B&W MM-1, Airmotiv 4/5, or Focal XS Book? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 09-13-2013, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys,

I'm looking for a pair of computer speakers to play music with. Budget is about $500.

I've been looking at these speakers:
- B&W MM-1
- Airmotiv 4 or 5 (Is the 5 a lot better?)
- Focal XS Book

Speakers will be mainly used for playing music at the computer. Space is an issue so nothing large like the airmotiv 6's.

Also, if I get speakers without built-in DAC's, will they benefit a lot from a DAC? I was looking at the Schiit Modi and Loki DAC's earlier.

Any thoughts? Thanks!
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post #2 of 29 Old 09-13-2013, 04:39 PM
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I've had a pair of Airmotiv 4s for about 6 months now. They're a good little speaker. Sound quality is solid, but obviously woofers of this size will have their limits. They're a good compromise if you're limited on space and as such they're not really for critical listening.

When I was doing my research I had it narrowed down to the Emotivas, the B&W MM-1, the Audioengine A5+ and one of the Rokit models (forgot which one). The B&Ws just aren't that great, especially at the price point. The Airmotivs are powered and independent of one another, unlike the Audioengine. I saw this as an upside but it also means you need 2 plugs available and, because the power switch is on the backside, you'll probably end up keeping them on all the time. Never got to hear the Rokits.

Emotiva has sales all the time. Get on their mailing list and they'll send you notifications.

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post #3 of 29 Old 09-13-2013, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by repete66211 View Post

I've had a pair of Airmotiv 4s for about 6 months now. They're a good little speaker. Sound quality is solid, but obviously woofers of this size will have their limits. They're a good compromise if you're limited on space and as such they're not really for critical listening.

When I was doing my research I had it narrowed down to the Emotivas, the B&W MM-1, the Audioengine A5+ and one of the Rokit models (forgot which one). The B&Ws just aren't that great, especially at the price point. The Airmotivs are powered and independent of one another, unlike the Audioengine. I saw this as an upside but it also means you need 2 plugs available and, because the power switch is on the backside, you'll probably end up keeping them on all the time. Never got to hear the Rokits.

Emotiva has sales all the time. Get on their mailing list and they'll send you notifications.

How do the airmotiv 4's and 5's compare? What about the focal xs book?

Right now I'm probably looking at either the airmotiv 4 or the focal xs book with a Schiit Modi.
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post #4 of 29 Old 09-13-2013, 08:24 PM
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I don't know about the Focal. Some of their other speakers are good, others not so much. I was on the fence about getting a DAC but as I said before, you aren't going to get reference sound out of 4 or 5 inch drivers. IMO the value just isn't there.

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post #5 of 29 Old 09-14-2013, 09:47 AM
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Hey, kzhlin. I see you made it over here to AVS from the other forum smile.gif

The larger driver of the Airmotiv 5 over the 4 should give you a little better midbass and a bit deeper bass extension.

Do you happen to have a Guitar Center in your area? They carry many different studio monitors in this price range. You might find something you like there.

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post #6 of 29 Old 09-14-2013, 10:42 AM
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Get the airmotiv4 and then get an SVS sb1000 down the line and you'll have a really kickass setup. Don't expect any monitors that fit the desktop to play full range. I feel the airmotiv 4's have decent enough bass for such a near field monitor. I plan to get the sb1000 in the future

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post #7 of 29 Old 09-14-2013, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menasor View Post

Get the airmotiv4 and then get an SVS sb1000 down the line and you'll have a really kickass setup. Don't expect any monitors that fit the desktop to play full range. I feel the airmotiv 4's have decent enough bass for such a near field monitor. I plan to get the sb1000 in the future

I have the SB-1000 in my desktop setup. With bass heavy music, I find it makes an incredible difference.

Hey, I see in your sig that you are an Energy fan, too, Menasor. I have RC-50s, RC-LCR, and Veritas VS surrounds. smile.gif

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post #8 of 29 Old 09-14-2013, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! Cel4145, yes, I made it here from the other forum! Haha.

Is the airmotiv 5 better than the 4? I read that the clarity on the 4 is better?

Any thoughts on the focal xs? It's got some really nice reviews... Almost better than the MM-1 it seems, and it's only $300.
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post #9 of 29 Old 09-14-2013, 01:11 PM
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Without hearing either, I would get the Focal and the Modi DAC over the MM-1s. I've owned B&W speakers, and I think there equipment is often very good, but a little over priced. You pay for the name.

