Waldorf EMES Blue

Nearfield Monitors

Published in SOS August 1994
Bookmark and Share

Reviews : Monitors

PAUL WHITE rearranges his control room yet again, this time to test Waldorf's nearfield monitors plus the optional, and enigmatically named, Blue Boost.


Waldorf are perhaps best known for their wavetable synthesizers (and their salads), but like most musical equipment manufacturers, they're diversifying into other areas -- in this case, studio monitors. The Waldorf Blue is categorised as a nearfield monitor, though in the context of a project studio or post-production facility, it has the power handling and bandwidth required for main monitoring. Rated at between 200 and 300 Watts each, the Blues are passive 2-way designs, but with dual bass/mid speakers to increase the power handling. As they stand, these speakers will cover the range 52Hz to 21kHz within 2.5dB, but for those needing an even more extended bass end an active pre-equaliser, the Blue Boost, is available as an optional extra. This is connected between the signal source and the power amplifier and can push the lower frequency limit down to 34Hz.


Measuring a compact 480 x 250 x 300mm, the Blues appear to be built from MDF, finished in deep blue, and are loaded with two 7-inch, Kevlar-coned drivers which take the strain up to 1600Hz. Above that, a Ferrofluid cooled, 1-inch, titanium-domed tweeter cuts in, taking the response right up to 21kHz. Conventional front porting is used to tune the cabinet, and the cabinet edges are slightly rounded, constituting a nod in the direction of reducing the effects of cabinet-edge diffraction.

With a nominal impedance of 4 ohms and a sensitivity of 92dB for 1 Watt at 1 metre, even a modestly rated power amplifier should be capable of generating a realistic near-field monitoring level with these monitors, though to get the most out of them, I'd consider a 150 Watt-per-channel amplifier to be a practical minimum -- especially if the Blue boost is used, as that inevitably eats into the available headroom. The maximum available SPL is quoted as 116dB, though in the interests of preserving my hearing, I didn't put this to the test!


Without the Blue Boost, the Blues come over as loud, confident and reasonably revealing, though they don't have quite the transparency of the best monitors. There's also something slightly 'constricted' sounding about the mid-range, and the titanium tweeters can tend towards splashiness. However, these artifacts are really quite mild and don't detract unduly from the overall sound.

Add the Blue Boost and the fundamental sound quality doesn't change -- it just seems to grow another octave at the bass end. Even with the Blue Boost in circuit, there's still enough headroom available to drive the blues to a punishing monitoring level, and it's hard to believe that such a 'big monitor' sound is coming from such a compact system.

The stereo imaging from this system is exceptionally good, and the off-axis response is such that you still hear a reasonably accurate sound when you're well off the main axis of the speakers.

Used with the Blue Boost, the Waldorf EMES Blue monitors could happily substitute for a conventional full-range monitoring system in the smaller studio, and because of their compact format, they should also be popular in video post studios, where the need to hear deep bass often runs alongside a lack of space for a large monitoring system.


Speakers may be a new area for Waldorf, but I get the impression that the Blues are the result of a serious attempt to produce a studio monitor that is nominally accurate, yet still has the kind of sound that studio engineers expect to hear. Every speaker has its anomalies, but I must stress that the criticisms levelled at this particular speaker relate to very low level artifacts, and that the general impression is good. On the other hand, you may feel that, given the cost of these speakers, you should be able to take a high level of performance for granted, and the decision to buy one loudspeaker or another may hinge on exactly such subtleties.

On the whole, these monitors are impressive, but they're not without competition in what has recently become a fairly crowded sector of the market. You really need to hear them in a proper environment to fully evaluate them, but from what I've heard so far, they're quite able to give some of their better known competitors a real run for their money.



The Blue Boost is a 1U rackmount pre-equaliser designed to actively boost low-frequency information in such a way as to extend the useful response of the Blue monitors down to 34Hz. Other than a Bypass switch, its only control is a rotary, 6-position switch designed to provide various LF contour options to match various control room scenarios. These provide various overdamped and underdamped bass responses, as well as a flat position, which the manual relates to various room types and mounting positions. For example, position 6 adds 6dB of boost at 80Hz for use in highly damped control rooms, whereas position 1 applies 6dB of cut at 50Hz, for situations where the speakers are mounted close to corners.



• Wide frequency range.
• Good imaging and accuracy.
• Optional Blue Boost further extends an already impressive bass response.

• Slightly expensive.

Versatile, professional monitors that, when used with the Blue Boost unit, can cover the same frequency range as most large monitoring systems.



£ EMES Blues £1633.25 per pair; Blue Boost £351.33. Prices include VAT.

A Turnkey Studio Systems, 14 Flitcroft Street, London WC2H 0DT.

T 071 240 2041.

F 071 379 0093.

SOS Readers Ads


of Second-User Gear for sale now — don't miss out!

