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Good all-purpose monitors
Old 4th May 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
Good all-purpose monitors

Hi everyone,

I need your help narrowing down my choice. I research monitors since a couple of weeks and am a bit stuck. I'm new here, please let me know if there is a better place to ask this question, thanks!

Main use case: living room, enjoying music and movies
Secondary use case: taking them with me to a small party

(I would like to eventually learn electronic music production but that won't happen soon enough to warrant listing it as a serious use case, so far only occasional djing at a party could count)

Living room: small, cca 4m x 5m (13 ft x 16ft), untreated (will consider treatment in future), listening distance ~2.5m
Criteria: as hassle-free as possible: active (i.e. no hi-fi, amps, ...), ideally wireless (or a setup that will achieve easy reliable wireless use), not too big but with nice bass

Budget: it depends, not my main constraint but nothing crazy

I've always owned more or less just cheap but relatively good 2.1 computer speakers so far

How to decide whether to go for 2.0 or 2.1 monitors? I'm thinking about trying a setup without a sub (less "clutter" in the room) but that would probably mean bigger monitors...


I've heard friend's HS5 with and without a sub. It wouldn't work for me without a sub. In youtube sound demos I actually found HS5 unimpressive compared to for example JBL or Kali (my options of live demos are unfortunately limited). I'm not primarily after monitoring so don't need the flattest frequency response, don't want anything too exaggerated either, but want something that's fun listening to (wide sound stage, clear mids and highs, nice bass, ... I guess)

Mackie MR624 caught my attention because it supposedly plays well quietly too. However, when I listened to XR624 in a store (on a shelf against a wall...) they were lacking in bass to my ears. Adam A5X surprisingly produced more bass in comparison, it seemed to me (maybe they didn't have them set up correctly?). Does someone know how the MR624 would compare to XR624? (I couldn't find many XR624 reviews online and no direct comparison of the two)

KEF LS50W and LSX caught my attention because of the great reviews and wireless features. They have a 5'' woofer so I'm afraid I'd need a sub with them and while I could afford them, I'm thinking 1) it might be too much of a step up that I would not maybe even be able to appreciate it now 2) might be a bit too expensive to drag along to a party (and esp. after maybe buying an additional sub)

I guess my main contenders are Kali LP-6 (not too big, could have enough bass without a sub, might not be powerful enough for a mid-sized room? so maybe less useful for the party use case but that's a secondary one..), maybe some Adams... Adam A7X? Adam A8X? maybe just the T line? I was quite impressed by the A5X I heard in the store. I still don't rule out Mackie but would have to give them another listen - what other monitors do well with rather quiet listening?

I realise my question is all over the place, I'd appreciate your thoughts!
Old 4th May 2019
  #2
Deleted e999d8e
Guest
Start with 2, name-brand, 2-way, 8" speakers, either passive or active. Consider floor stands, 24-30" in height -- so you can make adjustments. Go from there.
Old 4th May 2019
  #3
Here for the gear
Floor stands - yes, they are on my list hmm, 8'', that's where I started and drifted more towards 6.5'' because of their size and because my room is not that big
Old 4th May 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
 
chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nandio View Post
Hi everyone,

I need your help narrowing down my choice. I research monitors since a couple of weeks and am a bit stuck. I'm new here, please let me know if there is a better place to ask this question, thanks!

Main use case: living room, enjoying music and movies
Secondary use case: taking them with me to a small party

(I would like to eventually learn electronic music production but that won't happen soon enough to warrant listing it as a serious use case, so far only occasional djing at a party could count)

Living room: small, cca 4m x 5m (13 ft x 16ft), untreated (will consider treatment in future), listening distance ~2.5m
Criteria: as hassle-free as possible: active (i.e. no hi-fi, amps, ...), ideally wireless (or a setup that will achieve easy reliable wireless use), not too big but with nice bass

Budget: it depends, not my main constraint but nothing crazy

I've always owned more or less just cheap but relatively good 2.1 computer speakers so far

How to decide whether to go for 2.0 or 2.1 monitors? I'm thinking about trying a setup without a sub (less "clutter" in the room) but that would probably mean bigger monitors...


