• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

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

DSJR

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jan 27, 2020
Messages
953
Likes
1,129
Location
Suffolk Coastal, UK
My clumsy post earlier was challenged, but as a sort-of vindication (well to me anyway :D ) is the infamous NS10. designed as a mid size bookshelf domestic speaker, it seemed to translate into a rather brightly lit, but 'clean' kind of sound when used that way (we had a pair on dem back in the mid 80's and close-wall bookshel mounting fleshed the tone a little). Studios apparently liked it because it seemingly didn't smear anything and, if it sounded ok on these, it's likely it sounded ok at home too (there's a good few articles around the web about these and one I like has response plots done of smaller monitors of yesteryear (around 2000), most having an upper mid lift in the response (to tie in with more current measurement techniques, the ATC 20ASL Pro's were done and the bass to upper mid response ain't much different from the early less good 19 v1s Amir measured a while back).

I still feel that for some listeners, a pukka pair of 'pro' monitors might be a bit much for some when all they want to do at home is kick back with a beverage of choice and just enjoy the music. Maybe I've drifted too far back into audiophoolery and with a very 'mellow tone' at home (I'm being polite), I don't know, so forgive me if my thoughts currently don't jive with many of yours.
 
Last edited:

echopraxia

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
1,076
Likes
2,360
Location
California
I still feel that for some listeners, a pukka pair of 'pro' monitors might be a bit much for some when all they want to do at home is kick back with a beverage of choice and just enjoy the music. Maybe I've drifted too far back into audiophoolery and with a very 'mellow tone' at home (I'm being polite), I don't know, so forgive me if my thoughts currently don't jive with many of yours.
Well the question is simply to find the best speaker for the best price for that “kick back with a beverage of choice and just enjoy the music” application :)

It turns out that there are a lot of fantastic choices where you get amazing non-fatiguing sound quality for an amazing value, and it happens to be that some studio monitors (as well as some passive audiophile speakers) occupy the top of this list.

Audio science has developed very powerful ways of answering this question (even if not 100% completely) objectively with measurements. Through this science, we also learn that this “mellow tone” does not arise from magic pixie dust. We know exactly what causes unavoidable harshness (resonances and distortion at various frequencies, beam width factors, poor off-axis behavior and room effects, etc.), and what part of the “mellow tone” comes from overall spectral balance.

Thus equipped with this knowledge, you can take a completely neutral speaker without off-axis flaws or distortion problems — which notably includes some high end studio monitors (like Neumann and Genelec) as some of the best performing candidates — and tune the overall sonic flavoring however you desire! For example, I currently apply a broad declining slope and it produces that wonderful mellow warm yet detailed sound I also enjoy! Moreover, the ability to tune this curve down to fractions of a decibel means I can achieve a more perfect overall tonality (at least to personal taste and depending on the room’s acoustics) vs any other speaker would achieve without tonal controls :)
 
Last edited:

Kvalsvoll

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Messages
518
Likes
966
Location
Norway
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.

Your classification is wrong - those speakers are all more similar than different, part from the d&d, which is different in one aspect. So - technically, all those speakers part from the d&d belong to the old-school trad hifi speaker class, the d&d is different because it implements new innovative solutions.

If we look at what people actually buy and use - at home, and in a studio - we see they overlap - some use GE/KH at home, some studios use b&w.

The main difference between those speakers and why they are seen as belonging to studio/pro vs home-hifi all comes down to marketing and branding - KH are marketed as studio monitors intended for studio use, the hifi-brands are marketed as something nice and desirable to have in your home.

Diifferences in pricing relates to the product itself - black paint vs polished selected wood veneer - and value chain - everyone must have their share, hifi seems to have a larger crowd that need feeding.

Technically, they all have the similar dome tweeter and small woofers meant to cover the whole frequency range. So it should come as no surprise that they also share the most important properties of how they reproduce sound.
 

aac

Active Member
Joined
May 17, 2020
Messages
215
Likes
154
those speakers are all more similar
Genelec and Neumann both have horn-loaded tweeter and midrange cone/dome while Focal and BW seems to be designs without any horns (or a very short one). They are very different to me.
 

dfuller

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Messages
1,574
Likes
2,046
Genelec and Neumann both have horn-loaded tweeter and midrange cone/dome while Focal and BW seems to be designs without any horns (or a very short one). They are very different to me.
I would not call them horn loaded. They're direct radiators, just with directivity controlling waveguides. Focal also waveguides their tweeters on some models, albeit not all.
 

Kvalsvoll

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Messages
518
Likes
966
Location
Norway
Genelec and Neumann both have horn-loaded tweeter and midrange cone/dome while Focal and BW seems to be designs without any horns (or a very short one). They are very different to me.

Those horn - at least on all smaller/medium sized speakers I haven noticed - do not provide enough pattern control to make a significant change in sound character compared to a dome on flat baffle. Measurements may look better because off-axis now are much more linear, and it can be a good way to fix edge diffraction - improves imaging.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2021
Messages
36
Likes
20
I think it depends on what sound you like as to whether studio monitors will suit you in the living room, taking in to account that there is just or almost as much sound variation across different models and brands of studio monitors.
I did a shoot out over the weekend of my 4 pairs of speakers in the living room. Neumann KH120s, Amphion One15s, Dynaudio XD20s and some vintage 80s Rogers LS6s.
there’s no doubt that the KH120s and One15s work in my living room at the volume I would normally listen to. The XD20s were the most enjoyable, the One15s the least flattering and the KH120s in between. The LS6s were the smoothest or most laid back, but without a sub for this test also the least weighty.
I certainly wouldn’t class the KH120s as tiring. They are better speakers for a lounge room than a studio imo.
 
Last edited:

Bartl007

Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2020
Messages
49
Likes
35
There is a reason Harman/JBL will no longer allow JBL synthesis dealers to sell the JBL M2... Poor sales of speakers that cost much more, but don't sound as good!

You can only get the M2 through JBLpro channels now, but that has not always been the case, just in the last year or two did they make the switch.
5DE7438E-C3B0-4FCC-9BCA-C9D87C766C0D.jpeg
075EFB49-180B-42C5-8CD6-201E24107EA0.jpeg
 

aac

Active Member
Joined
May 17, 2020
Messages
215
Likes
154
Don't know about m2 but 7 series is rather crudely made. Does the job, but when I compare it to Neumann stuff craftsmanship is much worse.
Not surprising they removed them from "premium ht" line.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom