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Meyer Sound Amie Monitor Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 8 2.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 37 13.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 165 60.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 62 22.8%

  • Total voters
    272

GXAlan

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Thanks Amir for the quick turnaround! If you have time, I'd love to see the distortion plot as loud as you can get them to play before going into protection :)

I put a bit of background of Meyer Sound and put down in writing my first subjective impressions listening to them here: I spent perhaps 2 hours at most in stereo before shipping them to Amir for measurements and spent another hour or so in mono. I did not listen to "Fast Car" on them yet.


1) Sense of smoothness/warmth without any sweetening of the treble or sparkle.
It actually is negative impression at first, but as you listen you hear all the details
2) Sounds like I'm in a bigger room than I really am in
Hard to explain but was how I would describe it as different from the 708P

Later, I added in the thread
3) Vocals are more forward with the JBL 708P in contrast to the Meyer Sound
which I didn't understand, since at least on-axis, both were very flat.

Now that Amir has published the first full set of measurements, I am vindicated that subjective opinion can indeed convey impressions that can later be verified with measurements.

I have a few comments on why my subjective impressions of speaker in larger room may correlate with the measurements.

1) How do you or I hear the difference between speakers in a big and small room, if you've applied room EQ for the bass nodes?
I think subjectively, the reflections off the wall behind the speakers probably play a cue. If the on-axis is relatively flat but there is a shelving effect for the higher frequencies, perhaps the reduced SPL of the reflections arriving slightly later trick the brain into thinking that it's a speaker with normal off-axis roll-off and the reason the reflections have a lower SPL is that walls are further away. We know that phase is something we're less sensitive to than frequency response, so maybe my brain over-rides the "this arrived too quickly for it to be a big room" with the "it's a big room, because the reflections are a lot quieter than the on-axis sound". This was my perception, but to my knowledge, this might be the first speaker we've seen with an intentional shelving effect in its design.

2) Dr. Toole and Olive and lateral reflections
The argument for a wide directivity and smooth directivity index is that if the two are different, you cannot EQ the sound since correction of one affects the other. This is a large part of the "preference score" which is based around music and mono listening and developed and validated for 2 channel listening. Most people will be best served by a speaker with a high preference score most of the time.

While they were still in Canada, they also published papers on the detection of reflections in typical rooms. There they mentioned that your threshold of detection of lateral reflections

1696135131030.png


They noted that "The principal side effects betraying the presence of the low-level reflection were a slight sense of spaciousness and occasional high-frequency sibilant "splashes" localized at the origin of the lateral reflection."

Spaciousness is really the perceived WIDTH of the source and not the sense of hearing something in a larger room.
For movie imaging, you wouldn't want to shift the apparent position.

I'd love to get @Floyd Toole 's opinion about this shelving potentially contributing to my perception that this speaker sounds different than I would expect. Is this a trade off between movies/music and LCR setups vs 2ch?

These are seriously expensive at over $8k per pair. They do measure well, but are they worth twice what a KH150 or JBL 708P cost? Thank you.
I like it, but in a world where KH150s and 8341Bs exists, I don't see the reason of choosing this one over the competition.

To my understanding, these speakers are largely built-to-order so discounts are rare. There’s wiggle room when you are buying in bulk like the real studios but I did get these as a single “demo” and single new speaker, so I was able to get a discount off retail. You might also get lucky if someone orders it and then backs out even if they never opened it. Like everything, they have gone up in price with inflation. :(

What is unique about Meyer Sound besides the brand, is that they are built to a whole different level than many other active speakers. They have internal surge suppression for example. Yes, it's pretty cheap to buy a surge protector -- but it's that type of engineering that you're paying for.

I do own the 708P’s (which are on sale right now at a steal right here on ASR Buy/Sell!) so at least for me, it’s an upgrade, not a lateral move — but it’s not so straightforward of an answer because you’re right, it is a lot of money, some of which is due to location of manufacture, some of which is paying for the brand name, and some of which is pre-paying for superb customer support — none which affect the sound quality.

The difference in sound between the 708P and Amie is night and day. I don’t know that you could prove that one is better, but you can easily prove that they sound different. I think the fact that Meyer Sound, themselves, suggest that this isn't intended to just reproduce what is on the recording but instead simulate the larger Acheron speakers while being "as close to sonically transparent as possible" is there. Meyer Sound has talked about maintaining cinema levels at 2m and most other 6.5" designs only hitting those SPLs at 1m.

