Alesis Elevate 5 MKII review: What is it?
There's never been a better time to buy budget studio monitors, as the last few years have seen a ramp up in terms of quality, and so many manufacturers now vying for your cash that prices are still being driven down. The Alesis Elevate 5 MKII monitors on test here are a case in point – decent sounding speakers that will not break the bank.
But why do you need specific 'studio' speakers for music production? It's a good question but, very simply, studio specific monitors are designed to be accurate and non coloured - that is enhanced in the bass or treble regions, so often the case in cheaper hi-fi home listening speakers. So 'proper' studio monitors give you an accurate representation of the music you are producing which is what you want. They are engineered to let you hear any mix issues, so you can correct them before the general public hears your amazing music!
For years this meant spending a lot of money – well into four figures in most cases – but now the technology has filtered down to entry-level models. So these Alesis Elevate 5 MKIIs, for example, come with design elements found in more expensive Alesis models – Alesis says that they follow the heritage from the company's well regarded M1 and Monitor 1 speakers.
Alesis Elevate 5 MKII review: Performance & verdict
They are active speakers, so come with amplifiers built in, delivering a total of 80 watts – 40 watts each via a 5" bass driver and 1" high frequency tweeter – which is great for small studios, although you might need more power if you are mixing in a bigger space.
Other features on the Alesis Elevate 5 MKIIs include twin bass ports on each speaker which should help tighten up the low end. The input and power connections are all on the right speaker and include both RCA and phono ins so you can plug a variety of sources in. You get a cable included to connect the left speaker up so it doesn't require these connections. Setting the speakers up is a breeze then; just make sure you have access to the right speaker – we've also included a video set up guide below.
There's also a bass boost option on the right speaker which is useful for just using the speakers for general listening and we found the speakers great for doing just this – connect them up directly from your computer or phone and you won't be disappointed. We wouldn't recommend boosting the bass as you mix your music, though; you might overcompensate for it, lowering the bass as you mix, resulting in thin-sounding mixes translating to other systems.
A headphone socket can be found on the front of the right unit which allows you to use headphones to monitor your music and, when you do, cuts the sound from the speakers – great for mixing late at night. It's a handy but not essential feature, as you'll likely have headphone connectivity on your computer or audio interface. The front-based volume control is useful, however. So many speakers have this control on the back, so there's no awkward reaching around here.
Sound wise you'll likely be impressed with the bass response from the speakers, especially when considering their size. So often compact speakers like this fail to deliver the bass goods and on paper these shouldn't – they only go down to 55Hz which is not the lowest of frequencies. However, the bass ports seem to help control the bass so it's not too muddied and helps you differentiate, for example, your kick drum and bassline. Mid range frequencies too are well represented – guitar and vocals are clear and defined when mixing. However we did find when compared to our reference speakers, that the high end does lack clarity. That said, our reference speakers do cost a lot more.
Alesis Elevate 5 MKII review: Hands-on demos
Alesis Elevate 5 MKII review: Specifications
- Type: Bi-amp system (2 x 40W)
- Frequency response: 56Hz – 20kHz
- Tweeter: 1-inch silk dome
- Woofer: 5” woofer
- Connectivity: RCA and 6.3 mm jack inputs; 3.5mm headphone out
- Size: 184 x 221 x 269 mm
- Weight: 5.7KG
- Contact: Alesis