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Sonodyne SM200AK vs. SM100AK
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living sounds
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#1
15th January 2012
Old 15th January 2012
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Sonodyne SM200AK vs. SM100AK

From all the great reviews I'm pretty much decided on getting a Sonodyne monitor, now it's only between those two.

Pretty much everything there is to read is about the smaller monitor, but the bigger one looks like a great way to get rid of the sub - and it also is a lot more powerfull.

But I'm wondering about sound and of course translateability. The SM200AK is also not all aluminium.

Anyone compared the two?

Thanks!
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15th January 2012
Old 15th January 2012
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I have them and previously had the sm100's.
I would say they add all the necessary bass you would need from a sub. Especially for dance/pop/urban music they give so much extra in the low end, that was were i was looking for.
I am no audio expert but for me they sound warmer because of the extra bass and power.
I just love them.
Only thing i preferred about the 100's was the size, these are not portable at all, and I work on different locations a lot.
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15th January 2012
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Thanks!

Size is not a problem here, but do you miss anything in terms of detail/imaging? Any difference to the mixing process/translation?
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16th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by living sounds View Post
Thanks!

Size is not a problem here, but do you miss anything in terms of detail/imaging? Any difference to the mixing process/translation?
Not at all, especially for kickdrums I think they are very good in selecting the best sounds because you can hear every difference (and a lot of monitors didnt have that amount of detail for me).
#5
6th April 2012
Old 6th April 2012
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I tried em both out, and the big guys were just too much for my little room -- I'm sitting about 1m away and the stereo image is great with the 100s but with the 200s it seemed like the image didn't have time/space to coalesce sitting that close, I heard two speakers rather than a phantom image hanging in the center.

I'm happy with the 100s in this environment, tho there is port turbulence at a surprisingly low volume in my opinion, and I've found a couple frequencies at which there is some pretty ugly mechanical rattling. (I tried 3 different sets of 100s and they all had the same problem.) It doesn't affect my work, I mix at pretty low volumes for the most part. But when it's time to crank it up for a client or for pleasure listening it's a little disappointing to hear the distortion on kicks & bass. The 200s exhibit some of this same port noise problem, but with the single rear-firing port it is much less of an issue.

I still chose the SM100 over others (adam, focal) as the mids are stunningly accurate, the HF is clear & non-fatiguing and the stereo image is really fantastic. Just no comparison. I'm doing great work on these, making mixes that translate, hearing crazy detail & I can easily go for 8 hours+ with very little ear fatigue.

I'm sure the 200s are amazing as a mid-field. No need for a sub.
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7th April 2012
Old 7th April 2012
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We have the entire Sonodyne line here now, and we have started with the SM200AK. Next we will go down the line to the SM100AK etc and I can report back. The initial impression of the 200 is:

You definitely hear that extra amp POWER compared to other active monitors, they get very loud but seem to retain all of the dynamic range

The sweet spot is quite good, probably due to that wave guide

The detail and depth is very good

The bass response is strong, there is maybe a "fun" aspect to this speaker in that it most definitely delivers BALLS and punch

More later, I did not know what to expect from this line but I am eager to hear the others now side by side.

War

(Bob's initial impression is they remind him of the Opal more than any other thing we've spent time with here)
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7th April 2012
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I really liked the sound of the SM200, it was big and fun, mids were a little weak. However, they developed a problem after a couple of weeks, and I had to return them. Couldn't get replacements since mine were far from the only ones with problems, and they are no longer availible over here.
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8th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by living sounds View Post
I really liked the sound of the SM200, it was big and fun, mids were a little weak. However, they developed a problem after a couple of weeks, and I had to return them. Couldn't get replacements since mine were far from the only ones with problems, and they are no longer availible over here.
That's a bummer, first I've heard that. Would love to know what kind of problem, so I can stay vigilant with mine... I really went back & forth a lot with the retailer & the distributor on my issues with the 100s. They are far from perfect but as I've learned, every monitor at this price point involves compromise. The compromise on the 100s is the port noise, but it still just blows away everything else at this price point in every other way, and they are 100% awesome as long as you don't try to go too loud. (And adding a sub would mitigate this problem greatly.) And if you go loud they are still pretty great, just not perfect.

p.s. seems like Sweetwater is still stocking them in the US.. http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SM200AK/
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8th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
The bass response is strong, there is maybe a "fun" aspect to this speaker in that it most definitely delivers BALLS and punch
Insanely so. You could rock a party with them for sure.

