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June 2017 Giveaway

Alesis M1 Active MkII Reviews

4.0 stars based on 38 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Scott Augustyniak

    Just added these to my home studio after tons of research. I was looking for the best bang for my buck on a budget. These did nothing but meet my expectations. The low end is great and I highly recommend these to anyone looking to upgrade from computer speakers.

  • Mike S.
    from Santa Monica June 8, 2016Music Background:
    Professional

    The best range for your buck...

    These are like the NS10's but less tinny. I would compare them to the Event 20/20's but a little more middle frequency. They have a great sweet spot about 8-9 feet away from the monitors and function better at a mid level room monitor than a near field monitor. Very versatile and clean sounding.

  • Aj
    from Lewiston, NY October 9, 2014Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Pro Musician

    The Alesis M1 Active MkII

    I have been using these speakers for 10 years and have never had a bad mix...these speakers are the closes you will get to the old NS10's.
    These speakers have a very balanced sound across all frequencies, no hype what so ever. The only thing I can tell you is buy them, you will not b e sorry.

  • Dominic Delore
    from Boston August 19, 2014Music Background:
    Musician, Berklee Student

    a great product

    I have had these monitors for about 4.5 years now. No issues. They have always sounded excellent. Very durable. They produce a great mid and bass frequency. In my opinion they are not as "nasally" as my friend's KRK 6 inch speakers. I say nasally because these speakers have great mids. The six inch KRKs have highs and lows, with a weaker mid, in my opinion. Overall I love these alesis monitors and definitely recommend them to everyone looking for affordable good quality monitors.

  • Ruben Erazo
    from United States September 26, 2013Music Background:
    Pro singer songwriter, keyboardist and record producer and engineer.

    Awesome

    Those monitors sound great. I don't understand people saying they don't sound that good. The sound is stunning for the price. All my mixes and masters sound great on all kind of devices from I phones, car stereos, til bose or another hi fi stereo. Visually they are beautiful and sophisticated.
    I love them!!!

  • Victoria Islas
    from Arizona September 3, 2012Music Background:
    Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer, Pro Musician

    It makes me Happy

    These Speakers are bigger than i thought. The physical quality is amazing. Probably not the best sounding pair BUT a really awesome upgrade for me. They sound great either way. My mixes sound amazing with added acoustic treatment in the room and these monitors. Def a good buy! The price is right the quality is superb.

  • Pete Elem
    from Long Island August 16, 2012Music Background:
    instrumentalist-audiophile

    Basic and Good

    Immediately on firing these up I could tell they were articulate and honest. Playing really good program material produced a WOW reaction. No controls to fuss with except the sensitivity in the back. Really basic but really, may I dare say, audiophile quality sound. One caveat here......they don't handle globs of bass very well. Woofers produced a rattling-chuffing sound when over driven. So they could use a low frequency shelving filter for addition of a sub. Otherwise, for $300 the pair, go for it!

  • Luke
    from Boston, MA USA April 5, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Musician

    Best in price range - better with an EQ.

    I've had these for around 8 years. I know them well. Like another reviewer, I considered upgrading a couple years ago, and rather than spending $1500-$2000 on new speakers that probably wouldn't be flat, I spent $150 and got a graphic EQ instead. It took me a few months to figure out exactly where the EQ bumps and deficiencies were, but soon after I started mixing and mastering with this setup, I started getting way more work. I trust them down to around 50-60 Hz and then I check lows with my Sennheiser HD650s (which also helped me adjust the graphic EQ).

    Also, about a year after the warranty ended, I had a power supply problem with one of them. I had the local shop fix it, and since then, that one takes about 2 minutes to power on. Other than that, no problems.

  • Andy Kastrinelis
    from Groveland, MA December 26, 2008Music Background:
    Recording, live sound, active musician.

    wow

    I've worked in many studios that have some of the best monitors you can get. i have used these monitors at my job and i was very satifyed with the overall sound and performance. I think the best thing about these monitors is the price. you would think for such a low price, they would sound terrible, but thats not the case for these monitors. i recommend these monitors to anyone who is starting out with there first recording rig or for anyone who is on a tight budget. with these monitors you get more than you paid for.

  • Bradley White
    from Gilbert, AZ September 30, 2008Music Background:
    Pro Musician, Recording Engineer

    Pro quality for less money!

    These monitors sound phenomenal both in presence and clarity. They have power to be cranked up but don't lose their quality during monitor dimming. Also, mixes transfer great to other systems. A lot of people have complained about a muddy low end but I have had know problem with my setup.

