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Overhauling the setup

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Ilkless

Ilkless

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Having sold my Idunns to a very happy new owner (miraculously - DIY speakers are notoriously difficult to sell), I decided to stretch the budget, and there are 3 clear frontrunners for speakers:

8050B - 3600 USD locally

KH310A - 3850 USD from Thomann including (incredibly reasonable) shipping and tax/5060USD locally (yes you read that right, that's what happens when the KH310 is sold only to the installation market here)

Reflector Audio Square Two - 3900USD + 400USD air freight (always part of the cost of doing business with smaller companies) + 7% sales tax on imports = 4330USD

I consider the Reflector a more advanced speaker, like a mix between the Genelec Ones and the Danley Synergy with less slot loading than the Genelec and less horn loading than the Danley for the midwoofers. Coaxial, time-aligned, linear-phase, controlled but narrower directivity with very high max SPL (110dB >100Hz per speaker) - more comparable in innovation to the likes of Kii, Genelec Ones, Danley and DD. I'm leaning towards the Reflector because the Neumann and Genelec seem to be near EOL as well. Plus crossing narrower directivity speakers in front of the listening position expands the sweet spot anyway. But its the most expensive speaker with the fees involved.

There's also an used pair of LSR708s selling for under 3k locally that no one has bought for over a year so I might try and haggle for that but I find the port cancellation irritating. Likely inaudible due to the high Q but not desirable and IMO unacceptable in that price class. Poor owner paid 5500USD for those new, ridiculous. Pro audio margins here are incredibly high because they tend to be installers, rather than just retailers.
 

phoenixdogfan

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Considering you seem willing to stretch the budget all the way to $4k, I would consider what else I could buy if I economized a bit on the speakers. I know active is a religion to some around here, but it has the decided disadvantage of taking out the entire system if something breaks in the box-
-and any warranty repair will involve overseas shipping cost for you.

For those reasons, I'd recommend the R3's and something like a Hypex NC252 from either Buckeye or VTV. With the money left over, you'd have enough for a miniDSP Flex which could provide PEQ, Crossover for a sub(s), and Dirac DSP, if you so choose. I think you could do all that (saving the subs for a later date) for $4k, and have a full range system with high quality electronics, DSP, and the flexibility to upgrade without having to sell or trade in anything.

Should sound pretty good too.
 

maverickronin

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I'm psychologically biased against simple (seeming) 2 ways so out of those choices I'd go with the KH310 or that Reflector.

I'm just getting into real speakers after almost being exclusively headphones for more than a decade and went with an R3 and a Buckeye NC252 and will be adding subs when it warms up enough here for me to build a kit.
 
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Ilkless

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Considering you seem willing to stretch the budget all the way to $4k, I would consider what else I could buy if I economized a bit on the speakers. I know active is a religion to some around here, but it has the decided disadvantage of taking out the entire system if something breaks in the box-
-and any warranty repair will involve overseas shipping cost for you.

For those reasons, I'd recommend the R3's and something like a Hypex NC252 from either Buckeye or VTV. With the money left over, you'd have enough for a miniDSP Flex which could provide PEQ, Crossover for a sub(s), and Dirac DSP if you so choose. I think you could do all that (saving the subs for a later date) for $4k, and have a full range system with high quality electronics, DSP, and the flexibility to upgrade without having to sell or trade in anything.

Someone is selling their used Ghent kit for cheap, so that's definitely an option that also frees up budget for passives from KEF, Revel etc. Someone else is selling their Revel F208s for $3,500 and both would definitely be in budget.
 

TimW

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The Reflectors are the most compelling option to me. Narrow directivity can really help in an untreated room with an asymmetrical layout in my experience.
 

jhaider

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Reflector Audio Square Two - 3900USD + 400USD air freight (always part of the cost of doing business with smaller companies) + 7% sales tax on imports = 4330USD... Plus crossing narrower directivity speakers in front of the listening position expands the sweet spot anyway. But its the most expensive speaker with the fees involved.

Do you have personal experience with such narrow directivity speakers in a similar-sized room? They may be just the ticket - or you may find you hate the presentation. I think they're an interesting option that from all measurements are very well engineered. Personally, I'd love to hear a set. However, I'd be hesitant to spend that much money on something that's going to present in room quite differently from "normal" good hifi speakers without knowing that's the sound I want. Maybe you can rent a pair of Danley SH50s for a "gig" to see if that kind of midrange/treble directivity will work for your tastes in your room?

There's also an used pair of LSR708s selling for under 3k locally that no one has bought for over a year so I might try and haggle for that but I find the port cancellation irritating. Likely inaudible due to the high Q but not desirable and IMO unacceptable in that price class.

