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post #1 of 306 Old 12-11-2019, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Near-Field Music System

I'm looking for recommendations for a kick-ass near-field listening 2.0 music system for my home office. The speakers will be on my desk on either side of my computer monitors. I'll stream music using Spotify or Tidal from my PC or smartphone using the aux out. Is aux out better SQ than Bluetooth?

Budget is $1000-$1500. I'm looking to reduce clutter and wires, so initially thought of two Sonos Ones paired in stereo. This works well for background listening in my living room during parties. A single Sonos One is great in my bathroom. But I'm looking for better detail, clarity, midbass, and SQ. The genres I play are blues and southern rock. Looking for good low-volume performance (unlike the Polk s15 in my TV room that play well only at higher volumes).

To reduce clutter, I'd rather not have an AVR or even a stereo receiver (too large). What options for speakers and electronics do you recommend? If there's a powered 2.0 speaker pair significantly better than Sonos, I'll be all for it since I won't then need to place an amp on my desk. If needed though, I could place small electronics under my laptop docking station.

Anything else you need to know that could help with recommendations?
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post #2 of 306 Old 12-11-2019, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
I'm looking for recommendations for a kick-ass near-field listening 2.0 music system for my home office. The speakers will be on my desk on either side of my computer monitors. I'll stream music using Spotify or Tidal from my PC or smartphone using the aux out. Is aux out better SQ than Bluetooth?

Budget is $1000-$1500. I'm looking to reduce clutter and wires, so initially thought of two Sonos Ones paired in stereo. This works well for background listening in my living room during parties. A single Sonos One is great in my bathroom. But I'm looking for better detail, clarity, midbass, and SQ. The genres I play are blues and southern rock. Looking for good low-volume performance (unlike the Polk s15 in my TV room that play well only at higher volumes).

To reduce clutter, I'd rather not have an AVR or even a stereo receiver (too large). What options for speakers and electronics do you recommend? If there's a powered 2.0 speaker pair significantly better than Sonos, I'll be all for it since I won't then need to place an amp on my desk. If needed though, I could place small electronics under my laptop docking station.

Anything else you need to know that could help with recommendations?
JBL LSR-305P would easily crush anything made by Sonos. Currently on sale, with free return shipping:
https://www.jbl.com/studio-monitors/...GLOBAL-Current

Best connection to PC is via USB:
https://www.amazon.com/UGREEN-Extern...dp/B01M7QQQC7/

Two of these and you'll be set.
https://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-XLR...dp/B001VLW398/

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #3 of 306 Old 12-11-2019, 10:20 PM
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Here you go, this will meet the sound you’re describing and can do all the things you want, Bluetooth or operate in wifi network, mid bass punch and clarity and meets your price range.

https://www.safeandsoundhq.com/produ...iABEgJDYvD_BwE
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post #4 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 05:35 AM
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I've heard really great things about this series. Sold each...there are 5 to choose from.

https://www.genelec.com/g-three#section-downloads

Here's a review on the g-four...

https://hometheaterreview.com/genele...aker-reviewed/
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post #5 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 06:37 AM
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I believe the Kef LSX would
Fit your budget.. they get very good reviews


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post #6 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by callas01 View Post
Here you go, this will meet the sound you’re describing and can do all the things you want, Bluetooth or operate in wifi network, mid bass punch and clarity and meets your price range.

https://www.safeandsoundhq.com/produ...iABEgJDYvD_BwE
Good price.
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post #7 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 07:46 AM
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Not to hijack but was thinking the same as the op. Has anyone any info on the dyn xeo4 vs the kef lsx? I know the kefs are smaller but cant seem to find any direct comparisons.. could help the op
As well.


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post #8 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
I know these are detailed, revealing, and neutral but I've also heard you need a sub with these. I'm trying to avoid a sub (just to reduce clutter) but open to getting a sub for SQ.

I was actually thinking of some kind of slim stereo receiver and the Ascend Sierra 2EX because that speaker goes down very low. I'd just dislike a receiver on my desk.

A HUGE criteria for me is ease of use, no fiddling, no turning things on and off, no tweaking. Because I have to work. I'm not trying to sound difficult, it's just the reason I got the Sonos One - I can speak to it and it immediately finds the song I need from Spotify. For better SQ, I'm willing to go to Spotify on my PC while working and hunt for a song but trying to avoid fiddling with a lot of switches and knobs
The JBL 305p is widely reported as not needing a sub for music. If you want extra assurance of that you can go with its bigger brother the 306p or even the 308p. Any of these would eat the Sonos for lunch.

