Sound on Sound's Hugh Robjohns explores the sound and all of the details of Core 7.
"I tend to work at quite low listening levels most of the time, and I was impressed by how well the low-frequency balance was maintained — many ported speakers seem to need more energy in them to achieve the desired tonal balance. But when you want to hear low–level detail or just feel the vibe, there's plenty of power on hand, and headroom in the signal processing, to deliver an impressive punch. Transients are very crisp and detailed, dynamics are portrayed effortlessly, and although the system noise was definitely higher than my KH310s when operating at a similar SPL, it was inaudible to all intents and purposes when sat more than a metre away. Apparently the firmware update I mentioned improved the Core 7's signal-to-noise ratio, amongst other minor response improvements.
For me, the Core 7's real strength is in its superb mid-range focus and clarity, to a standard that some three-way models fail to achieve. It has an effortless ability to reveal subtle details within the mix — especially noticeable in the reverb tails, and in dynamics processing, for example. These characteristics make it an ideal monitor for critical mixing and evaluation as you can really hear into the depths of a mix without straining, even at low listening levels. The stereo imaging is pin-sharp and stable, too, with a wide, expansive sound stage and considerable depth, but also precisely narrow and focused central sounds.
Although I explored all the options, I didn't feel a need to use any of the room boundary corrections in my setup, and while the Sound Balance tilt EQ facility offers a well-judged range of tonal adjustment, I found the neutral setting perfect in my room. For me, one of the best indications of a really good monitor is the ability to listen critically for extended periods without fatigue, and the Core 7 passed that test with considerable ease.
Overall, then, the Core 7 is a very impressive loudspeaker, genuinely worthy of the 'monitor' label and delivering a level of quality — particularly through the mid–range — which was the province of high-end three-way monitors only a few years ago. For that reason, the price, which might initially seem relatively high for a traditional-looking two-way monitor, is genuinely justifiable. An audition is highly recommended."
Hugh Robjohns summarises and pins out these Prod and Cons:
"Old-school in styling, perhaps, but the Core 7 is a hugely capable nearfield monitor delivering a seriously impressive level of performance and capability, and a very worthy heir to the Air legacy!"
- Detailed and neutral sound with phenomenal mid–range clarity and focus.
- Broad but precise and stable stereo imaging.
- Makes hearing into the depths of a mix easy, and without fatigue.
- None, other than the (entirely justified) price.