A RETURN TO STUDIO MONITORS
by Michael Cooper
At $459 each ($918/pair), the Monitor-8s are modestly priced, so I was completely surprised by what I heard when I first auditioned these superb passive monitors in my control room. In short, I was completely blown away. The Monitor-8s are world-class monitors offered at a bargain-basement price.
Straight out of the box, the Monitor-8s are beautiful to behold. The heavily radiused side panels are fashioned from exotic Iroko plywood, adding rigidity as well as visual contrast to the black, 15mm-thick MDF cabinet. This reinforcement minimizes coloration from panel vibration. The top and bottom edges of the cabinet are not radiused. Cabinet dimensions (with a vertical orientation) are 16.5x11x11.5 inches (HxWxD). Each cabinet weighs 28 pounds. The monitors are not magnetically shielded.
Behind the detachable, black cloth grille are two driversan 8-inch polypropylene woofer with a rubber surround and a 1-inch soft-dome, ultra-fine aluminum diaphragm tweeter. The low-frequency drivers oversized motor structures and cast-aluminum chassis promise improved efficiency and impulse response. The tweeters voice coils are Ferrofluid-cooled for maximum power handling and improved linearity.
The tweeter sits behind a protective fine-mesh metal grille. Both the tweeter and grille are inset in a Linear Quadratic Spherical waveguide, the curved shape that reportedly reduces diffractive effects at high frequencies (the radiused side panels make a similar contribution). The result is wider, more uniform imaging and less distortion due to comb filtering. The waveguide also increases the tweeters sensitivity.
A circular bass tuning port is on the rear panel, directly opposite the high-frequency driver. Also on the rear panel are two binding posts that provide power amp connections; these accept only bare wire. Two M6 (metric 6) female mounting points are located on the bottom of the cabinet that allows the monitors to be anchored to a flat stand with a downward tilt.
The Monitor-8s are rated at 125-watt RMS power, 250W program power and over 500W peak power handling capability; D.A.S. recommends an amplifier rated at 125 to 250 watts at eight ohms. The specified peak SPL at full power is 116 dB, and I found a stereo pair of Monitor-8s to be plenty loud when powered by my 150-watt Hafler P-3000 Transnova amp. On-axis sensitivity (1 watt/1 meter) is a respectable 89dB SPL.
The Monitor-8s frequency response is specified as 38 to 33 kHz (with no tolerances given). D.A.S. recommends you place the Monitor-8s four inches from a wall for added reinforcement of bass frequencies, and a supplied chart shows the frequency response one would ideally expect with such placement. The response is three dBs down at 55 Hz and two dBs down at 20 kHz, with impressive linearity in between both extremes. (These measurements were made using a 1W swept sine signal at one meter with the Monitor-8s in a half-space anechoic environment. (For more information, see the sidebar On the Bench.) The crossover point for the 12dB/octave Linkwitz-Riley passive crossover is 3 kHz.
Reprinted with permission from Magazine, February, 2001
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