The voice command thing is laughably easy to replicate with a $30 Amazon Echo puck, Google device, etc.
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~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #9 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Thanks, looks good. Actually saw these and rented them from a store last month for a karaoke party at home. A lot of cables though. How far do the rear ports have to be from the wall. My desk is against the wall. And I'd prefer a brown wood grain but open to black. Would I need a sub with these?

EDIT. I've heard there's a hiss with these and other studio monitors. I didn't hear a hiss when I rented it but I have high freq hearing loss. I think I rented a bigger version of these for our party.
If you're concerned about the rear wall being close to the rear port, then look into a front ported speaker like an ELAC B6.2 or RSL CG5 (better) or---my personal rec, the Wharfedale Diamond 225 (down-ported) ---but you'll need a paperback sized mini-amp like the SMSL AD18 ($145 from Amazon). This might also resolve any hum/hiss concerns. Plus that SMSL mini amp has subwoofer pre-out just in case you want to add a sub in the future.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #10 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
I saw you recommended that paperback mini amp on another thread and it's on my list to research. You read my mind. I was thinking of the RSL CG5 and speedwoofer combo myself. Is it ok to put a sub under the desk since bass is non-directional?

Would you say Diamond 225 is better than RSL CG5? Maybe should go up to Evo 4.1. Trying not to go beyond $1000 for speakers to leave money for sub and cables/electronics. Hence Ascend Sierra 2EX is out, but Luna or Sierra 2 is an option

EDIT. I have Google Homes and Chromecast Video. How will a Google mini connect to the desktop system? I don't think it can unless i plug a Chromecast into the mini-amp. For that, the mini amp will need HDMI input
True, I don't know of any mini-amp that has HDMI inputs. You'd have to do a full sized receiver to get that AFAIK.

Yes you can put a sub under your desk.

The Diamond 225 will almost surely NOT require a sub for music. It has 6.5" woofers vs the RSL's 5" ones. The Evo 4.1 does not go as low while costing 3x as much, similar to the Luna and Sierra 2 (5x as much). It's a no-brainer to try out first...currently on sale for $200/pr from Amazon or Music Direct.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #11 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 09:03 AM
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If decide on a reciever the marantz nr series are small form factor in height..


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post #12 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 09:07 AM
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The front ported equivalent of the JBL 3 Series is the Kali Audio LP series (6" and 8"). All reviews so far seem to agree that the Kali speakers are comparable to the JBLs. That makes sense since the guy who started Kali Audio was previously the top designer in the JBL Pro division. For more kick-ass, Kali just introduced the new 3-way IN-8 which adds a co-axial midrange to the 2-way LP-8.
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post #13 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by callas01 View Post
Here you go, this will meet the sound you’️re describing and can do all the things you want, Bluetooth or operate in wifi network, mid bass punch and clarity and meets your price range.

https://www.safeandsoundhq.com/produ...iABEgJDYvD_BwE
Sounds amazing and goes down to 45 Hz at 3 dB point. It says for high res music (24-bit/192kHz) must use optical connection or coax. How would I do that from a PC? Like Zorba said above?

It say for wireless and USB (and I guess aux too?), you get 24/96. Can human hearing distinguish between 24/96 and 24/192? What is Tidal premium and Spotify?
Well I’m not sure what outputs your computer has, but you could also get an USB to SPDIF converter, I have one from M2Tech that I’d use on my Mac mini.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
I'm looking for recommendations for a kick-ass near-field listening 2.0 music system for my home office. The speakers will be on my desk on either side of my computer monitors. I'll stream music using Spotify or Tidal from my PC or smartphone using the aux out. Is aux out better SQ than Bluetooth?

Budget is $1000-$1500. I'm looking to reduce clutter and wires, so initially thought of two Sonos Ones paired in stereo. This works well for background listening in my living room during parties. A single Sonos One is great in my bathroom. But I'm looking for better detail, clarity, midbass, and SQ. The genres I play are blues and southern rock. Looking for good low-volume performance (unlike the Polk s15 in my TV room that play well only at higher volumes).

