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I am looking for a pair of powered monitor speakers. I plan on using them for listening to and enjoying music, not critical monitoring. I would like nothing larger than a 6.5" woofer, maybe a 7", but no 8" 2-ways. I have a sub, so smaller 2.5"-5" mid drivers are okay also if the speaker fits the bill otherwise. I've been using Audioengine A2s, original version, and loving them, but I've had three pairs of Audioengines and all of them have ended up dying. In fact, my A2s just hit the deck. No need to suggest A5s or any other Audioengine products. Not interested, sadly. I've owned the 5 and I think it's a pretty awful speaker compared to the lovely little A2. I like the A2 because it's very dark, warm, smooth and rich sounding with ridiculously overblown midbass, but if I keep buying them, I'm going to have a pile of broken ones in the yard. Their reliability is probably the worst I've seen, but the A2 is basically the sound I like (though not the most refined or sophisticated speaker in the world). I have no interest in anything forward, extra clean, bright or detailed, and no metal dome tweeters. In addition, what I'm looking for is naturalness of tone, rich, warm bass, above average integration between mid and tweeter, a near total absence of artifacts such as cone shout, shrieking saxes, or spitty sibilants, and a buttery smooth, soft tonality. Asking a lot, I know! I would appreciate recommendations. As a point of reference, some non-powered speakers I've loved in the past are Quad ESL 57s and Harbeth Monitor 30s. Thank you!
Phil jones just came out with his own active monitor that sounds very interesting (I actually ordered a pair at the introductory price)and very appealing at their price point: Just under $1000.00 there aren't any reviews to speak of except for noted Jazz musician Bob James speaking about how fond he is of them. I s/w Phil and he seemed very confident no speaker in their price range can touch them. I'll soon find out in a few weeks. here's the link in case you're interested
Neumann 120A powered monitors
I started on powered speakers with the A2s too. Still a fun little speaker. The Airmotiv 4S was a major upgrade for me for not a lot of money. But sounds like your budget is much higher. I'd agree you should check out the Dynaudio and Adam offerings if you got the dough.
I appreciate the recommendation, but you see, this is exactly the type of speaker I want to avoid. Note rise in treble response:
I understand your trepidation. I was completely fatigued by many speakers over the years. I was worried about exactly what you're talking about. True, they don't have the A2 bloomy mid bass punch. But they are much more resolving top to bottom and they're definitely not fatiguing.
Curious if these would meet my criteria. Some people call them lush and smooth. Some call them steely and cheap.
A bit over your budget retail, you'd have to look for used/demo, Sauk makes a really nice sounding powered speaker.
Very interesting! I see they use the Hiquphon OW1, which is a great tweeter. I'm worried, however, that these may be a little too accurate for my taste. I like a doctored sound, bass hump, rolled off highs, etc. But if the Salks are buttery smooth, I can potentially adjust source and preamp to my liking.
Epos Elans are a smooth sounding speaker.....
Dynaudio active monitors are excellent speakers that should meet all your requirements. I used a pair for a couple of years prior to buying my Thiel floor standing speakers . You might really like Dynaudio.
I second the Dynaudio. I've owned ESL57s (not enough space for them right now, dammit) and I currently have Harbeth 30.1s and I use Dynadio BM6a's at work and I love them. You could find a used pair in your price range for sure or extend a bit and buy new.
...preferably way less, on the used market. Thanks!
Here ya go!
You may want to consider a speaker from Adam Audio. The tweeter they use is similar to the Heil. I have been impressed with some of Adam's larger speakers but I don't have any direct experience with their small monitors. I have no idea how they would compare with the Audioengines you mention.
Try something in the Tannoy reveal lineup. They are within your price range, a step up from the little Audioengines but with a warm signature.
I remember reading about the Audioengine 2 years ago in Stereophile when I was looking for desktop speakers. As I remember, it had a somewhat controversial EQ boost in the mid-upper bass and a dip in the upper mids, which is a design trick sometimes used to make small speakers sound bigger. The Paradigm Atom and Totem Rainmaker are a couple of other small speakers I've heard that do this trick. The Rainmaker is definitely not for you (metal tweeter, tipped up treble), but the Atom might be a good substitute even though it's passive.
Do they have to be active speakers? I think you might have a hard time finding active speakers with the sound signature you're looking for, unless you're going to put EQ in front of them.
Here ya go!
My recommendation too. However the link posted is to the passive version. The OP wants an active speaker ( well, at least powered) and the ATC SCM20 is passive. The active equivalent is the SCM20ATSL which is a tower speaker. If the OP is using the word "monitor" in the American fashion which denotes a stand mount loudspeaker then the tower won't suit.
I think that to use ATC he will need to switch to the professional range and get the pro version, the SCM20ASL Pro. Fabulous speaker which will meet all of his requirements. However he gives no indication of budget (which is really essential for this kind of query). These I guess will cost around $7000 a pair - a big jump from Audioengines.
My mistake! I meant to suggest these at $5550 a pair.
That looks like a good price ( they say it's a saving over over $1200). However It is still one major step up in price for the OP (also in performance of course) from a pair of audioengine speakers.
The OP should state his budget. He said he enjoyed the Quad ESL 57 and the Harbeth 30 in the past. So I thought he was looking for something in that class of speaker!
Well said - exactly my answer.
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