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Active speakers as an answer?

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#1
Hi everyone,

Let me first wish all of you a happy new year! Over the last 2 years, this forum has been a goldmine to me and has really helped me with finding robust and reliable audio information. My sincere gratitude to all the people who give time and energy to such project starting with Amirm!

Today, I'd like to get some advises as I'm about to move in a new apartment with many constraints. To summarise, my listening room will be almost twice as small as the current one with 20 square meters and will also open towards 3 other rooms with no door. This is represented on the image below.



The listening position could be set on the yellow cross, so at about 2 to 2.5 meters away from the speakers. The speakers will have to be installed within a bookshelf put against the wall with a maximum 2 meters distance between the 2 speakers. To add a bit more difficulty, my wife usually finds most speakers really ugly.

Based upon this list of constraints, I've determined the following criteria to base my selection upon:
-small bookshelves loudspeakers which can be put as close as 5cm from the wall behind
-electronic reduced to the minimum as well as cables
-possibility to compensate defaults by software correction

Besides this, my intention is to get something with very good objective performance, robust manufacturing with reliable after sales (I'm not a flipper and tend to keep my stuff for many years). The only thing I'd like to save from my current set up is:
-my sacd player (Pioneer D9) as I have a wide collection of cds.
-my current dac, a Pioneer U-05s I'm very satisfied with, allowing many connections with direct control of the volume, fed in optical by Tidal via a small Chromecast audio (amazing result!). I also have a fostex HPA8c.

After reading Amirm's test of the Neumann KH310, I have started to dig in the path of active speakers. I am under the impression such speakers could fit my need. What do you think? Could I get the most out of such active speakers with my DACs, and will I be able to control the volume from the DAC's remote?
Would you have any reference of active speakers to recommend me from either Neumann, Genelec (most favored by my wife for their look) or PSI?

Many thanks in advance for your help!
Kind regards
Greg
 

Ilkless

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#2
After reading Amirm's test of the Neumann KH310, I have started to dig in the path of active speakers. I am under the impression such speakers could fit my need. What do you think? Could I get the most out of such active speakers with my DACs, and will I be able to control the volume from the DAC's remote?
Would you have any reference of active speakers to recommend me from either Neumann, Genelec (most favored by my wife for their look) or PSI?

Many thanks in advance for your help!
Kind regards
Greg
I think PSI's pricing is too far out for the performance (measurements are somewhere on ASR), because they insist on analog phase compensation, which is both less sophisticated and more expensive to implement. Realistically, Neumann and Genelec are probably the 2 best brands for high-performance actives in most circumstances due to the balance of performance and long-term support. The KH310 is a great speaker, and the sealed enclosure does make it easier for putting it close to the wall.

1609510062991.png


Genelec may be ported but they claim that their ports just need a minimum of 5cm distance away, so you might be able to get away with it. However, this is assuming it is free-standing up against a wall and not surrounded by a bookshelf.

Could I get the most out of such active speakers with my DACs, and will I be able to control the volume from the DAC's remote?
Yes, your DACs should be good enough to not get in the way of any such speakers. The U-05 is particularly well-suited as it has XLR outputs and volume control. Software correction is possible for both Genelec and Neumann as well, using either of their proprietary solutions or something like Dirac on a computer source.
 

pozz

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#3
If your wife likes Genelec, then you have nothing to fear. Good speakers definitely and there is the GLM software at additional cost for EQ.

There have been a bunch of members who have set up their home systems with active speakers. Checking those threads would be worth your while.
 
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Thread Starter #4
I think PSI's pricing is too far out for the performance (measurements are somewhere on ASR), because they insist on analog phase compensation, which is both less sophisticated and more expensive to implement. Realistically, Neumann and Genelec are probably the 2 best brands for high-performance actives in most circumstances due to the balance of performance and long-term support. The KH310 is a great speaker, and the sealed enclosure does make it easier for putting it close to the wall.
Thanks Ilkless for uour comments! The KH310 indeed looks like an impressive product. Amirm's test shows outstanding results. The absence of bass-reflex probably makes it a bit easier to put close to the wall. The only downsides IMO comes from the less "sexier"/more bulky enclosure as opposed to the tiny/lovely Genelec cabinets.

Which models in the Genelec range would in your opinion compete with the performance of the KH310? Specs wise, the Neumann really performs well given its some size. I see many models in the Genelec line, some are indicated as "smart active speakers" as opposed to active only for the others while it seems they also have a line dedicated to consumers (the G line) rather than professionals. Where would you put your money in their range?
One key quality given my constraints will be a low directivity, hope those monitors won't offer too small a sweet spot for listening.


