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Yet another post about best active speakers for near field listening

Nicochu

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Hello everyone,

First of all I want to say that ASR rocks ! I've been reading a lot here and i've learned so many things. It's very pleasant to see how passionate you guys are when talking about audio in general.

I'm pretty recent in hi-fi world and i've been recently reading a lot of topics here about active speakers, but yet i'm still afraid to make a bad and expensive choice so here I am asking for your help :).

Here is a picture of my current setup

setup.jpg

  • My desk is 80cm deep
  • I'll probably remove a screen so I can have place on left and right to put the speakers on corners (or a bit closer from the desk center in order to be close to 30 degrees from listening position)
  • At my main listening position, the speakers will be from 70cm to 120 cm from my hears depending on my position on the chair
  • I will mainly listen to them on the position you see on picture, I might as well be listening on the back left of the picture position, in this position I would be 50cm below and about 2m far from the speakers and obviously the left one will be nearer to me than the right one
  • The room is about 4m50 long and 3m50 large, with 3m height
  • The room is not treated at all, the sound is not very good in it
My needs are
  • Very near to mid field listening distance capability (70cm -> 250cm), mostly very near and near field (mid field capability is way less important)
  • I'd like a speaker that is not too big on my desk
  • I am mainly listening to raggae/dub and electronic music so bass are important to me, but i prefer clean than heavy bass as I live in an appartement for now. I'm also considering pop, rock and classical music listening.
  • I really often play video games and talk on Discord with friends without headphone, i'd like the gaming experience to be enjoyable as well as music
  • I might buy a sub later on when i'll change my location in at least more than a year, so I'd like not to feel bass lack from the speakers themselves without a sub
  • For now I don't need a lot of power as I don't listen very loud, but It might change in few years (this is not a priority)
  • My budget is around 5000€ for all the setup (I only have topping E30/L30 now and i guess i'll need a XLR amp), with this price i'm considering keeping and really enjoying the speakers for at least 10 years
For now my selection in order of preference is
  • Genelec 8331 with GLM kit
  • Genelec 8330 with GLM kit, I might add sub in case of feeling a lack of bass but save money is a good option as well
  • Neumann KH 310 with a calibration set, but i think those will be too big on my desk and i've read ultra near field is not optimal
  • Neumann KH 120 with a calibration set, I might add sub in case of feeling a lack of bass but save money is a good option as well
I really enjoy the fact than genelec EQ are set in the speaker so no always running program needed. I also have the feeling that, as a hi-fi newbie, GLM is way more simpler to set.

I consider buying a Topping EX5 DAC/Amp to drive the speakers (I like the all in one with bluetooth), but i'm not sure that is enough to correctly drive a 5000€ setup.

The concerns I have for now

I am really afraid of not enjoying that much those speakers regarding their price, as I said i'm new in hi-fi and for now I feel I enjoy more a "bassy warm sound" than a "clean and analytic" one.
For example i've bought a HD800S headphone and it was a mistake as I feel the sound might be a bit "cold" to me, I also really enjoy the signature of my Bose QC35 II and it is 7 times cheaper. Here I have the same fear that I might enjoy a ~500€ "round and warm sound" setup more than the selection i've made.
I sadly have no possibility to listen to the genelec or neumann near my home, I have access to this shop stuff if I want to try some speakers though.

If I decide to go for the Genelec, i'm not sure the price difference is worth between 8330 and 8331 for my use. I've read that it is mostly about directivity with the 8331 being more enjoyable even if they are not listened at the best position. We are talking about 2500€ difference for 2 speakers so I don't want to spend that much money if it is not worthy.

Questions time
  • For now my audio setup is not good so I will definitely hear a difference any way, but is it worth to spend that much money to start with audiophile speakers ?
  • Do you have other active speakers in mind that I could enjoy maybe more than the selection i made regarding my concerns ?
  • Do you think I will miss bass if I have no sub with mid size speakers ? Is the 20Hz to 60Hz range important and significantly improving the near field listening experience ?
  • Are genelec 8331 worth the price difference with 8330 in my case ?
  • Is Topping EX5 DAC/Amp good enough to correctly drive a 5000€ setup ?
I'm sorry for this long post, I've tried to set all the concerns I have in mind :).
Thanks a lot for reading !
 
