Mid field hifi - A home office upgrade

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Doheth

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Mid field hifi - A home office upgrade
« on: 22 Sep 2020, 10:32 pm »
[UPDATED: Subject changed from "Near field" to "Mid field"]

I'm looking to upgrade the sound in my home office.  Six months ago, I was in an office and enjoyed a fairly nice head phone rig.  Now I'm working from home and would really like some quality music.

Most of the time, I'll be at a desk, and expect to be within 4 to maybe 6 feet of each speaker.  I have some room to adjust that if I move my desk around.

I don't want to limit myself, but  I know what a slippery slope all this can be, so I'm trying not to get too carried away. :)

I've come across the Tekton Lore (reference and standard), which seem like they could be a good option.  They are not too big, probably not much larger than bookshelf speakers / monitors on a stand.  They also appear to be on the sensitive side, so I think a lower wattage amp would be nice.

I'm a bit concerned about winding up with an amp that is overpowered, and that I might be missing out on dynamics and what-not by under-driving it.  Does that even make sense?  Am I over thinking it?

But I'm not sure that a 20 watt amp, like say the Schiit Aegir in stereo mode would be sufficient.

Maybe the Van Alstine Vision SET 120 with a pre-amp of some sort might be a nice option.

Perhaps you can tell, I'm leaning toward non-exotic American made stuff.


Does anyone have thoughts on this?  Perhaps suggestions for "near mid field" set ups?
« Last Edit: 26 Sep 2020, 06:32 pm by Doheth »

JLM

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Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #1 on: 23 Sep 2020, 12:28 pm »
I'd look at a preamp/DAC hooked up to active monitors, nice and small to fit on a desktop and not overwhelming of such a small space visually and acoustically. 

Very hard to beat the American made Benchmark preamp/DAC.  Used ones of earlier models are available to save money.

Professionals use active monitors for recording/mixing from their bridge.  And recently home active monitors in various designs have been introduced.  Depending on your budget you can spend $300 - $10,000 per pair.   

Subwoofers can be added to monitors later to "fill" a larger space and extend the bass.  But full range speakers can overload small spaces with excessive bass. 


charmerci

Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #2 on: 23 Sep 2020, 02:21 pm »
For American made, a slightly skewed budget would be the AVA Control Amp ("integrated") and an Omega single driver loudspeaker.


The AVA amp runs at class A for its first few watts.

Doheth

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Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #3 on: 23 Sep 2020, 02:24 pm »
Thanks for the advice JLM.

I'm not so concerned about being visually overwhelmed. It's my space, and hif-fi gear is beautiful to me. :)

But being acoustically overwhelmed is a valid concern.

I received another suggestion to look at active monitors from a co-worker.  He also makes music, so he's using a PreSonus interface instead of a Hi-Fi oriented DAC.  He suggested looking at the KRK V8 monitors.

I have been wanting to try making some music myself, so perhaps it would be more economical to go the active monitor route for a dual purpose system.

So expanding on that a bit, but still technically talking "enclosures"....  :)

Do any of you have thoughts on using active monitors for "hi fi" listening (IE, listening for enjoyment) as well as critical listening for production/mixing/etc?

I suppose I might be able to insert a tube preamp between the interface and active monitors for some "flavor" at some point in the future. :D

Cacophonix

Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #4 on: 23 Sep 2020, 06:26 pm »
Echo what JLM said. For desktop listening, active monitors are your best bet. They are mostly designed for near field listening. Get a nice dac/preamp to reduce clutter and you’ll be set.
I’ve JBL 305 and can’t think of replacing them. Unless genelec comes my way, of course!

ooheadsoo

Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #5 on: 23 Sep 2020, 08:38 pm »
I've been pleased with these: http://www.linkwitzlab.com/Store/LXmini.htm

Doheth

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Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #6 on: 23 Sep 2020, 09:44 pm »
Maybe I'm misinterpreting "desktop listening", but I think that would probably be something less than what I want.

But, I'm looking into it... and in my searching, I came across Genelecs too.  Oh my.  The 8040 are interesting. But $$$.

