Best speakers for <$1000?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by 50548, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. Guest

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    #1
    In order to play my Lossless iTunes music, I have hooked up a NuForce HDP and am now looking for the best possible speakers to be used in my office, of roughly 20 square meters.

    What do you suggest as the best possible speakers up to $1000 (complete set)?
     
  2. macrumors 6502

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    #2
    i'd pick between 4.

    Genelec 8030
    Mackie HR824 mkII (if you like bass)
    Focal CMS 40
    Adam A7X

    In their class, they're all pretty fantastic, with different design priorities (also all are self-powered).
     
  3. thread starter Guest

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    #3
    Tks Spoonie - do they all include subwoofer units as well?
     
  4. macrumors 6502

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    #4
    nope, just stereo pair, some with more decent low-end than others. all very high quality, though.
     
  5. Biff..., Apr 8, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2013

    macrumors 6502

    Biff...

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    #5
    I just invested in my some Audioengine speakers w/sub. Quality speakers, total spent $500
     
  6. thread starter Guest

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    #6
    Just checked some reviews on the Adam, it seems like a great piece of kit indeed.

    Where do you think they should be positioned with the iMac and how would they be connected with the Nuforce? Standard RCA cables?

    ----------

    Audiogene or Audioengine? Tks!
     
  7. macrumors 6502

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    #7
    I have no experience with hooking them up - just using them in other people's installations. Best to check each models' specs.

    fwiw, the Genelecs have a matched subwoofer available, some of the others may too.
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    Biff...

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    #8

    Sorry, Audioengine
     
  9. macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Best speakers

    Mackie HR824 mkII..Its truly awesome.
     
  10. thread starter Guest

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    #10
    I see you have a vendor tag - any conflicts of interest there or is it a genuine recommendation?
     
  11. macrumors 68020

    Squilly

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    #11
    Klipsch Quintet SL's paired with the Klipsch Reference RW-12d subwoofer is ~$800. Great sound.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

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    #12


    Keep in mind that all of the speakers in spoonie1972's post are studio monitors. They are made to have a flat frequency response and accurate dynamics. They're also made to form an equilateral with your head being the third point. These are great for studio work but might be a bit harsh if you're looking for simple playback.

    Subwoofers typically aren't wanted in studio monitors so the speakers feature large cones to be able to produce the low frequency. That being said you can probably get some hi-fi speakers with a sub <1000$ that'll have even more extensive bass. Also, it is typically preferred to keep speakers plugged in with balanced jack, either TRS 1/4" or an XLR cable. However, it seems that your interface doesn't support that. However, you can get cables that'll go rca to TRS, however it's not optimal.

    TL;DR have a look at a hi-fi systems, you'll probably get something better suited to your need.
     
  13. macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Paolo makes a good point. There's probably a ton of consumer speakers that may fit your needs better. I am grossly out of date on those products - I just know what works for me (I ended up going for BM6A's, for what it's worth - great bass extension and I rarely turn on my sub. Not inexpensive, though).
     
  14. thread starter Guest

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    #14
    Tks to all for your feedback - my objective is exactly to have some hi-fi speakers with flat frequency response, so that whatever "enters" the speakers "leaves" them without further distortion/tolerance.

    However, perhaps I am not too knowledgeable on the difference between "studio monitors" and "hi-fi speakers" per se, or whether the former mean the same as the latter. I saw some excellent reviews on the Adam A7X but of course it is at the top of my desired price range (I am currently in Switzerland, which normally jacks up prices considerably).

    I also found a much cheaper option in a "sale" section of a Swiss online store: the BEHRINGER TRUTH B1030A - any ideas about this one?

    What about the cheaper Adam A5X or the Genelec 6010A?

    My Nuforce HDP DAC has three possible inputs: coaxial, RCA or optical...bearing in mind your comment above, would it be sufficient or do I really need an adapter?

    Tks again!
     
