1 (edited by N00b 2019-04-30 11:55:54)

Topic: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

Hi RME people!

I've just turned 40 and I'm currently looking for a pair of 3 ways loudspeakers for max. 4000€ for my birthday big_smile

They are not for sound editing, but for listening stereo in my living room (music and films). The room is 42 square meters, and I'm 2 meters from the speakers.

I have done a lot of listening in consumer shops and I like a lot the sound (and design) of  B&W 702 S2 (3 ways passive speakers).

But due to this forum, I've learned a lot and I've started to check active monitors, and now I can't decide between B&Ws and Neumann's KH310 A... 2 different options, and hard to find a shop where I can listen to both...
I'm scared to be bored with the little monitors for home listening... And I think that +60 liters floorstanding speakers are more fun in the bass range?

I have an ADI-2 DAC and an integrated amplifier (80 W), so everything is possible.

Thanks for your help or advice smile

ADI-2 DAC - Neumann KH 310 A monitors

2 (edited by jiw 2019-04-29 18:36:51)

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

Here are some measurements of the B&W 702 S2 https://www.stereophile.com/content/bow … asurements, the 704 S2 https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/index … Itemid=153 and 705 S2 https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/index … Itemid=153.

For comparison, here are measurements of the same two speakers (PSB Imagine T3 (floor standing) and Revel Performa3 M106 (bookshelf)) done by both of the sources: PSB https://www.stereophile.com/content/psb … asurements and https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/index … Itemid=153 and Revel https://www.stereophile.com/content/rev … asurements and https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/index … Itemid=153.

Measurements of the KH310A can be found here: https://www.soundandrecording.de/equipm … 0-im-test/, english https://en-de.neumann.com/product_files/1719/download (reload if opened in new tab).

The B&W will produce about 90 dB SPL with 1 W input at 1 m in anechoic conditions. With your amplifier (80 W) the B&W will be able to produce 109 dB SPL peaks at 1 m in anechoic conditions (assuming compression isn't an issue with both speakers and amp), i.e. 103 dB peaks at 2 m in anechoic conditions.

If you do not listen at excessively high levels, 100 dB+, the Neumann will play deeper before it rolls off. Its -3 dB point is at 34 Hz, whereas the B&W have a -3dB point of 46 Hz.

Also, since the crossover in the Neumann is implemented with active electronics before the amplifiers, the amps in the Neumann are optimised to the individual drivers and are directly coupled. In the B&W the signal has to be split using passive components which are not as linear relative to load as the active crossovers in the Neumann since the latter operate at much lower levels.

If you want the most accurate speaker, get the Neumann. Also, as ramses has said in the other thread (https://www.forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=28649, #52), you can always EQ its tonality to your taste.

EDIT: Added reference and listening distance for B&W peak SPL and the fact that those are under anechoic conditions. Emphasised in italics.

3 (edited by ramses 2019-04-29 17:37:06)

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

In that price range (€2000 per monitor) I think the Neumann is best buy. You can try it and use the PEQ of the ADI-2 DAC to perform sound shaping to make it more HiFi. That would be an option. At least then you know how it sounds.

Oh, you were 1st jiw wink

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, Win7 Prof, Cubase 9.5, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS BE/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

Thanks a lot for your deteiled answer JJW, and for the time you spent on it.
B&Ws have poor results indeed...

jiw wrote:

For comparison, here are measurements of the same two speakers (PSB Imagine T3 (floor standing) and Revel Performa3 M106 (bookshelf)) done by both of the sources: PSB https://www.stereophile.com/content/psb … asurements and https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/index … Itemid=153 and Revel https://www.stereophile.com/content/rev … asurements and https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/index … Itemid=153.

PSB seems very nice, but twice as much!


jiw wrote:

Measurements of the KH310A can be found here: https://www.soundandrecording.de/equipm … 0-im-test/, english https://en-de.neumann.com/product_files/1719/download (reload if opened in new tab).

I've red some tests and measures, and yes they seem very nice speakers.
But I've seen reviews where professionnal says they sound boring (OK for studio but not for home)...
For example this short video of "Streaky review".


jiw wrote:

The B&W will produce about 90 dB SPL with 1 W input. With your amplifier (80 W) the B&W will be able to produce 109 dB SPL peaks (assuming compression isn't an issue with both speakers and amp).