If your wife likes Genelec, then you have nothing to fear. Good speakers definitely and there is the GLM software at additional cost for EQ. There have been a bunch of members who have set up their home systems with active speakers. Checking those threads would be worth your while.
Thanks Pozz for the advice, I will definitely read this thoroughly. Apart from not selling her engagement ring to fund the speakers ;), my wife only cares about how it's going to look in the room... So among monitor speakers, the Genelec style is clearly more appealing to her. I can convince her to get the Neumann but I definitely need to understand the added value by doing so. Especially, as I will have to buy the protections for safety reasons (tiny hands of our children...) as well as to hide the look...
 

pozz

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#5
Thanks Pozz for the advice, I will definitely read this thoroughly. Apart from not selling her engagement ring to fund the speakers ;), my wife only cares about how it's going to look in the room... So among monitor speakers, the Genelec style is clearly more appealing to her. I can convince her to get the Neumann but I definitely need to understand the added value by doing so. Especially, as I will have to buy the protections for safety reasons (tiny hands of our children...) as well as to hide the look...
I bought white KH80s for my fairly small living for this exact reason. She likes them a lot.
 

LTig

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#8
Which models in the Genelec range would in your opinion compete with the performance of the KH310?
Regarding bass performance I'd say any of the 8x5x series, they all have an 8" (or compatible sized) woofer. But of those only the Ones are 3-way lke the KH310 which IMV is a major step forward.

EDIT: If you go for the KH310 keep in mind that they come without grills. You have to order them separately, they are extremely robust and very expensive.
 
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LTig

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#9
Apart from not selling her engagement ring to fund the speakers ;), my wife only cares about how it's going to look in the room... So among monitor speakers, the Genelec style is clearly more appealing to her. I can convince her to get the Neumann but I definitely need to understand the added value by doing so. Especially, as I will have to buy the protections for safety reasons (tiny hands of our children...) as well as to hide the look...
I know several people who use white Genelecs approved by their spouse. I have the predecessor of the KH310 (K&H O300D, identical look) in our living room, my wife had JBL LSR2325 which were replaced by white Genelec 8020a.
 

YSC

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#10
if inside a bookshelf it seems the KH310 heatsink would take up similar back space as genelec's port, so both the gennies and the KH310 should have no difference at this category, if your wife likes the genelecs just get them, the real world difference between a 8x5x series and the KH310 arn't that great compared to the trouble you need to get wife approval!

P.S. I am actually surprised by reading that look is important and that your wife likes Genelec looks, when I get the 8030 most my female friends and wife just say that they are ugly compared to my old KEF X300A
 

LTig

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#11
if inside a bookshelf it seems the KH310 heatsink would take up similar back space as genelec's port, so both the gennies and the KH310 should have no difference at this category, if your wife likes the genelecs just get them, the real world difference between a 8x5x series and the KH310 arn't that great compared to the trouble you need to get wife approval!

P.S. I am actually surprised by reading that look is important and that your wife likes Genelec looks, when I get the 8030 most my female friends and wife just say that they are ugly compared to my old KEF X300A
Maybe she likes these ones ;):
 

YSC

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#12
Forgot to mention, if budget is not generous (when you mention the KH310, it's likely you have plenty of budget though) and you are fine to have a sub to fickle around maybe you can also consider the Focal shapes, the wood front should integrate well into a wood bookshelf, and passive radiators are fine for rear clearance, performance wise not as amazing as Neumann and Genelecs, but still within +/- 3db for the whole range, which should sound fine IRL
 
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#14
Depending on budget and looks, on the used market one of the best home actives ever made was the Paradigm Reference Active 20.
 
OP
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Thread Starter #15
What's your budget and do you plan on doing DRC yourself or will you use Neumman's or Genelec's solution to do so?
I'd like to stay under €3500. I actually determined this budget based upon the cost of the KH310s. If I can get the same performance and manufacturing quality at a lower price, of course I'll be happy to pick something else for example at Genelec.

As far as DRC is concerned, I've no prior experience so the easiest way to get into it will be my preferred choice. If Neumann or Genelec propose something in standard that is both simple and convenient, I'll go that route.

