When it comes to entry-level monitors, there are three brands that come to mind immediately: KRK, Yamaha, and M-Audio. When I first started making music, Yamaha was absent from this lineup, and the battle between the Rokit and BX series monitors was fierce. And then, a couple years ago, it seemed like M-Audio's famed speakers faded away. Fortunately for those of you looking to invest in your first set of decent monitors, they are back and loaded with new features that are definitely worth your consideration.
What are they? M-Audio's BX series monitors are versatile 150w bi-amplified studio monitors, that feature military-grade speaker cones, and what the company calls Acoustic Space Control, which allows you to adjust the low-end response to your room's needs. In other words, it's a high-pass filter. And if you're unsure what bi-amplified means, it means that both the tweeter and woofer allow more power and precision to each part. A new feature on the D3, is the new alignment LED on the front. This is actually my favorite feature on the monitors, as it removes any hassle of making sure your monitors are in the correct spots, thus allowing an accurate mixdown.
How do they sound? The single best word I would use to describe them is punchy. Maybe a bit too round in the low-mid area, but that's also me being used to my normal monitors. One thing I'm not a fan of, and this is a personal taste thing, is that they are rear-ported. There are benefits to both front and rear ports, but personally, I prefer the former. They also seem to be a bit dull on the top end, but again, that could be my ears being so used to my own monitors.
What do I think overall? For the price, they are great. I can't compare them to the Yamaha or KRK competition, as I've never spent enough time on them to remember what they sound like, but I would say these monitors are definitely worth a trip to your local music store to take a listen. The adjustable low-end is a huge bonus, as tight spaces can make a great pair of speakers sound shit. And as I said, the alignment LED is a huge bonus. Just as less than ideal workspaces can make or break your ability to accurately mix, so can poorly aligned speakers. I'd say this is something many people starting out don't spend enough time on. Pro tip: if you have a pair of monitors, make sure they are sitting in the best possible position they can be in, relative to your workspace. I can't stress enough how important this is. To top it all off, a pair of these monitors will only set you back about $500. Too much speaker for you? They come in a 5" version as well.
Pros: Low price point, adjustable low-end, easy to align perfectly
Cons: Ultimately not the best sounding monitors, but they also don't cost a fortune and will definitely get the job done
Final score: 8/10