JBL has hit the sweet spot with the versatile Control 2P ($249 list), a compact powered monitor that fits multiple applications from audio production to AV, electronic instruments, and home entertainment.
The newest member of the Control Series, the Control 2P is an ideal size for desktop audio and video. The 35-watts-perchannel system fits nicely in a DAW setup: in this instance, a set of Control 2Ps are providing sound for an iMac-based Logic/Final Cut/Pro Tools home studio that doubles as a hub for iTunes and CD playback, internet radio streaming, and DVDVideo playback.
Control 2P monitors are very simple to set up and operate. Powered master and passive extension speakers, an extension speaker wire, and power supply (all included) are all one needs to be up and running. For desktop audio, be sure to snap on the included pedestals for on-axis listening — the Control 2Ps are quite directional. For wall mounting, JBL offers the optional MTC-2P kit.
The master speaker features a white LED on the front to indicate power. A red LED flashes when the speaker is approaching thermal protect mode, and glows continuously to indicate that the system should be turned off to cool (in my experience, neither has yet to occur).
On the master speaker's side is a large volume control and 3.5 mm headphone jack. The rear panel houses the power switch, DC power input, and most of the Control 2P's in- and outputs. Near the center are combination Neutrik XLR/TRS balanced inputs for the master and extension speakers. RCA inputs are also found on the master speaker's back panel, as is the 1/4-inch extension speaker jack. Lastly, an HF adjust switch allows +2 and -2 dB settings to increase or decrease high frequency.
Having tested and worked with a variety of desktop monitoring systems, I found the Control 2Ps the best solution, to date, for my needs. With an 80 Hz - 20 kHz frequency range, they deliver a broad, accurate spectrum at low and moderate levels (the Control 2Ps can get plenty loud, too, and remain accurate at high levels). Solid low frequencies without the need for a bulky subwoofer crowding the floor — that's a welcome change.
In my application, the multiple outputs allow monitoring directly from the computer, via a 3.5 mm-to-RCA adapter, for Logic and Final Cut (and iTunes and DVD), or from a Digidesign Mbox for Pro Tools. My Steinway grand pian — well, the virtual Steinway in Logic's EXS24 mkII sampler — sounds fantastic through the Control 2Ps; if that were their only function, they would be well worth the (attractive) price.