You beat me to this...
Welcome @Sixte and Happy New Year!
Thanks for the kind welcome ;-)


Regarding bass performance I'd say any of the 8x5x series, they all have an 8" (or compatible sized) woofer. But of those only the Ones are 3-way lke the KH310 which IMV is a major step forward.
EDIT: If you go for the KH310 keep in mind that they come without grills. You have to order them separately, they are extremely robust and very expensive.
I've looked at the Ones serie but it seems like pricing starts at €2000 per unit so that's already more money than I plan to spend on it. If you think about specific models in the Genelec range, please don't hesitate to give me the references, that would help a lot. For the KH310s, I did see about the grills, it both helps at securing the speakers and hiding the design which is not so great to my taste. With the grills, this will be a €4000 total, a lot of money for sure.

if inside a bookshelf it seems the KH310 heatsink would take up similar back space as genelec's port, so both the gennies and the KH310 should have no difference at this category, if your wife likes the genelecs just get them, the real world difference between a 8x5x series and the KH310 arn't that great compared to the trouble you need to get wife approval!
P.S. I am actually surprised by reading that look is important and that your wife likes Genelec looks, when I get the 8030 most my female friends and wife just say that they are ugly compared to my old KEF X300A
Sure, the WAF is as (more?) important to measure as the rest prior to any purchase;) I happened to buy a pair of Dynaudio gemini almost 20 years ago and eventually sold them because of my spouse never accepting their design and bulkiness. Concerning the Genelec, it's not so much that she enjoys the genelec as a first choice nut more that it's on the OK side for her. As far as I'm concerned, if it could look like the below one, I'd be more than happy with such finish. Isn't this pretty? :p

1609614571373.png
1609614571373.png


Forgot to mention, if budget is not generous (when you mention the KH310, it's likely you have plenty of budget though) and you are fine to have a sub to fickle around maybe you can also consider the Focal shapes, the wood front should integrate well into a wood bookshelf, and passive radiators are fine for rear clearance, performance wise not as amazing as Neumann and Genelecs, but still within +/- 3db for the whole range, which should sound fine IRL
Not plenty of budget but I'm willing to spend enough money to get a really well performing active speaker with the possibility to correct the room response. If I can get this at half the price of the KH310s, more than happy to do so. But, it doesn't seem so easy to get great speakers at very competitive prices as opposed to what you get for electronics today.
 
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q3cpma

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#16
I'd like to stay under €3500. I actually determined this budget based upon the cost of the KH310s. If I can get the same performance and manufacturing quality at a lower price, of course I'll be happy to pick something else for example at Genelec.

As far as DRC is concerned, I've no prior experience so the easiest way to get into it will be my preferred choice. If Neumann or Genelec propose something in standard that is both simple and convenient, I'll go that route.
I'd either get the 8350A or the 8330A with a 7350A, then; both with the GLM kit, of course.
Keep in mind that Neumann requires you to buy both the MA-1 and the KH750DSP if you want to use DRC with the KH310.
 
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Thread Starter #17
Thanks for the list of speakers and equipment q3cpm
I understand the need for the GLM kit or the MA-1 but not the subwoofer. Why is it mandatory? The DRC cannot work without a sub???
 

StefaanE

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#18
Thanks for the list of speakers and equipment q3cpm
I understand the need for the GLM kit or the MA-1 but not the subwoofer. Why is it mandatory? The DRC cannot work without a sub???
As made clear by the name, it’s the KH 750 DSP that contains the DSP for the room correction, the network connection, as well as a digital input facility. The KH 310 by itself only has analogue inputs, so the sub gives you quite a lot of additional functionality. Please note you’ll need to connect the sub to a wired network plug, it doesn’t support WiFi. Here is Neumann’s schema:
51293FF7-16E7-4DFE-9BDB-2CAEBFC97383.jpeg
 

Ron Texas

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#19
For quite a few members here, active speakers are not an alternative, they are the only way. Just a thought. Many of them have a bass shelf switch for close to the wall mounting. In an apartment you can't go to high volumes, and low bass draws complaints, so some of the smaller models are appropriate. Stick with the larger pro audio manufacturers like JBL, Adam, Neumann and Genelec in case you need repairs later. Some of the high end actives may be fed a digital signal so instead of a DAC a device which converts to their digital input format may be used.
 
OP
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Thread Starter #20
As made clear by the name, it’s the KH 750 DSP that contains the DSP for the room correction, the network connection, as well as a digital input facility. The KH 310 by itself only has analogue inputs, so the sub gives you quite a lot of additional functionality. Please note you’ll need to connect the sub to a wired network plug, it doesn’t support WiFi. Here is Neumann’s schema:
Thanks for the explanation StefaanE. Indeed, I should have understood by the speakeker's name :facepalm: Adding a sub was not in my plan at all actually nor to add cables to connect a local network. That being said, I really want to adjust the response to my room otherwise why spend so much money on speakers... So, if I understand well, the "smart" active speakers from Genelec only need the GLM kit because they integrate RJ45 inputs and therefore can be calibrated directly? So, pricier than the Neumann but if you want all the DRC to be enabled, it's more or less the same cost. Tough call!
 
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