AVI Neutron Five

2.1 Monitor System

Thumbnail for article: AVI Neutron Five

This interesting monitor system uses the natural roll-off of the satellite speakers to provide the crossover with the subwoofer.

Tannoy Reveal 601A

Studio Nearfield Reference Monitors

Thumbnail for article: Tannoy Reveal 601A

Building to a price inevitably entails compromises. The art is in choosing the right ones...

Quested V3110

Three-way Active Monitors

Thumbnail for article: Quested V3110

Sometimes, a dose of old-fashioned good engineering delivers something well worth listening to...

Adam A7X

Active Two-way Studio Monitors

Thumbnail for article: Adam A7X

Their A7 nearfield monitors received many plaudits, not least in the pages of SOS, but manufacturer Adam thought there was room for improvement.


Active Nearfield Monitors

Thumbnail for article: PMC TB2S AII

PMC broke new ground a decade ago with their TB2 monitors, but the competition have been catching up. Does PMCs new activated design nudge them back to the front of the pack?

Avantone Active MixCube

Secondary Reference Monitors

Thumbnail for article: Avantone Active MixCube

Avantone have added on-board amplification to their contemporary take on the classic Horrortone secondary monitor, and the result is something quite special...

Sonodyne SM 50AK

Two-way Nearfield Active Monitors

Thumbnail for article: Sonodyne SM 50AK

India may be a growing force in most industries these days, but few Indian pro-audio companies have made it into Western markets. Can Sonodynes speakers change all that?

Unity Audio The Rock

Monitor Speakers

Thumbnail for article: Unity Audio The Rock

The time-domain response of monitors is often sacrificed for level, but this sealed-cabinet design tackles that issue head-on...

Infrasonic Blow 4D

Nearfield Monitor Speakers

Thumbnail for article: Infrasonic Blow 4D

With digital and analogue inputs, these small speakers from newcomers Infrasonic promise a lot for the money. Can they outperform their budget price tag?

Blue Sky Sat 8 & Sub 212

2.1 Monitoring System

Thumbnail for article: Blue Sky Sat 8 & Sub 212

If you demand brutal and revealing precision from your monitors, read on...

Barefoot Sound MicroMain 27

Active Three-way Monitors

Thumbnail for article: Barefoot Sound MicroMain 27

As well as a distinctive design, these huge nearfield monitors offer a frequency and time-domain performance that compares with the best.

Adam S3XV

Studio Reference Monitors

Thumbnail for article: Adam S3XV

Adam make the leap to a three-way speaker design that seems to pay dividends in clarity and separation.

JBL LSR 2300

Monitor Speakers

Thumbnail for article: JBL LSR 2300

JBL have a reputation for clinically precise monitors, but this time theyve come up with something a little smoother...

Equator Audio Q8

Active Monitors

Thumbnail for article: Equator Audio Q8

Coaxially-mounted speakers may seem a bit old-school, but theres nothing wrong with the theory — and a touch of DSP can make them very modern indeed!

M-Audio Studiophile DSM1

DSP Reference Monitors

Thumbnail for article: M-Audio Studiophile DSM1

Built-in DSP extends the flexibility and usefulness of these capable speakers.

Event Opal

Studio Monitors

Thumbnail for article: Event Opal

Events new owners make some extravagant claims for these new high-end monitors, whose design is said to put quality first. Do they live up to the hype?

Samson Resolv A6 & 120A

Studio Monitors & Subwoofer

Thumbnail for article: Samson Resolv A6 & 120A

Samsons new low-cost nearfields can produce a big sound, but do they measure up for serious mixing? We find out.

Prodipe Pro Ribbon 8

Active Monitors

Thumbnail for article: Prodipe Pro Ribbon 8

Ribbon tweeters can yield a smooth sound, while still capably reproducing transient detail — and the Pro Ribbon range promises to do so for an attractive price.

Focal CMS65

Active Nearfield Monitors

Thumbnail for article: Focal CMS65

Focal control everything from design to manufacture in their factory in France — and this approach appears to be paying off.

Klein+Hummel O410

Active Midfield Monitors

Thumbnail for article: Klein+Hummel O410

Getting the balance right between the benefits and disadvantages of ported and non-ported speaker designs is a tricky job, and K+H do it better than most with this ported model.

WIN Great Prizes in SOS Competitions!


Home | Search | News | Current Issue | Tablet Mag | Articles | Forum | Blog | Subscribe | Shop | Readers Ads

Advertise | Information | Privacy Policy | Support | Login Help


Email: Contact SOS

Telephone: +44 (0)1954 789888

Fax: +44 (0)1954 789895

Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.

Sound On Sound Ltd is registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 3015516 VAT number: GB 638 5307 26


We accept the following payment methods in our web Shop:

Pay by PayPal - fast and secure  VISA  MasterCard  Solo  Electron  Maestro (used to be Switch)  

All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2016. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents.
The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.

Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates | SOS | Relative Media