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Yet another post about best active speakers for near field listening

dshreter

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My hesitancy with recommending the more expensive purchase with the expectation you use it for 10 years is that you're coming from almost no baseline. The photo shows some crappy computer speakers and you have first class headphones that you're not happy with. So while I can say without hesitation that 8331 + 7350 is a great setup, there is no guarantee you won't find out you have different needs or desires down the road. Maybe you want floorstanding speakers instead of a desktop setup? Maybe you find out you prefer headphones over speakers?

KH 80 + KH 750 comes in at like 1/3 of the cost of 8331 + 7350 and is also a super accurate DSP configurable system. I can't in good conscience recommend the latter unless you just don't care about money or unless you were purchasing this for professional needs like music production.

So I think what you're hearing is that such a system (8331 + 7350) doesn't really match up well with the needs and use case that you've shared. It's overkill that won't necessarily translate to significant perceived benefits, and if you go all in with your budget you have less room to maneuver in the future.
 

mkt

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At Thomann (w/ France as country)
8331 + 7350 + GLM = 4118 euro
8330 + 7330 + GLM = 2866 euro
KH 80 + KH 750 + MA 1 = 2458 euro

I think the 8330's (and even the 8320s) would get you pretty close to the 8331s. I have no KH experience.
EDIT. The correct number is 8331 + 7350 + GLM = 5.486 euro
 
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dshreter

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At Thomann (w/ France as country)
8331 + 7350 + GLM = 4118 euro
8330 + 7330 + GLM = 2866 euro
KH 80 + KH 750 + MA 1 = 2458 euro

I think the 8330's (and even the 8320s) would get you pretty close to the 8331s. I have no KH experience.
Interesting, 8331 x 2 is $4,500 USD in US
 
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mkt

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Ciccio84

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So, you are a newbie but you want to spend 5 grands in a couple of nearfiled speaker for your desk. Right.

Where can I send you my bank account details? I've heard that if you send money to strangers online, your "audiophile" experience really improves a lot. If you send me more than 2000 dollars, I'll send back gold plated cable and a fairy dusted DAC for the trouble
 

digitalfrost

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I want to give some perspective. We know more or less what makes a good speaker, or rather we know what makes a bad speaker. What we want in a speaker is linear frequency response under anechoic conditions, controlled directivity etc. If we go by the score in the review index, we can easily make a scale where we can rate the speakers in points/$.

We can see that the expensive speakers do not fare well on this list. So first point. $$$ does not very well translate into sound quality after reaching a certain threshold.

Now going back to what makes a good speaker. Narrow vs wide directivity is a question of preference/taste and just have to see what works for you. Except for that, if you have a speaker that does the other things right, you can make it - via DSP - into pretty much anyting you want it to be.

I like a lot more downward slope in the high frequencies than other people so that means there's basically nothing I can buy that just works for me out of the box because all of them have too much high frequency for my taste. So we seem to be pretty similar in that regard. With headphones there's more selection available but with speakers it doesn't seem so.

2nd point. You absolutely need DSP to be able to tune to taste.

With regards to your HD800S. Download AutoEq https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq learn how to create your own correction and work with the tilt parameter. You will see that you can make the headphones into something you like and you can experience the power of DSP. I will attach correction files to this post that are tuned to what I like, try them out.

index.php
index.php


I am not surprised you don't like the HD800S and I can see what makes the Bose good. Already here you made the experience that spending more money does not necessarily translate into better sound quality.

And last point a subwoofer is always good and will help with a lot of things. And 2 subs are better than one. Wanting small space used on the desk and good bass do not go together. Get a subwoofer.

If you can try for 30 days at Thomann I would recommend you get the KH 80 + KH 750 + MA 1 combo. The price/performance is off the charts and it allows you to familiarize yourself with good monitors and DSP correction. The MA1 software can accept custom target curves so you can tune the system how you want it.

Should you not like it more than 30 days later, selling 2500k worth of equipment will be much easier to get rid of than 5000k monitors, simply because there are more people who have 2.5k as opposed to 5k. Also. This system will already easily put you into the top 80% of sound quality.

What you're asking here is like wanting to know what the best car is, or what the best watch is. Nobody can tell you. You need to collect the experience to know what you like and then you can spend the big bucks on things that make sense to you.

