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Avantone Pro MixCube Monitor Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 169 83.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 15 7.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 4 2.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 15 7.4%

  • Total voters
    203

amirm

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This is a review, listening tests and detailed measurements of the Avantone Pro MixCube compact monitor speaker. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $259.
Avantone Pro MixCube Active Speaker Review.jpg

As you can see, the unit is quite compact sporting in a single driver. Enclosure is quite hefty and solid with glossy finish. Back side shows a large heatsink indicating class AB amp (?). And one of the heaviest outboard power supplies I have seen:
Avantone Pro MixCube Active Speaker back panel Power Supply Review.jpg


Company advertising starts with: "The black Avantone Active MixCube Powered Full-Range Mini Reference Monitor is a professional studio reference monitor specifically tailored to produce the useful musical range of 90 Hz to 17 kHz."

Let's see if it delivers on that.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

Reference axis for measurements was the driver. Room temperature was rather cold at around 60 degrees F.

Avantone Pro MixCube Measurements
Let's start with our suite of frequency response measurements:
Avantone Pro MixCube Active Speaker Frequency Response measurement.png

Oh boy. I have not see such a bad response from any other speaker. Not only does it lack any kind of flat response, there are clear resonances after natural response of the driver starting at 5 kHz.

Our early reflection graphs don't match near field response but here it is anyway:
Avantone Pro MixCube Active Speaker early window Frequency Response measurement.png


Ditto for predicted in-room response:
Avantone Pro MixCube Active Speaker predicted in-room Frequency Response measurement.png


We see another problem area in our beam width measurements:

Avantone Pro MixCube Active Speaker horizontal beamwidth measurement.png


A single driver's beamwidth naturally narrows as frequencies go up. No wonder company says to point it at your ear. Contoured plot shows us that the resonances radiating to the sides:

Avantone Pro MixCube Active Speaker horizontal directivity measurement.png


Due to use of a single driver, vertical dispersion is the same:
Avantone Pro MixCube Active Speaker Vertical directivity measurement.png


With such an uneven response, it was hard to figure out the playback level. I did my best to get close:
Avantone Pro MixCube Active Speaker Relative THD measurement.png


Avantone Pro MixCube Active Speaker THD measurement.png


The driver is definitely breaking up above 2 kHz or so.

Waterfall measurement clearly shows the strong resonances:
Avantone Pro MixCube Active Speaker CSD waterfall measurement.png


Finally, here is the step response:
Avantone Pro MixCube Active Speaker Step Response.png


This is certainly cleaner than just about any multi-way speaker but clearly doesn't indicate any goodness.

Avantone Pro MixCube Listening Tests
I connected the speaker to my RME ADI-2 Pro and queued up my first reference track (female vocal). Ouch. No bass as expected. You mostly hear mid-range (which is what people say is the intended use of this speaker), but also distorted highs that chime in along the way. I could not stand it so stopped here.

Conclusions
The Mixcube is well built and good value as far as what you get in parts. The execution though, is terrible. Even if you want to use it to monitor mid-range, why have such a broken response with resonances/break up? Why not filter all that junk? Yeh, if you did, you could no longer advertise "usable response to 17 kHz." But what is usable about what we see in the treble measurements? Unless space is at a huge premium, why not just filter the response of a proper studio monitor to the mid-range instead of using this box?

Needless to say, I can't recommend the Avantone Pro MixCube. It is unfit for any purpose in my mind.
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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

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ROOSKIE

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I think most folks just use these to test how mixes translate to very bad & mid-forward playback systems.
Just to check it.
Anyway.
Very interesting. Thanks again!
 

DWPress

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double yuck
 

DavidMcRoy

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As mentioned by others, Avatone are a sort of "reference low-fidelity confidence monitor." That's their purpose in life. It's a reliable and consistent device for producers and engineers to evaluate what their work is liable to sound like on the crappy speakers built into your TV set or the original equipment, lowball factory speakers in your car.
 

Blumlein 88

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Maybe some vintage Jensen 6x9's need to be measured. Just not sure how you mimic the hat rack location of a car they were used in for Klippel measurement.
 

fredoamigo

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Not long ago, I had a discussion with a repair technician for "pro" equipment and he told me that the Avantone are really very appreciated in studio! why? because they restore perfectly the sound that you are going to have on the ****** car radio of your car or the radio of your kitchen.
 

ThomasXia

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Trying to simulate something like a MixCub with parametric EQs without access to a real one and only for fun.

Rev2 : The PEQ settings was subjectively calibrated by AB listening plays with the impulse response file provided by @Mario Sanchez. Thanks for the helps.
Really interesting radio-like sound.

