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Equator Audio D8 Studio Monitors

1/30/2014 10:13:35 AM
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I’ve reviewed Equator’s D5 mini-monitors and was duly impressed. Their direct-to-consumer sales model made for some nice pricing at about $400 per pair (I bought a pair for my assistant’s B-room), but it was the sonic performance and thorough design that won me over. Equator’s bigger D8s employ the same design principles, although their performance differed from my expectations.

Title: Equator Audio D8 Studio Monitors - Description: http://cdn3.volusion.com/kvjrp.zstdv/v/vspfiles/photos/D8-3.jpg%3F1388353942

Equator Audio D8 Studio Monitors

Features

The $777 per pair D8s are nearly identical to the D5s, feature-wise: all wood cabinetry, gray finish, coaxial/time-aligned woofer/tweeter arrangement, XLR and TRS inputs, stepped sensitivity control, three-position boundary switch (bass roll-off, “sculpted” and flat settings), front face port, limiter/driver protection, and short circuit and thermal protection.

Differences include the eight-inch poly-propylene woofer (from 44 Hz, compared to 53 Hz for the D5), a 4th order crossover with a DSP-aided filter delay group, max. SPL up to 106 dB, and bi-amped 60 W/40. W for the woofer and tweeter, respectively.

Additionally, Equator ’s 60-day money-back guar-antee to allow buyers to try the monitors in their own environments - a very nice product feature indeed.

In Use

To my ears, the radiation patterns of the D8 pair (with their coaxial design) makes for a nicely uniform sound-stage, one that stays stable as you move from left to right. The tweeters radiate evenly on the vertical axis, allowing some leeway in placement and chair height.

Frequency wise the D8s take a slightly aggressive stance with prominent high-mids, subdued low-mids, a crisp top-end and good bass extension. Many users will find the D8s reach deep enough on their own; personally, I would pair with a subwoofer.

Title: Our new D8 ($777 pr) coaxial studio monitors are the next step in the D Series line. - Description: http://musicconnection.com/wp-content/uploads/fridayfreebie/D8-Pair.png

Our new D8 ($777 pr) coaxial studio monitors are the next step in the D Series line.

Upper-bass/low-mids seemed a little carved out (around 300 Hz) and the high-mids were slightly “harder” than typical. I found voicing position #3—free-standing, no bass roll off to have the truest response for my large control room. Performance was overall quick and popping, with lots of detail and little flab.

Assistant Brandon Nater and I set up both D5s and D8s on my monitor shelf with Primacoustic Recoil Stabilizers under the D8s and Auralex MoPads under the D5s. With both sets on the “freestanding” setting, we found the D5s to have a slightly darker presentation with more prominent bass response! Yes, the D8s reach a little lower frequency-wise, but the D5s are voiced with an overall plumper, fuller balance. With the D5 pair set for “slight bass roll off,” the two pair were more closely matched frequency-wise.

Despite similarities in radiation patterns, tweeter transients/speed and a lack of muddiness, significant differences still remain in our evaluation. The D8s have a “low fat” notching at 300 Hz, reducing muddiness and boxiness; the D5s have their notch placed higher and not as deeply. The D8s have a broad 4 kHz to 8.5 kHz rise, whereas the D5s have a narrower “definition boost” that isn’t as pronounced or irregular.

After working on the D8s for a week at home, Brandon concluded, “the D8s’ highs truly stand out more and with a little more bark to them, though they do sound fuller. I’ll stick with the D5s for their smoother midrange.”

Title: The rear of the Q8s includes a USB port for connection to your Mac or PC, two Ethernet ports for connection of other Q8 monitors, and a selection of DIP ... - Description: http://media.soundonsound.com/sos/oct09/images/equator_q8_02.jpg

The rear of the Q8s includes a USB port for connection to your Mac or PC, two Ethernet ports for connection of other Q8 monitors, and a selection of DIP ...

Summary

The D8’s cabinetry, finish, appearance, amplification, protection modes, level controls and that concentric woofer/tweeter mounting with its forgiving sweet spot coverage pattern make it a simply superb choice in studio monitoring. I like every-thing about the D8s except their voicing as I prefer monitors with ample low-mids to help highlight my most troubled frequency areas and a softer, fatigue-reducing presentation. Conversely, the D8s have a carved low-mid contour that reduces audible issues in the mix and a bit of “rock-n-roll bite” in the upper-mids that features crisp transients, lots of detail and tight damping. Thus, my voicing opinions are just that—opinions. Considering the D8’s 60-day trial period, if I were in the market for near fields, had a tight budget, and especially if I used room correction DSP-software, the D8 would be the first I’d try. After all, a free audition period just may be the best studio monitor feature on the market today.

Title: And also, recently I started to use ribbon microphones (a lot) and I wanted to check how they sounded through the Tracking Toolbox with that extra mic gain - Description: http://www.safesoundaudio.co.uk/images/TT/ronny_temp_workstation.jpg

And also, recently I started to use ribbon microphones (a lot) and I wanted to check how they sounded through the Tracking Toolbox with that extra mic gain

Technical Specs

·         Price:$777 per pair, direct

·         Website: equatoraudio.com         

·         14" x 10" x 12" @ 22 Pounds Each

·         Internal DSP for Matched Transducer Output and Meticulous Pre-Set Voicing

·         100 Watts of Power (60w LF | 40w HF)

·         Pin-Point Accurate Pre-Set Voicing Aided by Award-Winning Recording Engineers

·         Boundry selection (3 Voicings)

·         2.5" Tuned Front Port For Accurate Low-End Extension.

·         Steep 4th Order L&R Crossover with DSP Compensation for Reduced Mid-Range Distoriion

·         Coaxial Designed 8” Diameter Polypropylene Woofer

·         Coaxial Designed 1" Diameter Silk Tweeter

·         Electronically Time Corrected

·         10-Biquads for Factory Applied DSP Driver Correction

·         10-Biquads for Factory Applied Voicing Considerations

·         Frequency Response: 44Hz - 20kHz (+ or - 3dB)

·         Front Ported All Wood MDF Cabinet w/ Small Radius Edges

·         Limiter & Driver Protection

·         Driver Magnitude Correction

·         Power LED

·         Sensitivity adjustment (Volume Control)

·         Short Circuit Protection

·         Thermal Protection

·         IEC Power Inlet

·         Power on/off Switch

·         1.8 meter EMI Power Cord (115v only)

·         Balanced XLR Input (female)

·         TRS ¼ Inch Input (female)

·         106dB SPL

 

 
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