User`s manual | Alesis M1 Computer Monitor User Manual

Contents/Safety Warnings
Thank you for purchasing the Alesis M1 Active Biamplified Reference Monitor. To
take full advantage of the M1 Active’s operation, and to enjoy long and trouble-free
use, please read this user’s manual carefully. We value any comments you may have
about this monitor system, this manual, your Alesis dealer and about our factory
service. Please take a minute now to fill out your warranty card and tell us what you
How to use this manual
This manual is divided into the following sections describing the various features of
the M1 Active. Though we recommend you take time to read through the entire
manual once carefully, those having general knowledge about monitors should use
the table of contents to reference specific functions.
Chapter 1: About the M1 Active. Engineering specifications and reasons why
nearfield monitors have become so popular.
Chapter 2: Speaker Installation. This chapter explains how to connect the M1
Actives to a mixer or other line-level source and discusses proper speaker placement
for stereo operation.
Chapter 3: Surround Sound. If you are using the M1 Active speakers in a
multichannel surround sound setup, you’ll find helpful setup and operation
information here.
Chapter 4: Troubleshooting. This chapter contains troubleshooting tips and service
information should problems occur.
When something important appears in the manual, an icon (like
the one on the left) will appear in the left margin. This symbol
indicates that this information is vital when operating the M1
Contents/Safety Warnings
Important Safety Instructions ................................................ 3
Safety symbols used in this product .............................................................3
Please follow these precautions when using this product:..............................3
Instructions de Sécurité Importantes ............................................................4
Symboles utilisés dans ce produit ................................................................4
Beim Benutzen dieses Produktes beachten Sie bitte die folgenden
Information to the User for Class A Digital Device (FCC Part 15, Class A) ......7
About the M1 Active ............................................................. 8
Unpacking and Inspection...........................................................................8
Inside your new speakers............................................................................10
About Nearfield monitoring........................................................................14
Speaker Installation ............................................................. 14
Avoiding reflections in the studio ................................................................14
Stereo nearfield placement of the M1 Active .................................................17
Connections ...............................................................................................22
Setting the Input Level control.....................................................................24
Surround Sound ................................................................... 26
About surround sound................................................................................26
Center speakers in music mixes ...................................................................26
Placement of the center M1 Active speaker in the studio................................27
Placement of rear surrounds........................................................................29
Mixing for discrete six channel reproduction: matched vs. specialized
Troubleshooting .................................................................. 32
Troubleshooting Index................................................................................32
Specifications ...................................................................... 35
Enclosure ...................................................................................................35
Transducers ...............................................................................................35
Crossover section........................................................................................37
Amplifier Section........................................................................................37
Acoustic Section .........................................................................................37
General ......................................................................................................37
Index ................................................................................. 38
Alesis Extended Warranty ..................................................... 39
Contents/Safety Warnings
Safety symbols used in this product
This symbol alerts the user that there are important operating and
maintenance instructions in the literature accompanying this unit.
Please follow these precautions when
using this product:
Read these instructions.
Keep these instructions.
Heed all warnings.
Follow all instructions.
Do not use this apparatus near water.
Clean only with a damp cloth. Do not spray any liquid cleaner onto the speakers
or rear panel, as this may damage the speakers, controls or cause a dangerous
Install in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
Do not install near any heat sources such as radiators, heat registers, stoves, or
other apparatus (including amplifiers) that produce heat.
9. Do not defeat the safety purpose of the polarized or grounding-type plug. A
polarized plug has two blades with one wider than the other. A grounding-type
plug has two blades and a third grounding prong. The wide blade or the third
prong are provided for your safety. When the provided plug does not fit into
your outlet, consult an electrician for replacement of the obsolete outlet.
10. Protect the power cord from being walked on or pinched, particularly at plugs,
convenience receptacles, and the point where they exit from the apparatus.
11. Use only attachments or accessories specified by the manufacturer.
Contents/Safety Warnings
12. Use only with a cart, stand, bracket, rack, or table designed for use with
professional audio or music equipment. In any installation, make sure that
injury or damage will not result from cables pulling on the apparatus and its
mounting. If a cart is used, use caution when moving the cart/apparatus
combination to avoid injury from tip-over.
13. Unplug this apparatus during lightning storms or when unused for long periods
of time.
14. Refer all servicing to qualified service personnel. Servicing is required when the
apparatus has been damaged in any way, such as when the power-supply cord
or plug is damaged, liquid has been spilled or objects have fallen into the
apparatus, the apparatus has been exposed to rain or moisture, does not operate
normally, or has been dropped.
15. This product may be capable of producing sound levels that could cause
permanent hearing loss. Do not operate for a long period of time at a high
volume level or at a level that is uncomfortable. If you experience any hearing
loss or ringing in the ears, you should consult an audiologist.
Instructions de Sécurité Importantes
Symboles utilisés dans ce produit
Ce symbole alèrte l’utilisateur qu’il existe des instructions de fonctionnement et de
maintenance dans la documentation jointe avec ce produit.
Ce symbole avertit l’utilisateur de la présence d’une tension non isolée à l’intérieur de l’appareil
pouvant engendrer des chocs électriques.
Veuillez suivre ces précautions lors de
l’utilisation de l’appareil:
Lisez ces instructions.
Gardez ces instructions.
Tenez compte de tous les avertissements.
Suivez toutes les instructions.
N’utilisez pas cet allareil à proximité de l’eau.
Ne nettoyez qu’avec un chiffon humide. Ne pas vaporiser de liquide nettoyant
sur l’appareil, cela pourrait abîmer les contrôles de la face avant ou engendrer
des conditions dangeureuses.
Installez selon les recommandations du constructeur.
Ne pas installer à proximilé de sources de chaleur comme radiateurs, cuisinière
ou autre appareils (don’t les amplificateurs) produisant de la chaleur.
Ne pas enlever la prise de terre du cordon secteur. Une prise murale avec terre
deux broches et une troisièrme reliée à la terre. Cette dernière est présente pour
Contents/Safety Warnings
votre sécurité. Si le cordon secteur ne rentre pas dans la prise de courant,
demandez à un électricien qualifié de remplacer la prise.
Evitez de marcher sur le cordon secteur ou de le pincer, en particulier au niveau
de la prise, et aux endroits où il sor de l’appareil.
N’utilisez que des accessoires spécifiés par le constructeur.
N’utilisez qu’avec un stand, rack ou table conçus pour l’utilisation d’audio
professionnel ou instruments de musique. Dans toute installation, veillez de ne
rien endommager à cause de câbles qui tirent sur des appareils et leur support.
Débranchez l’appareil lors d’un orage ou lorsqu’il n’est pas utilisé pendant
Faites réparer par un personnel qualifié. Une réparation est nécessaire lorsque
l’appareil a été endommagé de quelque sorte que ce soit, par exemple losrque le
cordon secteur ou la prise sont endommagés, si du liquide a coulé ou des objets
se sont introduits dans l’appareil, si celui-ci a été exposé à la pluie ou à
l’humidité, ne fonctionne pas normalement ou est tombé.