If I wanted to buy a supercar and had the money I would buy one of the most sold Ferraris, like a Portofino or something. Not because it is necessarily the best for me, but because it gives me a baseline to compare other things to, allows me to talk to other people because they probably have some Ferrari referance, and it would probably be very easy to sell later, because everyone knows what a Ferrari is.

If you are like me with regards to your taste you will not find a speaker that works for you out of the box because they all have too much high frequency. Get something solid without being endgame, learn DSP.
 

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Trell

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So, you are a newbie but you want to spend 5 grands in a couple of nearfiled speaker for your desk. Right.

Where can I send you my bank account details? I've heard that if you send money to strangers online, your "audiophile" experience really improves a lot. If you send me more than 2000 dollars, I'll send back gold plated cable and a fairy dusted DAC for the trouble
:rolleyes:
 

Trell

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I must admit I have a very good feeling with the 8331 + 7350 for now (obviously the most expansive setup, it would not be fun otherwise) but I guess it's difficult to say how better this setup is versus a 2000€ setup. From what people told me here it would be very surprising if they were sounding any worst than a cheaper setup but I guess it still can happen on some precise points. I'm still not decided though.

The recommended subwoofer for the 8331 is the 7360A: https://www.genelec.com/en/correct-monitors

I've the 7360A subwoofer for my 8330A after I first trying the 7350 which I found to be too weak for me.
 

bud947

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Do you think I will feel the same overall audio quality with this than with a more expensive genelec setup ? From what i've read here it seems DSP is also important on speakers and not only on the sub, especially in a non treated room. I guess there is not a lot of good and not too expansive DSP sub but Neumann KH750 with 250W seems a bit overkill for my use no ?

I must admit I have a very good feeling with the 8331 + 7350 for now (obviously the most expansive setup, it would not be fun otherwise) but I guess it's difficult to say how better this setup is versus a 2000€ setup. From what people told me here it would be very surprising if they were sounding any worst than a cheaper setup but I guess it still can happen on some precise points. I'm still not decided though.

I will try Kef wireless 2 in a shop next week, for now they are my second prefered choice mainly because of their facility to setup and the fact I would not have a lot of new cables behind the desk, even the opposite actually :). The buyer told me he has some other active speakers to make me try so I could have a good shot of different things.

I think I'm going to give the Genelec a try buying them from Thomann, listening to them a loooot on many different styles and situations as I'm going to use them several hours almost every day for a while, then use my 30 days free trial to return them if i'm not at least 95% happy with them.

I hope i'm not making a mistake on this, I know a lot of you are advising to take cheaper but I really don't want to change my setup for at least 10 years after this. I have the feeling that if I take a cheaper setup and like it, I will be tempted to buy those Genelec that hacked my brain.
Neumann KH750 has the DSP controller and will EQ the entire spectrum (20hz-20khz) before sending them to the monitors (either KH80 or others) so it's not only sub EQ. Also having 250W doesn't mean you'll use all of them. The main advantage is that you won't need another sub for the next 10 years even if you move to a larger house ;)

You said you have a feeling with something you never tested. While EQ will flatten the frequency response to a desired curve, it won't fundamentally change the "tonality" of the speakers, those physical details and subtleties that "make" the enjoyment and that are totally subjective. As I said, you really need to know the type of sound you like and test at least 2 or 3 systems before deciding to put 5K on something.

For what it's worth, genelec 8331 vs kali in 5 measurements :
- https://www.soundandrecording.de/equipment/3-wege-nahfeldmonitor-genelec-8331-im-test/
- https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/kali-in-5-studio-monitor-review.22487/

Not far off speakers, to put it bluntly, at this level of performance it only comes down to preferences and specific needs (internal DAC, rear vs front port, look & high-end finishes...). For me, you buying a EX5 and listening also through headphones at your desktop, makes the genelec less of a need and more of a a nice gift you want to do to yourself.

As a final word I would say, don't bother listening at a store it's always different at home and more importantly :
- Go on Thomann, order kali IN5 + Neumann KH750 + MA1 and on Amazon to order topping EX5
- Set the system (Room Correction) and try it for 2 weeks to get accustomed and "calibrate" your ears
- Send them back and order Genelec 8331 + 7350 + GLM
- Set the system (Room Correction) and try it for an entire month
- If after a month you're convinced, you can keep your genelec with no regret. Otherwise you'll know what to do ;)
 

Karu

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Isn’t much of the 8331 vs. 8330 benefit lost in a single listening position desktop setup? So in your position, with the $ burning, I would get Genelec combo 8330+7360+GLM.

