Known for bass amplifiers and gear, Britain’s Ashdown Engineering breaks new ground with its new NF-1 and NF-2 studio monitors. The manufacturer is ambitious, promising a “new standard” in near-field monitoring at reasonable cost.
Ashdown Engineering NF-1 and NF-2 studio monitors
Targeting small to medium-sized control rooms, the NF-1 employs a single 5-inch woofer while the NF-2 has two of these. Both models feature soft dome tweeters with a slight 20kHz roll-off to soften the piercing very high frequencies. Amplification is handled by dual 120-watt Class A/B amplifiers with subsonic filters and optical compressor circuits protect the speakers from damage by excess low-end and peaks.
Notably, both monitors turn to closed housing in place of bass ports to prevent potential build-ups and resonances. This is rare among mainstream studio monitors, which are almost exclusively ported. Sheep wool insulation is used to reduce cabinet resonances by a further 14%. On the exterior, actual VU meters make for a cool and practical decoration.
If the NF-1 and NF-2 look or sound familiar, that’s because they originate from the BBC LS3 / 5 broadcast monitor. Dating from the 70s, it’s become a studio and audiophile legend that’s still in production today, largely unchanged. It provided the design reference and performance benchmark for Ashdown to start from and improve upon.
Price and availability
Ashdown is accepting pre-orders without providing release estimates or dates. The prices are GBP 999 for the NF-1 and GBP 1199 for the NF-2. They are available in Black/White and Black/Oxidized.