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Stereo System Recs, Please?

APerfectSquirrel

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May 27, 2024
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Long time lurker. First time poster. Looking for a setup for $2-$4k. By way of background, I listen to mostly alternative, rock, progressive rock, and a smattering of jazz/classical (5%). My primary music source is Apple Music. I‘ve had vinyl, tape, and CD as a kid, but really like streaming for the immediate accessibility. I primarily listen with IEM’s (TruthEar Crinacles that were reviewed here) through a Chord Mojo2 at work, and I have Meze Pros at home, and I also built a Bottlehead S.E.X. for the Mezes and to drive some NHT speakers I’ve had forever. My listening room is about 20‘x15’ and listening position would be 8-9ft. Lastly, I’m a musician and do a bit of home recording (this may be pertinent later).

I’m really looking for simplicity and really want to avoid a bunch of components. There’s something appealing about a streamer/DAC and a pair of powered speakers.

The other thing I‘m not really looking for is a super critical listening setup. I do mix my own music and it is often exhausting listening so closely. So, when I’m listening to other recordings, I’m looking for a fun and immersive experience without it sounding too clinical. With my Meze phones (not the IEMs) and the Mojo, I sometimes get distracted by the music being too revealing. Am I alone in not wanting squeaky clean perfect monitor-like stereo speakers?

Anyway, in narrowing down to a minimalist approach and thus powered speakers, I’m seeing a lot of “studio monitors,” and I’m nervous of this for reasons noted above. I did notice that Genelec offers speakers that serve as studio and home listening speakers (8040B and the G4, respectively) and I’m wondering if these speakers would work and not be too clinical. Other thoughts? KEFs? Though I wonder if my room is too big for the LS series.
Thank you in advance.
p.s. Bummed I’ll be missing the upcoming Costa Mesa show. I should probably catch one of these events though before taking a >$2k plunge.
 
A MiniDSP SHD and a pair of Neumann KH150's could be what you want. It's a bit against the limits of your budget, but it would be a great setup for a small room like yours.

You could also just use the Neumanns with something like a Bluesound Node or a Wiim Streamer, if the SHD is too expensive. The Neumann is a studio monitor, but not clinical or bright like many are. It's tested here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/neumann-kh-150-monitor-review.39922/
 
My minimalist side uses a pair of JBL LSR 308 actives.

They are the daily drivers here, and are inoffensive at low to moderate volumes.

Loud they don't like so much.

Good deal for the low price, I think.

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