Recording - February 2013 - 49

RMS to the tweeter and 110 W RMS to the woofer, with a 2700 Hz crossover frequency. Frequency response is given at 43 Hz–23 kHz (±1.7 dB) with 6 dB drops by 40 Hz and 26 kHz. Weighing in at just over 24 pounds each, they’re a hefty but not unmanageable 16.3 x 13.4 x 19.1 inches in size. I burned both speakers in with high-volume music for 24 hours before beginning my listening. Given their different sizes and intended applications, the bulk of my listening was done in two different locations. The airmotiv 4 monitors were installed in my studio at Music Maker Publications and used for casual and critical listening on mixes of my own material as well as my usual reference sources. The airmotiv 6 monitors were set up at Music Maker as well, but they also took a road trip to Subterranean Scumbarge Studios South in Denver, where my host Allen Goodman and I put them to work as primary monitors for nearly a week of composition and tracking/rehearsal sessions with fellow Recording authors Darwin Grosse, Giles Reaves, and Paul Vnuk Jr. Listening to the airmotiv 4 The initially “brittle” sound of the airmotiv 4 smoothed out remarkably after the break-in period; take my advice and work these speakers hard for 24 hours straight before trying to listen to them critically! Once that was done, I settled into long and enjoyable listening sessions. Starting at the bottom, we have to accept that once again, as is the case with any speaker that only has a 4.5" woofer, we’re up against the laws of physics here. There’s only so much bass you can get out of a small speaker, and the airmotiv 4 rolls off everything below about 60 Hz. You can generally fill in what’s missing in kick drums, bass, and low notes on piano and synthesizer, at least when listening to well-known material. As always, remember it’s vital to check your work on larger speakers before calling it done. Once we get above 60 Hz, the overall impression of the airmotiv 4 is that it’s giving you everything you need to hear without working terribly hard or straining to do so; these speakers get nicely loud, especially in a proper close-in monitoring triangle arrangement. The all-important mids are present without being overwhelming, and it’s easy to pick out details in guitars, brass, and vocals (Isaac Hayes’ “Theme From Shaft” sounds great on these speakers!). The crossover doesn’t really call attention to itself with any weird jumps or dips around 2.7 kHz.

Once we’re in the range where the folded ribbon kicks in, the airmotiv starts sounding like a speaker costing considerably more. The tweeter is a pretty remarkable transducer, with lots of clear, present, balanced upper mids and highs. It’s sparkling where it needs to sparkle without being hashy or spitty, except when you feed it hashy, spitty audio (yet again my collection of my own early recordings from the 1980s proves its worth!). The soundstage is fairly constricted on these speakers and the sweet spot isn’t terribly large; a fair bit of that is, once again, a function of the smaller woofer. You’ll want to get them placed very carefully in your work area for best results. For my listening position, I left the low-frequency control flat—the reinforcement from a relatively close back wall actually helped the low end a bit without making it mushy or woofy. I couldn’t decide whether I best liked the high-end tilt flat or at –2 dB; particularly on my own material there was some question of whether the extended high end was too

down sufficiently low so you feel you’re not missing anything—lowest notes on a grand piano, the fundamental of a string bass, that nice convincing thump of a solid kick drum. Once you’ve convinced yourself that you’re getting all you need from the airmotiv 6’s low end, you can settle in and hear what the mids are doing. Again, there were no anomalies in the critical crossover region, and lead guitars and vocals sit nicely forward in mixes without being out of place or in your face. Vocal-centric rock is a real pleasure on these monitors, from the interplay of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page in classic Led Zeppelin to more modern bands like Phoenix and Never Shout Never (“Hazel Eyez” from Indigo was a delightful experience). I get the impression of an extended yet somehow smoother and less sparkly high end from the airmotiv 6’s significantly larger folded-ribbon tweeter; everything sits right where it should be, and there was never a temptation to roll off the highs as there was on the airmotiv 4. Soundstaging on these speakers is very good, with stereo placement easy to pick out and a nice wide sweet spot; with the speakers set about 5 to 6 feet apart and equidistant to my listening position, I could move enough from side to side to work with a decent-sized mixer and not feel like I was entering the off-axisweirdness zone. While you’ve always got potential for “more” with a larger woofer or a 3-way system to spread the mids around, many small studios do just fine with a 6.5-inch woofer 2-way powered monitor, and the balanced and strong sound of the airmotiv 6 makes it a serious contender. They’re not huge speakers so they’re easy to place and work with, and I found their sound very rewarding. Final thoughts Emotiva Pro tries to make the process of purchasing and evaluating their speakers as easy as possible for the prospective buyer, with a 30-day money back guarantee. That lets you obtain a set of airmotivs, try them out in your own listening environment, and make an informed decision before keeping them or returning them. This policy works well if a manufacturer doesn’t expect a lot of returns, and based on what I’ve heard, I don’t think Emotiva Pro has much to worry about. The airmotiv speakers, whether large or small, offer considerable value for your speaker-buying dollar, and are well worth a try. Choose a size based on your application and your available space—the airmotiv 4 works brilliantly in a desktop DAW arrangement and the airmotiv 6 is well suited for conventional stand mounting—and listen for yourself.

