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Kali Audio IN-8 Round 2, How Should I Measure Hiss? Hiss Videos? (Anyone else notice less hiss in later purchased pairs?)

stevenswall

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UPDATE: The Kali IN-8 now has -12dB self noise per this video. I do not currently own the IN-8v2, but it uses the amplifier and DSP improvements of the IN-5 to get lower hiss now on their 8" version:


--------


The team at Kali Audio has offered to send me an IN-8 to test after seeing several of my posts noting the hiss. It will be here tomorrow.

Here is the hiss from the first production batch, ordered the day they came out:


One of them let me know that due to customer feedback including mine, the engineers identified a capacitor that was out of spec in some cases, and they are tightening the tolerance of that component.

I have no doubt there will still be some hiss, but if it's significantly less offensive they would be great in a living room setup.

Right now, I'm curious how hiss should be measured, and there are a few options:

1. Using the UMIK 1 USB microphone I have, and making a single recording in Audacity and normalizing it, first holding it directly in front of the Genelec 8260 tweeter, in line with the baffle, then the Kali IN-8. Shortcoming would be if I did this with other speakers, some of them don't have waveguides and the mic would be touching the tweeter or much closer.

2. Using a Tascam DR07 MkII I have and setting it to a certain level. This would be useful because I can carry it aroudn when I demo speakers at other stores and such, and can make a small "database." Maybe I could just roughtly be a hands width from the front face of the speaker?

3. Using my phone microphone, which is the easiest, but only shows relative hiss levels and wouldn't be comparable to other things unless the other person has the same phone.

Also of note: The outlets have been replaced in my house and are all tested and grounded now where they weren't before in the video (thanks previous owners who shoved the grounding wires to the back and clipped them)... BUT, I also took these to a friends studio who lives in a newer house with a fully balanced setup and heard the hiss. Could have been less, though it sounded the same (a lot of hiss.)

Assumptions:
-The Genelec 8260 will have more bass extension.
-The Kali will have no port chuffing. (As tested before. Have a few more songs this time too.)
-The Genelec will hiss less.
-The Kali will his about on par with a JBL LSR308.
-The Kali will handily outperform my HiVi DIY 3.1
-The Kali, if okay with some hiss or not used to close, will be a better value because you can afford subs to get the extension of the 8260
-Grounding vs Ungrounding will not make a difference for hiss. (In the video, I removed a grounding plug from the orange splitter. The outlet I tested with that was supposed to be grounded was not though.)

Also: Does anyone else have links to videos like this?

 
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stevenswall

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Initial update: These seem to have softer hiss than I remember. The RCA inputs make it hiss more, whereas before it seemed like any input or no input they hissed quite a bit.

Need to test with a grounded vs ungrounded outlet again, but so far, while they hiss, this doesn't seem so offensive.

Also odd: The hiss seeming lower allows me to hear really strange radio tuning noises coming from the tweeter if I put my ear right next to it. need to see if there is a time roommates/tenants are all gone where I can unplug all the wireless things in the house.
 

detlev24

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I have no information regarding your specific case but this kind of hiss seems normal to me - for powered loudspeakers. For instance, all of my five 'JBL 708P' do have the same hiss that can clearly be heard in a quiet room (on both, HF and LF drivers). The relatively worst case I encountered so far are 'JBL M2' being powered by an otherwise excellent 'Crown I-Tech 4x3500HD' amplifier [which is intended for use with the M2, by its specific configuration file]: hiss of the running amplifier can clearly be heard through the M2_s at even more than 10 feet listening distance. [I am not talking about the amplifier's loud air-cooling fan noise.]

However, none of the mentioned 'flaws' can be identified during audio playback - with one exception. Classical music with high dynamic range; the hiss on the M2 can be heard during very quiet passages, e.g., with the track "II. Lento e largo - Tranquillissimo" from the 'Symphony of Sorrowful Songs'.