Listened to Donald Fagen's "Morph The Cat" while I had the 200s, nice and loud. It was a lovely experience. Agree that the dynamics are preserved even at high volume, these seem to be engineered for LOTS of headroom.
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8th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jruberto View Post
That's a bummer, first I've heard that. Would love to know what kind of problem, so I can stay vigilant with mine...
The tweeter on one side got weaker. However, from what I've heard the problems were all over the map, with both models. Moving them was especially dire. It seems to be a general QC issue.

Yes, at the price there's nothing as good sounding around, but unfortunately...
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11th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by living sounds View Post
I really liked the sound of the SM200, it was big and fun, mids were a little weak. However, they developed a problem after a couple of weeks, and I had to return them. Couldn't get replacements since mine were far from the only ones with problems, and they are no longer availible over here.
AS US importer, I can say definitively there have been no problems with 200s here. We are just now ramping up 200s and they have only been shipping here since the beginning of the year. We also just got the first sub, the SLF210v2.

There will be some differences between US and EU models because Sonodyne is very new here to the USA but has been selling in the EU for some time.

The comments about midrange are true. The Sonodynes have killer midrange, nice well built old fashioned class A-B amps with big power supplies, NO LIMITERS, excellent imaging; well engineered and reliable systems overall. I've done extensive A-B's with Focal and Genelec and I think these Sonodynes are a sonic bargain.

Brad
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12th April 2012
Old 12th April 2012
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Sonodyne SM 10AK / Neuman KH 120

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
We have the entire Sonodyne line here now, and we have started with the SM200AK. Next we will go down the line to the SM100AK etc and I can report back. The initial impression of the 200 is:

You definitely hear that extra amp POWER compared to other active monitors, they get very loud but seem to retain all of the dynamic range

The sweet spot is quite good, probably due to that wave guide

The detail and depth is very good

The bass response is strong, there is maybe a "fun" aspect to this speaker in that it most definitely delivers BALLS and punch

More later, I did not know what to expect from this line but I am eager to hear the others now side by side.

War

(Bob's initial impression is they remind him of the Opal more than any other thing we've spent time with here)
Hi War(ren),
I see you carry the two I am interested in this price range. Sonodyne SM 10AK / Neuman KH 120 how do these compare? I have only read good things about both.
Thanks,
Chris
#13
1st May 2012
Old 1st May 2012
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I have a somewhat noob-y question...
I've had a pair of SM100AK's for about 2 months now, and I love them. However, I've had to roll off the low end on the speakers because they can't seem to handle the bass on stuff i've been recording/listening to. Is it common for these speakers to rumble/flutter a little when there's some serious bass going through them?? Is this BAD?? These are my first pair of 'nice' monitors so I'm not sure if this is normal for most speakers this size. I haven't had this issue listening to the same recordings at the same volume with my older KRK speakers. However, the clarity and definition of these monitors is leagues ahead of everything I've used so far.
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1st May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freeloader View Post
I have a somewhat noob-y question...
I've had a pair of SM100AK's for about 2 months now, and I love them. However, I've had to roll off the low end on the speakers because they can't seem to handle the bass on stuff i've been recording/listening to. Is it common for these speakers to rumble/flutter a little when there's some serious bass going through them?? Is this BAD?? These are my first pair of 'nice' monitors so I'm not sure if this is normal for most speakers this size. I haven't had this issue listening to the same recordings at the same volume with my older KRK speakers. However, the clarity and definition of these monitors is leagues ahead of everything I've used so far.
Kind of a "wooshy" sound? Like a "ssshhhhhhhh" along with a big long 808 kick or bass guitar note? Port turbulence. Too much air moving through the front ports too fast. IMO it's a design defect (edit: maybe defect is too strong a word.. design compromise?) with these monitors, and really the only black mark on an otherwise world-class, stellar product.

After trying out a bunch of others I still went with the Sonodynes, as nothing else at this price point can touch the clarity & accuracy of these monitors over the rest of the frequency spectrum. I work at pretty low volumes (low enough that the port turbulence doesn't come into play), but it's a little disappointing when I crank 'em up for clients or for pleasure listening.