  • Godamus Rhyme (www.rhymewerks.com)
    from Orlando, FL July 4, 2007Music Background:
    Engineer, Producer, Recording Artist, Singer, Songwriter...

    Top Quality for the Bottom Dollar

    I've been using these monitors for 2-3 years now. I used to sell audio equipment so I've had the opportunity to try quite a few different monitors. There is absolutely no other monitor that I would reccomend for this price range. They are the best you can find at this price. They improved my mixes 100 percent and translate really well to other systems. I've mixed 3 or 4 albums on these along with many one shot projects and always get compliments on my mixes.

  • David Chamberlayne
    from McComb, MS USA February 13, 2007Music Background:
    Church Musician, Producer, Composer, Vocalist, Song Writer,

    Nice

    I really enjoy these monitors. I recieved them last week. I asked Micheal Eads at Sweetwater about these and he said they sound great and would be great even for my small studio space. Well, he wasn't lying at all. I was using some small Roland ma-8 monitors before and there is no comparison. I would highly recommend these monitors. Do shop around and compare but don't be afraid to ask the pro's for their advice. I believe these are worth the price but I did get mine for free since I bought an Alesis Fusion 8HD so it was really worth it to me. I only wish that I had something to compare it to other than my Yamaha Headphones(rh-50m). But since these are my first real monitors I am truly blown away.

  • Steven
    from March 20, 2012Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    Great for Price!

    Been working with these speakers nearly every day for the past three weeks or so. For the price range they are clear, have a healthy bass, convenient for moving around. In my room the bass may sound a little too healthy, but granted my acoustics are far from perfect. Great for A/B comparison! I've had no problems yet, and definitely recommend them for the <$300 price range.

  • Kevin Vaught
    from Mayslick KY March 7, 2012Music Background:
    Gigging guitarist and recording engineer

    Great Sounding Monitors

    This is my second pair of these monitors so that in and of it self says allot for the sound and quality of them. i bought my first pair about 8 years ago and they would still be working if my wife had been more careful with the broom handle ( she dropped the broom and it puntured the LF driver right in the center :(( ) what a waste!!!! anyway, the freq response on these is as close to flat as you can get in this price range. I also own a pair of Mackie HR824's and about the only difference except for price is the amount of power output. The mackies are just more powerful but the sound and clarity of the MK2's is as good or better. These monitors also look way cool compared to others I priced before replacing the first pair. The setup is very easy and the instruction book is very well written with all the spacs you could want and even placement recomendations in your studio space. when I lost the first MK2 to the broom handle I was afraid that they had been discontinued due to the length of time I had had them but sweetwater had them in the catalog and when I went online to purchase it showed that they were in stock. I ordered and 2 days later they arrived without a hitch.

    I would recomend these to anyone just starting out in home recording or to a seasoned pro who needs a great set of back up or secondary (A/B) monitors.

    I also highly recomend Sweetwater as your one and only source for any gear you may need be it for stage or studio. The customer service is GREAT and they seem to really care if you are happy with the gear you purchase from them. Don't wait: if you need a pair of GREAT monitors order the Alesis M1 Active MK2's. you won't be sorry!!!

  • Stefan
    from February 22, 2011Music Background:
    Home/Project recording, experienced musician

    Nearly 7 years and working perfectly - for the $, nothing better!

    As the more pro-level users have already alluded, these are not perfectly "flat", but are mostly honest in my exp.; I have had very good results with them once I was used to the slightly (all ears are unique, remember) exaggerated mid-range. For a home or project studio, these monitors have proven themselves in the trenches for certain (I mean around the world). The guy who said the power supplies "will fail!" clearly had bad luck, and is an exception to the generally excellent quality and durability these are known for. Used them with Roland 16ch, then an Akai DPS24 mkII, and lastly with a DAW and some o/b mastering & vocal processing gear. For very SERIOUS bass, some folks would want a sub, but these are not the intentionally bass-deprived NFM that some others are (requiring a sub for bass-heavy eq/mix work). Considering the consistency I have gotten from these, the "upgrade monitors" item on the TO-DO list never got to the top of the list, like some other outboard gear and plug-ins did. The next pair will likely have to be at least 2x the cost for me to justify the upgrade. These are not toys, they are serious NFMs, especially looking at them in terms of how long they have been on the market. I may consider HS50Ms and a sub next, for honesty. Maybe Tannoy? Depends on $ at hand.
    Anyway - for three bills, I don't think there are better monitors to be had, IMHO And 7 years ago they were clearly the best bang for buck going.

