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Doublecheck My Setup (LS50 Meta + Rythmik f12 + Buckeye Amp + Motu Dac)

BoredErica

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I want to make sure my setup makes sense and the parts are the best for my needs. Suggestions for alternatives to what I've planned would be nice.

Goal: Accurate setup for nearfield listening (19in away) with my computer. I only listen in front of my computer and I can't form an equilateral triangle. Speakers are near the wall with only several inches of space at most. (Might get a new desk later on that buys me a little more space between ear to tweeter or speaker to wall.) Either get cheap speakers that are accurate (like Neumann KH80) or get speakers that look good but end up costing a ton (KEF LS50 Meta). Looking for 2.1 or 2.2 setup, starting with 2.1 for now. Hiss must be avoided, even at 19in away from tweeter with speakers close to wall and corner, even in a quiet room. I only listen at 65db. My computer has EMI which should get fixed with balanced signal chain. Therefore, sub and amp need to be balanced.

Room looks like this: (All measurements are in inches)
unknown.png

Main speaker options:
I am pretty set on these three options:

Neumann KH80 is my top contender for 'cheap but accurate' speaker. Their dip has more to do with reflections while I'm mostly listening straight on, and should be EQ-able. Small, relatively cheap. Problems: Too small, requires 3 yoga blocks to raise to ear level. Acceptable but may be hard if I use standing desk later. Power indicator is too bright. Can mask with tape (ugly). Small size means I can move it back more to make hiss inaudible and drivers more coherent. No amp required!

KEF LS50 Meta are very pretty but cost a ton more. $1150 to be more exact, due them being passive. (Amp is $500.) Coaxial driver means great for nearfield, even at 19in. Can't go loud, bass can have issues. With sub and listening at 65db, adding 5 db for EQ headroom and 10db for peaks, I'm still 6db below Amir's 86db distortion test. I don't expect audible distortion issues with my usage.

KEF R3 are close runner up. They look just as nice but they are larger. Not only coaxial so loses the benefit of point source. Min distance from wall as outlined in page 9 of the manual is 9 inches. Right now most I can do is like 3-5in from the wall. Maybe if I get a new table, I can put it further from the wall, though I'll continue to end up sitting very close to the speaker.

Options I considered and rejected:
Revel F208 are too ugly. No point ponying up for amplification when it's no better looking than Neumann KH80.
Genelec 8030c has too many complaints of hiss so I am DQing this.

DAC:
Motu UltraLite Mk5. Powers microphones for room EQ. SINAD is good. Accepts 2 balanced subs. Should be able to adjust volume with volume knob, yet still keep speakers and subs at the right volume level. Subs are powered so on paper it would be tricky but Motu is supposed to be able to handle that, without me having to buy a preamp. Motu will do the crossover, set at 80hz. Maybe 100hz if I get 2 subs.

Amp:
Buckeye 2 Channel NC252MP. The only other peer this has is March P122 which performs... 3db better or something? This would be down to implementation since modules on spec sheet don't say P122's module has lower noise. (The other March amp which has higher power measured worse using similar modules so maybe the low power unit got lucky?)

I don't know what other option there even is apart from Buckeye/March with good noise performance that's sub $1k. Downside is it's fixed gain, so I'd be adjusting on my DAC which makes things tricky (again, because sub is powered, speakers are not).

Subwoofer:
Rythmik f12. Looks great if it's the SE version. Looks way better than the HSU Research sub. Smallest option out there that's not insanely expensive.

Hsu Research ULS-15 Mk2. Looks terrible, have to cover up with dust cover which also has their logo on it. Unsure if it delivers more power or not. One source says yes, another says maybe no. Price is maybe $60 less. Larger.

I decided to get ported because the Rythmiks look nice aesthetically, and I just don't want to deal with a port. This entire setup is already incredibly complicated and I don't want any more confounding factors.

Room EQ:
iSEMcon EMX-7150. I really dunno much about measurement mics, but this one is supposed to be really good. And expensive.

