Two or three years ago, I read a review of Event's 20/20 monitors in this very magazine and promptly bought a pair. (I had been using a pair of Infinity home stereo speakers, not entirely unsuccessfully.) Coupled with a Hafler amp, I got the whole set up for about $500 and was pretty happy with the results. The low end was a little hazy, but always in the ball park. Since they brought out the 20/20, Event has grown their line. They've got an active version of the 20/20 (20/20bas), the Project Studio Series, and now the Tuned Reference Series. At the same time, the production process has been refined, so Event's price points keep dropping. Like the Project Series, the Tuned Reference Series (the TR5 and TR8) are biamplified and are based on simplified versions of the 20/20bas. The TR8 (so-called because of the 8'' cone in the LF driver) uses the same components as the 20/20bas, but the amplifier runs at 80 watts, and the cabinet is new. Given the similarity in construction to my 20/20s, I didn't expect to hear much difference in the TR8s; I was mistaken.
I've never had a problem with the high end of the 20/20s, but the definition in the TR8s was surprising. Thanks to the TR8's fourth-order crossover (versus the passive 20/20's second-order crossover), the cymbals were way more detailed, and the depth of the stereo image increased noticeably. More important, though, was the improved low-end response. The 20/20s always got me over the hump, but with the TR8s, I immediately did a better job compressing the kick, since it was easier to discern the attack and decay. Similarly, my EQ'ing of the kick became much more efficient. According to Event, the improved low end can be credited to the TR8's subsonic filter, which dramatically attenuates frequencies below 35 Hz. Such filters would normally scare me, as I think there's still gold to be found in them thar hills, but I can't argue with success (and as far as I can tell, there's still some play below 35 Hz). I'm not claiming the TR8s are perfect. I still wish they had a tighter low end. Also, it'd be easier to set levels between the monitors if the input trims were detented. But to my ears, the TR8s were just a hair or two from spot on, and for $500 (the TR8's street price, and what I paid for the 20/20s and a Hafler amp), I don't think I could get anything better, which is why I bought the test pair. ($599 pair MSRP; www.eventelectronics.com)