What We Like
- A simple, elegant design that is unassuming but attractive.
- Incredible volume potential, and a balanced, fairly accurate sound.
- Control over the tweeter’s gain is a nice touch.
What We Don’t Like
- Bass is a little underwhelming at times.
Founded in 1989 by Uli Behringer, this German manufacturer has been one of the most enduringly popular producers of audio equipment for pretty much their entire tenure. Now operating in over 130 countries, you could say they’re doing quite well!
As studio monitors go, the 50USBs are on the larger side coming in at 8 inches by 10 inches and 7 inches deep. They also weigh 14lbs. If you are primarily concerned with portability, or do not have a ton of space to make available for your studio monitor set up, then this could be an issue. Otherwise, these are both generally quite good attributes: the extra space and robust design can go a long way towards promoting an optimal listening experience as the sound has the room to resonate.
In terms of aesthetic, this is a pleasingly simple design. The 50USBs are almost entirely black save for the silver Behringer logos located just under the woofers. The fronts of the cabinets are finished in a tactile matte plastic with a glossy baffle around the drivers that can be divisive. Some people love this effect, but others find that it is a magnet for dust and fingerprints and scratches. We quite like it, but the decision is yours to make.
On the master speaker (the right one), a single status LED between the two drivers indicates whether or not the power is switched on. Overall, while there is not a huge amount going on and there has been no specific attachment to the idea of providing the 50USBs with any particular visual flair, they are good looking models with a build quality that feels suitably solid and durable.
All of your inputs are found on the master speaker which is the one on the right. As the name suggests, the 50USB contains a Type B USB connecter which means you will be able to connect the monitors to your digital audio sources. This is a very handy feature to have, and provides a good amount of flexibility in terms of input sources. Other than USB, you’ll find two analog inputs featuring XLR and TRS connecters and a standard ¼ inch.
One particularly nice feature is that all of the inputs can be used simultaneously. Given that this can include audio from your computer, audio from an interface or physical mixer, and an input jack, the fact that you can switch between them so easily is a real godsend.
On the back, other than the volume control, you will find a switch which allows you to adjust the levels of the tweeter. The options here are not that numerous—flat, -4dB, -2dB, and +2dB only—but we found that this pretty much covered all of the bases we needed, and made more of a difference to the overall sound than you might expect given the comparative subtlety of these adjustments.
At this price point, one’s expectations when it comes to overall audio performance have to be relatively flexible. The very form factor of a studio monitor puts an upward cap on certain aspects of playback, and this is exacerbated by proximity to the entry level price range. With that in mind, the 50USB delivers a far better performance than we initially anticipated.
Whilst certainly not a bass heavy unit, it is worth keeping in mind that few studio monitors can deliver intense power in this section of the mix. That said, the performance is surprisingly balanced, natural, and agile across the board. Another surprise was just how loud they can go. If you need gain, the 50USBs have it by the shed load!
Behringer is known for quality, and so it should come as no surprise that the 50USBs live up to all the expectations you could reasonably have of a pair of studio monitors in this price range. A strong choice.