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Hi end professional studio monitors vs hi end "hi-fi" speakers

Pearljam5000

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How would hi end studio monitors (plus a sub I guess)
like Genelec 8351B and Neumann KH420, D&D 8C etc, compare to mainstream hi end speakers like Focal Utopia or B&W D4?
Obviously they're all excellent when compared to other studio monitors but I wonder if they can even compete when compared to hi end hifi speakers, especially when considering that the price of these speakers is much higher and they're usually huge in comparison.
 
D

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Focal makes both passive loudspeakers and active studio monitors, using exactly the same drivers. Focal also owns Naim, a major hi-end amplifier player. Generally, studio monitors have very competitive pricing and are a better deal, if you don't care about rosewood and state-of-art furniture. Even 4" Genelec 8020 sounds fantastic, on par with 5...10x pricier B&W, if you pair them with a good used closed-box sub.

IMHO, the best deal is to buy a Focal automotive driver set and put it into a cabinet of an old loudspeaker from craigslist, kill cabinet vibrations by glueing linoleum flooring tiles and hang it on a soft amortization to make sure the floor does not vibrate on heavy bass.

I concur with Fraunhofer Institute guys who advise investing in the room itself before buying hi-end loudspeakers.

Going for the very best monitors/loudspeakers makes only a limited sense because there are not so many good recordings.
 

antennaguru

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IME studio monitors play loud and clear, but are a chore to listen to for a long time due to listening fatigue. That's just not a great attribute for a home listening room where you listen to relax and enjoy, versus performing a chore.
 

Piranesi

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Focal makes both passive loudspeakers and active studio monitors, using exactly the same drivers. Focal also owns Naim, a major hi-end amplifier player. Generally, studio monitors have very competitive pricing and are a better deal, if you don't care about rosewood and state-of-art furniture. Even 4" Genelec 8020 sounds fantastic, on par with 5...10x pricier B&W, if you pair them with a good used closed-box sub.

IMHO, the best deal is to buy a Focal automotive driver set and put it into a cabinet of an old loudspeaker from craigslist, kill cabinet vibrations by glueing linoleum flooring tiles and hang it on a soft amortization to make sure the floor does not vibrate on heavy bass.

I concur with Fraunhofer Institute guys who advise investing in the room itself before buying hi-end loudspeakers.

Going for the very best monitors/loudspeakers makes only a limited sense because there are not so many good recordings.


This would not work. The physical parameters of the cabinet must be matched to the characteristics of the drivers (T/S parameters, directivity). In addition, automotive speakers are usually specifically designed for door or dash mounting, and may not take well to different types of speaker cabinets (e.g. sealed vs ported, transmission line etc.)
 

JJB70

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The obvious approach for studio monitor producers would seem to be to offer a choice of no frill durable cabinets for professional use and the same speakers in a nicer finish for home use where people want something which also looks nice. Capture both markets. I think a few do it anyway.
 

echopraxia

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IME studio monitors play loud and clear, but are a chore to listen to for a long time due to listening fatigue. That's just not a great attribute for a home listening room where you listen to relax and enjoy, versus performing a chore.
Not true at all, if you simply use tone controls to tune the overall frequency response curve to your taste (assuming the monitors are good, of course). For example I like a smooth downward sloping frequency response for my Genelec’s, and they sound at least as comfortable to listen to as the best “high end hifi” speakers out there.
 
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This would not work. The physical parameters of the cabinet must be matched to the characteristics of the drivers (T/S parameters, directivity). In addition, automotive speakers are usually specifically designed for door or dash mounting, and may not take well to different types of speaker cabinets (e.g. sealed vs ported, transmission line etc.)

I forgot: block the port. Phase inverter designs are really sensitive to the driver T/S params, sealed box designs are much less sensitive. No, Focal automotive speakers T/S params are published. Nothing special or unusual. Tried, tested, works.
 

echopraxia

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How would hi end studio monitors (plus a sub I guess)
like Genelec 8351B and Neumann KH420, D&D 8C etc, compare to mainstream hi end speakers like Focal Utopia or B&W D4?
Obviously they're all excellent when compared to other studio monitors but I wonder if they can even compete when compared to hi end hifi speakers, especially when considering that the price of these speakers is much higher and they're usually huge in comparison.
Quite the opposite; despite their extreme price, ultra high end hifi speakers rarely match the sound quality of good studio monitors (which cost far less). In fact, the number of hifi audio brands that we know make speakers approximately as flawless as the best studio monitors (like Neumann and Genelec) you can definitely count on one hand: Revel, JBL, KEF, and maybe a few others. Focal makes good stuff but I don’t know about their ultra-pricey models, but their lower end stuff is too flawed in ways my ears don’t like. Magico seems to measure well but are stupidly overpriced for what you get.

