Should I give up on trying active speakers?

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So I read this increadible reveiw on The Absolute Sound, AVGuide, about the PSI Audio A 14 M monitor speakers. The reviewer compared these £1200 active speakers with Joseph Audio Pulsars ($7000/pr.) driven by the Bel Canto M1000 II amplifiers ($5000/pr.) I simply had to try them and got them from Germany with free delivery and 30-day money back.

It has taken me a while to get the best out of them. They need to be turned in much more than my passive speakers. The phase is very sensitive. Their sweet spot is not very big. But all this doesn't matter, because I listen to them from close distance.

Their bass is surprisingly deep for such a small speaker, but I would add a sub, if I was going to keep them. Their imaging is very precise and detail is outstanding. They are never harsh and the dynamics are excellent. On certain classical recordings these are the first speakers where I don't have to continually adjust the volume, as the orchster plays louder or softer. Brilliant.

Still, after a few days of adjusting the speakers (in contrast to the passive speakers I have had over the years, which may need a bit of adjustment, toe is, move away or towards the wall, etc., these took lots of work to properly position) I finally felt I was doiing them justice. This was hard work, but the benefits substantial.

But I was still listening to the monitors and not to the music, as they say. So I went back to my sittingroom system (XTZ 100D integrated with AE Radience 2s) and played the same music I had been playing on the PSIs. Blimey! The feeling was back in the music! This wasn't a subtle difference, this was massive.

I know the PSIs are monitor speakers, made for music production, and I can see why they would be considered by many to be class leaders. But they just weren't giving me the one most important thing I want from music: feeling.

So, should I give up looking for active speakers in the £1500-2000 price range? I know you can buy £5000 actives that may well be in a different league (I'll try them when I winn the lottery), but in my price range, am I always to expect an emotion-free experience?

Tom
 

Frank Harvey

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Hmmm.

There's going to be many things following this post that will be against and for active speakers, and if both sides get involved, it'll end up in handbags as usual.

All I'm going to say is go with what you like the sound of. If a system doesn't float your boat, it's not for you, regardless of how well recommended it is by anyone, well respected or not. If the system sounds great to you, regardless of it's price, and regardless of the views of others, you've struck gold.
 
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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
All I'm going to say is go with what you like the sound of. If a system doesn't float your boat, it's not for you, regardless of how well recommended it is by anyone, well respected or not. If the system sounds great to you, regardless of it's price, and regardless of the views of others, you've struck gold.

+1

If you spend £2000 or whatever on a system that you don't like listening to, then you won't listen to it and its money wasted. It doesn't matter a jot what others think or say, it only matters what YOU think. As David said, your setup needs to float your boat. These don't it seems, so I would suggest you send them back within the 30 day period and recover your money to be spent later on something else and which suits your preferences.
 
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Thanks David,

I do feel that emotional involvement - which is my specific issue with the PSIs - is not as subjective as you make it out to be. Let me put it differently, are there actives in the £1500-2000 price range which you would unreservedly recommend to someone who's after emotional involvement?

Tom
 

Frank Harvey

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The problem is, "emotional involvement" or "feeling" is a pretty subjective issue - it would be like asking 100 people if a specific film evoked any feeling in them. I'm sure there will be a few people pipe up and be positive about the question you've just asked me, but that doesn't mean anything as it'll be down to whether you feel anything when listening to a specific package.

Sorry to be a little vague, but I think this is one that can't be answered for you...
 

Richard Allen

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I'm not saying this because I make speakers, rather my insight as a recording engineer.

you say that these are 'Monitor' loudspeakers. The clue is in the title I'm afraid. There are very few active loudspeakers out there that are 'HiFi' loudspeakers. Even ATC actives are predominantly for the recording fraternity, normally for near-field work. By their very nature, monitor loudspeakers don't necessarily convey the emotion you seek.

When I listen to hifi i'm listening to the music with a glass of something in my hand and enjoying the experience. When in the studio, I'm looking for instrument and vocal placement, tonal accuracy. I'm basically looking into the mix as opposed to just enjoying the end product.

Some will say the above is a load of old tosh. I've yet to hear an active loudspeaker I would plonk on my HiFi. For studio use, nearly all of them work for me.
 

drummerman

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I quite liked the Dynaudio Focus 110A. Not as forthright as others.

I can't confirm this personally but have been told the BM5A's are half the price and sound similar.

regards
 

AlmaataKZ

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the most impprtant thing is to try (which you did) and to be sure (which I think you are not completely).

I hope there is no rush so try some more (longer with this model and some other models active or passive). And be sure.
 

Ajani

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Have you tried other actives in your price range? If not, then I think it's way too early to give up on actives. All actives don't sound the same, so you may find that a different model really does it for you.
 

