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The active speakers club

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ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
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matt49 said:
I’d like some active speakers for my living room. It’s quite a big room: 5.5 x 5.5m. The speakers would have to look nice and be full range. I’d like something that came close to the performance of my Martin Logan Montis. (The Montis are in my listening room, and Mrs49 will not allow the Montis in the living room.) I’ve tried ATCs, but I found them inferior to the Montis and they’re very expensive.

I mainly listen to classical music.

Can anyone suggest anything that looks good and will not be disappointing? Budget £5K or more.

Cheers,

Matt
Personally, I'd be checking out some of B&O's products, but I think the real issue is that you may find most speakers disappointing. Electrostatics may have spoiled you.
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
matt49 said:
I mainly listen to classical music.

Can anyone suggest anything that looks good and will not be disappointing? Budget £5K or more.

Cheers,

Matt
After owning the Beolab 9 for some time, I can recommend them to fill your room size.

Likes of Beolab 9s and other similar actives, solve the amp + speaker synergy in one stroke and more or less solve the Subwoofer requirement as well!

However, if there is a possible budget stretch, I would suggest something like Avantgarde Zero one as I get to understand that they can even take out the room synergy out of the equation and that would be next step for me (if ever I change my set up!). Though on our forum, we discuss a lot about matching the amp to the speaker, I have observed that a lot more attention is needed to match the speaker to the room. But ofcourse, it is not discussed alot for various reasons.

If the room is suitably treated, then any active speaker which has a good bass response and no sharp tweeters would do. If you are looking for scale, then you need to have a sufficietnly large woofer (There is no way to cheat physics here!, IMO) which means that possibly floor standing active speakers is the way to go.
 

DocG

Well-known member
May 1, 2012
54
1
18,545
matt49 said:
I’d like some active speakers for my living room. It’s quite a big room: 5.5 x 5.5m. The speakers would have to look nice and be full range. I’d like something that came close to the performance of my Martin Logan Montis. (The Montis are in my listening room, and Mrs49 will not allow the Montis in the living room.) I’ve tried ATCs, but I found them inferior to the Montis and they’re very expensive.

I mainly listen to classical music.

Can anyone suggest anything that looks good and will not be disappointing? Budget £5K or more.
Hi Matt,

Like WishTree, I think of the Zero1 as a first option. Horns are different, but like ESLs, they are fast and dynamic. Now the Zero1 AFAIK have no room correction (yet), but the phase and time alignment (that they do have) is more important IMO.

Give them a try!

The bad news: if Mrs.49 dislikes the Montis, I'm afraid she won't have the Zeros in the house either. They're, well, rather biggish...

A possible alternative could be the AudioVector Discreet range. I've tried hard and long to have a listen to a pair, but neither of my dealers could get a pair for demo. Maybe you have more luck? If so... :type:

:cheers:
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
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matt49 said:
I’d like some active speakers for my living room. It’s quite a big room: 5.5 x 5.5m. The speakers would have to look nice and be full range. I’d like something that came close to the performance of my Martin Logan Montis. (The Montis are in my listening room, and Mrs49 will not allow the Montis in the living room.) I’ve tried ATCs, but I found them inferior to the Montis and they’re very expensive.

I mainly listen to classical music.

Can anyone suggest anything that looks good and will not be disappointing? Budget £5K or more.

Cheers,

Matt
As I am sure you are aware, most active speakers in this class are designed for professional use and not entirely 'domesticated' in a style sense.

Probably the most allround competent speaker in this class is the Genelec 8250A, all round performance with DSP for speaker and room allignment. Compact but with a bass response to below 40hz, the only downside is a lack of really deep bass and of course their 'trademark' looks.

This is a relatively new model, I have not heard it but I have had a listen to a smaller version which is still pretty impressive. Price is not too bad, under £3k, just.

A more conventional approach, if you can handle the sub, would be the ADM9 on a nice pair of stands. Reasonably descrete, plenty of power for the room and essentially hassle free. A drive to Nailsworth might be worth the effort before you spend more.

