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Audioengine A5+ upgrade?

SlothRock

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Hey all - I’ve had my Audioengine A5+‘s for quite some time now and am thinking of potentially upgrading. While they’ve been good speakers, I’ve started to notice they’re a bit muddy/bassy and want something with more clarity.

I’ve been using them as my desktop speakers and want something that would be an upgrade but similar sizing. Not looking for huge speakers since my desk space is limited. I’d be looking at something around the $1k mark. What is out there you’d recommend checking out?
 

sweetchaos

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Welcome to ASR.

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

Passive Bookshelves Under US$1000/pair:
RecommendationPSLFX
#1Polk R200*6.342
#2Elac Debut Reference DBR-62 (Amir)5.843
#3Kef Q350 (Amir)5.738
WorthyRevel M16 (Amir)5.645

Passive Towers Under US$1000/pair:.
RecommendationPSLFX
#1Infinity R263*6.032
#2Emotiva Airmotiv T2+ (Erin)5.832
#3Infinity R253 (Amir)4.938

- PS = Preference 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.
- LFX = Low Frequency Extension (in hz). This is the bass output at -6db point. This was computed, not estimated. Lower is better.

Your Audioengine A5+ Wireless has a preference score of 4.9 and LFX of 52hz.
 
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SlothRock

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Thank you for the above! I was looking at the Neumann but I’ve seen some concerning durability/construction concerns that turn me off of them. The Kali seems great but not sure how large it is compared to the A5’s
 

wwenze

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Glad to know we have things like Polk R200 (what's with that directivity tho) and DBR-62 providing good performance for a cheap price. Perhaps something to buy after settling down in a new house.

Size is definitely larger since A5+ is a small speaker even among 5-inch driver speakers while those in the list are 6 or 6.5-inch, but oftentimes they also come in 5-inch like R100 and Q150. You lose bass by going smaller but I find this size tends to work better on a computer table.
 

3125b

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If you don't want to or can't use a sub get something with good bass extension. I'm really missing that in my 5" monitors
(spec: 57Hz -3dB, 45Hz -10dB).

I am looking for new monitors myself right now and have also considered the Kali LP-6v2.
FR is fairly even, they're not huge like 8" monitors, seem to have fairly low hiss and good distortion performance in the 2-5kHz range. They`re not the cheapest 6.5" monitors but seem to be a solidly engineered choice.

There are other options of course, I'll just share some of my thoughts here, maybe it helps:
- Adam T7V - Decent performer and cheap, but loud hiss at 30dB/10cm.
- Adam T8V - Decent performer with great bass extension, but very large and less than stellar distortion performance.
- ESI uniK 08 Plus - Great feature set but there is hardly any information about performance, reliability etc. and price is somewhat higher.
- Focal Alpha 65 Evo - Subjectively really like the Alpha 65 1st gen, but they are bulky, the Evo are somewhat expensive and measured performance is not great.
- KRK RP - Hated them subjectively, they sound horribly muddy and bloated.
- Yamaha HS - Didn't like them subjectively, thin and bass-light.
- Focal Shape 65 - Didn't like them subjectively, sound unremarkable but look and feel much cheaper than they are. Passive radiators might be an advantage in some circumstances though.
- Adam A7X - Liked them better subjectively than measurements would suggest, but kind of expensive for what you get.
- Mackie MR - Own the 5" and heard the others, unoffensive sounding cheap monitors with decently low hiss. Missing standby mode wich I have come to hate.
- EVE Audio SC207 - Unremarkable, didn't care for them too much at the asking price, terribly cheap feeling plastic contol knob.
- RCF Arya - these caught my interest, manufacturer publishes measurements in the spec sheets. Especially the 8" look like a good performer at the price.
- Presonus R-Series - They look kind of interesting but I've read many bad things about hiss and reliability.

I was looking at the Neumann but I’ve seen some concerning durability/construction concerns that turn me off of them.
Really? I wouldn't be worried about Neumann speakers lasting a good long time.
If a long livespan is your concern have a look at Genelec, there are more 20-30 year old used Genelec active speakers for sale than any other brand, they seem to last very long. And the used prices are still high, they don't depreciate that much.

To gauge the size you can make some models from cardboard boxes. That really helps visualize it. With most monitors the cables will stick out in the back, so consider that too.
 
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SlothRock

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OK cool - so I guess I'm between the Neumann's and the Kali LP6 V2. I've never actually had studio monitors before and had some SUPER noob questions:

1. I know that both monitors need to be plugged in so it eats up two wall plug spots. Do people usually use an adapter here or just plug them into separate plugs in your wall/power strip?
2. Is there an easy way to set up a master/slave volume situation where you can adjust volume just for one speaker and it adjusts for both of them or do you have to do the leveling yourself?
3. Since they both have their own power switch, do people usually just keep them turned on or deal with the "hassle" of turning both on and off each time you use em?
 