Cet appareil produit de la chaleur en fonctionnement normal. Si cet appareil est
utilisé dans un rack, veillez à sa bonne ventilation lors de son utilisation. Ne pas
faire fonctionner dans un rack fermé. S’il y a d’autres appareils dans le rack
générant beaucoup de chaleur, éloignez les. Ne pas intercaler cet appareil entre
deux appareils produisant beaucoup de chaleur.
Ce produit, utilisé avec un amplificateur et un casque ou des enceintes, est
capable de produite des niveaux sonores pouvant engendrer une perte
permanente de l’ouïe. Ne l’utilisez pas pendant longtemps à un niveau sonore
élevé ou à un niveau non confortable. Si vous remarquez une perte de l’ouïe ou
un bourdonnement dans les oreilles, consultez un spécialiste.
Beim Benutzen dieses Produktes beachten
Sie bitte die folgenden
Lesen Sie die Hinweise.
Halten Sie sich an die Anleitung.
Beachten Sie alle Warnungen.
Beachten Sie alle Hinweise.
Bringen Sie das Gerät nie mit Wasser in Berührung.
Verwenden Sie zur Reinigung nur ein weiches Tuch. Sprühen Sie keine flüssiger
Reiniger auf die Oberfläche, dies könnte zur Beschädigung der Vorderseite
führen und auch weitere Schäden verursachen.
7. Halten Sie sich beim Aufbau des Gerätes an die Angaben des Herstellers.
8. Stellen Sie das Gerät nich in der Nähe von Heizkörpern, Heizungsklappen oder
anderen Wärmequellen (einschließlich Verstärkern) auf.
9. Verlegen Sie das Netzkabel des Gerätes niemals so, daß man darüber stolpern
kann oder daß es gequetscht wird.
10. Benutzen Sie nur das vom Hersteller empfohlene Zubehör.
11. Verwenden Sie ausschließlich Wagen, Ständer, Racks oder Tische, die speziell für
professionelle Audio- und Musikinstrumente geeignet sind. Achten Sie immer
darauf, daß die jeweiligen Geräte sicher installiert sind, um Schäden und
Verletzungen zu vermeiden. Wenn Sie einen Rollwagen benutzen, achten Sie
darauf, das dieser nicht umkippt, um Verletzungen auszuschließen.
12. Ziehen Sie während eines Gewitters oder wenn Sie das Gerät über einen längeren
Zeitraum nicht benutzen den Netzstecher aus der Steckdose.
Contents/Safety Warnings
13. Die Wartung sollte nur durch qualifiziertes Fachpersonal erfolgen. Die Wartung
wird notwendig, wenn das Gerät beschädigt wurde oder aber das Stromkabel
oder der Stecker, Gegenstände oder Flüssigkeit in das Gerät gelangt sind, das
Gerät dem Regen oder Feuchtigkeit ausgesetzt war und deshalb nicht mehr
normal arbeitet oder heruntergefallen ist.
14. Bei normalem Betrieb des Gerätes kommt es zu Wärmeentwicklungen. Wenn Sie
das Gerät in einem Rack eingebaut haben, sollte während des Betriebes die
Zufuhr von Kühlluft stets gewährleitstet sein. Arbeiten Sie nie bei
geschlossenem Rack. Bei mehreren Rackgeräten sollten diese mit einem geringen
abstand voneinander eingebaut werden. Stapeln Sie dieses Gerät nicht zwischen
Geräten mit hoher Wärmeentwicklung.
15. Dieses Produkt kann in Verbindung mit einem Verstärker und Kopfhörern oder
Lautsprechern Lautstärkepegel erzeugen, die anhaltende Gehörschäden
verursachen. Betreiben Sie es nicht über längere Zeit mit hoher Lautstärke oder
einem Pegel, der Ihnen unangenehm is. Wenn Sie ein Nachlassen des Gehörs
oder ein Klingeln in den Ohren feststellen, sollten Sie einen Ohrenarzt aufsuchen.
Contents/Safety Warnings
Information to the User for Class A Digital
Device (FCC Part 15, Class A)
This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a class A
digital device pursuant to Part 15 of the FCC Rules. These limits are designed to
provide reasonable protection against harmful interference when the equipment is
operated in a commercial environment. This equipment generates, uses and can
radiate radio frequency energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the
instructions, may cause interference to radio communications. Operation of this
equipment in a residential area is likely to cause interference in which case the user
will be required to correct the interference at his own expense.
The user is cautioned that changes and modifications made to the equipment without
the approval of manufacturer could void the user’s authority to operate this
Use only shielded and grounded cables with this equipment to ensure compliance
with FCC Rules.
Industry Canada (Digital Apparatus)
Interference-Causing Equipment Standard
ICES-003 Issue 2
This Class A digital apparatus meets all requirements of the Canadian
Interference-Causing Equipment Regulations.
Contents/Safety Warnings
Approvals pending. See enclosed sheet if product was authorized for shipment to
the EU.
Unpacking and Inspection
About the M1 Active
Your M1 Active Biamplified Reference Monitors were packed carefully at the factory,
and the shipping carton was designed to protect the speakers during shipping.
Please retain this container in the highly unlikely event that you need to return the
speakers for servicing.
The shipping carton should contain the following items:
This instruction manual
M1 Actives with the same serial numbers as shown on the shipping cartons
Two AC power cords (NEMA to CEE type)
Alesis warranty card
Two pieces of adhesive-backed non-skid foam
It is important to register your purchase; if you have not already
filled out your warranty card and mailed it back to Alesis, please
take the time to do so now.
The M1 Actives are designed as mirror-imaged pairs. If you have received a pair
where the tweeters are both on the same side, contact your dealer immediately.
About the M1 Active
Inside your new speakers
If you’re in a hurry to get started, skip ahead to Chapter 2,
“Speaker Installation”, for connection and placement tips.
About powered monitors
The M1 Actives combine a speaker and amplifiers in the same compact cabinet.
Powered monitors are growing in popularity over the traditional separate amplifier
and speakers for a number of reasons, convenience and ease of hookup being only
one of them. You can connect a powered speaker directly to any line-level source
(normally, the control room output of a mixer) simply by connecting a patch cord.
Another benefit is improved sound quality. With careful design, the speaker,
amplifier and electronic crossover can be optimised for each other. The M1 Actives
are biamplified, meaning that low frequencies and high frequencies are handled not
only by separate speakers (the tweeter and the woofer), but by separate amplifiers. A
pair of M1 Actives contain a total of four power amplifiers. Because of the increased
efficiency of biamplification, these are much louder than a single-channel power
amplifier of the same wattage feeding a passive crossover, as in other designs. New
technology makes it possible to make these high-wattage amplifiers small enough to
fit inside the speaker cabinet, with very little weight or size gain.
Since the M1 Actives are self-powered, DO NOT connect them to
the speaker output of another amplifier (such as a powered mixer
or hi-fi receiver). Connect them only to the line-level outputs of
such devices (+4 dBu nominal, +24 dBu maximum).
Tonally, every effort has been made to emulate the accurate studio sound of Alesis’
Monitor One but with enhanced low bass and high frequency extension. The nominal
frequency response is 50Hz-20KHz ±2dB. (See Figure 1) Additionally, the use of
electronic crossovers within the critical upper midrange frequencies has reduced
phase and time delay anomalies often associated with passive crossovers. By
including discrete woofer and tweeter amplifiers and application-specific electronic
high and low pass crossover filters in the same enclosure the tonal accuracy of the
M1 Active will always remain constant.