I've heard friend's HS5 with and without a sub. It wouldn't work for me without a sub. In youtube sound demos I actually found HS5 unimpressive compared to for example JBL or Kali (my options of live demos are unfortunately limited). I'm not primarily after monitoring so don't need the flattest frequency response, don't want anything too exaggerated either, but want something that's fun listening to (wide sound stage, clear mids and highs, nice bass, ... I guess)

Mackie MR624 caught my attention because it supposedly plays well quietly too. However, when I listened to XR624 in a store (on a shelf against a wall...) they were lacking in bass to my ears. Adam A5X surprisingly produced more bass in comparison, it seemed to me (maybe they didn't have them set up correctly?). Does someone know how the MR624 would compare to XR624? (I couldn't find many XR624 reviews online and no direct comparison of the two)

KEF LS50W and LSX caught my attention because of the great reviews and wireless features. They have a 5'' woofer so I'm afraid I'd need a sub with them and while I could afford them, I'm thinking 1) it might be too much of a step up that I would not maybe even be able to appreciate it now 2) might be a bit too expensive to drag along to a party (and esp. after maybe buying an additional sub)

I guess my main contenders are Kali LP-6 (not too big, could have enough bass without a sub, might not be powerful enough for a mid-sized room? so maybe less useful for the party use case but that's a secondary one..), maybe some Adams... Adam A7X? Adam A8X? maybe just the T line? I was quite impressed by the A5X I heard in the store. I still don't rule out Mackie but would have to give them another listen - what other monitors do well with rather quiet listening?

I realise my question is all over the place, I'd appreciate your thoughts!
you really need 6inch +

I personally love the Adams stuff and I use Adams A7 and A7x but there are better monitors for sure. Just avoid the cheap stuff like KRK, Yamaha , presonus
Old 15th July 2019
  #5
Here for the gear
Just in case someone is wondering later: I chose HEDD Type 07, connected wirelessly through Chromecast Audio, Novopro SMS80R stands.
I'm pretty happy with the monitors - they play very well, are good for listening to music at home, work perhaps even better for a small party - they are powerful and play everything well as far as I can tell (I should say not everything but all well recorded good quality music).
I'm not so happy with the stands - they are ok for my living room but they feel a bit too wobbly. If there were people passing around them, I'd be worried.
Cheers and thanks for the advice
Old 16th July 2019
  #6
Don't forget acoustic treatment.
Old 17th July 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nandio View Post
Hi everyone,

I need your help narrowing down my choice. I research monitors since a couple of weeks and am a bit stuck. I'm new here, please let me know if there is a better place to ask this question, thanks!

Main use case: living room, enjoying music and movies
Secondary use case: taking them with me to a small party

(I would like to eventually learn electronic music production but that won't happen soon enough to warrant listing it as a serious use case, so far only occasional djing at a party could count)

From your comments here it doesn't sound like you should be in the market for near field studio monitors. Studio monitors are expensive sensitive tools. Thee last thing you'd want is to move them from a secure environment and risk having them damaged.

Next, Quality sound for mixing purposes is NOT the same as filling the room with sound and doing a DJ work. For that you want speakers that have front covers that cant be damaged when moving or have holes poked in it by some little kid that comes walking up to it.

What you want are self powered PA speakers or monitors for entertaining the public. They are typically good enough for playing back commercial music and durable enough to handle moving.

Studio monitors have no covers over the speakers. They are extremely flat in response and the speaker cones are shallow so a person sitting within a few feet with the speakers at ear height hears the full frequency sound. The speakers are designed to make any flaws in the music stand out like a sore thumb which allows you to get rid of the flaws mixing. They aren't designed to take the place of Hi Fi, DJ or and PA gear. You want to fill your room with sound you should buy different speakers.

For TV the speakers you'd typically use are surround speakers which focus the frequencies used in most movies. Again those speakers aren't necessarily the best for other applications. Surround typically incorporates DBX and the satellite speakers don't produce full frequency. They usually have a sub for the lows.

