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Searching for some budget near-field monitors

SaladDressing

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Hello everyone,

I am searching for some cheaper active near-field monitors in the 200-300€ price range.
Currently I am using some pretty old bose (companion 2 series 2) pc speakers that do the job but since I started producing music it really is time for an upgrade.
I produce techno that is both heavy in bass, treble and midrange (hi hats, sometimes vocals). Would a subwoofer be necessary to create a clear image of the bass? If yes, any cheaper recommendations?
Other than producing music I would like to use them for listening to music and gaming, though gaming is not as important since I could switch to my pc speakers again or plug in headphones.
Speaking of headphones, are there active monitors that have headphone jacks integrated? Would be a nice feature but is not necessary. I would use them for my HD6XX. Right now I am using my HD6XX with my PC audio but as you might think they are pretty quiet. Just means I wouldn't need to purchase another dedicated dac/amp combo.

My room is a pretty small, rectangle shaped one (14m2) and has a sloped roof that covers one of the 2 longer walls. My desk is located directly on one of the shorter walls so the sloped roof is to my right and above me (the sloped roof covers most of my room so on my right side there would be only small clearance between speakers and roof, depending on the size of the speakers of course).
So again the question: would a subwoofer in a room like this be necessary for clear bass?

The music I listen to:
Techno (minimal/acid), Trance (mainly psy and 90s trance), Prog rock (the yes, jethro tull), New wave electronic music (like Jean-Michelle Jarre), Hip-Hop(pretty much only Eminem), some 80s music (pretty much only Electric Light Orchestra and Dire Straits), some Indie Rock/Dream Pop (pretty much only M83).

Sadly, I can't just go and listen to some speakers. There are some hi fi stores but they don't have any speakers that fit my description. The only music production store that has a large selection here in germany is thomann, but that one is a 8 hour drive by train, with lots of costs involved. I am a student in uni and don't have a car and the means to go cruising around, listening to speakers.

Thanks for reading this wall of text, I am looking forward to your advice and recommendations!
Thank you.
 

Colonel Bogey

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The JBL 305P MkII is 116 Eur each at Thomann. Strongly recommended if you can live without deep bass extension.

I don't know of any active monitors w headphone jack. A future upgrade for you could be an external DAC/sound card with headphone out. E.g. the Topping DX3 Pro. You could use such a device both as headphone amp as well as pre amp for the active monitors.
 
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SaladDressing

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The JBL 305P MkII is 116 Eur each at Thomann. Strongly recommended if you can live without deep bass extension.

I don't know of any active monitors w headphone jack. A future upgrade for you could be an external DAC/sound card with headphone out. E.g. the Topping DX3 Pro. You could use such a device both as headphone amp as well as pre amp for the active monitors.
Thanks for the recommendation! What do you mean with "deep bass extension"?
Also isn't a preamp already included in active monitors?
 

Colonel Bogey

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The 305p has a very flat frequency response down to about 50Hz. Below that, it falls of fast. But I have used them for film editing with good results (moved to much more expensive Genelecs since).
You dont need a separate DAC/preamp but it will probably be better than the DAC and amp in your computer. Also, its nice to have a physical volume knob.
 
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SaladDressing

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The 305p has a very flat frequency response down to about 50Hz. Below that, it falls of fast. But I have used them for film editing with good results (moved to much more expensive Genelecs since).
You dont need a separate DAC/preamp but it will probably be better than the DAC and amp in your computer. Also, its nice to have a physical volume knob.
Ohhhh, now I understand! Thanks for the explanation!
So if the bass would not be enough for me, could I still connect a sub somehow?
 

FrantzM

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Ohhhh, now I understand! Thanks for the explanation!
So if the bass would not be enough for me, could I still connect a sub somehow?
Yes... although integration is never easy... but most recommended and rewarding. It may (shall? :)) also cost you more than a pair of 305.
I second the JBL LSR 305 recommendation.
 

Jmudrick

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Ohhhh, now I understand! Thanks for the explanation!
So if the bass would not be enough for me, could I still connect a sub somehow?
The JBL matches well with it's companion 310s sub which provides a high pass filter to the 305/306/308p. Currently available at @$300. Connect via XLR. Easy peasy. I use two.
 

