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Dire Need of Speaker Advice


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Greetings, folks.

 

I came into a small inheritance last night, and decided to allocate up to $1500 on a pair of speakers. Ronald Reagan was in office the last time I bought new stereo speakers. In spite of living 28 miles from Los Angeles, there are no audio stores near me save Magnolia's in the local BestBuy. Needless to say, I need some suggestions.

 

The room is my drum practice studio in my home. However, these speakers would be used for listening only, and not to practice drums to. I favor Jazz & Classical, but also like Classic Rock. Room size is 12'X13' with a 10' ceiling, and the walls are carpeted. I'm open to spending another $1000 for new amplification (preferably integrated) but would prefer powering the new speakers with either our Yamaha C70 preamp + Yamaha M70 power amp (200 wpc) or our Luxman R-117 receiver (160 wpc) which would be sent to Northridge Electronics in Simi Valley, California for complete renewal. As I am not the brute I once was, I'll be steering clear of big and/or heavy choices, thus Maggies & actives are out.

 

I'm totally open to your suggestions. That said, here are some speakers I'm considering, starting from models with an actual drool factor and ending with "would-likely-do" factor (based solely on reviews):

 

Dynaudio (entirely open to model - I don't believe this company makes anything less than great)

Paradigm Studio 20

KEF LS50 (pricey, but might be worth it)

Monitor Audio Silver 6

DefTech Studio Monitor 65 (somewhere in the back of my mind, I think this may be the right choice)

Klipsch Reference II RB-81 II

Wharefedale Diamond 10.2

JBL L830

Polk LSiM703

KEF Q300

 

Btw, I would be building the stands myself (if stands are necessary), and to a very high standard; probably from White Oak for its rigidity & heaviness.

 

Thanks.

 

 

Gary

Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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I've been out of the market for some time, so can't really recommend. Two thoughts:

 

I have a room of similar (small and nearly square) size and have had best luck with small monitors.

 

If you do get monitors, definitely build those speaker stands to get the most

out of your investment. Yes definitely go rigid and enough weight in the pedestal so that they don't rock.

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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Man- speakers are flat out amazing things these days.

 

Do look at a set of Maggies - the MMGs are only $600/pair, and you could put the other 900 into a nice sub (or a pair of them) if you like more bass.

 

Or you could stretch a wee bit for a pair of 1.7s. Those are dream speakers. :)

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Do look at a set of Maggies -

 

For a 12'x13' room with a drum set in it?

 

i would worry that any speakers that sound good in the store would sound dull in a very damped room like that. I think it would be worth the drive to find a dealer who will let you do an in-home audition, or at least has a liberal return policy.

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For a 12'x13' room with a drum set in it?

 

i would worry that any speakers that sound good in the store would sound dull in a very damped room like that. I think it would be worth the drive to find a dealer who will let you do an in-home audition, or at least has a liberal return policy.

 

A 12x13 room is kinda small, a set of MMGs would fill it up with all sorts of beautiful sound without a lot of stress. Especially since the speakers could be close enough to be near field sound. :)

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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A 12x13 room is kinda small, a set of MMGs would fill it up with all sorts of beautiful sound without a lot of stress. Especially since the speakers could be close enough to be near field sound. :)

 

-Paul

 

Can MMG's be used nearfield?

 

According to the manual:

 

 

  1. Locate the speakers 2 feet or more in front of a wall.
  2. The distance between the speakers should be approximately 60% of the distance you will be from the speakers when you listen to them, for example: if you will be 10 feet from the speakers, position them about 6 feet apart.

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Gary: I own Monitor Audio Gold 300, but before buying them I spent hours hesitating between them and the Silver 6.

In fact after listening to lots of speakers within this price range I came to think the Silver 6 really had one of the best price / sound quality ratio. Interestingly, the main difference between the Silver and the Gold is the ribbon tweeter, but in all honesty the Silver sounded warmer (the Gold have a bit of a "surgical" sound to them which I like, but sometimes I wish I had bought both :-)

Chris

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Can MMG's be used nearfield?

 

According to the manual:

 

 

  1. Locate the speakers 2 feet or more in front of a wall.
  2. The distance between the speakers should be approximately 60% of the distance you will be from the speakers when you listen to them, for example: if you will be 10 feet from the speakers, position them about 6 feet apart.

 

Effectively, yes. Need to know where the drum set is and where you intend to sit to tell you better.

