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Active Monitors that Sound Similar to BG Radia 420s?

FattyGabbiee

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Hi all,

I have had my BG Radia 420s, CC 420, and SW-210 for a little over 8 years. This was my last home theater upgrade and absolutely love them for movies, TV, video games, and music. They are to me the perfect all-around sound for everything. However, this means I haven't listened to anything new in the last 8 years.

I would like to replicate the sound and quality of the BG Radia's for my home office which will include PC gaming and listening to music while working. I tend to sit at my desk for at least 8-9 hours a day with music in the background. With this setup, I would like to put down the headphones eveyone once in while and listen to music via the monitors. When I do game, I prefer speakers vs. headphones. The room is a spare bedroom and won't be treated as it will also serve for other hobbies.

Music wise, I listen to a lot of Motown, old school hip hop, R&B, rap and funny enough more and more country. I do like good, clean mid-bass, clear vocals and softer highs.

I will not be producing, mixing or creating music. All music listening and gaming will be a nearfield experience and I won't be moving side to side or standing much at all.

My budget can stretch from $2000 to $2500 for the headphones, DAC/amp, and active monitors.

Current considerations are:

Headphones ($500) - Dan Clark Audio Aeon RT closed. Lots of great reviews here and from Amir. I need closed back due to the fact when I return to the office part time, I sit in a open-style floorplan and won't be able to use open back headphones.

DAC/Amp ($400) - JDS Labs Element 2 - Amir had a great review and individual impressions have given it high praise. I also like the simple one unit design, the ability to switch from headphones to monitors with a switch, excellent amp and DAC, and I am supporting a company with stellar CS that are making fairly priced products.

Active Monitors ($1100 to $1600) - Now here's the problem. Since I haven't auditioned any yet, it's paralysis by analysis. After reading way too many reviews, the common monitors people have written praise about are: Kali LP-6/IN-5, Genelec 8020D/8030C, JBL LSR 305P, Focal Shape 40/50, Adam A5X/A7X, and the Neumann KH 80/120. I am beyond confused now and just as I think I have decided, I read more reviews and change my mind. Right now, I won't be using a sub but could easily integrate my BG Radia SW-210.

Now all of these monitors are targeted to professional audio producers and accuracy/flat response is key to their work and I completely respect their skills. For me, I just want high quality sound that will make my music and gaming shine.

I will also consider a passive setup with an integrated 2-channel amp with a built-in USB DAC or separate DAC but really am going for a minimized desktop setup. However, if there's a better passive system you all recommend failing in the same price range, I have no problems making the switch.

I prefer to "buy once, cry once" not upgrade every year. However, finding a local dealer near me that has any of the monitors will be challenging.

What would your initial recommendation be from the list above or, better yet, other active monitors or passives to consider?

I truly appreciate everyone's feedback.

Thanks!
 

Olius

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Some thoughts about the speakers: Since I started reading on this forum I've noticed that I've come to distrust speakers without waveguides. I'm always thinking "how could the off axis response possibly be good with the size difference between the tweeter and the woofer?". Some speakers seem to have good off axis response anyway but those always have really small woofers. Since you won't be treating your room, I think the speaker's off axis response is very important. Good off axis response would also allow you to move along your desk a bit more without the character of the sound changing too much. Therefore I would remove the Focal and Adam from your list. My impression is that Adam A5X/A7X in particular aren't considered as being very good on here at least. This is just a subjective impression but when I was auditioning speakers for my first set of monitors I listened to the A7Xs in a music shop and I found their highs fatiguing after just a couple of minutes.

I'm partial to Genelec as that is what I ended up with when I was shopping. I really like their sound (or lack thereof), their science based approach, and aesthetics. The measurements on this site show that the measurements provided by Genelec, Neumann and JBL can be trusted so I think any of those are good choices!
 
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Jim Matthews

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Reverb has loads of secondhand JBL 308p available well under your budget. Bear in mind that the BG design has a 4 foot tall ribbon and the dispersion character you like will be difficult to replicate in the near field distance you describe.
 

raindance

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The closest thing I ever heard to what you're looking for was the Monsoon range of desktop speakers made by Sonigistix - they're long gone, unfortunately, but there's always ebay... They were rather fragile, I dropped one of mine and the magnets broke.

I have the LSR305P mk-ii and they don't sound remotely similar. I find also that they add a grainy haze to everything, which is a pity because they're very well balanced otherwise.
 

dfuller

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Some thoughts about the speakers: Since I started reading on this forum I've noticed that I've come to distrust speakers without waveguides. I'm always thinking "how could the off axis response possibly be good with the size difference between the tweeter and the woofer?". Some speakers seem to have good off axis response anyway but those always have really small woofers. Since you won't be treating your room, I think the speaker's off axis response is very important. Good off axis response would also allow you to move along your desk a bit more without the character of the sound changing too much. Therefore I would remove the Focal and Adam from your list. My impression is that Adam A5X/A7X in particular aren't considered as being very good on there at least. This is just a subjective impression but when I was auditioning speakers for my first set of monitors I listened to the A7Xs in a music shop and I found their highs fatiguing after just a couple of minutes.