It is said by one big JBL retailer that “80% of Blu-ray / UHD Blu-ray / Digital mixes, and roughly half of all high-end music recordings are mastered on JBL Pro or JBL Synthesis systems.” There’s no citation for that claim. At the same time, a lot of the movie screening rooms and dubbing stages are moving away from JBL to Meyer Sound. Director’s Guild of America, NBC Universal Hitchcock Theater, Fox Newman Scoring Stage, Skywalker Sound, etc.

The Director’s Guild of America had a committee which included Chris Nolan, Jon Favreau, Michael Mann work with Dolby to come up with a few different proposals from different vendors. JBL and Meyer Sound were the finalists. They had the companies, along with Dolby, setup the speakers in the theater, allowed them to be tune by the manufacturer’s representatives for peak performance and evaluated a broad range of licensed soundtrack excerpts to evaluate dialogue clarity, effects impact, and musicality and went with Meyer Sound. I would have imagined that efforts were taken to make this a fair comparison to minimize sighted bias.

As far as I know, it seems like Sean Olive focuses primarily on headphones now. Floyd Toole has retired. Charles Sprinkle (behind the M2/7/HDI horn) left to start Kali. Doug Button is with Sonos. Harman had Logic7. Harman had Sound Field Management. Now they rely on their industry partners. We do know that the SDP-75 has a "new" Harman target curve, but under the current Samsung management, less is being published.

Meyer Sound is very measurement and engineering focused and they aren't going for the same preference score as Harman's research, though they have approached the problem from two different avenues. One being multiple speaker arrays for touring artists and multichannel cinema and the other being consumer 2ch home audio and headphones.

Agree that the KH150 is the speaker to beat overall. The three questions
1) Does the shelving of the off-axis response have specific benefits when used in multichannel applications?
2) Considering the circle of confusion, how much do you gain from using the same speakers that Skywalker Sound uses in its dubbing stages when you're not in the same room, but may have similar reflective surfaces?
3) Knowing what Dr. Toole wrote about shifting localization/spaciousness and reflections (and therefore off-axis response) -- how does this factor in the preference score when it seems that the goals of 2ch are different than that of movies?
 

Ilkless

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Thanks Amir for the quick turnaround! If you have time, I'd love to see the distortion plot as loud as you can get them to play before going into protection :)

I put a bit of background of Meyer Sound and put down in writing my first subjective impressions listening to them here: I spent perhaps 2 hours at most in stereo before shipping them to Amir for measurements and spent another hour or so in mono. I did not listen to "Fast Car" on them yet.


1) Sense of smoothness/warmth without any sweetening of the treble or sparkle.
It actually is negative impression at first, but as you listen you hear all the details
2) Sounds like I'm in a bigger room than I really am in
Hard to explain but was how I would describe it as different from the 708P

Later, I added in the thread
3) Vocals are more forward with the JBL 708P in contrast to the Meyer Sound
which I didn't understand, since at least on-axis, both were very flat.

Now that Amir has published the first full set of measurements, I am vindicated that subjective opinion can indeed convey impressions that can later be verified with measurements.

I have a few comments on why my subjective impressions of speaker in larger room may correlate with the measurements.

1) How do you or I hear the difference between speakers in a big and small room, if you've applied room EQ for the bass nodes?
I think subjectively, the reflections off the wall behind the speakers probably play a cue. If the on-axis is relatively flat but there is a shelving effect for the higher frequencies, perhaps the reduced SPL of the reflections arriving slightly later trick the brain into thinking that it's a speaker with normal off-axis roll-off and the reason the reflections have a lower SPL is that walls are further away. We know that phase is something we're less sensitive to than frequency response, so maybe my brain over-rides the "this arrived too quickly for it to be a big room" with the "it's a big room, because the reflections are a lot quieter than the on-axis sound". This was my perception, but to my knowledge, this might be the first speaker we've seen with an intentional shelving effect in its design.

2) Dr. Toole and Olive and lateral reflections
The argument for a wide directivity and smooth directivity index is that if the two are different, you cannot EQ the sound since correction of one affects the other. This is a large part of the "preference score" which is based around music and mono listening and developed and validated for 2 channel listening. Most people will be best served by a speaker with a high preference score most of the time.

While they were still in Canada, they also published papers on the detection of reflections in typical rooms. There they mentioned that your threshold of detection of lateral reflections

View attachment 315796

They noted that "The principal side effects betraying the presence of the low-level reflection were a slight sense of spaciousness and occasional high-frequency sibilant "splashes" localized at the origin of the lateral reflection."

