Passive or active monitors? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-13-2014, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Passive or active monitors?

I want to put together a simple 2 channel system in a spare room of my house. Room is approx. 12' x 12', with 8' ceiling. I want either a 2 channel integrated amp with bookshelf speakers or 2 powered monitors with a simple DAC/pre (something like Emotiva xda-2). Sources will be an existing turntable and Apple TV. Let's use a budget of $1500 for speakers and pre (or speakers and integrated amp). One system I've looked at is the aforementioned xda-2 along with Emotiva's airmotiv 6. No need or worries as far as hdmi, and future expansion is concerned, as I've already got a nice home theater setup in living room.
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post #2 of 19 Old 08-14-2014, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crn3371 View Post
I want to put together a simple 2 channel system in a spare room of my house. Room is approx. 12' x 12', with 8' ceiling. I want either a 2 channel integrated amp with bookshelf speakers or 2 powered monitors with a simple DAC/pre (something like Emotiva xda-2). Sources will be an existing turntable and Apple TV. Let's use a budget of $1500 for speakers and pre (or speakers and integrated amp). One system I've looked at is the aforementioned xda-2 along with Emotiva's airmotiv 6. No need or worries as far as hdmi, and future expansion is concerned, as I've already got a nice home theater setup in living room.
Counter-intuitively, the best, lowest cost tool for a system like this is an AVR. Just tell it you have connected up just 2 speakers and you will be good to go.

Integrated amps at almost any reasonable price level cost more because of the low volumes that they sell in, and there is no sound quality disadvantage.
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post #3 of 19 Old 08-14-2014, 06:16 AM
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+1, an AVR is the most cost effective way to go, since you need a digital input for the Apple TV. You could go with something like the NAD D3020 which has both digital and analog inputs, but then you would also need a phono preamp. The Yamaha R-N500 is a good stereo receiver that has everything you would need, but it doesn't offer a lot of value.

If you really want an integrated, this is an option: http://www.amazon.com/Marantz-PM6005...rds=marantz+pm

Pair that with some B&W 685 S2 and you have a nice stereo system.

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post #4 of 19 Old 08-14-2014, 07:38 AM
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Thumbs up

Checkout Music Direct. They have the Focal Profile 908 bookshelf speaker at $999 it was $3000. Add a Marantz 6004 which is also on sale and you'll come in slightly under budget.
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-14-2014, 06:11 PM
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With no subwoofer, I would go for tower speakers. I wouldn't worry too much about whether the speakers were powered or not, however the Stealth 6s are priced nicely at the moment. I would set aside $500 for the AVR and $1k for the speakers. I would just go with a regular AVR for its room correction equalization. That will really help with a small room, especially if the room is untreated. Some tower speakers which look pretty good are the new Infinity Reference 263, $1k for a pair. You might also take a look at the JBL Studio 280 towers. If you are really interested in passive, I would look at some Mackie HR824 mk2 monitors.
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post #6 of 19 Old 08-14-2014, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Has anyone heard the Stealth 6's? Andrew Robinson favorably reviews them, but since he works for Emotiva I take it with a grain of salt. With their reduced pricing I could get a pair of them and a XDA-2 for a pre for under $1k.
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-15-2014, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crn3371 View Post
Has anyone heard the Stealth 6's? Andrew Robinson favorably reviews them, but since he works for Emotiva I take it with a grain of salt. With their reduced pricing I could get a pair of them and a XDA-2 for a pre for under $1k.
I have heard a lot of good things about them, I think that would make a great setup.

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post #8 of 19 Old 08-16-2014, 08:32 PM
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I am now a big believer in active speakers. I used an airport express with a pair of equator audio D8 monitors for a while and loved the system. I have since replaced the express with a Pioneer receiver because it is more flexible. Inexpensive and great sound. I really do believe the future of high performance audio involves active speakers.
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post #9 of 19 Old 08-17-2014, 07:56 AM
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For 2 channel audio I am also a big fan of the audio interface + active monitors option.

For some inexplicable reason the pro and semi pro audio suppliers offer by far the best value and longest guarantees for active speakers.
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-17-2014, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking at the JBL lsr305's and 308's as they seem to get very good reviews. I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around the pricing differences between active monitors and passive bookshelf speakers. Either active monitors are the bargain of the year, or bookshelf speakers are greatly overpriced.
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post #11 of 19 Old 08-17-2014, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crn3371 View Post
I'm looking at the JBL lsr305's and 308's as they seem to get very good reviews. I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around the pricing differences between active monitors and passive bookshelf speakers. Either active monitors are the bargain of the year, or bookshelf speakers are greatly overpriced.

