As 2022 draws to a close and we look ahead to 2023, we’re bringing you our picks of the best new gear this year, from drum machines to turntables.
It’s been a fairly quiet year for new studio monitor releases, but one of our favourite models got an update which finally arrived in stock early in 2022. The original Kali Audio IN-8 was already a very good studio monitor, but Kali updated their range with ‘2nd Wave’ updates for the V2 model, toning down the visual appearance slightly while – more importantly – tweaking the electronics for improved specs and smoother high frequencies. Almost every measurable statistic is better, from lower noise to flatter frequency response, lower distortion and higher output level.
The main thing is the sound, of course. the V2 IN-8s are defined by their co-axial drivers, with a 4-inch midrange driver and 1-inch tweeter built into a single unit, sitting above an 8-inch woofer. It’s not a new concept, but it’s still quite unusual, offering the benefits of a three-way design in the space of a two-way speaker, plus the alignment and axis benefits of having the higher frequencies all emanate from the same point. The IN-8s are revealing but also easy to use, with great imaging and an engaging, fun sound.
The IN-8 V2s work out at just under £600 a pair, planting them firmly into mid-level two-way monitor price range. The pricing makes them slightly more expensive than a pair of Yamaha HS8s and slightly cheaper than Dynaudio LYD-5s. All three are very different monitors, but in our opinion the Kalis more than hold their own.
Runner up: Pioneer DM-50D
It’s also worth a mention here for Pioneer’s DM-50Ds, which we’ve chosen as our favourite new DJ monitors of the year but that’s only half the story. The DM-50Ds use digital signal processing to pull off a unique trick, offering a choice of modes depending on whether you want to use them for DJing or production work. At just under £200 a pair they’re not on the same kind of level as the Kalis, but if you’re looking for a first pair of serious monitors they’re more versatile than most; set them to a flatter studio mode for production, then switch to the more punchy bass of DJ mode for mix sessions. It’s a clever and fun solution which comes in at a very reasonable price.More info/buy