Spaciousness is really the perceived WIDTH of the source and not the sense of hearing something in a larger room.
For movie imaging, you wouldn't want to shift the apparent position.

I'd love to get @Floyd Toole 's opinion about this shelving potentially contributing to my perception that this speaker sounds different than I would expect. Is this a trade off between movies/music and LCR setups vs 2ch?




To my understanding, these speakers are largely built-to-order so discounts are rare. There’s wiggle room when you are buying in bulk like the real studios but I did get these as a single “demo” and single new speaker, so I was able to get a discount off retail. You might also get lucky if someone orders it and then backs out even if they never opened it. Like everything, they have gone up in price with inflation. :(

What is unique about Meyer Sound besides the brand, is that they are built to a whole different level than many other active speakers. They have internal surge suppression for example. Yes, it's pretty cheap to buy a surge protector -- but it's that type of engineering that you're paying for.

I do own the 708P’s (which are on sale right now at a steal right here on ASR Buy/Sell!) so at least for me, it’s an upgrade, not a lateral move — but it’s not so straightforward of an answer because you’re right, it is a lot of money, some of which is due to location of manufacture, some of which is paying for the brand name, and some of which is pre-paying for superb customer support — none which affect the sound quality.

The difference in sound between the 708P and Amie is night and day. I don’t know that you could prove that one is better, but you can easily prove that they sound different. I think the fact that Meyer Sound, themselves, suggest that this isn't intended to just reproduce what is on the recording but instead simulate the larger Acheron speakers while being "as close to sonically transparent as possible" is there. Meyer Sound has talked about maintaining cinema levels at 2m and most other 6.5" designs only hitting those SPLs at 1m.

It is said by one big JBL retailer that “80% of Blu-ray / UHD Blu-ray / Digital mixes, and roughly half of all high-end music recordings are mastered on JBL Pro or JBL Synthesis systems.” There’s no citation for that claim. At the same time, a lot of the movie screening rooms and dubbing stages are moving away from JBL to Meyer Sound. Director’s Guild of America, NBC Universal Hitchcock Theater, Fox Newman Scoring Stage, Skywalker Sound, etc.

The Director’s Guild of America had a committee which included Chris Nolan, Jon Favreau, Michael Mann work with Dolby to come up with a few different proposals from different vendors. JBL and Meyer Sound were the finalists. They had the companies, along with Dolby, setup the speakers in the theater, allowed them to be tune by the manufacturer’s representatives for peak performance and evaluated a broad range of licensed soundtrack excerpts to evaluate dialogue clarity, effects impact, and musicality and went with Meyer Sound. I would have imagined that efforts were taken to make this a fair comparison to minimize sighted bias.

As far as I know, it seems like Sean Olive focuses primarily on headphones now. Floyd Toole has retired. Charles Sprinkle (behind the M2/7/HDI horn) left to start Kali. Doug Button is with Sonos. Harman had Logic7. Harman had Sound Field Management. Now they rely on their industry partners. We do know that the SDP-75 has a "new" Harman target curve, but under the current Samsung management, less is being published.

Meyer Sound is very measurement and engineering focused and they aren't going for the same preference score as Harman's research, though they have approached the problem from two different avenues. One being multiple speaker arrays for touring artists and multichannel cinema and the other being consumer 2ch home audio and headphones.

Agree that the KH150 is the speaker to beat overall. The three questions
1) Does the shelving of the off-axis response have specific benefits when used in multichannel applications?
2) Considering the circle of confusion, how much do you gain from using the same speakers that Skywalker Sound uses in its dubbing stages when you're not in the same room, but may have similar reflective surfaces?
3) Knowing what Dr. Toole wrote about shifting localization/spaciousness and reflections (and therefore off-axis response) -- how does this factor in the preference score when it seems that the goals of 2ch are different than that of movies?

We can talk all day about Meyer's purported engineering focus but we have moved past the sort of jagged resonance behaviour and waveguide DI bump for years.
 

GWolfman

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I was on the line between fine and great, but decided on the former due to cost and a single connectivity option.
 

lewdish

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I think its alright for what it is. Theres better speakers for far less in both active and passive~ Personally i think Meyer gear is fairly overpriced $8k a pair. Theres plenty of other options that measure even better if its for objective studio use for far less.
 

