Sonic State Studio / Speakers / DYNAUDIO ACOUSTICS BM15a

Average rating: 10.0/10 out of 10

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Anthony a Professional user from OZ writes:
The first page pretty much details the excellent quality & nature of these monitors. I will contribute some fairly subjective additions:

Mixes performed on the BM15a's, once the bottom end representation has been resolved (more in a moment), translate very very well to a wide variety of playback devices, including car stereo's, small hi'fi's, big audiophile systems, larger and smaller studio monitors ranging from Genelec to JBL and small shitty radio's :)

This is why i bought them, and this is how they serve me. They are very detailed, and will show up many aspects of your favourite recordings that perhaps you would rather keep hidden, more so IMO than Genelec, which are also an excellent monitor choice. I had heard that they are slightly bright, so I tried initially turning the HI end dial down 3db, only to find that my mixes translate slightly bright, thus i have turned the dial back to 0 and this tiny issue has been resolved.

On the afforementioed topic bottom end, these monitors go low. The bottom end is very well represented to the point that a mix performed on these that may feature a bottom octave of nice sub bass may translate a little bit weak onto say a small HI FI system which cannot reproduce those low frequencies. This would be true of any monitor that plaback the (usually missing) low bottom freq's, and the idea is to take this into account, getting to know what will and wont work. It's not a case of spending a lot of time learning this aspect, simply trying one or two mixes out on a small HI FI, to check to see if you need to raise that lower part with EQ, level or by adding a higher octave (if your working with synths) to the existing bass, or simply raising the octave by one. Anyone who is used to this factor from working on professional monitors that go low will be well prepared for this, but some may be caught unawares, as i was, coming from smaller, more bass light KRK, Alesis and JBL monitors.

That's another great thing about the dynaudio's, the 'learning' time is very minimal. Some monitors you have to really take a while to learn them, and even then, a lot of the time you must reference to other mixes of commercial grade, and second guess your mix decisions. The dynes still benefit from the commercial comparison if that's what your trying to achieve, but I was after something where I could keep this to a minimum, as I prefer to keep my mixes unique to my style. The BM15a's give me confidence to make a mix 'Anthony Style' and know that it will 'translate' well to the 'outside' world's playback systems.

The BM's feature a very low fatigue factor. I've mixed on them for nine hour stints with few breaks (not generally advisable, but sometimes necessary ! :) and i've come out of my studio with nearly NO ear fatigue, still able to hear the high end of the birds chirping as they awaken the morning after ;)

They play VERY loud, and really sound as if they are breezing along doing it. They have very fast dynamic response, i have quite a few other sets of speakers to compare them to, and they really do travel fast and snappy (meaning they are tightly controlled on the bottom end and low mids, enabling more accuracy with less of the mechanically introduced 'mud' which slower cones can introduce).

They are large, sexy to look at, well constructed and the power button glides on nicely, while there is a power indicator on the front that fades from red to green upon power up. The green light again turns red if the level reaches a critical point during listening/mixdown. This is called a 'true clip' indicator by the Dynaudio manual, and it states that the light will shine red if the low frequency amplifier clips, or runs into overload. This is very a very handy feature, as it gives you an idea of how loud they can go while also showing you that 'critical' point before meltdown of components. I personally keep them quite a way below this level, after I emailed dynaudio about the subject. My initial assumption was : "excellent, i can crank them to this threshold point, and not worry about speaker cone or amp component failure!" But the reply detailed that although it is an indicator of low frequency amp clipping, it is NOT representative of the state of the HI freq. tweeter, which is often the first component to fry on , say, a resonant filter spike, or mixer crackle upon power up etc (i know about this after having done it to some of my older monitors a while back. I will admit this is a tad confusing, as the manual itself says it is acceptable to have this light running on red for occaisional moments, but not to have it all the time. To be safe, I keep it off, unless by accident, I light it up and my heart skips a beat!!!!

Factors unrelated to sound are things like lovely black finish, and sexy good looks, and yet these factors that come into their own when dealing with quality. I love quality, and the dynes exude quality from ports to plug! They are heavy beasts, so good quality rugged stands are a consideration to take into account.

Really I was trying to make this review a bit less kind, and to try to find a few issues with them, but bottom line is, I can't. Everything good you have heard about them is probably true: they have their rep for good reason.

If you were to buy a pair of Dynes, i would highly recommend checking out both these and the BM6a's, as the 6a's would pretty much eliminate the bottom end problem i detailed earlier. The low lows are still strongly reprasented in the 6a's, but they would more easily translate to a smaller system. Plus, they are more compact, and quite a bit cheaper. Personally I'm glad to have the BM15a's low end xtention, and am exiting my 'learning' phase of this aspect, and loving every minute of the process!

The opening review makes many good points: I will add to the concept of having a 'second reference' like HR624's or V4's. Chances are, after selling your car or boat to finance these :), you may not have much money to buy that second pair of monitors. I would highly recommend buying a small set of very average quality 'bookshelf' speakers, that don't play anything below around 60 hz. This is not only so you initially don't get decieved by that bottom end, but also because it's really great to have a cheap second reference that your average Joe would be listening back on. It's a cheap option, and if you grab a popular and cheap amp to go with them, one that has A/B selector, you can add another set of really shithouse speakers to further check mixes. Not becuase you have to, but because of the reasons I've given, and also it's amazingly refreshing to switch to a set of crappy speakers and hear how all that lovely depth, stereo spread and reverb induced 'space' translates to a 'lesser' system (no offense lesser system! you play your part as well you do!)

Check them out tho b4 making the decision, as monitor choice is a personal quest. But, I am well satisfied, and I can honestly say, even though i may buy more monitors over the years as needs and tastes evolve, I can see myself mixing on these monitors for the rest of my musical career. I never want to sell them!

Rating: 10 out of 10 posted Saturday, 27-Sep-03 at 13:1
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