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RE: Active hifi speakers or active studio monitors?

John Duncan wrote:

Can I just say, davedotco, that I'm very much enjoying your contributions here.  Thanks.

Rather too much time on my hands today, it gives me a chance to get on my soapbox.

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RE: Active hifi speakers or active studio monitors?

John Duncan wrote:

Can I just say, davedotco, that I'm very much enjoying your contributions here.  Thanks.

+1

Hi-Fi - Teufel DecoderStation 5 > AVI DM5

Head-Fi - Epiphany Acoustics EHP-O2Di > Sennheisser HD700

Portable - Sony NWZ-A847 > Westone UM3x

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RE: Active hifi speakers or active studio monitors?

altruistic.lemon wrote:

Nope, your first point, is, well, tosh, and your second doesn't bear scrutiny. Ah well.

 

How so?

 

Regarding my first point, you cannot catagorically state that all yamaha guitars sound the same.  Unless you can somehow prove it to me, but having worked in guitar shops and spent many moons in studios recording stuff, I'd like to know where you get this idea from?

 

As for the second point, in what way does it not bear scrutiny?  Please expand? Serious question - do you actually know what goes in to recording music and how they acheive what they do?

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RE: Active hifi speakers or active studio monitors?

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RE: Active hifi speakers or active studio monitors?

Don't tell me, Max again?

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RE: Active hifi speakers or active studio monitors?

davedotco wrote:

Since such hackneyed old stereotypes were already being thrown around with such abandon I thought it appropriate to 'get that one in'.

Like many such sayings it has  a strand of truth too it, many budget loudspeakers are still made that emphasise the mid bass to make up for a lack of real depth and lift the presence/treble region to give them balance. Nothing really wrong with this, it is simply making a budget speaker easier to live with, I was just making the point that there are other ways to make inexpensive speakers sound good without doing that.

 

Yes, strand being the operative word.  Never yet heard "boom" or "tizz" coming out of any speaker uness it was on the soundtrack.  A tired old cliche that deserves to get rebutted.  Oh yes, I've heard a few actives as well some of which do a fine line in removing the life from the music - you can see why they need to be heard in the producer's studio and nowhere else...

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RE: Active hifi speakers or active studio monitors?

the record spot wrote:

davedotco wrote:

Since such hackneyed old stereotypes were already being thrown around with such abandon I thought it appropriate to 'get that one in'.

Like many such sayings it has  a strand of truth too it, many budget loudspeakers are still made that emphasise the mid bass to make up for a lack of real depth and lift the presence/treble region to give them balance. Nothing really wrong with this, it is simply making a budget speaker easier to live with, I was just making the point that there are other ways to make inexpensive speakers sound good without doing that.

 

Yes, strand being the operative word.  Never yet heard "boom" or "tizz" coming out of any speaker uness it was on the soundtrack.  A tired old cliche that deserves to get rebutted.  Oh yes, I've heard a few actives as well some of which do a fine line in removing the life from the music - you can see why they need to be heard in the producer's studio and nowhere else...

I am not sure whether to take this reply seriously or not, are you simply responding to the terminology or have you genuinely never heard speakers that emphasise the mid bass to compensate for the lack of true bass depth? Just asking.

I am also getting a bit fed up of being treated like I am some sort of apologist for active speakers, this is simply not the case.

I too have heard some pretty poor active speakers in my time, some quite unlistenable, but unlike some I do not jump to the conclusion that all actives are bad any more than I discount all passive speakers after hearing some of the rubbish that finds it's way into some dealers.

I have a background that encompasses both pro-audio and real hi-fi and find the entrenched and often quite absurd views on both sides of the devide quite amusing though the ignorance is often quite astounding.

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RE: Active hifi speakers or active studio monitors?

davedotco wrote:

I too have heard some pretty poor active speakers in my time, some quite unlistenable, but unlike some I do not jump to the conclusion that all actives are bad any more than I discount all passive speakers after hearing some of the rubbish that finds it's way into some dealers.

I have a background that encompasses both pro-audio and real hi-fi and find the entrenched and often quite absurd views on both sides of the devide quite amusing though the ignorance is often quite astounding.

 

Hi Dave, your background is neither here nor there to me, but your trotting out of the "boom / tizz" cliche leaves me cold.  I've heard some pretty poor actives too and I've heard some great ones.  My personal preference is Yamaha, Genelec and one or two others I've heard.  I won't claim to be an expert but I've heard a few.  I'm glad you don't discount all passives, which is rather refreshing after the earlier evidence.  

