Fostex PM0.4 review
The PM0.4 is the baby of Fostex's PM range and, at 220mm high, is second only to Alesis's 320 USB for compactness.
The plain design and glossy finish seem a little tacky, but the speaker cones look reassuringly expensive. They aren't protected from wandering fingers, but the tweeter is recessed so it shouldn't be knocked accidentally. Power switches for each speaker are at the back below protruding heatsinks, making them hard to press.
Music exhibited similar levels of clarity and detail as from the pricier studio speakers. However, higher frequencies were a little over-pronounced. Bass frequencies rolled off gently below 100Hz. This isn't surprising considering the compact design, but M-Audio's similarly sized AV 40 managed better bass performance. The combined effect of the bright treble and weak bass could lead to mistakes as musicians try to compensate while mixing. The AV 40's more balanced tone, better ergonomics and lower price make it a far better choice.
A very unfair rating...
Within the past week I have researched monitor speakers for my home studio. At first, I was looking at the KRK R5’s, but even £250 was a little out of my range. So I began to look at speakers under the £200 bracket, and the PM0.4’s jumped out.
Looking for reviews, I came across this one and it cast a shadow over the Fostex for me, so I did a little research on the M-Audio AV40’s and found that they lost balance at low level. Also, they are not bi amped. There is just the one amp, then a bit of bell wire attaching it to the other speaker. This of course explains the loss of balance at low levels.
So I went to my local music shop, and had a listen to the Fostex. Frig me, they were awesome. Even at high level, they never lost quality. One of the things that the sales chap explained, was that the AV40’s had a bass boost switch, and no monitor for professional audio & mastering would have anything to alter the sound.
I wanted monitors to give me the best accurate image for mastering, so I went for the Fostex PM0.4’s in gloss white. Not tacky looking at all. Everyone who has noticed them has said how cool they look, and can’t get over how small they are. GREAT for a home studio with lack of desktop space!
I’m sure the AV40’s are very good, but probably for gaming, listening to music & video etc, but not the best choice for pro audio. I’m glad I spent £169 on the PM0.4’s!
By placemat on 30 Oct 2010
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