  15. macrumors 6502

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    #15
    i'd worry about the a5x or smaller genelec not 'filling out your room' - if you can purchase with no risk of return, they might be worth a shot.

    as for the behringer - absolute frickin' junk. do not buy. while they do make some decent stuff at certain price-points, those monitors are awful. they were an attempt at copying the Genelec 1xxx series at 1/5th the cost. it didnt work. I have several friends that were lured in by the price and they all ended up returning them.
     
  16. thread starter Guest

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    Tks; good to know about the Behringers - bearing in mind the "equidistance" aspect, would these studio monitors be fine for use as hi-fi side speakers to my iMac (with me as a user in front of the screen) as well as "room fillers"?
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Behringer's stuff is typically not viewed as trustworthy and usually make mediocre cheap product. Even though I've heard some people say the truths are decent for their price, I wouldn't risk it.

    As for studio monitors vs hi-fi speakers, care is put into different things. Near-field studio monitors are made to point directly at you and set at ear level. Hi-fi speakers are made to fill a room and be exciting. For that reason, monitors typically aren't set that far appart from each other. As a result, their sweet spot is pretty small, maybe a 50cm diameter circle. They don't sound 'bad' outside of that they just don't sound as full. From my understanding, hi-fi speakers aren't design to be so focused, like large room filling column speakers.

    The other thing to think of is that some of these mixing speakers are highly regarded because they allow to mix properly much more than because they sound good. The perfect example is the yamaha ns-10. It's a studio staple. It has very tight dynamics and also has a crossover frequency at 4kHz which is much higher than the average hi-fi system (the cross-over is a device that selects which frequency range goes to which speaker). These two things make it a great speaker to mix on, dynamics are easier to control and the ever so hard to mix mid-range frequencies aren't smudged by the cross over. That being said, for casual listening those two things really aren't that important and the ns-10 is regarded as being one of the harshest and most ear fatiguing speaker out there (for those same reasons actually).

    Another thing is bass port design. The bass port is a hole in the speaker that acts as a suspension for the woofer as it pushes a column of air back and forth. Basically it allows it to go much deeper. However, it also effects the dynamics of the sound. For that reason I think monitors don't rely on ports as much as high-fi systems to get the bass. So, to get an extended bass range on monitors, you need much bigger speakers.

    Lastly, engineers care a lot about the stereo image of their speakers. It's actually very neat because sounds that are centered really sounds like they are coming from a speaker right in front of you. That is great when you are listening in the sweet spot but not really all that important if you're elsewhere in the room. For that reasons, I think monitors are made to much tighter tolerances than hi-fi systems. Also, if you hadn't already noticed, they are sold by the unit. That's partly a marketing ploy but probably really nice if one of your speakers ends up dying.

    So, you can see that hi-fis and near fields are made to fulfill different needs. Studio monitors will get you closer to what the mixing engineer was hearing when he was mixing but it doesn't mean that it'll be the best experience.

    As for slightly cheaper alternatives to spoonie's initial suggestions. The Yamaha HS80 are quite highly regarded for their price. The krk rokit 8 are typically viewed as inferior to the HS80 as they have slightly hyped low-mids and not as clear mids as the HS80. That being said, having compared the two side by side the difference isn't as big as some people make it out to be and the krks are probably better for home listening as they have slightly deeper bass and have a front facing port which means they can be put closer to a rear wheel without ill effect on the sound (they can also play extremely loud). They're also cheaper. I can't recommend specific hi-fis as I'm not really familiar with them.

    As for the Adam A5X and Genelec 6010A, they have pretty small woofers. They're probably really useful if you're not mixing bass heavy music or if have a sub-woofer on stand-by when you need it. They're probably not very exciting to listen to on their own and a very bad bang for buck for casual listening.
     
  18. quasinormal, Apr 12, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2013

    macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    I have a pair of the older and slightly less powerful Adam A5. I also have the matching Sub8, but I don't really think it's necessary. When set correctly though, it does make it seem the speakers are much larger than they actually are.

