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post #1 of 36 Old 03-28-2011, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I am looking for speaker companies that sell active speakers. Seaton Sound and Meridian come to mind, but any suggestions of other companies? Not looking at powered speakers, but "active", by which I mean the speaker has the amplifier and DSP built in. The Catalyst and the Sparks both by Seaton are examples.

I assume these will be floorstanders or very large bookshelf types which is ok.

Suggestions?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 36 Old 03-28-2011, 04:22 PM
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Check out ATC and Danley Sound Labs. They both sell active speakers.
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post #3 of 36 Old 03-28-2011, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shivaji View Post

Check out ATC and Danley Sound Labs. They both sell active speakers.

Thanks. Any others?
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post #4 of 36 Old 03-28-2011, 05:46 PM
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post #5 of 36 Old 03-28-2011, 05:52 PM
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post #6 of 36 Old 03-28-2011, 06:31 PM
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Doesn't EV make them as well?
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post #7 of 36 Old 03-28-2011, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions. I have been getting more interested in active speakers since reading about and seeing Mark Seaton's Catalysts last month. There seem to be clear benefits of active over passive, but I assume there are disadvantages as well. Just trying to get smarter about what those differences might be.

By the way, are active speakers different than active DIGITAL speakers? If so, is Meridian the only one that offers the active DIGITAL line?
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post #8 of 36 Old 03-28-2011, 08:19 PM
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post #9 of 36 Old 03-28-2011, 09:22 PM
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It depends what kind of speaker you're looking for. I think virtually any pro sound manufacturer will offer active speakers. Danley, JBL, QSC, Mackie, EV etc. If you're looking for companies that are generally used for in homes then the list gets smaller. In addition to the ones already mentioned there's JL but they're UNGODLY expensive for what doesn't seem like alot of speaker. 10K for a single speaker with a dome tweeter and two 6.5" drivers. Salk and Selah offer the active option with some of their speakers. I believe they use outboard electronic crossovers like the Deqx units and you can supply your own amps if you wish.

There's also active studio monitors. Here again there's JBL, Adam audio, Meyer and others.

As far as digital speakers go, I'm not sure. I've got a pair of JBL LSR 4328p's that have digital inputs but that's all I know of beyond the Meridians. Just out curiosity, what receiver/processor would you use that sends out digital signals to every speaker? Or would you daisy chain the speakers to each other?

Callas, can't see your pic. Is it just my browser?
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post #10 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 05:45 AM - Thread Starter
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I was looking at speaker manufacturers who made active speakers for the home. I was intrigued after listening to an interview with one of the founders of Meridian Audio who was extolling the benefits of active (and in his case, digital) speakers. Not unexpected, and while I had heard about active, I have no clue about the digital side. cmryan821 - to answer your question, I don't know of receiver/procs that would send out digital signals to speakers. Aside from Meridian, of course :-)

I guess I could do some research but was hoping to tap into the collective wisdom of the forum (it's quicker!).
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post #11 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 06:15 AM
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There were very few speaker companies that went down this path. I know NHT did a 2 channel system (Xd) a while ago but I don't think they sell to well. Phase Technology also have their DARTS system.

The DSP controlled systems are very expensive and hard to setup and install. This is the reason they don't or didn't sell even remotely as well as conventional speaker systems.

They are also not just the speakers, they also have a controller of some type.

Also, the Seaton speakers have a DSP executing the crossover design and response contouring, but not in the sense that Meridian or NHT accomplished in their models.


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post #12 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 06:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmryan821 View Post

Callas, can't see your pic. Is it just my browser?

Callas doesn't have a pic, he's just being foolish.


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post #13 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 06:21 AM
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There are a vast array of small two way powered speakers for the small monitor market. I would strongly suggest hearing these in your room, or as similar conditions as the situation permits,....as there are some substantial differences among them. Also, some have little dynamic ability wrt HT material, at typical HT listening distances. So,...caveat emptor.

