
The M-Audio BX5 D3 monitors are $149 MSRP each while the BX8 D3 monitors are priced at $249 MSRP each.
Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com