Review by Barry Rudolph for “New Toys” Column

Reftones are small near-field monitor loudspeakers that are ideal for checking how your music mixes hold up sonically on consumer level speakers–you’d like a “second look” or a totally different perspective than your main monitors. With a frequency range of 90Hz to 17kHz, these passive monitors work well with any power amp and they require nearly no studio desktop space. They are perfect for laptop users, DJs and broadcast engineers, or any project/home/mobile studio.

I received a pair of Reftones for review here at my Tones 4 $ Studios and I found them to be a big help in dialing in my mixes in a different way than my Adams 2.5A main monitors. It is pretty standard operating procedure to listen to mixes on different systems such as an iPod, car CD player, or over an Internet stream on my other computers.

I powered the Reftones with an old PRO6000 Hafler power amp (300-watts into 8-ohms) I’ve been use for my Yamaha NS10ms–I just switch speaker cables using Neutrik Speakon connectors. Rated at 8-ohms impedance, the Reftones feature a 3.5-inch full-range cone driver mounted in a sealed birch plywood enclosure cube stuffed with fiberglass insulation–no cheap particleboard used here. They will handle from 10 to 200-watts from both solid-state power amps and tube amps alike.

I liked the smooth joinery used in the enclosure’s sturdy construction and the glossy black paint job making them seem to blend into the dark studio background. Standard three-way binding posts on their back panel connect them to your power amp.

Reftones have a mid-range centered sound and that makes them valuable as tool to judge music mixes in a very important area: the middle frequency band. So while the Reftones will not fill your room with loud and bass-heavy sound, they will tell you a lot about the way you have mixed and equalized the mid-range elements of your mix. Most of the instruments and vocals in Pop music mixes dominate the mid-range spectrum and like a high-powered “magnifying glass”, these Reftones will show off potential problem areas you may have missed listening on your full-range main monitors.

Available in red, yellow, green, nude, distressed and special custom styles, there is a broadcast pack that bundles left, right and center units. All made here in the U.S.A. and I love mine. Take a test drive soon! Check:

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