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Again: Best sounding (hifi) speakers for my tiny desk

HayGuise

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Hi all,

it feels like I basically read through the whole board in other threads, still I cant decide what to get. I know of all the monitors like JBL, Kali Audio LP6 V2 (and how they compare vs in-5, v1), Adam T5V etc. etc.

I try to make it as short as possible:
- I have a very tiny desk in a niche between my drawer and wall. It measures 120x60 cm. Im planning to wall mount the future speakers to the right and left of my screen. Means, the speakers will surely both be directly on the wall and actually in corners.
- I hear most exclusively electronic music, techno, deep house etc. - I dont like super analytical sound - I like it a bit warmer / emotional
- I mostly hear mid quality sound files, like Spotify and soundcloud mixes
- That brings me to the toughest point: I see that everyone here mostly recommends Neumann KH80 or several Genelec speakers. Problem is, most of the speakers look really ugly to me (no offense). Im going to build a minimal and modern niche, so every single piece placed there should fit aesthetically together
- Budget is secondary, im ready to spent up to 1500,- €
- Im looking for the perfect combination of Design, Sound and Size

Might the KEF LSX the speaker im looking for? What concerns me is that I would use a Wireless speaker when I dont actually "want" a wireless speaker. I read about unstability etc. Dont wanna bother with that. On the other hand I read that they sound "better" in the pure near field, what would be my listening profile.

KEF Q150? vanatoo transparent One? Tannoy Gold 5? Elac DBR62 no option cause of the wooden looks. Did I miss anything?

Thank you very much!
 
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Sancus

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napilopez

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Hi all,

it feels like I basically read through the whole board in other threads, still I cant decide what to get. I know of all the monitors like JBL, Kali Audio LP6 V2 (and how they compare vs in-5, v1), Adam T5V etc. etc.

I try to make it as short as possible:
- I have a very tiny desk in a niche between my drawer and wall. It measures 120x60 cm. Im planning to wall mount the future speakers to the right and left of my screen. Means, the speakers will surely both be directly on the wall and actually in corners.
- I hear most exclusively electronic music, techno, deep house etc. - I dont like super analytical sound - I like it a bit warmer / emotional
- I mostly hear mid quality sound files, like Spotify and soundcloud mixes
- That brings me to the toughest point: I see that everyone here mostly recommends Neumann KH80 or several Genelec speakers. Problem is, most of the speakers look really ugly to me (no offense). Im going to build a minimal and modern niche, so every single piece placed there should fit aesthetically together
- Budget is secondary, im ready to spent up to 1500,- €
- Im looking for the perfect combination of Design, Sound and Size

Might the KEF LSX the speaker im looking for? What concerns me is that I would use a Wireless speaker when I dont actually "want" a wireless speaker. I read about unstability etc. Dont wanna bother with that. On the other hand I read that they sound "better" in the pure near field, what would be my listening profile.

KEF Q150? vanatoo transparent One? Tannoy Gold 5? Elac DBR62 no option cause of the wooden looks. Did I miss anything?

Thank you very much!

I'm picky about aesthetics and prefer something modern as well, but hard to tell without knowing your tastes. Personally, I think the neumann KH80 look quite decent in white.

It's probably best for you to try not to think in terms of "warm" and analytical speakers or whatever. There are good speakers and bad speakers, dark and bright speakers. No such thing as an 'emotional' speaker tuning (not to be rude, just want to get that way of thinking out of your head lol). Unless it just sounds so bad it makes you angry I guess haha. If it's too bright or dark, apply a bit of EQ and you're good. No need to get a whole new speaker for minor tuning issues as long as directivity is good.

The KEF LSX are very solid for a desktop use, they do actually lack a tiny bit of energy in the highs plus they have a bit of EQ capability in-app. Don't worry about them being wireless. Just use them wired if you want. You can connect them with an ethernet cable if you have issues, although I didn't when I had them in a desk setup.

Given you seem to like how the LSX looks and it fits your budget, I'd just say go for those. Nice thing is that they have a sub out jack, so that's an easy sound quality upgrade if you want to fit a small sub under your desk down the road. You're not going to get that much better than the LSX in the small speaker domain, so it's as safe a bet as any.
 
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If you are wanting a pair of hifi speakers that can be wall mounted (with matching brackets) you could try PMC DB1 golds.
They are passive, and you will want to eq out a bit of a peak around 100hz, but after that they give quite a nice warm ‘musical’ presentation. They aren’t super analytical and the soft dome is quite gentle on the ears too.

I used to have them on my desk listening to deep house and electronic music through Spotify and a Naim UnitiQute2.

I also had Neumann KH120S, that go a bit deeper, are flatter, can be fine tuned with the dip switches and are active. I’d say they are more analytical but not overly.
 
