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Review: Fostex 6301N Series Active Monitor

There are few speaker products in pro audio as universally useful as the Fostex 6301N Series Active Monitor at $250 street.

There are few speaker products in pro audio as universally useful as the Fostex 6301N Series Active Monitor at $250 street. The 6301N Series comprises small sealed powered speakers built for various monitoring applications—studio/audio production, broadcast, mobile and installation (especially houses-of-worship and theaters)—thanks to four different I/O configurations. Recently updated and repackaged by Fostex, I reviewed the 6301N’s NE version offering analog (electrically balanced) XLR and (unbalanced) quarter-inch inputs.

Weighing in at 5 lbs. and measuring a compact 4.7” x 7.4” x 4.7”, the 6301N Series speaker features a 20W Class D digital amplifier; 4-inch full-range speaker with die-cast aluminum frame; 98 dB SPL max. output and a 70 Hz to 15 kHz frequency range. Its flat surface front panel power and volume controls are handily recessed into its aluminum enclosure, and the 6301N’s flexibility is enhanced by the optional wall-fitting angle mount, the EB-6301 ($40 street, each).

I auditioned this 6301NE pair in a variety of environments: studio/audio production apps as a laptop DAW-style desktop powered monitor rig; on-the-go in hotel/gig bag-style reference listening; and house-of-worship/theater uses—a church cry room/nursery, small balcony sound reinforcement, and FOH/control room monitoring. For the latter, the 6301N was paired with a Alto Professional Stealth wireless audio system (/altostealth) for a no-brainer HOW audio distribution solution.

After all that, I decided that, if allowed only one choice, the 6301N could easily be my “everywhere” powered monitor. Though its limited frequency range doesn’t quite allow “high fidelity” performance, it is most certainly a dependable, reasonably accurate workhorse powered speaker. Highly efficient, the 6301N excels in cleanly cranking out midrange/voice-centric material: broadcast TV/radio- and PA/theatrically-oriented audio, etc. While the 6301N won’t likely take the place of a modern audio pro’s favorite nearfield speaker, I believe it could easily become the most used, flexible and dependable monitoring tool in his/her bag of tricks.

Fostex International