    I think anybody would be very happy with a pair of the A5X, once their ears adjust to the sound signature. I love the stereo imaging and the way the ample power drives the woofers- underpowered speakers sound sloppy and flabby in the bass end to me. As paolo says, they aren't room fillers though and can be very unforgiving of poorly engineered recordings. I have mine connected with balanced XLR cables connected to a Lavry DA11 DAC, but think I preferred the thinner but more transparent sound of RCA cables connected to Apogee Duet FireWire 400 DAC/ADC.

    Just out interest BRLawyer I noticed you have a pair of Soundsticks II in your signature. How do you find these? I thought my old pair sounded great with any source in a near field situation.
     
  19. macrumors 65816

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    #19
    B&W is known to make likley the best high end speakers in the world. Their 600 series line is considered the benchmark for refference speakers and I've never heard a manufacturer that beats them for the price. You can squeeze set of 686 speakers and an amp and sub for under $1000 if you get a good deal.

    I wouldn't consider any option besides this one.
     
  20. macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Good option. B&W make great stuff, pro and consumer.

    Another is Tannoy's consumer speakers. Also quite good - though I admit I can't remember which model range I listened to about 10 years ago.
     
  21. thread starter Guest

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    #21
    Once more, I really appreciate the attention given to my questions in this thread; thank you all..!

    Quasinormal, I actually created this thread because I had a problem (almost at the same time) with TWO HK systems I have at home: the Soundsticks II for my iMac, and the subwoofer from the HKTS16 set, which stopped working with my TV/home theater set.

    The Soundsticks issue seems to be one of bad contact between the main cable and the Y-adapter for RCA cables that I was using. The subwoofer was making a terribly loud sound that could only be stopped with some manual pressure on certain parts of the plug.

    Unfortunately, Switzerland has only one HK service center located two hours from home, so I haven't had the time to send them over yet...in the meantime, I am considering buying new, more reliable speakers with a direct RCA/coaxial connection. Besides, the Soundsticks' cabling is custom-made by HK, which makes it mandatory to pack the WHOLE set instead of just the faulty part (i.e., I can't use the sticks without the subwoofer).

    Sound-wise, they are pretty good from a sitting distance, as well as for listening in my relatively small office (some 18 square meters with little furniture around). They also have this great, timeless design that fits perfectly with Apple devices.

    The other subwoofer now simply has its LED blinking with no sound coming out (and it doesn't register either when I perform the sound tone tests from my home theater kit)...but at least the other five speakers are OK for the moment.

    So given the above, and considering my Nuforce DAC, my increasingly-lossless iTunes library and my love for good music, I am seriously considering new, good hi-fi/studio-quality speakers...but Paolo's remarks are now making me rethink the whole approach, as studio monitors may NOT be the best choice for me.
     
  22. thread starter Guest

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    #22
    Guys, you don't have to know German to understand the list - but your advice on the following link's options would be greatly appreciated!

    http://shop.homecinema.ch/index.php/cat/c68_Stand-Lautsprecher.html

    As said above, my ideal limit would be under $1000 for a pair of speakers (most if not all prices on the list above are PER unit)...

    By the way, what's the difference between a 2.5-way and 3-way speaker? The latter means highs/mids/lows all together, right?
     
  23. thread starter Guest

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    #23
    Guys, tks a lot again for all your help - in the end I went with the B&W 685 as well as a compact amp from Denon (the DRA-F109) - I realized that I would not be able to use passive speakers on the Nuforce HDP DAC without a proper amp.

    The whole set cost about $1000 - now I only need the B&W stands for the speakers.
     
  24. macrumors 68040

    calderone

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    #24
    Little late to this thread... and a little over budget. But I recently purchased Joey Roth's ceramic speakers and my goodness...

    http://joeyroth.com/ceramic-speakers/

    Truly lovely set; clear and charming.
     
  25. Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #25
    I just spotted this thread and was about to give another vote for B&W - I have quite a lot of their stuff and find them excellent in terms of audio quality, very well & solidly made and stylishly designed.

    Good luck with them, I hope you enjoy them and please let us know how you find them.
     

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