M-Audio Studiophile AV 20 Portable Desktop Speaker System Review

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Let’s face it. The speakers on my laptop are pretty crappy, not only in terms of volume but also in terms of sound quality. Sure, they get the job done in letting me know when I’ve received an instant message, but if I really want to enjoy my music, movies, or gaming, I really have to go with some sort external speaker system.

maudio 001 copy M Audio Studiophile AV 20 Portable Desktop Speaker System Review

Even so, most of the smaller two speaker systems that you find on the market are less than fantastic. I know that the el cheapo set that came with my mom’s desktop weren’t exactly impressive. The M-Audio Studiophile AV 20 Portable Desktop Speaker System, on the other hand, is supposed to bring studio-quality sound in a reasonably compact package. Does it deliver? Well, let’s just say that it’s just a few notches above better than nothing.

Full Features

M-Audio, previously known as Midiman, is a company that typically provides a series of digital audio and MIDI solutions for “today’s electronic musicians and audio professionals.” While most of their line hits up the higher-end of the market, the Studiophile AV 20 speaker system is supposed to be more entry-level and more accessible by the average consumer. That’s not to say that it doesn’t bring anything to the table, though.

maudio 004 copy M Audio Studiophile AV 20 Portable Desktop Speaker System Review

According to the official spec sheet, the M-Audio Studiophile AV 20 Portable Desktop Speaker System comes with the following features:

  • optimized for computer audio including music, DVDs and games
  • acclaimed M-Audio technology used in pro recording studios
  • separate high- and low-frequency drivers with crossover
  • high-fidelity 10-watt-per-channel internal amplification
  • custom cabinet with dense wood construction for full, warm sound
  • tight, accurate low-frequency response
  • smooth, crisp highs
  • OptImage III wave guides for superior stereo imaging
  • portable design
  • magnetic shielding for desktop use

Build Quality

Typically, when you purchase a desktop computer from a big box store, you get a set of stereo speakers for free. These are usually made by guys like Polk Audio (in the case of HP, anyways) and they are tiny plastic wonders that pump out the sound in the softest of manners. Wanna thump away with some hip hop? Wanna feel the rattle of your fragging machine gun? Good luck, because these little plastic wonders, which are usually not much bigger than a grapefruit, offer some of the worst sound quality I have ever seen…err…heard. Their construction is equally cheap and disappointing, but for most users of the web, word processors, and instant messengers, these speakers serve their purpose. They don’t do much more.

maudio 006 copy M Audio Studiophile AV 20 Portable Desktop Speaker System Review

Contrast that to the Studiophile AV 20 speaker system from M-Audio. These speakers are decidedly bigger than their el cheapo counterparts, measuring about 8-inches tall and almost 6-inches deep at the base. I’m very pleased with the physical build quality on these speakers. Instead of a cheap plastic exterior, you actually get a “custom cabinet with dense wood construction.” It definitely feels solid and has similarities in some ways to home theatre speakers with an MDF-like cabinet.

It’s also notable that there is a significant amount of weight to these speakers, and that can probably be attributed to the un-plastic cabinet as well. Plastic is lighter, after all. Because of the tight construction, there is minimal rattle and vibration, which is also a good thing.

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About

Michael Kwan is freelance writer and professional gadget geek. He's been reporting on the world of technology for years, playing countless console games along the way too. Be sure to check out his personal blog, Beyond the Rhetoric, for posts on freelance writing, personal development, entertainment, video games, and more. Follow him on Twitter too: @michaelkwan

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