- Written by Jim Milton
- Published on 11 October 2010
Design and Setup
The Studio HD is a compact-sized monitor speaker that sports an 8-inch cast frame bass driver with a three-layer diaphragm and a custom-designed 1-inch neodymium-folded ribbon tweeter. The tweeter, by being folded, allows for more surface radiating area in a small space. This design reminded me of a similar tweeter design used by Martin Logan in their Motion Series speakers. The ported reflex cabinet provides bass augmentation for the small 13-inches (H) 10.5-inches (W) and 10.8-inches (D) cabinet, permitting the Studios to reached down to a claimed 42 Hz. This is usually low enough for most music applications, but a sub would certainly round out the very low end of the spectrum. I listened to these speakers with and without a sub and they mated well with my Velodyne SC600-IW.
Overall specifications included a factory rated frequency response of 42 Hz- 22k Hz (+/- 2 dB). The crossover frequency is 2.8 kHz. Power rating range is listed from 25 watts up to 300 watts continuous RMS. Impedance is rated a 4 ohms nominal. My Emotiva LPA-1 (125 watts / channel) had no trouble driving these guys. My Studios arrived well packaged and individually wrapped in a black velvet sack. Nice touch!
The cabinet's internal bracing and thick hardwood housing make for an extremely inert package that produced no audible midrange or treble coloration. Though they look diminutive, they were deceptively heavy for their size. Finishes include rosewood, cherry and black pearl. Having visited their factory last summer, I know that more "exotic" finishes are available for extra cost. The angled edges and sloping front to back top panel are said to enhance dispersion, but my conversation with Doug revealed that it is mostly a cosmetic design choice. In any case, the beveled edges look pretty sharp (pun intended). By the way, each speaker is "hand tuned" or voiced at the factory which means you get a "matched" pair in your listening room.
Cable connections can accommodate spade or banana plugs and the speakers can be bi-amped or bi-wired by removing the jumpers from the speaker posts. The posts are very high quality and solidly built. They are all metal, without plastic parts.
Two toggle switches on the back allow for subtle reduction in the mid bass and treble attenuation to compensate for room and location effects on the sound — about -2 dB. The treble and bass switches offer you a chance to fine tune for locations that may be a bit too lively or boomy when placed closely to the back or side walls. My personal experience with some of the newer, more esoteric tweeter designs is that they have a tendency to draw too much attention to themselves. I did not find that to be the case with the Studios.
I preferred the"flat" position for most of my auditioning, but it was nice to have the option available. The tweeter exhibited good response without the extra boost in sibilance that you might expect. It also exhibited a wide dispersion pattern that allows you to sit outside the "sweet spot" with little loss of treble or imaging. Sound stage was broad and 3 dimensional, which is often a hallmark for a well designed monitor. Where these guys really excelled was in the depth of the sound stage image. When listening in a darkened room, the music sounded like I had no front wall and it extended into my neighbors house (sure, his house is about 6 feet away from mine, but fortunately, he never complained during my listening sessions). Orchestral music emanated from well beyond the confines of my front wall and instrumental placement was easily discernible and stable. In reality, my wall is only about 10 feet in front of me, so this "illusion" was quite surprising, yet enjoyable.