I am using 8030c+KEF kube 12 + EX5 (and roon for dsp) and love it, other than EX5 bought used for total ~1400EUR.
 
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Nicochu

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Many thanks to all for the time you take for me, I appreciate a lot, you guys rock ! :)

I just realised I did write a really long post here, I apologize about it. I take this opportunity to apologize about my english which can probably be strange sometimes (french here).

Going for the endgame from the start might be cheaper in the end, I can understand that line of reasoning.
That is the way I'm thinking, actually I must say I find an ecological value of buying only once. Of course you could say buying B-stock or on eBay would be even better in a ecological manner but for now i'm definitly more considering buying new regarding the time i'll keep the setup. I also want to compare the stand by modes from Genelec and Neumann stuff BTW.
On power consumption Neumann KH80 say full output is 180W and Genelec 8331 is 60W, I guess Genelec is saying this per amp or do I miss something ? This is the same between Neumann KH 750 and Genelec 7360 BTW, Genelec says 300W full output power consumption for 300W amp and Neumann says 410W full output consumption for 250W amp. Is Genelec lying on something ?

The other thing with 8331 is a lot of people say they are less fatiguing than other due to coax + 3 way and I will use them almost everyday for longs periods and for a while as i'm working home often with music and taking a lot of my free time on PC. I think I could listen to them something like average of 4 to 6 hours per day with some crazy 12+ hours some week-end days, definitely not only music but also talking on Discord, watching Youtube stuff, playing games, etc...

Maybe you want floorstanding speakers instead of a desktop setup? Maybe you find out you prefer headphones over speakers?
That is maybe the only thing I am sure about -> I need a desktop very near field setup and I definitly prefer to have speakers than headphones. I bought the HD 800S thinking I could change my mind on this but the main reason i'm not listening to it a lot is because it doesn't appear easy to use for me (after each session I carefully take it back in its box, and i use it for music only so I have to be doing only this).


Thanks a lot @digitalfrost for your message which is very informative :)

Narrow vs wide directivity is a question of preference/taste and just have to see what works for you.
Wide seems better for me as I will probably listen to the speakers in front of them and also more on back left, let be crazy and show you a schema :

plan bureau.png

Everything is approx, but you get the global idea on this. The speakers will be the 1 and 2 circles, BTW I don't know yet where to put the sub but it is an other story and I'll probably ask on the forum when i'll have the stuff at home and make my own tests before this.
I will mainly be listening on the Desk, but also on the bed, I know it won't be optimal but it will happen anyway. In this case I might just turn the speakers so I am in front of them but I won't do much more. It would be awesome to have 2 DSP ready setups to easily switch from one to another when i'm on the bed or on the desk BTW.

I am not surprised you don't like the HD800S and I can see what makes the Bose good
Actually i've said this to not write too much about it but this is note 100% true. I've tried it with some different EQ and it mainly depends on this but here's a bit more context.
I hear the HD800S is better than the Bose especially on details, I've listen to some music I know well and I've literally cried when the conditions are met (being well focused and in a good mindset, being a bit drunk helps a lot as well haha). I've never experienced this with the Bose even if I think it could happen with more met conditions. I'd say the HD 800S can "mind blow" me more easily when I have the specific mindset which I rarely have.
The downside of the headphone is that I find it definitly fatiguing and I cannot listen to it too long. Every EQ here is putting more bass which I enjoy a lot and the HD 800S is has way cleaner bass but I have the feeling that those bass are hitting my hear waaay harder than the Bose. I don't know how to well describe it but if I listen to this for several hours I have the feeling it really has hurt my hears. I guess the HD 800S goes deeper in low frequencies and it could be this but maybe it is something else. I'm still a bit confused with this.
Anyway I can't say I enjoy the HD800S less than the Bose on pure sound quality, but I can't listen to it for a while and it is way less easy to use (cables and stuff), so at the end I almost never listen to it ...

