In any project studio, your monitors are truly the ‘buck stops here’ piece of gear. You can have the most impressive suite of plug-ins in the world and if your monitor speakers are coloring your sound in an unusual way then your chances of crafting a decent mix are about as good as my 4 year old’s chances of finding the toy bouncy stick I bought him last week (Note : His room is a terrific mess. That thing is history).
The Fostex PX-6 professional monitor speakers are the larger siblings of the PX-5 monitors, but with 6.5 inch LF and 1-inch HF drivers. They pump out about 78 watts of power and there is some unique DSP in there that helps them reproduce sound accurately and cleanly. There is an XLR combo input on the back as well as an RCA input for unbalanced sources.
The LED-enhanced rotary knob serves 2 functions. With a switch below it, you can toggle between adjusting volume or tone. The knob itself is also a button allowing you to choose between coarse and fine adjustments when setting the volume. When you are using the EQ, the clickable wheel adjusts between bass and treble frequencies.
The power switch is also located in the back (grrr… when are the monitoring companies going to recognize us power savers who like to turn off EVERYTHING when not in use?) which I found to be inconvenient until I learned of the unique power saving mode of the PX speakers. They have an automatic standby mode that reduces the power consumption to 0.5w after 4 hours of no signal.
one of my favorite features of the PX-6 monitors is that when you turn them on, it uses an ‘auto fade in’ function.
While we’re on the subject of power, one of my favorite features of the PX-6 monitors is that when you turn them on, it uses an ‘auto fade in’ function. This automatically gradually restores the volume to the level you previously saved and helps you avoid any popping or damage to the speakers upon power-up.
Monitors are such a subjective product that it’s hard to label any but the ones on the farthest fringe as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ sounding. In the end, what matters most with the sound is ‘will this help me get to my finished mix quickly?’ I personally found the PX monitors to be very crisp and open. I heard all the detail I wanted to in the middle and the upper end was definitely clean. As far as the lower frequencies, I did have to adjust the EQ on the rear a bit to get them to where I felt the bass was defined enough. That could have had to do with my placement of them in the room (they are physically much smaller than the monitors I have my room already set up for) or it could have just been my ears getting used to a different sound than I’m used to. Either way, I was able to adjust them to a point where I felt confident I could mix on the PX-6 monitors and be happy with the result.
The sub $1,000 per pair monitor category is heating up, and that means great things for the consumer. The PX-6 monitors are a good choice at this price point and they stack up favorably to other monitors in this size/price class.
Price: $899 per pair
Pros: Auto-standby mode, multifunction rotary encoder works well, good build quality, detailed midrange.
Cons: Bass frequencies seemed a little muddy ‘out of the box’ but were easily adjusted with the onboard EQ.