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Analysis paralysis and genereal audio component confusion

Zwuckel

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Hi there,

Background info: I am lurking and reading for quite a while. Currently I suffer from analysis paralysis and huge audio component confusion. My goal is to enjoy music, not analyze it, with the best possible audio equipment I can afford. I don´t want to upgrade my chain every 2 years, thinking that my sound will be soooo much better. I don´t want to experiment with thousands of different components. I think I don´t like mudiness. Thats an absolut nogo. I don´t like a veil and heaviness. So I guess that´s clear and precise. I don´t like too much treble and harshness. The listening room I will have in 2 years maybe is 2,50 x 3m with ceiling height at 2,40cm. That´s 8.2 x 9.8 and ceiling is 7.8. I live in Germany.

I listen to orchestra, modern funk, modern jazz, light electro, HipHop, Math Rock. (Scary Pockets, Son Lux, video game orchestra music, Tricot, Yaosobi, Tigran Hamasyan) Source is often Youtube because of Tiny Desk, Audiotree and Orchestra recordings.

I am aware that I have to listen for myself, but then there are too options and too many opinions too reduce those options.

My audio experience so far: - Adam A7X, was too harsh, the tweeter was painful, the listening not enjoyable. - Owned some RP-600M, was fun, but too muddy, too forward, the general quality was not good for me. - Tested a lot of headphones with a Scarlet. Now I know that this was not saying anything.

My Audio shop experience before today: - First shopping was 3 years ago. About 10-15k range for the whole system. I was sat down in a listening room w/o any guidance. The room refelcted very weird, and the sound was standing in the air very weirdly.

Confusion part: First I was all about headphones. It was said hp are cheaper for the sound quality they produce. For HD600 you need at least a system that´s about 5k to have the same quality. Then I tested with the Scarlet. That was rubbish. Then sometimes I feel somewhat claustrophobic with hp. Plus that I may get a dedicated listening room I was back to speakers. I also like the "freedom" of my ears.

I thought about Kef R3s with A-S701, then I asked myself about DAC and figured I need an extra one, although the Yamaha has on built in... (801 is not available). Then I read that the Kefs could be harsh and unforgiving. Thought about the room and researched me to exhaustion about Genelec. Because they are more direct and can take the room out the equation plus DSP (GLM) and it was said that I can easily EQ them to my liking, IF they are too whatever. Then I researched about the connection from my laptop to those things. Went from AES/EBU (which I still couldn´t figure out connection wise) to a MOTU2. Figured it doesn´t have XLR output but just line out. Went to the shop today and the salesman that Genelec is more for critical listen. Which I don´t want necesarily. He showed me the Focus 10. His word: "The Focus 10 have the electronics of the professional series but is tuned to music listening." I was not overwhelmed by the sound but I think thats a good sign. But they had punch and were loud enough and come with DSP. But then I am afraid about what happens if they have a defect in 6-10 years. Seperate components are easier to replace. Of course as a good salesman he said that this is not a problem, since they have the pro line stuff and that it can be replaced fast and easily and that they had actives from 20 years ago that are working just fine (T+W). We also thought about the Evoke 30 and the first second in that conversation he added "We would choose a great amp for good power.) o_O Somewhere in between I thought about Klipsch as they are about fun, but then the Heresy and Forte would be overkill.

The problem: As stated above I need to listen. But because of bad audio memory I would have to listen in comparison to other components. Also my room will be different to the stores rooms. Then I´d need 50k, 2 years sabbatical and very generous return policies. So impractical.

Questions part:

1) Can I EQ Studio monitors like the Genelex 8330 that they are less revealing and more forgiving? Is it an EQ parameter thing or is it the technicality of the speakers?

2) If I pair e.g. Dynaudio Evoke 20s with a Yamaha A-S701 or a Hegel H95 is there a big difference? Isn´t watts watts, current current and lack of distortion lack of distortion? I am not searching for the holy grail and absolut perfection. I don´t have the time and money to do that.

3) Can I pair DSP with passives? Is EQ enough? I use APO atm. Is it helpful formy particular room?

4) The salesman recommended not to go with a sub in my particular room. Thoughts? The Focus 10 seemed to have quite a rolloff in the bottom although it shouldn´t be the case.

5) Any advice would be helpful as of today I´d say I listen on my 80 bucks Pioneer till the end of time :D Thanks in advance for all help hints advice.

Zwuckel
 
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BDWoody

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As we wait for others to chime in, do you live in an apartment, or do you share walls/floors with neighbors? That can limit the extent of your subwoofer dreams, but if not it's one of the best ways to flesh out your sound. With a smallish room like that, you don't have to worry about massive power or SPL needs, so you've got a lot of great options.

