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Active Monitors in a domestic environment

Theo

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2011
16
1
18,525
Do we have forum members using Active Monitor speakers in a domestic environment?

I am looking to make a move into active speakers and probably downgrade size wise from my current PB1is but I also want an upgrade in performance. I have the following speakers short listed but want to pick one or two to audition.

1. PMC TwoTwo 6 + Two two sub

2. Meridian 5200

3. ATC SCM40A

4. Adam Audio Columns

5. Linn 320A + sub

6 Event Opals + sub

Would be good to hear if anyone has gone down this route.
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
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The SCM40A will give you a big step up in performance from the PB1i's with that wonderful soft domed midrange driver. Although to be honest size wise there is not a lot in it between your current PMC's and the ATC's.
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
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Just thought I might add that transitioning from PMC's ATL can make the lower end sound "odd" on other loudspeakers, so stick with it for a while before concluding anything.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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0
I am familiar with and have had hands on a good few active speakers, though sadly not so many at the prices you are contemplating.

This is partly to do with cost but also about performance, above a certain price (around £2-3k) you start paying a lot of money for things that may not be advantageous in the home environment.

Firstly of course you are paying for bandwidth, not just bass extension but 'power bandwidth' and I am not to sure how well that can be handled in anything bar a heavily treated and optimised room. Secondly you are paying for SPL capability, and again, in a domestic situation I am not sure just how much of that you need. You also seem determined to add a subwoofer, given the capabilities of some of the speakers you mention, you must have some very demanding requirements.

I have recently had the pleasure of hearing the Unity Audio Rock Monitors in their latest guise, great speakers for about £2.5k, personally I did not feel the need for a sub though I can see why others might. Last year I also had a brief encounter with the PMC Twotwo.5, very sophisticated and very useful if you have a system that can deliver the signal digitally.
 

MattSPL

New member
Jan 4, 2010
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I've been using active monitors for the last 5 years or so and I don't think I'd go back to passive speakers unless I was lucky enough to be able to afford a second system and have a room big enough for something like B&W N801D's and a pair of Krell FPB mono blocks.

I started on Active monitors with ATC scm50asl's, then ATC PA65's and now Digidesign RM2's which are PMC made standmount active's, although I have replaced the tweeters and mid bass units with SB Acoustics drivers with great success.

I went to the Digidesigns as a system downsize like yourself having owned passive B&W N803's, PMC IB1's, DB1i's and ATC scm19's previous to the active route.

The dynamic ability, bass control and loudness ability are some of the things I like about actives. These things can be achieved with passive speakers, but I feel it costs a lot more and takes more effort in amp/speaker matching.

If you like the PB1i's, then definitely listen to the PMC twotwo.6 and twotwo.8 if they aren't too big.
Or if you can find some Digidesign RM2's on the used market, buy them and put the SB Acoustics drivers in that I have.
 

bluedroog

New member
Mar 4, 2010
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Loving my Event Opals which I bought a few weeks ago, I don't feel I've quite got them to their best yet as my room is pretty poor and don't have them on stands so I can feel the furniture they're on resonating a bit but they are awesome speakers.

I was also considering the passive PMC Twenty 22s which might just have edge in the treble but my Opals show them a clean pair of heels in all others areas. I may even be wrong on the treble once I get them set up better, I just thought the Twenty series excels in that area.

You should definetly try and demo both two and three way designs, I think often three way passive designs can be inhibited by their cross over quite a bit but it isn't such a problem with actives so you might be suprised what the likes of the ATC SCM40As can do, although I've not heard them, just a hunch. I suspect they are a lot better than the passive version.

I'd also consider Genelecs, Makkies and despit their reputatiob for being overly forward I really liked a friends dinky paur of Focal actives which left me cruious about the larger ones, SM9 I think they may be called.

Anyway the Opals are brilliant and I'm very happy, they did plenty deep enough and go seriously loud which out changing the integerty of the sound, distortion just isn't an issue. The mids are so crystal clear and bass actually has detail rather than being vague on other speakers I've heard.

I'd be very careful adding a sub, I have one but haven't tried it with the Opals yet, make sure you get it right though as done without care can really degrade from the overall sound, perhaps forgo the sub or used some thing like an antimode to help get it right.

Let us know how you get on.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
Add AVI and Quested speakers to that audition list if you get the chance.

I'm loving my AVI DM5's and doubt that I'll ever go back to passive speakers again.
 

Theo

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2011
16
1
18,525
Wow a lot of useful information to digest, thanks a lot.

The reason I am including a sub is to try improve upon the low end energy levels over my PB1is rather than loose some of it. And I would want to retain or improve on low volume listening performance as well.

