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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi AVS Users,


I am new to this forum, but not new to the audio world. I have had many 5.1 set-ups in my time. After being out of the game for a while, I am looking to get a new set of speakers to listen primarily to music, and maybe movies down the road in stereo. As of right now I only have a JBL computer speaker set up.


My music library consists mostly of MP3s and lossless files. I want a simple set up that will give me a greater depth of tonal dynamics, and provide more listening pleasure. I have been toying with the two ideas. In either case I want to be able to stream my music via Airport Express to various places in my apartment.


1) Buy a set of powered studio monitors like the Dynaudio BM6A's which will be hooked directly to the AE.


2) Buy a set of passives, like Vienna Acoustics, and run a mono-block amp similar to the Outlaw Audio.


Any and all advice for this two channel set up would be GREATLY appreciated. I know some things, but I am looking to people who know more than me to answer which set up (or if there is a better suggestion out there, that is great too). Thank you kindly!
 

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if the speakers will be setup as "near field" units, then the powered monitors should work fine. If you are setting up a room size system, then larger, more full range speakers on a good receiver or amplifier would be a better solution. I mention an a/v receiver because you mentioned using the system with movies in the future.


B&W, Salk Song towers, Paradigm, and many fine other manufacturers should be on your "audition list". There are several excellent older threads on this board about a member's personal quest for the "perfect" or "ultimate" speaker setup. They are interesting reads (and usually quite long), but cover a huge amount of information on the top end of consumer stereo/HT speaker systems.
 

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A few other things to consider.

A powered monitor typically yields deeper bass extension than a comparably sized passive, but you are stuck with the specs of the internal amplification. Some have a subwoofer outputs as well. There are very powerful active monitors with 8 inch woofers that will fill a larger room. Just depends on what SPL and frequency response you need.

Another advantage is that the better active monitors include room EQ.

And, some include internal DACs. If you're going to the expense of high-end speakers and possibly monoblock amplifiers, then you probably don't want to rely on the AE's internal DAC. Just keep in mind the AE will output digital toslink only, not coaxial.

A disadvantage can be ergonomics and usability. Depends on the model, but most are designed for use with a mixing board that has multiple inputs and level controls. Hence, the pro oriented active monitors have rear level controls, balanced inputs, and no headphone output or remote control function. There are a lot of active monitors targeted for desktop recording/mixing stations and prosumers that incorporate these features. A quick tour of sweetwater.com will give you a broad sampling of what's out there.


In addition to the brands m_vanmeter recommended, I'd consider Revel for a passive, and JBL Professional and Genelec for actives.

As for you primary question, I can't help you with which option is better. Each has pros and cons. The active monitors tend towards flatter response, while you can come across a wide range of voicing preferences in passive designs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all for your help. It definitely gives me a lot to think about. I think I am going to go the passive route, as I want to be doing mostly casual listening in my living room, and not mixing.


If most of my music files will be streaming at 320kbps, would Revel speakers and quality amplification just magnify a sub-par audio source? Like I said I have been out of the game for a while, and CDs are a thing of the past. How do you audiophiles utilize your digital media to give the best sound possible?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by self-powered /forum/post/18295894


Thank you all for your help. It definitely gives me a lot to think about. I think I am going to go the passive route, as I want to be doing mostly casual listening in my living room, and not mixing.


If most of my music files will be streaming at 320kbps, would Revel speakers and quality amplification just magnify a sub-par audio source? Like I said I have been out of the game for a while, and CDs are a thing of the past. How do you audiophiles utilize your digital media to give the best sound possible?

rip your files as lossless and get a good dac--cambridge dac magic, benchmark dac1, musical fidelity...etc...many out there. take the output from the dac and put it into a good integrated, or, if you must, use the digital input of an avr and skip the outboard dac. since you are thinking about options you may want to think about posting a budget if you want more suggestions. Happy hunting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Denophile!


I auditioned some speakers today and was once again bitten by the audio gear bug. My wallet is in for trouble. I looked at the Sonus Faber Toy Towers today. They are selling them for $2K per pair which is marked down $750 from retail. I looked on ebay and $2K was what they are going for. I also tried out the Revel Concerta series tower which I liked. I really want a laid back speaker, with a rich warm sound. My budget for speakers is $2K MAX.


This leaves me to the process of getting the sound from my Mac Pro to the speakers, either wirelessly, or through a wired AV receiver. I will only be utilizing two channels initially, but may want a 3.1 set up down the road for movies.