About the drivers
The M1 Active’s 6.5” woofer cone is made of proprietary non-woven carbon fiber.
This material is 25% lighter than polypropylene with twice the stiffness for quicker
transient response in the low-to-midbass region and vastly improved midrange
intelligibility (over polypropylene at 1500 Hz). The non-woven carbon fiber cone,
About the M1 Active
along with the closed cell synthetic rubber surround, are both nearly impervious to
ozone, direct sunlight, heat and humidity. Therefore, after an initial break-in period
(about 20 hours), the sound should remain virtually unchanged for the life of the
Alesis’ proprietary design tweeter features a pure Japanese silk dome, an internal
pole-piece mounted phasing plug and low viscosity ferrofluid formulated
specifically to retain the best balance of transient response to power handling. The
shielded tweeter utilizes a vented pole piece with a separate rear chamber to lower
the free air resonance. The very low 1500Hz crossover point of this tweeter produces
an extremely wide dispersion, low distortion signal within the critical midrange
frequencies. It is these frequencies which are often the most problematic in terms of
getting “right” during a mix. The tweeter is designed for an optimal response for
non-fatiguing, long term, high level, nearfield mixdowns. This design results in a flat,
linear mix when played back on home or car systems from appropriate distances.
Magnetic shielding
Your M1 Actives are at home in recording environments wherein video is a major
component. They are magnetically shielded for use in fairly close proximity (3”
minimum) to a computer monitor or video screen. (Non-shielded components can
make the colors of a screen “smear” or appear out of focus if the speaker is too close.)
Magnetic shielding was designed into both the woofer and the tweeter from the
beginning so that the system exhibits about 10 gauss (worst case) leakage. Shielding
of both the woofer and the tweeter is accomplished by the use of a second opposingfield-oriented “bucking” magnet. The tweeter has an additional sixteen-gauge steel
cup encasing the entire magnetic structure.
The M1 Active bi-amplifiers & electronic
The M1 active uses a 75W woofer amp and a 25W tweeter amp along with 8th order
high and low pass electronic crossover filters centered at 1500Hz. Electronic
crossovers, which separate the frequencies before being sent to the amplifiers, have
fewer phase problems and less power loss than the traditional passive crossover used
after the amplifier. Eighth-order filters are extremely steep (48 dB per octave), which
minimizes the interaction between woofer and tweeter near the crossover point.
Additionally, the high pass (tweeter) section of this system employs an electronic
time alignment circuit. Thus the “launch” of frequencies from both the woofer and
the tweeter will originate at exactly the same time.
There are several advantages to using built-in amplifiers and active (electronic)
crossovers versus a passive network system, most of which have been previously
enumerated in Vance Dickason’s “Loudspeaker Design Cookbook”:
Lower intermodulation distortion due to amplifier operation over a more narrow
bandwidth. Also, clipping caused by low frequency overload is reduced, being
limited to only one driver within a two driver system.
Increased dynamic range. The M1 Active’s 75W and 25W amplifiers in their biamp setup will clip at about the same levels as one 200W amplifier operating into
a passive crossover.
About the M1 Active
Improved transient response.
Better amplifier/speaker coupling for woofers.
Better crossover performance working into a constant impedance load.
Better subjective sound quality than high level (passive) networks.
Easier control over driver sensitivity differences.
Easier manipulation of phase, time delay, resonance, and various kinds of
shaping, contouring and equalization.
Specifically in the case of the M1 Active, the wide, mid-frequency polar response
of the tweeter can be utilized down to a low 1500Hz thereby mating more
cohesively with the 6.5 non-woven carbon fiber (NWCF) woofer. This low
crossover is only possible through the use of a very steep, electronic eighth-order
(48 dB per octave rolloff) high pass filter.
The M1 Active power supply
The M1 Active employs a regulated switching power supply. This type of supply
has previously only been available in amplifiers sold at the very high end of the Pro
Audio market.
Most power amp customers are familiar with the large transformer and output
capacitors in high quality amplifiers. These large components are used to keep the
amplifier’s supply rails as close to DC as possible. For traditional supplies, bigger is
But by using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) and output voltage feedback in the M1
Active, we have the equivalent of near-infinite transformer and output capacitors,
but at a fraction of the cost. PWM provides protection from line voltage surges that
would otherwise destroy the amplifier. No user-replaceable fuse is required because
nuisance tripping is eliminated. And finally, PWM practically eliminates hum
because the line frequency (60 Hz) transformer is replaced with a very high
frequency (130,000 Hz) transformer.
The regulated supply rails increase the amplifier dynamic range and reduce clipping
distortion under heavy loading. The compact size of the supply does not
significantly reduce the internal air volume of the speaker cabinet. And lastly, full
power can be maintained even with low or “flat-topped” line voltages.
Note, however, that this switching supply is NOT a universal
voltage type that may be used with any input voltage in any
country simply by changing the cord. If you wish to use the M1
Actives in a country whose line voltage is other than 120 volts AC,
they must be internally modified or used with a step-down
About the M1 Active
The cabinet and port design
The M1 Active cabinet construction employs vinyl composite material laminated to a
.625” MDF (medium density fiberboard) core for the four sides and the rear. The
front panel is 1” thick MDF, to withstand the greater demands of the drivers
mounted on it. The entire cabinet is braced extensively in random fashion to
dissipate intramodal vibration.
Why the tweeters are offset
The M1 Active speakers have been developed as a mirror-imaged pair with dual
front mounted ports and an offset tweeter. In some applications, an extremely wide
dispersion tweeter, such as used in the M1 Active, will exhibit response dips if
mounted exactly on center. Wave-guide style tweeters, used in other products,
purposely limit dispersion and thus can be center mounted. But as hi-end audiophile
speaker companies have found, a high quality dome tweeter, offset in the cabinet
toward the stereo “image center” (between the left and right speakers) will have a flatter
characteristic frequency and power response. This (flat power response) more closely
characterizes the way humans hear.
On a horizontal polar response curve of the M1 Active, with the cabinet placed
vertically, the tweeter response at one meter stays essentially symmetrical on either
side of the cabinet’s centerline. This is because the angle subtended between the
cabinet-centerline-to-tweeter-centerline (.5”), and the nominal nearfield listening
distance (1 meter or 39.375”), is only 1.27 degrees. Thus, acoustically speaking, the
offset tweeter design has no negative effects, only the positive of smoothing the
frequency response in the 2KHz-4KHz range.
In the tradition of the Alesis Superport design, which uses the energy from the back
of the speaker to enhance bass performance, the M1 Actives use dual, front baffle
mounted, long folded ports. The dual ports on the M1 Active are also nonsymmetrical with relation to their distances from the woofer. In developing the M1
Active, Alesis engineers determined that dual ports, offset to the outside of the stereo
image center gave the most coherent and extended low bass augmentation. The
ports are flared on the front baffle to provide smooth and quiet exit airflow while
inside they are cut with a 45° angle and faced toward the amplifier’s internal heat
sink. This arrangement aids in keeping the internal amps working at a more constant
temperature. At the same time, this 45° angle increases the port’s air entry efficiency.