I do not know the technical reasons for some powered loudspeakers showing more hiss than others; but I remember having read, that there are several reason on the amplifier design choices vs. driver sensitivity etc. // The quietest systems usually run on passive loudspeakers, as far as I can tell from my observations; but that comes with other drawbacks.
 
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Jmudrick

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Initial update: These seem to have softer hiss than I remember. The RCA inputs make it hiss more, whereas before it seemed like any input or no input they hissed quite a bit.

Need to test with a grounded vs ungrounded outlet again, but so far, while they hiss, this doesn't seem so offensive.

Also odd: The hiss seeming lower allows me to hear really strange radio tuning noises coming from the tweeter if I put my ear right next to it. need to see if there is a time roommates/tenants are all gone where I can unplug all the wireless things in the house.

Well I'm impressed that Kali took the issue seriously.
 
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stevenswall

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I have no information regarding your specific case but this kind of hiss seems normal to me - for powered loudspeakers. For instance, all of my five 'JBL 708P' do have the same hiss that can clearly be heard in a quiet room (on both, HF and LF drivers). The relatively worst case I encountered so far are 'JBL M2' being powered by an otherwise excellent 'Crown I-Tech 4x3500HD' amplifier [which is intended for use with the M2, by its specific configuration file]: hiss of the running amplifier can clearly be heard through the M2_s at even more than 10 feet listening distance. [I am not talking about the amplifier's loud air-cooling fan noise.]

However, none of the mentioned 'flaws' can be identified during audio playback - with one exception. Classical music with high dynamic range; the hiss on the M2 can be heard during very quiet passages, e.g., with the track "II. Lento e largo - Tranquillissimo" from the 'Symphony of Sorrowful Songs'.

I do not know the technical reasons for some powered loudspeakers showing more hiss than others; but I remember having read, that there are several reason on the amplifier design choices vs. driver sensitivity etc. // The quietest systems usually run on passive loudspeakers, as far as I can tell from my observations; but that comes with other drawbacks.

That really stinks about the M2. For the price, at this point it does seem like hiss is going to be an aspect of powered speakers, and I'm really picky about it. Glad it seems somwhat improved, but I need to record it with my phone again and A/B it.

My Genelec's which would have been $10k new, half of the cost of the JBL M2, don't hiss from the listening position, and it's one of the lowest amounts I've heard besides the Elac Navis.

And your point about quiet music: That's exactly my issue with his. Sometimes music has actual moments of silence, or a really, really soft intro, and I want to hear it undisturbed.
 

detlev24

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Regarding the M2, I guess one could simply use an external digital crossover [either 'BSS Soundweb London BLU-800' with official Harman tunings; or go DIY with miniDSP etc.] + any amplifier(s) that allow(s) for the desired undistorted maximum SPL. I am sure that would reduce hiss significantly, but further rise the financial investments; and most probably limit the output to a lot less than the specified "117 dB/123 dB Continuous/Peak SPL @ 1m; 108 dB Peak SPL @ 8m" - if required.

Considering the MSRP; Genelec generally is more expensive than JBL Professional - and offers less maximum SPL, a lower frequency range (without subwoofer/s) but in some cases, comes with the 'GLM calibration system'. [However, I personally prefer different DSP solutions which allow for calibration of a listening area, rather than a single spot; and addition of custom target curves.]

But I absolutely agree on the benefit of having less hiss in a system! Everything else of the mentioned depends mainly on compromises and personal preferences; in my humble opinion. Btw., the interpretations of amirm's Klippel measurements do exclude very important aspects of room acoustics, like on early reflections: so it probably is wiser not to compare the results of different loudspeakers blindly - in this domain.
 
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stevenswall

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Regarding the M2, I guess one could simply use an external digital crossover [either 'BSS Soundweb London BLU-800' with official Harman tunings; or go DIY with miniDSP etc.] + any amplifier(s) that allow(s) for the desired undistorted maximum SPL. I am sure that would reduce hiss significantly, but further rise the financial investments; and most probably limit the output to a lot less than the specified "117 dB/123 dB Continuous/Peak SPL @ 1m; 108 dB Peak SPL @ 8m" - if required.

