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Studio Electric M4 stand mount loudspeakers Review

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Here’s a rundown of the systems in each room:

Primary System: Parasound Halo 2.1 Integrated, Rogers High Fidelity 65V-1 Integrated, Mytek Brooklyn + DAC, Wolf Audio Systems Cub digital media server, Parasound JC3 Jr phono stage and VPI Prime Scout turntable.

Office System: BelCanto s300 integrated, PS Audio Sprout 100 integrated, exaSound e22 DAC, Wolf Audio Systems Cub digital media server, Rega RP1 Turntable, ParasoundZphono USB phono stage

Guest Room System: Tandberg 3030 receiver, Apple Mac Mini/Roon, Fostex HP-A4 DAC, Denon DP-300F turntable

 

Both the Studio Electric M4 and I got a workout, the speakers from the system, and me from moving them around and setting them up in each room. Speaker placement is and should always be a concern. I have yet to find that magical speaker that is comfortable just about anywhere in a room, and before any of you get any ideas, these speakers while musical are not that magical. I was able to get enjoyable non-fatiguing sound in each room, and in keeping with the designer’s suggestion they were placed on 28” stands, one inch taller than recommended, and placed them about 24” from the rear walls in the smaller rooms and a good 36” from the rear wall in the primary room. In all instances, following basic geometric ratios with respect to listening position and distance, I had a really fun week.

Now with respect to the music, a good number of you know that I started the year with my New Album Releases project on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/groups/newalbumreleases, and with each passing week I am listening and curating my picks of album releases for the week. This past week I listened to all of the contenders on the M4. To say that the speakers can handle just about anything would be convenient, but let’s be honest here, they’re non-sentient, and I’m the one making the decisions. In that light, the M4 did not hamper my process and were not an obstacle to be overcome. To best understand what they had to put up with, here are the albums thatpassed the test that week:

Capital Cities – Solarize
Runaway Trio – Works for Accordion
Morgan Evans – Morgan Evans EP
The Coral – Move Through The Dawn
The Magpie Salute – High Water
Fred Farell – Distant Song
Flowers For Bodysnatcher – Babi Yar
Dan Caine – Nocturne
Andy Lumpp – Impressionism
The Sisterhood Band – Summer Setlist
Hales Corner – Hales Corner
Ben Lamar Gay – Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun
Koryn Hawthorne – Unstoppable
The National – Boxer Live in Brussels
Cameron Graves – Planetary Prince Eternal Survival
Steven Osborne, Rachmaninov – Etudes-Tableaux
Antonio Pappano, Bernstein – The 3 Symphonies
Various Artists – Jazz Dispensary Soul Diesel, Vol. 2

Re-Issues & Re-Masters

Archie Shepp – Emotions
Carl & Pearl Butler – Honky Tonkin’
TasavalianPresidentti – Milky Way Moses
Attitudes – Ain’t Love Enough, The Best of Attitudes
The Dazz Band – Let The Music Play
Patti Smith – Dream of Life
Patti Smith – Peace & Noise
Bernie Wallace – Moodsville
Michael Jackson – Thriller 25 Super Deluxe Edition

These speakers speak to me in a way that most sealed cabinet speakers do not. Their ability to carry a tune and the day from one musical genre to another and have me hear the music, delineate instruments and do what it does without complaining. In relative terms, one would expect these speakers to be much larger than they are; hell one might go as far, sight unseen, to think of them as floor standers. They are not those, but they are musical, powerful, coherent in such a way as not to sound heavy, but as mentioned earlier they are simultaneously delicate and ballsy. There, I said it. Something tells me that’s going to be a pull-quote.

A lot of folks want a speaker that can do it all. I want that as well, but I know that even a stand mount of this caliber has limitations. The bass response coming out of the sealed box is so welcome. For me this has been a shortcoming in sealed cabinet stand mount speakers, and I’m still scratching my head over this, but am not complaining, not one bit. The midrange and top end were/are detailed in all my listening sessions, and I could use a slew of adjectives here for how I perceived the music I was listening to, but to what end? We all listen to music with different perspectives and reference points. I can tell that you that what I heard was crystal clear, that I could make out not only the notes on the page, but the white bits between them.

In their price range and physical size, these may very well become my reference point. They are not meant to slay giants; if they were they’d be called “David” and while to me that has a nice ring to it, that’s not what they’re about. That such a speaker can do what these do so well across the board, not be overly sensitive with respect to placement and cost what they do is nothing short of a… If one were to claim that these speakers are a value at twice the price, I’d counter that at their actual price they’re a steal.

Bottom line: If you’re in the market for a stand mount speaker costing at this price point that can do it all don’t bother putting the Studio Electric M4 speakers on “A” shortlist… they are your shortlist!

 

Copy editor: Dan Rubin

 

Manufacturer’s Comment:

I’d like to thank David Blumenstein for is thorough report on our M4 monitor. It is not every reviewer that goes the extra mile, tests in multiple environments, moving speakers from room to room.

Also, thanks for listening with a wide range of music. You put these speakers through their paces, and it shows in your analysis. And YES, we were going for a speaker that can be “both delicate and ballsy” as needed. Thanks for noticing!

David MacPherson
Studio Electric LLC
www.studio-electric.com
dmacpherson@studio-electric.com
801-450-0633

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