3125b

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1) Doesn't matter, just plug them in anywhere. One thing to note is that the LP-6 are grounded, so to avoid ground loops you will need a balanced signal (balanced DAC, usually from an audio interface) or a line isolator.
There are some monitors without ground (double insulated) or ground lift, the KH80 falls under the first category, you do not need a balanced signal but they come with a Neutrik style connector, so either 6.35mm jack or XLR.
2) You'd have to do that manually, but just once when setting them up. Volume control in use would just happen using software, interface, monitor controller or something like that.
3) Depends. Most monitors have an automatic standby mode where they power down after some time without a signal and power up again when they get a signal, the KH80 have that local or via network (RJ45). Some don't and you'd have to switch them on/off manually wich can be annoying.
I'm not sure what the Kali have, the gen. 1 LP-6 had an automatic standby that didn't really work and to change that to always on you have to open the monitor up and move a jumper, the manual for the new 2nd gen doesn't say anything about that.
That would actually be my question to anybody who has them, how does standby on the LP-6 2nd gen work?
 
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SlothRock

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^^ You ROCK! Thank you. This actually kinda makes my choice even easier haha knowing the Neumann is less finicky with the signal and has an auto-off feature makes the convenience factor that much better IMO plus I love their size :)
 

3125b

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They are the better engineered and more feature rich speakers - one would hope so at more than double the price.
But be aware that they don't really have that much more bass extension (-6dB @48Hz instead of 53Hz) than your current speakers. That's great performance for a speaker that small, they are tiny in person, not even 7 liters in volume (typical 6.5" monitors have three times that), but they would definitely benefit from a sub.

Off topic:
It's interesting how Audioengine describes their speakers that are clearly aimed at consumers. They only specify peak amplifier power at 150W, but at least they are not clearly lying like Logitech for example. I once looked up one of their 5.1 sets that was advertised as 1000W. Power consumption was about 110W - it's a kind of magic I guess :)
The 4" KH80 have real 280W RMS for the pair btw, that with the DSP is how they squeeze that much low frequency extension and peak SPL out of those small speakers.
 

BDWoody

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Hey all - I’ve had my Audioengine A5+‘s for quite some time now and am thinking of potentially upgrading. While they’ve been good speakers, I’ve started to notice they’re a bit muddy/bassy and want something with more clarity.

I’ve been using them as my desktop speakers and want something that would be an upgrade but similar sizing. Not looking for huge speakers since my desk space is limited. I’d be looking at something around the $1k mark. What is out there you’d recommend checking out?

Do you have room for a subwoofer?
 
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SlothRock

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Do you have room for a subwoofer?
I do not, unfortunately. I won't be doing any type of serious audio mixing so it won't be a necessity. I just LOVE having good quality audio :). Speaking of which, I may be upping my budget and moving more towards the KH120's. They are pretty much the same size as my Audioengine A5's (just took measurements and they're just slightly taller and deeper but nothing crazy), will have a better bass response than the KH80's and seem to be the highest ranked here under the $2500 price point
 

BDWoody

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I do not, unfortunately. I won't be doing any type of serious audio mixing so it won't be a necessity. I just LOVE having good quality audio :). Speaking of which, I may be upping my budget and moving more towards the KH120's. They are pretty much the same size as my Audioengine A5's (just took measurements and they're just slightly taller and deeper but nothing crazy), will have a better bass response than the KH80's and seem to be the highest ranked here under the $2500 price point



If you can listen to some JBL 705p's, they are contenders in that price range as well.
 

Webninja

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I got the KH80s, was amazed at the quality of the build, very solid. For most listening I’d say there will do. I needed more bass, got the Neumann sub. I really don’t know how I’d upgrade from here. Maybe get the 80s or 120s, but think about a sub down the road for a (near?) end game setup.
 

3125b

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SlothRock

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Hey all! So I ended up getting the Neumann KH 120's :). Only one has arrived so far but, man, it sounds incredible. Stoked for the next one to get here to really put them through their paces. Quick question - I'm using these on desk clamps and was wondering if there is a preference for these to be vertical or horizontal? If horizontal is preferred, would you place the tweeter on the inside or outside?
 

sweetchaos

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@SlothRock
Since Neumann KH 120 are a 2-way traditional design, they'll have great horizontal directivity and weak vertical directivitiy, when used normally as a bookshelf.

Here's horizontal:
index.php

Here's vertical:
index.php

I would say, stay on axis or slightly above the tweeter vertically to get the best sound.

When rotating the speakers 90deg (to act like a center channel), the directivity plots are flipped, of course.
 
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