Or get the Airmotiv 4s and the Modi. smile.gif

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post #10 of 29 Old 09-14-2013, 10:27 PM
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All this talk of subs has me thinking. I have. 3.5mm to dual RCA for my Airmotiv 4s. How would I incorporate a sub into the mix with an iMac?

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post #11 of 29 Old 09-14-2013, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by repete66211 View Post

All this talk of subs has me thinking. I have. 3.5mm to dual RCA for my Airmotiv 4s. How would I incorporate a sub into the mix with an iMac?

1) Get a sub with left/right RCA inputs. Split the output from your iMac and run it to both the sub and the speakers. Set your crossover to where the speakers roll off in bass.

2) (Optimum). Get a sub with left/right RCA inputs and outputs with a high pass filter, like the SVS SB-1000. Run the audio from your iMac to the sub, then from the sub to the speakers. With the SVS SB-1000, set the sub crossover to 80hz. This has the advantage of letting the sub take over part of the midbass which it can do better than the Airmotivs.

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post #12 of 29 Old 09-15-2013, 12:19 AM
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OK thanks!

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post #13 of 29 Old 09-15-2013, 06:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Without hearing either, I would get the Focal and the Modi DAC over the MM-1s. I've owned B&W speakers, and I think there equipment is often very good, but a little over priced. You pay for the name.

Or get the Airmotiv 4s and the Modi. smile.gif

"Without hearing either." ?!? Really? The MM-1s are terrific, by the way. Better, I could not say, which is what you should have said.
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post #14 of 29 Old 09-15-2013, 09:12 AM
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"Without hearing either." ?!? Really? The MM-1s are terrific, by the way. Better, I could not say, which is what you should have said.

Don't tell me what I should have said. I'm sure that they sound quite good, but I would not pick them over the other two. I've heard others describe the MM-1s as over priced for the sound. Then the B&W has 3" drivers compared to the 4" in the other two. And being familiar with the quality of the Modi vs. other DACs, I would suspect that it could easily be better than the one built in the MM-1s.

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post #15 of 29 Old 09-15-2013, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Don't tell me what I should have said. I'm sure that they sound quite good, but I would not pick them over the other two. I've heard others describe the MM-1s as over priced for the sound. Then the B&W has 3" drivers compared to the 4" in the other two. And being familiar with the quality of the Modi vs. other DACs, I would suspect that it could easily be better than the one built in the MM-1s.

Touché on my unnecessary snarkiness.
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post #16 of 29 Old 09-15-2013, 10:56 AM
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Code:
Touché on my unnecessary snarkiness.

OK smile.gif

Since you got me started on this wink.gif, the MM-1 claims 38Hz and 22kHz. It's kind of laughable to imagine that a 3" driver will have usable 38hz response even sitting 1m away. The Focal XS Book lists 50Hz – 22kHz, the Airmotiv 4 52 Hz to 27 kHz +0 / -6 dB. Those are reasonable expectations for a 4" ported speaker. Most likely the MM-1s response is WAY down at 38hz, and probably even at 50hz unless they have added some bass boost EQ to their amp, like Audioengine did with the A2.

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post #17 of 29 Old 09-15-2013, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

OK smile.gif

Since you got me started on this wink.gif, the MM-1 claims 38Hz and 22kHz. It's kind of laughable to imagine that a 3" driver will have usable 38hz response even sitting 1m away. The Focal XS Book lists 50Hz – 22kHz, the Airmotiv 4 52 Hz to 27 kHz +0 / -6 dB. Those are reasonable expectations for a 4" ported speaker. Most likely the MM-1s response is WAY down at 38hz, and probably even at 50hz unless they have added some bass boost EQ to their amp, like Audioengine did with the A2.

At the volumes customarily played on these devices, not sure they cannot reach pretty low, but I have no idea if the 38 Hz reference is spin. My head is typically within half a meter of the speakers as they farme an iMac. By way of context, I have nine full-size monitor speakers (rather good examples of the breed) and seven subwoofers in my house, so I am not entirely unfamiliar with good bass and sound. Yet, when I fire up the MM-1s, they not only sound good, generally, but I do not find the bass lacking. Not punctuation-mark bass, and I have never tested them by listening for notes that I know to reside in the lower registers, but for just plain highish fidelity sound while trolling or working on a computer, they seem great. Whether the corresponding focus on the computer dulls my aural acuity, who knows?