No, there's no damage being done, the sound you hear is friction between the moving air & the enclosure.

You might try slightly muting the ports with something porous to air -- some kind of foam, some folks swear by steel wool (tho i'd be careful with that). I haven't really gone there but will probably try some stuff eventually. Don't plug the ports or create too much resistance to the airflow, I believe you could possibly damage the drivers if you restrict the airflow too much, i.e. the tweeter will start to function as a port and that wouldn't be good.
#15
2nd May 2012
Old 2nd May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jruberto View Post
Kind of a "wooshy" sound? Like a "ssshhhhhhhh" along with a big long 808 kick or bass guitar note? Port turbulence. Too much air moving through the front ports too fast. IMO it's a design defect (edit: maybe defect is too strong a word.. design compromise?) with these monitors, and really the only black mark on an otherwise world-class, stellar product.

After trying out a bunch of others I still went with the Sonodynes, as nothing else at this price point can touch the clarity & accuracy of these monitors over the rest of the frequency spectrum. I work at pretty low volumes (low enough that the port turbulence doesn't come into play), but it's a little disappointing when I crank 'em up for clients or for pleasure listening.

No, there's no damage being done, the sound you hear is friction between the moving air & the enclosure.

You might try slightly muting the ports with something porous to air -- some kind of foam, some folks swear by steel wool (tho i'd be careful with that). I haven't really gone there but will probably try some stuff eventually. Don't plug the ports or create too much resistance to the airflow, I believe you could possibly damage the drivers if you restrict the airflow too much, i.e. the tweeter will start to function as a port and that wouldn't be good.
YES! That's exactly it. Thanks for your reply. It's a shame but I guess it's something I can deal with given that the sound quality is so good. I'll try what you suggested about muting the ports. All in all, I'm still satisfied with the product. One of the monitors sweetwater shipped me was defective on arrival but they were quick to send me a replacement.

Growing up, my family had a sonodyne cassette deck and speakers so they were a big part of my musical upbringing. That definitely played a role in helping me make my decision to get these monitors.
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2nd May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freeloader View Post
YES! That's exactly it. Thanks for your reply. It's a shame but I guess it's something I can deal with given that the sound quality is so good. I'll try what you suggested about muting the ports. All in all, I'm still satisfied with the product.
Yep, at this price point, it's about choosing what kind of compromise you can live with. Of all the monitors I tried in this range, none of them could hold a candle to the Sonodynes in terms of stereo image, transient response, midrange clarity... I can live with it, and the next step up is a whole lot more money.

If it really starts bugging you, adding a subwoofer with a crossover could tighten things up quite a bit.

Or try the 200s. ;-)
#17
2nd May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jruberto View Post
Yep, at this price point, it's about choosing what kind of compromise you can live with. Of all the monitors I tried in this range, none of them could hold a candle to the Sonodynes in terms of stereo image, transient response, midrange clarity... I can live with it, and the next step up is a whole lot more money.

If it really starts bugging you, adding a subwoofer with a crossover could tighten things up quite a bit.

Or try the 200s. ;-)
did you try the k&H 120?

Last edited by chrisenglish; 2nd May 2012 at 08:44 PM.. Reason: miss spelling
#18
2nd May 2012
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Sm200

I've had my SM 200s for about 3 months or so now, and I have never been happier with a piece of gear. I compared them with similar priced Adam's, Dynaudios and JBL's and the Sonodynes were a no brainer for me. The Sm200s just have the most clear detailed sound to them and the imaging is the best I have heard.

As someone mentioned above, I am not sure how they would work in a smaller room. My room is 35' x 20' with 14' ceilings and they are a perfect fit.
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2nd May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisenglish View Post
did you try the k&H 120?
I did check out the Neumanns, tho not in my room. They are damn impressive, tho I'm not a big fan of built-in limiting. I'd rather have so much headroom that there's no need... which is what I got.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MixingStick View Post
I've had my SM 200s for about 3 months or so now, and I have never been happier with a piece of gear. I compared them with similar priced Adam's, Dynaudios and JBL's and the Sonodynes were a no brainer for me. The Sm200s just have the most clear detailed sound to them and the imaging is the best I have heard.