Audiolense XO. I heard Dirac doesn't have a module for dealing with subs? ...Isn't that kind of crazy?

So the setup would look like this:
unknown.png

Tally:
nsFWu3m.png
Does any part of my setup make no sense? Are connectors correct? Do I expect Motu to be able to do things it cannot? Will Motu + Buckeye's fixed gain end up with audible noise in a quiet room so close to tweeter? Which sub placements are good out of the 3 with only 2 subs? Which would be the best with only 1 sub? Will the R3 work even though there are no minimum listening distance specs for any KEF speaker, and with me violating the speaker 9in from wall minimum distance?

The dac does a lot, and the amp is cheap for the performance, but is there a better option? I know very little about room EQ but my friend says he has it on good authority that the mic and software will work well for my needs.

If I spend 3.5-4.7k on audio and it doesn't work out I'm gonna cry, lol.
 
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Doodski

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I know very little about room EQ but my friend says he has it on good authority that the mic and software will work well for my needs.
What PEQ and calibration software do you have in mind?
 
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BoredErica

BoredErica

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What PEQ and calibration software do you have in mind?
I noticed you made a PEQ thread a while back, which is cool. I currently use Equalizer APO. As for calibration software, isn't that the Audiolense XO I listed in the OP?

Thanks
 
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BoredErica

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Equalizer APO with the Peace Equalizer GUI is good. For measuring with the microphone use REW. It's free.
Frankly, I don't know what Audiolense or Dirac has which REW lacks. But either way though REW sounds like a good start even if I get Audiolense later. My friend told me to get Audiolense and that particular mic because a really knowledgeable member in this forum said that was the best option (probably ignoring cost).

Time to read up on the differences between each piece of software. My brain has already fried from reading in the past weeks but I'll keep going.

The nice thing about software is except for the Dirac sale going on, I can get them whenever I feel like I am ready. Speakers go on sale used, sometimes at cheap prices and it's an opportunity that can be missed.
 

Doodski

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I don't know what Audiolense or Dirac has which REW lacks. But either way though REW sounds like a good start even if I get Audiolense later.
If you use REW there are many peeps here using it so getting assistance will be easier.
 
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BoredErica

BoredErica

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If you use REW there are many peeps here using it so getting assistance will be easier.
Seems like the benefit of Dirac or Audiolense would be the ability to do FIR filtering, which is supposed to be better for 'impulse response'. On a super surface level I understand it's when the speaker plays a note, the amount of pre and post ringing around the signal, time-wise. Beyond that I have no idea.

My friend has offered to walk me step by step over Teamviewer and voice/video chat to set up Audiolense and the EQ. Talk about having nice friends!
@BoredErica this is what the Peace GUI looks like in PEQ mode.
I've used Peace GUI to EQ my HD800. That interface looks familiar.
 

Doodski

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I suggest that you let this thread ferment for a couple of days while peeps look at it. Somebody may be familiar with Audiolense.
 
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BoredErica

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I suggest that you let this thread ferment for a couple of days while peeps look at it. Somebody may be familiar with Audiolense.
Currently I'm more stressing about the dac/amp/speaker selection because that has to come before the calibration process. There's a KEF LS50 Meta for sale right now in my preferred color on Ebay that ends soon, and I'm freaking out about whether I should buy it for not, haha.

Always down to learn more in whatever limited capacity I have left in my brain to learn more. :)

I think having only one listening position will simplify things greatly.
 

Doodski

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The LS50 is a excellent near field design. If you use them as a mains speaker in a large room you may hit the stops. For desktop use they excel.
 
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BoredErica

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The LS50 is a excellent near field design. If you use them as a mains speaker on a large room you may hit the stops. For desktop use they excel.
That would be my assumption. LS50 for nearfield, R3 for everything else. Seems like most people don't do nearfield, but I sure do. I listen very close to my speakers, and that's the way it's going to be for a long time.