Considering the MSRP; Genelec generally is more expensive than JBL Professional - and offers less maximum SPL, a lower frequency range (without subwoofer/s) but in some cases, comes with the 'GLM calibration system'. [However, I personally prefer different DSP solutions which allow for calibration of a listening area, rather than a single spot; and addition of custom target curves.]

But I absolutely agree on the benefit of having less hiss in a system! Everything else of the mentioned depends mainly on compromises and personal preferences; in my humble opinion. Btw., the interpretations of amirm's Klippel measurements do exclude very important aspects of room acoustics, like on early reflections: so it probably is wiser not to compare the results of different loudspeakers blindly - in this domain.

The Genelec 8260 goes lower than the M2, is as flat or flatter, early reflections vertically will sound more even, the sound and reflections at any height and those bouncing off a mixing console will be more balanced, and the size is small enough to allow it on a large mixing bridge... Seems like you pay double the price for double the volume, but then it has to be placed further away anyhow.

As far as generally more expensive, how do you compare models? Same price and seeing what you get? Woofer size?

"The Ones" aren't particularly good at bass extension, but the 8341 has an F6 of ~38dB where I think JBL uses f10 for their spec and it's listed as 41hz for the 708. Needs a sub more than the Genelec. If it has the dip like the 705 then that also shows it should he cheaper. Vertical dispersion is also worse. With those considerations I think it's fairly priced.

Once you get to the 8260 though, JBL would have to make an M3 or something, probably with an 18" woofer to get as low as the Genelec, but then they'd wind up with a 21" woofer to make it more loud for their target market.

I think I first and foremost care about sound quality, both being flat, and remaining balanced if I move my head up or down, and left right, then I care about things that detract from The experience like hiss and woofer chuffing, and then all things prior being equal, the size. Volume is irrelevent but it seems like that's primarily what the M2 does that costs so much.
 
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thewas

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Once you get to the 8260 though, JBL would have to make an M3 or something, probably with an 18" woofer to get as low as the Genelec, but then they'd wind up with a 21" woofer to make it more loud for their target market.
As said to you several times very low linear free field bass response is something that has not much practical significance as due to room gain you usually need to EQ it back. Even more with such active loudspeakers which are anyway EQed inside to reach a lower bass, you wouldn't need a larger woofer to reach 20 Hz with the M2, even my tiny desktop LS50 gets due to room and boundary gain linearly to 20 Hz with just a +5 dB PEQ!

1.png


The JBL M2 at the S&R test actually even needed a -15(!) dB notch filter around 28 Hz and at an average more than -5 dB filters below 100 Hz:

1589525105777.png

source: https://www.audiopro.de/medias/item/16109/jbl_m2_soundandrecording_1214.pdf

Have you ever measured your 8260 without any EQ or GLM at your listening position? In a normal room you should have a huge bass gain like at the 8260 test:

1589525213545.png

source: https://www.audiopro.de/medias/item/11576/genelec_8260a_sound_and_recording_0410.pdf

As you can see the GLM applies an almost -20 (!!) dB notch filter at approx. 28 Hz.
 

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Absolute

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That really stinks about the M2. For the price, at this point it does seem like hiss is going to be an aspect of powered speakers, and I'm really picky about it. Glad it seems somwhat improved, but I need to record it with my phone again and A/B it.

My Genelec's which would have been $10k new, half of the cost of the JBL M2, don't hiss from the listening position, and it's one of the lowest amounts I've heard besides the Elac Navis.

And your point about quiet music: That's exactly my issue with his. Sometimes music has actual moments of silence, or a really, really soft intro, and I want to hear it undisturbed.
I have M2 clones and solved this problem by using Hypex Nc400 with 13 dB gain. No hizz sound whatsoever. With the standard 26 dB gain I could hear a little bit of hiss due to the high sensitivity (111 dB) of the compression driver.