If you do not listen at excessively high levels, 100 dB+, the Neumann will play deeper before it rolls off. Its -3 dB point is at 34 Hz, whereas the B&W have a -3dB point of 46 Hz.

Thanks for pointing that out, interesting considerations indeed!


jiw wrote:

Also, since the crossover in the Neumann is implemented with active electronics before the amplifiers, the amps in the Neumann are optimised to the individual drivers and are directly coupled. In the B&W the signal has to be split using passive components which are not as linear relative to load as the active crossovers in the Neumann since the latter operate at much lower levels.

Yes, when I've understood what "active" means, I was convidend I want to go with that big_smile


jiw wrote:

If you want the most accurate speaker, get the Neumann. Also, as ramses has said in the other thread (https://www.forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=28649, #52), you can always EQ its tonality to your taste.

OK, they will be more accurate, and easy to set too (no port...), I'm just afraid to install it at home and to find it flat... And yes, EQ is may be the answer.

And the little size of the cabinet is no issue? How can they make more bass than the big floorstanders?

ADI-2 DAC - Neumann KH 310 A monitors

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

ramses wrote:

In that price range (€2000 per monitor) I think the Neumann is best buy. You can try it and use the PEQ of the ADI-2 DAC to perform sound shaping to make it more HiFi. That would be an option. At least then you know how it sounds.

Oh, you were 1st jiw wink

Hi Ramses!
Yes, to begin with a linear and correct system is a good option, you knwo it sounds right and after you adjsut.

And what do you mean "to make it more hifi"? I thought fidelity was the point of HiFi... That's why I hesitate: pro users appears not to use professionnal monitors at home... Why? Our brain prefer less accurate speakers?

ADI-2 DAC - Neumann KH 310 A monitors

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

N00b wrote:

And the little size of the cabinet is no issue? How can they make more bass than the big floorstanders?

They boost the bass using active electronics. Of course the SPL limit at low frequencies still applies. The speaker will simply compress earlier in the boosted area compared to the non-boosted area. The peak SPL measurements show this clearly.

That is why I qualified my statement with how loud you would play them.

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

jiw wrote:
N00b wrote:

And the little size of the cabinet is no issue? How can they make more bass than the big floorstanders?

They boost the bass using active electronics. Of course the SPL limit at low frequencies still applies. The speaker will simply compress earlier in the boosted area compared to the non-boosted area. The peak SPL measurements show this clearly.

That is why I qualified my statement with how loud you would play them.

OK, thanks for the explanation.

The conclusion of the test you've linked:

Anyone who now thinks that this may all be fine and good, but certainly sounds boring and will not provide any listening pleasure, is greatly mistaken. A listening trial at Neumann Berlin or a dealer can quickly dispel this impression.
Possibly one may then be 4,000 euros poorer, however with the good feeling of having made a safe and worthwhile investment.

ADI-2 DAC - Neumann KH 310 A monitors

8 (edited by ramses 2019-04-29 20:04:08)

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

Thats what I said in the other thread. For Mixing etc in the studio a workhorse.

But it's very flat/neutral, this was the reason why the other guy kept his RL906, because it's definitively "more musical" to be able to enjoy music.

I would say give it a try whether you can shape the sound with either Bass/Treble or using the PEQ of the ADI-2 *.

If you can get KS Digital C-55 (used) give them a try. The C-55 was more balanced compared to the C-88.

I remember Event Opal was also a very good sounding speaker.

If you want to hear whats possible with a good speaker in terms of 3D resolution / representation of a "stage"
take a look at Dr Gauder (formerly Isophon) Belinea RC3. Stunning Speakers.
Only to get an idea what depth good speakers can bring.
The Coaxial System from KS Digital, C-55, also presented a very nice stage and had enough "wums" as well.

