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nunhgrader
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Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

Looking for some great active desktop monitor/ speaker suggestions. I am starting to upgrade my Harmon Kardon 8 watters for something a little more substantial. I have looked st M-Audio Studiophile AV40s, KRK Monitors and Quad 11Ls (I think that is their model numbers). I am interested in using these with a desktop system that will start out with a basic set-up and eventually include a top end sound card along with some higher end cables. I may opt for a studio monitor with a sub out also. I like headphone outputs and rca connections - 1/8" inputs are nice as well but, not manditory.

Any suggestions will be appreciated!

ncdrawl
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

I would most definitely reccomend the audioengine a2!

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/1007/audioengine_a2.htm

smejias
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

Bob Reina's review of the Audioengine 2 is here.

Buddha
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

As a fun part of this process, head over to your local Guitar Center and give a listen to their lines of powered small monitor speakers.

It sounds like you may have, already, but they have loads of lines you can audition and are priced amazingly well!

Add the small Mackies to your list, as well as the Yamaha line, Alesis, JBL, Adam, Blue Sky, and even Dynaudio!

Take some of your favorite discs down to the store and you'll get alot of one-stop auditioning opportunities.

Cheers.

BillB
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

I happened to be at a music store the other day and saw Mackies, Alesis, and others in mixing setups. With their exposed drivers (no grills), the display models had all been prodded and poked, and every single one had dents in (at least) one tweeter. Too loud that day in the store to do any listening comparison. Hope the OP can find display models that are in better shape!

Buddha
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please


Quote:
I happened to be at a music store the other day and saw Mackies, Alesis, and others in mixing setups. With their exposed drivers (no grills), the display models had all been prodded and poked, and every single one had dents in (at least) one tweeter. Too loud that day in the store to do any listening comparison. Hope the OP can find display models that are in better shape!

Wow! That is egregious.

In Las Vegas, the Guitar Centers have well appointed seperate listening rooms for the recording monitors and the staff is pretty attentive.

The listening rooms even have sound treatments in place.

I blame drummers for the state of the store you visited. Heathens, all.

BillB
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

What do you call a person with no musical talent who likes to hang out with a band?
The drummer...

How do you get a drummer off your porch?
PAY him for the pizza...

What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend?
Homeless...

J/k, I do love and respect drummers for real.

Guitar Center is indeed better; I was at a Best Buy and they have a new area, a well stocked musical instrument section. With poked tweeters.

Editor
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please


Quote:
What do you call a person with no musical talent who likes to hang out with a band?
The drummer...

How do you know a drummer's at your door? The knocking speeds up.

How do you know the stage is level? The drummer drools from both sides of his mouth.

Seriously, I strongly recommend the Audioengine 2, and though we haven't reviewed it, the Audioengine 5 is also worth a listen.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Buddha
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please


Quote:

Quote:
What do you call a person with no musical talent who likes to hang out with a band?
The drummer...

How do you know a drummer's at your door? The knocking speeds up.

How do you know the stage is level? The drummer drools from both sides of his mouth.

Seriously, I strongly recommend the Audioengine 2, and though we haven't reviewed it, the Audioengine 5 is also worth a listen.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

I agree about the quality of the Audio Engines. I have a buddy with the Model 5's and I am amazed by their sound.

I do, however, still wonder which 'pro monitor' they were before being rebranded.

Buddha
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

Dang, I forgot these babies.... Ferguson Hill FH007's!

We're gonna try to use a pair for a T.H.E. second room demo!

Art Dudley
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

Q: What's the difference between a drummer and a large pizza?

A: The pizza can feed a family of four.

mrlowry
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

What's the last thing a drummer says before he gets fired?

"Hey guys listen to the song I just wrote."

I'd like to dedicate that joke to Ringo Starr

Chizzap30
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

No other way to go but the AVI ADM 9.1's www.avihifi.com

NSDIV
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

Maybe, but those are $2-3K, which is enough for a small integrated and a pair of speakers, maybe even a DAC.

I've been wondering about this question myself. I'd like a pair of speakers to sit next to my monitor, but they don't have to be powered, I'm willing to use an IA. I'm much more concerned with sound quality, and how any of these speakers will sound at a 2' listening distance.

I'm using a 30" monitor, and the desk is large, so I've got room for speakers that are 9-10" across and maybe 21" tall, which could be placed on the desktop or on a small stand. Still, listening distance is about 2'.

