NAM

Active Studio Monitors

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I'm currently using a pair of Fostex PM2mkii active studio monitors that I picked up for a proper steal on here a few months ago

They've been an excellent intro to active speakers and I'd recommend them to anyone but i've been thinking, since I chose that model/brand purely because of availability, is there a different (active studio monitor) speaker that would be better for not too much extra cash (i.e. if i sold the fostex's on for what i paid for them)

I've discussed this a bit with Teddy Ray by PM. I've been looking at the Yamaha hs80m's

-part of the attraction is that they're slightly smaller/look slightly nicer and also that there's very little about the Fostex's online whereas there's a lot of positive press on the yamahas (although i'm not sure how good a reason this is)

I started checking around for the best price and one dealer thought that i'd be as well sticking with the fostex's for what I use them for (i.e. home listening). Before I was told this I was pretty set on the hs80m's

Another dealer previously told me

"In terms of more top end, it probably isn’t the way to go if you want home listening, but the equator d5 would easily compete with a decent £700ish audiophile hifi setup.

We sell fostex, but they aren’t really a go to speaker. KRK VXT and Mackie HR series are more attractive than the PM2 IMHO."

Any thoughts? -on studio monitors for home use generally and any recommendations for brands/models in the <£500 range.

i'm still a bit stuck on this "studio monitors" not being suited to home listening thing- it still doesn't really make sense to me. The Fostex's certainly didn't fit with that- and seemed to be more bang for buck than equivalent "hifi" kit.

The harshness/fatiguing that people often refer to with studio monitors- is that just exaggerated treble (or other frequencies?)? -how does that fit with monitors being more neutral/flatter frequency response?

- soundonsound had a couple of articles on supposed differences between hifi and studio speakers (passives)- specifically dynamic compression and didn't really find that peoples suppositions held up to scrutiny

I recognise that this is a bit of a bone of contention on both sides of the fence (pro and hifi) so...

LET BATTLE COMMENCE

discuss...

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I've got a pair of Swans M200 mkIII's. They're not studio monitors, they're high-grade computer speakers cosmetically suitable for home use (wooden side pieces). Worth throwing in the mix.

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Neil, what is it about the Fostex's that you don't like? You seemed to be pleased with them when you first bought them. I would suggest you use your own ears for evaluation. They must have seemed like an improvement on what you had before or you wouldn't have bought them would you? There is a review by Stereo Mojo on some Alesis active monitors on their speaker review section. Have a read at that and see if there is any common ground between your experience and their reviewers.

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I have Mackie HR624 MkIIs, paid £580 for the pair (new) a few months ago, been very pleased. A little bass light at low volumes (but compared with my previous Shahinians that is to be expected). No problems with listening to them for long periods of time.

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I am really happy with them. Mainly just curious -about the real vs imagined differences in studio and hifi gear. Particularly curious about this 'harshness' etc... banded about even on pro forums like gearslutz.

The yamahas appealed cosmetically (a bit smaller apart from anything else- woild look better on current stands) and wondered if they had less hiss and less susceptibility to mobile phone interference (minor niggles in reality).

Far from desperate to change!

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I have Mackie HR624 MkIIs, paid £580 for the pair (new) a few months ago, been very pleased. A little bass light at low volumes (but compared with my previous Shahinians that is to be expected). No problems with listening to them for long periods of time.

Cool, where did you get them for that price? Whats your set up in terms of room size, listening distance and speaker positioning?

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They came from these guys

http://www.absolutemusic.co.uk/recording/monitors/mackie-hr624mk2-active-studio-monitor-each.html

They were advertised at £300 each when I bought them, and with a little on the phone haggling got a further £20 and free delivery

Room size approx 4.5m x 3.8m speakers, speakers across the room as I have two doors (one in each corner). Listening distance about 6-7ft, picture below. Room is very bare, as I've recently moved in (and it's rented). Going to put some acoustic panels behind my listening position and behind the speakers (now that I'm a single man again, I can do what I want!). Source SBT -> Leema DAC -> Mackies

Hope that helps

Img_2747.jpg

- - - Updated - - -

And another pic (in an earlier position)

machiehr624s.jpg

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They came from these guys

http://www.absolutemusic.co.uk/recording/monitors/mackie-hr624mk2-active-studio-monitor-each.html

They were advertised at £300 each when I bought them, and with a little on the phone haggling got a further £20 and free delivery

Room size approx 4.5m x 3.8m speakers, speakers across the room as I have two doors (one in each corner). Listening distance about 6-7ft, picture below. Room is very bare, as I've recently moved in (and it's rented). Going to put some acoustic panels behind my listening position and behind the speakers (now that I'm a single man again, I can do what I want!). Source SBT -> Leema DAC -> Mackies

Hope that helps

Img_2747.jpg

- - - Updated - - -

And another pic (in an earlier position)

machiehr624s.jpg

They look very nice!