That said there are some ideal candidates in other offerings. If performance trumps aesthetics, go pro. An optimized, 15" 2 way, from JBL, or Meyer would destroy most consumer hifi offerings. The 30 and 40 db swings associated with HT material place incredible demands wrt dynamics on a loudspeaker. Additionally, some directivity control by the HF horn element minimizes sidewall involvement and focuses the energy toward the listener.

These self powered pro products, also contain dsp contouring and equalization in both the time and frequency domain. I've spent extensive time with products from both JBL, and Meyer, and when properly optimized and integrated within a system, they truly destroy similarly priced consumer options. These speakers are extremely well designed and take full advantage of the signal shaping allowed via dsp.

Also, any discussion about powered speakers for HT would not be complete without mentioning Seaton. The Catalyst, and Spark have rightfully established a following due due an absolutely refined smoothness, with virtually limitless dynamic capability.

My suggestions;

Seaton Catalyst
Mackie 824
Seaton Spark
JBL 15" two-way
Meyer 15" two way UPA series


I've never heard the Seatons, however by all accounts, they're solid performers for HT applications



Good luck

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post #14 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 06:24 AM
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Everyone, kma100 was NOT asking about powered speakers but active DSP speakers.


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post #15 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 06:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ifor View Post

Everyone, kma100 was NOT asking about powered speakers but active DSP speakers.

Yes - I am not looking at powered speakers like the Rokit (by KRK). Maybe it's my terminology:

Passive vs. Active (e.g. Catalysts, Sparks)
Powered (is that "active"?)
Digital (e.g. Meridian)

So I was trying to get a better understanding of the work of 1) Active with DSP, and 2) Digital (as a subset).

Hope that helps.
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post #16 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 06:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FOH View Post

There are a vast array of small two way powered speakers for the small monitor market. I would strongly suggest hearing these in your room, or as similar conditions as the situation permits,....as there are some substantial differences among them. Also, some have little dynamic ability wrt HT material, at typical HT listening distances. So,...caveat emptor.

That said there are some ideal candidates in other offerings. If performance trumps aesthetics, go pro. An optimized, 15" 2 way, from JBL, or Meyer would destroy most consumer hifi offerings. The 30 and 40 db swings associated with HT material place incredible demands wrt dynamics on a loudspeaker. Additionally, some directivity control by the HF horn element minimizes sidewall involvement and focuses the energy toward the listener.

These self powered pro products, also contain dsp contouring and equalization in both the time and frequency domain. I've spent extensive time with products from both JBL, and Meyer, and when properly optimized and integrated within a system, they truly destroy similarly priced consumer options. These speakers are extremely well designed and take full advantage of the signal shaping allowed via dsp.

Also, any discussion about powered speakers for HT would not be complete without mentioning Seaton. The Catalyst, and Spark have rightfully established a following due due an absolutely refined smoothness, with virtually limitless dynamic capability.

My suggestions;

Seaton Catalyst
Mackie 824
Seaton Spark
JBL 15" two-way
Meyer 15" two way UPA series


I've never heard the Seatons, however by all accounts, they're solid performers for HT applications



Good luck

Thanks FOH - will take a look at these as well.
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post #17 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 06:45 AM
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I'll admit I'm a bit dumfounded.

You are looking for a speaker with an amp and some form of dsp built inside it. I get that part.

What I don't understand is why would you be so limiting on yourself?

Why not simply buy some similar speakers and actively biamp them using an active with dsp processing?

I've got a pair of 2-way speakers (all horn loaded), slapped a Crown K2 onto each one and feed them a signal via an EV dx38 active crossover.

If I blow a speaker, I can fix/swap... if I blow an amp, I can fix/swap.... if I blow the crossover, I can fix/swap... If all were contained in a single item the fix/swap expense might be more (?).

Seems to me when you bury all of that inside a speaker, it might open up as many cans of worms as it closes??

(In case I sound like a hiney, it's honest confusion, not trying to be a hiney...)
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post #18 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 06:57 AM
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What I don't understand is why would you be so limiting on yourself?

Why not simply buy some similar speakers and actively biamp them using an active with dsp processing?

I've got a pair of 2-way speakers (all horn loaded), slapped a Crown K2 onto each one and feed them a signal via an EV dx38 active crossover.