1678533741185.png

Filter: ON HS Fc 5050 Hz Gain -20 dB
Filter: ON HPQ Fc 380 Hz Q 0.67
Filter: ON PK Fc 550 Hz Gain -9.5 dB Q 0.6
Filter: ON PK Fc 4600 Hz Gain -10 dB Q 1
Filter: ON PK Fc 5300 Hz Gain 14 dB Q 6
Filter: ON PK Fc 7100 Hz Gain 8 dB Q 8
Filter: ON PK Fc 9000 Hz Gain 5 dB Q 9
Preamp: 5.2 dB
 
Last edited:
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amirm

amirm

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As mentioned by others, Avatone are a sort of "reference low-fidelity confidence monitor." That's their purpose in life. It's a reliable and consistent device for producers and engineers to evaluate what their work is liable to sound like on the crappy speakers built into your TV set or the original equipment, lowball factory speakers in your car.
I read that in forum posts but you don't get that impression from company advertising:

"That’s exactly what Mixcubes are built to do: save your sanity. Mixcubes are designed to be a perfect stereo matching pair of monitors to replicate the wide range of “bass-challenged” devices such as car stereos, TVs, clock radios, computers, Bluetooth devices, etc.

Avantone Mixcube Actives are a huge upgrade from the original 5C Sound Cubes; from a newly engineered cabinet, to a more smooth, open, and transparent driver — and now with an over-engineered power amplifier. The bass response has been extended ever so slightly as well, but the original character has been maintained.

Mixcube Actives: the monitor for the most demanding workflow. "


They imply they are bass shy not that they resonate and break up above 2 kHz. And I don't know what is "smooth, open and transparent" about it.
 

DavidMcRoy

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I read that in forum posts but you don't get that impression from company advertising:

"That’s exactly what Mixcubes are built to do: save your sanity. Mixcubes are designed to be a perfect stereo matching pair of monitors to replicate the wide range of “bass-challenged” devices such as car stereos, TVs, clock radios, computers, Bluetooth devices, etc.

Avantone Mixcube Actives are a huge upgrade from the original 5C Sound Cubes; from a newly engineered cabinet, to a more smooth, open, and transparent driver — and now with an over-engineered power amplifier. The bass response has been extended ever so slightly as well, but the original character has been maintained.

Mixcube Actives: the monitor for the most demanding workflow. "


They imply they are bass shy not that they resonate and break up above 2 kHz. And I don't know what is "smooth, open and transparent" about it.
So, they're improved reference crap speakers.
 

Blumlein 88

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I read that in forum posts but you don't get that impression from company advertising:

"That’s exactly what Mixcubes are built to do: save your sanity. Mixcubes are designed to be a perfect stereo matching pair of monitors to replicate the wide range of “bass-challenged” devices such as car stereos, TVs, clock radios, computers, Bluetooth devices, etc.

Avantone Mixcube Actives are a huge upgrade from the original 5C Sound Cubes; from a newly engineered cabinet, to a more smooth, open, and transparent driver — and now with an over-engineered power amplifier. The bass response has been extended ever so slightly as well, but the original character has been maintained.

Mixcube Actives: the monitor for the most demanding workflow. "


They imply they are bass shy not that they resonate and break up above 2 kHz. And I don't know what is "smooth, open and transparent" about it.
It probably is just marketing, but who knows, maybe they are better in terms of power output and distortion than the original Auratones. Making them more smooth, open and craptastically transparent.

1678517015908.png
 

Blumlein 88

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So, they're improved reference crap speakers.
I'm not sure. Should that be improved reference crap, or improved crap reference? :cool:

BTW, where is our Harman score for these speakers? We need a craptastic reference number. @MZKM

Now here is what I hope never happened, but you wonder. Did anyone ever test their mix or mastering on these and decide, "oops, we have to make some changes, it doesn't sound as good as it could on lofi speakers like this."
 
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Geert

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The original Auratones sound a lot better, they have a less irregular frequency response (although still poor according to HiFi standards). I don't know of any decent studio's that use these Avantones. And in most modern studio's also the Auratones are a thing of the past.
 

fredoamigo

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The original Auratones sound a lot better, they have a less irregular frequency response (although still poor according to HiFi standards). I don't know of any decent studio's that use these Avantones. And in most modern studio's also the Auratones are a thing of the past.
Don't forget that the sound engineers, first of all, do what the production asks them to do... if they want something for the radio with a lot of dynamic compression they will do it... sometimes high fidelity is the last wheel of the carriage...
 

Blumlein 88

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I forgot they still make the Auratone itself.

And get this, Auratone makes an active 5c and this mixonline writer gave it product of the week in 2022. :facepalm:
 

pierre

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Reputation is well deserved:

Score is -3.4 which tells everything you need to know about it...

With an EQ you can flatten things a bit:
filters_eq.jpg

If you like the form factor, they are much better options. I do like the KS Digital C5 for example.
12649626_800.jpg
1678545792900.png

which at least as a reasonable frequency response.

You will find more graphs and more data at www.spinorama.org
 
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