Its not that good studio monitors cant work. I'd be dammed if I'd be hauling my $1000 worth of studio monitors around however. I'd need to build a hard shell case so they didn't get damaged. Even then they aren't the right speakers for the public.

Studio monitors are typically used by a single person in a triangulated setup and the speakers focus in on the ears like a laser beam. They are as clkose to wearing headphones as you can get except there is air between you and the speakers. Move a few inches out of alignment and the sound quality changes drastically. A few feet is almost like removing headphones.

What many also don't realize is, studio monitors are usually run at low volumes. You mix at 83dB which is very low, about as louds as when listening to TV. You can easily talk over it without raising your voice.
At that volume the studio monitors produce a full frequency sound and engineers use them at that volume to avoid ear fatigue.

There are some that can get quite loud, mostly for checking compatibility or impressing your customers, but you risk blowing extremely delicate and expensive speakers when pushed too hard. Having been a performing musician for over 50 years, I wouldn't be taking my studio monitors to any parties. I have PA gear or Hi Fi gear for that. Its far more durable and less expensive. You can buy self contained units that have line ins, mic ins and even have basic EQ controls.

You also mentioned wireless. They make Blue tooth stuff. You could probably feed them from a cell phone even. They still need power however so you're not completely disconnected but it can make wiring up a surround system easier.

You'll need to decide just what you plan on doing with them if you want to get the best bang for the buck. Surround and studio monitors are not normally hauled around. Wiring, power, durability and cost dictate they are typically permanent or semi permanent placement speakers. If you want portability, you want PA gear that cant be moved safely and be easily set up and broken down. If you want Audiophile quality listening, Hi Fi still rules in that category.
Old 10th May 2020
  #8
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrgkmc View Post
From your comments here it doesn't sound like you should be in the market for near field studio monitors. Studio monitors are expensive sensitive tools. Thee last thing you'd want is to move them from a secure environment and risk having them damaged.

If you want Audiophile quality listening, Hi Fi still rules in that category.
Very interesting post. Thanks.
Would there be active (powered) speakers for home (movie/music) use?
Maybe the KEF LSX? (A bit expensive)
Anything else?
Old 24th May 2020
  #9
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrgkmc View Post
From your comments here it doesn't sound like you should be in the market for near field studio monitors. Studio monitors are expensive sensitive tools. Thee last thing you'd want is to move them from a secure environment and risk having them damaged.

Next, Quality sound for mixing purposes is NOT the same as filling the room with sound and doing a DJ work. For that you want speakers that have front covers that cant be damaged when moving or have holes poked in it by some little kid that comes walking up to it.

What you want are self powered PA speakers or monitors for entertaining the public. They are typically good enough for playing back commercial music and durable enough to handle moving.
...
Thank you for your insights, I understand what you say. Almost a year later, I must say though that I am very happy with my purchase and the speakers serve me very well. I use them mostly as hifi speakers in my ~20m2 living room and the sound is great. Quite rarely I bring them with me to a small event with friends where we play them louder and again, they've been perfectly fine for that. On the other hand, yes, I'd be less worried if they were sturdy PA speakers - maybe I'll buy those too one day if and when we start organizing our little events more frequently.

HEDD in fact designed these speakers to appeal to both people looking for monitors and to the hifi audiophile market. Me and my friends think they've done well but I admit we are all amateurs with limited experience with different kinds of gear.

Wrt wireless - Chromecast Audio works pretty well for me most of the time. Casting from Spotify sometimes gets annoyingly unreliable.
Old 24th May 2020
  #10
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by SdeGat View Post
Very interesting post. Thanks.
Would there be active (powered) speakers for home (movie/music) use?
Maybe the KEF LSX? (A bit expensive)
Anything else?
I was actually considering KEF LS50 and KEF LSX but I thought they were too expensive, esp. given that they'd be my first proper speakers and I decided it would be better to work my way up Having my HEDD TYPE 07 now, I don't feel any need to switch anytime soon.
Old 27th May 2020
  #11
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nandio View Post
I was actually considering KEF LS50 and KEF LSX but I thought they were too expensive, esp. given that they'd be my first proper speakers and I decided it would be better to work my way up Having my HEDD TYPE 07 now, I don't feel any need to switch anytime soon.
HEDD Type 07 ! Those aren’t cheap at all; I understand you don’t need to switch to anything else.
Old 27th May 2020
  #12

For movies and parties, you'll need that sub for most 2-way pairs. I'd skip the center channel for now.