Then there is the fact that most monitor speakers dont seem to come with grills, exposed cones and domes will not be practical no matter how much audible benefit that gives.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
Theo said:
...Then there is the fact that most monitor speakers dont seem to come with grills, exposed cones and domes will not be practical no matter how much audible benefit that gives.
That's a very limited choice then. When it comes to actives with grills only AVI and some of the ADAM models spring to mind.
 

SteveR750

New member
Mar 11, 2005
458
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0
Theo said:
Wow a lot of useful information to digest, thanks a lot.

The reason I am including a sub is to try improve upon the low end energy levels over my PB1is rather than loose some of it. And I would want to retain or improve on low volume listening performance as well.

Then there is the fact that most monitor speakers dont seem to come with grills, exposed cones and domes will not be practical no matter how much audible benefit that gives.
You'll probably be underwhelmed by the SCM40a then.
 

daveh75

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2008
560
3
18,895
steve_1979 said:
Theo said:
...Then there is the fact that most monitor speakers dont seem to come with grills, exposed cones and domes will not be practical no matter how much audible benefit that gives.
That's a very limited choice then. When it comes to actives with grills only AVI and some of the ADAM models spring to mind.
Dynaudio Xeos, Canton AM5, Audio Pro LV2/2E and Paradigm Shift A2 spring to mind
 

fr0g

New member
Jan 7, 2008
446
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0
daveh75 said:
steve_1979 said:
Theo said:
...Then there is the fact that most monitor speakers dont seem to come with grills, exposed cones and domes will not be practical no matter how much audible benefit that gives.
That's a very limited choice then. When it comes to actives with grills only AVI and some of the ADAM models spring to mind.
Dynaudio Xeos, Canton AM5, Audio Pro LV2/2E and Paradigm Shift A2 spring to mind
Beat me to it. There are plenty to choose from.

Saying that, I'm not sure why it's so less practical sans grill. Prying kids fingers I guess?
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
daveh75 said:
steve_1979 said:
Theo said:
...Then there is the fact that most monitor speakers dont seem to come with grills, exposed cones and domes will not be practical no matter how much audible benefit that gives.
That's a very limited choice then. When it comes to actives with grills only AVI and some of the ADAM models spring to mind.
Dynaudio Xeos, Canton AM5, Audio Pro LV2/2E and Paradigm Shift A2 spring to mind
Dynaudio Xeo! How did I forget those? *fool*
 

MattSPL

New member
Jan 4, 2010
19
0
0
Genelec come with grilles too. I believe their DSP range paired with sub are very good.

Small speakers being as good at low volumes as big ones will be the challenge though.
 

Electro

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2011
43
2
18,545
Theo said:
Wow a lot of useful information to digest, thanks a lot.

The reason I am including a sub is to try improve upon the low end energy levels over my PB1is rather than loose some of it. And I would want to retain or improve on low volume listening performance as well.

Then there is the fact that most monitor speakers dont seem to come with grills, exposed cones and domes will not be practical no matter how much audible benefit that gives.
If you want a significant upgrade over the PB1i's that are driven by the right amp you might need to aim a little higher, even as high as a pair of these imo *smile*.

http://pmc-speakers.com/products/professional/active/ib2s-a
 

MattSPL

New member
Jan 4, 2010
19
0
0
Electro said:
Theo said:
Wow a lot of useful information to digest, thanks a lot.

The reason I am including a sub is to try improve upon the low end energy levels over my PB1is rather than loose some of it. And I would want to retain or improve on low volume listening performance as well.

Then there is the fact that most monitor speakers dont seem to come with grills, exposed cones and domes will not be practical no matter how much audible benefit that gives.
If you want a significant upgrade over the PB1i's that are driven by the right amp you might need to aim a little higher, even as high as a pair of these imo *smile*.

http://pmc-speakers.com/products/professional/active/ib2s-a
*biggrin* I hope the OP has a VERY fat wallet.
 

EvPa

New member
Oct 4, 2013
1
0
0
MattSPL said:
*biggrin* I hope the OP has a VERY fat wallet.
Then a pair of QB1-A are in order, he will even SAVE money by not having to buy a separate subwoofer.
 

bluedroog

New member
Mar 4, 2010
8
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0
I'd like OP to at least demo the Event Opals, I managed to get a brand new pair for £1,800, a lot of speakers (and amp) for the money.
 

pkerai

New member
May 25, 2011
27
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0
I'd be interested in a direct comparison between the AVI DM5's and Focal CMS50 active speakers.

Not found a reviewer who has reviewed both, even seperately.

Seems as though they have roughly the same sound signature.

Or maybe some home based actives from focal, such as aria 906's.

But especially the CMS50 though.
 