About the M1 Active
About Nearfield monitoring
In the early days of recording, most recording studios used big monitor speakers
almost exclusively. Unfortunately, they also required high powered amplifiers and
expensive acoustic treatment (often poorly done) of the entire control room. Still, a
well-constructed big monitoring system really was impressive to listen to, a fact not
overlooked by the studio owners who wanted to impress the record company
executives who paid for the big studio's time. These big systems had big level
control knobs, and clients enjoyed "cranking-up" the volume. Fortunately, recording
engineers and producers eventually learned that this was not the best way to
accurately mix music because it wasn't the way most people listened to their radios,
cassettes and CD players. Also, big monitor systems and the costs for the required
control room acoustic treatments were going through the roof (no pun intended),
particularly beyond the budget limits of smaller project and home studios which
were growing in numbers. A new way of accurate monitoring was needed: nearfield
Nearfield monitors, by their definition, are intended for mounting close to the
listener. The idea here is to improve the direct acoustic path between the speaker
and the listener by making it shorter, thereby giving less opportunity for the always
present indirect (reflected) sounds to get back in and muddle things up. With
nearfield monitoring, the surrounding acoustic environment becomes a much less
significant factor in establishing the monitor system's sound character.
A good set of small monitors properly placed in a reasonably non-reverberant room
and properly powered will yield surprisingly accurate results at budget prices.
Carried to another studio, the same monitor should also provide repeatable results. In
fact, some recording engineers carry their own speakers around because they know
how they will sound in almost any room. Now, even the big studios use smaller
speakers to augment their big monitoring systems, and nearfield monitors have
become proven tools in the recording business.
Like any speaker system, your M1 Active speakers will work best when properly
positioned in a suitable acoustic environment. Achieving proper speaker placement
is usually straightforward, but even with nearfield monitors, speaker placement and
the acoustics of the listening room itself are too often overlooked and can become
significant contributors to an inaccurate and uninspiring monitoring environment.
Avoiding reflections in the studio
While nearfield monitors are more forgiving of the surrounding room acoustics, it is
always prudent to optimize the listening environment whenever possible. First, the
user should be aware of the effect that the size of the listening room can have on low
frequency response. In general, the smaller the room, the stronger the bottom end
will be, although placement within a larger room can also make a difference. This
has to do with the way low-frequency waves travel in closed spaces. If you find your
Speaker Installation
monitor system to be either light or heavy on the bottom, try moving them around
within your listening room.
You should avoid locating your M1 Actives near reflective surfaces such as glass, tile,
large open walls or table tops. Still, many rooms used for recording have these
surfaces, so the best way to deal with them is to place the monitors out in the room
away from reflective walls, windows and sizable objects. Even with these reflective
surfaces separated from the monitoring position, typical mixing situations usually
still have the top surface of the mixing board to deal with.
Unfortunately, the board itself can be a major source of reflections and the additional
acoustic conduction into the board can affect your monitor's amplitude and phase
response. Speaker placement on the console's meter bridge allows two different
acoustic paths between the speakers and the recording engineer, which results in
undesirable comb filtering effects and poor imaging. The first path is the direct one,
and the second is via a reflection off the mixer main control panel:
Direct Path
Monitors placed on the console’s meter bridge can directly radiate
back onto the console control panel causing a strong delayed
reflection at the listening position
This kind of speaker placement also couples acoustic energy from the speaker's
cabinet more readily into the console's chassis. Both conditions should be reduced by
placing the speakers on their own stands acoustically detached from, and slightly
behind, the console as shown below. In this location, the reflective path off the
console's control panel is now blocked by the meter bridge.
Speaker Installation
Moving the monitors to a position behind the meter bridge causes
the bridge to block the offending reflective path
Careful consideration should also be given to the physical spacing between the
speakers. Alesis recommends that the distance between the speakers for stereo
applications equal the distance between the listener and either speaker. In other
words, the listener and the two speakers are at the three corners of a triangle having
equal- length sides. The illustration below shows this concept. Note that both
speakers are turned in somewhat, so that the prime listening position is directly in
front of each speaker. Applications that require monitoring by more than one
engineer are accommodated by a smaller rotation of the cabinets. This will widen the
prime listening position somewhat.
The speakers and
listener should be at
the three corners of
a triangle having
equal length sides
Prime Listening Position
NOTE: On some mounting surfaces the vinyl finish of the M1 Active’s cabinet
may cause it to slip too easily. Included with this reference manual packet
are two pieces of adhesive backed non-skid foam. If necessary, apply the pad
to either the bottom (for vertical placement) or cabinet side nearest the ports
(for horizontal placement). If you plan on using the M1 Actives in both
modes, simply cut the pad in half and apply to both the bottom and the side
nearest the ports).
Speaker Installation
Stereo nearfield placement of the M1
NOTE: We recommend that the M1 Active speakers be placed with the
tweeters to the inside , not the outside, of the listening triangle.
The “classic” studio monitor layout used to be that the tweeters be placed to the
outside of a horizontally-oriented speaker. In the past, this configuration was actually
beneficial in time aligning the tweeter with the woofer if the cabinets were not toedin toward the listener. However, this configuration is highly prone to comb filtering
effects if the listener’s head is moved from side-to-side while mixing. This “comb
filtering” causes the mid-to-high frequency tones to get louder, then softer, then
louder again as you move your head from side-to-side, making it very confusing
when trying to mix with precision.
Some people still believe that stereo separation is “improved” with tweeters to the
outside, but this is advice left over from the early days (the sixties) of stereo
recordings when “correct” stereo often meant a complete hard right or hard left
placement of an instrument (or singer). As stereo mixing techniques changed toward
placing the vocalist (for example) in the center, the old “tweeters-out” orientation
would indeed widen the image if one’s head were kept in the exact center position.
But this set-up proves to be very tiring, very quickly for the recording engineer.
And, to others who are listening to the mix from either side of the engineer, the
sound will seem to be coming primarily from the speaker closest to them.
Fortunately, recording techniques have changed radically since the sixties. Engineers
have learned to how to “place” an instrument or singer within the mix so that an
accurate re-creation of the actual instrument and vocal positioning (left-to-right and
front-to-back) is achieved. In the M1 Active, advances in crossover design
technologies and improvements in the off-axis response of tweeter domes and
woofer cone materials and profile have made the requirement for tweeters to be
placed to the outside of the cabinet obsolete. In fact, using a non-toed-in, tweetersout orientation with a modern, wide dispersion design like the M1 Active will
increase the likelihood of hearing unwanted first reflections and a variety of phase
anomalies in your mix.
Horizontal Placement Recommendation
Traditionally, proper horizontal placement of speaker systems slightly behind (not on)
a meter bridge accomplished two purposes: it allowed both woofer and tweeter to be
at ear level, and many times, it permitted the recording engineer to see over the
speakers and into the studio.
Horizontal placement is a recommended arrangement with the M1 Active because
the left and right mirror-imaged pair permits a symmetrical alignment of drivers and
ports. This will be conducive to a balanced mix. See Figure 2 below.