The JBL control 1 is nice, and the control 5 is a bit better. They also have metal protective grills.....

There are 3-way powered speakers from QSC and EV that are worth looking at.




-tINY

Old 27th May 2020
  #13
Here for the gear
Hey bro, just ordered today teh Kali Audio LP-6's!
They're gonna be my first set of studio monitors.
I was guided by this review - https://audioxpress.com/article/fres...tudio-monitors

Also, make sure to check this website - https://www.audiosciencereview.com/
They do objective reviews based on measurements.
F.e. measurements show, that JBL 305p mkii - is a good budget speaker.
And presonus eris 5 xt - is not

Gl & Hf
Old 27th May 2020
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

I listened to Yamaha's, JBl, KRK, Focal, and I chose Alpha 80s for their depth. No sub needed. Small room is fine, just don't crank them too loud.
Old 28th May 2020
  #15
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post

For movies and parties, you'll need that sub for most 2-way pairs. I'd skip the center channel for now.

The JBL control 1 is nice, and the control 5 is a bit better. They also have metal protective grills.....
There are 3-way powered speakers from QSC and EV that are worth looking at.
Thanks for the suggestions but I’m looking for something small and reasonably good looking that would sit on each side of the television. Not for parties but day to day use for music and movies. (No amp nor receiver thus need to be powered)
Old 28th May 2020
  #16
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanM View Post
I listened to Yamaha's, JBl, KRK, Focal, and I chose Alpha 80s for their depth. No sub needed. Small room is fine, just don't crank them too loud.
Alpha 80s are no bargain though. Are they not overkill for day to day home use?
Old 28th May 2020
  #17
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreakinPavel View Post
Hey bro, just ordered today teh Kali Audio LP-6's!
They're gonna be my first set of studio monitors.
(...)
F.e. measurements show, that JBL 305p mkii - is a good budget speaker.
And presonus eris 5 xt - is not
Gl & Hf
Thanks for the advice and detailed references. :-)
Those JBL seem to come up often. Did not know the Kali though.
Old 28th May 2020
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SdeGat View Post
Alpha 80s are no bargain though. Are they not overkill for day to day home use?
Why overkill? I understand the budget. There's also the 65s. I think Focal will give you the best bass extension without a sub.
Old 28th May 2020
  #19
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanM View Post
Why overkill? I understand the budget. There's also the 65s. I think Focal will give you the best bass extension without a sub.
Yes, budget is one thing. There are also those who say that good studio monitors will not be «*pleasant*» for daily music/movie usage. (See next post)

Last edited by SdeGat; 28th May 2020 at 02:54 AM.. Reason: Add ref
Old 28th May 2020
  #20
Lives for gear
Monitors are designed to be flat, not easy or flattering to hear.
Old 28th May 2020
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SdeGat View Post
Thanks for the suggestions but I’m looking for something small and reasonably good looking that would sit on each side of the television. Not for parties but day to day use for music and movies. (No amp nor receiver thus need to be powered)

Well, if you remove the small party requirement, and you need powered units...

The inverted dome on those Focal Alphas is really nice, and they do have enough extension to skip a sub. But, at over $1000 per pair, I wouldn't call this "low-end-theory" budget.

The Kali would probably be better - you can get a pair of LP6 and a WS-12 for $900....



-tINY

Old 28th May 2020
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
Justin Case's Avatar
I'd consider Tannoy Gold 5 (or 7 or 8 if you want them larger), very impressive monitors for the price. I'm considering getting a pair myself for second reference. They certainly sounded better than Kali, Yamaha and KRK monitors in the same price range. Pioneer RM-05 look quite interesting as well.
Old 28th May 2020
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Case View Post
I'd consider Tannoy Gold 5 (or 7 or 8 if you want them larger), very impressive monitors for the price. I'm considering getting a pair myself for second reference. They certainly sounded better than Kali, Yamaha and KRK monitors in the same price range. Pioneer RM-05 look quite interesting as well.