So how do they sound and what have you had in the past to compare them with hifi wise? Was it just for the price that you went for the 624's insted of the 824's?

One thing that got me interested in the yamahas was that i'd been looking at the mackies but they were out of reach then i noticed that often people mentioned prefering the hs80m's. From the negative comments (harshness/ overly bassy, non-true bass whatver that means) i can't really understand why...

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Cosmetics apart, I really don't see any intrinsic difference between accurate HiFi 'speakers and Studio Monitors. For example, Harbeth's Monitor 40s and 30s are Pro monitors and HiFi 'speakers. In their day, Tannoy DCs were Studio monitors and home 'speakers as were my B&W 801Fs.

I think the difference, if there is one, between Studio monitors and some Hifi 'speakers is the accuracy bit. Studio monitors are working tools, and have to have a flat frequency response, low distortion, controlled dispersion, all of which results in low coloration. A high SPL capability is also required these days. HiFi 'speakers have to fit in domestically and be impressive on demo. This presumably accounts for the unflat frequency response, especially in the HF, together with lumpy bass which is seen regrettably frequently with HiFi 'speakers, even very expensive ones.

Of course it's a lot easier to get the required performance from active crossovers, especially if DSP based, which is why so many Studio Monitors are active. However, with careful driver and crossover design, decent performance is achievable even with passive loudspeakers as evidenced by Harbeth. I wonder how much better, though, a Monitor 40 would be with an active DSP-based crossover including fine equalisation.

In my own case, I use Active 801Fs in my main system and Genelec 1029As in my holiday system, and would never think of going back to passive 'speakers.

S.

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Those all sound like qualities i'd look for in a speaker.

So whats the root of the attitude i encountered with pro audio dealers, that i'm looking in the wrong place, for the wrong thing, that as studio monitors get better for the studio they get worse for the home etc... etc... and similar attitudes on pro gear forums (my impression)?

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NAM

Previous Speakers of note:-

MS10i's had all three versions, still have a pair in my office system, not the last word in resolution but great fun

Shahinian Arcs - Excellent room filling speaker

Shahinian Obelisks - Even better than the Arcs, a very serious speaker when driven by large amplification

Meridian D600's - Meridian's first venture into DSP speakers, a forerunner of the DSP5000

Celestion SL6iS - A teenage itch that had to be scratched, good on certain music, but very compromised

I went for the 624's as the 824's can be a bit overblown in the bass. I like bass but I want it to be fast and accurate rather than overblown/boomy in presence. 624's are also cheaper!!! The Mackie's are not as open at the top end, as some studio monitors (eg Adams), but I have always enjoyed their sound. They also have wider dispersion characteristics than a lot of monitors, and so are perhaps more suited to domestic listening than some studio monitors, as the sweet spot is little bigger. Their imaging is superb, and often with my system I'm finding that the speakers are disappearing, my previous Shahinians didn't do imaging (a function of their omnidirectional driver arrangement), they were good at other things though.

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Thanks....very helpful!

Is there any hiss with the Mackies?

Another thing that never quite makes sense to me is this idea that studio speakers either need, or benefit more from, room treatment more than "hifi" speakers? Anyone explain that?

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Thanks....very helpful!

Is there any hiss with the Mackies?

- Not that I've noticed, and no interference with my mobile
Another thing that never quite makes sense to me is this idea that studio speakers either need, or benefit more from, room treatment more than "hifi" speakers? Anyone explain that?
- All systems can benefit from room treatment

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I can't really help with suggestions for you, just wanted to say that I consider my Opals to be the best speakers I've heard and find them perfect for home listening. No harshness of any kind and work better in my (untreated) room than any 'hifi' speakers I've had.

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Decent monitors will have a flat response, which will be modified by your room of course just liked any speaker, ime listeners don't always want a flat response and prefer a little roll off on the treble, and a bit of mid upper bass 'hump'.

Some monitors with onboardcdsp allow you to precisely tailor the sound to your preference, making a pair of Gens sound like LV's for example!

Keith.

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