Alesis M1Active 520 USB vs Samson StudioDock 4i vs ?
Jun 29, 2009 at 7:32 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1


New Head-Fier
Jun 29, 2009
I'm looking to acquire a pair of inexpensive studio monitors (say ~$350 or so max), for use with my MacBook. Since I would be only using them to indulge a hobby and not anything on the truly pro level, and also use them for listening to music, video, etc. I don't think I need anything lavish. I was initially considering the Audio Engine A5's (yes yes, they aren't monitors), or the Behringer Truth B2031A, or something in the similar price range. However, many have pointed out that if you want to really use these monitors as intended, you would need to go beyond the MacBook's headphone out and purchase a USB or firewire DAC for a good quality line-level out. Searching around for these lead me to stumble on some of the USB studio monitors that have a built-in DAC and aren't too expensive, namely the Alesis M1 Active 520 USB (~$200, 5" woofer, active crossover) and the Samson StudioDock 4i (~$170, 4" woofer, passive crossover). It seems like the Alesis monitors are still forthcoming, but the reviews I've read on the non-usb M1 Active 520 they seem to be a nice budget set of monitors. Also the reviews of the Samson's are largely positive, although they could be from people that just bought them for the integrated iPod dock (a nice feature, but not a deal maker) versus the sound quality.

So, I guess the question is, would one of these serve me well, for my purposes, and if so, is the larger driver and active vs. passive crossover worth it? Further, is there another solution I haven't considered that would work fine for a prosumer on a budget? Thanks much!

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