Doheth

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Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #7 on: 23 Sep 2020, 09:46 pm »
BTW, I'm not planning on putting speakers on my desktop.  They are either going to be floorstanders or if they are monitors/bookshelf speakers, they will be on stands.

cliffy

Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #8 on: 23 Sep 2020, 10:47 pm »
AudioEngine has some active speakers as well. Much different price point then Genelecs.

ooheadsoo

Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #9 on: 23 Sep 2020, 10:54 pm »
Maybe I'm misinterpreting "desktop listening", but I think that would probably be something less than what I want.

But, I'm looking into it... and in my searching, I came across Genelecs too.  Oh my.  The 8040 are interesting. But $$$.

Not quite clear who/what you're referring to when you say something is less than what you want.

charmerci

Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #10 on: 23 Sep 2020, 10:56 pm »
I have the Schiit Modi 3 >iTube2 > JBL 305's on my desktop. I could give you a review of it this weekend if you'd like. (It'd mean putting the speakers on my stands for critical listening. I won't mind. I like doing stuff like that. FYI, I've braced and dampened the JBL's. They do sound better that way at volume.) I'm just using this to listen to internet videos right now.

Doheth

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Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #11 on: 23 Sep 2020, 11:20 pm »
Not quite clear who/what you're referring to when you say something is less than what you want.

Sorry, I guess that was worded strangely.

I guess I mean:  When I picture "desktop listening" in my head, images of Dell PC speakers come to mind.  I'm sure there are nice small speakers, but I'm afraid I'd be underwhelmed.  That's what I meant by "less".

I like jamming at my desk. :)

At work, I was used to having Alpha Dog headphones and a DAC hooked up to a pretty nice hybrid tube amp.  It was a pretty full sound.

Now that I'm at home, I don't need to use headphones to avoid bothering my coworkers.  I'm also not bound by my desktop.  I have room beside my desk to place speakers on the floor or on stands.  I also have a bit of flexibility to move my desk more to the middle of the room, giving me a little more room between the wall and where I might place speakers, and also room to allow me to place them a bit further back from me.


BTW, I really appreciate the feedback!  It has me searching and YouTubing' things I hadn't looked at yet.  Thanks all!

ooheadsoo

Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #12 on: 23 Sep 2020, 11:34 pm »
So were you referring to the LXmini?  They're floor standers, and also have 3 different official 3-way (subwoofer) configurations.

GeneS

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Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #13 on: 23 Sep 2020, 11:50 pm »
The Klipsch RP 600M bookshelf speakers seem to be well regarded, require minimal amplification, and love tubes!
On the powered monitor front, I’m always amazed by the Vanatoo line, particularly the Transparent One Encore. It has nearly everything built into it (DAC, amp, sub out) minimizing the need for gear other than a source.
I’ve had great luck and thoroughly enjoy the Benchmark AHB amp and Studio Electric monitors. They compliment each other very well.
And all the above is made in the USA!!

Doheth

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Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #14 on: 24 Sep 2020, 01:00 am »
So were you referring to the LXmini?  They're floor standers, and also have 3 different official 3-way (subwoofer) configurations.

No no, my bad!  I was just reacting to "desktop listening"  (and maybe the small JBLs).

I started out thinking Tekton Lore and amps, and now smaller speakers than I had initially considered are part of the conversation.  I'm open to all kinds of ideas, but I want to be sure I'm satisfied.

The LXmini actually look pretty cool.  :)  I checked out that page.  Looks like he's not selling them now, so it would be a total DIY type thing for me.

aldcoll

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Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #15 on: 24 Sep 2020, 01:28 am »
With time changing for my house much the same as the rest of you all I ended up moving the front room setup to a 10x10 room.

A large Bookshelf speaker, 150 watts and all that goes with it ( Brands and labels don't play a part in this).

SO I WAS SHOCKED how good it sounded with a couple of reflection panels to start with. I actually have some room decay for the first time.
Originally I put a chair in for some reading. 

IF you could get a chance to demo borrow a few items and start there.

Enjoy the journey.