  • Jordan
    from Texas October 2, 2008Music Background:
    Composer

    Great sound value!!!

    These monitors are fabulous. I have had these for over a year know and all I have to say is that I am very pleased. Especially for the price, these monitors do the job that ones that are double to quadruple the price do. The bass response is fantastic and I ma very pleased how my mixes have come out such far with them. Alesis has always put out a great product, these are no different. I highly recommend these to anyone.

  • Tim Lee
    from Peoria, IL September 24, 2007Music Background:
    Recording, Mixing, Musician

    Long Lasting Great Sounding for the money!!

    I've had the first version of these since 1999 and they have been exactly what I expected. They are not the most expensive so don't expect the quality of much higher priced models, but they have worked flawless for many years. The mixes translate well to other systems, and no physical or audible problems ever.

  • Eric
    from Hazleton, PA July 21, 2006Music Background:
    Hobbyist, Student

    Excellent Monitors

    After some research on monitors in this price range, I found the M1 Active MkIIs to have the best construction quality and features for the price, as well as many positive reviews on their sound quality. I now have been using these monitors for several months, and I am proud to offer a highly positive review myself. I was immediately impressed with the construction quality and features right out of the box, and the operation manual is simply superb. By following the guidelines stated in the manual, the initial setup was a breeze and I was confident I would hear accurate sound the first time without any adjustments. The frequency response is impressive, with nothing exaggerated or lacking. I was also quite impressed with the bass response from the 6.5 inch woofers, however it doesn’t drown out the mid-range. Overall, these monitors are excellent for the price, and I would recommend them to anyone. As long as you follow the guidelines stated in the manual for placement and port tuning, I am confident these are the most accurate monitors for the price.

  • Steve
    from October 22, 2013

    12 years and counting

    I've had these for 12 years now with no issues at all. I. Originally had them upright for about 10 years but recently I decided to change them while looking through the Manuall(I moved and set up a new studio) I find that for my new studio the horizontal position works better with tweeters in and ports down as the manuals describes. I produce dance music and these monitors see to do very well all around. I miss are slightly misleading and I'm only learning that now as I'm starting to try and get my mixes to translate to small speakers like ipad and laptops. Aside from that I don't have any issues. The highs are nice and bright and low end is sweet. I would say I trust them till about just under 60ish to 55 hz range. I don't have a sub and never did so I can't say for sure but by testing my mixes in the car I can tell that I'm boosting the subs to much. It's my room though. I also mix with headphones to so I can a/b. I do like these speakers and they are my first. I'm writing this now because I intend to upgrade to krk vxt 8's but maybe I just don't have to and I need to really learn these things and find out what they do well and what they don't do well. I think that's the key of any monitor.

  • Brian Jobson
    from Douglasville, GA (USA) June 7, 2012Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Live Sound Engineer, Pro Musician

    Alesis M1 Active MkII

    A great value for the money. It would be unfair to compare it to a $1,200.00 pair of monitors. The sound is exceptional for the price. I would highly recommend these powered speakers to anyone who is looking for something in this price range. You have to crank them up a bit before the sound flattens out. And they do have plenty of power.

  • Lew
    from January 25, 2012

    Best bang for the buck

    These are some great monitors. I've listened to a lot of monitors in my day and I've become a little disenfranchised on what you get for the money. You have to spend a significantly higher amount of money to get a noticeable difference in quality. I've had these monitors for... jeez, around 8-10 years, I guess. Once you get used to the sound of one set of speakers it's really hard to change, plus I just plain don't have too many complaints about these speakers. Midrange could definitely use more detail, so I might finally be looking to upgrade, but other than that no complaints. The bass response is really quite decent. In fact, depending on the room you have them setup in you may want to plug up one of the ports on each side with a dishtowel to try and reduce some of the bass. As far as the "power supply" going bad, it's really just one of the caps that always goes bad on it (c8 on the circuit board, I believe). You can fix it yourself in about five minutes if you have a soldering iron and about two bucks to drop on a new capacitor and you don't mind voiding the warranty -- just google alesis m1 fix and quit complaining, they are value priced and well worth it.

  • Travis Schriner
    from Seattle, WA January 27, 2011Music Background:
    Student, Home Studio Hobbyist

    Great project studio monitors

    I have had these monitors for around 6 months. The first pair that I bought caught on fire the first day I plugged them in. After a quick call, I had a new pair shipped out immediately at no charge. The service was amazing. The new pair have worked great for me ever since.

