Pros: Excellent balanced sound quality; Audio/traction pads; Non captive cables
Cons: No headphone sockets; Not especially powerful
Bottomline: True audiophile speakers, the Studiophile AV20 speakers excel with all kinds of music and even games
Choosing the right computer speakers is one of the most important choices if you're a music or film fan or a gamer.
With impressive surround sound sets around, it is easy to forget that for many things all that's required is a really good stereo set, for which the M-Audio Studiophle AV20 speakers fit the bill admirably.
As the name suggests, these speakers are designed as reference speakers for music recording and creation. To be effective in this area, the speakers must be able to reproduce all the sounds in a track without adding or subtracting anything. We were impressed with the quality of the AV20's sound for all kinds of music, from Bach and Hayden to rock and ambient.
There was an impressive sense of balance without any particular frequencies becoming overbearing, and every part of the music could be heard without effort. There were even audible aspects that we had missed when listening on good headphones. The speakers are easy to set up as everything is included in the box, and the power supply is built into the left speaker.
They are connected with standard speaker cable, which could be replaced with a better speaker cable at little extra cost. The small pads included for the speaker bases improve sound quality and stop the speakers from slipping. Controls are simple, with a single dial for the volume doubling as the power switch.
At a total of 10W, the AV20s are not particularly powerful speakers, but they were able to cut above the background sounds in our noisy labs. It was a little disappointing that there is no headphone socket – with desktop computers disappearing underneath desks this can lead to uncomfortable scrabbling to swap the speakers for headphones, but that's a minor fault.
The AV20 speakers are not cheap but their excellent sound quality makes them worth every penny.