Active Speaker Recommendations

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Alchemist, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. Alchemist macrumors member

    Alchemist

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hi all,

    So I've been thinking about getting some decent speakers for a long time now and have finally decided to take the plunge. I've started working from home and I listen to music all day and I really appreciate the difference between cheap plasticky computer speakers and a slightly higher end system.

    I've decided that a pair of decent Active speakers is probably the way to go. The issue though is that I'm wanting to listen to music on these speakers, not mix, edit or master so I am looking for a pair of speakers that make the music sound good rather than being too 'reference-y' (that's a made up word....;)). I'm not looking to spend big bucks here, so no genuine 'hi-fi' recommendations please.

    I want something that is going to provide a big improvement over my iMac internal speakers and aren't computer speakers. I like the look of the Edirol MA-15D's and the M-Audio AV40's but as they're both termed 'monitors' I'm unsure as to whether they'd sound good or would end up being too neutral to be good listening speakers.

    I've also heard Genelec and a few other names bandied about. So... enough from me, what are your suggestions?

    Cheers guys,

    Tony
     
  2. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #2
    Most active speakers are monitors or dedicated "computer" speakers, you sound like you want a pair of hi-fi speakers.

    I assume you're not producing music as you don't mention it.

    Monitors are designed to be as "flat" as possible, i.e. to introduce as little additional tonal change to the music as possible, they can be fine for music listening, but poorly recorded music will sound just like poorly recorded music...!

    That said, KRK do some very cute actives, as to Genelec, but my favorite is by far Dynaudio, a little pricey but well worth the effort.

    Check out the BM5a Compacthttp://www.dynaudioacoustics.com/Default.asp?Id=6611.

    You'll get better value from a pair of KEF or B&W bookshelf hifi speakers and a small amp however.
     
  3. paul.b.davis macrumors 6502

    paul.b.davis

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Location:
    Over the hills and far away...
    #3
    I have KRK RP-5's which run around $300 for a pair

    I use them for recording (I am on a college student's budget), but I also use them to listen to music and they sound great.
     
  4. Alchemist thread starter macrumors member

    Alchemist

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Cheers for your thoughts guys.

    Yep, that was what I was saying, I was wondering if the overly flat response of monitors would make for poor 'listening' speakers.

    I've thought about the Amp+Bookshelf speakers option, but I wasn't sure how you go about connecting them up. Can anybody explain how you go from the limited outputs on a Mac to a proper Amp? And also, what would be a good bang for your buck Amp and Speaker combo for listening to music? I'm not looking to spend much... maybe £200. Max £300.

    Thanks guys

    Tony
     
  5. Adrien Baker macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location:
    Bakersfield, Ca.
    #5
    The simplest way is to run a Y-Adapter (1/8 to RCA) from your 1/8" line out. Other options include external firewire/usb sound cards.

    As for Hi-Fi speakers I don't know what to tell you, B&W's are what I would get for that use HT/Music Listening only...however I have KRK's because I do both.

    Adrien
     
  6. sabocat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    #6
    I would go with a pair of Epos bookshelf speakers. They're cheap and get good audiophile reviews. Then I would add a small integrated amp and a squeezebox and you're all set. Check out the Audiogon website for used amps, and you can research integrated amps at the audiokarma forum. They're very helpful folks, and many of them are on tight budgets and buy used equipment.
     
  7. sabocat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    #7
  8. Tarkovsky macrumors 6502

    Tarkovsky

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2007
    Location:
    London/Norwich
    #8
    Seconded. KEF have ridiculous value second hand atm.
     
  9. John.B macrumors 601

    John.B

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    Holocene Epoch
  10. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #10
    I second the KRK Rokit RP5s.

    Other monitors also worth looking at which I've had experience with are the Tannoy Reveal Active (may be a little pricey) and the Samson Resolv50a (I own a pair). Samson also produce the Rubicon series, almost identical to the Resolvs except they have a ribbon tweeter.
     