I think it's a combination of both. You can get even more performance for the dollar by buying from outfits that do not use a dealer system. Brands like AVI, Emotiva Audio, Equator Audio, and others sell direct and get rid of the money pId to the distribution and retail ends of things. Both Emotiva and Equator were having some sales recently, might want to check them out too.

In the pro world I've heard good things about Yamaha being a really good value in actives.
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post #12 of 19 Old 08-17-2014, 11:49 AM
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Traditionally the Mackie MR and Yamaha HS lines have been the entry level products for serious active monitors. Recently JBL have made a very determined bid for a slice of this rapidly growing market and are competing very aggressively on both price and quality with the LSR series. This is particularly true in the US where you can apparently find a pair of LSR305 for a little as $250. Which is a stunning bargain.

In Europe the situation is not quite as clear cut and many will find the price differential between the entry level products and more upmarket brands such as ADAM ( F & AX lines), EVE Audio, Focal (Alpha & CMS) and Dynaudio is worth paying. Top of the line products include Genelec, Neumann, ATC & PMC. Event are also a good brand based in Australia.

Like isaac7 says above Emotiva (very similar to ADAM but cheaper) and Equator (innovative co-ax tweeter mounting) appear to be quality brands operating in the US direct order market.

Quite why these companies make such great products so much less expensive than the hi-fi equivalents is a mystery - but they are - so take a look and don't miss out.
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post #13 of 19 Old 08-17-2014, 05:11 PM
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I think part of the reason the price is so low is that the home recording market is much more price sensitive than the typical audiophile. Companies like Mackie, Berengher, Yamaha, etc. can't charge more and be taken seriously. You can find some similar deals on DACs in the recording world.
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post #14 of 19 Old 09-03-2014, 05:18 AM
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The purpose of active monitors is for convenience and portability in the pro audio world. In a home it doesn't add or subtract anything. Like others, I think the best bet for a home installation is the passive speakers and AV receiver.
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post #15 of 19 Old 09-06-2014, 05:00 PM
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I'm not convinced that there is a strong advantage to either active or passive speakers, though active allow you at least in principle to skip an amplifier. Well-made active speakers may also allow builtin equalization that's tailored to the speaker. But there are advantages and disadvantages to every detail of making a speaker. I don't recommend starting with a commitment to active speakers, or ported speakers, or any other specific technique. It's all about using the right combination of techniques to produce a good sound.

So I'd think the obvious thing is to listen to both kinds of speaker and pick the speaker you like the most.
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post #16 of 19 Old 09-07-2014, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crn3371 View Post
Has anyone heard the Stealth 6's? Andrew Robinson favorably reviews them, but since he works for Emotiva I take it with a grain of salt. With their reduced pricing I could get a pair of them and a XDA-2 for a pre for under $1k.
I have the Airmotiv 6's. The Stealth 6 uses the same two drivers and the same amps - both are bi-amped speakers with a 100w amp for the tweeter (ribbon) and 110w for the woofer. They are very good sounding speakers IMO. The Stealth 6's play a tad lower (39 Hz to 23 kHz + / -1.75 dB) than the Airmotiv 6's (43 Hz to 23 kHz +/- 1.7 dB) but I can't imagine that a few hz lower and a different enclosure will make them sound $300 better. The Airmotiv6 is currently $499 per pair - the Stealth 6's are $399 each. The Airmotiv6's and XDA-2 could be had for less than the price of a pair of Stealth 6's. Having said that I've never heard the Stealth 6's so I'll leave that to others to compare.

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post #17 of 19 Old 09-08-2014, 01:01 PM
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I have a similar setup in my living room. Optical out from the TV to XDA-1 to Mackie MR5 speakers. Sounds fantastic.

In fact, I like it so much, I will be replacing all the speakers in my theater with active monitors.
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post #18 of 19 Old 09-08-2014, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacon13 View Post
I have a similar setup in my living room. Optical out from the TV to XDA-1 to Mackie MR5 speakers. Sounds fantastic.

In fact, I like it so much, I will be replacing all the speakers in my theater with active monitors.
My front three speakers for HT/Stereo setup are the Airmotiv6's - I won't replace the surrounds until someone makes an active speaker in bi/dipole arraignment.

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post #19 of 19 Old 09-10-2014, 10:02 AM
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My front three speakers for HT/Stereo setup are the Airmotiv6's - I won't replace the surrounds until someone makes an active speaker in bi/dipole arraignment.
The trend these days seems to be towards direct-firing speakers for surrounds though. ATMOS even recommends using them since radiating speakers can lead to detrimental overlap. It certainly comes down to personal preference, but I wouldn't expect there to be a big market for that type of active speaker.

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