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Yet another post about best active speakers for near field listening

Trell

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From looking at your new proposed room layout monitor A and C are peripheral to you, so remove them and replace A with a bigger one with a higher resolution. You could also put one of them on top of A while removing the other one. This will free up much space on your desktop while not having your side monitors acting as audio mirrors.
 

DjBonoBobo

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I agree that the monitors (displays) will probably have a big impact on the sound. That's always the problem with listening tests: It's only really meaningful to the situation you're trying it out in. As soon as you change something (i.e. on the displays), the sound will change too.
You could try different positions. Also, in addition to the A/B comparison, I would recommend trying each setup in as ideal a scenario as possible, i.e. exactly symmetrical, with only 1 monitor in the middle, etc. and see if the impression is confirmed. Unfortunately, this is a bit tedious because you then always have to recalibrate.
 

MusicDude

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Additionally try to get some height on your desk. Your ears without any correction will tell you the truth, and the curves from measurements will prove it. The boxes from the speakers can help ;)

Or try to tilt upwards.

Keep some distance to the wall behind the desk, it helps with bass resonance. Again, trust your ears, and check with the curves.

But, of course, maybe the most aesthetic placement also sound best!
 
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Nicochu

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From looking at your new proposed room layout monitor A and C are peripheral to you, so remove them and replace A with a bigger one with a higher resolution. You could also put one of them on top of A while removing the other one. This will free up much space on your desktop while not having your side monitors acting as audio mirrors.
I know it's not optimal for audio, I will probably remove a screen and have only 2 later on. I was thinking about putting one on top of the other but i'm not sure at all about this. In any case I need 2 screens for my work and I want 2 screens for my personal use. I could remove A and C screens to try the speakers but it would not be relevant for my every day use.

I agree that the monitors (displays) will probably have a big impact on the sound. That's always the problem with listening tests: It's only really meaningful to the situation you're trying it out in. As soon as you change something (i.e. on the displays), the sound will change too.
You could try different positions. Also, in addition to the A/B comparison, I would recommend trying each setup in as ideal a scenario as possible, i.e. exactly symmetrical, with only 1 monitor in the middle, etc. and see if the impression is confirmed. Unfortunately, this is a bit tedious because you then always have to recalibrate.
I'm planning to try one setup in optimal scenario before switching as well as A/B indeed. But i'll probably mainly test them in the regular situation (2 or 3 screens).

What if i try to put the screen a bit hebind the speakers like this ? BTW my PC is not on a regular desk but on a table, so I have enough space.

Desk_2.png

I know it won't be optimal in any way but I'll have to deal with those 3 screens for the moment

A final setup target would look like this :

Desk_3.png


Additionally try to get some height on your desk. Your ears without any correction will tell you the truth, and the curves from measurements will prove it. The boxes from the speakers can help ;)

Or try to tilt upwards.
I'm not sure i got what you mean about getting height, sorry
 

Trell

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I know it's not optimal for audio, I will probably remove a screen and have only 2 later on. I was thinking about putting one on top of the other but i'm not sure at all about this. In any case I need 2 screens for my work and I want 2 screens for my personal use. I could remove A and C screens to try the speakers but it would not be relevant for my every day use.

Must it be two physical displays, or can you use one larger one that is not as physically wide as two of your displays?

I don’t know the size and resolution of your displays, but a 4K display might work for you. There are also so-called ultrawide displays you can have look at.

With one display you don’t waste horizontal space due to bezels between displays as well.
 

DjBonoBobo

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What if i try to put the screen a bit hebind the speakers like this ? BTW my PC is not on a regular desk but on a table, so I have enough space.
As soon as you have the measurement equipment you are able to measure for yourself how different the frequency response and the reflections (ETC graph) will be (or not) if you put the same speaker in different spots.
I am trying to say, be careful not to judge a speaker too quickly, because it is possible that differences between the same speaker in different positions may be much more significant than differences between the speaker-models or even manufacturers.
I don't know though.
 
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Nicochu

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Hey guys, some news here :)

Everything is ordered, all websites have delivery issues probably because of covid, I should receive the stuff in the first or second week of march so we'll have to wait a bit ! Can't wait to try everything.

Regarding the screens I won't probably change the ones I have now, but maybe in the future I could consider buying a wide one, could be a good idea.

Stay tuned !
 
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Nicochu

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Hello there !