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Good luck with your quest. Shame you excluded active monitors..........active crossovers are far more effective than passive components and don't rob the drivers of dynamics or introduce impedance anomolies. Direct amplification eliminates cross talk and impedance challenges as well allowing the amp to behave in a much more linear fashion.

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Man- speakers are flat out amazing things these days.

 

Do look at a set of Maggies - the MMGs are only $600/pair, and you could put the other 900 into a nice sub (or a pair of them) if you like more bass.

 

Or you could stretch a wee bit for a pair of 1.7s. Those are dream speakers. :)

 

-Paul

 

 

There's a Magnepan dealership 25 miles from me and I'll give those a good audition.

 

 

Gary: I own Monitor Audio Gold 300, but before buying them I spent hours hesitating between them and the Silver 6.

In fact after listening to lots of speakers within this price range I came to think the Silver 6 really had one of the best price / sound quality ratio. Interestingly, the main difference between the Silver and the Gold is the ribbon tweeter, but in all honesty the Silver sounded warmer (the Gold have a bit of a "surgical" sound to them which I like, but sometimes I wish I had bought both :-)

Chris

 

 

I really liked the sound in the recording studios. In fact, those systems are much of what sucked me in to the world of audiophilia. I dare say most studios have pretty damned analytical sounding systems, and none sounded warm, which would really render a studio worthless. I'll have to look into the Gold MA.

 

 

Effectively, yes. Need to know where the drum set is and where you intend to sit to tell you better.

 

-Paul

 

 

Sadly, the listening position is a leather couch against the wall, however, I may get away with pulling it out by 1-2'. The drum kit is about 6 feet directly in front of it and against the opposite wall.

 

 

In order to make a recommendation it helps to know what style of sound you are accustomed to hearing. What are your existing speakers? What have you heard in the past that you liked?

 

 

The speakers in my main system are Canton CT-800's. This is a 3-way design with a 10" woofer. I'm a midrange guy, and these speakers excell at reproducing voice & strings accurately. I haven't listened to any new audio gear in a long while. However, I always loved the dynamic range in the recording studios. On stage, a Meyers Sound drum monitor always put a smile on my face - in fact, MANY smiles throughout the concerts. 99.9% of our gigs, my Noble & Cooley snare drum was loud enough to be heard over freakishly amplified bass, keyboards, guitar, & lead vocals. Not so when sharing the stage with Meyers Sound gear.

 

 

Good luck with your quest. Shame you excluded active monitors..........active crossovers are far more effective than passive components and don't rob the drivers of dynamics or introduce impedance anomolies. Direct amplification eliminates cross talk and impedance challenges as well allowing the amp to behave in a much more linear fashion.

 

 

Which actives would you suggest? Please remember I'm trying to keep the weight manageable. Avoiding stand-mounted speakers weighing in excess of 75lbs is a good idea at my age.

 

 

Magnolia also sells Sonus Faber which sound and look great. And they have Genelec actives, also great. Perhaps there is a Sam Ash or Guitar Center near you as they carry a few actives too.

 

 

Sonus Faber? Not mine. I would imagine they would be a bit out of my price range anyway.

 

 

Cheers

Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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Greetings, folks.

 

I came into a small inheritance last night, and decided to allocate up to $1500 on a pair of speakers.

I favor Jazz & Classical, but also like Classic Rock.

Room size is 12'X13' with a 10' ceiling, and the walls are carpeted.

As I am not the brute I once was, I'll be steering clear of big and/or heavy choices, thus Maggies & actives are out.

 

Gary

 

hi gary,

 

recommendations would be NFMs: the KEF LS50s ($1500) vs the ATC SCM7 v3s ($1800).

 

iinw, compared with Cantons:

 

LS50s should be more immersive. bewitching mids. bigger than you expected sound-stage and scale. neutral-ish sound signature.

 

SCM7s should have you at the edge of seat with speed, attack and (analytical) studio-ish sound. so, pls do not partner with bright amps.

 

if possible, get both in for home auditions, and compare the contrasting ‘flavours'. depends on how one likes one's jazz, classical and classic rock to sound ;)

 

both LS50s and SCM7s are compact = easier to position optimally in a cosy space for staging, less bass boom issues. as/when you up the ante on amp performance/power, both will deliver audible improvements. subs also add-able to suit taste.

 

was/is Dynaudio fan too. but the X-16 ($1700), imo, is bettered by both the LS and SCM.

 

hth, cheers.

