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ESI Aktiv 05 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £179
inc VAT

Sensibly sized studio monitors that sound brilliant for their price


We were pleased by the richness of the bass, which accurately reproduced the slap of drum skins and the vibrations of a bowed cello, while the ultra-heavy basslines of dubstep tracks grunted along with all the power we desired. When it came to fast cymbal hits, distorted tremolo guitar picking and fast violin work, we found the speakers’ performance at high treble frequencies to be not quite as precise as our admittedly more expensive reference speakers. However, we were very pleased with the Aktiv 05s’ performance in the mid-range, particularly when it comes to vocal reproduction. We were easily able to pick out and follow individual voices in choral pieces, while brass and piano sections were also extremely detailed. When mixing, you’ll want to bear in mind that the mid-range sounds relatively more powerful than higher frequencies.

ESI Aktiv 05

Although we were able to pick out the monitors’ weaknesses fairly easily, they’re by no means a bad choice for mixing and they’re a brilliant pair of desktop speakers for music fans, whether you’re into production or just want a clear improvement on standard PC or hi-fi speakers, which typically colour the sound to a much greater extent than these pure and simple monitors. At £179 for the pair, the Aktiv 05 monitors are a good deal. They have excellent sound quality, but if you’re making your first step into the world of studio monitors then the M-Audio Studiophile AV-40 speakers are quite a bit cheaper and still sound great.

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Speaker configuration2.0
RMS power output60W
Analogue inputs1/4in TRS/XLR (shared input)
Digital inputsnone
Dock connectornone
Headphone outputnone
Satellite cable lengthsN/A
Cable typereplaceable
Controls locatedrear of speakers
Digital processingnone
Tone controlsnone

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