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Top <$300 Active speakers?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 

I never really invested much money on my speakers, but I do have a O2/Odac and have bought, tryed, and tested many different headphones including the LCD2's (My friend owns them)
that same friend gave me his 2nd hand Klipsch Pro Media's to use while he was in a period of very active working and did not have much time to himself to use them, his life has settled down a bit and he is currently living with me and waiting for me to pick a new set of speakers so I can return these. Reason being we hang out at my computer ALOT watching movies, anime, and listening to music etc.

With the increased amount of company coming over I figure its time to spend a little on some decent speakers that will be used for everything pretty much, I was going to go passive but decided against it for the sake of keeping things at my computer space a little less cluttered and simple.

So I am looking for a list of some known top Price/Performance ACTIVE set ups for the entertainment throne to sift through/compare

Thanks guys.

 

post #2 of 35

I am not going to recommend anything specific because everyone's budget, circumstances and tastes varies but there are a few things to consider.

 

Size

Think about this for a number of reasons, while the size of the speakers may fit your desk will you want a sub to get that lovely deep bass rumble, or will buying a slightly bigger monitor be enough.  Have you got room on the desk for a 7-8" driver or will you be better served with a smaller 4-5" cone and a small sub.  

 

Ports

If you are listening on a desk close to a wall you will want to have front ported or sealed cabinets.  Rear ported speakers will require 5" of clearance from anything behind otherwise you can get some distortion.

 

Design

Some speakers are designed for mastering and recording purposes and will have a highly detailed flat response that can make some music/films sound a little "strange".  This usually wont become apparent until you have parted with your cash as they will sound awesome when you demo them in a pre-designed space listening to music.  Most lower end (sub $500) monitors wont really be an issue and some are certainly more coloured than others however this leads onto my last thing to consider.

 

Auditioning

Probably the number one thing you can do.  Take your laptop/mp3 player with you loaded with familiar tracks and YOUR dac.  Awkward I know but when spending this sort of money its worth doing.  Remember that if you audition in a store you are not obligated to buy there however I like to try and support local suppliers.  Ask them if they will price match online prices or at least offer you a close price as you not only get to walk away with the item that day but also you become one of their loyal customers and will look after you in future.

 

All common sense really but buying blind after a few beers is very easy to do, and can lead to disappointment :D

post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 

Well currently with the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 I almost have the subwoofer completely off, beyond a very tiny twist I find the bass bleeds over into the mid's and destroys them too much, but there is a bit of depth lacking with it all the way off, so a bigger monitor would probably do (the pro medias are pretty small) as far as size goes I'll adapt the sound comes first.

I am on a wall and I have run into this problem and it is a problem with alot of speakers for me, I don't have enough space behind where the speakers will be placed for a rear ported setup

I would also like to mention that I do prefer flat set ups to allow the music or material I am watching to be portrayed without influence from my speakers or component's, Or very slightly warm without overpowering treble, Vocal clarity without harsh treble and just enough bass that mid range is not affected is my preferred flavor you could say the Promedia's I am currently using are a tad too warm

Of course if there was a store in town that I could audition offerings that I am interested in I would be there non stop until I found what I wanted, I don't live in a bigger city and most of the occupations here are based in customer service, best buy is the only thing in town that deals in anything electronic, plenty of liquor and gun stores though.

after looking around a bit my budget is a bit higher ($400)

also factoring in the price of a receiver would I get more bang for my buck going passive? seems there is a lot more passive offerings but like I said I am trying to keep things simple and a receiver is just another variable in the equation and I don't have much experience in speaker setups mostly just headphone amps / Dacs / and headphones

I am interested in the Swan HiVi M200MKIII does anyone have first hand experience with these? How are Alesis offerings?

Also like to mention I will be using my O2/Odac as a preamp 

Tablix, you seem very knowledgeable about speakers passive and active reading some of your post's, if you could give me a little more direction after factoring in my 2nd post I would be very happy!