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RE: Active hifi speakers or active studio monitors?

the record spot wrote:

Yes, strand being the operative word.  Never yet heard "boom" or "tizz" coming out of any speaker uness it was on the soundtrack.  A tired old cliche that deserves to get rebutted.  Oh yes, I've heard a few actives as well some of which do a fine line in removing the life from the music - you can see why they need to be heard in the producer's studio and nowhere else...

 

Actives removing life from the music, another tired old cliche...

ZZZZzzzz

 

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RE: Active hifi speakers or active studio monitors?

Yes and if you'd bothered to check my previous posts on actives, you'd know how much I really believe that.  Not.

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RE: Active hifi speakers or active studio monitors?

In response to the op, I've only heard 2 speakers/systems that compete with mine.  One involved some massive (in size and price) Quad panels (can't remember the exact model) that sounded remarkably like my active monitors, apart from the bass which was bolstered by a REL sub and was way behind what I'm used to hearing.  The other was the Avi ADM40s, the ADM40s were maybe a touch lighter in the bass but also a touch smoother, a very enjoyable sound either way.  Avi aside, the only other active hifi speakers I've heard properly were some Adam standmounts (can't remember the model) and the Dynaudio Xeos, both of which disappointed me for the same reason - they lacked the sort of natural clarity I've come to associate with decent actives.  Other than that, based on what I've heard so far, it would be studio actives all the way for me, for sound and value.  Mine wipe the floor with any passive hifi speaker I've ever had or demoed in every department you care to think of.  Bar looks! 

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RE: Active hifi speakers or active studio monitors?

A couple of comments - first, no two speakers sound alike, and in fact it is/was something of an engineering challenge to get a perfectly matched pair from the same production line. The frequency response curve of any speaker, with all of its peaks and valleys, started as a razor-flat line of pink noise. There is not a speaker in the world - whether you call it a monitor or not - with a flat response. They are all completely different from each other.

Second, I disagree with the notion that a 'studio monitor' is necessarily flatter than a home hifi speaker. Manufacturers in both worlds must make trade-offs and thus choices at every turn. The oft-copied 'BBC monitor' speakers (Rogers LS3/5A et al) were famously not flat, but featured a dip in the midrange, as does a hifi speaker that became much-beloved as a monitor, the ProAc Studio 100. Engineers often are trying to hear the limits of what they are mixing and how hard they can push it, especially at the low end, and a speaker that shines a little light on the lower midbass can be helpful.

Third, there are different types of tizz-and-boom - or rather, different levels of sophistication. What I describe above, the so-called BBC dip, mirrors what people always do when they have cheap graphic equalisers - the smiley face profile. The bass and treble are boosted, the mid cut. This is the essence of tizz-and-boom - but some of the most refined speakers on the market do exactly the same thing. I will use ProAc as an example, since I admire and recommend this company all the time and don't want this to seem too critical. In this pdf, take a look at page 41, in which the SPL response of a half-dozen (small) ProAc Response models is reprinted from various magazine tests. You will see that, very clearly, the ProAc speakers have a very similar smiley-face profile - boosted low and high-end, recessed midrange. Am I automatically being critical if I say that these speakers have been tuned for some tizz-and-boom?

Well, the author of the paper was critical - page 42 features ten other smallish speakers from KEF, Spendor, Dynaudio and others which clearly do not show this kind of response. So the paper I linked to is critical.

But I'm not so sure. Considering that there are many other speakers with this midrange dip, considering that I like these ProAcs more than some of these flatter examples, considering the enormous success of the range and of the company, then perhaps this isn't automatically bad. The fact that the Studio 100 was a surprise success in pro audio, despite having a big midrange dip, shows that maybe there are situations in which a little tizz-and-boom is a good design decision, despite its association with cheap speakers.

And as for all of the axioms being giving here in an attempt to define the difference between monitors and speakers, there is no difference - or rather, there are a wide variety of speakers from both worlds being used in both settings, with almost total overlap. They are all different and thus, it's a meaningless distinction even if we manage to make sense of it.

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RE: Active hifi speakers or active studio monitors?

Craig M. wrote:

In response to the op, I've only heard 2 speakers/systems that compete with mine.  One involved some massive (in size and price) Quad panels (can't remember the exact model) that sounded remarkably like my active monitors, apart from the bass which was bolstered by a REL sub and was way behind what I'm used to hearing.  The other was the Avi ADM40s, the ADM40s were maybe a touch lighter in the bass but also a touch smoother, a very enjoyable sound either way.  Avi aside, the only other active hifi speakers I've heard properly were some Adam standmounts (can't remember the model) and the Dynaudio Xeos, both of which disappointed me for the same reason - they lacked the sort of natural clarity I've come to associate with decent actives.  Other than that, based on what I've heard so far, it would be studio actives all the way for me, for sound and value.  Mine wipe the floor with any passive hifi speaker I've ever had or demoed in every department you care to think of.  Bar looks! 