GXAlan

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A size comparison photo would be welcome for every product review.
1696142073264.png
1696142139919.png


Based upon published specs
Meyer Amie - Blue
Neumann KH150 - White
JBL 708P - Orange

We can talk all day about Meyer's purported engineering focus but we have moved past the sort of jagged resonance behaviour and waveguide DI bump for years.

Agree about the resonances although I'd love to get one of the Acheron speakers in for a formal spin to see how close it is to replicating the big speakers. The wobbliness that Amir measured around 200 Hz and 600 Hz are seen on the Acheron 80 so I wonder how much they choose not to correct?

1696142752413.png


Edit: Their Panther system focuses on not being too heavy to decrease shipping expenses and safety when hanging the speakers really high, so they definitely don't go for audiophile inert with their touring systems.

Since you're in Singapore, the Marina Sands Expo and Convention Centre is largely running Meyer Sound. How does it sound there?
 
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sigbergaudio

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Interesting review. When I'm at large concerts with really good sound, and peer at the systems to see what it is, more often than not it's Meyer.
 

DanielT

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Superb that it was a speaker you now tested Amir. :D Speaker tests are and remain the most interesting thing to read, I think.

The Meyer Sound Amie Studio certainly seems interesting, albeit relatively high priced. Great performance but are they worth $8000?
thinking-face-joypixels.gif
 

ocinn

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I am very familiar with Meyer speakers in a professional (live sound) context. They are a part of the “big 3” in my world (L’Acoustics, D&B Audiotechnik , and Meyer). Meyer is the leader in self powered active PA technology and their products have always been very impressive to me.

I scratched my head at their entrance into the studio/hifi market. This review further proves the point that they clearly know what they are doing in a general sneaker design context, but the value and performance is just not at the same level as the competition which has been dedicated to this field for decades. 8351a is in the same price bracket and is clearly objectively ahead.

I demoed their flagship BlueHorn system (not soffit mounted, fyi) awhile ago and was extremely impressed with the dynamics and tactile capabilities but in terms of obviously uncontrolled general subjective sound quality, I still rank Danley Hyperion > Genelec W371+8351b ≥ Kii 3+BXT over the bluehorn. Have yet to hear 8381 but assuming it would be the only real Hyperion competitor for “perfect” performance while still retaining huge dynamic capability.

Kudos to Meyer for at least releasing something decent. I expect the target market will be rental and production houses that use Meyer PA systems and need compact monitors for broadcast engineers and FOH purposes and want to stay in the same ecosystem.

Interesting review. When I'm at large concerts with really good sound, and peer at the systems to see what it is, more often than not it's Meyer.
These days any systems from the big 3 (L’Acoustics, D&B, Meyer) are all so good that the system designers and engineers are the ones that determine the final SQ result.

PA systems are so intricately simulated and optimized via measurements (SMAART), that the aforementioned work becomes the majority determiner of the final result, and not the actual boxes, at least from the big3 where everything is stellar.
 
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amirm

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But appart from the distortion, which you don't systematically (never ?) publish above 96dB, what measurement could highlight and immediately prove the dynamic capability of a speaker ?
Just asking.
I have gone to 106 dBSPL in a number of instances and meant to do that here but forgot.
 

Egoist

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So it measures not so well but sounds great? Are we turning into subjectivists? I vote that the listening tests should be banned.
 
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amirm

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A size comparison photo would be welcome for every product review.
While not exactly what you are asking for, the panthers should be an indicator of width and height.
 

GXAlan

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Interesting review. When I'm at large concerts with really good sound, and peer at the systems to see what it is, more often than not it's Meyer.

I think the directivity is unexpected but a good design the same way your cardioid system probably won’t measure well by the usual preference score but actually have a different sound.


I scratched my head at their entrance into the studio/hifi market.
The story is that the Meyer Amie was developed entirely at the request of Skywalker Sound and needing better options for their dubbing stages.

Basically the 2m, reference levels, matches the Meyer Acheron sound. So it was really driven by a single studio as far as I have been able to read.

I expect the target market will be rental and production houses that use Meyer PA systems and need compact monitors for broadcast engineers and FOH purposes and want to stay in the same ecosystem.

I actually don’t think the FOH uses Amie a lot although I have seen a few. Meyer really emphasizes this as a mini Acheron.

IMG_9561.jpeg


So it is interesting that the squiggles at 200 and 600 Hz are also seen in the Acheron 80 on axis data.