  11. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #11
    Whenever you mention Adams and Dynaudios and Genelecs, could you also mention that the price on these rapidly moves northward of $1000? Each, for some of them?

    These aren't serious budgetary alternatives to someone who is pricing out Edirol monitors at $150 a pair.

    OP: It would help things if you would give a budget range for your purchase. I know you threw in Genelec, probably because you have heard good things about the brand, but it leaves us confused as to the price you are willing to spend.

    Also confused as to your distinction between an accurate speaker and a 'good listening' speaker. Any small bookshelf speaker is NOT going to give you much bass below about 60 Hz. If you want to rock the joint, or play PC games that blow up real good, or if you listen to a lot of hip hop and other styles that rely on sub bass, then you need to look at a system with a subwoofer.

    In the affordable range, you may have to look at 'computer' speaker set, like the Logitech Z5500's (5.1 with a substantial subwoofer) that have a digital surround decoder (will attach by optical cable to modern Macs) and a lot of bass power. These will be fun to listen to, but not particularly accurate from a recording studio monitor point of view. They come on sale periodically in the $200 - $240 region for the set. Beware they are HEAVY so shipping is a consideration. Dell sometimes puts them on sale with free shipping.
     
  12. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #12
    I'd second CanadaRAM on that - HiFi speakers and professional monitor speakers are quite different in a few ways (although you can sometimes monitor successfully on hifi speakers, depending on the brand/model). HiFi speakers are (generally) very comfortable to listen to, and will do their best to make all music sound fantastic and comfortable.

    Monitor speakers, which seems to be what you're asking about, will reproduce the recording as accurately as possible - for the better or worse. If the recording is good, it will sound good; if the recording is poor, it will sound poor, and if the recording is dreadful, it really will sound dreadful.
     
  13. cheeseadiddle macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    #14
    I have the m-audio AV-40's. These are the best speakers I've ever had for a computer. I've had the Klipsch 2.1's, Altec Lansing 2.1's Logitech 2.1's and a few others I can't remember. These sound much fuller and cleaner than any of those. More volume too. I wouldn't hesitate a minute to pick a set of these up. Really helps to de-couple them from the shelf they are sitting on too. You can buy the purpose made acoustic foam deals for $50, or you can buy a couple mouse pads and stick one under each speaker.
     
  14. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #15
    Good post RAM, but the Dynaudio BM5a compacts are much cheaper than that. Sure the BM6a's are pricey.
     
  15. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #16
    Another good thing to mention about the Samsons is that they aren't as sensitive to placement as other speakers, as the vents are forward facing (the big hole where bass comes out).

    I've found I can in fact place mine in the middle of a room and they still produce a fairly decent amount of bass (very impressive given how compact they are), and yet I can place them in the corners of a room (where they should normally sound terrible) and they still sound very good.

    Also, they come with the appropriate mounting pads to isolate them from whatever they're sat on, like little rubber feet.
     
  16. Cycom macrumors 6502

    Cycom

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #17
    You clearly have good taste and common sense. A7's are superior to any Dynaudio or Genelecs in the same price bracket....and they absolutely crush other monitors such as KRK's or Event's.

    A7's = best studio monitors for the money. Period.
     
  17. ZionRecords macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    England :)
    #18
    All i can say is iv used two YAMAHA HS80 speakers for a couple of years now and they are pretty dam good, i paid £200 each for them but i think you can pick a pair up now for just under £350 / $700
     
  18. JeanE macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    #19
    Hi,

    I presume that you want to improve your listening quality but that you do not want to change the listening place.

    So what you need is an "Active Nearfield Monitor" which you can plug via Minijack OR via separate USB Audio Interface.(Cinch or RCA)

    Those loudspeakers are not comparable to the conventional HiFi domain, as they offer better result in the nearfield...

    Why not Edirol.
     
  19. dougens macrumors member

    dougens

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Location:
    London
    #20
    I've got Tannoy Reveal Active Monitors and always had good results from them.
    Not sure about price in US but UK retail for about £300.
    Worth a look.
     

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