AnalogSteph

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1. Think about how to connect the monitors to your PC. A majority of active monitors will be giving you all kinds of grief when using an unbalanced connection (hum, hiss, other random noises etc.). If you have some decent onboard audio, plan on using a Behringer HD400 with associated cabling at least (unbalanced in, balanced out). You can't get a decent (new) audio interface for the ~40€ that this would cost.
2. That room sounds like a handful in terms of acoustics. With the sloped roof off to the side, symmetry is likely to be a mess. Consider rotating the production area by 90°, and the roof is likely to require some acoustic treatment as well.
 
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SaladDressing

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1. Think about how to connect the monitors to your PC. A majority of active monitors will be giving you all kinds of grief when using an unbalanced connection (hum, hiss, other random noises etc.). If you have some decent onboard audio, plan on using a Behringer HD400 with associated cabling at least (unbalanced in, balanced out). You can't get a decent (new) audio interface for the ~40€ that this would cost.
2. That room sounds like a handful in terms of acoustics. With the sloped roof off to the side, symmetry is likely to be a mess. Consider rotating the production area by 90°, and the roof is likely to require some acoustic treatment as well.
1. My Motherboard is pretty new and high quality so I think the quality of my onboard audio should be decent. Still, I am planning to upgrade my headphone setup anyway so might as well purchase a dac/amp combo with balanced out with it.
2. Sadly, the door of my room is righ in the middle of the flat long wall, which means that my desk is too large to fit on either side of the door. What I can do is move my desk to the left a bit so bot speakers have about the same clearance in all directions. Do you think it's fine to place the mentioned JBL right in front of the wall? Also, do I need some kind of stand?
 

AnalogSteph

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For a DAC/HPA with balanced out, you're looking at >200€ really fast. Audio interfaces with a decent headphone out just make it in below 200 but e.g. the MOTU M2 is affected by the current AKM converter shortages and you may have trouble getting one. Doing this on a budget is not that easy! Knowing what kind of headphones you have may be useful.

I have trouble imagining your space in detail... do you think you could provide a plan and/or the odd photo? Mounting rear-ported speakers near a wall is generally feasible (even if it may require more than just the boundary EQ setting on the speakers themselves) but you'll want to leave something like 5-10 cm of space at the back. You can buy wall mounts but you'll have to check the suitability for a slanted roof.
 

M00ndancer

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Think about how to connect the monitors to your PC. A majority of active monitors will be giving you all kinds of grief when using an unbalanced connection (hum, hiss, other random noises etc.). If you have some decent onboard audio, plan on using a Behringer HD400 with associated cabling at least (unbalanced in, balanced out).
This! The HD400 saved my ass when trying to use my Yamaha MODX-6 as a soundcard/interface to my computer and out to my mixer/active monitors.
 
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SaladDressing

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For a DAC/HPA with balanced out, you're looking at >200€ really fast. Audio interfaces with a decent headphone out just make it in below 200 but e.g. the MOTU M2 is affected by the current AKM converter shortages and you may have trouble getting one. Doing this on a budget is not that easy! Knowing what kind of headphones you have may be useful.

I have trouble imagining your space in detail... do you think you could provide a plan and/or the odd photo? Mounting rear-ported speakers near a wall is generally feasible (even if it may require more than just the boundary EQ setting on the speakers themselves) but you'll want to leave something like 5-10 cm of space at the back. You can buy wall mounts but you'll have to check the suitability for a slanted roof.
Yeah I noticed that pretty fast when I started looking for a Dac + Amp, cheapest being schiit modius + magnius. What I plan on doing now is purchase the speakers and try them via a trs to xlr cable. If I get noise I'll purchase the behringer, if not I'm gonna stay with that till I upgrade to a Topping E30/L30 combo. The L30 will also be used as a preamp.
I mentioned the headphones I use in my op, it's the HD6XX from Drop.

5-10 cm should be managable. The wall mounts are a great idea! I made a little plan of my room in paint:
Room.png
 
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