Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

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Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by philb »

Hi around,
I'm planning to buy new monitors, and already read(watched several reviews, so now it's time for the mosten golden ones, your personal advices :clap: My preselection:

1. Kali LP-8 (bundle option with Sonarworks, which in any case I consider to purchase apart)
2. Kali IN-8
3. Adam T8V
4. Adam A7V (these are slightly exceeding budget, but willing to increase, if it’s really recommended)
5. Focal Alpha 65 EVO / 80 EVO

My room is some 4,5 x 7m, 3,50m height. Not treated, but well furnished (considering some treatment in future). I’m producing and mixing different styles from classical, cinematic to pop and guitar-heavy rock. No EDM usually. Monitors are planned to be located on my desk or optionally at my windows wall, some 1,50 to 2 meters distance from seating position. For desk use, some IsoAcoustics Stands for decoupling from my wooden desk are planned, too.

Also planning to buy sonicworks reference and possibly a sub.

Looking forward to your experiences
Cheers and thanks
Phil
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by Drew Stephenson »

You've got quite a budget range there from the T8Vs to the A7Vs, and if the latter are worth considering then personally I'd add the Neumann KH80s to your list as well.
If you are thinking of a sub further down the line then it generally makes sense to get one from the same brand, staying in Neumann land would bring you all the advantages of their integrated DSP correction. I'm not sure how much the others head down this route as well.
But long before that I'd be looking at room treatment. Furnishing is ok for taking the top edges of but it's not the same as proper room treatment.
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by philb »

Drew Stephenson wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 3:13 pm You've got quite a budget range there from the T8Vs to the A7Vs, and if the latter are worth considering then personally I'd add the Neumann KH80s to your list as well.
If you are thinking of a sub further down the line then it generally makes sense to get one from the same brand, staying in Neumann land would bring you all the advantages of their integrated DSP correction. I'm not sure how much the others head down this route as well.
But long before that I'd be looking at room treatment. Furnishing is ok for taking the top edges of but it's not the same as proper room treatment.

Hi Drew, thanks for your input. Yes, I know, it's a wide range, acutally I started with the Kali LP-6 in the very beginning and then it went step by step up, as usual. I also like to have some headroom, helps both in Mixing as well as budgeting ;-)

Looked up the Neumann, who always have a great reputation, but especially when adding the sub it seems to exceed even my extended budget (as I need a new interface and other stuff, too). But true, exactly the DSP's were the point that made me finally add the Adam A7V to my list, because I loved the concept to "easily" feed their DSP's in combination with Sonarworks, and maybe later ad a Adam sub.

Regarding treatment, I will do some research, to start with it at least a bit, even if step by step. Any first-step ideas welcome.

Thanks for reply and time :clap::thumbup:
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by Sam Spoons »

philb wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 3:46 pm
Drew Stephenson wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 3:13 pm...
But long before that I'd be looking at room treatment. Furnishing is ok for taking the top edges of but it's not the same as proper room treatment.

Regarding treatment, I will do some research, to start with it at least a bit, even if step by step. Any first-step ideas welcome.

+1 for room treatment sooner rather than later :thumbup:

WRT acoustic panels, is this a living room or a dedicated studio space? And would you DIY or would you need ready made? If the latter Gik Acoustics make panels that will look good and work well for very reasonable prices and, IIRC, offer a FOC design service if you buy their products.
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by philb »

Wow, thanks, a lot, just entered the GIK website, and I think I'll take a big cup off coffee and get ready for reading and learning (and soon ordering, I guess hehe). Btw, It's actually my living room, but I'm totally fine with every change and ready to live in my studio after it :bouncy::lol:
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by Sam Spoons »

Have a look at Gik Art Panels then :)
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by Drew Stephenson »

philb wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 3:46 pm Looked up the Neumann, who always have a great reputation, but especially when adding the sub it seems to exceed even my extended budget (as I need a new interface and other stuff, too). But true, exactly the DSP's were the point that made me finally add the Adam A7V to my list, because I loved the concept to "easily" feed their DSP's in combination with Sonarworks, and maybe later ad a Adam sub.