Theo

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2011
16
1
18,525
Okay so based on your feedback, I have revised my shortlist as follows:

1. Event Opals + sub

2. AVI DM10 + AVI sub

3. Genelec G4 or G5 + sub

I am also looking at upgrading my source to a Linn DSM at some point so potentially I can use their SPACE technology to prevent the wide power bandwidth of Monitor speakers creating havoc in my non-ideal room.

Once thing I still cannot understand is why most Monitors are two way designs. I have become so used to my PB1is delivering instrument textures and mid range detail and I don't really want to take a step back. Mid field monitors like IB2SA are over my budget and size so I really don't have much of a choice.

BTW is AVI really closing down ? I was begining to think the DM10 + sub combo might work for me only to find out they are ceasing production.

My PB1is are capable of reaching very deep at the low end whilest also revealing the character of low notes - this is where I thought a good sub might help but that is just a wild guess.

If I had a 20' x 26' living room with no kids running about, I would have happily lived with my PB1i Signatures in their ideal positions etc. and I will not bother upgrading. But thats not the case currently, the speakers are backed right up against the back walls well away from trouble so I am hoping Active Speakers will solve some of these constraints.
 

gowiththeflow

Well-known member
Jan 10, 2009
41
5
18,545
I've no idea if AVI are closing down completely, but they've ceased production of the small DM5's and the Sub, for now at least. Leaving the new DM10's as the only speaker on sale. What happens when the first batch of those is sold, is anyone's guess?

On a different tack altogether, I suggest you start taking an interest in the new Devialet Phantom. Originally widely considered to be a better sounding, upmarket mu-so type, lifestyle speaker, it appears from reports that it is very much a serious, high quality sounding HiFi speaker.

Most discussion about it up to now has concerned its bass performance and the new technology being employed, but early reviews and user reports suggest it's mid and treble performance to be excellent too.

Despite software and firmware bugs with the Dialog hub and Spark control app and various connecting ports not yet being enabled, the Phantom seems to be surprising some who had underestimated its HiFi credentials.

Once those early teething problems have been ironed out and more people are able to report their findings, we'll know for sure; but if the early reports are accurate and not just hype, the Phantom maybe just what the OP is looking for?
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
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0
I'd agree. The Phantoms sound quite remarkable, based on the one demo I've had.

There is some really serious engineering in them: concentric HF/mid drivers; curved and virtually seamless enclosure (to eliminate cabinet resonances); curved baffle (for better imaging); long-throw symmetrical side-firing woofers (the symmetry means the huge bass energy doesn't cause resonances in the enclosure, which remains totally still); Devialet's unique ADH amp technology (3000WPC peak power); Devialet's SAM bass control technology.

They produce more accurate deep bass than any speakers I've heard, and certainly better than the 10" active woofers in my Martin Logans.

However, as gowwiththeflow has said, there are teething problems with the control software and networking.
 

Electro

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2011
43
2
18,545
Theo said:
Okay so based on your feedback, I have revised my shortlist as follows:

1. Event Opals + sub

2. AVI DM10 + AVI sub

3. Genelec G4 or G5 + sub

I am also looking at upgrading my source to a Linn DSM at some point so potentially I can use their SPACE technology to prevent the wide power bandwidth of Monitor speakers creating havoc in my non-ideal room.

Once thing I still cannot understand is why most Monitors are two way designs. I have become so used to my PB1is delivering instrument textures and mid range detail and I don't really want to take a step back. Mid field monitors like IB2SA are over my budget and size so I really don't have much of a choice.

BTW is AVI really closing down ? I was begining to think the DM10 + sub combo might work for me only to find out they are ceasing production.

My PB1is are capable of reaching very deep at the low end whilest also revealing the character of low notes - this is where I thought a good sub might help but that is just a wild guess.

If I had a 20' x 26' living room with no kids running about, I would have happily lived with my PB1i Signatures in their ideal positions etc. and I will not bother upgrading. But thats not the case currently, the speakers are backed right up against the back walls well away from trouble so I am hoping Active Speakers will solve some of these constraints.
This is why I think you will have a hard job finding any other speaker that can compete with the PB1i bass whether passive or active unless you spend a large chunk of money.

Small speakers with a sub or even two subs will not be able to equal the natural quality and realistic textures of bass instruments in the totally integrated manner the PB1i's do in my experience and opinion , they are one of the best speakers I have heard when it comes to realistic natural bass rather than the false over tight atificial and punchy bass that many people seem to like that sounds nothing like real live bass instuments ime .

I would try and keep your PB1i's if you possibly can , they do work reasonably well close to a back wall but do not like being close to side walls , if you can't you will have to accept a compromise .
 

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