Currently no other ideas, sorry.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, Win7 Prof, Cubase 9.5, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS BE/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB

9 (edited by knatterton 2019-04-29 20:19:13)

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

All right, Streaky has the limiters on full blast in a 1.5m triangle and they aren't really really loud. Now I know where the term 'fatiguing' comes from. A so called mastering engineer constantly listening beyond 85db, ROTFL

And then he is stating that the speakers appear to be boring as he expected some solid bass thump and highend sparkle... Could ask what kind of speakers he is/was used to up to then (+10db @100Hz peak and -10db between 300 and 2k)?

N00b, YMMV, if you can arrange it, borrow those KHs and listen to them at home, make sure to set them up properly heightwise. BTW thats another advantage of 'small' boxes over floor standing speakers. They can be brought to ear level in listening position with an adjustable stand.

Where you're from, Europe? Maybe we can give you other options as well?

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

ramses wrote:

Thats what I said in the other thread. For Mixing etc in the studio a workhorse.

But it's very flat/neutral, this was the reason why the other guy kept his RL906, because it's definitively "more musical" to be able to enjoy music.

I would say give it a try whether you can shape the sound with either Bass/Treble or using the PEQ of the ADI-2 *.

If you can get KS Digital C-55 (used) give them a try. The C-55 was more balanced compared to the C-88.

I remember Event Opal was also a very good sounding speaker.

If you want to hear whats possible with a good speaker in terms of 3D resolution / representation of a "stage"
take a look at Dr Gauder (formerly Isophon) Belinea RC3. Stunning Speakers.
Only to get an idea what depth good speakers can bring.
The Coaxial System from KS Digital, C-55, also presented a very nice stage and had enough "wums" as well.

Currently no other ideas, sorry.

I will look to these. If only the RL906 were 3 ways...

ADI-2 DAC - Neumann KH 310 A monitors

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

knatterton wrote:

All right, Streaky has the limiters on full blast in a 1.5m triangle and they aren't really really loud. Now I know where the term 'fatiguing' comes from. A so called mastering engineer constantly listening beyond 85db, ROTFL

And then he is stating that the speakers appear to be boring as he expected some solid bass thump and highend sparkle... Could ask what kind of speakers he is/was used to up to then (+10db @100Hz peak and -10db between 300 and 2k)?

N00b, YMMV, if you can arrange it, borrow those KHs and listen to them at home, make sure to set them up properly heightwise. BTW thats another advantage of 'small' boxes over floor standing speakers. They can be brought to ear level in listening position with an adjustable stand.

Where you're from, Europe? Maybe we can give you other options as well?

Thanks for your input. I will listen to the KH.
I’m from France and open to other options.
3 ways and max. 4000 €.

ADI-2 DAC - Neumann KH 310 A monitors

12 (edited by knatterton 2019-04-30 06:40:30)

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

tough constraints to match and we already have recommended possibly the best options. I could think of two other Neumann 'Clones', KSDigital A200 , Dynaudio Lyd, or KSD C88 (but have no personal experience with these). However, don't underestimate good two way systems. KH80/KH120 or MEG RL906 come to my mind. They all have a razor sharp imaging and share (almost KH120) the same tonality as the bigger models. That is especially true for MEG as they take greatest care to maintain the exact same tonality throughout their products. Eventually supported by a subwoofer you get a decent fullrange setup.

Besides that in the consumer market there is this german company www.nubert.de that have released an active line some years ago and are also entering into the professional market. Nubert is a direct distributor and afair they also ship to France with a four week return policy. Anselm has tested Nuberts not long ago. KSDigital is located in Saarbruecken, maybe not out of reach for you?

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

The KH120 is a workhorse for mixing, but for simply listening to music in high quality it sounded not good to my ears when I cross tested it against other products.

I compared them years ago against KS Digital C-55, Yamaha MSP3 / 5 and another one-speaker design from KS digital.

Same problem, very dry/neutral and the speaker do not reproduce spatiality / depth very well. You do not hear a good three dimensional stage. And with the Bass I had also some issues, for my ears it didn't sound defined I was missing a certain punch and somehow it sounded "kind of wobbly" compared to the C-55 and RL906.

Better look at used KS Digital C-55 - which were excellent in all these disciplines - or try the Geithain RL906, which still is in budget and also a professional product. Read some reviews about this monitor.

