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The beginning of my audio journey, help and advice

Soshka

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Hey everyone! I just wanted to start off by saying how much I love these forums (old school, but still amazing) and the wonderful community and content here. Lately, I've developed a passion for the audio sphere hobby.

To put it simply, I've always been fascinated by "sound" and I've been diving into all the different aspects of it. Now, I must admit that I'm no expert and I'm starting from scratch. I have a small desk setup in my bedroom at home, although it's not perfect, I really want to invest in a speaker setup that is both reliable and delivers great sound. Honestly, I mainly use it for my own entertainment like listening to music, watching films, and gaming during my spare time. It's a complete escape from my work life. I do want to explore the audio hobby in all its glory.

Currently, my dream setup would be the Genelec 8030c speakers (raw finish) with a Genelec subwoofer and an audio interface (maybe the Muto II?). However, some people have pointed out that it might be too much for my room and that I should consider a more beginner-friendly near field setup. Also, since my desk is shared with my wife for her work, the speakers might be a bit too big as we both prefer a clean desk space. So, I wanted to ask for recommendations on good options for a near field setup, preferably with smaller speakers that are versatile, reliable, and built to last.

I'm still leaning towards the Genelecs because they receive a lot of praise, but I've also been eyeing the Kali IN UNF setup as it seems like an all-in-one solution (although I do wish it had protective grills).

Any tips, advice, suggestions, links, or even a little bit of ridicule would be greatly appreciated! Just to give you an idea of my room setup, my desk measures 140x60 cm and it's against a wall where my neighbor lives. On the left side, there's another wall, and on the right side, there's a wardrobe. The room also has a bed and other furniture inside.

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

ivayvr

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I have Genelec 8020D and Genelec 7040 sub. I don't know if sub is an option because of the size and potential disturbance to the neighbor. The combination sound really nice.
Other option without the sub, would be Neumann KH 120II. They go deeper than the 8030 and are similar size. Previous version of Neumanns is quite a bit cheaper and still fairly decent.
 

radix

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Neuman's are also pretty good. And the sub (kh-750) has AES input, so you can use an inexpensive USB-coax converter instead of a DAC if you want (all software volume control then). The KH750-{KH80/KH120/etc} combos also include their EQ management, if you buy the measurement mic.

The SAM-based Genelec subs (e.g. 7350A) also have AES input, so you could skip the DAC if desired and can be used with the Genelec GLM EQ management. I believe with the GLM subs, you can use the Genelec volume control knob too. I use Neuman (kh750/KH80) on my desktop, so my Genelec knowledge is 2nd-hand.

I like using VESA mounts on the desktop to raise the tweeter level to my ear height. These also take up very little desk real estate. You can get a VESA back adapter for both Genelec and Neuman (I actually use the Genelec one on my KH80s, as it's cheaper and easier to get).

If all output is from your computer, you could use software-based room correction rather than SAM/GLM or Neumann EQ correction.

You will need to EQ speakers like this. Otherwise, they will likely sound very bright because they have a flat frequency response. For playback (as opposed to recording/mixing), you generally want a house curve with a little bass bump and a bit of high roll-off. Search for "harman curve" or "house curve" on ASR. There are some switches on the speakers to help, but for this investment, you really should do a full EQ on them.
 

lemmy_collins

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Genelec 8020 are OK for proximity listening, even at quite loud volume. Can't say about the sub.

For the DAC/ADC, i guess you're talking about MOTU M2, it's a great product (IIRC Motu M4 was tested by Amir).

I guess a headphone is more or less mandatory too, hard to beat a good headphone "sound quality" for a price between $100 and $200. I've recently choose the AKG K371 but take a look at Amir's tests, depending on your budget maybe you can find something more appropriate.

One precision: with the M2, you'll have 2 ADC inputs too, depending on what you're thinking for you're future audio journey, maybe something like topping E50 (DAC only) is more appropriate: better spec than the M2 _BUT_ you won't heard any difference, it could be interesting for measurement purpose... by the way for measurement you'll then need ADC too... Or maybe you can prefer a DAC+headphone amplifier (more or less necessary depending on the headphone you choose / how accurate are your ears), take a look at Topping again, hard to have better for quite low prices.

Welcome and enjoy the music
 

kemmler3D

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Hey everyone! I just wanted to start off by saying how much I love these forums (old school, but still amazing) and the wonderful community and content here. Lately, I've developed a passion for the audio sphere hobby.

To put it simply, I've always been fascinated by "sound" and I've been diving into all the different aspects of it. Now, I must admit that I'm no expert and I'm starting from scratch. I have a small desk setup in my bedroom at home, although it's not perfect, I really want to invest in a speaker setup that is both reliable and delivers great sound. Honestly, I mainly use it for my own entertainment like listening to music, watching films, and gaming during my spare time. It's a complete escape from my work life. I do want to explore the audio hobby in all its glory.

