Recording - October 2017 - 42

So what's so uniK?

ESI
Audio
uniK 05+ and uniK 08+
Active Monitors

A combination of features
and sound that's, well, unique
REVIEW BY MIKE METLAY

T

he German firm ESI Audio is very well known in
Europe for everything from interfaces and converters
to keyboard controllers and smartphone lavalier mics.
Looking through the company's impressive range of offerings,
it might be a little startling to find, at the bottom of the list,
studio monitors! What does a company that specializes in
digital hardware know about making speakers? Quite a bit,
as it turns out.
The ESI speaker line includes a speaker and subwoofer in
the 2-way aktiv series, which uses a conventional dome tweeter,
and two speakers in the uniK series, which offer flat ribbon
tweeters. The uniK speakers have recently been upgraded,
the original uniK 05 and unik 08 being replaced by the two
"plus" models we're reviewing here. We had a chance to
work with both uniK Plus speakers, and our experience was
an ear-opener, to say the least.

uniK 05+

42

RECORDING October 2017

The two models have a lot in common. They're both 2-way
biamplified designs that feature a 49 x 26 mm flat-ribbon
magnetostatic tweeter and a woven-Kevlar woofer in a
surprisingly classy copper color, built into a rear-ported
cabinet with fairly extensive tone controls on the rear panel
and some very nice touches in the 'fit and finish' department.
Both speakers offer a crossover frequency of 3.2 kHz between
the two amps, which are matched in output power (40 W
each for the uniK 05+ and 70 W each for the uniK 08+).
The cabinet features a rounded front fascia with the two
drivers and an ESI logo that glows a coppery orange color
when powered on. The rear panel has a single input port that
combines balanced XLR and TRS, with a ground lift switch to
eliminate ground-loop hum. The standard IEC power cable
socket has a power switch and replaceable fuse, and autoadjusts to global voltage requirements; a Standby switch allows
the speaker to automatically power down into idle mode
when not used for several minutes (the front logo turns red)
and reactivate when it senses audio (with a definite but not
overly loud click/pop).
Both speakers come with domed rubberized feet that can
be adjusted to different heights thanks to threaded rods and
knurled lock washers. Not only does this design provide better
isolation than is common with most powered monitors out of
the box, but it allows for each speaker to be gently tilted up or
down to suit specific monitoring positions.

Trim trim here, tilt tilt there

Rear panel controls are on four small trimpots that require
a small flat-head screwdriver (included) to adjust. There's a
Gain trim control (±14 dB), and a pair of shelving EQ controls
to tweak lows and highs. The slope of the shelves is pretty
gentle, with corner frequencies at roughly 100 Hz and 10 kHz
and ±5 dB of adjustment on each. The fourth trimpot is called
Character, and it does something I've never seen on any other
studio monitor: it applies an overall tilt to the entire frequency
spectrum from 50 Hz on up. If we
assume 0 dB as a reference at
50 Hz, then the Character control
can cause the frequency response
to rise or fall smoothly by up to ±6
dB at 20 kHz!
These controls offer a lot of
leeway, but I would advise using
them with a great deal of caution. It's
very tempting to tweak and tweak
to get things sounding sweet,
but this much control means you
have the potential to make your
speakers sound quite unrealistic
if you're not careful. In particular,
I view the Character control as
more of an educational tool than
anything one would want to use for
reference monitoring, unless it was
used in conjunction with tools such

uniK 08+



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - October 2017

Contents
Recording - October 2017 - Intro
Recording - October 2017 - Cover1
Recording - October 2017 - Cover2
Recording - October 2017 - 1
Recording - October 2017 - 2
Recording - October 2017 - 3
Recording - October 2017 - 4
Recording - October 2017 - 5
Recording - October 2017 - Contents
Recording - October 2017 - 7
Recording - October 2017 - 8
Recording - October 2017 - 9
Recording - October 2017 - 10
Recording - October 2017 - 11
Recording - October 2017 - 12
Recording - October 2017 - 13
Recording - October 2017 - 14
Recording - October 2017 - 15
Recording - October 2017 - 16
Recording - October 2017 - 17
Recording - October 2017 - 18
Recording - October 2017 - 19
Recording - October 2017 - 20
Recording - October 2017 - 21
Recording - October 2017 - 22
Recording - October 2017 - 23
Recording - October 2017 - 24
Recording - October 2017 - 25
Recording - October 2017 - 26
Recording - October 2017 - 27
Recording - October 2017 - 28
Recording - October 2017 - 29
Recording - October 2017 - 30
Recording - October 2017 - 31
Recording - October 2017 - 32
Recording - October 2017 - 33
Recording - October 2017 - 34
Recording - October 2017 - 35
Recording - October 2017 - 36
Recording - October 2017 - 37
Recording - October 2017 - 38
Recording - October 2017 - 39
Recording - October 2017 - 40
Recording - October 2017 - 41
Recording - October 2017 - 42
Recording - October 2017 - 43
Recording - October 2017 - 44
Recording - October 2017 - 45
Recording - October 2017 - 46
Recording - October 2017 - 47
Recording - October 2017 - 48
Recording - October 2017 - 49
Recording - October 2017 - 50
Recording - October 2017 - 51
Recording - October 2017 - 52
Recording - October 2017 - 53
Recording - October 2017 - 54
Recording - October 2017 - 55
Recording - October 2017 - 56
Recording - October 2017 - 57
Recording - October 2017 - 58
Recording - October 2017 - 59
Recording - October 2017 - 60
Recording - October 2017 - 61
Recording - October 2017 - 62
Recording - October 2017 - 63
Recording - October 2017 - 64
Recording - October 2017 - 65
Recording - October 2017 - 66
Recording - October 2017 - 67
Recording - October 2017 - 68
Recording - October 2017 - 69
Recording - October 2017 - 70
Recording - October 2017 - 71
Recording - October 2017 - 72
Recording - October 2017 - 73
Recording - October 2017 - 74
Recording - October 2017 - 75
Recording - October 2017 - 76
Recording - October 2017 - 77
Recording - October 2017 - 78
Recording - October 2017 - 79
Recording - October 2017 - 80
Recording - October 2017 - Cover3
Recording - October 2017 - Cover4
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