I am only not sure how the RL906 it would sound in 2+m distance, I am using it in the nearfield, you would have to try.
Or read the technical data on webpage I think they listed some information up to what distances this monitor is good for.

Knatterton, I think it comes really down to the point that Rob and N00b are not studio professionals, that look for an excellent monitor for studio work. Yes they want a certain quality of a studio monitor, but not the flat sound.
And there are some things that can not be EQd, i.e. the general ability of the monitor to deliver i.e. a 3D-stage.
In that regards I regard the Neumann KH120 as weak compared to the other mentioned two.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, Win7 Prof, Cubase 9.5, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS BE/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

ok ok ramses got it. You're the boss here. I am out now, except for issues with my RME devices...

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

knatterton wrote:

tough constraints to match and we already have recommended possibly the best options. I could think of two other Neumann 'Clones', KSDigital A200 , Dynaudio Lyd, or KSD C88 (but have no personal experience with these). However, don't underestimate good two way systems. KH80/KH120 or MEG RL906 come to my mind. They all have a razor sharp imaging and share (almost KH120) the same tonality as the bigger models. That is especially true for MEG as they take greatest care to maintain the exact same tonality throughout their products. Eventually supported by a subwoofer you get a decent fullrange setup.

Besides that in the consumer market there is this german company www.nubert.de that have released an active line some years ago and are also entering into the professional market. Nubert is a direct distributor and afair they also ship to France with a four week return policy. Anselm has tested Nuberts not long ago. KSDigital is located in Saarbruecken, maybe not out of reach for you?

Nubert and KSDigital seems interesting! I will check this.


ramses wrote:

The KH120 is a workhorse for mixing, but for simply listening to music in high quality it sounded not good to my ears when I cross tested it against other products.

I compared them years ago against KS Digital C-55, Yamaha MSP3 / 5 and another one-speaker design from KS digital.

Same problem, very dry/neutral and the speaker do not reproduce spatiality / depth very well. You do not hear a good three dimensional stage. And with the Bass I had also some issues, for my ears it didn't sound defined I was missing a certain punch and somehow it sounded "kind of wobbly" compared to the C-55 and RL906.

Better look at used KS Digital C-55 - which were excellent in all these disciplines - or try the Geithain RL906, which still is in budget and also a professional product. Read some reviews about this monitor.

I am only not sure how the RL906 it would sound in 2+m distance, I am using it in the nearfield, you would have to try.
Or read the technical data on webpage I think they listed some information up to what distances this monitor is good for.

Knatterton, I think it comes really down to the point that Rob and N00b are not studio professionals, that look for an excellent monitor for studio work. Yes they want a certain quality of a studio monitor, but not the flat sound.
And there are some things that can not be EQd, i.e. the general ability of the monitor to deliver i.e. a 3D-stage.
In that regards I regard the Neumann KH120 as weak compared to the other mentioned two.

RL906 are beautiful and seem very great loudspeakers. I'm just afraid they might be a little small for my use (more "midfield" than "nearfield").

Il will try to listen to KH 301 this week-end, it seems the best option for my budget.

ADI-2 DAC - Neumann KH 310 A monitors

16 (edited by ramses 2019-04-30 10:28:40)

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

knatterton wrote:

ok ok ramses got it. You're the boss here. I am out now, except for issues with my RME devices...

Sorry, but that's really not the point. I respected your expertise, your personal opinions and experiences, and just set them against my experiences, nothing more.

In an open discussion there is discussion, that's the way it is. I tolerate that, but you should please also do.

I think you sometimes forget a bit that the two people looking for advice here are not studio people and are not looking for monitors for studio work and a studio environment.

They probably don't need an absolutely neutral monitor, just because it doesn't fit our usual listening habits.

With the KH310, I was still able to assume that after a bit of EQing, this monitor could possibly be moved into the right direction for their listening purposes, because of the good capabilities of the monitor.

