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Speakers or monitors for audiophile experience?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Which type of speakers (Hi-fi vs monitor) will give a closer experience of being in a concert hall if a CD of a live recording is being played?

post #2 of 16
"Hi-fi vs. monitor" are such over used marketing terms, it's difficult to discuss how they are different.

If you want the live concert hall effect, you need to shoot for a good surround system and watch blu-ray concerts. Stereo CD recordings are not a substitute smily_headphones1.gif
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

I am talking about just the old school CD. =)

Studio monitors provide accurate representation which is very detailed and revealing because they are designed for mixing. On the other hand, Hi-Fi speakers modify the sound to make them "sound better", I don't know which type is better for listening to classical music. I want the most natural sound produced in a concert hall (of course it doesn't need to reproduce the reverb as long as the sound is not colored)


Edited by JahJahBinks - 3/6/14 at 9:11pm
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JahJahBinks View Post

I am talking about just the old school CD. =)

I know. But you'll definitely want to try it if you ever get the chance. The surround adds a good bit to make it feel more immersive, as if you are there. smily_headphones1.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by JahJahBinks View Post

Studio monitors provide accurate representation which is very detailed and revealing. On the other hand, Hi-Fi speakers modify the sound to make them "sound better", I don't know which type is better for listening to classical music. 

Studio monitor's claims of superiority are neutral frequency response and less distortion. That's debatable since you can achieve those things with passive speakers, too (depends on the passive speakers and the setup). Then imaging, sound stage, transient response--all of these things would go into giving you the best sound, too. So for example, studio monitors are designed more for nearfield usage, and passive home audio speakers may work better in a living room for creating a better sound stage. Finally, because personal listening tastes are such a factor, could be something would work well for you but not someone else.

So I guess the first question is how you will set these up (place them) in a room and where is the primary listening position? That would affect your choices somewhat.
Edited by cel4145 - 3/6/14 at 9:14pm
post #5 of 16

I think the lines between pro and hi-fi tend to blur the higher you go in quality, as both are aiming for the same ultimate goal: transparency and accuracy.

The hi-fi market is indeed more poised in offering distinct sound signatures or colorations (or house sounds if you will), but to be honest so are the pro monitors to some extent.

 

To give you an example, I had the opportunity to listen to a few upscale monitors in my life (like Adam, Genelec and Focal) and they all have decidedly different personalities. So which one was the objectively accurate ?! God knows ... probably neither. No one can honestly say their speaker is the most objectively accurate or transparent ever made, nor should they.

Even sound or mastering engineers have their own bias and preference when it comes to sound.

And for the pro market I think the approach is simply more practical than it is for hi-fi. Hi-fi deals with the pleasure and enjoyment of listening to music, so certain colorations to the sound are often forgiven in the name of musicality.

On the pro market monitors are viewed more as tools for uncovering potential mistakes or pitfalls in a recording, in order to make them better. So their sound is tailored for that.

But that doesn't mean they will ultimately sound more natural or more accurate. Often times they end up sounding colored themselves (on the bright, agressive side of the spectrum).

There are plenty of monitors which are sibilant or harsh (take old school Yamahas for example). But there are still engineers prefering them in their work, simply because they have pretty much calibrated their ears to them and know how to compensate to make the recording better. For them these kinds of speakers offer better productivity in their work.

 

All in all, I think pro vs. hi-fi is just another over hyped stereotype which does nothing else than to confuse people if they buy too much into the premise.

If your goal is to obtain a very natural and transparent sound for your live recordings I suggest you listen to as many high end systems, pro or hi-fi, as you possibly can. 

I'm positive you'll find what you're looking for in both camps, and ultimately choose what sounds right for you.


Edited by Kamots - 3/7/14 at 12:35am
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JahJahBinks View Post
 On the other hand, Hi-Fi speakers modify the sound to make them "sound better"

 

Recall, "Hi-Fi" is an abbreviated form of "High fidelity". High fidelity audio reproduction means striving to reproduce a source audio signal as exactly as possible. With that understanding, a Hi-Fi speaker *should* try and reproduce the given signal as cleanly and uncolored as possible; otherwise, it is hardly a Hi-Fi speaker if it (purposely) modifies the source signal.