I’ve heard B&W‘s flagships, and they’re honestly pretty bad compared to monitors a fraction of the price. The frequency response is heavily colored and the off axis is a mess. They are extremely shrill and fatiguing and physically pain my ears if I listen too long, whereas I can listen to a well-calibrated Neumann or Genelec all day long with no fatigue.

I’ve heard high end Magicos and owned Revel Salon2’s. The Magico sounded quite good, but not really any better than the Salon2’s at least, despite the Magicos costing 5x more. And the Salon2’s are fantastic, but Genelec 8351/8361 are more flawless still (though very different beam width, whereas the Salon2’s have a exceptionally wide beam).

So the real difference you get from good audiophile speakers (beyond aesthetics perhaps) is that many (but not all) of them provide a uniquely wide beam, which makes stereo recordings sound immersive in a way that medium beam speakers (as most good studio monitors are) from the front alone simply cannot match. So for those who don’t want to set up a multichannel surround system, wide beam stereo speakers still have a place IMO.

But please do not confuse high price or other hifi prestige branding as an indication of good sound quality. It most certainly is not. There are a disgustingly huge number of horrible speakers out there that cost a fortune. And people buy them because they assume price means it’s better.
 
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antennaguru

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Not true at all, if you simply use tone controls to tune the overall frequency response curve to your taste (assuming the monitors are good, of course). For example I like a smooth downward sloping frequency response for my Genelec’s, and they sound at least as comfortable to listen to as the best “high end hifi” speakers out there.

Obviously you're a Genelec fan boy. If that's what you like, then great for you. I don't like them, so IMO they're not for everyone.
 

echopraxia

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Obviously you're a Genelec fan boy. If that's what you like, then great for you. I don't like them, so IMO they're not for everyone.
Did you try tuning the treble to see if it solves the fatigue you experienced? It makes a massive difference (for example, I like a -2db @ 1000hz shelf filter). If you haven’t at least tried flipping the treble adjustment switches on the back, your critique is somewhat silly, akin to someone accusing a car of being slow when in reality it’s simply because the driver stubbornly refused to shift out of first gear :p

Of course studio monitors are not for everyone, but like I described above, it’s more likely due to beam width differences.

I’m not a “Genelec fanboy”, and don’t appreciate you trying to reduce me to that. I’ve owned a wide range of speaker brands and models, and I can assure you there is a lot more objectively garbage products in the “high end hifi” world than the pro audio world.
 
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antennaguru

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Did you try tuning the treble to see if it solves the fatigue you experienced? It makes a massive difference.

I’m not just a “Genelec fanboy” and don’t appreciate being reduced to that caricature. I’ve owned a wide range of speaker brands and models, and I can assure you there is a lot more objectively garbage products in the “high end hifi” world than the pro audio world.

Can you fit any more Genelec products in your signature line? I think there are five such products you listed there. That's how I came to the conclusion I did about your love for Genelecs. If now that's not really true, then I'm mistaken. Nevertheless my only desire to listen to studio monitors, of various brands, is when doing work in a studio and not for personal enjoyment.
 

echopraxia

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Can you fit any more Genelec products in your signature line? I think there are five such products you listed there. That's how I came to the conclusion I did about your love for Genelecs. If now that's not really true, then I'm mistaken. Nevertheless my only desire to listen to studio monitors, of various brands, is when doing work in a studio and not for personal enjoyment.
You didn‘t answering my question, so I will assume you didn’t try tone controls. You are also continuing ad hominem attacks rather than discussing rationally, so I’m forced to assume you are either a troll, acting in bad faith, or just not willing to contribute positively to this thread.

All you had to say was “Studio monitors aren’t for everyone”, and explain your reasoning rationally. If you’re not willing to do so without diverging into ad hominem and red herrings, then I think such comments would be best kept to yourself.
 

antennaguru

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You didn‘t answering my question, so I will assume you didn’t try tone controls. You are also continuing ad hominem attacks rather than discussing rationally, so I’m forced to assume you are either a troll, acting in bad faith, or just not willing to contribute positively to this thread.

All you had to say was “Studio monitors aren’t for everyone”, and explain your reasoning rationally. If you’re not willing to do so without diverging into ad hominem and red herrings, then I think such comments would be best kept to yourself.

I already said that studio monitors aren't for everyone in post #10. I stated listening fatigue as the explanation in that post. I also already said I find them an accurate tool for use in a studio, to perform work in a studio in post #4.

Given the freedom of choice that I can listen to whatever I want to in my own personal listening rooms, and spend my money on purchasing, I have no desire for personally owning studio monitors - regardless of the parametric band-aids that may be applied to them to make them more comfortable to listen to.

WRT your analogy accusation of my not being able to get a car out of first gear, I would say that I personally own two track cars and put down enviable times on race tracks, and raced for five years on the competitive circuit. I know how to upshift, and rpm match heel and toe downshift, as my track cars have straight manual transmissions.
 

echopraxia

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WRT your analogy accusation of my not being able to get a car out of first gear,
I never accused you of being unable of shifting gears, I made an analogy between two kinds of things. Perhaps you understand how analogies work? Edit: I could clarify in more detail, but I don’t want to participate in derailing this thread any further.