    Just like any monitors, you have to have them turned up to get a good mix. If they are too quiet, you get no bass (as I found out first hand). I did find that even turned up, the bass is a little thin. Probably due to the relatively small driver. I would recommend double checking your mix with a home stereo, or in your car.

    Other than that, these speakers sound amazing. The mids and the highs come through crystal clear. For the money, you cant beat them!

  • James Gardner
    from Norfolk, VA February 28, 2010Music Background:
    Composer/Pianist

    Good Speakers for a Good Price

    For $300, these speakers sound great! I'm very happy with the quality and power; they lack the detail you might expect from a pricier pair. In several orchestral pieces, the individual instruments disappear in a mass of sound.

    Very powerful bass; I actually got better results by turning down the low end a bit from my mixer.

    Highly recommended for a studio on a budget.

  • Customer
    from November 6, 2008

    Good intermediate monitors

    These are actual monitors unlike the glorified media speakers that are sold as monitors. While not as good as a good set of mackie, adam, jbl's, your mixes will still translate well to other systems. Could use a bit more midrange detail..

  • Dave Townsend
    from Everett, WA USA April 2, 2007Music Background:
    Musician for 40+ years, avid recording hobbyist

    Excellent Value

    These were my first real studio monitors. I chose them simply because they cost exactly how much money I had to spend. My assumption was that later I'd be able to afford to upgrade to something better.

    Many months have passed since then, during which time I have been actively researching my next set of monitors. After extensive reading and listening, the surprising conclusion from that research: these Alesis monitors are actually pretty darn good.

    I figure I'm going to end up spending between $1700 to $2500 to get significantly better monitors than these.

    So quite by accident, these Alesis boxes turned out to be a great purchase, and though I'm still looking (and saving up) for something better, I'm in no hurry. These "entry level" monitors are doing a fine job.

  • Nick Bellmore
    from Milford, CT April 5, 2009Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Touring musician

    READ IF YOU ACTUALLY MIX BANDS RECORDS!!

    Ive had these for years, and do all my tracking and mixing on them. I'm very used to the low end, and i never have problems with it.
    There's something weird with the mid range..there's a mid range spike that makes you think snare drums and vocals are perfectly mixed...then you listen in your car and home stereo, and the mid is not there enough. So you end up EQing the wrong frequencies in your mix...because in front of the speakers sound fine.

    So im looking for nice "flat" monitors to mix with now. But these will remain for A/B and low end comparison.

    When it comes down to it...its how the album sounds everywhere else! not in the studio.

  • Christopher Paglia
    from Byfield, MA October 3, 2008Music Background:
    Musician, Live and Recorded Sound

    Solid and Consistent

    These have been my main monitors for almost five years. Therefore, I have grown accustomed to mixing on them. The DO need a break in period and even after that some people still find them too bass-y. Being a bass player that is probably why I felt comfortable with them. In the end, my opinion is always that you should work with the same speakers for a while so you always have a consistent reference point. That said, these do have there limitations. I have recently augmented my set up with a pair of Avantones. They help to highlight areas you may be missing because of the Alesis' bottom end.

  • Russ D
    from Oakland September 19, 2007Music Background:
    Live and studio engineer

    Decent but not great

    I have had these pretty much since they first came out. They sound a lot bigger than you would think for their size. The dual ports help a lot. i think they are pretty well suited for hip hop and R&B. They dont get earthshaking bass, but they do get bass. On guitar oriented stuff I find them a bit lacking in the midrange detail. Not sure if its the crossover or what. But I just cant hear into these things as well as I'd like. I still use them daily but am anticipating switching to JBL LSR's, Genelecs, or Adams.

  • -Yuri
    from Arlington, VA May 31, 2009

    Decent affordable monitors

    I've had these for almost 6 years. I did need to have one of them repaired a couple years ago, but overall these have been pretty good to me. They don't have the best sound around, but at the current price, you're going to easily spend 2-3 times more to get something better - definitely the best in their price range. Surprisingly decent low end, they give a bit much in the mid-range, and the high end could use more detail but isn't awful. Great for a project studio.

  • DES
    from SM CA February 21, 2012Music Background:
    Musician, Composer, Recording Engineer

    Fair Monitors

    I have been using Alesis M1 Actives for several years and they are, by far, the most disappointing and weakest link in my studio setup. If I had the budget for it, I would throw these things in the trash and buy something better. These monitors are extremely weak in bass response and I find that what sounds fine in the studio is way bass heavy in real world listening. When I spend several weeks on a project, I get used to them but if there is any extended break from studio time then I find that I have to re-learn how they sound. Typically, because of the weak bass response, I tend to over compensate and I end up with recordings that are lacking in bass. I usually have to go through half a spindle of CDs when mixing and testing on other systems. Very disappointing. When mixing a project accurate monitors are a must and, sorry to say, these are not accurate. You would be better of with some cheap home stereo speakers than these.

