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Looking for some input on speaker selection for casual media AND guitar/bass practice

Horseflesh

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The reviews and discussion here are an absolute goldmine, but I have some unusual and actually kind of contradictory desires... I could use some help navigating to the right compromise in a bookshelf style speaker. My budget is approx. $500 but I could spend more for the right stuff, and would happily spend less if possible. I don't need a "monitor," but that seems to be where the best values are.

I have a bedroom as diagrammed below where the relaxed-in-bed listening spot is about 12 ft from where speakers would be, under the TV.

I'll also be seated around the foot of the bed practicing electric guitar and bass. Per my research on music forums the budget 6" or larger self-powered monitors frequently discussed here (Kali, JBL, etc) are OK for this use.

Another limiting parameter is that the speakers would need be to within 6" of the wall, on top of a cabinet. No room for poles or other such mounts, unfortunately.

As the last piece of the puzzle, I also have an older but nice 100W/channel home theater receiver, so I do not necessarily need self-powered speakers.

So this is kind of tough, as I want to be 4-6 ft away and 12 ft away at different times. I want good bass, but I want the speakers to be small, too.

I realize that with smaller speakers designed for nearfield, there is going to be a sacrifice in audio quality when I'm far away in the bed, but currently TV sound is provided by the TV speakers... so anything will be an improvement! I know I am not going to turn this room into a home theater with a pair of budget speakers, that is OK.

I guess the major subjective question I have is, with nearfield monitors like the Kali LP-6 v2, how far can you push the listening difference before you start having problems in casual media consumption?

These are the setups I am thinking about... Many thanks in advance for your comments.

Self-powered:
Kali LP-6/8
Adam T5V/T7V
(On guitar forums everyone loves Presonus, but overall reviews seem mixed)

Unpowered with my Yamaha 100W/channel amp:
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2
??

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sdiver68

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Used Fender Mustang GT40 amp, $200. Seriously, no active monitor will be in the same ballpark for guitar.

Now you have $300 to spend on speakers. ELAC DBR-62
 
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Horseflesh

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@sdiver68 I didn't mention it, but I actually already have a Helix LT, so I don't want to add more modeling. Also, I want stereo to enjoy the stereo effects in the Helix... I really need a pair of full range do-it-all speakers for this room, even though it's a compromise in some ways.
 

sdiver68

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Ok well this place is not about casual listening, lol.

Having said that, the Kali LP6v2 is a great choice for an active monitor. But..you will need a sub for decent SPL and bass.

For the same money, the Emotiva T0+ or Infinity R253 during "crazy sale" will be more full range and impressive for casual listening. I would also peruse local classifieds for deals.
 
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Horseflesh

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Ok well this place is not about casual listening, lol.
Oh I know, but it's always better to find help from the well-informed and translate if my goals are lesser, rather than start on the other end of the spectrum. :)

This is a tough thing to discuss online since it's so subjective. For a lot of players, a "practice" system is gig-worthy. Other people appear to be perfectly happy playing bass at home through something like the LP6v2. Then you try to add in my requirement of it being "OK" for other media and it's even harder to have an apples-to-apples discussion.

Thanks for your ideas, I really appreciate it!
 

paulraphael

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I play bass and live in an apartment where I have to practice at pretty low volumes. My girlfriend has the Adam T5Vs (we use them for music and for tv speakers). I've played bass through them and they sound excellent. I'd happily be able to use these for practicing up to medium volumes in a smallish space. 12 feet away is nothing.

Of course, as with any small speaker that's not made for this, you have to watch the dynamics. If you dug in hard or turned the knob too high, you'd hit a wall of distortion quickly. These modern speakers probably have built-in protection, but I'd still be a bit concerned about damaging them if I were reckless. Realistically, the neighbors would be complaining before things reached this point.

At my desk I have a pair of Edifier R1280T powered speakers, bought thanks to Amir's review. They're about half the size and half the cost of the Adams. When my bass amp needed repairs a couple of months ago, I practiced through these. And they sounded great! Same caveats as the Adams, and even lower maximum volume. But they'll still go loud enough to bug the neighbors. They were easily loud enough to play along with the stereo (routed through the same speakers) or with my girlfriend on acoustic guitar.

Either of these speakers would handle guitar even more easily. In fact they'd probably get legitimately loud. But you'd need something in your signal chain to make them sound like a guitar amp, unless you're going for a completely clean tone. An amp pedal or DSP setup or something.

For music listening, the Adams are helped by eq, and the Edifiers absolutely need it. I use SoundSource on the Mac, with a studio parametric EQ plugin. The only hassle is that I have to remember to switch settings when going between speakers and headphones. And my girlfriend has a personal mac and a work mac, and a rather complicated audio setup, so we probably end up listening to the Adams un-eq'd much of the time. But this is a nitpicky problem with those ... they sound quite good on their own.

Edited to add ... don't worry about a subwoofer for bass. Most dedicated bass speakers don't have subwoofer-like deep bass extension. A sub would help with the dynamics (which you probably don't need in the bedroom) but will not make your setup sound more like a bass amp.
 

paulraphael

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Unrelatedly ... I just noticed that your room is a perfect square, which is one of the most problematic shapes acoustically. This alone is a reason to run away from subs, or any speaker with deep bass extension.
 
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Horseflesh

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@paulraphael thanks a million, I couldn't have asked for a reply that was better suited to my weird needs. That's super encouraging.

Since I play through a Helix I have tons of sims to play with. In fact, enjoying trippy stereo effects was one of the reasons for wanting to move from my crummy PA to a pair of speakers. I also usually add compression to bass, so based on your mini-review of the Adams I'm not too worried about overworking them or something like them.

I'll check out Amir's R1280T review too... With the gear I have in this spot, I can't easily add an overall EQ. Most of the TV/music sound will come from an Android TV box... I'll have to see if there's any EQ software like you can get for desktop PCs. EQing the Helix is no problem of course.

Yeah, the shape of the room is unfortunate. It isn't a perfect square, I think one of the dimensions is a few inches longer than in my diagram, but close enough to be trouble.

I am new to the forum, are there any forum-supporting vendors I should check out?
 
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Horseflesh

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Well, I asked about good vendors ... but then I caved in and bought a pair of T5Vs at Guitar Center. It was between them and the Kali LP-6s, and around here the Adams seem more popular by a nose. The better bass was really the tiebreaker.

Anyway, I got it hooked up and the T5Vs are exactly what I was hoping for!

They are loud enough for bass practice for sure... not as loud as my PA, but it has the sound quality of a toilet seat.

TV viewing would be better at 6 feet instead of 12 feet ... but it's fine. The imaging is still surprisingly good.

I found an unused mixer so now every source is hooked up... instruments via Helix, Shield Android TV, and a Windows laptop with music tools (via the mixer's USB input.) Surprisingly, Android TV actually works perfectly with that Signstek USB DAC that has been discussed around here, so I can get analog stereo to the desk.

Thanks again guys, especially @paulraphael , your testimony was so helpful.
 
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