I would say that I personally own two track cars and put down enviable times on race tracks, and raced for five years on the competitive circuit. I know how to upshift, and rpm match heel and toe downshift, as my track cars have straight manual transmissions.
Given the freedom of choice that I can listen to whatever I want to in my own personal listening rooms, and spend my money on purchasing, I have no desire for personally owning studio monitors - regardless of the parametric band-aids that may be applied to them to make them more comfortable to listen to.
That’s wonderful and all (that you’re so enviable at racing and bursting at the seams with freedom of choice), but fortunately this thread isn’t about you. So your posts again really aren’t adding anything of value to this thread. I’m sure it’ll make a great addition to your personal diary, though.
 
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antennaguru

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I don’t think you understand the purpose of an analogy.

I’ll explain it in more detail: Judging a speaker for being fatiguing to you without experimenting with tone controls, is akin to driving a car always in first gear because the driver refuses to try shifting. In other words, it’s not doing justice to the speaker’s true abilities.

If you understand the concept of an analogy, you’ll know that whether or not you personally know how to race cars is completely irrelevant to this analogy — unless perhaps it imbues you with the ability and willingness to try tone controls. Which I assume it has not? You still haven’t answered the question.


That’s wonderful and all, but fortunately this thread isn’t about you. So this paragraph of your doesn’t really add anything of value to others reading it.

Actually my viewpoint that Studio Monitors are good in the studio, but not in personal listening rooms is just the type of contrast that the OP asked for in his question in quotes below, just as is your touting the wonders of Genelecs as long as you apply parametric EQ to them to reduce listening fatigue. You also spent plenty of time putting down various "hi-fi" speakers while touting Genelecs, which I could care less about and am not at all defensive towards.

"Hi end professional studio monitors vs hi end "hi-fi" speakers"

My mention of my car racing experience to rebuff your silly analogy was to further prove that you have no idea of my experience on all matter of things.

Yes, you love Genelecs, and are even defensive of them. IME when people are defensive of something it is because they have reason to be.
 

echopraxia

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Actually my viewpoint that Studio Monitors are good in the studio, but not in personal listening rooms
But can you explain why you believe this? This is AudioScienceReview.com, not AudioSubjectiveOpinions. We generally strive to justify our claims with evidence and reasoning. It is not useful to anyone but yourself to merely state a free-floating opinion without rooting it to our shared reality.

Consider that many members here use studio monitors in personal listening rooms to great success — much greater success than prior owned high end hifi speakers, in many cases. So when you make a claim contradicting this, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate why they’re wrong.

When I say Neumanns and Genelec’s (and most Revel, most KEF) aren’t generally fatiguing when tone controls are used — this isn’t an opinion; it’s a statement reflecting both precise objective measurements interpreted through the lens of well-established science, and aggregate subjective opinions of many forum members here who are thrilled with their results when using studio monitors in home listening rooms.
 
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klangfilm

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IME studio monitors play loud and clear, but are a chore to listen to for a long time due to listening fatigue. That's just not a great attribute for a home listening room where you listen to relax and enjoy, versus performing a chore.

Hi,
Could you give me some examples of speakers that are less tiring to listen to than kh310 according to you?
I am really interested because I own kh310 now after having listened probably more than 1000 systems the last 35 years (and owned dynamic, electrostatic, horn speakers like Klangfilm, etc) and to my ears very few deliver a fatigue-free listening as the kh310.
I know that many will not share my opinion but I was less convinced by the Genelec (8330, 8331/41/51)
 

gags11

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A bit off topic, but definitely relevant to OPs statement. In general and historically, electronic equipment that was geared towards professionals, has been overpriced compared to consumer goods of similar products.

Say you wanted to buy a medical LCD monitor, it can cost thousands, while it is no better or in many cases worse than cheaper consumer monitors. Industry is there to make money, if they make specialty gear for a niche business that makes tons of money, it will sell lots of products at higher prices.

professional audio equipment and studio monitors are not too different. They are still overpriced. The elephant in the room are the audiophiles, who would not buy anything unless it is 10 times more expensive than competition.
 

antennaguru

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How many times do I have to state the loudness and clarity of studio monitors is great in a studio when performing a task in a studio, but tiring to listen to in a personal listening room, so they're not for me for personal listening? Where are your precise objective measurements? How much did you have to "tweak" your various studio monitors to reduce listening fatigue? Do you have a before/after graph showing your "tweak"? Where is your ABX testing result of the change the tweak accomplished?

Finally, why can't I simply say, as I have been saying, that I see their value for performing studio work, but they hurt my ears so I would not personally own them for personal listening?
 
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