  • Del Schier
    from Connecticut April 4, 2011Music Background:
    Audio engineer and web broadcaster.

    After a few years the power supplies will die

    While these monitors are cheap and sound good the power supplies will die in a few years due to cheap underated capacitors. Alesis wants $100 per supply plus shipping and they will not supply service information.

    I don't think this is anywhere close to a pro product.

  • Dan S
    from Verona, NJ August 1, 2014Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Great while they lasted

    Loved the clear, flat response of these speakers. They sounded great for 4 years, then the power amp went on one of them.

  • Terance Schmidt
    from United States May 14, 2014Music Background:
    Producer, composer, singer

    Know issue with the power supply, they fry out after two years

    And after they do, Alesis pretends that they've never heard of such a thing. Meanwhile, how-to-fix videos for this particular issue are all over the internet. Everybody has the same story.

    When you first get them, you'll love them. Fantastic sound. And then they break, and you have very expensive doorstops.

  • Jake B
    from New Mexico, USA February 15, 2013Music Background:
    Audio engineer/Producer

    2 returns later

    I ordered a pair of these for near field reference in the office. They arrived in new condition but the left tweeter was far less powerful than the right. I sent the first pair back and received my replacement pair and they had the same problem. I tested the equipment by running the same tone through both sider L and R and there was a huge difference. I sent the second pair back and got some M-Audio BX5s and they rock.

  • Robert Millis
    from Seattle January 31, 2011Music Background:
    working composer/musician

    DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT

    The power supply WILL break and you will wait a long time for a replacement, and worse, Alesis does not care. I have been waiting 3 months for a replacement power board and was just told 4 more months. This has happened to each one of the pair. Do the research and you will see. I stupidly bought mine before it really became apparent that this would be a problem, though really the larger problem is obviously with Alesis and their lack of respect for their customers. Buy something different.

  • Chris
    from Jacksonville April 1, 2005

    A great monitor for the price

    I have owned these for a few years. They were really one of the few options available for under $500 at the time I bought them. I have grown familiar with the pair as they have served me well. I have never had a problem with them, matter of fact I would recommend them to anyone looking for a decent size/price monitor that gives a full frequency response.

  • Ken Muse
    from Atlanta, GA January 1, 2005

    Good For The Money

    I happened to find a great deal on this and figured it was worth a try. Impressive speakers, really solid responses. The sound is really well defined, especially through the lows and highs. The lows aren't as boomy as the 824s, nor are the highs as separated. After a few months of use, an annoying crackle appeared. Alesis took both back and 3 weeks later I had them back in pristine condition. They've been fine ever since (about 1.5 years). Only issue I've noticed is that they really need to be spaced at least 6" from a CRT monitor ... the shielding isn't as good as they claim. Of course, they should always be at least a foot away for sound repro! The M1's also lack the frequency controls found in higher end monitors; this tends to push the end-user to fix the problem and not cover it up with EQ. Given the "budget" market these appeal to, that may not always be an option. Overall, a great value.

    Pros: Flat response. Good price. Customer service (normally an Alesis weak point) was outstanding for resolving an issue. Internal amp is very clean.
    Cons: Needed early warranty work. No frequency controls. Some mid-range cloudiness, but nothing severe.
    Recommended For: Home studios, projects, large room monitoring, B-monitors in larger studios.

  • www.DJDERANGED.com
    from Fort Lauderdale, FL USA November 1, 2004

    AlesisMk2,, bump for the buck

    After working with the Alesis Mk2 monitors for over a month now, I have conviction in my voice when I say that these are good monitors for the money. Although they lack some of the adjustable features of top end units, they definetly produce great sound. I would recommend using this set in a "normal" or full room application. Despite their size, these monitors provide good sound for even larger mixing rooms. For the price offerred, I give two thumbs up!

  • DJDERANGED
    from Fort Lauderdale, FL USA November 1, 2004

    AlesisMk2,, bump for the buck

    After working with the Alesis Mk2 monitors for over a month now, I have conviction in my voice when I say that these are good monitors for the money. Although they lack some of the adjustable features of top end units, they definetly produce great sound. I would recommend using this set in a "normal" or full room application. Despite their size, these monitors provide good sound for even larger mixing rooms. For the price offerred, I give two thumbs up!

Questions about the Alesis M1 Active MkII?

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