Speakers for Home Theater/Listening Room/Desktop...($1000) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-10-2012, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I have had my head turned around a few times in this search which has become more desperate in the last few weeks when I blew out one of my 25 year old free college speakers. The mono setup is just not working for me at all and needs to be replaced...

However, being a grad student, my uses are wide and varied, and my space is challenging. The room is about 10' x 13' x 8' (LxWxH) and functions as my office, listening room, and home theater. I am planning on putting up some foam panels on the sides and back wall as a start at acoustic management...nothing high tech, just some insulation from Home Depot. Whenever I am in the room, some audio is playing, probably about 75% music, 25% movies.

As for room setup, my desk is parallel to the short wall, offset about 2' from the wall so that my speakers have about 3' to the wall. I have 3 24" displays on my desk (about 60" wide) framed by my 2...erm...1 bookshelf speaker. About 4' behind my desk is a small couch. I was planning on getting a projector so that I didnt have to watch movies on my 24" screen anymore, but it looks like I am getting speakers instead...

For the speakers I have a MAX budget of $1000 to include the speakers, shipping, and any necessary stands, cables, DI boxes, etc.

I have an old, but good quality amp that delivers 2x70W at 8ohms, so that may or may not make it into my next system.

I have gotten a lot of conflicting advice from people at Guitar Center, home theater stores, and online forums. I originally was thinking that studio monitors would be perfect for my uses since the max listening distance is about 5' and the normal listening distance is 3' (when I'm working on my computer which unfortunately is most of the time). However, after talking to the guys at Guitar Center and another online forum specializing in recording, they seem to suggest that a studio monitor would sound horrible for normal listening. I was under the impression that it will give me the closest sound to what the audio engineers heard and since my room was not completely untreated and some thought was put into the speaker placement, that they would give me the best sound, especially since i will be within 3' 90 % of the time.

In the studio monitor category I have been eyeing the Mackie Hr824mkII, KRK VXT 8, and JBL LSR 2328P.

However the naysayers in the recording business have given me doubt and I started looking into more traditional consumer speakers such as the Polk LSi9, RB-81 II, Emotiva XRT-6.2 or XRM-6.1, or maybe even something like the Paradigm Studio 60. I am concerned about the listening distance and related fatigue with these options since they are designed to be listened to at far greater distances than 3'.

I plan on building a subwoofer next summer, so while bass extension is always appreciated, I would prefer a smoother, flatter mid-range than a booming bottom.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I was ready to pull the trigger on the Mackies, and then they made me doubt...

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-11-2012, 08:32 AM
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Real studio monitors are designed to output the purest -- least adulterated -- sound possible, but that may or may not be what you want to hear. Music in it's most pristine form can sound a bit flat or lifeless to some people. I personally don't feel that way, but others do; they've become more accustom to music that's been embellished by various tweaks. Some also liken it to listening with headphones, whereby details that were once masked are now prominent. That can take some people by surprise.

Most monitors have been designed for near-field listening, so I don't necessarily think that's an issue in the practical sense. However, the ones you're looking at all have 8" midranges, and my concern there would be how close you sit. I'm not sure they're going to have a chance to properly blend with the tweeter in the first couple of feet. You may want to investigate the smaller variants, like the HR624mk2 or VXT6.

If you opt to go that route a few others you might want to consider are...

There's also the DynAudio DBM50 which is angled up towards the listener, so it's specifically designed for desktop usage.

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post #3 of 6 Old 06-11-2012, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
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This is where I am getting a bit overwhelmed. I really want to be able to audition a few, but I cannot find anyone who has any of these speakers in a showroom within 150 miles, which is especially far for someone without a car.

Part of me wants to say just get the Behringers, you will never notice the difference and they will sound so much better than what you have been using and you can put the rest of the money into the surround system fund.

The other part says just do it right and save a bit more for something like the Adam A7x and deal with mono sound or just rely on my Sennhesier HD600 headphones (which I love, but cant use with a guest, and I feel don't do an epic movie justice) for the time being.

Then the voice of reason comes in and says go middle of the road and spend $800-1000 on some quality monitors that you know will last and will keep you happy for quite a while.

Whenever I settle on one of these, I read a few reports of problems or I get the urge to have it now and I rethink and end up wasting more time. At this rate I almost might as well just wait a few months and get the A7x.....but a few months of annoying audio is hard to play with too...

I also have had concerns about the 8" vs 6". Especially when I am looking at the Mackies and realize that price difference between the two is only about $100 on the used market. I figure since I will be adding a sub next, that both should be more than capable come that time, but I am not sure I want a studio monitor in a purists sense. I feel a slightly hyped speaker may serve my needs better and be a little more fun to listen to. More often the larger speakers in this price range start to move more toward HT profiles.
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-12-2012, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Has anyone compared using a bookshelf HT speaker and a studio monitor at <=3' listening differences? I realize that the results will be different per room and per speaker, but I am just looking for a general rule of thumb.

Phrased another way, if you had $1000 to purchase 2 speakers for a small room, what would you get? Passive bookshelves, floor standing full range, studio monitors?
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-13-2012, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoth View Post

Has anyone compared using a bookshelf HT speaker and a studio monitor at <=3' listening differences? I realize that the results will be different per room and per speaker, but I am just looking for a general rule of thumb.
Phrased another way, if you had $1000 to purchase 2 speakers for a small room, what would you get? Passive bookshelves, floor standing full range, studio monitors?

If I were a college student I wouldn't be spending a $1000 on two speakers. Three words. Energy Take Classic. Check out the review on CNET. I used the Energy Take Classic 5.1 in my basement theater for about two years until I upgraded. Amazing sound from such a small package. You will not be disappointed. For the money you cannot buy a better system.
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-13-2012, 05:00 PM
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The Paradigm Millenia One system got great reviews. I am even selling my Millenia One setup for cheap.

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