HAFLER TRM 6 - A Compact, more affordable version of the acclaimed TRM8
Publication: n/a
Author: John Ferenzi
Date: n/a
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Hafler's TRM8 powered monitors, which were reviewed in the September 1998 EM, so impressed the reviewer that he saved up and bought a pair for his own studio. But good as they sound, at $1,650 a pair (formerly $2,400) the TRM8s are a bit beyond the budgets of many personal-studio buyers.

Now Hafler offers a solution in the downsized TRM6 ($1,250 per pair). These bookshelf-size, biamped close-field reference monitors sport impressively similar specs in a smaller package. Whether destined for the video post house, pro facility, or personal studio, the TRM6 is clearly designed and priced to compete with the increasing number of compact close-field active monitors available today. (For a discussion of the advantages of active over passive designs, see the sidebar "Why Get Active?" in the cover story "Power Stations" in the October 1997 EM.)

Face Value: The TRM6 monitors are constructed of hearty MDF (medium-density fiberboard) and finished in semigloss black. Their substantial weight and slippery-smooth finish makes them a tad unwieldy, so care is in order when lifting and positioning them. An external handle or handgrip depression would be a welcome addition. The front panel features a power switch located to the right of the tweeter. To the left of the tweeter is a status LED that glows green for on, a flashing red to indicate clipping, and solid red at thermal overlo

Speak to: The TRM6 employs a 1-inch, soft-dome high-frequency driver, which is set back slightly in relation to the woofer and centered in a wave guide. Basically a horn-shaped structure, the wave guide's role is to smooth out sound waves emanating from the cabinet as they make the transition from a flat, planar shape to a rounder, more spherical shape, the goal being to produce a wider sweet spot for the listener.

The woofer comprises a 6.5-inch, polypropylene-cone low-frequency driver with an inverted rubber surround. A shielded magnet in the woofer assembly reduces the level of stray magnetic radiation to a potential hazard that can distort images and colors on your TV set or computer monito

The TRM6 has a narrow rear port that Hafler calls an aerovent. The port is radiused - that is, flared like a trumpet, without the squared edges found in the usual circular or elliptical port - in order to improve bass response and reduce turbulent fluttering.

The amplifier in the TRM6 features MOSFET circuitry in a proprietary design that Hafler calls Trans-ana (short for Transconductive Active Nodal Amplifier). Among its other qualities, MOSFET circuitry is known for its ability to mimic vacuum-tube operation and provide wide-bandwidth linearity. An active crossover sends frequencies above 3.2 kHz to a 35-watt amplifier driving the tweeter, and frequencies below 3.2 kHz to a 50-watt amp driving the woofer.

About Face: The rear panel of the TRM6 provides balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA inputs, as well as adjustments for input sensitivity and for customizing bass and treble response. The adjustments are grouped in four blocks of tiny DIP switches, with each block containing four switches. The first block provides the selector for balanced or unbalanced operation, followed by the first three input-sensitivity settings (+1 dBu, -2 dBu, and -5 dBu). The next block has two more input-sensitivity settings (-8 dBu and -11 dBu), followed by two bass rolloff switches set at 30 Hz and 60 Hz. The default input-sensitivity setting of +4 dBu is achieved by leaving all five input-sensitivity switches flicked to the left (off) position, for a total of six settings.

The third and fourth blocks of DIP switches are for adjusting bass and treble shelving, respectively, with each block offering settings of +4 dB, +2 dB, -2 dB, and -4 dB. Again, the ìflatî setting is attained by setting all the switches to the left (off) position. As the manual explains - and as should be obvious - only one setting at a time should be selected in each section (input sensitivity, bass rolloff, bass shelving, treble shelving). Obviously, too, the switches on the two monitors should be set identically.

This brings me to a couple of complaints. One is that the arrangement of switches in the four blocks could lead to some confusion, particularly because the input-sensitivity switches stretch over parts of two blocks. But the bigger problem - and the potentially harmful oneóis that the switches are so small that it's difficult to switch only one at a time. On several occasions I accidentally moved a switch I didn't mean to, resulting in a nearly speaker-blowing leap in volume that had me lunging for the faders. Larger switches - or better yet, notched rotary ones - would provide an obvious improvement, and would accomplish the same tasks with less risk of error.

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Hafler • 546 S. Rockford Dr. • Tempe, AZ 85281 • U.S.A.