Edited by TunneLVisioN42 - 4/7/13 at 7:08am
post #4 of 35

I would not say I am an expert but you may want to do some google research on monitors beyond this site.  Some models you may want to look into would be the KRK RP range, M-Audio have two tiers of monitors, Yamaha HS speakers or ADAM's F series.  A good starting point from my perspective, the KRK's and M-Audio, are a little more musical but still pretty accurate for their price.  The M-Audio and Yamaha speakers are rear ported so may not work for you.  For a little more money you can look into ADAM's new F series of monitors, I have not actually heard them but I own monitors from there AX range and find them simple outstanding value for money.

 

http://www.adam-audio.com/en/pro-audio/products/f5/description

http://www.krksys.com/krk-studio-monitor-speakers/rokit/rokit-5.html

 

Both have a range of sizes and also the option to add a sub at a later time if you feel you want to.

 

Lots of people on this forum also approve of Emotiva's range of active's but I have no experience.

 

Consider using Amazon or similar online store with a good returns policy, then perhaps use some credit card to but TWO sets that you may think suits your needs and then return what one after some home testing.  You may have to suffer postage costs but that's a pretty small price to pay for listening in your own environment.

 

Hope that gives you a few pointers of where to start your research :D 

post #5 of 35
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot, all of this information will be absorbed and I am truly grateful for your write up to help me learn about speakers! I was looking at the KRK sets they looked interesting I think there is a few brands I have my eye on and after looking into it a bit more ask for comparisons between the models I pick out and then go for it, I have also done what you mention with headphones on amazon. One more thing, is there any other community sites more focused on speakers rather than headphones I can pull information from aswell?

post #6 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by TunneLVisioN42 View Post

Thanks a lot, all of this information will be absorbed and I am truly grateful for your write up to help me learn about speakers! I was looking at the KRK sets they looked interesting I think there is a few brands I have my eye on and after looking into it a bit more ask for comparisons between the models I pick out and then go for it, I have also done what you mention with headphones on amazon. One more thing, is there any other community sites more focused on speakers rather than headphones I can pull information from aswell?


gearslutz.com has alot of actual studio experience there that can help you out for sure, since we're talking active monitors. I however went with Yamaha HS50M's and the corresponding HS10W subwoofer. It sounds amazingly clear and imaging is superb.

post #7 of 35

Yamaha HS speakers are very good value for money, however they are rear ported which put me off.  I did seriously consider the HS80's and loved the high end detail however I am working on a desk that is not deep enough to allow the rear ports to "breathe" so blew my budget completely and went for ADAM A7X.  Maybe it was a good salesman that helped me push my budget beyond what I originally started out with but I have had no issues and am still enjoying them 2 years later with no need to consider a change.  I am currently thinking about changing my audio interface for a dedicated DAC, but that is another story entirely :D

 

This is quite a good read: http://www.musicradar.com/tuition/tech/14-recommended-studio-monitor-speakers-233378/4

post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 

Thank you ! Will be going over the links provided soon (Compiling a bookmark database for everything active monitor including gearslutz) Yeah it seems I am gonna have to go with a sealed or front ported set, quick question? what are the differences between a traditional tweeter and a ribbon tweeter? I was looking at these briefly http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/B3030A/ and noticed they come with traditional tweeter styles as well at a cheaper price which made me curious.

post #9 of 35

I am no expert and wouldn't like to mislead you, I recommend you do a little research.  Wikipedia is a fabulous asset to learn from and its where I started out and even now I am still learning.  The main difference between the two sets of behringer speakers is the frequency response.  If you look in the detailed spec you will see the speaker you linked with the ribbon tweeter has a more extended top end frequency.  The cone version is 50Hz - 21Khz whereas the ribbon version extends right up to 24Khz.  I wouldn't get too hung up on it at the end of the day, you can also look into the large variety of materials used for tweeters and again try to make assumptions.  I would say a sound signature is far more than a sum of mechanical parts and individual to each listener.  