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HayGuise

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Guys, thank you very much for feedback, very much appreciated. Since im from Germany and also investigated in other boards, Im happy to tell you that I order one pair of black Abacus C-Box 4. Their reviews are mostly super euphoric + its a local german manufactory, what I like to support.

The design and the size is perfect for me, modern, compact and minimalistic. If the sound is somehow as promising as discussed, im probably very happy.

Maybe a bit offtopic, but can you recommend any dac with volume control? I heard the smsl su-9 is great, but I guess it has too many features I dont need. And I dont need to spend unnecessary much money. Is there anything around under 200,- €? I would have got the topping d10s, but unforunately it hasnt volume control.

Thanks!
 

stevenswall

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Guys, thank you very much for feedback, very much appreciated. Since im from Germany and also investigated in other boards, Im happy to tell you that I order one pair of black Abacus C-Box 4. Their reviews are mostly super euphoric + its a local german manufactory, what I like to support.

The design and the size is perfect for me, modern, compact and minimalistic. If the sound is somehow as promising as discussed, im probably very happy.

Maybe a bit offtopic, but can you recommend any dac with volume control? I heard the smsl su-9 is great, but I guess it has too many features I dont need. And I dont need to spend unnecessary much money. Is there anything around under 200,- €? I would have got the topping d10s, but unforunately it hasnt volume control.

Thanks!

If you aren't satisfied and return those speakers, I've listened to the JBL LSR308, 306, Kali IN-8 IN-5, Adam T5V, KEF LS50x, and several others in that range/size.

From a sound perspective and an engineering perspective, the Kali IN-5 has a better designed port, better vertical dispersion (desk bounce can be a thing even nearfield), enough SPL to be used further away without crackling like the Adam, and is a three way unlike most of the others with a coaxial driver that allows you to use it on its side or really any way you please.

For the DAC, I'd just use a MiniDSP HD so that you can more easily integrate a sub later if your situation changes, and you can EQ things to taste or to correct a speaker. No manual volume control, but you can control it from your computer. I use a MiniDSP with a Chromecast device for my computer and just control the Chromecast volume. (Chromecast Audio devices can send optical audio to the MiniDSP.)

Upgrade wise if you wanted something that you might find aesthetically pleasing I'd look at the Devialet Phantom Reactors. I think they are beautiful, and like the sound more than anything listed here. Everyone bashes on them as a lifestyle product but in reality they have fairly smooth frequency response and great vertical and horizontal dispersion.

I had some but returned them because with my router and the app they had issues. If they didn't have those issues I'd still have them, but they are about $2500 for the pair.

Note that a large part of the preference score for speakers is bass extension, which the Phantoms have in spades. If you can get them, they will be the most satisfying setup for house and EDM you can get nearfield without a subwoofer.
 
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HayGuise

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Hi all,

unfortunately im still searching... heres what i tried the last weeks:
  • Had the abacus C4, unfortunately both speakers were damaged in the manufacturing process. Moreover, I couldnt reproduce the hyped sound in my very specific scenario (As said, speakers are in a tiny niche between my drawer and the wall). It was like the bass was completely eliminated for some songs. Very strange. Used them with a smsl su-9
  • Now I have the KEF LSX standing here, cause of the DSP the overall sound experience is better, but they dont auto turn on when bluetooth signal is sent - this is a shame and unacceptable. I neither want to switch them on manually via remote or mobile app!
  • Moreover, the KEF LSX produce some pretty noticeable noise / amplified coil whine when no song is playing, which I also hate
  • I tried both speakers with a dedicated subwoofer (Versacube diy) which improved sound a bit, but again, stole too much space under my desk and ruined the optic
Long story short: Im still searching.

Do you think that the Kali IN-5 could work in my scenario? Niche with 120x60 dimensions, when I wall mount the speakers? I mean, they have barely any distance in the length and it would be super near field.

Best
 

stevenswall

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Hi all,

unfortunately im still searching... heres what i tried the last weeks:
  • Had the abacus C4, unfortunately both speakers were damaged in the manufacturing process. Moreover, I couldnt reproduce the hyped sound in my very specific scenario (As said, speakers are in a tiny niche between my drawer and the wall). It was like the bass was completely eliminated for some songs. Very strange. Used them with a smsl su-9
  • Now I have the KEF LSX standing here, cause of the DSP the overall sound experience is better, but they dont auto turn on when bluetooth signal is sent - this is a shame and unacceptable. I neither want to switch them on manually via remote or mobile app!
  • Moreover, the KEF LSX produce some pretty noticeable noise / amplified coil whine when no song is playing, which I also hate
  • I tried both speakers with a dedicated subwoofer (Versacube diy) which improved sound a bit, but again, stole too much space under my desk and ruined the optic
Long story short: Im still searching.

Do you think that the Kali IN-5 could work in my scenario? Niche with 120x60 dimensions, when I wall mount the speakers? I mean, they have barely any distance in the length and it would be super near field.

