Samson Resolv SE8

Active Monitors

Published in SOS April 2014
Bookmark and Share

Reviews : Monitors

There's no shortage of active monitors in this price range. Do Samson's latest Resolv series speakers have what it takes to stand out?

Paul White

This latest SE incarnation of the Samson Resolv monitor range is essentially an evolutionary step up from their Resolv A-series speakers, with the aim being to offer greater accuracy and updated styling. There are three models in the series, with five‑, six‑ and eight‑inch bass drivers. Where greater bass extension is required, any of these can be used with the optional Resolv 120A active subwoofer.

There's nothing particularly radical about the basic paradigm — the Resolv SE8 is an eight‑inch, two‑way, active speaker system housed in an 18mm front‑ported MDF cabinet fitted with a non‑slip base. Its soft‑dome tweeter sits in a shallow waveguide to control dispersion and to time-align the acoustic sources of the two drivers. A moulded baffle insert provides both the LF driver trim and the waveguide shaping for the tweeter, the latter being covered with a perforated metal grille to protect the soft dome from damage. Other than that, the cabinet is tidy but unfussy, with a black plastic‑foil finish to the sides, a painted baffle and slightly rounded corners to help cut down on diffraction.

At the bottom of the baffle is a shallow, slot‑shaped port with rounded edges to reduce wind noise, which can be problematic at high SPLs with some port topographies. Magnetic shielding is fitted to allow use close to CRT monitors and other sensitive equipment, though solid‑state flat screens are not affected by the level of magnetism produced by a typical loudspeaker.

All the usual mains and input connections are to be found on the rear panel, along with EQ switches for tailoring the sound according to taste and placement. Four HF settings are provided, though there's no LF adjustment, which is often included to allow for balancing the low end when placing speakers close to walls or corners. The input gain is adjustable, and a white LED illuminates when the speakers are powered up. Note that the speakers are available individually as well as in pairs, so they may be used in either stereo or surround setups.


The use of a woven carbon‑fibre woofer cone seems to have paid off here, insomuch as the damping it provides helps produce a well‑defined, fairly dry bass that has depth but with little sign ofThe rear panel plays host to a continuous input‑level knob, and a four‑way HF response selector. the boominess exhibited by many budget ported speakers. This is balanced by a detailed high end, and though I felt the tweeter voicing was just a little on the edgy side, setting the HF control to ‑2dB worked really well in my room to provide a creditable level of overall focus and resolution. I found the stereo imaging to be extremely good, with a useful sense of front‑to‑back perspective, while the clean bass end made it easier to concentrate on what was happening in the crucial mid‑range area of the spectrum.

Clearly there are always compromises when it comes to producing speakers at this very affordable price point, but in my opinion the designers have made good choices here, so although better speakers may have more sonic finesses, the Resolv SE8s tick all the right boxes when it comes to the key elements for a useful monitor, including being able to provide adequate level while staying clean and clear. I would have liked to have had some degree of LF adjustment, but in a typical setup where the speakers are spaced a little way from a wall and not too close to the corners, the existing voicing works well. Given their very attractive price, I was rather impressed, so do add them to your 'must try' list if you're looking for a cost‑effective monitor.  


The market is currently awash with 'affordable but decent' two‑way active monitors, but at this end of the price spectrum consider the equivalents from Fostex, Presonus (particularly the Eris series), Tannoy and Behringer.

In this article:
Resolv SE8 £330 $400
Well defined bass.
Good overall performance within its price range.
No LF adjustment to compensate for room placement.
An affordable eight-inch monitor with a cleaner low end and better overall detail resolution than expected for the price.
£329.98 per pair, including VAT.
Korg UK +44 (0)1908 304600
$399.98 per pair.
Samson +1 631 784 2200

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