I don't think it's relevant to compare a 85dB ish sensitive speaker to a 95dB one. You get 10 dB more noise from the electronics shining through given the same gain and that's unavoidable. You solve this by reducing the gain in the amplifier by 10 dB and then it's equally good/shit.
 

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Also odd: The hiss seeming lower allows me to hear really strange radio tuning noises coming from the tweeter if I put my ear right next to it. need to see if there is a time roommates/tenants are all gone where I can unplug all the wireless things in the house.

Are you testing with the signal input of the speaker connected to an active (but silent) source, or left floating?

This can make a big difference because an unconnected (floating) input is literally an antenna. To prevent interference, the input needs to be shorted, or, equivalently, connected to a low impedance source (most line level sources will do, but note that many of them need to be powered on to expose a low impedance).

Also you might want to experiment with balanced vs. unbalanced cabling and proper shielding/grounding on the signal cable (pin 1 problems etc.), if you haven't already.
 

detlev24

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The Genelec 8260 goes lower than the M2, is as flat or flatter, early reflections vertically will sound more even, the sound and reflections at any height and those bouncing off a mixing console will be more balanced, and the size is small enough to allow it on a large mixing bridge... Seems like you pay double the price for double the volume, but then it has to be placed further away anyhow. [...]
I am sorry; I did not want to start a discussion about which of both the mentioned loudspeakers is "better". You will not find a simple solution to that answer; they are both amongst the most thoroughly designed loudspeakers available - each with its pros and cons. Certainly, I am always trying to compare the MSRP of gear that is expected to deliver similar overall performance. The closest match (of a different design) to the M2 would probably be the 'Revel Ultima2 Salon2'; differing mainly in the domains of the M2's waveguide.

The M2 can be used starting from just under 4 feet listening distance with a proper setup (see manual, page 7) and that gives a lot of flexibility for the intended use. It is not just about loudness and far-field.

I would not compare the 8260A, without a subwoofer, to what the M2 delivers: in-room RAW frequency response of the M2_s @ ~10 feet listening distance starts at ~15 Hz +/-0 dB [in my ~80 m² room], which is maintained throughout all my preferred listening levels with basically no audible distortion + delivering plenty of visceral impact [708P: ~32 Hz +/-0 dB, same room @ ~7 feet]. That is simply amazing and where the 15" woofers really shine. No need for an "M3" that will not hit the market anytime soon, anyways [until Harman created a loudspeaker that easily surpasses the M2 during their double-blind listening tests]. More headroom is beneficial even, if one has no plans of getting deaf by listening at the maximum rated SPL. ^^ Maurice Ravel's "Boléro" or Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" are just some fine examples, besides the parallel home theatre use.

Back to the MSRP, I guess the main reason why Genelec generally is more expensive than JBL Professional lies within being "Made in Finland" vs. "Made in Mexico" and the different enclosure materials: aluminum [Genelec] vs. MDF and plywood [JBL] + the built-in GLM, in some of Genelec's loudspeakers.

Furthermore, all those small differences you mentioned that show on Klippel measurements will be masked in a room that is not properly treated. So, there is no practical use for this kind of "nitpicking" in most cases.

Most importantly, enjoy the music! :)
 
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richard12511

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The Genelec 8260 goes lower than the M2, is as flat or flatter, early reflections vertically will sound more even, the sound and reflections at any height and those bouncing off a mixing console will be more balanced, and the size is small enough to allow it on a large mixing bridge... Seems like you pay double the price for double the volume, but then it has to be placed further away anyhow.

As far as generally more expensive, how do you compare models? Same price and seeing what you get? Woofer size?

