- The circular grey future-retro tweeter design of the Dynaudio BM series has become as iconic in studios around the world as KRK's yellow cones and Genelec's rounded frame. Sitting just above budget ranges but affordable enough for serious producers, the BM5s are known for their tight, controlled bass, detailed mid-range and slightly hyped top-end. The mkIII comes almost ten years since the mkI arrived, and although they may look almost identical, the speaker's insides have evolved.
This is most notably present in the frequency response. While the original mkIs stretched down to 50 Hz, the mkIIIs go all the way to 42 Hz. They're also capable of louder levels, with an SPL of 118 dB compared to 115 of the original models and the 117 of the mkIIs. It's impressive how loud these speakers go for their size, even if it's unlikely you'll need to hit that kind of level in a project studio. If you do crank them beyond dangerous levels, the woofer driver has a built-in limiter to prevent damage. Other important spec numbers include a seven-inch woofer, two 50 W amps and a top frequency of 24 kHz.
The high upper limit to the frequency response is also apparent on first listen. A/B'd with Yamaha NS10s, the mkIIIs were simply too bright and almost harsh at times. However, the manual recommends you break in the speakers before use, and after about 10 hours of continuous play, the high-end did soften to a more suitable level. If you're finding them too bright, there are some room adjustment settings round back, with a +1/-1dB switch for high frequencies, +2/-4dB for mids and +2/-2dB for lows. The manual doesn't state which frequencies these switches boost or attenuate.
One of the most impressive parts of the BM5 mkIIIs is their low-end response. The bass is thick, clear and precise. Sub frequencies are soft and warm with a smooth, linear response when tested with a frequency sweep. The rear bass port allows the sub to be felt under the more solid bass frequencies, but as always you'll have to be mindful of placement as rear-ported speakers can cause resonance spikes if placed too close to the wall. Get it right, though, and the bass is not only suitable for modern electronic music needs, but gives a level of detail that surprises at both this size and price point.
What's also impressive about the MKIIIs is their consistency across levels. On some cheaper speakers, the lowest lows and highest highs only appear as you crank the volume up—not the case on the BM5s. You can mix with confidence at a low level and the response remains even. The BM5s have always been known for their mid-range detail, and the mkIIIs retain that reputation. It's often said a mix can live and die by its mid-range, and cheaper monitors can often sacrifice mid clarity for impressive, but ultimately inaccurate, bass and high-end. With these speakers, the mid-range separation is a joy to work with—very subtle EQ is clearly discernable, and it's easy for the ear to focus on important mid-range elements like vocals and guitar. In another A/B with the NS10s, the mid-range remained consistent, only varying towards the higher frequencies as the BM5s opened up. The stereo imaging is also impressive and the sweet spot is wide, meaning you can move around your mix position without much or any variation in frequency response.
Having announced a partnership back in March, Dynaudio is shipping the BM5s with the award-winning IsoAcoustic ISO-L8R speaker stands. Raising the speakers from their surface, the ISO-L8Rs reduce energy transfer as the sound interacts with the desk, meter-bridge or stand and keeps it more focused. They are incredibly effective and go a long way to explaining how the BM5s can have such an accurate low-end at their size. Removing the stands and placing the speakers on a desk, the sub was noticeably smeared in comparison and less defined. Considering you'll pay $100 a pair to buy the stands separately, they add even more value to the speakers as a whole. Also included is a separate remote control volume knob.
For under $1,000, the BM5s are an impressive speaker. They offer an extended low-end, tight low mids, transparent mid-range and open highs. When choosing a monitor at this price point, taste can often be the deciding factor. So if an airy sound is what you're after, then you need to test the BM5s. For some, the bright sound may be too distracting, but once you break in the speakers and begin to adapt to their tone, it can go a long way to enhancing your mix. They're a fantastic option for a home or project studio and can adapt to any genre or style. Throw in the ISO-L8R stands and with this update, Dynaudio have ensured the BM5s will remain as popular as ever.