M-Audio BX4 Monitor Speakers Review: The Best Cheap Monitor Speakers?

M-audio BX4 monitor speakers review: are M-Audio’s powered speakers the best cheap monitor speakers for a home recording studio?

M-Audio BX4 120W Multimedia Reference Monitors Review

M-Audio’s BX4 monitor speakers are inexpensive, relatively small, powered monitor speakers marketed not only at musicians, but also at content producers, gamers and streamers.

With this “one-size fits all” approach (and the speakers’ relatively small size and low price point) are the BX4s suitable for “serious” music production, or are they suitable only for hobbyists and occasional use?

Read our M-Audio BX4 monitor speaker review to find out…


The BX4 monitor speakers deliver excellent sound for their size and price. While they won’t match the sonic detail (particularly in the bass) of much larger and more expensive monitors, they punch well above their weight and are a great choice for home recording studios and musicians on a budget.

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M-Audio BX4 Monitor Speakers

M-Audio’s BX4 monitor speakers are a pair of small, active monitor speakers designed not only for music production, but also for a range of other uses, including gaming and multi-media production.

Active speakers, also known as powered speakers, are speakers with a built-in amplifier.

The speakers, which have a combined power output of 120 Watts, come as a pair (unlike the larger speakers in M-Audio’s BX range, which come singly).

Full manufacturer's specifications can be seen at the bottom of the page.

Only one of the BX4 speakers is amplified – the other is passive, and has a mono 1/8" jack socket for connection to the powered speaker (the connecting lead is included).

M Audio BX4 Speakers Connections Rear View
M Audio BX4 Speakers Main Inputs

The powered speaker has a volume control located on its front panel. This controls the volume of both speakers. Using a switch on the speaker's back panel, users can choose whether the main speaker is on the left or the right.

Main Speaker Front Panel

This could be quite useful in some situations – for example, if a power socket is only available on one side of the desk (the power lead plugs into the main speaker), or if you have a preference over which hand you use to alter the volume.


The main inputs are found on the rear panel of the main speaker – you have a choice between a pair of RCA (phono) stereo inputs and a pair of 1/4" (6.35 mm) TRS (“jack”) inputs.

M Audio BX4 Inputs
M Audio BX4 Inputs

On the front panel of the main speaker is an 1/8" (3.5 mm) stereo auxiliary input, as well as an 1/8" headphone socket. This is a nice touch, as it prevents you from having to turn the speaker round whenever you want to connect or disconnect your headphones.

On the rear panel of the main speaker are two other additional controls – a bass and a treble dial, which allow you to make fine adjustments to shape the speakers’ sound to match your room.

Setting Up The BX4 Monitor Speakers

M Audio BX5 Speakers Box Contents
M Audio BX5 Speakers - Box Contents

The BX4s come complete with both an 1/8” stereo, and an RCA (phono) to 1/8” stereo lead, meaning that you’ll have everything you need to connect the speakers to your computer or audio interface’s 1/8” stereo outputs.

Understandably, M-Audio drew the line at including ¼” jack leads in the box. These are probably the connections most serious users will use, and it’s likely such users will already own these leads.

The speakers come with a sheet of self-adhesive pads, which you’ll have to fix to the underside of the speakers yourself.

Set-up was easy, and the enclosed instruction manual provides useful information for speaker positioning.

We tried the BX4s with both the 1/8” and ¼” connections, and found no discernible difference between the two.

With dimensions of 6.1” x 6.9” x 8.9” / 156 x 175 x 225 mm per speaker, the BX4s are small, but not tiny. They’re a great size for a dedicated desktop studio, but probably overlarge for a desk that is also used for other, non-recording work.

M Audio BX4 Active Monitor Speakers MacMini Size Comparison
Size comparison with a Mac mini.

In Use

With the BX4 monitor speakers set up, it was time to put them through their paces.

We were pleasantly surprised with what we found. In terms of volume, the BX4s produce a serious amount of sound for their size.

In fact, for normal desktop use, the volume these little speakers kick out is almost overkill. In everyday mixing situations, you certainly won’t find yourself limited by the speakers’ combined 120 Watt power output.