What was the room like where you auditioned these?

What did you like about the Tannoys or dislike about the Kalis?

As far as KRK goes, the best affordable monitor they ever made was the ST6 passive. They didn't have a lot of extension, but the mid-range clarity was excellent and the highs were well balanced. Dispersion was good, so they needed a decent room to sound their best.



-tINY

Old 28th May 2020
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
Justin Case's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post


What was the room like where you auditioned these?

What did you like about the Tannoys or dislike about the Kalis?

As far as KRK goes, the best affordable monitor they ever made was the ST6 passive. They didn't have a lot of extension, but the mid-range clarity was excellent and the highs were well balanced. Dispersion was good, so they needed a decent room to sound their best.



-tINY

It was in a smaller, treated room. Tannoys were surprisingly detailed, really good stereo image. Kali were hissy (similar to JBL) and I didn't care for their transient response. Cheaper EVE Audio were better as well to me.
Old 28th May 2020
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Case View Post
It was in a smaller, treated room. Tannoys were surprisingly detailed, really good stereo image. Kali were hissy (similar to JBL) and I didn't care for their transient response. Cheaper EVE Audio were better as well to me.


Interesting. I was using the Kalis I just bought with a balanced feed from a Focusrite unit and didn't notice the hiss. They were a little blasé before I set the boundary compensation.

Preferences are funny things.....




-tINY

Old 29th May 2020
  #26
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Case View Post
I'd consider Tannoy Gold 5 (or 7 or 8 if you want them larger), very impressive monitors for the price. I'm considering getting a pair myself for second reference. They certainly sounded better than Kali, Yamaha and KRK monitors in the same price range.
I agree with you 100%, as a Gold 5 owner. Sadly, Tannoy released the series just when the Wuhan flu came into action, and they were forced not to deliver due to closing borders in China, where it's manufactured, and because of various restrictions all over the world, not to mention that everyone was far more interested in topics related to health. Very unlucky timing for Tannoy. For the given price, absolutely superb, if possible people should check them out regardless of their budget.
Old 29th May 2020
  #27
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreiPiatra View Post
I agree with you 100%, as a Gold 5 owner... For the given price, absolutely superb, if possible people should check them out regardless of their budget.
As another Gold 5 owner for several months now, I'd also agree. Very happy mixing on them.

Cheers,

Roland
Old 29th May 2020
  #28
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SdeGat View Post
Yes, budget is one thing. There are also those who say that good studio monitors will not be «*pleasant*» for daily music/movie usage. (See next post)
This is why I like Focal, clear and detailed, but a little more smooth and enjoyable than Yamahas... I like to be inspired and try to get a good vibe going for my singers, I don't need clinical. These are my main speakers for music, youtube, etc.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
Gear Nut
Check out www.buchardt-audio.com
None or their speakers needs a sub.
I use the S300 Mk2 for mixing and the S400 in my living room.
There's active A500 and a brand new A700 floorstander too but higher pricerange.

Worth checking out. Full range and very neutral and musical.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
Here for the gear
 

Very interesting thread. O.P. ended up getting the HEDD Model 07, which was on my (very) short list of powered studio monitors to use for my desktop system (nearfield music appreciation, not tracking/studio work). After a couple "ehh" experiences w/powered monitors, I ended up going to my 1st passive monitors in this room--ATC SCM 12 Pro's. Even though I had to purchase a gently used, powerful class C amp to power them (they gobble up power), the ATCs have been a raging success since day-1. The sound is quite amazing...it doesn't seem possible such a big, dynamic sound comes from medium size 2-ways, but it does.

BTW, I couldn't even think of getting active ATCs in this space constrained room. The smallest powered monitors (SCM19A) are way too big, as well as seriously expensive.

I'd like to hear more commentary about how the HEDD 07s sound...
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