2006 NAMM Update: M-Audio Ships New EX Series EX66 Digital High-Definition Reference Monitors

M-Audio EX66 digital monitorsNAMM 2006 Winter Show: M-Audio announced the M-Audio EX Series EX66 digital high-definition studio reference monitors. Sold separately, the monitors integrate easily into both 2-channel and multichannel environments.

“The M-Audio EX66 monitor represents the culmination of years of research,” according to Adam Castillo, marketing director at M-Audio. “We wanted to start from scratch, developing new technology to make a monitor that can hold it’s own against anything on the market. Both the specs and the sound of the M-Audio EX66 monitor are unrivaled at any price, let alone this value. The proof is in the listening.”

The M-Audio EX66 uses a midwoofer-tweeter-midwoofer (MTM) vertical array configuration to provide optimal imaging. Traditional 2-way speaker designs can cause significant early reflections from consoles, floors and ceilings, resulting in coloration and smeared details in the audio. In the M-Audio EX66 monitor’s MTM design, the interaction of the two large drivers with the tweeter channels the sound into a much narrower vertical band, thereby eliminating many of these reflection problems. The design simultaneously provides a large, coherent horizontal radiation pattern, giving you and your colleagues a much wider sweet spot.

The M-Audio EX66 monitor’s two 6” linear-piston woofers minimize the driver break-up modes and inertial effects found in traditional designs with moving coils and rigid cones. Our proprietary technology gives the drivers exceptional intrinsic damping characteristics with absolutely no frequency response peaks or resonances in the audible band. The drivers exhibit truly linear pistonic action over the entire musical spectrum, thus bringing all portions of each musical transient into correct alignment and revealing more of music’s subtle details. As an added bonus, the drivers can withstand extreme temperatures, moisture, humidity, sunlight, and salt, so it can weather the harshest conditions without deterioration.

The M-Audio EX66 monitor’s custom 1” tweeter is crafted from titanium, known in the aerospace industry for its high tensile-strength-to-weight ratio and its resistance to corrosion. In tweeter use it creates a stiff yet responsive piston that moves natural resonant modes well above the 20kHz audible threshold. This allows the tweeters to reproduce every nuance of musical detail with crisp, transparent accuracy without any high-frequency energy smearing or the harshness sometimes associated with rigid high-frequency drivers. The titanium tweeter is a natural complement to the M-Audio EX66 monitor’s unique low-frequency drivers, providing smooth, coherent reproduction over the entire audio band.

Many loudspeaker enclosures use a port to form a Helmholtz resonator to improve bass response. In some ported speakers, however, this has the side effect of an audible friction noise from air moving in and out of the enclosure. Not so with the M-Audio EX66 monitor, which uses a dual-flanged rear-cabinet port to minimize the vibrations normally generated by low-frequency signals. This custom port is extremely efficient in its air transfer characteristics and is virtually noise-free. Rear placement also prevents port turbulence from interfering with the front dispersion of the midwoofer and tweeter.

Like the other components, the M-Audio EX66 enclosure has an important role in shaping the overall sonic response. In order to provide more stable performance, the enclosure is constructed from special high-acoustic-efficiency medium density fiberboard (MDF), along with unique interior adiabatic foam reinforcement designed to absorb extraneous vibration, standing waves and even extreme impact. Further, the custom OptImage II waveguide on the front panel minimizes diffraction and dramatically improves stereo imaging.

All speaker cabinets exhibit resonant frequencies that color the timbre of the audio being reproduced. The extent to which they are mitigated is much of what allows critical listeners to distinguish easily between exceptional monitors and mediocre ones. The M-Audio EX66 monitor employs sophisticated on-board digital signal processing (DSP) technology to eradicate all resonances and tune the cabinet with exceptional precision. The M-Audio EX66 monitor also uses DSP to achieve its precise and maximally flat 4th-order Linkwitz-Riley crossover for the smoothest transition between the high and low driver frequency ranges.

The M-Audio EX66 monitor uses two separate 100-watt PWM power amplifiers to drive the 4-ohm woofer combination and 4-ohm tweeter separately in an audiophile-quality bi-amp structure. The ultra-low distortion at 200 watts per channel rounds out the M-Audio EX66 monitor’s profile as a truly world-class active loudspeaker monitor.

The M-Audio EX66 monitor features digital inputs compatible with up to 24-bit/196kHz digital inputs and high-impedance balanced analog inputs—also digitally sampled—to insure an entirely pristine signal path. Additional features include volume control, Acoustic Space Control to optimize for room placement, a soft limiter circuit to prevent clipping, high-frequency roll-off/boost switch, mid-range switch (low-Q dip or peak) and low-cutoff switch (37Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz).

Specifications for the M-Audio EX66 monitor include a frequency response of 37Hz – 20kHz, flatness of ±1dB from 50Hz – 19kHz; 2.56kHz crossover frequency; and less than 0.1% total harmonic distortion. The M-Audio EX66 is user selectable for 100V ~50/60Hz, 115V ~50/60Hz and 230V ~50/60Hz. Protective features include RF interference, output current limiting, over temperature, turn-on/off transient, subsonic filter, and external mains fuse. Size is 19” x 8.25” x 9.5”; 48.3cm x 20.9cm x 24.1cm. Weight is 24.65 lbs./unit; 11.18 kg.

The M-Audio EX66 reference monitor carries an MSRP of $699.95 per unit.

More information is available at the M-Audio site.

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