Speaker Installation
Proper tweeter orientation is toward the stereo image center (the middle) as shown.
Ports are always faced toward the bottom side of the cabinet. This set-up will
promote a strongly focused center image such as for the vocalist. And because the
(vocal) image width will be narrower than if the speakers are placed vertically, it will
be possible to place the vocalist with great precision at stage center. In this
orientation there will be much less chance of first reflections from either sidewalls or
the console coloring your mix.
Speaker Installation
Vertical Placement Recommendation
Vertical placement of the M1 Active as shown in Figure 3 is highly recommended.
This position will simulate the soundfield that will be heard in most consumers’
homes and (to a great extent) their cars. For this reason, even if the M1 Actives are
positioned horizontally for all of the mixing, the vertical position should always be
used in the final "playback check" mode. (See next section)
There are a couple of possible drawbacks to vertical placement of a nearfield monitor
relating mostly to room interaction effects. Vertical placement allows the M1 Actives
to portray your mix with the widest and deepest soundstage possible, so many
people in the control room have an image of the “sweet spot”. However, this wide a
dispersion pattern in a control room with walls in too-close proximity to the speakers
can add strong reflections to the sound you hear, muddying your mix. Figure 4
shows the control room placement/ distance recommendations, which should help
you determine if your available recording space would work well with the M1
Actives set up vertically.
Speaker Installation
Playback check mode (vertical mid-field)
After you’ve got your mix just right it’s always good practice to perform a “playback
check” by standing the M1 Actives vertically and making the listening triangle
larger. The purpose of the playback check is to simulate what your masterpiece will
sound like in a “typical” home listening environment. It is in this configuration that
the imaging specificity of your mix can best be evaluated. Generally, in the playback
check mode you want to arrange the speakers in the same equilateral listening
triangle that you do in a nearfield setup, but instead of each side of the triangle being
about 3 feet long, the distances between stereo speakers and to your listening
position should be between 7 and 12 feet.
When setting the left and right speakers vertically, place the tweeters toward the
center with the ports toward the outside. In this vertical position, the M1 Active
becomes a “line source” speaker which is the most common home set up. (A 12”
three-way with woofer on bottom, midrange in the center and tweeter at the top is a
line source, as are most forms of tower speakers.) When the M1 Active is set
vertically in its “column” configuration, the horizontal dispersion (left and right) of
the speaker is widest, and the vertical dispersion (up and down) is narrowest.
Unfortunately a vertical setup will also increase room effects, so there are minimum
recommended setup distances from side and back walls: the speakers should be a
minimum of 2.5 feet from the side walls and 3 feet from the rear walls. See the
illustration on page 26.
After you’ve got the requisite distances from the side and back walls, it’s often
helpful to adjust the 7 to 12 foot equilateral listening triangle distances. What you
want to find is the maximum distance that you can separate the two speakers while
still holding a solid center image. If you get this placement correct and you’ve done a
good job in the mix, you should be rewarded with a soundstage that accurately
places the musicians in the width and depth perspective in which they were
recorded. The sound should be very similar to what you heard at your mixing
board, with possibly a little more ambience contributed by the listening room.
The “other” playback check mode, sometimes considered of greater importance than
the home environment, is to listen to your mix over a car audio system. Bear in mind
that an expertly designed car audio system can approach the imaging and
soundstaging capabilities of an optimally setup studio or living room, but most times
this is NOT the case. The inherent limitations of an always-off-axis listening position
and the variables of speaker placement, bass coupling (boost) in the small interior
and numerous other factors make the car environment highly suspect. So,
understand the sonic capabilities (and deficiencies) of your (or other) car audio
systems, and evaluate your mix accordingly.
Speaker Installation
Plugging the ports to adjust for room acoustics
The low frequency response of the M1 Actives can be custom tailored by plugging
the ports. If the speakers must be placed less than one foot from a front wall, or if
they are too close to a corner, then the bass may become exaggerated and inaccurate.
The rules of thumb for these situations are as follows:
a) less than 1 foot from a front wall but away from any corner:
plug one port
b) less than 1 foot from a front wall and a corner:
plug both ports
The “plug” can be wad of cloth to completely block the port(s) or a more porous
material like fiberfill which will give less bass attenuation. The bass output of the
M1 Active is thus easily variable depending on in-room positioning and/or personal
If the M1 Actives are to be used in a system with a subwoofer, the proper blend of
the two systems is critical if low-bass accuracy is to be maintained. Here again, your
ear is your most important piece of test equipment. If the subwoofer (such as the
Alesis Point One) or preamplifier has 80Hz high-pass filters built-in for connection to
the other amplifiers, then no port plugging is necessary. The proper match will have
already been taken care of electronically. In the absence of an 80Hz high-pass filter
feeding the M1 Actives, you’ll need to experiment with various degrees of port
plugging to minimize the cancellations and nodes that can occur from bass sources
placed several feet apart in a room. In practice we’ve found that a single port
plugged with cloth is usually the best compromise. See Figure 5 below. It shows the
approximate bass attenuation that can be expected with one port plugged.
Speaker Installation
The M1 Active has been designed to be as simple as possible to set up and use.
However, please follow the instructions to ensure that you get the best possible
performance from your monitors.
Before connecting the speakers, make sure the power switches of
the M1 Actives and any equipment they will be connected to are
turned OFF.
AC power cable
Actives to the specified power using the AC cables supplied. The AC cables are
removable. If the distance to your AC outlet is longer or shorter than the supplied
cable, you may substitute an approved standard NEMA-to-CEE power cable of the
correct length, available from most electronics stores.
THE POWER CORD. Proper grounding is essential for user safety
and low noise. If you experience 60-cycle hum in your sound
system as a result of different ground potentials between
different units in your system, plug all units into the same AC
circuit (if the total power load allows) and make sure other devices
in the system are properly grounded themselves. The M1 Active
features balanced inputs, so if it is properly connected to other
balanced units, AC ground potentials will not affect the audio. If
you cannot get rid of ground loops, consult a professional
electrician familiar with sound system power designs.
Use clean power
The M1 Active's internal power supply is designed to filter out most AC line noise.
However, it is still good practice to plug your sound equipment into an AC circuit
that is not shared with lighting dimmers, refrigerators, air conditioning units, or
other appliances that may induce noise into the power system.
Power switch
The POWER switch is located on the back panel. A blue power indicator lamp is on
the front panel.
Speaker Installation
Input Connections
Almost any conventional line-level source may be plugged into the M1 Active’s
LINE INPUT jack. The Line Input jack accepts both XLR and 1/4” input plugs wired
either balanced or single ended (unbalanced). The best connection is to use a highquality XLR-to-XLR “mic cable” between the output of the source (usually, the
CONTROL ROOM OUTPUT of the console) and the speakers. A conventional 1/4”
“patch cord’ TS type plug will also work for unbalanced sources which automatically
ground the minus input.
Polarity: Input connector wiring is printed to the left of the connector on the back
panel and is as follows:
+ Pin 2: tip (“hot”)
- Pin 3: ring (“cold”)
Shield Pin 1: sleeve (ground)
A positive voltage on the “hot” connector will cause the drivers to move outwards.
