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Studio Electric M4 stand mount loudspeakers Review

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I first came into contact with the Studio Electric M4 speakers in 2017 at a show, where I met company founder David MacPherson for the first time. We would and have met regularly since then at shows. There was something about these speakers that I could not shake. It was as if I had heard them decades ago, years earlier, but that’s just not possible. It turns out that a fellow Hi-FI reviewer from another online journal had these speakers for a while, and he was tempted to mention that they reminded him of a pair of speakers that I also own, my trusty and well regarded Platinum Audio Studio 1 speakers designed by Phil Jones, who some of you might know better from his present company Phil Jones Bass (PJB), and his bass amps. In a past life, Phil was also responsible for Acoustic Energy’s speaker designs.

So, now back to the Studio Electric M4 and why I like them so much. As I have just recently set up my 30+-year-old Platinum Audio Studio 1 speakers, it dawned upon me that the very same musicality that drew me to them is what draws me to the M4. Accuracy is great up and until it becomes so sterile that gloves need be worn to listen.

The M4 traveled around my home from room to room: the primary listening area, the office and the guest room. Three different rooms sporting varying dimensions and obstacles to be surmounted. The speakers came through like a champ in each of them. As instructed by David, their designer to whom I alluded earlier, I put them on 28” stands, the DS400 model from Pangea, and just to be unconventional I also had them placed on tables and desktops. They did not disappoint as each and every room was filled with sound no matter what.

With my constant travel and setting up homes in numerous locales, I have been in search of the ideal stand mount speaker. It would have to make the music come alive but not slap me in the face. It would have to reproduce the music but do so in a way as not to be so reserved, so polite. These are the extremes with which I wrestle, and at the price point $2,400 to $2,750, depending upon finish, both my readers and myself would be hard pressed to find a more 21st century sounding speaker of its size.

I straddle the Atlantic: London, England and Columbus, Ohio. The former has made me not only aware of but witness to a fair share of British stand mount speakers and, having listened to oh so many Harbeth, Spendor, KEF, Rogers and ProAc speakers, there was something missing in them that I found in the M4: a sense of humanity. There was not a time when living with the Studio Electrics that I wanted to listen to anything but them in my home. They picked up where my Platinum Audio Studio’s left off and proceeded to thrash those 30-year-old trusty companions. The M4 would be so at home at mine in London. There’s a thing the Brits refer to as one’s “short and curlies” and these speakers rather impolitely grab at them letting you know who’s the boss and what to expect. The M4 sound so right, and that’s not wrong.

Visually, I can while away the hours just staring at these speakers. They’re not Tron-like but there’s something about the figured maple and the parallel lines running down the spines that hearkens back to Art Deco design. The silver grilles take the edge off the black fronts and the cabinets built of HDF and MDF, and the grilles are options, not standard with the speakers. I requested them for the review, because who doesn’t like a bit of bling? Nothing out of the ordinary here with these speakers being 12” tall, 6.25”wide and–wait a minute ­–15” deep. It makes for a solid, robust speaker cabinet design. Both physically and acoustically the speakers are making a statement, and are not about to shrink into the woodwork.

As mentioned earlier I have heard my share of sealed enclosure speakers and for them to extend themselves as low and as high as the M4 is a product of good design and components. The M4 features Studio Electric’s proprietary HighX™ 6.5″ copolymer woofer, which is both designed and selected with a sealed cabinet in mind. Its ability to hit the “high notes” as well allows a crossover point of 3.4kHz, rather unique for a speaker of this size and design. One hears so much through this “magic” woofer that the M4 could be mistaken for a single-driver speaker, like my Blumenstein Audio Marlins, but no. The M4 are of a sealed design but my Platinum Audio Studio 1 are not. The sound is reminiscent and that’s still what grabs me.

The 1” silk dome tweeter really does add that extra something, the really high notes, the ones one doesn’t want to miss. These speakers are substantial, they are solid,and their sheer mass belies their delicacy and refinement.

For those of you still unfamiliar with my home, let’s just say that each room in this 3-bedroom condominium, apart from my bedroom, hosts a system of one sort or another. Why not in my bedroom? Well, even I have limits. It’s good to be the King, even better to own several pairs of speaker stands so as to be prepared and not have to transport more than the speakers from room to room.

These rooms of which I speak measure 24’ x 20’, 18’ x 13’ and 17’ x 15” respectively. No mean feat for a pair of stand mount speakers to fill up each of these rooms with sound. And the M4 passed with flying colors, feeling at home in each of the rooms as if they were purposely built for each of them.

2 Responses to Studio Electric M4 stand mount loudspeakers Review

  1. Uh-huh…the first thing I thought when I saw them was Platinum Audio.

  2. Brad says:

    I have had two pair of the original art deco version. I just sold one pair to my good friend. I also heard the M4 version at Capital Audio Fest a couple of years ago. I’m still floored by how good these little chunky monitors are. You have to spend a lot more money to get equal or better. The early models and the benchmark editions also were really well made with amazing cabinet work. I am betting Dave lost money on those due to complex fabrication.

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