I'm a big fan of small monitors for mixing and referencing my mix away from the larger hi-fi monitor systems. I've been using Auratones for decades and won't mix without them. When I saw these little guys a few months ago, I was really eager to check them out. These are ported, self-powered monitors with 3" drivers and a 12-watt amp per side. At 4" x 5.5" inches they have an even smaller footprint than the Auratones. Will these replace my Auratones? No way, they sound much better than the Auratones! They have a much more extended frequency response than the mid-rangy Auratones. Would I use these in a pinch to edit, track and get reference mixes? Absolutely! I've had these around the studio now for about three months, and in that time I've used them on two location recordings as the sole monitoring, and in my small office Pro Tools rig to do editing, set up rough and stem mixes, and listen to reference masters from mastering studios. In every case, when I get the same material into our other studios or take it home, everything has translated well with no surprises. These are great and surprisingly hi-fi monitors that take up almost no space and will cost you less than a night in a mid-priced hotel or a tank of gas in a large car. If you're in the market for (or don't already own) a pair of small reference monitors, I highly recommend checking these out. My only beef with these is the decidedly 'prosumer' RCA input jacks and thin-gauge wire/connectors to hook up the second passive monitor. But hey, at this price and sound quality, that's a quibble I can work around and live with.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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