Direct connection of unbalanced -10 dBV line level sources: Most synthesizers,
drum machines, effect devices, cassette decks and CD players operate at this level.
Their average signal level is about 1/3 of a volt. They have a 2-conductor output jack
that is either a 1/4" phone or "RCA phono" type. These may be plugged directly into
the M1 Active’s LINE IN jacks.
But do NOT plug the speaker output of an amplifier, receiver, or
similar device into the LINE INPUT jack. Use only line-level sources.
Plugging too loud of a signal into the LINE INPUT jack may damage
the electronics.
Balanced +4 dBu line level sources: Professional recording and processing
equipment typically provides a balanced, 3-conductor signal output that is a higher
voltage (1.24 volts nominal level) than most synthesizers and stereo equipment. The
LINE INPUT jacks are designed to handle these balanced inputs.
Balanced sources often feature XLR outputs. Connect them with an XLR-to-XLR
cable. Many consoles (such as the Alesis Studio series) feature balanced outputs on
Speaker Installation
1/4” jacks; you may use a TRS-to-TRS balanced phone cable, or an XLR-to-1/4 inch
phone TRS (tip-ring-sleeve) cable, as shown below. The advantage of using an XLR
on the speaker side is that it is a locking connector and cannot be accidentally
NOTE: Use high quality input connectors which conform to industry standard sleeve
dimensions. Some off-brand connectors, particularly cheap 1/4” TRS plugs, do not
provide reliable connections because of slight dimensional differences.
Setting the Input Level control
In most cases, the INPUT LEVEL control should NOT be set at full rotation.
For best system dynamic range, follow the instructions below.
The goal is to set the input level of the M1 Actives for the desired listening level,
when all the rest of the system is at its nominal operating level. “Nominal” means its
normal average level, expecting peaks from 8 to 15 dB above that on occasion. For
the best signal-to-noise ratio, everything before the M1 Active should be as loud as
possible. The M1A’s INPUT LEVEL control, being last in the signal chain, is the
worst place to make up gain lost earlier in the system.
To set the level with a mixer:
Turn on all system components (the M1 Actives last) and turn the M1 Active’s
INPUT LEVEL control all the way down.
Play program through the mixer and raise the mixer’s fader levels until its meter
averages around “0 VU”.
Raise the Control Room Output to its nominal position (usually “2 o’clock” or
3/4 of the way up).
On one speaker, raise its INPUT LEVEL CONTROL for a comfortable level in the
engineer’s seat (if you have a sound pressure meter, 85 dB SPL is a common
standard for listening).
Match the level for the other speaker. Note that the numbers on the back panel
are only a rough guide; for precise left/right imaging, use pink noise or test
tones and a sound pressure meter.
The Input Level control has a 28 dB range with a center detent. The detent has no
particular meaning, but helps in adding a mental “reference position” when
attempting to set levels from in front of the speaker. With the control at a maximum
clockwise rotation, 2.0 volt input will produce full amplifier output (102 dB SPL “A”
weighted from two speakers at 1 meter).
Speaker Installation
For the technically-minded, here is an approximate chart of SPL levels for various
settings of the INPUT LEVEL control, measured at 1 meter from two speakers
simultaneously (all settings, especially near the extremes of the range, are subject to a
plus or minus 2 dB error):
0 (MIN)
10 (MAX)
-10 dBV
-- dB SPL
+4 dBu
-- dB SPL
* denotes recommended setting for control room use
Avoiding damage
The best protection against speaker failure is to mix at a reasonable listening level.
With a +4 dBu input and the input level control set to “6”, the M1 Active speakers
produce a sound pressure level (SPL) of 85 decibels at 1 meter, which is a good
working level for mixing. At maximum output before clipping, they can generate
peak levels ≥ 118 dB SPL at one meter – a level which may cause hearing loss after
prolonged exposure. While the biamplified design of the M1 Active avoids the
common “blown tweeter” problem of conventional designs (when a broadband
amplifier clips on a bass note, it sends unusually high energy to the tweeter, which
tries to reproduce the square wave), it is not invulnerable. If you need higher power
levels, you are not using the speaker in a near-field application. For extremely loud
mid-field and far-field monitoring, we recommend the Alesis Monitor Two speaker
with a 300-watt per channel amplifier. Many studios will check recordings on both
systems, alternating to avoid ear fatigue and to gain perspective on the mix.
Speaker Installation
About surround sound
Surround sound is the term used for several different systems which use multiple
channels of playback in the listening room to recreate a truly three-dimensional
sound experience. The practice of recording music-only in surround sound is a fairly
recent innovation. Surround sound for video, however, has been around for over ten
years. With modern encoding methods, multichannel audio may be delivered to
consumers on standard video tape, video discs, and even through broadcast, with the
proper encoders (devices which take multiple channels of audio and combine them
into two channels) and decoders (used at the receiving end to split the signal back into
multiple channels).
Systems are in use which use three (left, right, and surround), five (left, center, right,
left surround, right surround, often supplemented by a sixth subwoofer channel),
and more speakers. The original Dolby Surround of the mid-eighties was a
matrixed three-channel-only system. It had left, right and a mono surround (rear)
track, which was usually played through two surround speakers. In 1987, Dolby Pro
Logic, a four-channel matrix system, was introduced. Pro Logic added a dedicated
center channel to which most dialog was assigned. The rear surround channel was
still in mono. In 1996, Dolby Digital (AC-3) and DTS, fully discrete six-channel
audio delivery platforms with separate left-rear and right-rear channels first became
available to consumers on laserdisc and, more recently, on DVD (Digital Versatile
With so many listeners hearing music through their multimedia systems, it is
important for engineers to produce music on surround systems, even if they’re not
working for film or video applications. Powered monitors like the Alesis M1 Active
Biamplified Reference Monitor have proven to be a simple, cost-effective way to add
five-channel surround to control rooms.
Center speakers in music mixes
In video applications, with left, center and right channels all set to deliver equal
output, the ear tends to hear dialog as coming only from the center channel. (It’s a
psychoacoustic effect because all right and all left channel signals are fed to the
In Dolby Pro Logic, the center channel information is derived from sum and
difference information encoded in the left and right channels. The very attributes that
make this matrix-type system viable for video application make it less desirable for
music-only reproduction. In practice, there is a hard center dialog channel but there
is also a sort of phantom mono channel developed between the left and center
channel and the right and center channel. This between-channel phantom mono
image exists because so much of the information contained in each channel (left and
Surround Sound
center or right and center) is identical. Hence, mono. In the few music-only
recordings encoded in Dolby Pro Logic, the derived center channel could lead to
some drastic changes in spatial perception.
In developing the M1 Actives for use as left, center and right front channel sources,
we wanted them to be useable in both audio/video and audio-only “matrix” type
applications. We discovered two, already available solutions to the large “wall-ofmono” effect produced by Dolby Pro Logic when playing audio-only material. The
first is easy. Most home audio Dolby Pro Logic receivers will let you take the center
channel out completely by putting the receiver in the “phantom” (no center channel)
mode. It preserves the classic stereo effect of the front channels while adding rear
surround. This method works well with most stereo-only recordings which have no
surround encoding. But it’s much better if the rear channels have true matrix (mono)
surround (like applause) encoded in the mix.
