What We Like
- Great value for the money.
- Good performance all around.
- Simple design.
What We Don’t Like
- Lack of acoustic controls.
- Somewhat raw response.
M-Audio’s AV series of monitor speakers were designed to address the needs of the budget user. AV42 is probably the best bang for the buck set of monitors you can get for less than $200.
When M-Audio released the AV series, the design was something that the entire family of these monitors shares. In other words, AV42 is just a scaled up version of AV32. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Especially if you consider how much these puppies cost and what kind of performance they are capable of offering.
Cabinets are made mainly of MDF. However, the baffle is all composite, which is something a lot of critics found troubling upon launch. However, M-Audio did a fairly good job at making everything as solid as possible. Transducers are stacked in the standard order, while neither of the two has any kind of grille to cover them up.
Given that open-ended designs such as this one are anything but standard, it is not unreasonable to assume that M-Audio decided to take this route in order to cut down the costs of production a bit more. One cool thing is the Optimage IV tweeter waveguides section, which actually works pretty well with that 1″ ferrofluid-cooled silk cone unit.
When we say that AV42 is just a larger AV32, we aren’t even joking. The only real difference can be jotted down in the power output segment and the size of that full-range driver. AV42 features a 4″ polypropylene cone driver powered by a Class A/B internal amplifier. The power output you are looking at here is 20 Watts per channel, which puts the AV42 at a disadvantage compared to its immediate competition. That is, at least on paper.
Both of the cabinets are ported, which adds some flavor to the bass, allowing it to be more expressive. The back panel reveals the same old story. you get an RCA input set, passive speaker outputs, and the power button. There are no room acoustics controls or anything similar. These monitors are pretty bare bones in design, which is a trait usually reserved for the cheaper segment. However, raw performance can still make up for a lot of these flaws and shortcomings.
In terms of performance, M-Audio AV42 are pretty crude yet capable. M-Audio claims that these can dig as deep as 24Hz, which rather hard to believe. After all, we are looking at 4″ drivers that need to take care of the bass. Expecting them to reach that low-end mark is a bit unrealistic. That isn’t to say that AV42 isn’t capable of reaching low enough to cover the needs of music production on a budget. As a matter of fact, these monitors are pretty solid in that department.
Trebles are tight and balanced, while mids seem to be the main strong side of the entire speaker. One thing that puts many off is the 20 Watt power output rating. While it doesn’t sound like much, AV42 handles those 20 Watts on each channel quite nicely. You won’t get an abundance of ear piercing volume, but these monitors are more than capable of creating a suitable working environment for mixing and mastering.
M-Audio AV42 are monitors that hover somewhere at the bottom of the sub-$200 segment of the market. If you are working in a smaller room, AV42 studio monitors will probably be a great solution thanks to their configuration.