Originally Posted by psykx
How am I going to tell which ones I will prefer in my room? Or should I just buy the ones I like the sound of most?
You can't really tell which you will prefer in your room (for sure), but you can minimize your chances of buying something that you hate:
If you have the pleasure of listening (unlike some of us), consider the following basics. You probably know most of this like the back of your hand, so consider this a general reminder list for all of us (including myself):
- take your time, don't be in a rush, don't let others hurry you, pick a spot when you have time and there are few other customers if possible
- move the speakers around: against the back wall, away from wall, on a desk, listen really near, a bit further away, listen for off-axis coloration esp. (a sign of uneven power output across the whole FR range in all directions).
- always bring your own music, music you know intimately, pref. your own mixes. Different genres, wide variablity, but of course mostly the type you intend to work on.
- bring also harsh, stringent and "hard on the ears" type music. Play it a bit louder for a while and 'feel' (don't analyze) if you start to cringe.
- if you have many contenders, eliminate fast to have more time to listen to the real candidates. 15minutes doesn't tell you everything, unless you are one of those freaks of nature who have a perfect echoic memory and a buillt-in flawless RTA
- if you find a couple of pairs that you like, put them in various positions, perhaps even ask to move to a smaller room (if you have your own portable audio source, this might be easier). Compare in different placements / settings
- use the compensation switches to test for desk, back-wall, etc placement fixing, but don't be fooled into believing you can fix a bad sounding speaker (to you!) with them.
- in bass frequencies you are going to get standing wave nodes that are powerful and these are mostly the same regardless of the speaker (just volume/track dependent and partially lowest extension). And you can't find these in a room that is not the final listening room. So don't sit in axial room mode maximums, move yourself or the speaker to have at least some kind of idea of the speaker, not the room.
- if you use a very specific audio source gear with a very esoteric output impedance (analog outs), then brigng it along. Unlikely for most pros, but good to keep in mind for some DIY / boutique stuff.
- Make notes, esp about first impressions. After listening for long time, you are most likely to forget, get mixed on what you heard from which speaker and what was bad, etc.
- sleep over it. Go again and have a final last go. If it was superb yesterday, it needs to be also better than others today. Don't buy on an instant whim, monitors can be longer term love affairs (or hate affairs if you choose badly).
Of course, the more money you are going to spend (out of your own budget), the more important this is.
IMHO, YMMV, etc.
Good luck with your purchase!