Here we are, I have received, set up and calibrated everything so I can start sharing my experience with you :)
I apologize for my english that could be a bit strange sometimes, i'll try my best !

setup.jpg


Installation and setup

Genelec setup
  • The speakers (8331) are pretty heavy with their stands, it is not very easy to manipulate them, I need to be carefull when doing so. The 8331 take some space on the desk
  • The subwoofer is not too big, I like the size of it compared to the neumann one which is bigger
  • Installation of the calibration system is not difficult, RJ45 cables were delivered with the speakers and i really like the fact that you just have to plug the GLM set to one speaker, then each speaker to an other one.
  • I can put the GLM set on the desk, keep all the stuff connected and re-calibrated whenever I want to.
  • The speakers didn't work until I calibrated them, I don't get why but it could have been anoying without GLM set (it must be possible to use them without GLM anyway)
  • You just need the cables of your basic setup to calibrate them (4 XLR cables in my case)
Neumann setup
  • The speakers (KH 80) are pretty light and easy to manipulate, I put them on iso acoustics stands and it is quite stable, not as stable as the Genelec but really easier to move. The KH80 take quite small space on the desk.
  • The sub is quite big, it is not too much but I feel the difference with the Genelec one. The Neumann sub should have more power so it is understable i guess
  • Installation of the calibration system is not a pain but way more difficult than Genelec. I got to buy RJ45 cables and plug each of the 3 speakers to my internet box which is on a corner of the room.
  • I cannot re-calibrate the setup as easily as the Genelec because I have to unplug the XLR cables between the DAC and the sub in order to plug the cables between the audio interface and the sub. I also had to install a software to install the interface USB drivers but it was easy to do.
  • The speakers were plug and play, I didn't have to calibrate them or whatever and I could have easily listen to music without any calibration.
  • You need more cables to make the calibration (4 basic XLR cables as Genelec, 2 symetric jack to XLR for the connection between sub and interface, and one more XLR from interface to microphone)
--> In my case I globally prefer the Genelec setup for my use on installation and calibration setup, but the Neumann setup clearly also has good points.

Calibration

Genelec setup
  • Calibration cut a lot of bass in my case, sound is way less boomy and more detailed
  • The software is easy to use, I easily found online documentation where I wanted more informations. The main functions are easy to use but the software seems to have sooo many features. I'll need time to try everything.
  • Everything on the soft is described, I have the feeling it is not only done for pro but also for newbies like me
  • I can save several setups on my PC, then switch from one to another (I have one calibration for my desk and one for my couch), switch from one to another is easy while the GLM set is plugged on the PC and the speakers are plugged to it with RJ45 cables.
  • The calibration is pretty quick
  • I can easily see the calibration which is done
  • I can store the calibration in the speakers, but I also can use a software calibration on Windows while storing an other calibration in speakers for other uses from my phone for example (a bit useless though)
  • I can store a dB reduction in the speakers, so it won't be too loud even with my phone
Neumann setup
  • As with the Genelec the calibration cut a lot of bass, sound is way less boomy and more detailed
  • The software is quite easy to use, but I didn't easily find the online documentation I wanted to
  • Software has a bit less explanations than the genelec one, but it's very okay
  • I haven't find how to save a setup and switch from one to another, I am not sure it is possible. For now if I want to change my position I would need to re-calibrate the setup so I just don't do it
  • The calibration is pretty quick
  • I can see the calibration which is done and the calibrated curve, but I can't see the "uncalibrated" curve at the same time
  • I have to store the calibration in the speakers, I cannot save it on my computer (or I didn't find how to do it)
  • I cannot store a dB reduction in the speakers. I would not miss this feature if i had not tested it on genelec speakers, I miss it on Neumann though. I had to remove the Genelec dB reduction to have the same sound level from both setup.
  • I've heard there is an iPad application where you have more options with the speakers, I feel sad this is not available on Windows.
--> Genelec is clear winner for me on this. GLM software is really well done and have a lot of options.

Misc (stand by mode and power consumption)

Genelec setup
  • The on use / waiting for sound power consumption of the setup is 17W. With high volume it goes up to 18/19W
  • I can set the stand by mode to switch after 2 minuts
  • The standby mode is removed as soon as sound goes in the speaker, it takes 4/5 seconds to wake up and make sound
  • Stand by mode power consumption of the setup is 2W
Neumann setup
  • The on use / waiting for sound power consumption of the setup is 40W. With high volume it goes up to 41/42W
  • From what i've read I cannot change the stand by mode timer without the iPad application, default timer is 90 minuts without sound to set the standby mode
  • I haven't wait long enough to set them in stand by mode, I put them on OFF when i stop using them, but I will try tomorrow and edit this message if I can
  • Documentation says the power consumption of the setup should be less than 1W in standby mode, I haven't tested it yet though
--> Genelec is again clear winner here. I know this part could be useless for a lot of people here but I personnaly do care about this. The fact I cannot change the standby timer on Neumann annoys me a lot. I also find the KH 80 to be quite warm while they are plugged in.

