The Deluxe version of M-Audio's acclaimed BX8a nearfield monitor sports several improvements. There are new waveguides and enhanced driver integration via custom amplifier tuning for greater high-frequency clarity and refined sound.
At 12 x 10 x 15 inches, the Deluxes are not at all unwieldy and would sit nicely as the sole monitors in a small home studio or medium monitors in a larger space. The edges of the rear-ported cabinet feature rounded corners to reduce diffraction of the sound for clearer imaging.
These are bi-amped monitors which means that each one has two amplifiers – one to drive the top end, one the low, with 130 watts of power in total.
That top end comes courtesy of a 1-1/4-inch, natural silk dome, high-frequency driver, positioned in a waveguide that has been newly designed to refine the high-frequency response. M-Audio says that the high-frequency domes are made from natural silk to counter the high Q ringing that is inherent in the more poorly crafted metallic materials that can be found in other monitors.
Ferrofluid liquid cooling courtesy of M-Audio's FerroFlow technology has been built-in to dissipate heat for maximum efficiency and extended usage.
For the bottom end, the 8-inch low-frequency drivers are made from woven Kevlar which has a high mechanical and thermal resistance. Room dispersion is said to be improved by a curved conical design, while high-damping rubber surrounds and high-temperature voice coils have been incorporated for fidelity and durability.
Each monitor is magnetically shielded to reduce interference with computer monitors or any other electronic equipment in close proximity. Power is drawn via an IEC socket situated next to a rear panel on/off switch.
Audio connection is a choice of XLR or 1/4-inch TRS jack. The controls consist of just a single volume knob. There are no facilities to alter the tonal balance for different positions – not by any means essential but perhaps a bit disappointing as the facility was included on the original BX8.
Upon plugging in and firing up the BX8a Deluxes, it becomes apparent that these are monitors that can kick out a fair amount of volume. They're great if you're looking for a vibey sound, and also good for sustained listening at a more reasonable level.
Stereo imagery is precise and the overall sound is smooth and clear with no apparent anomalies across the frequency spectrum. The top end in particular is crisp and detailed, while the low end, although reasonably tight and controlled, extends a long way down for compact speakers. We did find that things got a bit murky when the BX8 Deluxes were confronted with an excess of subby frequencies, however.
These are speakers that, once you get accustomed to them, will let you accurately evaluate most mixes and that's what it's all about. While the earlier versions of the BX8s still garner praise from users, to our ears M-Audio has taken the audio quality a stage further with these new models.
With the BX8a Deluxes you are getting a solid and dependable set of self-powered monitors that will give you an accurate insight into just how your music sounds. And for under three hundred quid that's a good deal.