 

In this case, I suspect that the "live concert" feeling will depend much much less on the choice of "Hi-Fi" vs "Monitor" speaker and much more on the details of the listening space (room size, acoustical treatment, speaker placement, etc...)

 

 

Cheers

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ab initio View Post

Recall, "Hi-Fi" is an abbreviated form of "High fidelity". High fidelity audio reproduction means striving to reproduce a source audio signal as exactly as possible. With that understanding, a Hi-Fi speaker *should* try and reproduce the given signal as cleanly and uncolored as possible; otherwise, it is hardly a Hi-Fi speaker if it (purposely) modifies the source signal.

But in practice, hi-fi is applied to all kinds of audio equipment by marketers and has no useful meaning for its selection. For example, these are labeled "hi-fi":

http://store.sony.com/mini-hi-fi-stereo-system-zid27-MHCEC609IP/cat-27-catid-All-Speaker-Docks-and-Shelf-Systems
http://www.amazon.com/Inateck-Bluetooth-Smartphones-Speakerphone-Microphone/dp/B00E5XV0Q6/
http://www.amazon.com/Genius-Hi-Fi-Speaker-Computers-SP-HF500A/dp/B0041QBAIA/

It's an empty term now. Might as well forget about the word altogether.
post #8 of 16

I don't think theres much in it, the only real difference is studio monitors are designed to have a flat as possible frequency responce while this is important for hi-fi speakers but there are probley some hi-fi speakers around that sound just as flat, to get the live sound your looking you just want speakers with good off axis performance.

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the support here! 

Right now I have Bx5a which I use for both music and movies, I want an upgrade but not sure if I would stick with studio monitors or so-called speakers (Hi-Fi was misleading so I won't use that term again), lol! I was considering Yamaha HS8 (really good at that price range), but most people who own them use them for mixing, and some people say it's fatiguing to listen to for a long time. I want speakers for enjoyment of music, not critic. This made me reconsider my choices. Of course a pair of B&W would be nice but they are way beyond my budget, so are Dynaudio and Genelec, besides I want a pair of active speakers. I also forgot to mention it's a rather small room so they should be made for near-field listening. 

 

I owned a pair of Sennheiser 580 before and really enjoyed them, especially classical. I don't know if they are analogous to monitors or speakers? I am not sure if I should go with a pair of "flat response" monitors or "Fletcher-Munson curve tuned" speakers".


Edited by JahJahBinks - 3/7/14 at 12:12pm
post #10 of 16
For studio monitors, look into the JBL LSR305 and LSR308. They have frequently been on and off sale for the last few months.

If you want neutral sounding passive speakers, I can recommend the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE (I own these) or their larger counter parts, the CBM-340 SE.
post #11 of 16

You should give Adam F5 or F7 a try. They're the most affordable in their line and I think they're absolutely fantastic speakers for their price.

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamots View Post
 

You should give Adam F5 or F7 a try. They're the most affordable in their line and I think they're absolutely fantastic speakers for their price.

 

Thanks! They look interesting!

post #13 of 16

Yes. If you are trying to reproduce the sound of acoustic instruments and capture room ambiance then ADAM are the obvious good value option.

 

I have to declare an interest here as I have 2 pairs from the AX line. The first pair was so good I got another almost immediately. (6 other pairs across 3 locations).

 

The F range have been well received and are imo worth the slight premium they command over the equivalent Mackie, JBL, Yamaha etc models.

 

They specialise in natural sounds. Human voice and piano are particularly outstanding.

 

For heavy pumping House (EDM) type music they are not such an automatic go to.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

Great! Because I don't like artificial/colored sound. 

 

How do F, AX and SX series compare?


Edited by JahJahBinks - 3/8/14 at 5:48am
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

I want to build a 2.0 home theatre. Is it true that speakers like Adam F7 can beat pretty much any sound bar out there?

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