The second method of using Dolby Pro Logic gets the center channel back into the
mix. Most of these same home audio receivers have an audio-only surround mode
which significantly attenuates the output of the center channel in relation to the left
and right. The audible benefit here is that the mix sounds like a stereo only
recording but the center image (like a vocalist) becomes a hard center. There is no
image wander, as the frequencies change, for instance. And the classic listening
“sweet spot” expands dramatically, allowing for accurate soundstage and instrument
placement when listening far off-axis. (This attenuating of the center channel for
audio only is also employed by advanced professional matrixed decoders such as the
Circle Surround, Miles Technology and Lexicon units.)
Placement of the center M1 Active speaker
in the studio
The left, center and right speakers should all be placed in an arc so that the distance
of all drivers to the listener is identical (see page 29). The equilateral listening
triangle as described earlier for stereo (two-channel) playback should be retained,
with the center speaker placed vertically in the center, exactly between the left and
right (vertical) M1 Actives.
It does not matter what type of M1 Active is used for the center speaker (tweeter in or tweeter
out). Since M1 Actives are sold as pairs, a 5-channel system requires the purchase of a single
speaker, breaking up a pair. Some dealers may request that you purchase in pairs only; others
may be able to arrange purchase of a single unit. For the rear channels, we recommend a
mirror-image pair, although this is less critical than in the front.
As discussed above, for music-only recording the signal level to the center channel
will be attenuated over the levels of the left and right speakers. As a starting point we
would recommend that you set the center channel level –6dB below the left and right
channels. To get these levels fairly accurate a white or pink noise source (such as
from a test CD) is very helpful along with an inexpensive sound level meter (such as
the Radio Shack cat. no. 33-2050).
If you are recording audio-for-video, the center channel signal level should be the
same as left and right channels. The left, center, right speaker layout configuration
can remain the same as for an audio-only mix. With all front speakers operating at
Surround Sound
equal levels, the “sweet spot” listening area will become very large but the “wall-ofmono” effect mentioned above (in regards to music) will be of little consequence
since most of the dialogue will be mixed specifically into the center channel.
Surround Sound
Placement of rear surrounds
The following suggestions for optimal M1 Active placement are derived from several
sources: 1) Standard industry practice for home installations as recommended by the
manufacturers of surround encoder/decoder units; 2) recommendations developed
by Tom Holman for setting up THX surround theater sound systems, and 3) Alesis
engineers’ experience fine-tuning the performance of the SMS Monitoring System in
order to find the mounting configuration which results in the most natural and
accurate surround placement. With the many different playback systems in use,
there is room for interpretation of what the best placement is in a control room, but
the following represents a good starting point which you are free to change to your
Vertically, the M1 Actives should be placed on the side wall of the control room,
above your head, with the woofers on top, tweeters on the bottom. The ideal location
is to have the center of the speaker (between the woofer and tweeter) at 80% of the
floor-to-ceiling height. (For a standard 8 foot ceiling height the center line would be
at 96” x 80% = 76.8” from the floor.)
Recommended positioning of surround speakers
Point Surround tweeters
mounted down
Horizontally, place the M1 Actives slightly behind the 90° position, at 110° on each
side. Make sure that at the position used, there is still at least 3 feet to the back wall
of your studio. If you do not have at least 3 feet to the back of your studio, then the
speakers will work better if placed diagonally in the rear corner as shown on the next
Surround Sound
Wall mounting
Once your have located the general area for the horizontal and vertical position, you
need to find a wall stud. Attach shelving brackets or other commercial speakermounting device into the wall stud, then attach the M1 Actives to the mount,
allowing room for the rear-panel input and AC connections.
The M1 Actives weigh 19.5 lbs., so it is vitally important that any stand
through the wall material (usually
they’re resting on be securely mounted
3/4” sheetrock, which by itself does not have the strength to support the
speakers) and into a wooden stud using hardened screws or other fastener
rated to hold at least two times that weight.
Surround Sound
Mixing for discrete six channel
reproduction: matched vs. specialized
While most speaker systems for monitoring music in surround use the same speaker
cabinet in all positions, both front and rear, keep in mind that most consumer video
surround installations use a different speaker in the rear channels. These rear
speakers typically do not have the same directionality or wide frequency response of
the M1 Actives. When mixing for film, speakers with a broad ambient, nondirectional response are used to mimic the multi-speaker situation in most movie
theatres. Keep this in mind when making music mixes with full-range high-power
speakers like the M1 Actives as the surround speakers.
The difference between music surround and video surround playback has a long
Dolby Pro Logic, which works best with dipole (i.e., speakers splayed in different
directions out of phase) surround speakers, has been the standard for surround
sound in the home for 10 years.
The most accepted home playback medium, VHS videotape, can only play back
(mono) surround in Dolby Pro Logic. VHS will not support Dolby Digital or
There are only two playback mediums, laser disc and DVD, that support Dolby
Digital (discrete) and DTS (discrete). After 20 years in existence, laser disc has
only a 2% market share. Some digital satellite broadcasters have started
broadcasting in Dolby Digital, but these discrete broadcasts will be reserved for
blockbuster movies initially.
Discrete Dolby Digital, DTS and Sony’s SDDS are most commonly mixed for
theatrical release using surround, not monopolar (direct) monitors.
Among the recording engineers who have recorded audio-only, the consensus
seems to be that the role of the surround speaker is to give the listener a sense of
immersion in the musical event. This is done by reserving the rear channels for
audience sounds, in the case of a live recording, or perhaps by reproducing the
reverberant acoustics of the recording environment itself. Other
engineer/producers prefer using five identical full-range speakers and mixing
primary instruments and vocals into the surround channels.
So, our basic recommendation for mixing an audio-only six channel recording is to
intentionally limit the frequency response of the rear speakers using a graphic
equalizer or high-pass (100 Hz rolloff)/low pass (12 kHz rolloff) filter on your mixer.
This will help you get a rough idea of what a home system playback will sound like.
This arrangement will also allow your mix to sound best over a well set up car audio
system. This is because professional installers have learned that a mobile system
performs best when they concentrate on producing a soundstage across the front of
the vehicle. They do this by placing high quality drivers in the front of the vehicle
which produce frequencies from the mid bass (about 80Hz) on up. In the rear go the
subwoofers and sometimes, small full range drivers which provide “fill”. So, in
essence, today’s best car audio systems are designed to produce an enveloping
environment very similar to that of a home theater.
Surround Sound
The use of M1 Actives (or any monopolar speaker) as full-range surrounds would be
useful in the following cases:
If the surround speakers are just as important as the fronts in achieving a
specialized effect, such as completely mixing the sax in the left rear only and a
flute in the right rear.
If you know that your mix will always be played back on a monopolar surround
If the control room is completely damped with sound absorption on all surfaces.
(This renders the reverberant-field generating properties of a bipole/dipole
speaker ineffective.)
* Dolby Surround, Dolby Pro Logic, and Dolby Digital are trademarks of Dolby Laboratories, Inc.
Troubleshooting Index
If you experience problems while using the M1 Active/Surround systems, please use
the following table to locate possible causes and solutions before contacting Alesis
Technical Support for assistance.
