Nearfields Monitors: Kali vs Adam vs Focal

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply

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.
tea for two
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2561 Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:00 am

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!)

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16077 Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am Location: northampton uk

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).
User avatar
Drew Stephenson
Jedi Poster
Posts: 23628 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
(The forumuser formerly known as Blinddrew)
Ignore the post count, I still have no idea what I'm doing...
https://drewstephenson.bandcamp.com/

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?
philb
Poster
Posts: 10 Joined: Mon May 29, 2023 1:44 pm

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.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 38006 Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound...
(But generally posting my own personal views and not necessarily those of SOS, the company or the magazine!)
In my world, things get less strange when I read the manual... 

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.
RichardT
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3757 Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 12:00 am Location: Ireland

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:
philb
Poster
Posts: 10 Joined: Mon May 29, 2023 1:44 pm

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.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 18901 Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 12:00 am Location: Manchester UK
Your karma has run over my dogma

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
User avatar
Drew Stephenson
Jedi Poster
Posts: 23628 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
(The forumuser formerly known as Blinddrew)
Ignore the post count, I still have no idea what I'm doing...
https://drewstephenson.bandcamp.com/

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...

The signature is just a smoke screen...
User avatar
muzines
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12138 Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:00 am
..............................mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio  | Legacy Logic Project Conversion

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
User avatar
Drew Stephenson
Jedi Poster
Posts: 23628 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
(The forumuser formerly known as Blinddrew)
Ignore the post count, I still have no idea what I'm doing...
https://drewstephenson.bandcamp.com/

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:
philb
Poster
Posts: 10 Joined: Mon May 29, 2023 1:44 pm
Post Reply