 

I took literally months researching before I even went into a store to audition and by the time I walked out I had changed many of my opinions :D  

I wish you luck.

post #10 of 35

Oh before you pull the trigger and buy some you may want to consider this http://www.behringer.com/EN/products/K8.aspx

 

Looks like they have their own version of the KRK RP series in the production line, and will likely be cheaper.

post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by TunneLVisioN42 View Post

Well currently with the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 I almost have the subwoofer completely off, beyond a very tiny twist I find the bass bleeds over into the mid's and destroys them too much, but there is a bit of depth lacking with it all the way off, so a bigger monitor would probably do (the pro medias are pretty small) as far as size goes I'll adapt the sound comes first.

I am on a wall and I have run into this problem and it is a problem with alot of speakers for me, I don't have enough space behind where the speakers will be placed for a rear ported setup

I would also like to mention that I do prefer flat set ups to allow the music or material I am watching to be portrayed without influence from my speakers or component's, Or very slightly warm without overpowering treble, Vocal clarity without harsh treble and just enough bass that mid range is not affected is my preferred flavor you could say the Promedia's I am currently using are a tad too warm

 

A pair of KRK Rokit 5's for $300 may be your best bet based upon your sounds preferences.

If you dont mind buying used and going all the way to $400 and can handle some big 8in woofer monitors, the KRK Rokit 8's are a good buy. Theres currently two used ones available for $200 ea.

post #12 of 35

I've got the new yamaha nx50.

 

They're absolutely brilliant for the price I got them for (£50) (at the annual bristol sound and vision hifi show). 

Very small, active speakers that dismantle the muddy audioengine a2's and anything in the creative gigaworks series. Really - the difference is that big. These are a balanced pair of speakers, with a mid bass hump and a slight emphasis up top as well, without having a recessed midrange. On the contrary, their midrange is exceptionally detailed. 

I'm listening now to my headphone rig:

 

vdac>graham slee solo ultra linear diamond edition>denon d7k

 

And when I switch to the speakers, as long as my positioning is right, there isn't much of a dip in SQ at all. Detailing is very nearly as strong, believe it or not. 

post #13 of 35

Those yamaha nx 50's look nice, but i'm not easily finding a US-based shop for them.
 

post #14 of 35

The Yamaha NX50's are showing up at almost £100 every store I visit, also you have a single 2.75" full range cone limited to just 14wts RMS.  The frequency range of 50hz-20Khz is also not to great, and I feat that one amp is driving both cones in a master/slave scenario.  May I suggest these are Style>Substance.  The Rokit 5 offers the same frequency response, but having two drivers you will have far higher accuracy as well as individual amps. I would stretch the budget and by some Rokit 6's and be sure you are getting what you pay for.  I am not saying the Yamaha's will be aweful but I would be mindful of the single driver and single amp.

 

Full spec of the NX50: Highlight areas for concern.

 

- Input Terminal: Stereo L/R: 3.5mm mini jack x 2
- Headphone Jack: Stereo L/R: 3.5mm mini
- Maximum Output Power: 7 W x 2 (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 10% THD)
- Speaker Unit: 7 cm (2-3/4”) full-range cone
- Frequency Response: 55 Hz—20 kHz
- Power Supply: AC
- Power Consumption: 13 W (Power off; 0.5 W or less)
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 83 x 184 x 184 mm; 3-3/8” x 7-1/4” x 7-1/4”
- Weight: Right speaker; 1.03 kg (2.27 lbs.), Left speaker; 0.9 kg (1.98 lbs.)
- Colours: Black, Orange, Purple, Silver, White

 

This may be just me but I would suggest double the budget for MORE than double the quality.

post #15 of 35
Thread Starter 

Yeah I could not find a US based seller as well, but its no biggie they seem to be a little small for me anyways
Also I figured these might be of interest since the Rockit's are being mentioned, checked them out a little ago

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn3WwsqSoxg&list=UUMyZJifcyFLUjQv553QTQ8w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D06mFZ_MCtE&list=UUMyZJifcyFLUjQv553QTQ8w

I
f only there were more videos like this haha

When it comes to the 5" comparison I think I prefer the rockit's the E5 sounds a little bit more bloaty on the low end even though the rest of the signature is more relaxed the resonant hum sticks out to me

For the 8"s I think its really close, the eris sounds a little more clear but also sounds a bit off


Edited by TunneLVisioN42 - 4/7/13 at 4:00pm
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