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Active Speaker Recommendations for USA (by @sweetchaos)

thewas

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Regarding the B2031A's weight, as I recall from the noaudiophile.com teardown it has a beefy A/B amp with toroidal transformer and dense, thick MDF cabinet (1 1/8" baffle behind the woofer) with heavy bracing. Bottom line was that the quality components and construction far exceeded his expectations based on the modest price.
That's why I am really looking forward to its review as if its such a well implemented Genelec 1031 clone it might even be a hard competitor for the Kali IN8 v2.
 
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sweetchaos

sweetchaos

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bt3

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Sehr gut. Cabinet slimness shades of Grimm.
As young man living in Deutschland, knew Germans who owned audio gear purchased by American friends from military PX's.
People of modest incomes find ways to save.
Today if I was in the game for this, the US price to be paid would make me very reticent.
Even markup on Genelec speakers for US market irritates to no end.
Of course it cuts both ways, with those abroad ticked-off paying US audio prices.
Look forward to GGNTKT (push-pull) Model M1 ASR review if and when it appears.
 

Piranesi

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That concludes what we already know...that you don't have to look at just the preference score to understand which speaker is more preferred. The spinorama shows us the character of the speaker.

Results:
Speaker A: Edifier R1280t. Preference Score 1.9. Costs $100
Speaker B: Mackie CR3-X. Preference Score 2.3. Costs $80
Speaker C: Neumi BS5P. Preference Score 4.2. Costs $130
Speaker D: Presonus Eris 3.5. Preference Score 1.5. Costs
$100

I agree with Speaker C. That's the only one I would buy.

Speaker C, is Neumi BS5P, only costs $30 (the cost of a dinner) more than the rest of the options.

As I've done with passive speakers, where I've removed recommendations below a certain preference score (of 3.0), doing the same for actives shows us that the only speaker that should be recommended is the Neumi BS5P.
Looking at both the well-designed spinorama graph and the high preference score of Neumi BS5P, tells me that it should be the only speaker recommended below US$150/pair price point.

With that, I'm about to remove the Edifier R1280t, Mackie CR3-X, and Presonus Eris 3.5 from the recommended list, since they fall below preference score of 3.0.
If you think otherwise, please let me know of your reason.
Some context here: the Edifier 1280t was measured here with a particular EQ preset.

The speakers have somewhat odd bass/treble controls, which can vastly improve the frequency response when twiddled to the correct points. Dispersion characteristics are otherwise quite decent.

At this very budget price point, I think they're still worth considering if the user is happy to fiddle with them to find a sound they like.
 

EdTice

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I'm a bit confused by the entry for the Behringer 2031A. The specs provided by Behringer claim that its a 265 watt bi-amp but the entry shows 140 watts single amp. (https://www.behringer.com/product.html?modelCode=P0252) Of course they also seem to have added the word "TRUTH" to the name which means this might be a different speaker but I can't find any data sheets for any other variation of a 2031A. Also even though the 2031A has higher wattage, does that result in any better SPL? Again from what I can find, the Kali Audio LP-6 V2 has a Maximum Peak SPL: 115 dB and the Behringer has a max SPL of 116db (from the Sweetwater web site). I don't know what the breakdown of the 265 watts on the Behringer is (although happy to dig for more specs) but it seems that SPL would matter more in an active speaker than amplifier wattage.
 
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sweetchaos

sweetchaos

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I see 140 watt from their manual:
1639248210698.png

The advertised amplifier power is one metric that we can use to compare between models.
But we don't know exactly how the manufacturers measured it....RMS, Peak, 1%, 0.1% distortion, etc.
Not all manufacturers state this information.
I use it as a rough guideline.

Another metric we can look at the advertised SPL for a given monitor....but do we know how they measured it?
Same problem.

A better approach to represent power limit would be to measure the SPL limits.
Here's what SoundAndRecording shows:

A65-MAX-580x434.png

This shows you maximum SPL based on frequency, measured for 3% and 10% THD, measured at 1m distance.
Only SoundAndRecording shows this information, so our data is very limited on that front.
Both Amir and Erin don't measure power handling this way.