BenLaw

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You can't extrapolate from one pair of active speakers not working for you that no active speakers will work for you. You clearly need to try another pair of speakers, and there's no reason why they shouldn't be actives :)
 

Richard Allen

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BenLaw said:
You can't extrapolate from one pair of active speakers not working for you that no active speakers will work for you. You clearly need to try another pair of speakers, and there's no reason why they shouldn't be actives :)

Sorry. This was what I was agreeing with.
 
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Anonymous

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Hi again,

I think the point that not all active speakers sound the same goes without saying. My point is rather whether there is something in the design of most active/monitor speakers that make them less suitable for hifi listening.

OK. So here's someone who has extensive experience with both actives and passives:

Richard Allen said:
... you say that these are 'Monitor' loudspeakers. The clue is in the title I'm afraid. There are very few active loudspeakers out there that are 'HiFi' loudspeakers. Even ATC actives are predominantly for the recording fraternity, normally for near-field work. By their very nature, monitor loudspeakers don't necessarily convey the emotion you seek.

When I listen to hifi i'm listening to the music with a glass of something in my hand and enjoying the experience. When in the studio, I'm looking for instrument and vocal placement, tonal accuracy. I'm basically looking into the mix as opposed to just enjoying the end product.

Some will say the above is a load of old tosh. I've yet to hear an active loudspeaker I would plonk on my HiFi. For studio use, nearly all of them work for me.

I don't think this is a load of tosh at all. To me it makes sense and I'm therefore reluctant to just try another set of active/monitor speakers that have been made for studio work rather than the living room.

The dynaudio Focus 110A may be the exception, as it has a hifi equivalent. In Germany there is Abacus, who make for hifi and who have a loyal following.

Tom.
 

Richard Allen

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tdr1975 said:
OK. So here's someone who has extensive experience with both actives and passives:

Steady Tom. As Ben Law quite rightly said, there might be an active out there for you. Find it and job done. (Think I'm gonna have to build an 'Active HiFi Speaker).:)
 

Frank Harvey

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tdr1975 said:
Richard Allen said:
Some will say the above is a load of old tosh. I've yet to hear an active loudspeaker I would plonk on my HiFi. For studio use, nearly all of them work for me.

I don't think this is a load of tosh at all. To me it makes sense and I'm therefore reluctant to just try another set of active/monitor speakers that have been made for studio work rather than the living room.

Makes sense to me too. But do try another pair, then at least you can say you've tried more than one :)
 

AEJim

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I addition to Richard's comments about active "monitor" speakers - bear in mind the Radiance series were designed to be almost the opposite - enjoyable! This may sound a little odd but we did give them mild lift through the percussive and presence regions to really give an emphasis on timing & musicality and to really get the sound out of the box - it's where the "Radiance" name came from.

Monitor style speakers will (generally), by comparison, sound a little dry and lifeless. The engineering in the Radiance means they don't really get harsh or have much distortion so this emphasis can be made without any real nasty side-effects. We can make neutral speakers which measure flat (incidentally our own Pro Monitors don't - they are made to be balanced when placed on top of a mixing desk!) but they rarely sound particularly enjoyable. Our best selling models ever, the 109 and later Evo 3's weren't particularly neutral but they were "fun".

For many neutrality and accuracy (for what accuracy actually means, see comments in the other mega-thread!) are the goals, that doesn't mean adding a little flavour is always a bad thing... :)

Edit: Incidentally there's nothing to say active technology cannot sound enjoyable! More the "monitor" sound as such may not be for everyone. I've got Active Compact-1's on my desk and I think they're awesome! :grin:
 
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I did actually have a listen to a number of active speakers. I spent a morning in my local DV shop, listening to Genelc 8040s, AE 22 actives, Adam SX3, and Focals. Of these I liked the large Adams and Genelecs best. But, as we all know, it's very different hearing them in your own room, so I'm not going to try to judge them as hifi speakers.

But what strikes me from all the responses so far is that no one has actually said "try these ..." :? .

I'm pretty sure that if I said there might not be any good £1000 speakers, people would be falling over themselves to make suggestions. Yet when I write I'd go up to £2000 for good actives, not a single actual suggestion .... come on, indulge me!
 

6th.replicant

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eventopal_01.jpg


Erk ahlors! I'm sure they sound wonderful but they're not exactly, umm, pretty - assume the designer still digs the late '80s/early '90s? :p

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
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I forgot to mention that I also heard the Event Opals in the shop (again, I wouldn't want to comment on how they would sound in my room) but they are pretty massive and their look scared me.

I haven't heard the AVI ADM9.1 and will have another look at them. They have a loyal following, I know.

Tom
 

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