What's a better idea: small speaker, small powered speaker, large speaker?

My fidelity needs are not that great, I'm not recording, mixing, or critically listening (I'd move rooms for that), but sometimes I'm watching a video or movie, or playing a song for someone and it should sound good. So my fidelity needs are not great, but my standards are very high.

jackfish
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

First, they will have to be shielded or will make your monitor go all kittywhumpas. Second, most home audio loudspeakers are not designed for nearfield listening, but that doesn't mean that many will not work well nearfield. In some cases as far away from speakers as 8 feet can be considered listening in nearfield. Not having much experience in this area I would think experimentation is going to help you find a solution. Start with speakers that sound good to you and see if they still sound good in a nearfield position.

Buddha
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

Stereophile Class A recommended for 600 bucks.

They easily detach from the stands.

The woofer is amplified, so you can have loads of fun with different intergrateds without requiring too much of them.

Stereophile's review.

Quite a bargain!

NSDIV
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please


Quote:
First, they will have to be shielded or will make your monitor go all kittywhumpas. Second, most home audio loudspeakers are not designed for nearfield listening, but that doesn't mean that many will not work well nearfield. In some cases as far away from speakers as 8 feet can be considered listening in nearfield. Not having much experience in this area I would think experimentation is going to help you find a solution. Start with speakers that sound good to you and see if they still sound good in a nearfield position.

I didn't think LCD monitors need shielded speakers?

jackfish
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

Oops! You are right, LCDs are not affected by loudspeaker magnets. Good luck in your nearfield speaker search.

Monkey Mouse
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

If you are looking to spend $1k or so on powered monitors, two choices stand out: ADAM A7 (I have these) and the Dynaudio 5. There are other choices, but these are going to be what you will probably gravitate to.

struts
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

Anyone had a chance to audition the Dynaudio MC15s yet?

At first blush they look expensive ($1300) for what they are but in my experience Dynaudio products have mostly delivered excellent value so I'm happy to reserve judgement.

NSDIV
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

I'm leaning towards the Adam A5 or the Dynaudio MC15. Both seem about the right size for a desktop, and come with the angled stands. The A5 is almost half the price, but I like silk dome tweeters and the Dynaudio build quality looks less studio more professional desktop. Monkey Mouse, what do you think of the tweeter on the A7? In the end price may decide it, I don't know if I can justify >$1K for speakers to reproduce mainly YouTube vids and downloaded episodes of LOST. Music reproduction would be a distant 3rd, but I'm so used to great speakers that I dislike bad reproduction even of questionable fidelity source material.

ajschmidt
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

on the cheap the M-Audio BX8a's are great in the $600 range.
I have ADAM A7s too, great if you love transparent highs.
I just heard the Genelec 1037C's at a friends studio and they are the closest to BW 800 range that I have ever heard; 10K pair. Best range in a powered monitor.

ajschmidt
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please


Quote:
I'm leaning towards the Adam A5 or the Dynaudio MC15. Both seem about the right size for a desktop, and come with the angled stands. The A5 is almost half the price, but I like silk dome tweeters and the Dynaudio build quality looks less studio more professional desktop. Monkey Mouse, what do you think of the tweeter on the A7? In the end price may decide it, I don't know if I can justify >$1K for speakers to reproduce mainly YouTube vids and downloaded episodes of LOST. Music reproduction would be a distant 3rd, but I'm so used to great speakers that I dislike bad reproduction even of questionable fidelity source material.

YouTube and Lost? Wow. I would tend to go for a cheaper speaker with a lower end. The ADAMs will sound way to sharp/muddy with compressed audio. If you can hear the Samson MediaOne 5a (my ipod kitchen speakers; along with the house system's zone 2 sonus fabers via a Denon 4308) they do well with compressed content and are about $200. They sound much more full than a normal near field.

NSDIV
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please


Quote:

Quote:
I'm leaning towards the Adam A5 or the Dynaudio MC15. Both seem about the right size for a desktop, and come with the angled stands. The A5 is almost half the price, but I like silk dome tweeters and the Dynaudio build quality looks less studio more professional desktop. Monkey Mouse, what do you think of the tweeter on the A7? In the end price may decide it, I don't know if I can justify >$1K for speakers to reproduce mainly YouTube vids and downloaded episodes of LOST. Music reproduction would be a distant 3rd, but I'm so used to great speakers that I dislike bad reproduction even of questionable fidelity source material.

