What We Like
- A really nice, simple design with meaningful variations on offer.
- The sound quality is far beyond what you would expect for the price.
- Incredible powerful playback without distortion.
What We Don’t Like
- Treble controls don’t seem to have much impact on delivery.
Rockville isn’t a household name, but they’ve been producing high quality audio equipment out of their headquarters in New York for years. Specializing in, amongst other things, marine audio and karaoke equipment, they certainly know how to find a niche!
The first thing to point out about the APM8Bs is that unlike the overwhelming majority of studio monitors at this price point, you actually have some distinctly meaningful options when it comes to the look of the device.
There are three variations on offer: a wood finish painted black; a wood finish painted white; or a wood finish with a vinyl front board. Surprisingly, they all look pretty nice, and so the choice really comes down to personal taste and how well they are likely to complement whichever room they end up spending the most time in. It’s worth viewing some pictures of each before deciding, at the very least.
A special kind of paint known as ‘baking paint’ is employed on the wood surfaces to ensure durability. And the wood itself is high quality MDF rather than the cheaper, less damage resistant particle board which some other models opt to use. All in all, the build quality feels very solid.
Each of the two included monitors is bi-amped which means that there is a distinct amp for the highs and lows. The 1.5” silk dome tweeters are Ferro fluid enhanced and feature neodymium magnets which, say Rockville Audio, “can handle a lot of heat”. This means they are able to up the power of the amp itself without being concerned that it might overheat and damage the tweeter in the process.
Rockville have opted for rubber woofer surrounds rather than the foam which many other models at this price range tend to employ. This, in theory, should help to eliminate distortion and increase the overall performance of the device.
All of the controls are on the rear of the device in order to keep the design as clean and simple as possible. Here you’ll find volume control, bass, and treble controls alongside a good selection of inputs. You’ll find a 3.5mm jack, an XLR combo input jack, RCA input, headphone output, and a USB port which means you can attach the monitors straight to your computer without having to use an interface. This is a really useful feature to have.
With studio monitors, as with most audio products, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And in this case, that means blasting a wide range of audio to test for versatility, accuracy, and clarity of the overall listening experience. The good news is this: the APM8Bs do a pretty fantastic job across the board.
Given their size, studio monitors are not known for delivering much in the way of bass performance. But Rockville have somehow managed to pack a good deal of unexpected punch into these slimline cabinets courtesy of that 8” woofer which will leave you wondering where all the power is coming from. And speaking of power, you will want to be careful with the volume dial. In our tests, anything above about 40% of the volume caused the floor to vibrate. These things are extremely deceptive.
Highs are crisp and clear, mids are well distinguished and accurate, and the combined effect makes for an incredibly good listening experience that is both versatile and dynamic.
Rockville may not be a household name yet, but if they keep delivering products like these they are well on their way to becoming one. The APM8Bs are a real sleeper hit, concealing a great deal of power and performance.