I think you should see if you can listen to those. They're IMO very hard to beat at any price sonically - if you're looking at the inflection point on the sound quality per dollar point where diminishing marginal returns hit hard, 7-series are it IMO in the US (KH 310 occupies the same spot in much of the rest of the world.). However, a purchase is a personal thing and if that errant wiggle still gnaws on you after an audition that's a good data point for you. Also, they're ugly, and have poor finish quality compared to Neumann or Genelec, which are certainly reasonable factors to consider for a home audio purchase.
 

mcdn

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Lots of great options for speakers, but what are you going to use for room correction?
 

stevenswall

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Why not IN-8v2 - not a big fan of the coaxial null and worried about hiss still. SO didn't seem keen on the looks and build either. It always feels like compromises have to be made to have a woofer this size at that price range.

Clarification: This hiss is now as low as a Genelec. If Genelec speakers hiss too much for you, then yes the Kali will have too much hiss, but I've never heard of someone being bothered by Genelec hiss levels, so I don't think it's an issue.

Secondly, there is no coaxial null on the IN-8 or V2. According to Charles Sprinkle, the dip in response is due to the ridge around the midrange driver, not the air gap between the tweeter and the midrange. Coaxial coincident drivers have ZERO inherent acoustic disadvantages unless you need massive SPL in which case you may not be able to fit a large enough magnet in a coaxial driver vs separating things out.

Once Kali releases a higher end model they should be able to get the waveguide perfected to not have any acoustic discontinuities.
 
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Ilkless

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Lots of great options for speakers, but what are you going to use for room correction?

MiniDSP SHD/SHD Studio later on depending on whether the speakers have AES/EBU.

Do you have personal experience with such narrow directivity speakers in a similar-sized room? They may be just the ticket - or you may find you hate the presentation. I think they're an interesting option that from all measurements are very well engineered. Personally, I'd love to hear a set. However, I'd be hesitant to spend that much money on something that's going to present in room quite differently from "normal" good hifi speakers without knowing that's the sound I want. Maybe you can rent a pair of Danley SH50s for a "gig" to see if that kind of midrange/treble directivity will work for your tastes in your room?



I think you should see if you can listen to those. They're IMO very hard to beat at any price sonically - if you're looking at the inflection point on the sound quality per dollar point where diminishing marginal returns hit hard, 7-series are it IMO in the US (KH 310 occupies the same spot in much of the rest of the world.). However, a purchase is a personal thing and if that errant wiggle still gnaws on you after an audition that's a good data point for you. Also, they're ugly, and have poor finish quality compared to Neumann or Genelec, which are certainly reasonable factors to consider for a home audio purchase.

Good idea re: Danleys and the JBLs. My previous speakers, by virtue of the SEAS DXT waveguide, are narrower than usual in the crossover region and wider than average in the top octave. I have heard the usual waveguide studio monitor suspects from Genelec/HEDD/Neumann and I found the focus and clarity to the sound nice and not stuffy at all even in a studio environment with a lot of absorption.

Clarification: This hiss is now as low as a Genelec. If Genelec speakers hiss too much for you, then yes the Kali will have too much hiss, but I've never heard of someone being bothered by Genelec hiss levels, so I don't think it's an issue.

Secondly, there is no coaxial null on the IN-8 or V2. According to Charles Sprinkle, the dip in response is due to the ridge around the midrange driver, not the air gap between the tweeter and the midrange. Coaxial coincident drivers have ZERO inherent acoustic disadvantages unless you need massive SPL in which case you may not be able to fit a large enough magnet in a coaxial driver vs separating things out.

Once Kali releases a higher end model they should be able to get the waveguide perfected to not have any acoustic discontinuities.

Midwoofer's distortion and max SPL isn't particularly impressive. I want SOTA SPL capability and distortion - particularly in the area above where a sub can play for optimal integration.

I struggle to imagine how a dip at that frequency range and wavelength could be related to the midrange driver instead if the tweeter coupling as virtually with all coaxials that are not KEF/Genelec.
 

mcdn

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You say 83dBSPL programme peaks at 2m, with 10dB of headroom let's say 93dbSPL @ 2m for a pair, that's actually only 86dBSPL @1m per speaker, right? Or maybe even only 83dBSPL @ 1m per speaker. Anyway, truly tiny amounts of SPL and power, I wouldn't worry about distortion much.

You'll be using full DSP, so you can integrate subs and also control the frequency response. That really only leaves the dispersion characteristics of the speaker and cosmetic appeal as factors for your decision.