Currently, my dream setup would be the Genelec 8030c speakers (raw finish) with a Genelec subwoofer and an audio interface (maybe the Muto II?). However, some people have pointed out that it might be too much for my room and that I should consider a more beginner-friendly near field setup. Also, since my desk is shared with my wife for her work, the speakers might be a bit too big as we both prefer a clean desk space. So, I wanted to ask for recommendations on good options for a near field setup, preferably with smaller speakers that are versatile, reliable, and built to last.

I'm still leaning towards the Genelecs because they receive a lot of praise, but I've also been eyeing the Kali IN UNF setup as it seems like an all-in-one solution (although I do wish it had protective grills).

Any tips, advice, suggestions, links, or even a little bit of ridicule would be greatly appreciated! Just to give you an idea of my room setup, my desk measures 140x60 cm and it's against a wall where my neighbor lives. On the left side, there's another wall, and on the right side, there's a wardrobe. The room also has a bed and other furniture inside.

Thanks in advance for your help!
I just got a used pair of Genelec 4030b which is a predecessor to the 8030c, after a long period of thinking and looking for deals. I guess the 8030c has somewhat smoother response and everything, but I have to say I am quite happy for what I paid for the 4030bs... they sound better than I expected, even. According to Genelec the power response is identical between the two.

I also have the MOTU M2 and I have no complaints except that it sometimes acts up when I try to use phantom power. I think that's because it's not getting enough juice on bus power, but I don't know. Got mine secondhand and it works great other than that.

If you have the budget, just go for the Genelecs. There's no reason to spend time and money on worse speakers just because you're new to audio. If I could go back and give my younger self advice, it would have been to just spring for the genelecs in the first place.

They're eminently mount-able so you can probably use some clever stands or desk-mount arms or something to make the space work.

They're also considered quite reliable / durable so you can go to the secondary market more confidently and save some bucks.

In a small-ish room you won't miss the sub too badly and you can add it later. Frankly your space sounds very problematic, but the 8030c has very smooth directivity, so it will minimize the problem as much as it can be.

Oh and welcome to ASR!
 

EERecordist

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Welcome to ASR and the audio pastime and science. First I would suggest the iPhone, or old iPod Touch and the NIOSH app. It measures loudness in a repeatable way. Too much loudness will destroy your ears for the pastime. Second I would suggest earplugs in loud situations. The more you listen to live music of any kind, the better your ears are to judge sound playback.

Your desktop is a case of nearfield monitors. Small Genelecs, and the small KEF coaxials are possibilities. Some friends use Dynaudio. Consider how they will be supported by stands in your desktop setup. ASR has many reviews of passive and active speakers. Arrange to trial and return as necessary. Join your partner at live events so they develop their ear and can share the pastime.
 
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TheBatsEar

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I recently bought a pair of Genelec 8020D in white and i'm happy so far. I use a SVS sub i had because the ones from Genelec are a bit pricey for my taste. Lots of features in the sub i wouldn't use.

Right now i use a MiniDSP Flex as a digital preamp. It's the RCA version, so i have RCA to XLR adapters for the speakers. I also have them mounted to the VESA mounts that came with my monitor arms, i didn't need the ones from Genelec. I had to widen some holes on the VESA mounting plane a bit, nothing major if you have a 7 mm metall drill.

Really nice speakers, i can recommend them.
PXL_20240327_193208387.jpg
 

LTig

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I use 2 Genelec 8020a from 2006 mounted on small K&M desktop microphone stands, accompanied by a Kef PSW 2000 (2500?) 8" sub I got for a Pizza. Great sound. My wife uses a pair without a sub in her room and still the sound is really good.

Nowadays I might tend to the Neumann KH80 since my big system uses K&H O300Ds.
 

rsc1

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Genelecs are great, but pricey. The Kali speakers measure really well but damn they're ugly...

Do you want active or passive? Warm/neutral/forward sounding?
 
OP
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Soshka

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Genelecs are great, but pricey. The Kali speakers measure really well but damn they're ugly...

Do you want active or passive? Warm/neutral/forward sounding?
I wish I knew I don't mind passive or active but in terms of how they sound I don't really know, I have the marshall stanmoore II as my daily use and it's nice but I've never really had a serious preference, I guess good sounding lol which I know is subjective but everyone raves how good genelecs sound for the purity of the sound
 

kemmler3D

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I wish I knew I don't mind passive or active but in terms of how they sound I don't really know, I have the marshall stanmoore II as my daily use and it's nice but I've never really had a serious preference, I guess good sounding lol which I know is subjective but everyone raves how good genelecs sound for the purity of the sound
If you are going from the Stanmore to anything suggested in this thread, it will be night and day, if only because you'll get actual stereo instead of "stereo". :)

I used to work in the BT speaker space and nothing in that space except maybe Sonos is something you'd call Hi-fi. Marshall stuff is not garbage by any means, but it's not in the same league as proper nearfield speakers. You're going to hear a lot of details you never heard before.