Erin started including another metric, Reponse Linearity graphs, which help us to understand how frequency changes as power increases.
 

EdTice

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Yeah I see that now. 140 is the real continuous power. This is a change for Behringer, though, in that they claim the speaker has an active crossover and biamped but they don't list individual amp power like they do on pretty much every other one of their active speakers. But thanks for the help and quick response.
 

EdTice

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I'm constantly asked which speakers to purchase...so, here you go! :D



ACTIVE SPEAKERS / STUDIO MONITORS:
View attachment 167003
This is the Mesanovic RTM10, the best measuring active speaker.

LEGEND:
ValueDescription
#1Best rated-speaker in terms of preference score. Update: I set the threshold at 3.0, ignoring speakers below it.
#22nd best-rated speaker in terms of preference score.
#33rd best-rated speaker in terms of preference score.
WorthyWorthy picks that either Erin or Amir measured and recommended. Plus a few models that weren't measured but still for consideration, since we can predict will be good, based on similar model's measurements.
PSPreference Score (with no subwoofer added). Value can be negative (for really badly designed speakers) and goes up to a 10 (theoretical limit). Higher is better.
LFXLow Frequency Extension (in hz). This is the bass output at -6db point. This was computed, not estimated. Lower is better.
AmplifiersAmount of amplifier (amp) power (in watts). If 1 value, it's a single amp. If 2 values, first is woofer amp, and then tweeter amp. If 3 values, first is woofer amp, then midrange amp, then tweeter amp. Amp is per speaker. Didn't make a distinction between peak or RMS power, so not 100% consistent between vendors. Higher is better.
Amplifiers (Link)"Response Linearity" Test that Erin performs. Also called "Dynamic Range (Instantaneous Compression Test)". Link to his website.
*We have quasi-anechoic spinorama or similar. However, this speaker wasn't measured using Klippel NFS (that Amir and Erin have), so it's resolution is less accurate. Warning: This will artificially boost the preference score higher than if the same speaker was measured using NFS.


UPCOMING REVIEWS (announced):
SpeakerCostReviewer
Neumann KH420$5000/eaAmir
Vanatoo Transparent One Encore$540/pairAmir
Behringer B2031A$200/eaAmir
Kanto YU4$320/pairAmir
RCF Ayra Pro 5$150/eaAmir
Edifier G2000$66/pairAmir
Syng Cell Alpha$1800/eaErin

-----



Active Speakers Under US$150/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Neumi BS5P (Erin)4.26837 (Erin)
#2**
#3**
** = No other option, since we need more bookshelves measured at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$200/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Neumi BS5P (Erin)4.26837 (Erin)
#2Monoprice MM-3 (Erin)3.35015 & 8 (Erin=N/a)
#3**
** = No other option, since we need more bookshelves measured at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$250/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Neumi BS5P (Erin)4.26837 (Erin)
#2Presonus Eris E5 XT (Amir)3.75045 & 35
#3Monoprice MM-3 (Erin)3.35015 & 8 (Erin=N/a)

Active Speakers Under US$300/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Neumi BS5P (Erin)4.26837 (Erin)
#2IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor4.0*49*18 & 7
#3Presonus E5 XT (Amir)3.75045 & 35

Active Speakers Under US$350/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Pioneer DJ VM-50 (Erin)5.14830 & 30 (Erin)
#2JBL 305P MKII (Amir) (Erin)5.04341 & 41
#3Neumi BS5P (Erin)4.26837 (Erin)

Active Speakers Under US$400/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Kali LP-6v2 (Erin)5.93940 & 40 (Erin)
#2Behringer B2031A^5.7*36*140
#3Pioneer DJ VM-50 (Erin)5.14830 & 30 (Erin)
^ Amir purchased a unit, and will be measuring it soon.

Active Speakers Under US$450/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Kali LP-6v2 (Erin)5.93940 & 40 (Erin)
#2Behringer B2031A^5.7*36*140
#3JBL 306P MKII (Amir)5.13856 & 56
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20
^ Amir purchased a unit, and will be measuring it soon.