To reduce clutter, I'd rather not have an AVR or even a stereo receiver (too large). What options for speakers and electronics do you recommend? If there's a powered 2.0 speaker pair significantly better than Sonos, I'll be all for it since I won't then need to place an amp on my desk. If needed though, I could place small electronics under my laptop docking station.

Anything else you need to know that could help with recommendations?
KEF LS50 $1440 open box in white:

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_991LS5...per.html?cc=02
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post #15 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 11:19 AM
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Near-Field Music System

Quote:
Originally Posted by gajCA View Post


I was going to suggest those too but my understanding you definately need good amplification...


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Last edited by rocky1; 12-12-2019 at 11:34 AM.
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post #16 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 11:23 AM
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I was going to suggest those too but my understanding you definately need good amplification...


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They are powered speakers that are said to sound better than the passive LS50 using good external amps.

bi-amped design with separate Class D woofer and tweeter amplifiers for greater headroom and lower distortion
woofer amplifier power: 200 watts
tweeter amplifier power: 30 watts

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post #17 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 11:27 AM
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They are powered speakers that are said to sound better than the passive LS50 using good external amps.



bi-amped design with separate Class D woofer and tweeter amplifiers for greater headroom and lower distortion

woofer amplifier power: 200 watts

tweeter amplifier power: 30 watts


Oh wow my mistake didnt noticed it was the powered ones. Should of looked at link.


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post #18 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 11:40 AM
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Oh wow my mistake didnt noticed it was the powered ones. Should of looked at link.


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Also numerous EQ options discussed in this review which speaks to their expansive soundstage and punch.

https://www.whathifi.com/us/kef/ls50-wireless/review
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Last edited by gajCA; 12-12-2019 at 11:55 AM.
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post #19 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Aren't these the speakers that @pase22 and others have said absolutely need a sub, inspite of being very detailed and neutral?
LS50 passives have this spec:

79-28,000 Hz (±3 dB)

The powered version has this spec likely due to the internal DSP and 200 watts of power behind it:

45-28,000 Hz (±3 dB)

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post #20 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 04:33 PM
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Get a pair of Dynaudio BM5 MKIII and call it a day. I have been enjoying mines for the last 4 years. Dynaudio discontinued them when they released the LYD series but because customers wanted them back, they started producing them again. Get a nice USB audio interface and you are done. In my case I have an Apogee Quartet audio interface + Dynaudio BM5 MKIII active monitors + Rythmik Audio L22 subwoofer.

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post #21 of 306 Old 12-12-2019, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
their expansive soundstage and punch.
But how relevant would those qualities be for nearfield use?

"Punch" usually becomes evident at higher volumes, which is unlikely if one is in nearfield, no?

How much of a "soundstage" can one actually perceive when listening so close up?

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #22 of 306 Old 12-13-2019, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
But how relevant would those qualities be for nearfield use?

"Punch" usually becomes evident at higher volumes, which is unlikely if one is in nearfield, no?

How much of a "soundstage" can one actually perceive when listening so close up?
With easy/cheap returns at Crutchfield the OP can tell us himself.

Maybe he'll agree with this review on that site...or not.

"These are my desktop speakers, amazing sound, all in one. I particularly think that these speakers are to be placed close to the listener to appreciate their great sound."
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post #23 of 306 Old 12-13-2019, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Hey, a rich friend of mine in NYC just got these For $2000 and has been swearing by them. They looks so small and will definitely reduce clutter and make easy connectivity using Bluetooth (not sure how to connect using WiFi - does it have a HEOS like system). Anyway, the only downsides I see are reviews saying EQ is finicky - one must get it just right after much tweaking. But this may not apply to nearfield. Definitely on my shortlist. Seems to be very different from the passive LS50.
To be fair I can't think of ANY EQ system that isn't "finicky."

Audyssey and REW are two that I have used and both of them take quite a bit of finagling to get good results.

Hardly plug and play, sad to say.
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post #24 of 306 Old 12-13-2019, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Aren't these the speakers that @pase22 and others have said absolutely need a sub, inspite of being very detailed and neutral?
The LS50 passive extend down to 50hz so can do well without a sub, but definitely benefit from one. The powered version are said to sound better and have better bass, but can't confirm personally. All I can say is the LS50 passive sound very clear and detailed. The dual subs just took things to another level for me. As far as amps go, with the NAD out of action my Denon X3400 drives them just fine. In fact there's isn't a huge difference between the NAD & Denon. A Marantz NR series will provide plenty of dynamics being that you'll only be driving 2 channels and won't be cranking them to eleven in nearfield setup. There are plenty of integrated amps available as well, but likely won't have room eq and bass management.