"The Ones" aren't particularly good at bass extension, but the 8341 has an F6 of ~38dB where I think JBL uses f10 for their spec and it's listed as 41hz for the 708. Needs a sub more than the Genelec. If it has the dip like the 705 then that also shows it should he cheaper. Vertical dispersion is also worse. With those considerations I think it's fairly priced.

Once you get to the 8260 though, JBL would have to make an M3 or something, probably with an 18" woofer to get as low as the Genelec, but then they'd wind up with a 21" woofer to make it more loud for their target market.

I think I first and foremost care about sound quality, both being flat, and remaining balanced if I move my head up or down, and left right, then I care about things that detract from The experience like hiss and woofer chuffing, and then all things prior being equal, the size. Volume is irrelevent but it seems like that's primarily what the M2 does that costs so much.

Does the 8260 really dig deeper than the M2? That seems impossible, just due to sheer physics.
 

thewas

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Does the 8260 really dig deeper than the M2? That seems impossible, just due to sheer physics.
Deep bass on an active speaker is just a matter of EQ applied internally, the challenge is to have deep and at the same time loud bass which are contradicting parameters.
For example the German active loudspeaker maker Abacus used to have a tiny active loudspeaker where the low bass tuning could be switched down to 16 Hz but in this case you wouldn't get more then 70dB or so in a meter.
 
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stevenswall

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Does the 8260 really dig deeper than the M2? That seems impossible, just due to sheer physics.

Companies sometimes override what could be done with physics, and instead prioritize volume. EX: The Devialet Phantom Reactor with a pair of 4" speakers has significantly more bass extension than most studio monitors. (I honestly think it puts most of them to shame, and would love to see EDM makers focus on lower bass and monitor with an extremely flat version of the Phantom with regular inputs. Also, before someone brings up bass compression, if they like Dynaudio speakers, they might remember that some of them adapt the bass based on the volume level, because that's how the human ear hears. More bass is needed at lower volumes, with higher volumes needing less/flatter bass. On either speaker I'd consider it a feature, as it would help the device follow the fletcher munson curve.)

Here is the graph of the JBL M2 on the left, and the Genelec 8260 on the right. The 8260 starts rolling off around 30 hz. The M2 starts rolling off around 40hz.

The Genelec 8260 is down about 5hz, which the JBL M2 is down nearly 10hz. If you take the JBL M2 and cut the output from 123dB to 113dB, the same as the Genelec 8260, then it could be contoured to be better than the Genelec and get flat down to 20hz.

Both of these are anechoic. In room my Genelec monitors get down to 18hz.

1589610470968.png


Because of the measurements I've seen and the whitepapers I've read, I consider the M2 to be inferior when it comes to extension, price, use of physical volume, overall system noise from what I've heard from others and experienced on their 3 and 7 series, cabinet material choice, cabinet geometry, vertical response, and use, or rather omission, of DSP calibration.

I consider the M2 to be superior when it comes to peak volume, and maybe horizontal dispersion.
 
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stevenswall

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Are you testing with the signal input of the speaker connected to an active (but silent) source, or left floating?

This can make a big difference because an unconnected (floating) input is literally an antenna. To prevent interference, the input needs to be shorted, or, equivalently, connected to a low impedance source (most line level sources will do, but note that many of them need to be powered on to expose a low impedance).

Also you might want to experiment with balanced vs. unbalanced cabling and proper shielding/grounding on the signal cable (pin 1 problems etc.), if you haven't already.

Shorted, floating, balanced, and unbalanced have been used in prior tests. The hiss is the same in all cases except increased a small amount when the RCA (unbalanced) switch is turned to on.
 
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stevenswall

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I have M2 clones and solved this problem by using Hypex Nc400 with 13 dB gain. No hizz sound whatsoever. With the standard 26 dB gain I could hear a little bit of hiss due to the high sensitivity (111 dB) of the compression driver.