You will not "feel" any bass notes, that's for sure, but none of these units will give you that, save for through a mediocre sub unit. Aside from a mini-Zeppelin, we have no other B&W units in the house, so I am not a real fanatic for their stuff.
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post #18 of 29 Old 09-18-2013, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! My friend has a pair of MM-1's that I'm going to borrow just to see how they sound. The airmotiv 5's are currently out of stock...
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post #19 of 29 Old 09-27-2013, 06:38 PM
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Emotiva is having a Warehouse sale right now. I was able to score a pair of the Airmotiv 4 for a incredible price. You may want to give them a call.

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post #20 of 29 Old 09-28-2013, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Emotiva is having a Warehouse sale right now. I was able to score a pair of the Airmotiv 4 for a incredible price. You may want to give them a call.

Is the warehouse sale just refurbished units?
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post #21 of 29 Old 10-01-2013, 11:03 PM
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I asked them and they told me that they were open box or returned from customers. They check them and make sure that they are working. My Airmotiv 4 were in pristine shape, no blemishes no nothing.

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post #22 of 29 Old 01-03-2014, 09:12 PM
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I'm about to return a pair of MM-1s since they apparently don't work with Windows 8.
Considering an Airmotiv as a replacement but looks like they're all unavailable from Emotiva - any idea what's going on there? Are they retiring this line?
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post #23 of 29 Old 01-03-2014, 11:36 PM
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I have owned the MM-1s and I doubt they will be able to match the Emotivas in sound. The main advantage of them is utilitarian--kids can't push in the cones, and you can throw them in a bag and use them for travel speakers without worrying about drivers getting smashed, and they are very durable. Other than that, they sound no better than $100 PC speakers like the Klipsch 2.0 Promedia Ultra or the Creative T20s.
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post #24 of 29 Old 01-09-2014, 01:00 PM
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I need new computer speakers after the control pod on my POS Razer Mako's died 9 months ago. I trashed the impossible to find control pod before learning that the problem with the speakers was a run of bad caps in the sub unit that are easily replaceable. Oh well! PS, Razer support is horrible, crap company IMHO. Only product I have had from them and it was just for the low profile of the speakers and getting tricked by THX LOL. SteelSeries on the other hand is very good with many of their gaming accessories.

So for months I did a lot of online reading and settled on the Airmotiv 4s (somewhat space limited) and would plus up with a 12" sub down the line if I felt it was needed. So I go to get myself a Christmas present last month and they are out of stock. Still out of stock now. Of course they were IN STOCK when I started all the looking and could have had them if I just didn't over research. But, I just called them and the phone lass, after a consult, told me expect them in back in stock online in 45-60 days.

Sigh.

I will probably wait as it's been ages anyway, but it is highly annoying!
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post #25 of 29 Old 01-09-2014, 02:02 PM
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Definitely, seek out a pair of JBL LSR305's!
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post #26 of 29 Old 01-09-2014, 03:05 PM
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Definitely, seek out a pair of JBL LSR305's!

Are they designed to take unbalanced inputs? I've never read the manual, but the back of the LSR305s only have balanced inputs labeled.

Just wondering because most people don't have pro audio soundcards with balanced outputs.

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post #27 of 29 Old 01-09-2014, 07:11 PM
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Are they designed to take unbalanced inputs? I've never read the manual, but the back of the LSR305s only have balanced inputs labeled.

Just wondering because most people don't have pro audio soundcards with balanced outputs.

Yes it has both XLR and 1/4" balanced inputs but adapter cables are not hard to find...
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005HGM1D6
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post #28 of 29 Old 01-09-2014, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron Alcasid View Post

Yes it has both XLR and 1/4" balanced inputs but adapter cables are not hard to find...
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005HGM1D6

Admittedly, I'm not an engineer or pro audio equipment expert, but I thought that can introduce noise: http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/av-home-theater/25984-understanding-unbalanced-vs-balanced-audio-signals-difference.html#post237890

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post #29 of 29 Old 01-09-2014, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Admittedly, I'm not an engineer or pro audio equipment expert, but I thought that can introduce noise: http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/av-home-theater/25984-understanding-unbalanced-vs-balanced-audio-signals-difference.html#post237890

I don't deny the validity of that post so I can only speak from my own experience but I've used this same cable to connect multiple USB DACs with 1/8" outputs and even the output of my laptop to the JBL's. I does make noise while connecting and disconnecting with the speakers turned on but none during normal operation. That said I opted to purchase a USB DAC w/XLR outputs.
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