Small monitors

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Re: Small monitors

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

deejayen wrote:The specs suggest they're quite hefty (7.5kg each).

Goes hand in hand with being 'good'. Solid cabinets are heavy. Strong, rigid driver chassis are heavy. And big, powerful magnets are heavy. They they are all crucial to ensuring the driver diaphragms do exactly what they're supposed to and nothing else!
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Re: Small monitors

Post by Martin Walker »

Just a +1 for small ATC monitors. I've now had my SCM10 Pro's for 24 years, and as my acoustic treatment has improved, their sound has gone from very good to even better.

Unless I manage to damage them I've got no plans to change them.

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Re: Small monitors

Post by Ben Wilmot »

I made my shortlist according to size constraints too :-)

The Genelecs and Neumanns are nicely packaged in that the power and XLR cables fit upwards into recessed sockets so they don't protrude and interfere with placement. The Neumanns are deeper, but being front-ported they don't need the same space behind as the Genelecs.

I ended up with the KH 80s, which I preferred to the others in my demo, particularly for their mid-range clarity, and I'm extremely happy with them. I should mention the somewhat temperamental standby circuit, as reported by others, but at least it can be disabled if it's annoying. That aside, they're a great package and excellent value. I very much agree with Hugh Robjohn's review. It helps to have an iPad, however, as without one (or their MA 1 measurement mic) you can't make use of the DSP features.

The SCM7 is the one I wish I'd tried. It would be a strong choice, and they'd still be with you in 20+ years (like Martin Walkers's SCM10s and my old PMC TB2s which are now brightening up my living room). Passives can always be re-amped, and I tbh I'd be surprised if my active+DSP KH80s lasted as long.

On the other hand, for not much more than the price of the SCM7s and a decent amp, I now have a full-range system in the form of a pair of KH80 and the KH750 sub I added a few months later. It's a complete and fantastically well-integrated system - a joy.
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Re: Small monitors

Post by deejayen »

Thanks, Ben.

The KH80 get great reviews, and the dealer I use always recommends them.

I'm still trying to decide. After measuring up again, many of the good monitors are probably too big. However, I'm going to have a look around for monitor stands to see if I could position one of them to give a bit more clearance around my work area for larger monitors.

Keeping with small monitors, I was thinking the small Questeds would be the way to go, but a dealer said they sounded a bit boxy.

I'm sure the ATC's would be good, but, unfortunately, I think they're too big. Also, I spoke to a HiFi dealer about them, and he confirmed they need a quality amp. I had thought about getting some lower wattage monoblocks, but he said they just wouldn't work, so I suspect something like the £2500 3U ATC P1 is probably needed to drive the ATC monitors.
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Re: Small monitors

Post by James Perrett »

You can buy a reasonably powerful Hypex based amp for around £600 (or a bit cheaper if you are open to some DIY). I'd be surprised if that wasn't powerful enough to drive any small monitors. In my experience they sound good. However, given Hugh and Mike Senior's glowing reports about the KH80, it should probably be on your list.
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Re: Small monitors

Post by John Willett »

I'm surprised anyone says teh KH80 are "too large" as they are tiny.

I used to use the K+H O110-D (the forerunner of the KH 120) and those are pretty small and excellent as well (now up for sale as I have upgraded to the ME-Geithain RL906).
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Re: Small monitors

Post by Ben Wilmot »

Yeah, you could certainly take the cost of SCM7+amp to well in excess of my Neumann 2.1 system. I'd go second hand were I buying some passive ATCs, and I used to drive my TB2s using an old Crown PA amp (I'm sure I could've done better, but it had great specs and so much power it was barely strolling with my PMCs. It was huge though).

I use K&M 26772 Table Monitor Stands for my KH80s, specifically because the space under the speakers remains usable. They don't isolate well, however, and I plan to improve that soon.

There were several more monitors I wish I could've tried, and Amphions were one. Not heard those Quested either. I demoed the ones I had access to and chose the best of those.
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Re: Small monitors

Post by deejayen »

I decided the ATCs were too big, plus I don't think I'd ever be able to decide on an amp!

I came to the conclusion that a pair of Genelec 8010A would probably be the most sensible choice for now.

I'd originally tried a couple of times to contact Quested to see if they thought the V2104's would work for me. They didn't reply to their contact form, and they didn't answer the phone when I tried a couple of times on different days. I'd almost given up, but tried once again, and got speaking to a very helpful chap who got in contact with the equally helpful distributor, and they've arranged to send me a pair to try at home.
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Re: Small monitors

Post by Martin Walker »

deejayen wrote:...got speaking to a very helpful chap who got in contact with the equally helpful distributor, and they've arranged to send me a pair to try at home.

Well that's a result to be sure - hope it helps solve your monitor decision.

Do keep us informed of your findings!

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Re: Small monitors

Post by forumuser840717 »

I've used ATC SCM20As (the die-cast aluminium ones) as my preferred 'small' monitor for over 20 years for both stereo and 5.1 work (I have a pair of SCM100As as larger main monitoring but rarely take them out any more as they're so heavy!). Over that time I've tried lots of others but none that offered anything special enough to persuade me to shell out money for them.

Until last year, when I had time properly to check out some of the Genelec "Ones". Funny looking things but quite astonishing. Especially for the size. I ended up buying pairs of the larger 8351Bs and much smaller 8331As. I still have the SCM20As but only because I know them really well, I have projects to finish which have used them all the way through, they're already paid for, and to replace the whole 5.1 set with Ones is prohibitively expensive with the current work climate! And I can do 4.0 with the Ones I have (or 4.1 if I use the ATC sub).
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Re: Small monitors

Post by deejayen »

Thanks very much. I have thought about the 8331, but again I think they're too big, plus they'd be an even bigger financial hit!

I've got the Questeds plugged in now, sitting on ISO-Pucks on my wooden shelf, so they're just about at the right height. They're about 60cm (2ft), so pretty close.

Bearing in mind I've never used monitors before, I think they sound fabulous. I've been struggling with headphones, and the monitors seem to have a clarity my headphones don't have. Everything seems to sound natural and balanced. I thought maybe my room would skew things, and it probably is, but I can't hear anything which sounds off. The centre image and stereo spread are also really good. In fact, ignoring the bass limits of a small box, I can't really imagine how they could be improved.

I've been mainly listening to well recorded Nashville stuff, which sounds great. With some older tracks I've heard things like noise, and also strange effects such as the lead vocals being set back in the mix. I also tried monitoring my guitar through them, and could hear fret buzz which has always plagued me, but not been as noticeable when tracking through headphones.

Life is never straightforward, though! My dilemma now is wondering if all monitors would sound similarly good. Could I could get as good a sound for less money, or better if I spent more? My room limits the monitors I can get, so there's probably not a lot of choice beyond these, but some of the others mentioned in this thread are much cheaper.

Is it worth trying to demo some more, or should I simply decide that these will probably do a good job, and splash out on them?
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Re: Small monitors

Post by James Perrett »

Given your size constraints I doubt you'll find anything much better any cheaper. I've not heard the Questeds but reading Phil's review makes me think that they have created a very accurate speaker provided you can live with the lack of anything under 100Hz. I have used both the NS10 and LS3/5a that Phil mentions and it seems that Quested have produced something that works as well, if not better, but without the foibles of either.

I thought I'd just check the prices of LS3/5a's and it appears that Rogers have just started making BBC licenced versions again but the price is nearly £3k! And that's without an amplifier.
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