I would like to do the powering, and processing of my MP3 files (I would love to go FLAC, but right now most of my MP3s are at 320KBPS and look to stay that way).


I have some more questions so please indulge my ignorance.


What is the best and most economical way to get the sound from my computer to the speakers? This would presumably account for all of the power and pre-amp components. I would like to get the two channels covered for about $1K. I know its not tons to work with.


Which speakers will do the trick better do you think?


Thank you all! It is nice to have a community out there that is caring and genuinely looks out for people's ears!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by self-powered /forum/post/18297806


Thanks Denophile!


I auditioned some speakers today and was once again bitten by the audio gear bug. My wallet is in for trouble. I looked at the Sonus Faber Toy Towers today. They are selling them for $2K per pair which is marked down $750 from retail. I looked on ebay and $2K was what they are going for. I also tried out the Revel Concerta series tower which I liked. I really want a laid back speaker, with a rich warm sound. My budget for speakers is $2K MAX.


This leaves me to the process of getting the sound from my Mac Pro to the speakers, either wirelessly, or through a wired AV receiver. I will only be utilizing two channels initially, but may want a 3.1 set up down the road for movies.


I would like to do the powering, and processing of my MP3 files (I would love to go FLAC, but right now most of my MP3s are at 320KBPS and look to stay that way).


I have some more questions so please indulge my ignorance.


What is the best and most economical way to get the sound from my computer to the speakers? This would presumably account for all of the power and pre-amp components. I would like to get the two channels covered for about $1K. I know its not tons to work with.

- As far as getting the music from your computer to the speakers, you could use a Appletv which has an optical out and works very nicely. Or you could look into the Wadia i170 ipod dock, although ive seen mixed reviews. The wadia bypasses the DAC in the ipod and will let your own DAC do the converting. Others use the little imac computer, i forget the name.


Which speakers will do the trick better do you think?

- Try listening to some B&W speakers if you havent already. They are very laid back and might be just what your looking for.

Thank you all! It is nice to have a community out there that is caring and genuinely looks out for people's ears!

...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you santapimp27!


It's been a while since I have auditioned B&W, but I remember them being more forward and agressive sonically. Is this a wrong assessment?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by self-powered /forum/post/18299437


Thank you santapimp27!


It's been a while since I have auditioned B&W, but I remember them being more forward and agressive sonically. Is this a wrong assessment?

Yes.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by self-powered /forum/post/18297806


What is the best and most economical way to get the sound from my computer to the speakers? This would presumably account for all of the power and pre-amp components. I would like to get the two channels covered for about $1K. I know its not tons to work with.

Denophile's suggestion of an AVR with internal DAC is the cheapest. You can scour Audiogon for a pre-HDMI AVR. Lots of people have upgraded from high-end non-HDMI equipped receivers that would be an excellent choice. Last year, I picked up a Cambridge Audio 540R v.2 for just a couple hundred. If you believe an external DAC would be better, and that's controversial (we're not talking about the cheapest Best Buy receiver here), then you can mate that with an integrated amp. You still should be under 1k, depending on how much power you need and what brand you select.

Quote:
Originally Posted by self-powered /forum/post/18297806


If most of my music files will be streaming at 320kbps, would Revel speakers and quality amplification just magnify a sub-par audio source? Like I said I have been out of the game for a while, and CDs are a thing of the past. How do you audiophiles utilize your digital media to give the best sound possible?

This is a controversial issue, and makes for interesting reading/discussion! My digital collection is made up of mostly lossless and some lossy MP3s. Do I mind listening to the MP3s? No way. I hear digital artifacts in some of the songs I've purchased from iTunes and Amazon, but when I've made 320k MP3s to compare with a lossless version, I can't tell the difference. I now believe for most music recordings, the audible difference is nil. Many people say they can definitely hear a difference. Well, with entire songs or just on a short, carefully selected clip of an entire CD? A true audiophile recording or mass market pop music? Storage is so cheap now, I just burn CDs to the compressed Apple Lossless for piece of mind, but I wouldn't worry about your 320kbs rate.


BTW, here's a fun online test b/t 128kbs and 320kbs:
http://www.noiseaddicts.com/2009/03/...-test-128-320/
 

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take a look at the Peachtree audio nova/decco2


Either could be used as your DAC for your setup and i have heard they sound very nice. They could also be used as amps if you want. The nova had 80 wpc and the decco2 only has 40 wpc.


The decco used as your DAC, and then an Emotiva UPA-2 as an amp would work and be right around $1k. Or you could spend a little extra and get the XPA-2 for the extra power. Depends if your speakers need it.
 
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