much of a good thing. Again, this is easy enough for the user to set for best results after extended listening to familiar mixes. My overall impression of these speakers was that I was getting a lot more good audio than I realistically expected at this size. If your listening environment demands a very small speaker that’s nicely linear in the mids, extended in the highs, and gracious in the lows, the airmotiv 4 might be the perfect choice for you. Listening to the airmotiv 6 Working in Allen’s studio, the session players were all struck by the airmotiv 6’s wide frequency response. Giles summed it up best: “Man! Where’s all that bass coming from?” Whatever Emotiva Pro has done with the porting on the airmotiv 6, the result is smooth, very listenable bass that reaches

Prices: airmotiv 4, $349/pair; airmotiv 6, $699/pair • More from: Emotiva Pro, www.emotivapro.com
RECORDING February 2013

49


http://www.emotivapro.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - February 2013

Recording - February 2013
Fade In.
Contents
Talkback.
Fast Forward.
The Production Of Clare Fischer’s CD ¡Ritmo!
Big Money Drums.
Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 14: Sweet Spot Conundrums—Part 1.
Sonodyne SM200Ak Studio Monitors.
AKG D12 VR Reference Kick Drum Microphone.
Shure KSM9HS.
Radial Engineering Firefly Tube DI.
Audio-Technica AT4047MP.
Zoom Q2HD Handy Video Recorder.
iOS Music Tools: Take Control!
Emotiva Pro airmotiv 4 and airmotiv 6 Powered Studio Monitors.
DPA Microphones Reference Standard Mics.
Sony Creative Software Sound Forge Pro Mac.
Lewitt DTP 640 REX Dual-Element Kick Drum Mic.
Readers’ Tapes.
Miking An Orchestra—Rock Band And Symphony.
Stereo From A Mono Mic.
Advertiser Index.
Fade Out.
Recording - February 2013 - Recording - February 2013
Recording - February 2013 - Cover2
Recording - February 2013 - 1
Recording - February 2013 - 2
Recording - February 2013 - 3
Recording - February 2013 - Fade In.
Recording - February 2013 - 5
Recording - February 2013 - Contents
Recording - February 2013 - 7
Recording - February 2013 - Talkback.
Recording - February 2013 - 9
Recording - February 2013 - Fast Forward.
Recording - February 2013 - 11
Recording - February 2013 - 12
Recording - February 2013 - 13
Recording - February 2013 - The Production Of Clare Fischer’s CD ¡Ritmo!
Recording - February 2013 - 15
Recording - February 2013 - 16
Recording - February 2013 - 17
Recording - February 2013 - 18
Recording - February 2013 - 19
Recording - February 2013 - Big Money Drums.
Recording - February 2013 - 21
Recording - February 2013 - 22
Recording - February 2013 - 23
Recording - February 2013 - 24
Recording - February 2013 - 25
Recording - February 2013 - Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 14: Sweet Spot Conundrums—Part 1.
Recording - February 2013 - 27
Recording - February 2013 - 28
Recording - February 2013 - 29
Recording - February 2013 - Sonodyne SM200Ak Studio Monitors.
Recording - February 2013 - 31
Recording - February 2013 - AKG D12 VR Reference Kick Drum Microphone.
Recording - February 2013 - 33
Recording - February 2013 - 34
Recording - February 2013 - 35
Recording - February 2013 - Shure KSM9HS.
Recording - February 2013 - 37
Recording - February 2013 - Radial Engineering Firefly Tube DI.
Recording - February 2013 - 39
Recording - February 2013 - Audio-Technica AT4047MP.
Recording - February 2013 - 41
Recording - February 2013 - Zoom Q2HD Handy Video Recorder.
Recording - February 2013 - 43
Recording - February 2013 - iOS Music Tools: Take Control!
Recording - February 2013 - 45
Recording - February 2013 - 46
Recording - February 2013 - 47
Recording - February 2013 - Emotiva Pro airmotiv 4 and airmotiv 6 Powered Studio Monitors.
Recording - February 2013 - 49
Recording - February 2013 - DPA Microphones Reference Standard Mics.
Recording - February 2013 - 51
Recording - February 2013 - Sony Creative Software Sound Forge Pro Mac.
Recording - February 2013 - 53
Recording - February 2013 - Lewitt DTP 640 REX Dual-Element Kick Drum Mic.
Recording - February 2013 - 55
Recording - February 2013 - Readers’ Tapes.
Recording - February 2013 - 57
Recording - February 2013 - 58
Recording - February 2013 - 59
Recording - February 2013 - 60
Recording - February 2013 - 61
Recording - February 2013 - Miking An Orchestra—Rock Band And Symphony.
Recording - February 2013 - 63
Recording - February 2013 - 64
Recording - February 2013 - 65
Recording - February 2013 - 66
Recording - February 2013 - 67
Recording - February 2013 - 68
Recording - February 2013 - 69
Recording - February 2013 - Stereo From A Mono Mic.
Recording - February 2013 - 71
Recording - February 2013 - 72
Recording - February 2013 - Advertiser Index.
Recording - February 2013 - 74
Recording - February 2013 - 75
Recording - February 2013 - 76
Recording - February 2013 - 77
Recording - February 2013 - 78
Recording - February 2013 - 79
Recording - February 2013 - Fade Out.
Recording - February 2013 - Cover3
Recording - February 2013 - Cover4
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