We recently auditioned the M-Audio's Studiophile AV 40 stereo speakers, and found a lot to like. Those big, beefy monitors were great for audio from a PC or any other stereo audio source. However, with 4-inch woofers and speakers weighing 14 pounds each, the AV 40s required a design and spatial commitment that not everyone's going to be willing to make (especially in the usually crowded environment of a computer desk). So we decided to check out M-Audio's smallest and least expensive speakers, the Studiophile AV 20s.
Although they're not as large as the company's step-up models, the M-Audio Studiophile AV 20 stereo speakers still take up a sizable amount of desktop space. Each of the speakers is 7.8 inches tall by 4 inches wide by 6 inches deep and weighs about 10 pounds.
While reminiscent of its more expensive siblings, the design of the AV 20s is narrower and less boxy--the front face arcs upward, and the corners and edges are rounded. The speakers sport a medium-density fiberboard housing, with a strip of black vinyl accentuating the tweeter and woofer, which are covered with black mesh metal grilles. The left speaker is easily distinguished from the right speaker with a volume-control knob/power switch, which is encircled in blue light.
The only input is a single pair of stereo RCA (red and white) connectors on the rear of the left speaker. That lets you connect pretty much any audio source with stereo line outputs (DVD player, stereo receiver) or--with the included 3.5mm-to-RCA stereo cable--anything with a standard headphone jack (PC, iPod, portable player). The power cable also plugs into the back of the left speaker--the power transformer is built-in, so there's no wall wart or power brick. Both speakers have spring-clip connectors, which is how you link them together (with the included speaker wire).
The Studiophile AV 20 features a built-in Class D amplifier that delivers 10 watts per channel. The speakers use a two-way design: each one has, according to M-Audio, a 2-inch composite paper/fiberglass woofer and a 1-inch Mylar balanced-dome tweeter.