I've got a theater full of JBL powered monitors, and have become a big believer in going active. There is a lot to be said for letting someone else sort out the details and give me a box that includes the DAC, amp, speakers and eq.

For the AES input, the cable contains 2 channels, so you plug it into one speaker, tell the speaker which channel to grab, then connect from that speaker's AES output to the input on the other speaker, and tell it to grab the other channel.

My JBLs have AES capability, and other than playing with it and scaring the crap out of myself with an unexpected wall of full signal white noise x 5 speakers because I'm an idiot, I just connect analog out of my Denon receiver.
 
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Zwuckel

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The room is in a semi-basement with no direct neighbours.

The salesman was worried that a sub may trigger roommodes. But that can maybe corrected with DSP and or REW.

I am reading the threads regarding active and passive right now. I´d prefer the actives. As you said, the details are sorted out. But the reliability may be a concern to me. I just don´t know how much truth is to that. Then passive speakers must be maintained as well. I guess there are no guarantees. But then I could maybe calculate that in. Get a pair actives for 2k every 10 years instead of a passive system for 5k for the next 30 years.

It also seems that adding DSP externally with miniDSP can become quite complicated.
 

Jimbob54

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When you are quoting prices, is this Euros? How did you get to 5k E for a set up for Sennheiser HD600?

What is your listening room that you have today? If you are going to set this system up in the current room for 2 years it needs to be appropriate for this current room.

My advice- if I understand you correctly- is to build the system for your room in 2 years in 2 years when you have the room.

If you want a speaker system to tide you over look at some of the room appropriate actives for the budget you have for a 2 year set up. Or look at headphones. But you can build a system for HD600 for about 200 E on top of the headphones or maybe even just over 100E if you have a PC or other digital source you can use.
 

LTig

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If you go with Genelec and Neumann you don't need to worry about reliability. They are built for long working days.

In your room a KH310 or KH150 should work fine, and a matching sub would be the icing on the cake.
 

NTK

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When you are quoting prices, is this Euros? How did you get to 5k E for a set up for Sennheiser HD600?
I think OP meant you'll need to spend 5k€ for a loudspeaker based system to match/exceed the sound quality of the HD600.
 

b7676

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Here is a passive studio monitor to think about building around.
 
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Zwuckel

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Thanks for your replys and advice!

@Jimbob54 as @NTK correctly guessed I meant that you have to spend 5k to mmtch a HD600. Yes, I´m quoting in Euros. That might have been confusing. Today I don´t have a listening room. Maybe we move as soon as in 6 months.

I enjoy music on my trusted Pioneer MS5 I think. They are 6 years old or somethin and I really like the tuning. This is for research, to listen subjectively and check objectively what my options are.

I listened to the HD600 on a Scarlet Interface. I liked my closed Pioneers a lot more.

@LTig That´s great to hear. I have the Genelec 8330 and the according sub on my list. I will have to listen to them, as I am still worried, that they are too "revealing" although it may be my bad experience with the Adam A7X in the past coupled with the salesman that said it may be too clinical for listening. But then maybe I can EQ them better than any other speaker.

@b7676 I´ll check them out.
 

Jimbob54

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Thanks for your replys and advice!

@Jimbob54 as @NTK correctly guessed I meant that you have to spend 5k to mmtch a HD600. Yes, I´m quoting in Euros. That might have been confusing. Today I don´t have a listening room. Maybe we move as soon as in 6 months.

I enjoy music on my trusted Pioneer MS5 I think. They are 6 years old or somethin and I really like the tuning. This is for research, to listen subjectively and check objectively what my options are.

I listened to the HD600 on a Scarlet Interface. I liked my closed Pioneers a lot more.

@LTig That´s great to hear. I have the Genelec 8330 and the according sub on my list. I will have to listen to them, as I am still worried, that they are too "revealing" although it may be my bad experience with the Adam A7X in the past coupled with the salesman that said it may be too clinical for listening. But then maybe I can EQ them better than any other speaker.

@b7676 I´ll check them out.
Definitely build the system knowing the room you actually end up in then. Room and desired listening volume dictates speaker size and capability which dictates amp capability etc.

Got what you meant around the HD600 now!

Good luck but I'd keep your wallet closed for now for any major purchases.
 

LTig

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In my subjective experience Adams were much too bright, Genelec and Neumann were neutral with Neumanns a little darker. It depends on the room and its furniture/treatment but with room EQ or tone controls at hand one can adjust sound to preference.
 
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Zwuckel

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@LTig That sounds great. A quality speaker I can tune to my liking.

But until now I couldn´t figure out how to get an audio signal from my laptop (Headphone out only) into the speakers. Is it via the GLM tool or do I need an additional device or cable?
 

