Monitor Audio Studio 20 SE - how much has technology moved on?

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Evening guys

I am thinking about upgrading my front speakers (currently AE120SE) and am wondering whether to buy new speakers, or something a little more exotic from a few years ago.

My budget is flexible but ideally I don't want to spend more than about £700.

Having looked in some old editions of What Hi Fi, I know that the MA Studio 20 SE's were used by What Hi Fi as their reference speakers for several years and I've seen that it's possible to get mint condition examples for roughly my budget.

My question is this - in the ten year's or so since they were rated so highly, how far has technology moved on - would I be better spending £700 on new speakers, or will the Studio 20's still cut the mustard?

And, how easy would it be to find similar sounding speakers to make a 5.1 set up? I'm most concerned about matching the centre to them - would a newer Monitor Audio centre speaker sound good, or perhaps from a differerent source.

Ultimately I'm after high quality music reproduction but they will also be used in a cinema set up.

I'm currently running an Arcam AVR 300 but at some stage will consider upgrading this too

Any advice / opinion would be much appreciated

Best wishes

Steve
 

Gwyndy

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Personally I'd go for the "something a little more exotic from a few years ago", with the exception of NXT flat panels speaker technology has not had a massive leap forward for many years- although I am willing to be corrected on that.
 

Thaiman

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Monitor Audio Studio 20 SE? I thought they were bright and too excited! Great for a quick fix, on the longer listening though they can be a bit tiresome. (I don't know if I use the last word correctly!)
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks for the comments - I probably should have said that it doesn't have to be the Studio 20 SE's - they were just an example of what I thought were meant to be very well regarded speakers.

If things haven't moved on too far, then I would rather spend £700 on a good second hand pair and really stretch what my money buys me.

Other options are ProAc Response 3's but they are rather large speakers. I did hear some once and they sounded great.

Cheers

Steve
 

Thaiman

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My top list for old but "still fighting fit" pair of speakers (up to £700)..1. Thiel CS1.5 2. Dynaudio contour 1.8 mark II 3. Ruark Equinox They are bargain on sound per pound basis and would put up a good fight with many of £2000 pair today!
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="silly"]it hasn't. lol.marketing has though.[/quote]

Yes, as a marketer, I should probably be slightly more aware of that!!
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I'll definitely check out some of those other recommendations

It seems like I'm ok with my thinking though that a good second hand set will probably give me more for my money than brand new.

Thanks for the comments

Steve
 

dfalir

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Steve let me add something to your question...

It was 1998 or 1999 i cant even remeber the year (let alone the exact date). I was studying in UK at the time, and having desired a descent Hi Fi system, i spent a couple of thousand pounds, for a Audio Analogue Puccini Amplifier, a pair of Monitor Audio Silver S1 Speakers and an Arcam 72 CD Player.

8 year later (a couple of weeks ago that is) one speaker fell off its stand, ... I almost became as much depressed as the smeagol in Lord of the Rings movie, when he lost his "precious"... I dont exagerate... The speaker's woofer had stopped working.

I went to the Greek Dealer (cause I am living in Greece now) and while he was setting up the speaker to see what was wrong with it, he asked me when i bought it and how much i had spent. I told him the year and the price of 800 pounds. He said to me... "You gave a lot for this kind of speaker". And then he tried it... His next sentence was.. "It is very rare to hear such a colorfull sound. Are you sure its the silver series? It must be the gold series he said".. I could see in his eyes that he liked them a lot. He offered me the exact same amount to trade them.. I did not. Even if he was exagerating, it still made me feel proud of my choice. And of course i did not trade them. I would not trade them for almost anything in the same or twice their price range.. The speakers and my audio analogue Puccini amplifier are probably the best things i bought while i was studying in UK...

My point..

Not only technology in Speakers hasn't change a lot, old speakers are quite often better than their modern rivals. Like an antique car. Not many bells and whistles but pure quality and respect...

PS: if UK i had to choose a single thing that UK makes perfect, i would say its your sound products guys...
 
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Anonymous

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That's some great advice - just going to have a look and see if I can find any of the speakers mentioned above - are there any others that people really feel passionate about, have stood the test of time, and would fit my £700 (or a bit more) budget

Thanks very much

Steve
 
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Anonymous

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I will always, always reccomend second hand purchases for audio equipment... just make sure you're not getting a dud if they come from Ebay. I got my MA gold ref 20's off ebay for £720 including postage. Now I got burned a little because a corner got crushed a little, but they still work fine. I'm looking to get that restored as soon as I work out how and what to do.

Anyway, I don't know how my speakers would stack up against the 20SE's, but I am sure Andrew or clare would be able to tell you. I advise you perusing on ebay and seeing what you can find, make sure they have good feedback. I saw a pair of the same speakers as mine (in black) also sell for £410, but they had declared damage, both the front corners had been rounded off to disguise them being crushed. There was also a damaged back corner. They worked though (allegedly) and it's hard to argue with details like that when they cost £1500 new and go for that price (which admittedly I pushed up by bidding on them, even though I already had my own hehe).
 

eddie_baby

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silly said:
it hasn't. lol.marketing has though.

Very true, and speaker technolgy hasnt moved on that much its still the same basic principle, manufacturing has improved a little but there are some better speakers designed years ago which are still better than modern alternantives today. ProAc studio 100 is one example used for many years and still are sort after and used in professional recording studios and home hifi systems around the world.
 

Richard Allen

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As eddie_baby says, loudspeakers haven't moved on that much due to the principle of how they work.

Until someone comes up with an alternative to a coil jumping back and forth on a magnetic pole with a cone stuck on the end of it, things won't change that much. Sure, over the years the components that make up a loudspeaker unit have come on what with new cone materials and the like but the fundamental principle is still the same since nineteen hundred and frozen to death!!.

This is probably why some of the older units 'sound better' than their modern day counterparts because back then they were probably over engineered in relation to todays' offerings. Built to a spec as opposed to a price.

Quite a few years ago Alnico was a staple diet in magnet manufacture. Today??. Too expensive so we're stuck with ferrite or neodymium. But that's the state of the market place and to go back to the likes of Alnico would make the end product horrendously expensive. Good sounding or not, it wouldn't matter because everyone's after the best performance for the least amount of money. Just the way things are.
 

emperor's new clothes

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FWIIW, I'm still very happy with my MA Studio 20SEs after 17 years - representing true VFM. Following a house move they now front my Av driven by a Marantz SR7007 - bi amped. Fed a good source, SACD or BluRay audio, they can still hold their own, IMHO. In todays money they would be up against the likes of Spendor D7 or Proac 30R and would no doubt fall short especially in the bass. I'm just running in my first Hifi purchase, apart from a SBT, in a decade - some Dynaudio DM2/7s for the bedroom. Very musical and solid bass, but not quite the 3D sound stage of the MAs. I really disliked the Concept 20s, but many others would disagree.