YouTube and Lost? Wow. I would tend to go for a cheaper speaker with a lower end. The ADAMs will sound way to sharp/muddy with compressed audio. If you can hear the Samson MediaOne 5a (my ipod kitchen speakers; along with the house system's zone 2 sonus fabers via a Denon 4308) they do well with compressed content and are about $200. They sound much more full than a normal near field.

I'd rather hear crappy repro of mp3s so I can complain about how bad they sound... does this make any sense? IOW even if it sounds bad I'd rather have an accurate portrayal.

But I'll take a look at what you suggested in case I'm being stupid.

misterdecibel
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

Did you hear about the bassist who locked his keys in the van?

Took him an hour to get the drummer out.

misterdecibel
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please


Quote:
I have looked st M-Audio Studiophile AV40s...

Awful. Just awful. I took a gamble and ordered a pair 'cause the dealer had them cheap ($118 at www.provantage.com). They're not even worth that. Mids are boxy, hooded and tunnel-y. Unlistenable levels of mid coloration.

As soon as the pair of Audioengine 2s arrive, these shitboxes are going on eBait.

Buddha
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please


Quote:

Quote:
I have looked st M-Audio Studiophile AV40s...

Awful. Just awful. I took a gamble and ordered a pair 'cause the dealer had them cheap ($118 at www.provantage.com). They're not even worth that. Mids are boxy, hooded and tunnel-y. Unlistenable levels of mid coloration.

As soon as the pair of Audioengine 2s arrive, these shitboxes are going on eBait.

Just for grins, try plugging the rear port and see if the sound improves a bit. I'd be curious to see if you thought it affected the midrange.

BillB
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

I got the AudioEngine 2's and think they're alright. But I got the 5's also as a gift for a family member and like them much better. I'm thinking of sending the 2's back and getting the 5's instead.

misterdecibel
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:
I have looked st M-Audio Studiophile AV40s...

Awful. Just awful. I took a gamble and ordered a pair 'cause the dealer had them cheap ($118 at www.provantage.com). They're not even worth that. Mids are boxy, hooded and tunnel-y. Unlistenable levels of mid coloration.

As soon as the pair of Audioengine 2s arrive, these shitboxes are going on eBait.

Just for grins, try plugging the rear port and see if the sound improves a bit. I'd be curious to see if you thought it affected the midrange.

I'll try that tomorrow, should be fun. I enjoy a good science experiment.

misterdecibel
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please

Okay, I tried stuffing the ports (with socks ) and I'm not hearing any difference in the mids, but the "bottom" seems a bit tighter. Pulling the socks out, I gain about half an octave of "low" end, but lose a little mid-bass punch. There's a nasty peak or resonance around 300-400Hz that just rides on top of everything, and didn't seem to be affected by the sock mod.

I think the net win goes to leaving the ports open.

misterdecibel
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Re: Active Desktop Monitor/ Speakers suggestions please


Quote:
I got the AudioEngine 2's and think they're alright. But I got the 5's also as a gift for a family member and like them much better. I'm thinking of sending the 2's back and getting the 5's instead.

I agree that they're closer to "a'ight" than "phenomenal". Not nearly as colored as the M-Audio AV40s, but there's still some "boxy" and "chesty" business going on. Partially I think the lower mids may seem a bit "exposed" because of the absence of the bottom octaves, but I'm not sure I wanna cough up the $399 for the AE subwoofer.

Quite frankly the built-in speakers in my Samsung TV are less obtrusively colored than either of these powered monitors.

None of these are even close to the old Monsoon MM1000 computer speakers, too bad Monsoon went out of business.

adsmithy
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What speakers did you go for

What speakers did you go for in the end?

barefoot
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No Grills in Studio
BillB wrote:

I happened to be at a music store the other day and saw Mackies, Alesis, and others in mixing setups. With their exposed drivers (no grills), the display models had all been prodded and poked, and every single one had dents in (at least) one tweeter. Too loud that day in the store to do any listening comparison. Hope the OP can find display models that are in better shape!

It’s shame that the speakers were damaged.  But no grills is the norm the studio.   So it wouldn’t make sense for the store to display their monitors with grills on, when they will almost never be used that way by the end users.   And while it does happen, musicians have less of a tendency to poke at tweeters in the studio, when they know the cost of replacements will be tacked onto their bill. ;-)

Thomas

Thomas Barefoot, President/CTO, Barefoot Sound (manufacturer)

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