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I need help in choosing studio monitors setup

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Hello everyone. My budget is around $2500 and I need to buy a pair of studio monitors and audio interface for it. The problem is, that I don't need any mic/instrument inputs and ofcourse any input preamps too. So I decided to buy only monitors + Amp + DAC. I searched a bit, and my favorite is Neumann KH 120 + Cambridge Audio CXA61.

But somewhere I have read, that CXA61 has not really good DAC, so I decided to buy DAC and Amp separately, but I really don't know what models to choose.
Also you can say a bit words about KH 120, because in fact, I don't really know if it good for it's price or not, so I really want to listen your opinion.

I need setup specifically for mixing, not just for listening music.

Thanks a lot in advance, I really would be glad to hear your recommendations.
 

Webninja

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#2
If you are going for active monitors like Neumann or Genelec, no need for amp or dac. At your budget you can get very nice actives, check the reviews and also mention how close you’ll be to the monitors.
 
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If you are going for active monitors like Neumann or Genelec, no need for amp or dac. At your budget you can get very nice actives, check the reviews and also mention how close you’ll be to the monitors.
Thank you a lot! So, if i'll buy Neumann KH 310A, I don't need to buy any expansive audio interface?
 

hyperplanar

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Thank you a lot! So, if i'll buy Neumann KH 310A, I don't need to buy any expansive audio interface?
You will still usually need a DAC (whether it is standalone or part of an audio interface), but you won't need an amplifier. Most studio monitors are active and have amplifiers built-in. However, if your studio monitors have a digital input, then you won't need a DAC either, because that means the studio monitors already have a DAC inside (the KH120A/KH310A don't have a digital input). You could consider a DAC like the Soncoz LA-QXD1, it has excellent performance and balanced outputs for a reasonable price.
 

AnalogSteph

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#5
A DAC or audio interface that'll be as good as you'll ever need should be entirely doable for less than 500€ or so. Potentially much less if you include adapter solutions like mine (used Asus Xonar D1 --> 3.5 mm to 2x TS cable --> Behringer HD400 --> 2x TRS to XLR cable, total cost ~70€ or so). I'd just prefer one with a volume / monitor knob. A MOTU M2 would be splendid assuming you can get one, Audient iD14 MkII would be good as well. In the DAC realm, there'd be the brand new Topping D30 Pro and a few others. (If you say it's for mixing, ASIO drivers should be a priority.) I mean, you could splurge on an RME ADI-2 DAC, which is a really neat piece of kit, but blowing 40% of your budget on electronics does not seem like a good balance of funds.

How did you settle on KH120As in the first place? For a true nearfield setup (distance ~0.8...1 m or so) these should be excellent - good dispersion, very low hiss levels, and they can go quite loud. (Genelec 8030Cs arguably have even better dispersion and use very little power, but are a bit noisier with a more eager limiter and don't have the same flexibility in terms of input levels. You could afford the larger 8040B or 8340A if you needed higher levels though, e.g. if you want more like 1.5 m of distance. The more traditional-looking Focal Solo 6 Be also have their fans, and JBL's LSR705P should be well worth a look as well.)

If you need more level for larger distances, maybe Dynaudio LYD-48 (their dispersion looks messy but Dynaudio makes good drivers, so might be something for very well-damped surroundings), the Kali IN-8 would certainly be worth a look as well (a bit noisy but quite a bit of oomph in return, good dispersion), perhaps the KRK RP10-3 G4 even (I think those are the "poor man's version" of some rather expensive Focals - well, almost all 3-way midfields are expensive).
 
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You will still usually need a DAC (whether it is standalone or part of an audio interface), but you won't need an amplifier. Most studio monitors are active and have amplifiers built-in. However, if your studio monitors have a digital input, then you won't need a DAC either, because that means the studio monitors already have a DAC inside (the KH120A/KH310A don't have a digital input). You could consider a DAC like the Soncoz LA-QXD1, it has excellent performance and balanced outputs for a reasonable price.
Thanks a lot for your explanation, I thought a bit different.