Last edited:

dominikz

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For now my selection in order of preference is
  • Genelec 8331 with GLM kit
  • Genelec 8330 with GLM kit, I might add sub in case of feeling a lack of bass but save money is a good option as well
  • Neumann KH 310 with a calibration set, but i think those will be too big on my desk and i've read ultra near field is not optimal
  • Neumann KH 120 with a calibration set, I might add sub in case of feeling a lack of bass but save money is a good option as well
These all seem like amazing options and I'm pretty sure you'd be very happy with any of them :)
Just a note that Neumann KH 310A and KH 120A don't have any DSP capabilities - i.e. with them you can only use the Neumann MA1 kit if you also have the Neumann KH 750 DSP subwoofer - MA1 calibration wouldn't work without the sub.
As far as I know only the smaller KH 80 DSP can do the MA1 calibration without the KH 750 sub, as KH80 already have built-in DSP capabilities.

For now my audio setup is not good so I will definitely hear a difference any way, but is it worth to spend that much money to start with audiophile speakers ?
IMHO you're the only one that can answer that :)
I had the cheap JBL LSR305s before I upgraded to Neumann KH120A, and I definitely wouldn't say it was a very big step-up in sound quality. Much bigger one was going from cheap multimedia loudspeakers to the JBL LSR305s :) I'm still happy I upgraded to the Neumanns, though :D

Anyway, good luck in your search!
 

Killingbeans

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For now my audio setup is not good so I will definitely hear a difference any way, but is it worth to spend that much money to start with audiophile speakers ?

If I were in your shoes, I'd probably go for something like a set of Kali Audio IN-5 + a sub or two at first to get a taste of the good stuff.
 

mkt

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I would be tempted to go with Genelec 8330's + 7350 + GLM, which w/o VAT is less than half your budget? GLM would help some with the room and make integrating the sub very easy. The benefit of a sub is large. This would still be pretty high-end. There are posts here where people say that 8330s get you pretty close to 8331. Like this one https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...8330a-review-studio-monitor.25704/post-877166

The 8330s accept digital inputs (AES/EBU) so I think you can take the SPDIF out of your DAC (or if that is a desktop with a sound card) to the 8330s (See for instance https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...genelec-speakers-digitally-in-this-way.29341/)
 

dshreter

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C6D60606-F511-4ADE-88F5-50276FA59F50.jpeg
How about KH 80 plus a sub? Personally I don’t like large speakers shoved right in my face. Also for your application going crazy with calibration and 8331 coax seems like overkill to me.

Here’s my example
 

dshreter

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Do you think I will miss bass if I have no sub with mid size speakers ? Is the 20Hz to 60Hz range important and significantly improving the near field listening experience ?
I think a good subwoofer adds a lot more to the enjoyment of listening than extreme accuracy. As an example 8030c + subwoofer will easily sound better than 8331 + GLM without sub. It adds such a visceral impact.
 

Trell

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I’m very satisfied with my 8330 and 7360 subwoofer for my desktop setup. The bass is very nice, and of course deeper and more powerful than just the monitors. The GLM room EQ works very well.
 

Webninja

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Another vote for a sub, especially with your music tastes. Very happy with the KH80+750 setup. You don’t even need it to be loud if you are worried about neighbors.
 

sharock

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I went with the more budget Genelec 8030c option that allowed me to afford an SVS SB1000 Pro sub and miniDSP DDRC-24 with Dirac Live. Given your music preferences, I'm not sure the 8331/8330 would be better than having a sub with a cheaper monitor like the IN-5 or 8030. I can't really compare Dirac with GLM.
 

sweetsounds

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If you can afford, take the 8331 due to their directivity (good post here https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/genelec-83x0-vs-83x1.10945). I personally have the 8320 with the 7360 (which is a HUGE benefit for a more intense, warmer sound).
My desk is much smaller than yours and I looked for a lower price starting point on the speakers.