No sound
Speaker disconnected
AC power not on
Unfocused sound, bass
frequencies muddy or
Inputs out of phase
Subwoofer being used
Poor mix
Distorted output
Power amp overloading
Damaged speaker
Check input cable
Turn up input control on
back panel
Blue LED on front should be
on. Check switch and
power input cable.
Check + and - connections
from mixer to input. Verify
“pin 2 is hot”.
Install port plugs when
using a subwoofer
Compare to commercial CD
of similar style: time to
remix your track....
Turn d own level
Sw ap c hannel s to see if the
problem fo llows the
speak er; if so c ontac t
Technical Support
The cabinet surfaces of the M1 Active are covered with a vinyl laminate. Clean these
surfaces when necessary with a lint-free cloth dampened in warm soapy water. USE
not attempt to clean the cabinet with a brush (which may damage the surface) or a
sponge (which may leave small crumbs in the texture).
Do not attempt to clean either of the drivers.
The M1 Active/Surround speakers require no periodic maintenance.
Refer All Servicing to Alesis
We believe that the M1 Active is one of the most reliable powered monitors that can
be made using current technology, and should provide years of trouble-free use.
However, should problems occur, DO NOT attempt to service the unit yourself.
Service on this product should be performed only by qualified technicians. THERE
Before sending the M1 Actives in for repair, make sure they are faulty and that the
problem isn't being caused by something else in the system. Distortion or noise may
be caused by a defective preamp, cable, equalizer etc., or a loose connection in the
system. Connect the speakers to a system that is known to be working properly to
check whether the monitors have malfunctioned.
Obtaining Repair Service
Before contacting Alesis, check all your connections, and make sure you’ve read the
Customers in the USA and Canada: If the problem persists, call Alesis USA at 1800-5-ALESIS and request the Technical Support department. Talk the problem over
with one of our technicians; if necessary, you will be given a return order (RO)
number and instructions on how to return the unit. All units must be shipped
prepaid and COD shipments will not be accepted.
For prompt service, indicate the RO number on the shipping label. Units without an
RO will not be accepted. If you do not have the original packing, ship the M1 Active
in a sturdy carton, with shock-absorbing materials such as styrofoam blocks or
“bubble-pack” surrounding the unit. Make sure the drivers will not be pressed on by
the packing in shipment. Shipping damage caused by inadequate packing is not
covered by the Alesis warranty.
Tape a note to the top of the unit describing the problem, include your name and a
phone number where Alesis can contact you if necessary, as well as instructions on
where you want the product returned. Alesis will pay for standard one-way shipping
back to you on any repair covered under the terms of this warranty. Next day service
is available for a surcharge.
Field repairs are not normally authorized during the warranty period, and repair
attempts by unqualified personnel may invalidate the warranty.
Correspondence address for customers in the USA:
Alesis Product Support
1633 26th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Customers outside the USA and Canada:
Contact your local Alesis distributor for any warranty assistance. The Alesis Limited
Warranty applies only to products sold to users in the USA and Canada. Customers
outside of the USA and Canada are not covered by this Limited Warranty and may
or may not be covered by an independent distributor warranty in the country of sale.
Do not return products to the factory unless you have been given specific instructions to do so.
Materials and Construction
Front baffle painted in metallic charcoal-gray, one inch (1”) thick MDF with radiused
edges to minimize diffraction. Sides and rear baffle covered in metallic charcoal-gray
vinyl laminate, over five-eighths inch (0.625”) thick MDF.
Multiple, internal, random spaced and length edge boundary cleats break up and
elevate common frequency mode aberrations.
Dual ports with 45° inlet and flared, front baffle outlet allow precise, phase accurate
woofer-to-port frequency transition. Ports also aid in cooling internally mounted
primary amplifier heat sink.
Flush mount, rubber woofer trim ring allows consistent power response
characteristic at wide off-axis angles. Flush-mount tweeter plate and Alesis M1
Active logo/pilot light plate also assure smooth off-axis response.
UL-approved fiberglass acoustical damping material damps internal mid-frequency
reflections from rear of woofer cone before entering port, lessening IM distortion.
Low frequency driver:
6.5” (165mm) diameter dynamic driver with proprietary non-woven carbon fiber
(NWCF) cone and 1.5” diameter, long-wind voice coil.
Santoprene surround with moderate internal damping and constant linear
displacement Nomex spider. ±5 mm X-max excursion capability.
Dual magnet structure uses top magnet in opposed (“bucking”) configuration for
magnetic shielding (≈10 gauss at outside edge of cabinet).
High frequency driver:
1” Japanese-silk-dome tweeter.
Medium viscosity ferrofluid cooling extends power handling while retaining impulse
response capability.
Dual magnet structure uses top magnet in opposed (“bucking”) configuration for
magnetic shielding. Additional 16 gauge low carbon steel cup lowers leakage to ≈3
gauss at outside cabinet top or side.
Crossover section
Crossover type:
Input Impedance:
Low Frequency Filter:
Eighth order, 48dB/octave Linkwitz-Riley @
20kΩ balanced 10kΩ unbalanced
2nd order optimal Q high pass filter at 50Hz
with +1dB boost
Amplifier Section
Low Frequency Amplifier
Rated power output:
Slew rate:
Signal-to-Noise ratio:
75 watts, 6Ω load
<0.03% THD @ 30 watts/8Ω 20Hz-20kHz
>110dB referenced to 60 watts @ 8Ω, “A”
weighted, 1kHz
High Frequency Amplifier
Rated Power Output:
Slew rate:
Signal-to-Noise ratio:
25 watts, 4Ω load
0.06% THD @ rated power
>112dB @ rated output
Acoustic Section
Free-Field Frequency Response:
Lower Cutoff Frequency:
Upper Cutoff Frequency:
Maximum Peak SPL per pair:
Maximum short term SPL:
±2dB, 50Hz to 20KHz
38Hz -10dB
23.5KHz –10dB
≥ 118dB SPL @ 1m
80Hz to 3.0KHz ≥ 105dB SPL @ 1m
Power Consumption:
AC Dropout Voltage:
Dimensions (H x W x D):
120 watts with musical program, loud mix
12 watts quiescent (idle)
120V AC version: 80V AC
240V AC versions: 160V AC
19.5 lbs. (8.9 kg) each
15” (381mm) x 8.5” (216mm) x 9.75” (248mm)
AC power, 12, 22, 37
amplifiers, 10, 11, 37
balanced, 23
biamplified, 10
crossover, 10
crossover, 37
dispersion, 19
frequency response, 10, 37
with ports plugged, 21
fuse, 12
grounding, 22
detent, 24
interference, 7
Magnetic shielding, 11, 36
mounting, 17
nearfield, 14
noise, 22
placement, 15
horizontal, 18
surround, 28
vertical, 19
Playback check mode, 20
Polarity, 23
ports, 13
plugging, 21
power supply, 12
reflections, 15, 17, 18
Safety, 3
service, 4, 34
spacing, 16
SPL, 24, 25
subwoofer, 21
Surround sound, 26
time alignment circuit, 11
tweeter, 11, 36
mirror to inside, 17
offset, 13
warranty, 9
woofer, 10, 36
XLR, 23
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