----

I know I haven't talked about the most important thing yet : the sound quality. The fact is I need a bit more time to test them and give you a feedback.
For know I cannot say one setup is better than the other one, I really like to listen to both and I need more time to find the + and - of them.

If you came here for sound only i'm sorry ... I'll hard try them and come back with more stuff to tell, feel free to ask me anything you want me to try (or even songs to check details etc etc).

Stay tuned ! ;-)
 

DjBonoBobo

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Hello there !

Here we are, I have received, set up and calibrated everything so I can start sharing my experience with you :)
I apologize for my english that could be a bit strange sometimes, i'll try my best !

View attachment 190234

Installation and setup

Genelec setup
  • The speakers (8331) are pretty heavy with their stands, it is not very easy to manipulate them, I need to be carefull when doing so. The 8331 take some space on the desk
  • The subwoofer is not too big, I like the size of it compared to the neumann one which is bigger
  • Installation of the calibration system is not difficult, RJ45 cables were delivered with the speakers and i really like the fact that you just have to plug the GLM set to one speaker, then each speaker to an other one.
  • I can put the GLM set on the desk, keep all the stuff connected and re-calibrated whenever I want to.
  • The speakers didn't work until I calibrated them, I don't get why but it could have been anoying without GLM set (it must be possible to use them without GLM anyway)
  • You just need the cables of your basic setup to calibrate them (4 XLR cables in my case)
Neumann setup
  • The speakers (KH 80) are pretty light and easy to manipulate, I put them on iso acoustics stands and it is quite stable, not as stable as the Genelec but really easier to move. The KH80 take quite small space on the desk.
  • The sub is quite big, it is not too much but I feel the difference with the Genelec one. The Neumann sub should have more power so it is understable i guess
  • Installation of the calibration system is not a pain but way more difficult than Genelec. I got to buy RJ45 cables and plug each of the 3 speakers to my internet box which is on a corner of the room.
  • I cannot re-calibrate the setup as easily as the Genelec because I have to unplug the XLR cables between the DAC and the sub in order to plug the cables between the audio interface and the sub. I also had to install a software to install the interface USB drivers but it was easy to do.
  • The speakers were plug and play, I didn't have to calibrate them or whatever and I could have easily listen to music without any calibration.
  • You need more cables to make the calibration (4 basic XLR cables as Genelec, 2 symetric jack to XLR for the connection between sub and interface, and one more XLR from interface to microphone)
--> In my case I globally prefer the Genelec setup for my use on installation and calibration setup, but the Neumann setup clearly also has good points.

Calibration

Genelec setup
  • Calibration cut a lot of bass in my case, sound is way less boomy and more detailed
  • The software is easy to use, I easily found online documentation where I wanted more informations. The main functions are easy to use but the software seems to have sooo many features. I'll need time to try everything.
  • Everything on the soft is described, I have the feeling it is not only done for pro but also for newbies like me
  • I can save several setups on my PC, then switch from one to another (I have one calibration for my desk and one for my couch), switch from one to another is easy while the GLM set is plugged on the PC and the speakers are plugged to it with RJ45 cables.
  • The calibration is pretty quick
  • I can easily see the calibration which is done
  • I can store the calibration in the speakers, but I also can use a software calibration on Windows while storing an other calibration in speakers for other uses from my phone for example (a bit useless though)
  • I can store a dB reduction in the speakers, so it won't be too loud even with my phone
Neumann setup
  • As with the Genelec the calibration cut a lot of bass, sound is way less boomy and more detailed
  • The software is quite easy to use, but I didn't easily find the online documentation I wanted to
  • Software has a bit less explanations than the genelec one, but it's very okay
  • I haven't find how to save a setup and switch from one to another, I am not sure it is possible. For now if I want to change my position I would need to re-calibrate the setup so I just don't do it
  • The calibration is pretty quick
  • I can see the calibration which is done and the calibrated curve, but I can't see the "uncalibrated" curve at the same time
  • I have to store the calibration in the speakers, I cannot save it on my computer (or I didn't find how to do it)
  • I cannot store a dB reduction in the speakers. I would not miss this feature if i had not tested it on genelec speakers, I miss it on Neumann though. I had to remove the Genelec dB reduction to have the same sound level from both setup.
  • I've heard there is an iPad application where you have more options with the speakers, I feel sad this is not available on Windows.
--> Genelec is clear winner for me on this. GLM software is really well done and have a lot of options.