Active Speakers Under US$550/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Kali LP-6v2 (Erin)5.93940 & 40 (Erin)
#2Behringer B2031A^5.7*36*140
#3JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.73656 & 56
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20
^ Amir purchased a unit, and will be measuring it soon.

Active Speakers Under US$700/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Kali LP-6v2 (Erin)5.93940 & 40 (Erin)
#2Behringer B2031A^5.7*36*140
#3JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.73656 & 56
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)5.44180 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20
^ Amir purchased a unit, and will be measuring it soon.

Active Speakers Under US$800/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Kali LP-6v2 (Erin)5.93940 & 40 (Erin)
#2Behringer B2031A^5.7*36*140
#3JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.73656 & 56
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20
^ Amir purchased a unit, and will be measuring it soon.

Active Speakers Under US$1000/pair:
RecommendationPSLFXAmplifiers
#1Neumann KH 80 (Amir)6.248150 & 55
#2Kali LP-6v2 (Erin)5.93940 & 40 (Erin)
#3Dynaudio LYD 5 (Amir)5.75850 & 50
WorthyKali IN-5 (Erin)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin)
5.4
5.3
41
39
80 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
60 & 40 & 40 (Erin)
WorthyAdam T5V (Amir)4.34850 & 20
I'm looking at this list and it seems that, in the under $1000 range, the only speakers that could be used horizontally in a pinch are the Kali INs. Did I miss something? That's probably not a big concern for most people. And it's not a concern for me very often. But it would be nice to know if there are any other options and there's probably at least one person out there with the same question.
 
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sweetchaos

sweetchaos

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I'm looking at this list and it seems that, in the under $1000 range, the only speakers that could be used horizontally in a pinch are the Kali INs. Did I miss something? That's probably not a big concern for most people. And it's not a concern for me very often. But it would be nice to know if there are any other options and there's probably at least one person out there with the same question.
There's not that many 3-way coaxial speakers at this price point.
At US$2000/pair, there's ELAC Navis ARB-51, that can be used horizontally...but we haven't seen measurements for them yet.
 

3125b

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There are a couple more options, just not too many with known performance.
Coaxial studio monitors: Fluid FX, Pioneer RM and Tannoy Gold series
Coaxial studio monitors that don't really look like they would work sideways but idk: Fluid FPX and Presonus Spectre
Sideways studio monitors: Adam A77X, eve SC305, Focal Twin 6
Other active coaxial: KEF LSX (this has been reviewed here, not bad for about 800€/pair)
 
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tktran303

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I’m not trying to be provocative, but there’s a curious absence of all the volume sellers.
They are ALL active/DSP and wireless (via BT/Airplay2 ) and some do have 3.5mm line inputs

JBL Charge 3/4
Sony SRS-XB range
Ultimate Ears Megaboom range
Sonos Move, Roam, One/SL, Five
Tribit

Do you have any ideas when they’ll be measured or reviewed?
 

3125b

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Good question, Amir calls that category "lifestyle".
From the two speakers of this kind that have been measured here (Apple Homepod and Klipsch Three II) I think the measurements don't really translate all that well to actual performance. And they're just not comparable to a stereo (or surround) system for actual dedicated music enjoyment regradless of measured performance.
These things have their place, but it's a very different place.
 

tktran303

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Sure they’re different. But that’s like saying LCD TV is a lifestyle or convenience product.

You know; coz projectors are what we’re all watching, what we care about, and want reviews and measurements on. There’s no place for LCD/LED/OLED TV or other lifestyle/convenience products for real video enthusiasts.

2 samples is not nearly enough to draw conclusions. When need benchmarks. So one can see where things like the Sonos Play One/SL in comparison to the Neumi BS5.

Why is everyone buying that and not this?
Better/worse/same but not completely different, no?

Well thanks to @napilopez we know the Google Nest Audio is pretty good, from a tonal balance point of view.


Revel’s top end marketed product is the Ultimata Salon 2 (NLA?) or Performa Be F328. But where does that sit compared to the Linkwitz LX521.4

Consumers care about form factor (size and shape/look), sound quality and cost.
 