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If you want to blow the whole $1500 then look long and hard at the Kef R300's in beautiful Rosewood. Find a dealer that will take $1500 (retail is $1800) and hook them up to a decent amp and you'll be in heaven.

 

Hi-Fi Speakers - R Series - Fact Sheets - Bookshelf - R300 - KEF United States

 

Alternatively, the Definitive Tech SM65's under a grand are superb also. GREAT value, just not quite as precise sounding or pretty as the Kefs.

David

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If you want to blow the whole $1500 then look long and hard at the Kef R300's in beautiful Rosewood. Find a dealer that will take $1500 (retail is $1800) and hook them up to a decent amp and you'll be in heaven.

 

Hi-Fi Speakers - R Series - Fact Sheets - Bookshelf - R300 - KEF United States

 

Alternatively, the Definitive Tech SM65's under a grand are superb also. GREAT value, just not quite as precise sounding or pretty as the Kefs.

 

So far lots of good information, and I really appreciate it. The reason I wrote in the OP the DefTech's may be the right choice is that they may be more appropriate with my modest vintage gear. The more reviews I read, the more I believe the SM45's should be in the running too.

 

One more thought: I've always been puzzled by the lack of love for JBL around these parts in spite of their massive presence in recording studios as well as live venues. Has anyone even heard the L830's?

Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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I've always been puzzled by the lack of love for JBL around these parts in spite of their massive presence in recording studios as well as live venues. Has anyone even heard the L830's?

 

I've heard some vintage JBLs which were pleasing to my ears but all of their modern efforts that I've heard are massed produced rubbish. This all goes back to personal preference. I have seen numerous recommendations for KEF in this thread as well as others. I've never heard a KEF, B&W or any other British speaker that I liked. Out of your list, Dynaudio would be my recommendation but again they please my ears not necessarily yours or others here.

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I've heard some vintage JBLs which were pleasing to my ears but all of their modern efforts that I've heard are massed produced rubbish. This all goes back to personal preference. I have seen numerous recommendations for KEF in this thread as well as others. I've never heard a KEF, B&W or any other British speaker that I liked. Out of your list, Dynaudio would be my recommendation but again they please my ears not necessarily yours or others here.

 

Thanks for your honesty. I know JBL has put out some "rubbish" and have had some obvious slips in QC (tweeters constantly blowing in certain lines; disconnected drivers and crossover units; drivers loosely bolted to the cabinets, etc). Yes. This is certainly enough for any group to preclude them from choice. I guess I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for JBL and therefore can't help but wonder if their previous greatness still shows up in some of their speakers. If so, which ones??? Damn.

Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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Just chiming in on the KEF LS50s as an option. I agree with livelistenlearn's assessment and would add that based on my experience in 17x22 and 14x16 rooms with 10 foot and 9 foot ceilings respectively they would do well in your 12x13x10. I think they are better when out of near field given the ability to fill a room and the soundstage they put up but they do well regardless. I drove them with a good Modwright amp and the cost effective good performing Parasound A23 amp both with great results. They keep up well with good performing upstream components. Have seen them on sale for $1300 new.

 

There may be other 3 to 4K$ speakers you might be able buy used at your price point but regardless the LS50's compete in that tier. And be patient on your search as the more you hear or demo the more you'll find what you want to priortize or go for in your purchase. As always, finding a good point that balances taste, performance, and price is highly a individualized affair so as other posters indicate there are good options out there.

 

Best of luck and good listening,

 

Steve

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OK......I'm a bit confused with all of your potential choices and the recommendations here. Probobly best looks at your placement options and listening distance before moving further. Speakers will ALWAYS be a function of the room and speakers together. This is where most make the most grave mistakes.

 

Care to share where you're placing them and how far away you intend to listen?

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I've heard some vintage JBLs which were pleasing to my ears but all of their modern efforts that I've heard are massed produced rubbish. This all goes back to personal preference.

 

I assume you are referring to JBL's consumer level stuff and not the JBL Professional series gear (I have not listened to any of the consumer level speakers).

 

I have listened to several models of speakers within the JBL Professional series, and they are top notch IMHO.

Speaker Room: Lumin U1X | Lampizator Golden Gate 2 | Viva Linea | Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature Monoblocks | FinkTeam Kim | Revel subs  

Office Headphone System: Lumin U1X | Lampizator Big 7 updated to GG 2 specs | Viva Egoista | Hifiman HE-1000SE/Audeze LCD-4z

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