But when you mentioned the KH120 (which I also tested at Musicstore and at home) I couldn't help but contradict you. For  pure studio work this monitor is perhaps a little (because affordable) dream for some people, but IMHO not for listening to music. Some things can't be controlled with the monitor by EQing. Compared to other monitors I know, it just doesn't conjure up a nice stage.
The KH120 just doesn't have the depth of the coaxial systems from KS Digital or Geithain. There are better monitors available. And if you already have a budget of €2000 per monitor, then you can confidently forget the little Neumann for these purposes in my personal opinion.

But as I said, the topic is also very subjective and at the end of the day it could also be that the two guys suddenly find something completely different compared to what we suggested. I can live with it very well and therefore emphasize again and again, please hear for yourself and make your own experiences.

It would be very friendly if you would reconsider your point of view. I just want to help them as much as you do, nothing more.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, Win7 Prof, Cubase 9.5, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS BE/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

Huh, where did I forget that these are no professionals? I just don't differentiate that way and I don't care. A good tool is a good tool no matter who uses it. You are assuming that I am giving advice with a professional user in mind. No I don't, as I mentioned nubert as a viable alternative. To me it appears you have an upfront selection of products for a specific audience/clientele that you are convinced to work or not. How I am obliged to conform to your opinion? And what's bad about saving some cash? Please give me an example where I didn't respect you? Then I am out here for good.

18 (edited by ramses 2019-04-30 11:45:50)

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

Heh ? I was only looking for potential reasons why we differ in our opineons which at the end maybe brought you to write this:

> ok ok ramses got it. You're the boss here. I am out now, except for issues with my RME devices...

Best is simply to discuss opinions and to stay factual. I was doing it, but with this statement of yours you made it kind of personal for really no reason.

> To me it appears you have an upfront selection of products for a specific audience/clientele that you are
> convinced to work or not.

You describe the normal process of testing. After a lot of testing you have an opinion towards a product.

I disagree with you in the point, that the best studio monitor is also best suited for consuming music.
Also the best tool is not the best tool for everybody.
There is also not something like the best car, the best DAW, etc etc. It all depends.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, Win7 Prof, Cubase 9.5, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS BE/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

Floorstanding Speakers are just great!!!

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

Hi smile

So I went with my little sound engineer assistant in a pro shop in Paris, to listen to these Neumann...
I was really impressed!! It so precise, so sharp... They are really impressive down there: I've discovered the bass section of some songs!! And it is never blurry, it is solid, percussive... A lot of pleasure listening to my favourite songs on these speakers.
My order is placed... I can't wait to connect them to my ADI-2 DAC smile


https://reho.st/self/b33dd004a6735b258252a570b7b227265e39c960.jpg

https://reho.st/self/884f07491b045c816e585c8bb1be766ade9cce19.jpg

ADI-2 DAC - Neumann KH 310 A monitors

Re: Speakers for home: passive floorstanding speakers or active monitors?

Hi!

Just to let you know: there are home now, and I'm so so happy with the result... I can't stop playing music by them!!

They are close to the wall, so I followed Neumann advices and tweaked the settings with our ears: - 5 dB for the basses, - 1 dB for the trebles.
And it sounds amazing: they really can dig very deep in bass, the transients are crazy, even at low level it is a lot of pleasure!

https://reho.st/self/81a56af4eb8d3a46c145b7e62258f35f3ebdab75.jpg

https://reho.st/self/c56dd9efa8841b485ce36fba492095e10645ffe0.jpg

https://reho.st/self/589a3d8e3badd2f83d5cb0be1fe17b6ed58d4b42.jpg

https://reho.st/self/18d837e4025b106c6e915cca70ac268d4ce8976f.jpg

https://reho.st/self/1e2c9c787605d863a49dc9646444889cc06e65c5.jpg


They are attached to the ADI-2 DAC and it's perfect! With the remote, the dynamic loudness and the Auto-Ref level, it is very convenient.
In order to match perfectly the levels and to be in the optimum volume area of the DAC, I've switched the Neumann sensitivity on 94 dB @ O dBu and added the JTS pads (-10 dB) , and it's perfect.

I'm very happy with my gears and I'm sure it will provide us decades of pleasure.

Thanks a lot for this forum and your answers (public & private wink : it really helped for the final decision smile

ADI-2 DAC - Neumann KH 310 A monitors