The BX4s will fill easily fill small and even medium-sized rooms, and continuous listening at higher levels may lead to angry knocking on walls from neighbors!

The sound quality of these speakers, considering their size and price, was also excellent.

The speakers’ specifications reveal quite an impressive sonic range, and in practice the speakers deliver.

To our ears the sound was reasonably neutral, and the output well balanced across the whole of the audio range. The bass response was especially impressive, considering the speakers’ diminutive size.

We did notice a tiny degree of boxiness, and some harsh high-mids, at high volumes, but nothing serious – it’s possible better speaker positioning (and better ears) may have remedied this problem.

M Audio BX4 Monitor Speakers For Professional Work?

It was only when comparing the BX4s to a pair of much larger (and more expensive) monitor speakers (we tested them alongside our Event 20/20s) did the smaller speakers’ limitations begin to reveal themselves.

The M-Audio speakers weren’t as transparent across the audio range, and weren’t able to deliver quite as detailed an audio picture as the larger pair.

The bass, while impressive, was understandably less defined. Those 4.5” speakers couldn’t quite reach the depths of the larger speakers, and lacked the resultant fullness of sound.

Of course, to compare the BX4s to a pair of much larger and more expensive speakers is unfair, and, in their defense, the BX4s help up amazingly well.

More than once did we have to check which pair of speakers we were listening to, which is testament to the BX4’s output and sonic definition.

That’s quite something for a pair of speakers marketed at “gamers” as well as to music producers!

M Audio BX4 Box
M Audio BX4 Box

Conclusion: Are M-Audio Monitor Speakers Any Good?

Considering their price (under $160 in the US, and under £100 in the UK) the M-Audio BX4s are extremely good. It’s hard to imagine any similarly-priced monitor speakers offering any more in the way of either sonic clarity or sheer volume.

Although, unsurprisingly, the BX4s’ limitations were revealed when compared to much larger and more expensive speakers, they held their own surprisingly well.

We’d be confident, at a stretch, in using the BX4s to mix professional audio. They offer an excellent solution to the musician who is limited either by budget or by room.

In addition, at the end of a mixing session, they can also be used for a gaming session!

If you’re in the market for some good small studio monitor speakers, M-Audio’s BX4 monitor speakers should be high on your list.

Click here to view M Audio BX4 Monitor Speakers at Amazon

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M-Audio Monitor Speaker Range

M-Audio’s BX4’s are the second-smallest monitor speakers in the company’s current BX range of powered monitor speakers, and, correspondingly, have the second-smallest price tag.

The BX3s, which are smaller but have the same stated 120-Watt output, are closest to the BX4s in terms of price, currently retailing at around $60 less than the BX4s.

See M Audio BX3 Monitor Speakers at Amazon

One step up the ladder are the M-Audio BX5s, which unlike their less expensive siblings, come singly rather than as a left / right pair. Each speaker provides 100 Watts.

See M Audio BX5 Monitor Speakers at Amazon

At the top of the range are the BX8s, which, like the BX5s come individually. Each BX8s output a stated 150W.

See M Audio BX8 Monitor Speakers at Amazon

 M-Audio BX4 Specifications

  • Frequency Response: 69 Hz to 22 kHz
  • Output Power: 120 W (total peak), 2 x 25 W (RMS)
  • LF Driver: 4.5” / 114.3 mm
  • HF Driver: 1” / 25.4 mm; silk dome
  • Audio Inputs:
    • RCA stereo input pair
    • 1/4" (6.35 mm) TRS inputs
    • 1/8" (3.5 mm) stereo auxiliary input
  • Headphone Output: 1/8” (3.5 mm) stereo output
  • Interconnection Cable: 1/8” (3.5 mm) TS
  • Power: 100–240 VAC, 50/60 Hz, 85 W
  • Dimensions: 6.1” x 6.9” x 8.9” / 156 x 175 x 225 mm (width x depth x height, per speaker)
  • Weight: 9.83 lbs. / 4.46 kg (per speaker)
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Do you own M-Audio BX4 speakers? Do you agree with our review? Can you suggest any alternatives? Let us know in the comments section below!

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