Still irks me that Kef doesn't have minimum listening distance specs. The R3 is just a large speaker and I don't know how much larger my desk can get such that the R3 will have enough room behind and in front of it.

With FR corrected & ignoring loudness, I'm not sure what R3 has over the Meta sound quality wise.
 

Doodski

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That would be my assumption. LS50 for nearfield, R3 for everything else. Seems like most people don't do nearfield, but I sure do. I listen very close to my speakers, and that's the way it's going to be for a long time.

Still irks me that Kef doesn't have minimum listening distance specs. The R3 is just a large speaker and I don't know how much larger my desk can get such that the R3 will have enough room behind and in front of it.

With FR corrected & ignoring loudness, I'm not sure what R3 has over the Meta sound quality wise.
Any chance you can try them in a store in the near field configuration? It really comes down to your ears and what you hear.
 
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BoredErica

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Any chance you can try them in a store in the near field configuration? It really comes down to your ears and what you hear.
A good suggestion but runs into a few problems:
1. I can't secure a demo of both units in the next 11 hours before the Ebay auction ends, and I've managed my time very poorly to only start a thread about the speakers now. Mistakes were made. :)

2. I've had some bad experience(s) with audio shops and am not looking to step in one ever again.

3. And when I'm there, I wouldn't even trust my own ears. Frankly I just want to get something that is flat, change the tilt of the FR to suit preferences, and do things 'correctly' and rest easy knowing I did things 'correctly' as long as 'correctly' is not obviously objectionable. I just want to follow a standard and that should be good. In audio, I think I am so prone to placebo or just having different experiences listening to the same track with the same gear from one session to the next. The speakers won't even be calibrated to sound the same in the room, so FR might mess me up as well.
 

Doodski

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What are the prices for the LS50 Meta and the R3? In Canada they are $1998 and $2498 respectively.
 
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BoredErica

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What are the prices for the LS50 Meta and the R3? In Canada they are $1998 and $2498 respectively.
MSRP it is currently $1600 and $1700. The R3 is down to $1700 from $2200 according to KEF website, saying they are running a promo until Jan 8th for them.

Bid for Metas are anywhere from $1100-1300. There is a pair of R3 on sale (not auction) for $1245 right now. So price is quite close right now but might not always be that way.

It's just sad that to upgrade looks I have to pay $1000 extra since they are passive and require the Buckeye amp. It also introduces more complexity. Buuuuut the Kef speakers sure as heck do look better though!
 

Doodski

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MSRP it is currently $1600 and $1800. The R3 is down to $1800 from $2200 according to KEF website, saying they are running a promo until Jan 8th for them.

Bid for Metas are anywhere from $1100-1300. There is a pair of R3 on sale (not auction) for $1245 right now. So price is quite close right now but might not always be that way.

It's just sad that to upgrade looks I have to pay $1000 extra since they are passive and require the Buckeye amp. It also introduces more complexity. Buuuuut the Kef speakers sure as heck do look better though!
Some good prices there. Is 12 inches or 16.6 inches in height what you can manage? For a desktop a 16 incher is substantially bigger...
 
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BoredErica

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Some good prices there. Is 12 inches or 16.6 inches in height what you can manage? For a desktop a 16 incher is substantially bigger...
To be ear height the tweeter actually has to be 20in tall. It's just a matter of listening distance and distance from speaker to wall.


Now I'm thinking, I wonder how the powered Metas do... People keep saying how active speakers can be superior to passives, but I think EQed fine a decent speaker like Meta would be indistinguishable. People bring up 'better crossover implementation' and my eyes start to glaze over.

All I know is, crossover at 80hz, maybe slightly higher with 2 subs. And cross over via Motu dac. *shrug*

$2500 price tag is too much to bear though.
 

Doodski

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You know... If it where me I would buy the R3s. They solve the height problem of getting the tweeter neat ear level, they are substantially heftier and they are a 3 way. $1245 is a good deal. Do they come with a warranty?
 
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