If it was my decision I'd get a couple of decent small subs, which both helps with room modes and eliminates worries about the main speakers' deep bass distortion. Personally I love the more even vertical response of coaxials (I have some LXminis), so would go for either the Kali IN-8v2 or the Kef R3 depending on budget. Other excellent choices exist :)
 

tifune

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It's sad but the options here for well engineered and well made speakers without a ridiculous markup are so few that even ATCs are a plausible option.

Have you looked into any re-shipping services? The catch-22 is, of course, if you buy from Thomann UK (for example) and use a reshipping service in UK you have to pay VAT so the savings is a wash. But if you can find someone reputable in, say, CN (arbitrary example) maybe prices come back down to reality.

Also, when people get into the $3-4k range, I start thinking multichannel. I'm guessing that doesn't interest you much? If you can get by with a PA5, you can certainly get by with a lower end or refurb Denon.
 
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Ilkless

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Have you looked into any re-shipping services? The catch-22 is, of course, if you buy from Thomann UK (for example) and use a reshipping service in UK you have to pay VAT so the savings is a wash. But if you can find someone reputable in, say, CN (arbitrary example) maybe prices come back down to reality.

Also, when people get into the $3-4k range, I start thinking multichannel. I'm guessing that doesn't interest you much? If you can get by with a PA5, you can certainly get by with a lower end or refurb Denon.

Oh Thomann has incredibly good shipping prices. Shipping is a non-issue for anything I can import from Thomann, they are exemplary. They used to quote me 50€ flat rate under 30kg but that's changed I think. For a pair of KH310s I was quoted a touch over 100€.

It's more an issue of warranty (even though the Neumann warranty is international on paper), support and the KH310 likely approaching end-of-life.

No, not really one for multichannel - don't listen to much multichannel content and apartment living means I can't really do justice to movies. But I was looking at a Denon early on too. Figured I would prefer an XLR chain because I'm running a Topping EX5 now and can swap in an SHD later on.

You say 83dBSPL programme peaks at 2m, with 10dB of headroom let's say 93dbSPL @ 2m for a pair, that's actually only 86dBSPL @1m per speaker, right? Or maybe even only 83dBSPL @ 1m per speaker. Anyway, truly tiny amounts of SPL and power, I wouldn't worry about distortion much.

You'll be using full DSP, so you can integrate subs and also control the frequency response. That really only leaves the dispersion characteristics of the speaker and cosmetic appeal as factors for your decision.

If it was my decision I'd get a couple of decent small subs, which both helps with room modes and eliminates worries about the main speakers' deep bass distortion. Personally I love the more even vertical response of coaxials (I have some LXminis), so would go for either the Kali IN-8v2 or the Kef R3 depending on budget. Other excellent choices exist :)

Yes, the SHD/SHD Studio gives me room to expand to multisubs, that was my intention - to get the best mains I can then add multisubs in the future.
 

mcdn

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Can I ask why you wouldn't get the room correction first, then the subs, then worry about changing the speakers? Room correction has by far the biggest impact on the sound, so get that working first. Multi subs (with RC of course, see step 1!) is the next biggest impact*, so get them working. After that you can worry about the speakers...



* note that in some cases multi subs without RC may be more important than RC, for example if you have speakers with very limited bass.
 

tifune

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No, not really one for multichannel - don't listen to much multichannel content and apartment living means I can't really do justice to movies. But I was looking at a Denon early on too. Figured I would prefer an XLR chain because I'm running a Topping EX5 now and can swap in an SHD later on.

Understood; I don't listen to much discreet multichannel simply because the type of music I like doesn't have the budget for it. But, upmixing tech has come a long way and I quite like how Auro (or Dolby depending on layout) adds a subtle but useful sphere around you. Because it's so subtle, the speakers basically just need to meet the tastes of your aesthetic - sound quality barely matters (within reason).

Very interested to see where you land; you always seem to have a pulse on the "new new."
 

TimW

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Can I ask why you wouldn't get the room correction first, then the subs, then worry about changing the speakers? Room correction has by far the biggest impact on the sound, so get that working first. Multi subs (with RC of course, see step 1!) is the next biggest impact*, so get them working. After that you can worry about the speakers...



* note that in some cases multi subs without RC may be more important than RC, for example if you have speakers with very limited bass.
I agree with you, but I believe the OP has already sold his previous pair of speakers so a new pair is in order first and foremost.
 

mcdn

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I agree with you, but I believe the OP has already sold his previous pair of speakers so a new pair is in order first and foremost.
From the first post "I currently own a lightly-modded pair of SEAS Idunn that I'm trying to sell". So @Ilkless still has those.
 
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