Franklin, TN-based Emotiva Audio Corporation has spent many years in the consumer audiophile market making a full line of speakers, amplifiers and hi-fi equipment. Emotiva customers purchase directly from its website with free shipping and a 30-day return policy. With the Emotiva Pro brand, the company has jumped into the professional market with its new airmotiv Professional Powered Studio Monitor series, with 4-, 5- and 6-inch woofer versions. Here, I review the airmotiv 5 ($599/pair), designed for small- to medium-sized control rooms.

It’s all about the drivers: the airmotiv 5 uses an extended-range folded ribbon tweeter and a trademarked 5.25-inch Curv polypropylene composite woofer. Powering each of those drivers is a 50W amp, sourced from a multi-pole, phase-compensated active crossover, centered at 2,700 Hz. Controls include basic high- and lowfrequency EQ tilt controls, with high EQ cornered at 4 kHz and the low EQ tilt point at 150 Hz, with steps in +/-2 dB increments.

The amps’ power supplies utilize toroidal transformers, with large electrolytic power capacitors and stacked metal film resistors. On the input side, the airmotiv 5 includes unbalanced RCA and balanced XLR inputs. The cabinet is ported utilizing a single, rear-facing linear taper design. On the bottom of the speaker are mounting points for an optional bracket. The airmotiv 5 weighs in at a portly 26.5 lbs.

Monitoring several musical styles in mixdown while A/B-ing with other speakers, the airmotiv 5 really delivered an impressively powerful sound for its size; it’s more than plenty if you’re mixing in a small- to mid-sized room (for me, tracking requires bigger speakers). I found the low-end extension impressive and well dampened for a 5.25-inch woofer. It often made me forget which speaker I was listening to: the airmotiv 5 or my normal 8-inch woofer fitted Mackie HR824s.

A speaker’s crossover point might show up as a small bump in frequency response or a phase shift—but I didn’t notice any anomalies with the airmotiv 5s. The ribbon tweeter was different for me, as I’m a daily driver of metal dome tweeters. The ribbon tweet is a little softer-sounding overall, with good extended top end and stereo imaging.

To match the HR824s, I adjusted the low EQ on the airmotiv 5s to -2 dB, which still left a low-end bump at around 250 Hz, as the EQ’s lowend tilt frequency is a little low at 150 Hz. I really liked the all-important midrange response of these monitors with its slight emphasis in the 1-2 kHz range. It helped to get the vocals sitting right in the mix, and it kept me from overcompensating for the Mackie’s crossover bump, around 2.5 kHz. Imaging was also good. I didn’t quite feel it matched the HR824, but I haven’t found any speaker that can for less than “$3k a pair.”

Emotiva Pro’s airmotiv 5 is an exceptional first effort for the professional studio monitor arena. The quality and sound of these speakers at its price point is nothing short of a steal; the volume they produce and even frequency response at different volumes was impressive for a monitor in this price range.

Emotiva Professional