Best

Yes, the Kali IN-5 would be great nearfield, there isn't coil whine from the speakers, and they consume so little power you can leave them on all the time and it's not a noticeable issue. They also have placement DSP which can help compensate for some common issues with close to the wall placement and such.
 

jonfitch

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If you have a low noise floor, active components are always going to create noise. Its a never ending battle. Get a fanless pc on an equipment rack, put your passive speaker amp far away on said rack, and now you start hearing the coil whine from your monitor's ac adaptor on the floor lol. Endless game of whac-a-mole.

One solution may be just to have a higher noise floor with some device that generates benign noise to overcome the negative passive noise of all other components.
 

Berwhale

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Do you think that the Kali IN-5 could work in my scenario? Niche with 120x60 dimensions, when I wall mount the speakers? I mean, they have barely any distance in the length and it would be super near field.

I think the iLoud MTMs would be ideal for you. They are narrow, I have mine either side of an UWQHD 34" monitor - the total width is slightly less than your 120cm wide niche. The MTMs also have built-in in DSP (with measurement mic) which will help them compensate for your constrained listening position.
 

Walter

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The iLoud MTMs have had a lot of complaints about coil whine when used with 230v mains.
 
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HayGuise

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Moreover, and I dont want to offend anyone who those speakers, I think the MTM iLoud look like cheap logitech speakers. Actually im coming from iLoud Micro Monitor speakers and I didnt like their sound neither did I like their looks. But I agree that there would be - based on my room situation - would be a good fit probably.

Im gonna order Kali IN-5 and check how / if I can integrate they wall mounted. My only concern is that they are so big, that there is barely any space between those speakers.
 
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HayGuise

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Today I received a pair of Kali LP-6 Wave 2. I compared them with IN-5 and thought - based on online reviews - they might suit better for my taste of music, because it was said the produce more bass.

Well, in terms of form factor they are huge for my little setup. I have them connected to ifi blue v2 dac and playing via bluetooth (aac), speakers to dac via amazon basic cinch cable. This kind of connection (bluetooth) is very convinient when switching between private and business notebook and serves me - in combination with my bluetooth mouse and keyboard - as kind of cableless dockingstation. I used the switches on the back for the DSP to adapt the sound signature to my seating position (on desk, near wall) which reduced the bass a bit, but I still have tons of bass. I assume im experiencing some refelections and the bass is definitely a bit bloated. Id say they are not suitable for super precise recording, mixing or professional stuff, but they are definitely fun-speakers - at least in my enviroment. Exactly what I was looking for. They sound super full and complete. Actually it sounds even better than KEF LSX with a subwoofer. Those mid-basses punch you directly in your face. Bass production is great even on lower volumes. Also very great dynamic. Im super hyped at the moment.

I just realized that for my personal taste of sound I need bigger speakers, had the iLoud Micros, KEF LSX and Abacus C4, none of them gave me the feeling I have with the Kalis at the moment.

Last but not least I could get them as bstock (they look actually like brand new) for 380€ a pair + 160,- for the blue v2 dac. Also, much cheaper and way better than the KEF LSX, while having reliable bluetooth connection which automatically recognizes the signal from different sources.

I would just like to uncouple them from my desk to get more space / cleaner look. Does anyone know if the LP-6 Wave 2 are suitable to wall mount on over-ear hight, but angle them in drastically? The manual recommends only 10° angle over or under ear height.
 
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tifune

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I would just like to uncouple them from my desk to get more space / cleaner look. Does anyone know if the LP-6 Wave 2 are suitable to wall mount on over-ear hight, but angle them in drastically? The manual recommends only 10° angle over or under ear height.

"suitable?" they won't explode; what is the specific concern?
 
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HayGuise

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"suitable?" they won't explode; what is the specific concern?
That the used tweeter is not designed to get angled in that strong and I somehow mess up the complete sound signature, especially since im setting very close - near field. Around 60 cm.
 

Collin

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That the used tweeter is not designed to get angled in that strong and I somehow mess up the complete sound signature, especially since im setting very close - near field. Around 60 cm.
Are you going to keep Kali?

Here is my "in debate" list (attached photo). For nearfield listening on desktop pc, I've got Edifier R1280T, and, with EQ indeed they deliver that score.

Now I have to decide for midfield listening as bookshelf speakers (EQ and a subwoofer later), to go around 35 Hz or lower for some music, but at low volume listening (because of neighbors).

As you can see, I also have Kali on my list... ;-) ... but I see MTG Designs AlTi DIY close to Genelecs at 1/5 of their price, or Mackie MR524 without the hassle of DIY job (+EQ and subwoofer).

Casdspture.JPG
 

Vacceo

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In the past, I have used Kef LSX as desk speakers with great success. I guess the meta upgraded version will release at some near future point, so if you can wait, that is a pair you can consider.
 
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