Hafler VRM5 Bookshelf Speakers Floorstanding Speakers

Hafler VRM5 Bookshelf Speakers Floorstanding Speakers 


Designed after the acclaimed Hafler M5 professional reference monitor, the VRM5's small size permits it to be placed nearly anywhere, and its high output capability allows it to be used in front, center or rear channel applications. This brilliant driver/enclosure design allows wide dynamic range and high power handling, balanced with accurate and detailed sound quality at any listening level.


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[Apr 14, 2004]
Audio Enthusiast


- accurate, revealing professional monitors - smooth response, especially through upper mids and highs. - warm, listenable speakers that don't fatigue. - shielded for video use - very reasonably priced, usually found for $99.00 each


- bass extension lacking below 85hz - slight bump in mid-bass around 200,250hz - no grill - not much else negative for speakers at this price!

I'm actually reviewing the pro-market M-5 models, which I believe are identical in all but finish. I have long been a believer in small, accurate monitors. While not suitable for spacious listening environments, this class of speakers is ideal for nearfield use, front and rear multi-channel, second systems, etc. Needing a pair of affordable (i.e. < $200) monitors, I had few choices. I could get the smallest powered Samsons (the 5.1p or something like that), powered multimedia monitors like the Roland MA-8 (which I now own a pair of), and some other models. But the only serious passive monitors in this price range appeared to be the Hafler M-5. So online I went, searching for reviews and advice. Well, I kept finding reviews comparing them to the Mackies, KRK, and other models costing twice their tag. Not a fair compare, folks. Finally I found a radio broadcasting magazine that reviewed them, and it was a very favorable review. I don't bother doing any serious listening in stores. It is completely irrelevant to how it will sound at home. So to Guitar Center I went to get the speakers, knowing they have a stellar return attitude. Well, over a year later and I have to say these have been a great surprise. I've done post-production on live classical and choral recordings, listened to hours of CD and MiniDisc music across all genres, and even run my electronic percussion through them. These are capable, workhorse speakers truly up to professional use. Now, I -listen- to music. I understand the differences in how speakers sound. I know intimately how my electronics sound. I know what is missing, what is being added. I'm not some "golden ears" audiophile who will fill you with esoteric commentary. I will tell you that these speakers are honest and revealing well beyond their price range. First, don't expect extended bass response from these. They have pleasing response down to about 80hz, but below that is down a good 10db or more because it is below the cutoff of the port. There -is- bass down there, just not a lot. EQ'ing it in just hastens the onset of distortion. They do cross over nicely with my 8" powered Sony subwoofer at about 150hz. They can seem a little mid-bassy, accenting some male voices and giving electric guitar a thick feeling. But not unreasonably so, just a small bump in the response to be aware of. Mids are revealing, smooth, and very listenable. I have not run a curve on these, but I figure they must be real flat from about 500hz through 2k, because I'm -real- picky about this region and these sound great. In fact, some people think that they sound "midrangy" at first, but soon realize they're hearing what is missing in their domestic 2-way speakers. High end is again smooth and accurate. There is a high-end contour switch (I thin k it is more than just a "pad") with two positions. I prefer the lower setting, finding the higher setting a bit bright at times. I do like the higher setting once my ears become fatigued or when I -really- want to hear what is going on up there (handy when working with live stereo recordings). I have not been able to truly overpower these using an Alesis RA-150 amp (puts about 75watts into these 8ohm speakers). These are shielded, pose no issues placed next to TV or computer monitor. Recommedation: If you like the sound of small-woofer, accurate two-ways, then consider these often overlooked monitors. Best paired with a small (8" or 10") sub for home theatre use or for listening to material with lots of low-end energy. If you are conditioned to a more "hi fi" sound (not a criticism, just helping define what these are) then you should favor the JBL, Polk, or Klipsch offerings in this price range (all great speakers voiced for a different purpose than the Haflers).

Similar Products Used:

Optimus X44AV (i.e. Minimus 7), Boston Acoustics HD-5.

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