Pros: Room compensation settings, immense power reserve, accurate and neutral playback, smooth and pleasant highs
Cons: Very sensitive to bad sources and files, automatic power switch seems fickle, 250Hz resonance in reflex tube ornaments (needed to be re-attached)
I compared these speakers little brothers, the B3030A before purchasing against Genelec 1032A. The B3030A was less harsh and they seemed to have a more natural low frequency. Then again both are not meant to blurt out farting bass notes, and my own preferences are towards smoother tones, so the Genelecs didn't impress me anyway.
The speakers arrived with individually measured frequency response curves, mine are measured 01-11-2011, so that's friday, and my speakers are brand new! First impression was that they're HEAVY! And a bit ugly.. But it's the sound that matters, especially at this price the appearance of the speakers is decent. At home I compared the B3031A to the Wharfedale Diamond 10.5. The room compensation settings were all 0 for the review, we used Vangelis - 1492, Conquest of Paradise for the testing. The conditions were less than ideal, seeing that the Diamond 10.5 were standing near a wall and the B3031A were wider apart without any hindering walls.
in the song Conquest of Paradise, the male vocals seemed more dramatic and strong with the Diamond 10.5, but the B3031A reached lower, while Diamond 10.5 settled for playing back the upper bass. I've listened to the Diamond 10.5 against Dali Lektor 6, and they were a bit bloated on the bass even in a well dampened room, so it's definitely not because of the wall and this comparison further proves their tendency for upper bass emphasis. Monastery of la Rabida has pretty chimes in it, and cranking it up the Diamond 10.5 got more fatiguing and artificially sharp, whereas the B3031A seemed to ooze pleasant and smooth sounding tones. My little brother, father and me agreed on this. Pendulum - Slam humiliated the Diamond 10.5 whereas B3031A slammed the listeners with really strong low notes, even without the aid from a back wall.
In general usage, even with -6dB gain the Behringer B3031A are quite sensitive in picking up interference from bad sources. Although my AKG K 272 HD are silent with the FiiO E7, I could easily hear the familiar chirping and whizzing noises coming from my computer chassis whenever the CPU or GPU were under stress, and there's a constant hum even without any. If I could use TOSLINK instead of USB/Coaxial, I would de-couple the speakers from the computer and get rid of this issue. (I'm sure it's because it's running a ground through USB, if I unplug the USB cord from FiiO E7 the speakers are dead silent. I'll try out a Nuforce µDAC-2 if it has better power filters than the FiiO E7, or maybe I'll order a Maverick D1.. Anyway, the FiiO has to go, they don't do justice to the B3031A and it's getting annoying fast.
You'll hear many saying in YouTube and the such that the B3031A are bass light. Well, they say the same thing about AKG.. This is certainly not the case, as low notes in songs like Ayreon - Comatose, Nine Inch Nails - Corona Radiata etc. feel really powerful and accurate. Actually I believe this is the first time I'm rolling with a completely flat EQ and genuinely enjoying the sound from speakers (the AKG does the same with headphones). I also did a short time test where I cranked the speakers up to the max, and equalized +9dB of bass from 50Hz to 150Hz. The wind from the reflex tubes mixed my hair a bit and the sound had an immense amount of authority and slam. Rolling with a flat EQ now, they WOULD like a subwoofer to be honest, a huge one at that. 18" would sound appropriate, since the B3031A doesn't necessarily have any trouble going low, but it just isn't meant for LFE-channel rumbling and explosions. I took ½ stars for this.
For the money the only thing that could be better is the automatic switch, which kicks in whenever the speakers aren't pumping out more than 70dB or so, so the feature is useless for laid back low-volume listening as the speakers pop on and off frequently. I was slightly dissapointed with this and have reduced a whole star and a half for this, but having a tolerance switch for the auto-power option would be ridiculously luxurious for 360€ which I paid for these!
Just to note, I sold my Audioengine 2 clones and a 8" active subwoofer for $300, and got these instead. I'll never recommend a 2.1 set again when pure stereo solutions like this exist!
EDIT: The speakers have developed a rather annoying resonance. At 250-260Hz area when cranking up -almost sine wave-like- bass notes, there's a high about 1kHz droning noise. The noise seems to be coming out of the reflex port bezel and not the transducers, and it's more audible in the other unit. Other users do not report this, so my units might have gotten damaged during shipment (the box looked a bit battered but they were protected well). The issue isn't enough to disturb me during actual music listening, gaming or movies, but it's certainly something I'd rather not witness in a brand new product. I'll update this review if something comes up.