I'd like to preface this review by stating that I had a very specific set of needs that these speakers met almost exclusively. I needed:
-Powered bookshelf speakers that fit inside a 13"x13" bookshelf cubby
-Front-ported, since the shelf is against a wall
-Optical & stereo RCA inputs
I use an Apple Airport Express to playback lossless 16/44 digital audio files from the optical input, and a separate phono preamp to play vinyl records through the stereo RCA inputs. The left speaker connects to the amp located inside the right speaker via mono RCA; *I used a Hosa YRA-104 RCA to Dual RCAF Y-Cable to split the signal between the left speaker and a separate powered subwoofer.
-I was pretty disappointed with the way these speakers sounded without a subwoofer. The 4.75" woofer struggled to maintain clarity in the mids in songs with heavy bass—it was borderline unlistenable with the bass knob turned even halfway up.
-When used in tandem with my 8" active sub with its built-in crossover set around 80Hz, I was able to turn the bass knob on the speakers all the way down, and the mids cleared up miraculously. With minimal tweaking, the ad hoc 3-way crossover sounds fantastic.
-The transition from analog source to digital source and vice versa is seamless; the built-in mixer is quite useful.
-As part of a fully manual analog setup, with digital sources being controlled by a smartphone or computer, the tactile controls and the lack of a remote worked for me.
There is no other active speaker at this size that can pull this off. The Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor - Black (Pair) has a dedicated subwoofer out, eliminating the need for my DIY subwoofer solution, but it's rear-ported, a deal-breaker for my setup. It's also on sale right now for $449, whereas I got the MS40 for $149.
If you want great stereo sound without a subwoofer, look elsewhere. If you've already got a sub, these speakers can be part of a stereo setup with great bang for the buck that deftly handles one digital and one analog audio source.
Behringer MS40 Multimedia Speakers Pair 24-Bit/192 kHz Digital 40-Watt Stereo Near Field Monitors. It is Two-Way Active Personal Monitor System can tackle these tasks and more and is the ideal way to upgrade your sound system. This high-performance 40-Watt compact stereo system features full 24-Bit/192 kHz digital performance with powerful woofers and high-resolution tweeters plus dedicated Volume, Bass and Treble controls for the ultimate flexibility. It Sporting 4.75 inch woofers and 2.5-inch high-resolution tweeters, MS40 monitor speakers bring high-quality audio within the reach of anyone with a computer workstation. Built-in powerful 2 x 20-Watt amplifiers with immense headroom. Powerful woofers and high-resolution tweeters provide ultra-linear frequency response. Optical and coaxial inputs to directly connect digital audio sources by S/PDIF interface. 1/4 TRS headphone connector with auto-mute loudspeaker function easily accessible on the front panel. Magnetically shielded for placement near computer monitors.