Yep, adding the sub will exceed your budget, but it doesn't have to be done as the first step|* - in fact I'd argue it shouldn't be done as a first step. Sort yourself some nice monitors (I'm biased, I have the KH80s), get some nice open-back headphones for assessing the low end, and some room treatment and learn to work like that.
If future funds allow, and you've identified a genuine need, then invest in a sub later.

*that obviously applies to everything else as well.
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Fo

Post by RichardT »

Re room treatment, the basics are reasonably simple, but it can get very complicated very quickly if you delve into the details.

The basic points you need to think about are

- positioning the speakers and listening position
- treating room reflections
- treating room resonances (low frequencies, roughly speaking)

I’m sure the GIK learning material will really help. In my experience, it’s possible to get great results without getting into the minutiae of room measurement with REW.

My advice is to get the best monitors you can afford! Although expensive audio interfaces do make a difference, I think it’s best in your situation to prioritise the quality of your monitors.

I agree with Drew that it might be better to consider a sub later on when you’ve made good progress on the basic set up, and got used to how it sounds.

Bear in mind that you can add more room treatment at a later date as funds become available.
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Fo

Post by Arpangel »

RichardT wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 7:53 pm My advice is to get the best monitors you can afford! Although expensive audio interfaces do make a difference, I think it’s best in your situation to prioritise the quality of your monitors.

.

Room first, and then as Richard says, the best monitors you can afford, or more likely can’t afford!
OK, I use Behringer monitors simply because I don’t want to treat my room, and my music doesn’t demand it.
But, I have used many speakers in my room, for long periods , K+H 0300, ATC SCM10/20 and Geithain, I didn’t buy any of them, simply because of no room treatment they all basically sounded not much better than my Behringers, so be warned .
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Fo

Post by ef37a »

Arpangel wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 8:13 pm
RichardT wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 7:53 pm My advice is to get the best monitors you can afford! Although expensive audio interfaces do make a difference, I think it’s best in your situation to prioritise the quality of your monitors.

.

Room first, and then as Richard says, the best monitors you can afford, or more likely can’t afford!
OK, I use Behringer monitors simply because I don’t want to treat my room, and my music doesn’t demand it.
But, I have used many speakers in my room, for long periods , K+H 0300, ATC SCM10/20 and Geithain, I didn’t buy any of them, simply because of no room treatment they all basically sounded not much better than my Behringers, so be warned .

Is anyone going to challenge that ^ ? I am hardly qualified to do so but instinctively feel it is wrong (or the Behringers are the best monitors every made!)

Do note! BEFORE the madness starts. I am NOT arguing against room treatment!

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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by Mike Stranks »

I think Arpangel is using his customary - intentional or not - hyperbole, but there is much more than a grain of truth in what he says.

As someone who for many years concentrated on buying increasingly 'better' monitors for use in acoustically untreated rooms, it was a huge revelation to me to hear the huge leap in the quality of the sound once I started to install even relatively modest amounts of acoustic treatment.

These days, I'm still surprised at how many people are using really expensive (to me!) monitors in untreated environments. Sure, it's 'boring', 'unsexy' and there's not the excitement of setting up the new shiny kit, but it really does make a huge difference.

We keep on saying it, but somehow the adverts for monitors always seem to have more sway that the adverts for acoustic panels! :lol:
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by philb »

Okay, pretty sure we all do agree that treatment is really important. But let's reset and focus again what has been asked at the very top of the thread, aka "Topic". Or should I just invest in treatment, and not buying any monitor? I think in this case I'll keep on mixing on my DT990 Pro, or wait, I'll better trash them too and I'll just imagine how beautiful everything will sound in future in this well treated room, when I will have some day some money for some monitors. Find my releases on the usual channels :clap::headbang::D

