M-Audio Studiophile AV 30 review: M-Audio Studiophile AV 30

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The Good The M-Audio Studiophile AV 30 is a powered speaker system with magnetic shielding, a solid construction, and a beefy sound quality, all priced less than $100.

The Bad The integrated amplifier doesn't get loud enough to wake the neighbors, and the power switch is inconveniently located on the back.

The Bottom Line M-Audio's Studiophile AV 30 speaker system delivers powerful, detailed sound in a relatively compact space, and does it all at a remarkably low price.

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7.3 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8

Editors' note: Updated on August 21, 2009, to reflect its new lower price.

The M-Audio brand name may mean more to musicians and music producers than gamers and iTunes junkies, but all you really need to know is that the company makes one of the best-sounding PC and multimedia speakers you can buy. Unfortunately, those speakers are called the Studiophile AV 40, they run $150, and we raved about them back in March of 2008.

The speaker set featured here is the Studiophile AV 30, a smaller set that borrows heavily from the design and sound of its lauded sibling. The AV 30 sacrifices on some of the sonic power and professional features that made the AV 40 exceptional, but it also sacrificed the price--cutting it down to an attractive $99.

There's a lot you can forgive once you reach a price tag in the double digits. For instance, we can forgive M-Audio for using a cheaper amplifier in the AV 30 than the class-A/B amp used in the AV 40. We can also forgive it for ditching the studio-quality 1.25-inch TRS audio inputs and going strictly with RCA ins. These missing features may have audio purists turning up their noses, but those of you simply looking to coax great sound from your computer or MP3 player shouldn't care one bit.