I'm partial to Genelec as that is what I ended up with when I was shopping. I really like their sound (or lack thereof), their science based approach, and aesthetics. The measurements on this site show that the measurements provided by Genelec, Neumann and JBL can be trusted so I think any of those are good choices!
The Focals have sort of abnormally wide and even dispersion throughout their range. The Aria 906 is roughly similar to the Shape 65, and it's pretty good. The Shape 50 would be better than that because of the smaller mid-woofer. I will say, they don't have a ton of bottom end, but that seems to be Focal's M.O. with regard to speakers - better to not extend super low and risk the driver exceeding its excursion or distorting like mad.
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richard12511

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I think you're gonna have trouble finding a nearfield speaker that will sound like those panels. Also, I'm not even sure that sort of sound is what you want for a nearfield situation like that. Rather than trying to duplicate the far field speaker's sound in a nearfield environment, I think you're better off going for a speaker that was designed for nearfield use. I've found that some speakers styles work better in farfield, and some work better in nearfield.

I would go for the 8030c. Ignoring the 60-70% off Harman sales, the 8030c is the best value speaker purchase I've ever made. It's also a big step up from the 308p in terms of sound quality, at least imo. 8030c in the nearfield will sound different than your panels, though that may actually be a good thing(horses for courses). Also, I've found it pleasurable to have multiple setups with slightly different sound signatures. Sometimes I'm in the mood for one type of sound signature over another, and it's fun to mix it up.

The 8030c is about as good as it gets in terms of what double blind listener tests say that the majority of people will prefer, so the odds of you not liking them are low, though there will likely be a brain break in period. May take your brain a few weeks to adjust to the different radiation pattern and nearfield distance.
 
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FattyGabbiee

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Thank you, everyone. Really great advice and feedback. @richard12511 that's really awesome info on the two different experiences. I also have to say I am beyond jealous of your JTR home theater setup. They were my absolutely first choice but I got such a great deal on the BG Radias, I couldn't pass them up. One day, when I have a real HT room, JTRs will finally replace my BGs.

I just found the Genelec 8030Cs are at local Guitar Center (had no idea) so I am going to check them in store and ask about their return/exchange policy.
 
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FattyGabbiee

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Thanks, @Jim Matthews. I will check those out too. I have heard tons of positive things about Magnepan. Do you know if a D class amp would pair well with them? I just discovered the NAD D 3045. It seems to have everything I need for a compact integrated amp for my desktop. Thank you again for the suggestion on the passive speakers.
 

Jim Matthews

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I will defer judgement on class D offerings to the testing done here.
My experience with class D amplifiers is more than 8 years ago.

That said - the planar design is inefficient and responds well to significant power with lots of instantaneous current. Traditionally the Magneplanar designs were paired with conventional Class AB amp.ification.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ification-for-new-magnepan-lrs-speakers.7490/
 
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FattyGabbiee

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Thanks, @Jim Matthews. More great info.

On a different note. I went to my local Guitar Center and they didn't have any higher end active monitors. Only the lower budget models such as JBL, Mackie, M Audio, Yamaha, KRK and another brand I can't remember. The listening session wasn't optimal as they only had one speaker hooked up to test and playback was Bluetooth from my phone.

I spent about an hour listening primarily to the Yamaha HS5 and HS7, JBL 305 and 308, and the M Audio BX-8. The KRK and Mackie didn't make the final four cut.

I then focused on the Yamaha HS7 vs the HS5 as I really liked the more pronounced bass of HS7s vs. the HS5s. To my surprise, the M Audio BX-8s weren't bad at all. It had deeper base vs. the HS7s but the HS7 had better vocal clarity and was more forward with the imaging. I was able to listen to three entire songs with the HS7s and didn't feel fatiguing. I walked away quite happy knowing if the HS7s made me feel this good with only one speaker, I can't imagine how good the Genelec's and Neumann's will be.

I did some further researching and finally found a local AV store that carries the Genelecs and I hope they have them in stock.
 

Jim Matthews

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It's not my money - I would give higher priority to something I could audition locally, and actually liked. If you find a speaker inoffensive, and you're keeping time with the music - it's probably a good choice.

For me the test is upright acoustic double bass. If a speaker manages to closely emulate that from a recording, it tends to handle the rest ok.

***
The part of music reproduction that matters most to you should be something your monitors can cover.
***

While processing, equalization and modification can improve most speakers I prefer to start with something that doesn't need much help.

Amir reviews the HS7 here:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/yamaha-hs7-review-studio-monitor.19761/
 
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