I've the 7360A subwoofer for my 8330A after I first trying the 7350 which I found to be too weak for me.
I have the feeling 7360 would be overkill here even if i finally could buy it with all the package if I could definitively hear a difference.
On the other side if I want to spend the same price I could buy two 7350 which would be better sound than one 7360 on low listening levels, no ?

As a final word I would say, don't bother listening at a store it's always different at home and more importantly :
- Go on Thomann, order kali IN5 + Neumann KH750 + MA1 and on Amazon to order topping EX5
- Set the system (Room Correction) and try it for 2 weeks to get accustomed and "calibrate" your ears
- Send them back and order Genelec 8331 + 7350 + GLM
- Set the system (Room Correction) and try it for an entire month
- If after a month you're convinced, you can keep your genelec with no regret. Otherwise you'll know what to do
Actually you are making me think about a different scenario :
- Buy the whole Genelec setup + a Neumann + DSP one on Thomann, I can afford it if I finally return one of them
- Listen to both of them. I will not be able to A/B test them but at least I can try them for several hours / days and then change, change back etc etc.
- Return the Genelec if I don't see a big difference in everyday use cases, return the other one otherwise

Do you guys think this could work well ? I've the feeling 30 days is enough to make all the tests I want even on 2 setups. If I go on this scenario I need to chose my exact challenger setup though :-D


Thanks a lot for the time you guys take for me, I'll buy you a box of chocolates when I'll have the setup (if I haven't spend all my money in it).
 
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Nicochu

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Isn’t much of the 8331 vs. 8330 benefit lost in a single listening position desktop setup? So in your position, with the $ burning, I would get Genelec combo 8330+7360+GLM.

I am using 8030c+KEF kube 12 + EX5 (and roon for dsp) and love it, other than EX5 bought used for total ~1400EUR.
I'm more concerned about the "fatigue" that people say they don't have with 8331, but I could also listen to them in an other position on my room (see the post above).
You might be right anyway, may be it is not worth buying the 8331 vs the 8330. But if I'm sincere with you and with myself I think I have this child/devil voice in my head telling me "take the best, spend that money and you will be happy listening to the most expansive regardless of the sound". If it was the only voice in my head I would not be still asking questions here though, but it's definitely here hehe.
 

Trell

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On power consumption Neumann KH80 say full output is 180W and Genelec 8331 is 60W, I guess Genelec is saying this per amp or do I miss something ? This is the same between Neumann KH 750 and Genelec 7360 BTW, Genelec says 300W full output power consumption for 300W amp and Neumann says 410W full output consumption for 250W amp. Is Genelec lying on something ?

Both Neuman and Genelec are companies that gives extensive specs and measurements that is corroborated with third party reviews, so I'm inclined to trust them.

It is not that straightforward to compare amplifier wattage (power consumption) between different active monitors with respect to performance. Things like cabinet size, ported or not, chosen drivers, bass extension, amp class (AB vs D), etc are important. How Neuman and Genelec define power consumption might be different as well, and here one has to go to the manual for detailed specs and definitions.

In the manual for the 8331 there are detailed specs for the amplifiers where the sum of the three amplifiers surpasses what the power supply can handle on short term basis. You will find similar for other of Genelec monitors, and my guess is that the Neuman will show similar.



1642165972750.png
 

Trell

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I have the feeling 7360 would be overkill here even if i finally could buy it with all the package if I could definitively hear a difference.
On the other side if I want to spend the same price I could buy two 7350 which would be better sound than one 7360 on low listening levels, no ?

In my case two subwoofers for my desktop system would be one too many, but two subwoofers could give better bass (flatter) bass if you can position them properly. I tried the 7350 and returned it for the 7360 by using Thomann.de 30 days trial. The main advantage of the 7350 is that it is very compact, but that of course has an impact on both extension and SPL.
 

Fenix84

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Isn’t much of the 8331 vs. 8330 benefit lost in a single listening position desktop setup? So in your position, with the $ burning, I would get Genelec combo 8330+7360+GLM.

I am using 8030c+KEF kube 12 + EX5 (and roon for dsp) and love it, other than EX5 bought used for total ~1400EUR.

I don't mean to derail but is there a reason you went with the KEF kube 12 instead of the 7050C?
 

Karu

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Only because of $$$ I was looking for something with low enough extension and found it for 375 eur.
 