Misc (stand by mode and power consumption)

Genelec setup
  • The on use / waiting for sound power consumption of the setup is 17W. With high volume it goes up to 18/19W
  • I can set the stand by mode to switch after 2 minuts
  • The standby mode is removed as soon as sound goes in the speaker, it takes 4/5 seconds to wake up and make sound
  • Stand by mode power consumption of the setup is 2W
Neumann setup
  • The on use / waiting for sound power consumption of the setup is 40W. With high volume it goes up to 41/42W
  • From what i've read I cannot change the stand by mode timer without the iPad application, default timer is 90 minuts without sound to set the standby mode
  • I haven't wait long enough to set them in stand by mode, I put them on OFF when i stop using them, but I will try tomorrow and edit this message if I can
  • Documentation says the power consumption of the setup should be less than 1W in standby mode, I haven't tested it yet though
--> Genelec is again clear winner here. I know this part could be useless for a lot of people here but I personnaly do care about this. The fact I cannot change the standby timer on Neumann annoys me a lot. I also find the KH 80 to be quite warm while they are plugged in.

----

I know I haven't talked about the most important thing yet : the sound quality. The fact is I need a bit more time to test them and give you a feedback.
For know I cannot say one setup is better than the other one, I really like to listen to both and I need more time to find the + and - of them.

If you came here for sound only i'm sorry ... I'll hard try them and come back with more stuff to tell, feel free to ask me anything you want me to try (or even songs to check details etc etc).

Stay tuned ! ;-)
Thanks for your report! Just yesterday Neumann released version 1.4 of the MA1-software which allows saving alignments on your PC.
 

digitalfrost

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For the monitors (computer screens) I would like to recommend something like an Ergotron LX arm. There are also cheaper alternatives from Amazon Basics for example, but the Ergotron stuff is worth the money IMHO. You gain a ton of desk space under the monitor and can position it how you like it and also change it easily.

You can also put 2 screens above each other which could work well for the center screen.

A6922255.jpg


At the moment I have a single 32" screen on an LX arm, headphone DAC and amplifier is beneath. I feel this is the max size you can go and still have a proper stereo triangle. If I were to add more screens to this, I would put a 2nd one above the first, or which is another amazing feature of these, have the screens 90° rotated on the side.

Example:

fb97v5mms9e21.jpg

(not my desk)

Another one:

5zzjbbq819r71.jpg
 
Last edited:

DjBonoBobo

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Nicochu

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Hello ! Let's go for a short review :

I calibrated the two setups for my room but I didn't change anything once it was done.

Genelec setup :
  • The sound is a bit cold, I have the feeling it can sometimes miss a bit of emotions
  • I feel there's a lot of details, I heard sounds I never heard before in some musics i listen
  • If i'm not especially paying attention on the music I still enjoy "having it in my hears", I don't have to be very focus (it was a problem with the HD800S headphone)
  • I don't feel tired after a day of listening
  • The bass are way too heavy regarding the fact I live in a flat, I had to put down the sub to -6dB through the genelec app
Neumann setup :
  • The sound feel more natural and "alive", I feel more emotion with it
  • There's details in the sound like the Genelec but it's more "melted", It's more difficult to isolate an instrument for example
  • I haven't felt any fatigue after a day of listening
  • The bass are also too heavy, but it is less easy to manipulate the sub with the program. When i was listening loud enough I could feel the sub "freezing", the bass were a bit less precise than the genelec on loud listening
I had preferences regarding the music style :
  • Electro music / EDM : Genelec
  • Drum and bass / dubstep : Genelec
  • Rock / Metal : Neumann
  • Progressive rock : Depends of the sound, my friends globally prefered the Neumann
  • Hip-Hop / rap : depends on the musics
  • Pop : I don't feel a big difference
  • Raggae / dub : I don't feel a big difference
  • Classical / Jazz : I don't feel a big difference

I finally kept the Genelec, a bit more because of the electric consumption / facility to configure and use / look than because of pure sound performance. Also the Neumann speakers were getting pretty warm after few hours and I don't want them to heat my room during summer, that was one of the big points that made the decision to keep the Genelec (which put themselves in idle mode after 2 minuts without sound, and are not getting warm at all).

On pure sound it was not easy to chose a winner, the 2 setups had clear advantages mainly depending on the music style I was listening to. I had a short preference for the genelec as I prefer a more detailed sound and I have the feeling I can EQ them to sound a bit warmer later on.