Alternatively, just get these...... And a blindfold for Mrs49......... ;)

http://img.u-audio.com.tw/showimage.asp?imgid=3040836
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
On a different note, I have been using Libratone Zipp as a travel speaker for the past month or so. I am guessing it is an active speaker (as I could not find any detailed specs).

This is one great speaker and opened up a new array of listening music. It has got great sound and gives the zeppelin Air a run for money at a fraction price. Even better is it can be operated with built-in battery which means it can be placed as close to you as possible and that is where it shines even more as it does not have to fill the entire room with sound but give the right SPL to your ears. It also has got great DSP through an App on portable device.

Also, have UE Boom which is a marvel in itself given the size (though limited to bluetooth)

Both are great speakers and have their own place in portability. If you can afford the price and size, then Zipp does a lot of things right!
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
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0
Thanks for the suggestions so far. I'd like to respond to everyone individually, but it would take more time than I have just now.

As we all know, one of the difficulties is that active speakers tend to have that "studio look": either functional (usually black) or modern. As I live in a listed 1870s house, I'm pretty much committed to something with a conventional shape and a nice wood finish.

The B&Os would otherwise be a great suggestion, likewise the Avantgardes. But Mrs 49 won't stomach anything of that kind.

The AVIs are very fine speakers; I heard them last year. They would need a sub though, and even then I don't think they'd provide me with the kind of scale I'm after.

ID also makes a good point about comparison with electrostatics. Now if the aesthetics weren't an issue, then a pair of these Muraudio DA1s would be just the job.

They are fully active omnidirectional electrostatics with three woofers in the bass and internal DSP. (The bass is triangular with one woofer in each face, not visible in this photo). They might just be one of the best speakers ever made.



Unfortunately they look like food blenders, cost $58,000, and aren't available in the UK.

:cheers:

Matt
 

skippy

New member
Mar 11, 2012
68
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0
Obviously Genelec's aren't probably the obvious choice for your decor, but you could always mount them on wooden plinths to tone them down.

I have mine in a fairly open plan room which the main part is 15ft x 25ft and 17ft high.

I've had to turn the bass down which suits me more (I like the flexibility to tune the speakers to the room), these fill the hole house, so I don't think you'd struggle with your room.

Sorry, but I can't give any sort of reccomendations with classical, but acoustic, concerts, electronic and general pop, they just lift it up a step from anything I've heard previously.

Think DDC mentioned 8250's. Dunno how much the 8260's are over there, but they're a 3 way unit, I'd love to hear them.

[/URL][/img]
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
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Matt, I know I tend to rabbit on about these things but depending on what and where tou heard the ADMs, I would urge you to another listen, preferably at Nailsworth.

The chap I know with a pair of old 9Ts uses a cheapish BK subwoofer and in a similar size room the bandwidth is fine, and I do not have an issue with scale, he plays large orchestral works that I would not, but they work very nicely indeed with the problems that I associate with large scale works in domestic rooms much less than most systems I hear.

Of course there is the issue of the scale of the music being limited to what we see, two small boxes can't possibly create a sound that big, can they....... :? ;)
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
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0
skippy said:
Obviously Genelec's aren't probably the obvious choice for your decor, but you could always mount them on wooden plinths to tone them down.

I have mine in a fairly open plan room which the main part is 15ft x 25ft and 17ft high.

I've had to turn the bass down which suits me more (I like the flexibility to tune the speakers to the room), these fill the hole house, so I don't think you'd struggle with your room.

Sorry, but I can't give any sort of reccomendations with classical, but acoustic, concerts, electronic and general pop, they just lift it up a step from anything I've heard previously.

Think DDC mentioned 8250's. Dunno how much the 8260's are over there, but they're a 3 way unit, I'd love to hear them.

[/URL][/img]
As I am sure you are aware, the 8250A has a lot of DSP allowing for room correction and the like. Given matts experience with the SAM system on his Devialet, I thought it maight be interesting.