The advantage of active speakers: the amplifiers are built in and sometimes the DAC too, so it's less stuff you have to buy and plug in. Often you also get multiple amps in one speaker so you get less distortion, it may have an active crossover, the whole system is usually just dialed in a bit better.

The disadvantage: If the amplifier breaks, so does the speaker.

So with passive speakers you don't put all your eggs in one basket.

That said Genelec is considered really reliable so that's less of a concern there.

Anyway, no bad options in this thread so it's really about what you want to spend, but if you catch the hi-fi bug you'll probably end up with Genelec or Neumann eventually anyway. ;)
 

rsc1

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I wish I knew I don't mind passive or active but in terms of how they sound I don't really know, I have the marshall stanmoore II as my daily use and it's nice but I've never really had a serious preference, I guess good sounding lol which I know is subjective but everyone raves how good genelecs sound for the purity of the sound
If simplicity is what you want, get some good active speakers. Genelecs are awesome, very neutral, and pretty much endgame for nearfield IF you like a neutral sound. What sounds good to others might not sound good to you though. Keep in mind - most active speakers tend to hiss a bit when you're close to them. Like kemmler said, anything will be huge step up in clarity from your Marshall. What is your budget?
 

lemmy_collins

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If simplicity is what you want, get some good active speakers. Genelecs are awesome, very neutral, and pretty much endgame for nearfield IF you like a neutral sound. What sounds good to others might not sound good to you though. Keep in mind - most active speakers tend to hiss a bit when you're close to them. Like kemmler said, anything will be huge step up in clarity from your Marshall. What is your budget?
the more your system is neutral, the more you can master how it sounds good for you... and it ease how to correct the listening room.
 
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Soshka

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If simplicity is what you want, get some good active speakers. Genelecs are awesome, very neutral, and pretty much endgame for nearfield IF you like a neutral sound. What sounds good to others might not sound good to you though. Keep in mind - most active speakers tend to hiss a bit when you're close to them. Like kemmler said, anything will be huge step up in clarity from your Marshall. What is your budget?
£1500 and thank you for the tips
 

rsc1

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the more your system is neutral, the more you can master how it sounds good for you... and it ease how to correct the listening room.
Correct, but if you're after simplicity then maybe you don't want to mess with EQ and room correction (yet). Just trying to lay out all of OP's options. If there is a cheaper speaker that has good directivity with the sound signature you like, that's most likely all you'll need (at least for now until you go further down the audiophile rabbit hole). Most important thing is to enjoy the music!
£1500 and thank you for the tips
Not sure how big you want them to be, but some other options to consider. I haven't heard these personally, but they're from well-regarded brands and will fit on your desk easily. Keep in mind these prices are US based.
Active (powered) and have AirPlay, Chromecast etc. built in, no extra devices/wires needed;
SVS Prime Wireless Pro $899
PSB Alpha iQ $999 (this would be my pick as I like a warmer, non-fatiguing sound which PSB usually has)

Another good option is to go passive, get something like the WiiM Amp for $299 (which has streaming + DAC + EQ built in) and pair it with:
Sonus Faber Lumina I $999
Q Acoustics 5010/5020 $749/$899
Polk R100 $649 (this would be my pick, great budget speaker, measures well also). Hope that helps.
 
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Soshka

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Correct, but if you're after simplicity then maybe you don't want to mess with EQ and room correction (yet). Just trying to lay out all of OP's options. If there is a cheaper speaker that has good directivity with the sound signature you like, that's most likely all you'll need (at least for now until you go further down the audiophile rabbit hole). Most important thing is to enjoy the music!

Not sure how big you want them to be, but some other options to consider. I haven't heard these personally, but they're from well-regarded brands and will fit on your desk easily. Keep in mind these prices are US based.
Active (powered) and have AirPlay, Chromecast etc. built in, no extra devices/wires needed;
SVS Prime Wireless Pro $899
PSB Alpha iQ $999 (this would be my pick as I like a warmer, non-fatiguing sound which PSB usually has)

Another good option is to go passive, get something like the WiiM Amp for $299 (which has streaming + DAC + EQ built in) and pair it with:
Sonus Faber Lumina I $999
Q Acoustics 5010/5020 $749/$899
Polk R100 $649 (this would be my pick, great budget speaker, measures well also). Hope that helps.
Thank you for the tips, I actually wanna use EQ to learn and get good at it, currently I use PEACE on my pc for my audio stuff and my cheap IEMs as I game with them, my marshall speaker is just for music I guess but I will take it to the living room once I get my speakers, the size preferably for average pc desk is what I am looking at... The WiiAmp suggestion is good.. can I still connect active speakers to them?
 