Fenix84

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Only because of $$$ I was looking for something with low enough extension and found it for 375 eur.
Cool, so how are you connecting the sub? Are you going EX5 XLR to 8030s and EX5 RCA to sub? I ask because i too have an EX5 and 8030s
 

Karu

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Exactly, RCA to sub. I put the gain on 8030s at the lowest, and max on sub, and it’s on the limit (getting the sub to same level as speakers) but still ok to even use without DSP. So something to look out for.
 
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Nicochu

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Hey guys, some news here.

I went to a shop in my city in order to try some speakers. Obviously the conditions were not good but it's better than nothing I guess. It's a hi-fi shop so I couldn't listen to studio monitors.

I tried :
  • Kef Wireless II : very practical to use, the app seems great but has limitations regarding the EQ, the vendor couldn't tell me if I can EQ them from a room EQ solution but I guess I can thanks to their DSP (I'd like to avoid an EQ software on the PC). Great sound and sound stage at 1m50 from them but sadly a bit "boomy" at 70cm / 1m. I'm not sure it's worth the price for a "meh" at my listening distance, maybe custom EQ could do something though.
  • Devialet Phantom gold : I LOVE the way they look when bass are coming out, the sides of the speakers vibrating is awesome. No physical connection (only BT if i'm correct) to them so no in built room EQ I guess. Too boomy for at low level me even if I generally like it. Next.
  • Dali Oberon 1 C : not practical to use, probably the worst on this side for me. Very nice sound stage and it was nice to listen to them at 70cm so probably the best for my use on sound quality. Sadly I probably won't be able to room EQ them, and the lack of connectors is not a good point.
As I thought and you told me, studio monitors are probably a better option for me regarding the very near field use. So i'm now looking for Thomann 30 days free return to try some more.
I plan to buy and try 2 setup :
  • Genelec 2x8331 + 7350 (maybe 2 later) + GLM : no surprise if you read the last posts here. I really want to give them a try even if they are indeed probably overkill for my hears and for my bank account. What I'm looking for with them is ultra nier field possibility, sound stage, directivity, lack of fatiguing listening experience (i've read a lot on this vs 83x0 other Genelec speakers), and electrical consumption (in use and in stand by mode). Genelec 8330 could be a cheaper option but I'm not going this way for now.
  • Neumann 2xKH 80 + 750 DSP (maybe 2 later) + MA 1 : the cheaper challenger. A lot of people told me here I won't probably hear a significant difference from genelec setup, and for 1/3 of the price. A comparison point I'll be especially aware of is fatigue as I will listen to the setup i buy for several hours almost every day. Do I still need an iPad to correctly use the EQ software or is it fully OK on Windows ?
  • ? : if you guys have other ideas on a good and maybe cheaper setup with easy to use built in room EQ + XLR/RCA connection for very nearfield, i could consider buying it on thomann to try it with the 2 other setups.
After having tried them for several weeks I'll keep the setup i like the most regarding to it's price and return the other ones. I could also return all the setups if I'm not happy with them.

I will also buy a Topping EX5 DAC to connect with those setup. I'm planning to buy a full XLR cabling for the Genelec and a DAC > RCA to XLR cable > sub > XLR > speakers for the Neumann. That way it would be possible to A/B test them just changing the sound destination on the DAC. I'm also planning to listen to one setup for several days before switching in order to try the fatigue point. I'll also be checking the power consumption of the setups for similar uses, even if this point is more here to satisfy my curiosity than my final choice.

That's all folks ! If i'm wrong on something let me know, otherwise i'll keep you in touch later on for the next episode :)
 
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DjBonoBobo

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  • Neumann 2xKH 80 + 750 DSP (maybe 2 later) + MA 1 : the cheaper challenger. A lot of people told me here I won't probably hear a significant difference from genelec setup, and for 1/3 of the price. A comparison point I'll be especially aware of is fatigue as I will listen to the setup i buy for several hours almost every day. Do I still need an iPad to correctly use the EQ software or is it fully OK on Windows ?

No, if you use the MA 1, you don´t need an iPad. It isn´t even compatible to the MA 1 - either iPad or MA 1, not both.
The software still has some quirks, but the results are usually good.

I'm looking forward to see how the Genelec and Neumann systems compare in your situation.
 
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