I agree. I've heard the Event Opals and they're shockingly good. A fair bit better than all of the passive speakers I've heard in fact. The only speakers that I've heard that were noticabilly better than the Opals are the Genelec 8260A and Quested V2108. I haven't heard the ADM40's but the old ADM9T's with the sub would probably give the Opals a run for their money too.

 

As for actives removing the life from the music...  :roll:

IMO the clearer sound of a good pair of actives allows you to hear the music better which gives it more 'life' not less.

Hi-Fi - Teufel DecoderStation 5 > AVI DM5

Head-Fi - Epiphany Acoustics EHP-O2Di > Sennheisser HD700

Portable - Sony NWZ-A847 > Westone UM3x

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RE: Active hifi speakers or active studio monitors?

Which would you think better, though, active monitors, or active hifi speakers?

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RE: Active hifi speakers or active studio monitors?

SpursGator wrote:

A couple of comments - first, no two speakers sound alike, and in fact it is/was something of an engineering challenge to get a perfectly matched pair from the same production line. The frequency response curve of any speaker, with all of its peaks and valleys, started as a razor-flat line of pink noise. There is not a speaker in the world - whether you call it a monitor or not - with a flat response. They are all completely different from each other.

Second, I disagree with the notion that a 'studio monitor' is necessarily flatter than a home hifi speaker. Manufacturers in both worlds must make trade-offs and thus choices at every turn. The oft-copied 'BBC monitor' speakers (Rogers LS3/5A et al) were famously not flat, but featured a dip in the midrange, as does a hifi speaker that became much-beloved as a monitor, the ProAc Studio 100. Engineers often are trying to hear the limits of what they are mixing and how hard they can push it, especially at the low end, and a speaker that shines a little light on the lower midbass can be helpful.

Third, there are different types of tizz-and-boom - or rather, different levels of sophistication. What I describe above, the so-called BBC dip, mirrors what people always do when they have cheap graphic equalisers - the smiley face profile. The bass and treble are boosted, the mid cut. This is the essence of tizz-and-boom - but some of the most refined speakers on the market do exactly the same thing. I will use ProAc as an example, since I admire and recommend this company all the time and don't want this to seem too critical. In this pdf, take a look at page 41, in which the SPL response of a half-dozen (small) ProAc Response models is reprinted from various magazine tests. You will see that, very clearly, the ProAc speakers have a very similar smiley-face profile - boosted low and high-end, recessed midrange. Am I automatically being critical if I say that these speakers have been tuned for some tizz-and-boom?

Well, the author of the paper was critical - page 42 features ten other smallish speakers from KEF, Spendor, Dynaudio and others which clearly do not show this kind of response. So the paper I linked to is critical.

But I'm not so sure. Considering that there are many other speakers with this midrange dip, considering that I like these ProAcs more than some of these flatter examples, considering the enormous success of the range and of the company, then perhaps this isn't automatically bad. The fact that the Studio 100 was a surprise success in pro audio, despite having a big midrange dip, shows that maybe there are situations in which a little tizz-and-boom is a good design decision, despite its association with cheap speakers.

And as for all of the axioms being giving here in an attempt to define the difference between monitors and speakers, there is no difference - or rather, there are a wide variety of speakers from both worlds being used in both settings, with almost total overlap. They are all different and thus, it's a meaningless distinction even if we manage to make sense of it.

You make some good points, though the world of 'studio monitors' is far more complex than most people think, there are a fair number of completely different types of speakers that are used in professional audio, full size recording monitors, monitors for mixing amd mastering, broadcast monitors, speech monitors (the LS3/5a for example) , quality assessment monitors and probably a few I haven't mentioned.

In a serious professional environment they are just tools, selected for and used to do the job in hand.

 

The 'smiley face' response is very common in speakers at all levels and is very common in inexpensive and mid price speakers. The reason is obvious, no real bass extension so a mid bass hump is applied to give them some body and a presence boost to stop them sounding dark or shut in. Surprisingly (or maybe not), a lot of people liked speakers that sound like this and there are plenty of speaker manufacturers who are not shy about giving them what they want.

The midrange dip that you talk about is commonplace in small two way systems, neither driver is that comfortable around the crossover point which can cause a degree of unruly behaviour that can reduce clarity and if unchecked sound harsh. In these situations a flat response can be a liability, distortion of one kind or another, can make the speaker sound quite forward so a mid band dip is often a viable compromise.

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