But that would be still an active speaker design and its closer to DIY because you have to wire all the drivers back to an amp in a rack somewhere and setup the active XO. There are many choices if he wants DIY. Many DSPs to choose from like Hypex, MiniDSP are newer choices but DEQX is the commercial top end, from the pro side there are many like the defunct Dobly lake or Rane choices and the very popular DCX2496.

I think the OP wants to have a all in one solution, not something to put together. Active designs simply have amps like this mounted to the speaker box..http://www.digmoda.com/rv/Digmoda_Vo...pdf....nothing is really being "buried" inside at all.

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post #19 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by penngray View Post

But that would be still an active speaker design and its closer to DIY because you have to wire all the drivers back to an amp in a rack somewhere and setup the active XO. There are many choices if he wants DIY. Many DSPs to choose from like Hypex, MiniDSP are newer choices but DEQX is the commercial top end, from the pro side there are many like the defunct Dobly lake or Rane choices and the very popular DCX2496.

I think the OP wants to have a all in one solution, not something to put together. Active designs simply have amps like this mounted to the speaker box..http://www.digmoda.com/rv/Digmoda_Vo...pdf....nothing is really being "buried" inside at all.

Nothing wrong with what ever he wants... I would however, never accuse my setup as anywhere near "DIY" unless putting wires from an amp to a driver yourself, makes it a "DIY" project.

Regardless... it just strikes me as having as many advantages as disadvantages. If he later wants to upgrade his speakers to something larger, he's got to re-evaluate his entire food chain. I can simply swap out a speaker (or an amp or the active) and be done.

My brother in law has some powered EV's and it's handy to set them up for a movie... just put them where you want them and run an XLR line to them. Advantage!

Oops... they're 30 feet away and now we need a run of 30' power cord to them for the power. Disadvantage

oh well... I don't understand everything and guess this falls under that catagory.
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post #20 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 07:19 AM
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Yes, no argument with the idea of convenience and keep the speaker box separate from the amp/DSP. On the other hand...not many people like the idea of UGLY K2s in their room Its again a choice. I have Hpex AS100.2 amps (You got to see how small but powerful these are!!!), I love the fact that I do NOT have a rack of amps and DSPs to run my speakers in my office. Not every situation dictates speakers 30 feet away


Anyways, Its still an active speaker setup (Same as mine) so its really no different then what is being asked for so just list the company that sells that sort of setup. I know very few companies sell active speakers that way though. NHT did for a bit but they do not exist any more.

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post #21 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coytee View Post

I'll admit I'm a bit dumfounded.

You are looking for a speaker with an amp and some form of dsp built inside it. I get that part.

What I don't understand is why would you be so limiting on yourself?

Why not simply buy some similar speakers and actively biamp them using an active with dsp processing?

I've got a pair of 2-way speakers (all horn loaded), slapped a Crown K2 onto each one and feed them a signal via an EV dx38 active crossover.

If I blow a speaker, I can fix/swap... if I blow an amp, I can fix/swap.... if I blow the crossover, I can fix/swap... If all were contained in a single item the fix/swap expense might be more (?).

Seems to me when you bury all of that inside a speaker, it might open up as many cans of worms as it closes??

(In case I sound like a hiney, it's honest confusion, not trying to be a hiney...)

It's a reasonable question. I am not interested in DIY, and thought that an "all-in-one" would be easier. That's about it. And I am new to the active speaker / high-efficiency speaker (yes, I know they are not the same) world, so some of this is just about learning something new.
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post #22 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 07:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray View Post

Yes, no argument with the idea of convenience and keep the speaker box separate from the amp/DSP. On the other hand...not many people like the idea of UGLY K2s in their room Its again a choice. I have Hpex AS100.2 amps (You got to see how small but powerful these are!!!), I love the fact that I do NOT have a rack of amps and DSPs to run my speakers in my office. Not every situation dictates speakers 30 feet away


Anyways, Its still an active speaker setup (Same as mine) so its really no different then what is being asked for so just list the company that sells that sort of setup. I know very few companies sell active speakers that way though. NHT did for a bit but they do not exist any more.