So question again: I have a budget around 2 - 2.5 k€ now. I deffo need monitors, I know some amount will be spend on treatment AND I need a new interface. This is for two reasons: Running the new monitors beside the old ones as a second check (some mickey mouse Mackies CR5BT). While this double output is not that relevant, the recording in better quality deffo is (having a Yamaha AG03, which is not bad, but I won't neither say it's brilliant)

Interface question is in another thread (did't want two mix it up here), but if I won't invest in it, my recordings will still be below what they could be, but I have a lovely treated room (with monitors in future :D ). Won't see this as the best option (bad input will rarely lead to better output). If you have any ideas about the interface, please comment here:
https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... hp?t=86800

Long story short: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal? :round1:

(Edit: P.S: and of course the Neumanns, have them on my list now, too, although I think it's not that good mixing on the without any sub, which would again exceed budget)
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by tea for two »

Headphone tech have advanced to an extent where something as
approx £1K Audeze LCD-X for Rock, Metal, Reggae, Dub, HipHop, Bass Heavy, Beats, EDM, (without sub);
approx £3K Hifiman He1000se for Orchestral, Choral, Folk, Jazz, Blues, Country, World, Electronica.
I've auditioned both these and would choose them over an untreated room and £KK speakers (budget permitting, my £200 budget didn't lol).

However worth bearing in mind ear damage from prolonged headphone listening at high volumes : I have slight left ear damage.
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by ef37a »

Mike Stranks wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 10:39 am I think Arpangel is using his customary - intentional or not - hyperbole, but there is much more than a grain of truth in what he says.

As someone who for many years concentrated on buying increasingly 'better' monitors for use in acoustically untreated rooms, it was a huge revelation to me to hear the huge leap in the quality of the sound once I started to install even relatively modest amounts of acoustic treatment.

These days, I'm still surprised at how many people are using really expensive (to me!) monitors in untreated environments. Sure, it's 'boring', 'unsexy' and there's not the excitement of setting up the new shiny kit, but it really does make a huge difference.

We keep on saying it, but somehow the adverts for monitors always seem to have more sway that the adverts for acoustic panels! :lol:

A grain yes Mike but a beach of (insert own expletive). I tried VERY hard to avoid the matter becoming a cow about room treatment but it seems I failed?

Most people are NOT without some RT. Most people do not live with hard floors and a chrome and glass Scandi minimalist room. Most of us have carpets, curtains (drapes to our colonial cousins) and squishy furniture. That give a degree of treatment that is I would argue a decent staring point to assess speakers. FFS! The next time you decorate and strip a room to emptiness and possibly bare boards, take a moment to listen to it! Not the same as the habitable space most of us live and work in. (e.g. not a *&^%$Ng cellar!)

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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by Drew Stephenson »

philb wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 11:04 am (Edit: P.S: and of course the Neumanns, have them on my list now, too, although I think it's not that good mixing on the without any sub, which would again exceed budget)

Happy mixing on them without a sub here ;) and they'd still be my choice in that price range (but I haven't listened to the newest version of the Adam 7).
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by philb »

ef37a wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 12:06 pmMost people are NOT without some RT. Most people do not live with hard floors and a chrome and glass Scandi minimalist room. Most of us have carpets, curtains (drapes to our colonial cousins) and squishy furniture. That give a degree of treatment that is I would argue a decent staring point to assess speakers. FFS! The next time you decorate and strip a room to emptiness and possibly bare boards, take a moment to listen to it! Not the same as the habitable space most of us live and work in. (e.g. not a *&^%$Ng cellar!)

Dave.

That's what I think. It is actually my (not that) small living, working, sleeping, making-music and hell-lot-more room :D

So my thoughts are: Buy some decent monitors in my price range, that do sound good and neutral as possible. See if low end is enough (if I mix on something with 4", I would assume by all physics learned that it's hard to deliver the same response @60Hz compared to 8" woofer, no?)

So if low end won't please me, I'll think about a subwoofer. Of course, I can put headphones on to check the lows, but then again, why to have monitors at all, when I'm switching for every instrument fine tuning in mix between two totally different devices?

Next step: Finding room problems. I just generated some sine-sweep easily in Logic, ran it on my shitty Mackies and a consumer Yamaha Sub Bass I still have. Huge resonance at around 58Hz, and of course corresponding harmonics/octaves.

Now for even more details I'll purchase sonarworks with a mic, too (this is planned in my budget, as well as ISO decoupling stands for the monitors, located on my desk)

Then I could think about equalising / DSP adaption (easier if monitor has a controllable DSP, like Adams A7V, if not, doing it the the output channel while mixing (and hopefully not forgetting to bypass when bouncing).

Better than EQing: Room treatment. Now, with chosen monitors and subs, having had first correction, I wil have a better start for decent treatment.

Is it somehow clear what I mean? Or am I horribly wrong with this?
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

My advice would be to pick whichever monitors appeal the most, and make music. Personally, I'd go for the KH80s... ;-)

Yes, good room treatment — especially panels dealing with early reflections — makes a HUGE difference to the perceived quality of the speakers.

Home furnishings will help reduce the overall reverb time at mid and high frequencies, but won't help with first reflections (affecting stereo imaging and mid range clarity) or room modes (affecting low-end consistency).

DSP really isn't a flashy high-tec substitute for acoustic treatment.
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by RichardT »

If it were me I would get the monitors now and leave the treatment till later - that way you can maximise the quality of the monitors short term and get the best overall sound in your room long term.

Very people will have heard all your proposed monitors, and so it's hard to pass judgement, but Hugh has heard a lot more than most and so I would trust his advice, particularly as it's seconded by Drew.

There are a couple of points that struck me:

First, it's totally normal (and necessary) to check out mixes on both monitors and phones. They inevitably present things very differently especially in relation to dynamics, imaging and bass frequencies. As your room, monitors and phones get better the tonal qualities of monitors and phones will converge, but the difference in dynamics handling never goes away and the differences in imaging are built in!

Secondly, as Hugh says, room equalisation using Sonarworks or built-in speaker DSP does make a difference and I think it's a helpful one, but it's best done after you've got room treatment - so, I'd say prioritise the treatment over Sonarworks.
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by philb »

RichardT wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 2:09 pm If it were me I would get the monitors now and leave the treatment till later - that way you can maximise the quality of the monitors short term and get the best overall sound in your room long term.

Very people will have heard all your proposed monitors, and so it's hard to pass judgement, but Hugh has heard a lot more than most and so I would trust his advice, particularly as it's seconded by Drew.

There are a couple of points that struck me:

First, it's totally normal (and necessary) to check out mixes on both monitors and phones. They inevitably present things very differently especially in relation to dynamics, imaging and bass frequencies. As your room, monitors and phones get better the tonal qualities of monitors and phones will converge, but the difference in dynamics handling never goes away and the differences in imaging are built in!

Secondly, as Hugh says, room equalisation using Sonarworks or built-in speaker DSP does make a difference and I think it's a helpful one, but it's best done after you've got room treatment - so, I'd say prioritise the treatment over Sonarworks.

Yap, I think that's the best, start with something and improve. Totally agree about checking both on headphones as well as monitors, of course (think I wrote this a bit misleading, but I always try to listen on at much as possible). Same about EQ, DSP vs. Treatment, I totally understand that EQ is the second or last option.

I got in touch already with GIK at their website, so they have the first infos now, and I'm waiting for feedback to make it more detailed, may it be by photos, a sketch of my room and what else they might need. And prioritize this over the Sonarworks "toys" first, this makes sense.

Thanks a lot for all your feedback here, especially bringing me to the Neumann, I would not have had those in my mind before. :clap::thumbup:
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by Sam Spoons »

If it was me I'd buy the KH80's and three of four broadband absorber panels. The logic behind my thinking is that the biggest improvement from room treatment is with the panels at the first reflection points i.e. side walls, ceiling and possible back wall. WRT buying monitors, if you can't go and audition the ones on your shortlist then best to buy ones that come recommended by those who's opinion you trust. In my case that would be the likes of Hugh et al. and learn to use them effectively.

The extra cost of basic treatment relative to the cost of the monitors makes it a no-brainer to me but YMMV.
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by Drew Stephenson »

RichardT wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 2:09 pm Very people will have heard all your proposed monitors, and so it's hard to pass judgement, but Hugh has heard a lot more than most and so I would trust his advice, particularly as it's seconded by Drew.

Whoah there! Don't go quoting me as an authority on anything! :D
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by muzines »

Drew Stephenson wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 9:41 pm Whoah there! Don't go quoting me as an authority on anything! :D

It's all about the post count...

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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by Drew Stephenson »

The higher my post count the more I realise I don't know. :D
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by philb »

Drew Stephenson wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 10:24 pm The higher my post count the more I realise I don't know. :D

You're heading straight for the 22.222 mark, that's going to be a big party I suppose? Or don't you know that neither yet? :lol::bouncy:
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by tea for two »

Drew as a Mod to represent home recording bedroom studio musicians : yeah I'm down with that.
It doesn't have to be expertise experience level of Eddy, Hugh, JP, MW, Zen, Zuke nor of SoS reviewers writers.
Drew has level headed temperament 8-) to be a mod.
Drew takes part on a range of topics :ugeek: across the forum ready to help out even in person such as sorting out in person intonation on a Guitar for a forumee.
Butttt does Drew want to be a mod :think::crazy::headbang::beamup:
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by philb »

tea for two wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 11:00 am Drew as a Mod to represent home recording bedroom studio musicians : yeah I'm down with that.
It doesn't have to be expertise experience level of Eddy, Hugh, JP, MW, Zuke nor of SoS reviewers writers.
Drew has level headed temperament 8-) to be a mod.
Drew takes part on a range of topics :ugeek: across the forum ready to help out even in person such as sorting out in person intonation on a Guitar for a forumee.
Butttt does Drew want to be a mod :think::crazy::headbang::beamup:

DREW FOR PRESIDENT :bouncy:
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by Arpangel »

OK.
We hear K+H 0300 in treated BBC control room.
We both think "f**k" got to have these, they are the dangly bits.
Friend buys them, puts them in his untreated room, he’s unhappy, I’m unhappy, he sells them.
I used them in my untreated room too, the issues with our rooms masked whatever benefits these "superior" monitors could offer, resonant bass booms, standing waves galore.
I’m still using the Berry's, at that point, living in rented accommodation unable to do any treatment, so I sold the K+H's for my friend, if they offered any major benefits over my Berry's in that room I’d have bought them off him, but, they didn’t.
So I stand by my point, if untreated then yes, get some "reasonable" monitors, they don’t have to be crap, but please, there’s no point in spending thousands, it just won’t be worth it.
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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by ef37a »

Arpangel wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 11:20 am OK.
We hear K+H 0300 in treated BBC control room.
We both think "f**k" got to have these, they are the dangly bits.
Friend buys them, puts them in his untreated room, he’s unhappy, I’m unhappy, he sells them.
I used them in my untreated room too, the issues with our rooms masked whatever benefits these "superior" monitors could offer, resonant bass booms, standing waves galore.
I’m still using the Berry's, at that point, living in rented accommodation unable to do any treatment, so I sold the K+H's for my friend, if they offered any major benefits over my Berry's in that room I’d have bought them off him, but, they didn’t.
So I stand by my point, if untreated then yes, get some "reasonable" monitors, they don’t have to be crap, but please, there’s no point in spending thousands, it just won’t be worth it.

My first thought on that Tony is that the Behringers probably have a poor bass response. And secondly, I don't see how paying rent precludes you from stacking some bags of GF in the corners!

And finally: "One Swallow does not a summer make"!

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Re: Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Hey, don't knock it! It's not often Arpy's random tales make any sense, but that one is spot on! :D:lol:
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