I preferred the Genelec sound over the KH80 and liked the easy calibration. My recommendation is to use the Genelec speaker stands to bring the sound to ear level and a 7350 subwoofer.
 

DjBonoBobo

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In addition to what has been written so far: I would either choose a simple and cheap option, whether KH80, Kali, 8030 or whatever, and live with the compromises, or redesign the room properly. As it is now, probably none of the premium variants will even come close to fulfilling their potential, i think (i don´t know the Genelec coaxes, though).
I can't recommend the KH310 for 70cm listening distance.
 

Vict0r

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View attachment 177891How about KH 80 plus a sub? Personally I don’t like large speakers shoved right in my face. Also for your application going crazy with calibration and 8331 coax seems like overkill to me.

Here’s my example

Which keyboard is that? That's a chonky boy! SA profile?
 

dominikz

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If you haven't had good sounding gear so far, personally I'd agree with several posters who suggested to try a cheaper system (e.g. Kali LP or IN series, JBL 3 series, Adam T series) first to see if that satisfies your needs. Since you will be listening in nearfield it is unlikely you will need a lot of SPL capability, so it is likely smaller monitors will be just fine.
Do you think I will miss bass if I have no sub with mid size speakers ? Is the 20Hz to 60Hz range important and significantly improving the near field listening experience ?
Personally I find that a well integrated subwoofer improves sound quality on most music. Kick drum fundamental will be in this part of the spectrum - and some music has even more content there. In any case, if you can spare the expense, it is a good idea to add a subwoofer and room EQ capability. In my experience this will really be a large sound quality improvement in most cases. Room EQ especially is IMHO mandatory - note that you can use free tools like REW and Equalizer APO to do room EQ if you have a calibrated measurement microphone.

If you don't have a lot of experience with manual subwoofer integration and room EQ, Neumann and Genelec solutions might actually be pretty good options, as either vendor provides a full ecosystem where you can achieve good results in a relatively automated manner.

E.g. Genelec 8320A monitors + 7350A subwoofer + GLM set (~2500€) or the Neumann Monitor Alignment Kit 3 (comprised of KH 80 DSP monitors + KH 750 DSP sub + MA1 kit; also ~2500€) should both be very nice premium options for very nearfield/desktop listening, providing full range sound with automated calibration.
 
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fordiebianco

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My vote would be to go for a less expensive option at entry level. The Adam Audio TV5s are excellent (ASR approved) and a much more cost effective option. Would also fit your desk.
 

Trell

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I think a good subwoofer adds a lot more to the enjoyment of listening than extreme accuracy. As an example 8030c + subwoofer will easily sound better than 8331 + GLM without sub. It adds such a visceral impact.

I made a similar decision last year when for the price of a pair of 8331 I could buy a pair of 8330, a 7360 subwoofer, GLM Kit and Genelec L-stands.
 

ZolaIII

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Meh... thing is if you go with smaller ones you definitely won't be satisfied with bass, having small one's and one or two subs ain't exactly space saving (quite opposite). The mentioned Genelecs are great and so is their price.
I actually advice you to try a different approach. More relaxed woofer and still at least 8" three ways design. I don't know about how good and reliable amp part is in new Kali's (it whosent great in first generation) so try to find out. Take a look at;
Of course you would need to tame them down to your likings (4.5 KHz upwards) with DSP.
Any DAC with deacent implementation and SINAD little above 100 dB SINAD on its line out is good enough for speakers.
Found Topping EX5 as one of the nicer and more compelling DAC/AMP/Preamp solutions al do it has it's drove backs (remote IR is near field, BT receiver onli...). Anyway a deacent balanced DAC with useful DSP is what you need more for near field monitor's (that don't have one integrated already as those Genelecs).
Please do try to audition the what ever you want to buy speakers if possible in any way.
 

Vict0r

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