That's pretty much it - just collecting names at this point...

And thanks to people like you I am now distracted by waveguides, high efficiency speakers, dynamics, SPL levels, active speakers, etc. etc. :-)
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post #23 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 07:34 AM
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Sorry about that

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post #24 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 08:05 AM
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To FOH's list I would add Mackie. Haven't looked lately but they used to have a very nice sounding active studio monitor with digital inputs. TO me they were sonically competetive with JBL, one of my faves that I've heard . . .
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post #25 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kma100 View Post

I was looking at speaker manufacturers who made active speakers for the home. I was intrigued after listening to an interview with one of the founders of Meridian Audio who was extolling the benefits of active (and in his case, digital) speakers. Not unexpected, and while I had heard about active, I have no clue about the digital side.

Sorry I should have been more clear when I asked what you want them for. Will you be using them for primarily for home theater, music or fairly even split?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kma100 View Post

cmryan821 - to answer your question, I don't know of receiver/procs that would send out digital signals to speakers. Aside from Meridian, of course :-)

I was just curious since I had not seen that feature in a processor/avr.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kma100 View Post

Yes - I am not looking at powered speakers like the Rokit (by KRK). Maybe it's my terminology:

Passive vs. Active (e.g. Catalysts, Sparks)
Powered (is that "active"?)
Digital (e.g. Meridian)

So I was trying to get a better understanding of the work of 1) Active with DSP, and 2) Digital (as a subset).

Hope that helps.

As best I've always understood, active=powered. If I'm wrong someone please correct me so I stop using them interchangeably.

As far as dsp goes, I think all active(powered) speakers will have some kind of dsp built into the amp(instead of a passive crossover). Whether you can tinker with that dsp yourself is another question. For example, I know Seaton's speakers have dsp built in but I think only he(being the manufacturer) can tinker with the dsp programming.

Also, I don't think I've seen it addressed but what's your budget. Or are you just looking for ideas at this point?
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post #26 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Just ideas at this point. Half the fun is tying my brain up in knots looking at various options. At some point I will have to make a decision. Whatever choice I go with, I am looking at 50/50 music/movies in a family/living room type of space. Not a dedicated space and very limited options for room treatments. Though the rooms isn't too lively to begin with...
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post #27 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmryan821 View Post

I was just curious since I had not seen that feature in a processor/avr.

There was a recent thread (I can not remember the title but I will search). Kal posted a design that was completely digital direct through to each speaker.

I have been searching for the all digital design for a while now. Having to send signals out through analog pre-outs just drives me nuts.

EDIT: Here is Kal's post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Indeed. Here is a one approach that we will be seeing more of in the coming year:
http://summitwireless.com/


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post #28 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ifor View Post

Callas doesn't have a pic, he's just being foolish.

sorry, don't know how that occured, its fixed.

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post #29 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kma100 View Post

Thanks for the suggestions. I have been getting more interested in active speakers since reading about and seeing Mark Seaton's Catalysts last month. There seem to be clear benefits of active over passive, but I assume there are disadvantages as well. Just trying to get smarter about what those differences might be.

Hi kma100,

It was nice to meet and chat in person a few weeks ago at the meet at mindless's home. Hearing the big Catalyst 12Cs stretching their legs does get ideas flowing. For what you had described at the meet, I would suggest the CAT-8Cs will deliver a great deal of the sound you heard, be easier to place, and require a little less time to save up for. I also wouldn't sweat the surrounds at first, as you can upgrade those over time, as the most important parts is the front stage & subwoofer.

You will find that most other suitable powered speakers will be marketed more for the studio market, but I have seen a few more manufacturers start to offer one or more models to test the market a bit. I was rather impressed and pleasantly surprised to see Paradigm's new powered 2 way intended for the big box stores at a very economical price, as that will greatly expand the awareness of the concept and option.

Mark Seaton
Seaton Sound, Inc.
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post #30 of 36 Old 03-29-2011, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Mark,

Good to hear from you! I have an eye on the 8c as well. Will also take a look at your other suggestion, I.e. the Paradigm.

Thanks.

Mukund
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