rsc1

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Thank you for the tips, I actually wanna use EQ to learn and get good at it, currently I use PEACE on my pc for my audio stuff and my cheap IEMs as I game with them, my marshall speaker is just for music I guess but I will take it to the living room once I get my speakers, the size preferably for average pc desk is what I am looking at... The WiiAmp suggestion is good.. can I still connect active speakers to them?
Unfortunately, it doesn't have a pre-out, so you won't be able to connect active speakers to the WiiM Amp. You'd have to pair that with passive speakers. Which would be a good combo. I have a WiiM Amp myself and it's a great little device.

They are working on a new device (WiiM Ultra) which is supposed to have that functionality, but it won't be out for a couple more months. You could however pair active speakers with a WiiM Pro streamer and benefit from 10-band PEQ (soon) + bass management if you decide to add a sub. Or you could add a miniDSP 2x4HD to your active speakers for more advanced room correction.
 

Miguelón

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Hey everyone! I just wanted to start off by saying how much I love these forums (old school, but still amazing) and the wonderful community and content here. Lately, I've developed a passion for the audio sphere hobby.

To put it simply, I've always been fascinated by "sound" and I've been diving into all the different aspects of it. Now, I must admit that I'm no expert and I'm starting from scratch. I have a small desk setup in my bedroom at home, although it's not perfect, I really want to invest in a speaker setup that is both reliable and delivers great sound. Honestly, I mainly use it for my own entertainment like listening to music, watching films, and gaming during my spare time. It's a complete escape from my work life. I do want to explore the audio hobby in all its glory.

Currently, my dream setup would be the Genelec 8030c speakers (raw finish) with a Genelec subwoofer and an audio interface (maybe the Muto II?). However, some people have pointed out that it might be too much for my room and that I should consider a more beginner-friendly near field setup. Also, since my desk is shared with my wife for her work, the speakers might be a bit too big as we both prefer a clean desk space. So, I wanted to ask for recommendations on good options for a near field setup, preferably with smaller speakers that are versatile, reliable, and built to last.

I'm still leaning towards the Genelecs because they receive a lot of praise, but I've also been eyeing the Kali IN UNF setup as it seems like an all-in-one solution (although I do wish it had protective grills).

Any tips, advice, suggestions, links, or even a little bit of ridicule would be greatly appreciated! Just to give you an idea of my room setup, my desk measures 140x60 cm and it's against a wall where my neighbor lives. On the left side, there's another wall, and on the right side, there's a wardrobe. The room also has a bed and other furniture inside.

Thanks in advance for your help!
Hello, I have the Genelec 8030, Genelec 8020, Neumann 120 ii, Neumann 80 DSP in order to compare and decide which I will use in a system.

Personally, if you love sound I don’t advice you to get Neumanns. Is very subjective but there are so dedicated for mixing in my honest opinion. Obviously not 120 ii on a desk because you will have to restrict all of its potential, and the KH 80 has a bizarre configuration in which the signal will be re-digitalized and again reconverted to analogue inside the speaker: no possibility of digital input on the speaker so it loose a lot of clarity.

Both Genelec 8020 and 8030 sound very nice and musical, but we decided to get the 8020 as it is easier to fit in desktops, small rooms and poor acoustic conditions. Don’t worry with bass extension, on a desk low end will be more a problem than an advantage.

We are waiting for the subwoofer 7040, so we have no direct information but apparently is a nice small-size sub with its 6,5 inches and we hope it will not disturb neighbors as a 8, 10 or even 12 inches subwoofers.

We researched a lot on different forums included ASR and the 8020 + 7040 is really appreciated in small rooms and desks.

I have some experience in acoustics from pianos and ancient hi-fi systems and what really matters finally is the matching of system and room, so my vote goes to the small 2.1 Genelec option as it is the most versatile configuration for your desk.


Of course you can get the 8020 alone first, and after decide if you need a sub or not. Think also that there are active subwoofers so they can be tuned in volume and frequencies with the dip switches
 

Miguelón

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£1500 and thank you for the tips
My final choice, and my advice for you, think we are in similar situations: not professional use of the gear, love flat sound and problematic acoustical environment.

Genelec 8020D x 2= 900€ or perhaps less depending on dealer

Genelec 7040 x 1= 800€

Total 1700€ so around 1450 £

You will need also a DAC but this is less problematic. If you want to use your smartphone instead of your computer the Wiim Pro streamer can be a good option. To connect the computer you have plenty of cheap DACs, don’t worry about balanced or unbalanced connections as the cables will be short. Of course the sound improves a very tiny bit with balanced outputs, but is not a must
 
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