One of the biggest truths about music production is that subtleties can make or break your whole project.
Music producer needs to have the skills necessary to figure out the details of the mastering process. This includes all the major factors, but a whole bunch of minor things that are easy to overlook.
While most producers are capable of that kind of attention to detail, no amount of skill or experience will help you unless you have the right tools for the job. Music production and mixing is all about being able to hear exactly what you are doing at any given time. This is why monitor speakers are so important.
Having a set of monitors which can accurately reproduce everything you are doing is key to making good tracks. With that said, good performance costs money so solving the issue of monitor speakers on a budget can become a very difficult task. Luckily, there are some options.
There are companies who offer rather impressive monitor speakers that you can get without ruining your bank account. Alesis M1Active MKII is one such model that is somewhat of a hidden gem. This speaker is what you call precision on a budget.
If you do a quick survey of the market, you will see that there are numerous different monitor speakers, each offering a different set of features and capabilities. With that said, there is one requirement that every monitor worth its weight needs to meet. The whole point of monitoring your mix is to know exactly which frequencies need some work, or where levels need to be increased.
In order to be able to do your job, you need a flat tone that keeps the whole range leveled. Only with such a speaker will you be able to hear even the most subtle quirks in your mix. Is Alesis M1Active MKII anywhere near that type of performance? Let’s find out.
Alesis M1Active MKII is a rather compact speaker that comes in a nicely designed cabinet. It’s simple, both inside and out. All things considered, it’s not the prettiest model out there, but then again it won’t ruing the aesthetics of your work space if that is a factor to you.
The core of this model is the two transducers that can be found in each unit. You have a one inch silk dome tweeter on top and a six and a half inch woofer underneath .
There are not fancy waveguides or similar things, but there are two port holes on the front which definitely help with the performance. Alesis M1Active MKII is a bi-amplified design so you don’t have to worry about finding a dedicated amp in order to use these. On a similar note, this makes them pretty easy to setup.
The circuitry within is magnetically shielded, so you can count on interference free performance even if you have to place these near other electronic devices. The power of the amps we have mentioned is 75 Watts for the LF and 25 Watts for the HF amplifier. Frequency range goes from 50Hz to 20 kHz, which is nothing special but decent nonetheless. Connectors which are supported include XLR and 1/4 inch TS, balanced or unbalanced.
The best thing about this somewhat affordable speakers is by far the performance you get for the money. These are flat, as in so flat you will be confused for the first 10 minutes of them being on. The entire frequency range is balanced in a way that makes mixing so much easier. These are often compared to the old NS10s. With that said, there are some limitations.
The woofer has a lot of definition even when you start going near the lower border of its frequency range. Only thing is, that bottom limit is not that low at all. In all seriousness, going below 50 Hz is normal these days, and Alesis M1Active MKII can’t keep up with such low frequencies. That is one of the tradeoffs you have to make.
The only way to compensate this is to get a pair of good headphones when you need to go under 50 Hz, although that beats the point of having monitor speakers.
Bottom line is this. Alesis M1Active MKII will get you a very flat sound straight out of the box. Get an EQ in there, and you can improve that sound even more. For the price you are expected to pay, these monitors work like a charm.
What we like
If there is one bang for the buck monitor out there, it is Alesis M1Active MKII. It doesn’t get much better than this, at least within the price range we are talking about here. Great performance combined with good build quality and balanced features are always a winning combination when it comes to affordable speakers.
What we don’t like
The only real limitation of this monitor is the lower limit of the frequency range. If it went even 10 Hz lower, these would be much better, and much more suitable for electronic music production.
Finding a decent set of monitor speakers in the affordable range is difficult. You will need to spend a decent amount of time researching different models before you find something that works. Alesis M1Active MKII used to be the go to option, but it has since been discontinued.
The type of performance this monitor speaker offered is rarely found today, at least for the same amount of money. If you ever run into a pair of these on the used market, do yourself a favor and check them out. You can get a great tool at a decent price. One that will serve you for a long time.