As someone mentioned above, I am not sure how they would work in a smaller room. My room is 35' x 20' with 14' ceilings and they are a perfect fit.
I was REAL impressed with the 200s, but yeah, I'm sitting a little less than 1m away, it was just too close, and my room just won't accommodate a bigger triangle (i also would have had to get out the sawzall for my monitor stands -- the 200s are big!!). If/when I get a bigger mix room, I'll be all over some 200s. Unless I can afford the ATCs. :-)
#20
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
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Anyone heard the SM300ak yet?? are they shipping already?
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11th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomdarude View Post
Anyone heard the SM300ak yet?? are they shipping already?
Not to the US yet....I have one pre production set in Nashville. Sound quite good, especially for 3,000 pr active.

Brad
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13th February 2013
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Even i'm a bit confused b\w the two.
I have a small room too (13x10ft.) & i sit less than 1m. from speaker too so even SM50ak wud be fine, but i need the low end too.
As Jim said, i cudnt hear the imaging from 200s at this distance & i dont wanna lose that.
So which one to go for?
#23
13th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shubhsound View Post
Even i'm a bit confused b\w the two.
I have a small room too (13x10ft.) & i sit less than 1m. from speaker too so even SM50ak wud be fine, but i need the low end too.
As Jim said, i cudnt hear the imaging from 200s at this distance & i dont wanna lose that.
So which one to go for?
The 50s and a 10" sub (SLF210) sound really nice and are around the same price as a pair of 200s. What about that?
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#24
10th May 2013
Old 10th May 2013
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I have almost pulled the trigger on a pair of 200's. However, I too have a small control room (4m x 5m x 2.3m). I mainly record folk/rock/metal. Would the 100's be better suited. I'm generally 1.5-2m away from speakers.

After doing the research, I'm sure the 100's would be better suited, however, I can get a deal on the 200's for £100 less than the 100's. Feels like I'm losing value if I'm paying more for less.
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10th May 2013
Old 10th May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bleeding ears View Post
I have almost pulled the trigger on a pair of 200's. However, I too have a small control room (4m x 5m x 2.3m). I mainly record folk/rock/metal. Would the 100's be better suited. I'm generally 1.5-2m away from speakers.

After doing the research, I'm sure the 100's would be better suited, however, I can get a deal on the 200's for £100 less than the 100's. Feels like I'm losing value if I'm paying more for less.
You can get 200's for £540? Because the 100's are on sale right now for £640.

I would get the 100's anyway, as they are lovely speakers. Really lovely. The 200's to me are lumpy sounding speakers with an aggravating, coarse mid sound and not as much detail. YMMV
#26
10th May 2013
Old 10th May 2013
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The 100s are phenom.. really.
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10th May 2013
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ok thanks guys. This is just confirming what I've spent the last few hours reading. Think I'll go with the 100's
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10th May 2013
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ok thanks guys. This is just confirming what I've spent the last few hours reading. Think I'll go with the 100's
You will love them. Sweeet speakers.
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4th July 2013
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The sm100ak:

I demoed them in the shop today and found them very pleasing, smooth yet detailed.

One thing: I didn't read about the LF-range before I came home, and was a little stunned that the are only 60Hz ~ 22kHz with a Bass Roll-Off: 80Hz, 6dB/ octave (or is that just the tilt?).
But I didn't notice anything about that when comparing the to some Yamaha HS7 (that is 43Hz - 30kHz).
Can anyone explain this for me, and more important: Do they work well as full-range speakers?

( Do you believe they would be nice as midfield-speakers, soft soffit-mounted in a small room? )

Thanks!
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4th July 2013
Old 4th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Sun View Post
The sm100ak:

I demoed them in the shop today and found them very pleasing, smooth yet detailed.

One thing: I didn't read about the LF-range before I came home, and was a little stunned that the are only 60Hz ~ 22kHz with a Bass Roll-Off: 80Hz, 6dB/ octave (or is that just the tilt?).
But I didn't notice anything about that when comparing the to some Yamaha HS7 (that is 43Hz - 30kHz).
Can anyone explain this for me, and more important: Do they work well as full-range speakers?

( Do you believe they would be nice as midfield-speakers, soft soffit-mounted in a small room? )

Thanks!
They have a little bump on the edge at 60Hz, before they roll away, which makes them feel a lot fatter than 'down to 60HZ' speakers generally feel.
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