LTig

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@LTig That sounds great. A quality speaker I can tune to my liking.

But until now I couldn´t figure out how to get an audio signal from my laptop (Headphone out only) into the speakers. Is it via the GLM tool or do I need an additional device or cable?
Just use the analog inputs.
 

Waxx

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That is a small room, so i guess small speakers without woofers can be enough. I would put a pair of Neumann KH150's in that, and if you miss bass use a few subs. But for most the KH150 has enough bass extention, and in such a small room, the speaker is more than powerfull enough to go very loud, much louder than you ever will go reasonably (but that is headroom that you need). If you want subs, use also Neumann subs and their MA1 system, and option i would add also for room correction. A well known German webshop gives you that option for free if you buy a pair of those Neumanns (price a bit less than 3K). They are very neutral (see test on this site) and not bright like many. But if it's too bright still, they can easely be eq'ed less bright with the MA1.

Genelec is similar quality, and the differences are mainly subjective. But i don't like them. They also got their own dsp system (GLM) that does the same as the Neumann MA1 and connections and so are very similar. If they fit you, only you can decide (go listen to both for a few hours if possible). The better models are bit more expensive altough (sometimes even double the price) in Europe. Idem with their subwoofers.

You will need for both a kind of preamp device, as the amps are build in and connections are or analog balanced (xlr) or AES67/Dante or SP/DIF (coax). That device need to connect to that (analog or digital) and do volume and source control. This could be a lot, a streamer often can do that for instance, or a computer with a digital soundcard that gives spdif out. Or also a traditional analog preamp, where some quiet good can be cheap if you know where to look.
 
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Zwuckel

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The KH150 with MA-1 seem to be a great contender. Maybe even better with the more direct sound. I´ll try to listen to them at Music Store, Cologne.

As a preamp I thought of MOTU2. It would allow me to also have an okay headphone out and the possibility to add a headphone amp later on. But then it has no remote. Another option would be a Topping E30 with remote and a Topping L30. Both measure well and are recommended by Amir.
 

ozzy9832001

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Honestly, I think you'd be better off with a small pair of active monitors. Your room is relatively small and I can see it causing a very muddy low end and bright upper mid/treble. An apartment could be difficult to treat, depending on how the landlord feels about holes in the walls to hang treatment. Regardless of what speakers you get, they will interact with the room in relatively the same way assuming similar position and speakers native frequency response.

If treatment isn't an option, then it maybe a better idea sticking with a nice pair of headphones.
 
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Zwuckel

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I can hang up treatment no problem. I think room treatment is mandatory for every room. I did it with the RP600 setup as well with the LEDE concept and a lot of Rockwool. I liked the results. This time I am probably going for nicer looking absorbers according to the measurements of the MA-1 (or REW).

I will test headphones parallel but I like the speaker experience more. Hot ears, louder than necessary volumes, no room feeling, always having to feel something on my head and ears...
 

Tom C

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One nice thing about active monitors with built-in EQ is that you can set a high-pass filter for use with a sub woofer. A lot of people struggle with how to best set up a crossover between the monitor and subwoofer(s), and having the shelf filter built in to the monitor means you don’t have to have an external crossover or AVR to handle the duty. Many, or most, subwoofers have a built-in low pass filter, so the two together can get you where you want to go. Bass management for room modes and such can still be handled at the processor level.
 

Waxx

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As a preamp I thought of MOTU2. It would allow me to also have an okay headphone out and the possibility to add a headphone amp later on. But then it has no remote. Another option would be a Topping E30 with remote and a Topping L30. Both measure well and are recommended by Amir.
I would stay digital just into the KH150's themselves. You don't need to have an extra ad/da conversion. You would best get an interface with an sp/dif out and headphones out or stereo out (to a dedicated headphone amp). A Motu Ultralite MK5 does it (and much more) and tested good on ASR. It's a bit more expensive (600€) but the total budget will still be under the 5K budget you had originally.
 

AnalogSteph

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I enjoy music on my trusted Pioneer MS5 I think. They are 6 years old or somethin and I really like the tuning. This is for research, to listen subjectively and check objectively what my options are.
fr-ms5.png

There's a certain DT770ishness to that response... DT1770Pro would be an even closer match. The treble looks pretty rough.

For comparison, the AKG K371 which is known to follow the Harman curve fairly closely, and the HD600:
k371-vs-hd600.png


My hunch is that you were missing bass with the HD600 (which would also explain why you did not like any of the speakers much). Your reference is a bit too much on the "bathtub" side. That may turn out to be a problem long-term since most reproduction equipment is obviously aiming for flat. You might appreciate the built-in loudness function of a RME ADI-2 DAC FS then... not the cheapest device obviously.
 
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