Nowadays, musicians rely more and more on their computers to produce music while casual listeners use have substituted their CD players with their computers and mobile phones. Moreover, the average consumer is more aware of accurate sound reproduction and picky about consumer-friendly features. As a result, serious audio manufacturers are more invested in producing smaller desktop and bookshelf speakers that can directly connect to computers and produce high fidelity audio.
The M-Audio AV42 is the newest model in their AV line. As the name would suggest, these monitors are focused on audio visual usage. That in itself is quite vague, so perhaps a better way of wording it is to say these are multi-purpose speakers which can be used for watching movies, listening to music and playing games–among others.
- Premium sound reproduction: 4-inch polypropylene-coated woofers produce tight, accurate bass and 1-inch ferrofluid-cooled silk cone tweeters produce clear, pristine highs
- 10-watt per channel amplifier and OptImage IV tweeter wave guides for punchy sound reproduction and superior imaging
- Versatile, conveniently located RCA inputs for seamless connection to gaming systems, DJ gear, mixers and more
- Front-panel 1/8-inch stereo auxiliary input for connecting your laptop, desktop computer, MP3 player or other audio sources with a 1/8-inch output
- Easily-accessible front-panel 1/8-inch headphone output for private listening
They are definitely designed to cater to the more casual consumer looking to take a step up from the cheap speakers which came bundled with a desktop they bought a decade ago. The AV42s aren’t incredibly fancy, with a plasticky appearance. They also feel lighter and smaller than the promotional pictures would have you believe.
To power the AV42s, you need to connect the left speaker into the mains which has a 20watt per channel amp. At the rear the speaker features phono inputs (phono to mini jack cable provided) and a mini-to-mini jack cable in case you want to connect things like your smartphone or MP3 player to the port located at the front.
Connectivity wise, most consumers will find it easy to connect any of their devices to the AV42s given these ports. Music producers can also connect their equipment to the AV42s using a phono cable.
The AV42s are rear ported and feature 4-inch woofers. The 1-inch tweeters are located above the woofers. It would be difficult to expect much given the small nature of these drivers, but they produce quite an accurate and balanced sound. They are audibly budget speakers, but the bass is tight and the mids and top-end are crisp and correct. Although at higher volumes the sound quality suffers, these speakers perform quite well for listening to music, watching movies and playing games at medium volume.
For those looking to move on from their pair of $30 speakers, the AV42s will seem like a big upgrade. Being smaller speakers, you won’t get the soundstage or fidelity of higher-end speakers, which is a problem for more serious music producers and mixers. However, as a pair of general purpose monitors these speakers do a nice job, and the inclusion of aux in and a headphone out make them very convenient for everyday use. Their small form factor also makes them especially attractive for those working in smaller spaces, although there are other similarly priced and similarly small alternatives around.
Pros: Small, well balanced sound. Convenient inputs and outputs. Price.
Cons: Lack fidelity required for more serious music production and mixing, maximum volume isn’t too high.
Still looking for the right bookshelf speakers for your budget? Take a look at which speakers we recommend for under $200.