I don't think it's relevant to compare a 85dB ish sensitive speaker to a 95dB one. You get 10 dB more noise from the electronics shining through given the same gain and that's unavoidable. You solve this by reducing the gain in the amplifier by 10 dB and then it's equally good/shit.

You should write to the JBL engineers if it can get them to the max volume and doesn't hiss as much. They could use a few pointers for the M3 for when they decide to stop resting on their laurels (sounds odd to use a plural word, when it's literally just their waveguide.)

Honestly, if Kali came out with a 10-12" woofer and an edge to edge waveguide over a coincident driver, I won't be surprised if it's as good as the M2 with a pricepoint of $3,000 a pair new instead of $20,000.
 

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There seems to be some general misconception about how those (manufacturer) measurements translate into a real room - into any acoustically well treated and any untreated room. Unfortunately, I am not an acoustician, so I cannot help in these regards. I personally could not have predicted the behavior of the M2 in my rather large room, just by looking at those graphs. I am also not sure one can directly compare these anechoic measurements, as they seem of different measurement technique and taken at different SPL, i.e., different standards.

Anyways, just for fun! Here are some quick in-room measurements of my M2. I find it quite interesting that they extend deeper and at less distortion than most subwoofers.
  • ~80 m² room / cross-gable roof shape
  • no acoustic treatment (yet), besides a thick rug in front of the M2_s
  • miniDSP UMIK-1 (factory calibrated: 10 Hz - 20 kHz)
  • ~10 feet [~3 meters] listening distance, roughly on-axis and below tweeter height
  • REW; single sweep @ 90 dB SPL [so that some, but still non-audible, distortion shows ^^] / theoretical equivalent of 99.54 dB SPL @ 3.28 feet [= 1 meter], where many hi-fi loudspeakers already reach their limit
  • no EQ or DSP applied
  • no subwoofer(s) added
  • many room modes available :D

Formula to calculate THD in %: THD = [10^(-ΔdB/20)] x 100
  • Example of the selection; ~15 Hz @ 90 dB SPL: THD = [10^(-26dB/20)] x 100 => 5.01 % vs. 5.10 % on graph of L channel; difference due to less precise readability of the values for manual calculation

Genelec_8260A.png JBL_M2.png .. JBL_M2_psy.png JBL_M2_L.png JBL_M2_R.png JBL_M2_L%.png JBL_M2_R%.png
 
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Absolute

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You should write to the JBL engineers if it can get them to the max volume and doesn't hiss as much. They could use a few pointers for the M3 for when they decide to stop resting on their laurels (sounds odd to use a plural word, when it's literally just their waveguide.)

Honestly, if Kali came out with a 10-12" woofer and an edge to edge waveguide over a coincident driver, I won't be surprised if it's as good as the M2 with a pricepoint of $3,000 a pair new instead of $20,000.
Ok, I think you over-simplify the engineering behind speaker compromises.
For bass you have the Hoffman's Iron law; https://sites.psu.edu/speakerdesign/2013/01/24/hoffmans-iron-laws-of-speaker-building/

Small enclosures with small drivers can be set to have 5 hz extension, but you'll never be able to get enough SPL to hear it. To hear 20 hz you need something like minimum of 83 dB to actually hear and that's above the SPL level of Phantom Reactor at that frequency.
I remember my Kii Three's managed about 93 dB at 20 hz. In-room the Kiis went to about 14 hz, my M2's rolls off at 17 hz.

Extension can only be relevant if we know the SPL levels it can reach. The M2's reach 110 dB or so at 10% distortion, Kii 93 dB at around 100 % distortion.

Hiss is an electronics thing, not a speaker issue. The design criteria for M2 was carefully considered and they wanted spl capability in a manageable size for large studio use. Hence the insane wattage criteria. To deliver a complete finished package, they included all the dsp inside the amplifiers strong enough and durable enough for the intended usage, but that doesn't mean the speaker itself is any lesser for it.

Just change the electronics if you sit closer to the speakers than what the Itech's were intended for.
 
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