Thank you very much for this, I really appreciate your thoughts and also the fact that you've given me more questions, which is great.
First of all in terms of placement. Because of how my room is set up I will need to place them on the window sill, which means close to the window. The sill is at an elevated position, pretty much perfectly at ear level roughly 1m away when I'm at the desk. But the fact that they will need to be near the window will, I assume, affect which speakers I could get. I'm saying this because isn't it right that speakers with a rear port need to be placed at a certain distance from the wall?
If I'm right in this I guess this will affect my options.
And speaking about options, I'm wondering if I ought to go for a studio monitor or a speaker. With the pandemic going on I'm not able to test speakers personally and I've accepted that I'll be buying sight unseen.
As I mentioned I enjoy to listen to music without trickery. What it means is that I dislike overly bass-heavy headphones or speakers. But it also means that I prefer a bit of warmth in presentation to a clinically neutral or lifeless sound.
I'm not sure how much sense that description makes, because it is difficult to describe how one perceives music. But if it does make sense, would you advise me to go for monitors or normal speakers, and do you have any particular ones to recommend?
Thank you very much again
I wouldn't think of it as equivalent value for money in universal terms since you're comparing one speaker that you have no choice on when it comes to getting only a Class A/B amp vs something that may have a high enough sensitivity for a warmer, lower output Class A amp to not have an obvious disadvantage. Not to mention they also crank up the output on the monitor amps short of obvious distortion for one reason: most of the time they might not even get a subwoofer with it or have no space for the sub in a proper spot (unlike a studio console, ie if you're at home you might not be able to mount all three on the same plane above your display) while you may get a tower with low freq drivers and a bigger cabinet with a bigger port if you're looking at passive speakers without giving up sensitivity (or just go all out and get a powerful amp that doesn't sacrifice THD+N).
I'd think of it more in terms of how you're using them. If you're using them on a desk get the active speakers as they're more likely to have been voiced for desktop use and also not have rear-firing port, unlike trying a passive speaker in a store only to have them sound completely and utterly different at your desk due to how they're voiced for listening from farther out, or have dispersion patterns that are a huge problem with being close to the wall, or heck, a rear-firing port right up against the wall. Not that passive speakers can't sound good in nearfield (I mean, there are passive pro monitors), but there's a lot less to gamble on.
The biggest advantage though is most active speakers have a separate gain control for the tweeters' amp channels so that you can set them lower if the default setting is too bright. Just make sure you do get one that does.
One potential problem : if you get pro monitors you'd need an interface to control the output on both monitors simultaneously, but then since you don't need to worry about the amplifier, you can go as cheap as a Scarlett Solo which has a decent DAC and active preamp, unless you want to go with the 2i4 for balanced TRRS outputs.