Sterling Audio has introduced its new MX series of near-field active studio monitors. There are the usual 3- (MX3), 5- (MX5), and 8-inch (MX8) woofer choices. The manufacturer talks the usual big talk about top sound quality and whatnot, but also makes a significant promise – its dual-axis WaveGuidanceVH technology incorporated in the monitors supposedly brings a wide “sweet spot” even in off-axis listening positions, both horizontally and vertically. If that’s the truth, we are dealing with three high quality studio monitors here.
Additionally, all three models have custom-designed low-frequency cones for “superior damping” that’s supposed to reduce sonic defects and unpleasant resonances. The tweeters are silk dome and have neodymium magnets while the voice coils are, again, custom-made, with 4 layers for greater motor force that ought to enhance bass response. High and low filters are available for the 8 and 5-inch models, too. The final touches are polished ebony finish and backlit Sterling logos, making the these monitors look as nice as they supposedly sound.
The MX8 gets 125 Watts of Class A/B amplification and balanced XLR, 1/4-inch TRS inputs as well as RCA inputs so you can easily hook up a stereo source. MX5, the 5-incher, gets down to 70W of amplification and the 3-inchers (MX3) offer 40W of amplification, lose the filters, and only have unbalanced RCA inputs.
There are the inevitable differences in frequency response, too. It’s 37Hz – 22kHz for the MX8, 42Hz to 22kHz for the MX5, and 55Hz to 22Hz for the MX3. Otherwise, it’s the same design and build in different sizes.
Price and availability
Available now, the Sterling MX3 starts at a humble USD 100 for a pair of 3-inchers, and goes up to an affordable USD 120 for one MX5 (USD 238 for a pair) and USD 180 for one MX8 (USD 360 for a pair). With these prices and characteristics, Sterling’s monitors seem promising and might win some presence within the crowded studio monitor market in the months ahead. However, they may face stiff competition from Kali Audio’s recently launched and aggressively priced LP-6 and LP-8 speakers.