Thanks for all your help guys, i really appreciated what you did to help me. If you have any questions feel free to ask them ! :)
 

digitalfrost

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As impressive as the Neumanns are, especially considering how long most of these models have been available, I feel their Class AB amplifiers and the lack of easy to configure DSP holds them back. I haven't looked at their MA1 software, but I think when they came out with the DSP the only way to configure it was with an iPad.

So looking at prices, correct me if I'm wrong
  • Genelec 2x 8331 + 7350 ~ 5300€
  • Neumannn 2x KH 80 + KH 750 ~ 2419€

I should not be surprised that the Genelec is better right? We could say the comparison is unfair since the KH80 has much less cone area, maybe it would've been more fair to compare it to Genelec 8020D which would bring the prices much closer.

But that you say it was close and hard to choose? Neumann is clear price/performance winner. Heck my amp cost more than the whole Neumann setup.
 

HarmonicTHD

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As impressive as the Neumanns are, especially considering how long most of these models have been available, I feel their Class AB amplifiers and the lack of easy to configure DSP holds them back. I haven't looked at their MA1 software, but I think when they came out with the DSP the only way to configure it was with an iPad.

So looking at prices, correct me if I'm wrong
  • Genelec 2x 8331 + 7350 ~ 5300€
  • Neumannn 2x KH 80 + KH 750 ~ 2419€

I should not be surprised that the Genelec is better right? We could say the comparison is unfair since the KH80 has much less cone area, maybe it would've been more fair to compare it to Genelec 8020D which would bring the prices much closer.

But that you say it was close and hard to choose? Neumann is clear price/performance winner. Heck my amp cost more than the whole Neumann setup.
I might be wrong, but I think the newer Neumann DSPs eg the KH80, KH750 have class D (the older one eg KH420 certainly have AB).
 
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Nicochu

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As impressive as the Neumanns are, especially considering how long most of these models have been available, I feel their Class AB amplifiers and the lack of easy to configure DSP holds them back. I haven't looked at their MA1 software, but I think when they came out with the DSP the only way to configure it was with an iPad.

So looking at prices, correct me if I'm wrong
  • Genelec 2x 8331 + 7350 ~ 5300€
  • Neumannn 2x KH 80 + KH 750 ~ 2419€

I should not be surprised that the Genelec is better right? We could say the comparison is unfair since the KH80 has much less cone area, maybe it would've been more fair to compare it to Genelec 8020D which would bring the prices much closer.

But that you say it was close and hard to choose? Neumann is clear price/performance winner. Heck my amp cost more than the whole Neumann setup.
The prices are close to what I paid yeah, a bit less for both actually.
I'm far to be an audio pro but on pure audio performance the neumann are imho better on price/perf than Genelec. But Genelec software is way easier to use and got of options (i.e. easily change EQ or dB reduction from the sub or each speaker). Also it was really easy to find online documentations, answers on forums etc where it was way more difficult for Neumann stuff.

As I said I mainly took my decision on a global aspect than on pure audio performance, otherwhise I would probably have taken the Neumann because of their price (for an exact same price I would have taken the Genelec anyway because they fit better my personnal tastes).
I'm not sure I would have heard a big difference between 8331 and 8330 on audio but the software is the same anyway. I would have probably chosen 8330x2 + 7350 more than KH80 + KH750 for approx the same price.

I might be wrong, but I think the newer Neumann DSPs eg the KH80, KH750 have class D (the older one eg KH420 certainly have AB).
I'm not sure but I guess KH 80 speakers have a class D amp but I might be wrong. Even on class D amp they were getting pretty warm after some hours (listening to music or just on power on without sound BTW)
 

HarmonicTHD

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The prices are close to what I paid yeah, a bit less for both actually.
I'm far to be an audio pro but on pure audio performance the neumann are imho better on price/perf than Genelec. But Genelec software is way easier to use and got of options (i.e. easily change EQ or dB reduction from the sub or each speaker). Also it was really easy to find online documentations, answers on forums etc where it was way more difficult for Neumann stuff.

As I said I mainly took my decision on a global aspect than on pure audio performance, otherwhise I would probably have taken the Neumann because of their price (for an exact same price I would have taken the Genelec anyway because they fit better my personnal tastes).
I'm not sure I would have heard a big difference between 8331 and 8330 on audio but the software is the same anyway. I would have probably chosen 8330x2 + 7350 more than KH80 + KH750 for approx the same price.


I'm not sure but I guess KH 80 speakers have a class D amp but I might be wrong. Even on class D amp they were getting pretty warm after some hours (listening to music or just on power on without sound BTW)
Yes I have the KH80/KH750 in my office and I just dug up the specs. Indeed class D and yes also class D gets warm.
 
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