How did you settle on KH120As in the first place? For a true nearfield setup (distance ~0.8...1 m or so) these should be excellent - good dispersion, very low hiss levels, and they can go quite loud.
First of all, thank a lot for your help. About K120As. I thought, I would setup my room for it. But you don't recommend to use nearfield monitors as a single pair, how I understand. Is it not optimal for mixing? Maybe it is obvious, but i'm beginner, so I really don't know why.
 
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And what DAC do I need for setup: Neumann KH 310As + Neumann KH 750D
 

hyperplanar

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About K120As. I thought, I would setup my room for it. But you don't recommend to use nearfield monitors as a single pair, how I understand. Is it not optimal for mixing?
I think you’re misunderstanding, he said the KH120 would be perfect for a nearfield setup.

And what DAC do I need for setup: Neumann KH 310As + Neumann KH 750D
The KH750 has a digital input, so a DAC is not needed. However, you will need a coaxial S/PDIF output (or optical to coaxial converter), or a USB to S/PDIF or USB to AES interface (and BNC adapter) to connect to the subwoofer’s digital input.
 
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The KH750 has a digital input, so a DAC is not needed. However, you will need a coaxial S/PDIF output (or optical to coaxial converter), or a USB to S/PDIF or USB to AES interface (and BNC adapter) to connect to the subwoofer’s digital input.
Okey. So, I only need to buy KH310 and KH750 and It will works? And do I need to buy 1 or 2 KH750?
 
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@FlintCQ What's your audio source?
Audio interface you mean? Till now, I was just making music without mixing etc. So now I have Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. But I decided to m&m my tracks too. I don't want to buy something cheap, to replace it in future. So, I decided to build good setup from start.
 

AnalogSteph

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#13
A Scarlett 2i2 (which generation?) is definitely good enough for the time being.

So what size of room and approximate listening distance are we talking about? You still haven't told us.

Two KH310As and a KH750 would no doubt make for an excellent setup (@ <1 m to 2.5 m or so), but last time I checked, one KH310A would take up almost your entire budget by itself!
US prices @ Sweetwater - KH310A $2200 each, KH750 $1650, in sum = $6050.
That's without room treatment or cables.
 
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A Scarlett 2i2 (which generation?) is definitely good enough for the time being.

So what size of room and approximate listening distance are we talking about? You still haven't told us.

Two KH310As and a KH750 would no doubt make for an excellent setup (@ <1 m to 2.5 m or so), but last time I checked, one KH310A would take up almost your entire budget by itself!
US prices @ Sweetwater - KH310A $2200 each, KH750 $1650, in sum = $6050.
That's without room treatment or cables.
2i2 second generation.
In the summer I probably will buy a new flat, so I will keep in mind that it should be good enough for my music work. BTW, what size of room do you recommend?
Yes, I know, it is costs more than I have written, but I will try to expand my budget.

Thank you for help.
 

AnalogSteph

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In the summer I probably will buy a new flat, so I will keep in mind that it should be good enough for my music work. BTW, what size of room do you recommend?
This is probably a question better answered by a studio pro. Generally speaking, you don't want anything too small (remember room treatment still has to fit in there, too), and avoid rooms with two or even three very similar dimensions like the plague, or else you'll have a very hard time keeping your room modes in check. You may not be able to find a room large enough for the ratio of both width to height and length to width to be the golden ratio (that would be e.g. 2.40 m x 3.88 m x 6.28 m), but that would be quite well-behaved I imagine. You may be able to settle with the square root of 2 and the golden ratio or similar... irrational is good, and avoid a simple 1:2 integer ratio between shortest and longest dimension.
 
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Thread Starter #16
This is probably a question better answered by a studio pro. Generally speaking, you don't want anything too small (remember room treatment still has to fit in there, too), and avoid rooms with two or even three very similar dimensions like the plague, or else you'll have a very hard time keeping your room modes in check. You may not be able to find a room large enough for the ratio of both width to height and length to width to be the golden ratio (that would be e.g. 2.40 m x 3.88 m x 6.28 m), but that would be quite well-behaved I imagine. You may be able to settle with the square root of 2 and the golden ratio or similar... irrational is good, and avoid a simple 1:2 integer ratio between shortest and longest dimension.
Thank you a lot!
 

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