The 8250A is a rather modest £3k pair in the uk, the big 8260As are more than twice that.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
skippy said:
Obviously Genelec's aren't probably the obvious choice for your decor, but you could always mount them on wooden plinths to tone them down.

I have mine in a fairly open plan room which the main part is 15ft x 25ft and 17ft high.

I've had to turn the bass down which suits me more (I like the flexibility to tune the speakers to the room), these fill the hole house, so I don't think you'd struggle with your room.

Sorry, but I can't give any sort of reccomendations with classical, but acoustic, concerts, electronic and general pop, they just lift it up a step from anything I've heard previously.

Think DDC mentioned 8250's. Dunno how much the 8260's are over there, but they're a 3 way unit, I'd love to hear them.
I rate the 8260's very highly. They're possibly the clearest and best imaging full range speakers that I've ever heard and they go more than loud enough to satisfy any sane person in a domestic enviroment. Not to sure about the looks though.
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
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davedotco said:
Matt, I know I tend to rabbit on about these things but depending on what and where tou heard the ADMs, I would urge you to another listen, preferably at Nailsworth.

The chap I know with a pair of old 9Ts uses a cheapish BK subwoofer and in a similar size room the bandwidth is fine, and I do not have an issue with scale, he plays large orchestral works that I would not, but they work very nicely indeed with the problems that I associate with large scale works in domestic rooms much less than most systems I hear.

Of course there is the issue of the scale of the music being limited to what we see, two small boxes can't possibly create a sound that big, can they....... :? ;)
I know, Dave, I know. Maybe I do need to revisit the ADM9s with a sub. But actually hearing them is a problem. I'm not going to Nailsworth, for reasons that are likely to be contentious, so I won't go into them on this civilized thread.

In response to other posts: Genelecs and their like are no doubt excellent speakers, but looks are important in this instance.

So it looks as if we've drawn a blank. Or I need to overcome my concerns about ATCs being overpriced.

:cheers:

Matt

EDIT: P.S. part of my thinking behind getting active speakers for the living room was to minimize clutter. The source will be a dinky little modded Sonos Connect. Nothing else: no amps, no CDP -- and preferably no subs.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
matt49 said:
davedotco said:
Matt, I know I tend to rabbit on about these things but depending on what and where tou heard the ADMs, I would urge you to another listen, preferably at Nailsworth.

The chap I know with a pair of old 9Ts uses a cheapish BK subwoofer and in a similar size room the bandwidth is fine, and I do not have an issue with scale, he plays large orchestral works that I would not, but they work very nicely indeed with the problems that I associate with large scale works in domestic rooms much less than most systems I hear.

Of course there is the issue of the scale of the music being limited to what we see, two small boxes can't possibly create a sound that big, can they....... :? ;)
I know, Dave, I know. Maybe I do need to revisit the ADM9s with a sub. But actually hearing them is a problem. I'm not going to Nailsworth, for reasons that are likely to be contentious, so I won't go into them on this civilized thread.

In response to other posts: Genelecs and their like are no doubt excellent speakers, but looks are important in this instance.

So it looks as if we've drawn a blank. Or I need to overcome my concerns about ATCs being overpriced.

:cheers:

Matt

EDIT: P.S. part of my thinking behind getting active speakers for the living room was to minimize clutter. The source will be a dinky little modded Sonos Connect. Nothing else: no amps, no CDP -- and preferably no subs.
Have you considered waiting until the forthcoming ADM10's are ready, bite the bullet, and vist Nailsworth to hear them with the AVI subwoofer. If you don't you could end up wondering 'what if?' for a long time.
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
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0
steve_1979 said:
matt49 said:
I know, Dave, I know. Maybe I do need to revisit the ADM9s with a sub. But actually hearing them is a problem. I'm not going to Nailsworth, for reasons that are likely to be contentious, so I won't go into them on this civilized thread.

In response to other posts: Genelecs and their like are no doubt excellent speakers, but looks are important in this instance.

So it looks as if we've drawn a blank. Or I need to overcome my concerns about ATCs being overpriced.

:cheers:

Matt

EDIT: P.S. part of my thinking behind getting active speakers for the living room was to minimize clutter. The source will be a dinky little modded Sonos Connect. Nothing else: no amps, no CDP -- and preferably no subs.
Have you considered waiting until the forthcoming ADM10's are ready, bite the bullet, and vist Nailsworth to hear them with the AVI subwoofer. If you don't you could end up wondering 'what if?' for a long time.
Steve, what are the ADM10s?

Re. Nailsworth and subs, see the text in bold above.

Matt
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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I guess it sort of depends on what balance of looks, convenience and performance will work for you in your room.

I was looking at some Dynaudio Xeo recently, wireless connection so you only need mains, Xeo 5 floor standers at £2.5k, but they only come in lacquer finish.

Again, a very elegant solution and, using Sonos as the only source maybe good enough...... :?
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
matt49 said:
Steve, what are the ADM10s?
It's possibly AVI's swansong and the last ever speaker that they make. :boohoo:

It's basically an upgraded version of the current ADM9RS with a new and very fancy custom designed bass driver which costs double the amount of the current one and has even less distortion than before. It has a ridiculously large motor assembly (for a 6.5" mid/woofer), a new deeper and curved cone made out of a new heavier material with a special coating for improved damping, a copper cap on the pole and a new rubber surround. They've had a visit from someone from Sinar Baja to investigate Martins work and have been developing several prototypes of these new drivers specially for AVI .

It also has a new steeper 8th order crossover, new amplifiers (I think) and will be more expensive then the current model. Ash says it's the most radical change that they've made to the ADM's since they started and it gives the biggest improvement to sound quality between ADM models yet.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
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0
steve_1979 said:
matt49 said:
Steve, what are the ADM10s?
It's possibly AVI's swansong and the last ever speaker that they make. :boohoo:

It's basically an upgraded version of the current ADM9RS with a new and very fancy custom designed bass driver which costs double the amount of the current one and has even less distortion than before. It has a ridiculously large motor assembly (for a 6.5" mid/woofer), a new deeper and curved cone made out of a new heavier material with a special coating for improved damping, a copper cap on the pole and a new rubber surround. They've had a visit from someone from Sinar Baja to investigate Martins work and have been developing several prototypes of these new drivers specially for AVI .

It also has a new steeper 8th order crossover, new amplifiers (I think) and will be more expensive then the current model. Ash says it's the most radical change that they've made to the ADM's since they started and it gives the biggest improvement to sound quality between ADM models yet.
I don't think matt is interested in visiting the hellmouth and dealing with the 'evil' one, however good the product might be..... :pray:
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
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davedotco said:
I guess it sort of depends on what balance of looks, convenience and performance will work for you in your room.

I was looking at some Dynaudio Xeo recently, wireless connection so you only need mains, Xeo 5 floor standers at £2.5k, but they only come in lacquer finish.

Again, a very elegant solution and, using Sonos as the only source maybe good enough...... :?
I like Dynaudio, and the Xeo 5s do look nice, if a bit too modern. Worth investigating. Thanks.

steve_1979 said:
It's possibly AVI's swansong and the last ever speaker that they make. :boohoo:

It's basically an upgraded version of the current ADM9RS with a new and very fancy custom designed bass driver which costs double the amount of the current one and has even less distortion than before. It has a ridiculously large motor assembly (for a 6.5" mid/woofer), a new deeper and curved cone made out of a new heavier material with a special coating for improved damping, a copper cap on the pole and a new rubber surround. They've had a visit from someone from Sinar Baja to investigate Martins work and have been developing several prototypes of these new drivers specially for AVI .