There’s a lot of theory behind the Amie and how they tried to make the whole system work:
1696146305740.jpeg

1696146317788.jpeg

1696146328272.jpeg
 
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So it measures not so well but sounds great? Are we turning into subjectivists? I vote that the listening tests should be banned.
No, it means that there is a reason I measure distortion because how low that is, matters. And that it is easy to forget the importance of bass response which research shows is responsible for 30% of listener preference.
 

ocinn

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So it measures not so well but sounds great? Are we turning into subjectivists? I vote that the listening tests should be banned.
just because it doesn’t measure absolutely state of the art does not mean that it measures “not so well”. Also keep in mind the intended target purchaser is likely not paying anywhere near MSRP. In my experience, ultra clean dynamics are subjectively more impressive to the human ear than lack of minor FR variation (which would be made irrelevant in any modern pro application as DSP is the norm). Same reason why Amir was pleasantly surprised when listening to the JBL PA speakers and the CBTs, etc….

Also, very narrow vertical directivity (assuming relatively symmetrical) is a HIGHLY desirable trait in pro applications as console/desk bounce is a huge factor, and vertical seating position is relatively constant.

I actually don’t think the FOH uses Amie a lot although I have seen a few. Meyer really emphasizes this as a mini Acheron.
When I said FOH I meant as a spot reference for a recording mixdown, or (more likely what my hunch is) for broadcast engineering use. Or in traditional live FOH, a fancy talkback speaker, I guess.

The story is that the Meyer Amie was developed entirely at the request of Skywalker Sound and needing better options for their dubbing stages.
Interesting insight, although (and full disclosure I have very limited experience in anything cinema related) I’d think these would be marketed as surrounds, and not for main LCR use.

There’s a lot of theory behind the Amie and how they tried to make the whole system work:
Meyer, in my experience has always been a very science focused company and I’ve always appreciated how in depth their white papers (etc) are vs other live sound companies who shroud their designs in a cloak of proprietary mystery, unless you go to their training courses, of course. :D
 

holdingpants01

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While Meyer Sound is ubiquitous in the live sound area, I never saw any of them in any studio besides post production cinema setups. The build and connectors suggest more like a mobile broadcast or installation type usage, however the drivers aren't covered so it wouldn't be ideal. There's still a big gap in woofer size between Amie 6,5" and Bluehorns 12" or Acherons 15" drivers. 8" or even 10" Amie would've been perfect - no need for sub in some cases.
What is sorely missing from all active speakers reviews and especially this one, is self generated noise measurement, it's extremely important in active speakers and it adds up with bigger installations like atmos or 7.1. Could be make or brake parameter in some cases, like when choosing from similar designs from different manufacturers. All the other equipment's noise is measured and usually at so low level that it's not detectable anyway, yet comparatively 10 times more noisy active speakers are not.
 
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dannut

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Alas, many short change you when it comes to power, dynamics or deep bass. This is especially true in smaller monitors. I can fix frequency response errors in EQ but can't do anything about lack of power or too much distortion. It is clear that Meyer Sound put dynamics and clean power front and center.
Thanks for the review. Quoted some of your text for emphasis. There is a good correlation with proper specs: linear output 102dB/1m + 18.5dB crest factor for peaks.

Completely agree there is a problem with most other small-format active monitors concerning dynamics. It seems like JBL705-708 and new generation of Neumanns are also doing the design correctly. If you can spare an hour extra for reviews, maybe you could do an AES75-type test for competing products? It would objectively quantify 'dynamics' in this market segment.
 

GXAlan

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So it measures not so well but sounds great? Are we turning into subjectivists? I vote that the listening tests should be banned.
The listening tests also help refute the idea that ASR just measures and doesn’t listen.

The key here is that we aren’t rejecting measurements.

Dr. Toole’s work talks about impact of first reflections and here you have a design that does a step off by design and that might be a feature not a bug.


I’d think these would be marketed as surrounds, and not for main LCR use.
You can see them as LCR in the last photo here:


I saw at a trade show that they had a setup with Amie as fronts and other cheaper speakers for rear and Atmos like the UP4slim.

I attached the white paper about Amie
 

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dannut

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Also, very narrow vertical directivity (assuming relatively symmetrical) is a HIGHLY desirable trait in pro applications as console/desk bounce is a huge factor, and vertical seating position is relatively constant.
This. Correct way to position monitors is a little behind the angled console/desk. If you must position them at the console, then narrow vertical directivity is all that can be done.
It seems like someone did a good job getting together the engineering specs for this speaker...


And to add for others - distortion measurements are almost always useless for quantifying output. Its good/acceptable, until it isn't. See Voishvillo, Geddes.
 
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