The downside to powered speakers is when the amps inevitably fail, you're left with an expensive paper weight. AVR's are much cheaper to replace.
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post #25 of 306 Old 12-13-2019, 08:35 AM
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The LS50 passive extend down to 50hz so can do well without a sub, but definitely benefit from one.
Actually, KEF lists their 3db roll-off at 79Hz so I would DEFINITELY want to have a sub with these:
https://us.kef.com/catalog/product/v...#attributespec

3db roll-off at 50Hz or lower is where you can skip the sub for music, IMO.
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~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #26 of 306 Old 12-13-2019, 09:17 AM
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In fact there's isn't a huge difference between the NAD & Denon.
When my very expensive NAD AVR died I replaced it with a mid tier Denon.

The Denon was superior in every way.

Not a NAD basher; been using NAD amps in my secondary room quite happily since the mid 80s.
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post #27 of 306 Old 12-13-2019, 09:39 AM
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My Sonos One is definitely finicky. Need to keep moving it around or altering bass/treble per song or per album. I guess with these KEFs, once I get it right and position well, it'll be fine. Looks like they're definitely at the beginning of diminishing returns, which is where I like to be. That is, (1) the performance meets the price, and (2) increasing price doesn't get a proportional increase in performance. Wish the ones on sale were not white, I may get a new red one instead and just do payments over 3 mos.

I was thinking of spending $1000-$1500 but having no extra boxes (amp), wires makes the higher price of the KEFs worthwhile. They don't have a vol knob? I must use an app to change vol? Bad. That's the downside of my Sonos - need to use that damn app, which is not compatible with Android well.
They've got two titanium/gray/red in the outlet.

Here are the manuals.

https://us.kef.com/speakers/flagship...ibutedownloads
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post #28 of 306 Old 12-13-2019, 11:10 AM
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Tannoy released new, active gold series. I have not heard them personally. But I am using a pair of passive Tannoy as computer speakers


https://darko.audio/2019/10/tannoy-g...r-active-gold/
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Last edited by agent.5; 12-13-2019 at 11:21 AM.
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post #29 of 306 Old 12-13-2019, 11:25 AM
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OK I'll read all this stuff this weekend. So no one recommends any other powered speakers, such as Kanto, Audioengine, Edifier? Are they vastly or noticeably inferior to the KEF LS50 powered. While my budget is $1500, if there's something cheaper that is not noticeably inferior, I'd like to audition.
If you go passive, you have a lots of options such as
Focal Aria
Canton Vento
Dynaudio Emit
Revel M16
Kef LS50 among others.
Your options to match LS50 in powered speakers is much more limited.
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Kef LS50,Q200C, Q100, Kef Kube 10B (X2) , Denon AVR-X3400H, Panasonic 50" Plasma, Xbox One.
Bedroom: Kef Q100 ,JBL Loft 20, SVS SB-2000, Denon AVR-S710W, PS3, 32" Insigna LED.
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post #30 of 306 Old 12-13-2019, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by pase22 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
OK I'll read all this stuff this weekend. So no one recommends any other powered speakers, such as Kanto, Audioengine, Edifier? Are they vastly or noticeably inferior to the KEF LS50 powered. While my budget is $1500, if there's something cheaper that is not noticeably inferior, I'd like to audition.
If you go passive, you have a lots of options such as
Focal Aria
Canton Vento
Dynaudio Emit
Revel M16
Kef LS50 among others.
Your options to match LS50 in powered speakers is much more limited.
Dynaudio Xeo or their professional series BM5 would match the LS50W.
The original Xeo series launched in 2012, way before everyone else jumped on board.

Dali Zensor 1AX is a low cost option, not as good as the Dyns or KEF but could be a low entry point to active speakers.
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Dynaudio Contour 20, Focus 210C, DM 2/6, Hsu VTF3 MK5 HP, Oppo BDP-103, Naim Uniti Star, Marantz SR5010, 60" 4K Samsung LED LCD, XBOX ONE S
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