It also has a new steeper 8th order crossover, new amplifiers (I think) and will be more expensive then the current model. Ash says it's the most radical change that they've made to the ADM's since they started and it gives the biggest improvement to sound quality between ADM models yet.
Oh, interesting. Any idea when?

Matt
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
matt49 said:
Oh, interesting. Any idea when?

Matt
I don't know. I think they've still got a lot of work to do so it may be a while yet but apparently the prototypes are already a big improvement over the current ADM9's.
 

skippy

New member
Mar 11, 2012
68
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0
[/quote]

In response to other posts: Genelecs and their like are no doubt excellent speakers, but looks are important in this instance.

So it looks as if we've drawn a blank. Or I need to overcome my concerns about ATCs being overpriced.

:cheers:

Matt

EDIT: P.S. part of my thinking behind getting active speakers for the living room was to minimize clutter. The source will be a dinky little modded Sonos Connect. Nothing else: no amps, no CDP -- and preferably no subs.

[/quote]

If you're struggling with the looks of any speaker you could ultimately have a bespoke cover or cabinet made, this could also incorporate your Sonos.

Basically get the speakers of your choice set up on stands, in the position you want, then you can get the dimension for the frame to be made.

This could be either veneer or real wood to match with your existing decor and the front finished with speaker cloth in a color of your choice. An internal shelf could be incorporated for the Connect.

I do find though old and new can sometimes go together, but I understand it's a personal thing
 

Overdose

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
279
0
18,890
matt49 said:
In response to other posts: Genelecs and their like are no doubt excellent speakers, but looks are important in this instance.
I think that the Genelecs have a fairly unique and modern look that may offer an interesting juxtaposition in an older styled setting.

You could also hide them behind some period screens or an Aspidistra. :grin:
 

James7

New member
Jun 1, 2011
7
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0
Hi there Matt. Have you checked out ADAM Audio's products, the Pencil for example? ELAC's air-X range might be worth considering as an alternative to the Dynaudio Xeo already mentioned. The Audiovector Discreet system, too - I seem to remember you being favoursbly impressed by Audiovector speakers in the past.
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
0
0
James7 said:
Hi there Matt. Have you checked out ADAM Audio's products, the Pencil for example? ELAC's air-X range might be worth considering as an alternative to the Dynaudio Xeo already mentioned. The Audiovector Discreet system, too - I seem to remember you being favoursbly impressed by Audiovector speakers in the past.
Hi James, I do like Adam: I have a pair of the Artist 3s as desktops at work. The styling is quite modern, like the Dynaudios, so may not get the nod. Elac is also a brand I like, but again the styling is very contemporary.

I heard some Audiovectors down in Guildford. Super speakers. I need to find out whether they have the active models.

Cheers

Matt
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
matt49 said:
...I do like Adam: I have a pair of the Artist 3s as desktops at work. The styling is quite modern, like the Dynaudios, so may not get the nod. Elac is also a brand I like, but again the styling is very contemporary...
Have you considered Adam's range of 'home audio' active speakers? The 'Classic' range has very conventional styling and are available in either gloss or wood vaneers and have speaker grills.

Clicky

They don't seem to offer quite as good value for money as Adam's 'pro audio' range but they might be just what you're looking for.
 

phydeau

New member
Jun 8, 2013
2
0
0
Matt,

This might well be a not so helpful suggestion. I'm wondering myself about a move to actives: if ATC themsleves say they sound better, then who am I to argue? So I have on home dem a pair of Focal SM9's. How I didn't put my back out lifting them I don't know.

The bad news: they are ugly in a brutal kind of way. I don't mind ugly generally, but these go too far. But the sound they produce is well, hard to describe. I can't say sensational, as they just get out of the way, and let the music - all that's there - come through, as if you were in the place where it was recorded. I though they might be too forensic and not all that enjoyable: any flaws are certainly exposed, but good recordings sound well, like I say, like you're there in the same room.

All that would be needed would be some kind of home made fabric grilles and the looks problem is solved.

Hope this helps

phydeau
 

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