Kali Audio MM-6 Multimedia speakers: Power and clarity at a low price

Reference speakers are made for people who know music. You use them for making music of your own, recording demos, or simply to ensure what you hear is what the artist intended, without a lot of extra frills that get in the way.

That’s what I like about the Kali Audio MM-6 Multimedia Speakers. At just $209 per speaker, or just over $400 for a set, these speakers are large enough and powerful enough to deliver smooth and organic sound. Yet, they also won’t break the bank.

The speaker can be used as a standalone, wince each one has two RCA ports, one optical, and

one S/PDIF input. It means, if you are cranking out a new song on a synth or want to connect an audio interface and hear guitar during the recording process, one speaker will work fine. I tested a pair, which means I had left and right channel feeding from my computer.

Actually, check that. I did start out testing a turntable and noticed I had the settings wrong and both speakers were playing too loud. With some patience and after looking online a bit more, I realized the turntable was providing too much power to the speakers and I switched to use a Mac instead, outputting with a 3.5-inch cable to the left and right speakers. Okay, now I was able to control the audio a lot better!

What I found is that the reference quality sound is just right for me — I like to hear everything in my songs, the cymbal crashes, light taps on drums, the trumpet way in the background. The Kali Audio MM-6 speakers did the trick. I liked the flexibility in how I could connect to them as well, including using an optical digital cable from my receiver or TV if desired.

I played tracks by M83 and Wilco, including songs I know extremely well to see how the sound replication performed. It was better than expected at this price. Kali Audio is not trying to add extra oomph to the speakers to make you think they are louder than they are, and they didn’t add any extra bells and whistles. The design is ultra-pragmatic — just a black enclosure and great sound. I also appreciate how the speakers would go into standby mode on their own as soon as I turned my Mac off. That helped save a bit of juice in my house.

On the back, there’s a volume knob you can use to adjust each speaker — in case you are like me and don’t want to fumble around with a mouse to adjust computer volume. I also knew it would be possible to connect a synth directly to the speakers, since they have their own power. I plan to try that out at some point to see what direct audio is like from an instrument.

Overall, I like these reference speakers and didn’t think the lower price meant there was a compromise about what you would expect from them — great reference quality audio.