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EdTice

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There are a couple more options, just not too many with known performance.
Coaxial studio monitors: Fluid FX, Pioneer RM and Tannoy Gold series
Coaxial studio monitors that don't really look like they would work sideways but idk: Fluid FPX and Presonus Spectre
Sideways studio monitors: Adam A77X, eve SC305, Focal Twin 6
Other active coaxial: KEF LSX (this has been reviewed here, not bad for about 800€/pair)
The Adam A77X are gorgeous. The reason I would want to use sideways is in a height-limited live monitoring situation. But by the time we hit this price, I might as well just use my little Genelec 8030s. They aren't any taller than the A77X! Thanks for the comments!
 

dfuller

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Sideways studio monitors: Adam A77X, eve SC305, Focal Twin 6
These all have *serious* compromises when oriented horizontally.

I'm looking at this list and it seems that, in the under $1000 range, the only speakers that could be used horizontally in a pinch are the Kali INs. Did I miss something? That's probably not a big concern for most people. And it's not a concern for me very often. But it would be nice to know if there are any other options and there's probably at least one person out there with the same question.

Actually... About the only non-coax design I'd recommend for sideways use is the Amphion One18. They have unusually good vertical directivity behavior from their low crossover point. They're not amazing, but they're not bad either, with a remarkably quick LF decay time. But, they're passive, which is not what you want, and they're way over budget.
 

EdTice

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These all have *serious* compromises when oriented horizontally.
I don't quite get this comment. The Adam A77X was specifically designed to be placed horizontally and comes in a left and right configuration. Yes there are two woofers that look like a center channel, but the designers aren't oblivious and/or mostly worried about how they integrate with drawer furniture.

"The special feature of the A77X is its 2 1⁄2-way system. Both 7” woofers start to work together at 38 Hz and at 400 Hz one woofer fades out and only the second woofer continues to operate in the midrange up to 3 kHz. This prevents interferences and possible phase cancellation in the critical midrange. Even though frequency transitions and potential distortions lie outside these areas, the human ear is particularly sensitive to midrange frequencies."

Yeah they are passive, but us beggars can't be choosers at some point. Again thanks for commenting
 

dfuller

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I don't quite get this comment. The Adam A77X was specifically designed to be placed horizontally and comes in a left and right configuration. Yes there are two woofers that look like a center channel, but the designers aren't oblivious and/or mostly worried about how they integrate with drawer furniture.

"The special feature of the A77X is its 2 1⁄2-way system. Both 7” woofers start to work together at 38 Hz and at 400 Hz one woofer fades out and only the second woofer continues to operate in the midrange up to 3 kHz. This prevents interferences and possible phase cancellation in the critical midrange. Even though frequency transitions and potential distortions lie outside these areas, the human ear is particularly sensitive to midrange frequencies."

Yeah they are passive, but us beggars can't be choosers at some point. Again thanks for commenting
The 2.5 way thing doesn't solve the problem - there's a huge interference dip around the crossover.
Page 3, figure 05. It looks (completely unsurprisingly) just like a 2-way non-coaxial turned on its side.

And the Twin6, courtesy of @hardisj - again, a huge interference dip reminiscent of a 2-way speaker's vertical directivity behavior.
Focal%20Twin6%20Be%20Beamwidth_Horizontal.png


(full review at: https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/focal_twin6be/ )

As for the SC305, unless Eve has somehow broken the laws of physics, I doubt they're immune to the same issue.
 

sdiver68

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but even those speakers with "average" good vertical window of 20 degrees total should work horizontally at med field MLP in most situations. Given control over placement and angle of course.
 
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sweetchaos

sweetchaos

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but even those speakers with "average" good vertical window of 20 degrees total should work horizontally at med field MLP in most situations. Given control over placement and angle of course.
Sure, but only for MLP. Anyone sitting besides you won't have a good time.
 

sdiver68

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Sure, but only for MLP. Anyone sitting besides you won't have a good time.
Fair. Just pointing out 1 possible solution to a compromised situation. Maybe only MLP cares about HiFi, which is certainly the situation in my house.
 
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