Alan



NickMimi

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Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #16 on: 24 Sep 2020, 02:32 am »
I could not decide on just one set-up and so decided to do multiple combinations of what you are leaning towards. I have full sized floor standers, Very large Bookshelf, medium sized, small and tiny with a variety of different class amplifiers and DAC's which I switch out every couple of weeks when I want to vary the Sound signature. It all works well and some combo's are more synergistic than others, this is the fun of building a system. There is moderate room treatment and subwoofers get thrown into the mix once in a while.

Possible combo's for you I have personal experience with: Decware Amp's, pre-amps and Steve's Tiny Radials, Omegas, and Klipsch speakers all working in a near field desktop environment in a 12x14x8 ft room off a 6ft desk.
In a small room a flea watt SET Decware amp and a small pair of efficient speakers kick ass and look GREAT.
How about a nice class A Sugden and a pair of Falcon/HArbeth/Rogers LS3/5a's? Wonderful vintage sound and lots of cool history there. Great look on a desktop set-up.

Happy listening and good luck with whatever you decide, I couldn't so I bought them all...

ooheadsoo

Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #17 on: 24 Sep 2020, 03:22 am »
No no, my bad!  I was just reacting to "desktop listening"  (and maybe the small JBLs).

I started out thinking Tekton Lore and amps, and now smaller speakers than I had initially considered are part of the conversation.  I'm open to all kinds of ideas, but I want to be sure I'm satisfied.

The LXmini actually look pretty cool.  :)  I checked out that page.  Looks like he's not selling them now, so it would be a total DIY type thing for me.

Ok, got it. Actually, small monitors with one or more subwoofers is back in vogue in many parts.

As for the LXmini, in terms of actual build time, it took me perhaps a week of evenings and a weekend to finish.  90% of the time was spent on finishing/painting the pieces.  It's doable, if you have an interest in it.  There's a support forum at oplug-support.org.  The speaker designer passed away a few years ago, but most of the plan proceeds go to his widow.

Plato’s Mojo

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Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #18 on: 24 Sep 2020, 03:32 am »
The new KEF LS-50 Meta speakers just came out. Steve Gutenberg just came out with a very glowing review of them. Might be worth checking out. He mentions they have some serious low end. Here’s the link https://youtu.be/oKTYvP7YQ0Q

JLM

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Re: Near field hifi - A home office upgrade
« Reply #19 on: 24 Sep 2020, 10:39 am »
What would the setup be like?  Space/room dimensions, furnishings layout, finishes?  BTW near-field is considered loudspeakers 2-4 ft from the listener.  Mid-field is considered around 7ft away.  Care to modify the title of this thread?

Keep in mind that active loudspeaker designs have significant technical and sonic advantages over passive (unpowered) or "powered" loudspeakers.  Powered loudspeakers, like AudioEngine or Vanatoo have a stereo amp built into one cabinet to serve both speakers, like a conventional home system except the stereo power amp has been picked out by the loudspeaker manufacturer and located inside one of the cabinets.  Active loudspeakers use a low voltage crossover to drive one manufacturer chosen channel of amplification for each driver. 

Low voltage crossovers can be much more sophisticated and precise (even using DSP).  Pairing a particular amp to a driver in active designs allows better matching and the amp to "see" the simple/direct and dynamic driver load to react better.  And placing the crossover before the amplification in the signal path increases efficiency.  These are only three of advantages.  Note that studio professionals use active design almost exclusively because they typically have less colorations (flavorings) which allow them to work out the proper mixes. 

I've used a couple different active loudspeakers:  a commissioned transmission line loaded single driver loudspeaker (active by default); $1000/pair Dynaudio BM5 Mk3 (a smaller 2-way, analog design suitable for desktop yet can fill a small room); $4000/pair JBL 708P (a larger 2-way, digital design suitable for mid-field and can fill a large room).  By "analog" I mean analog design throughout.  By "digital" I mean it can accept digital input or converts analog input to digital before going through a DAC and/or DSP. 

Recently active designs have gotten quite varied and complex.  Elac sells one that offers both "analog" and "digital" approaches.  Buchardt sells the A500 with two woofers that can be switched between functioning as a 3-way for deepest response or a 2.5-way for maximum output.  It has a number of "master settings", uses a DSP crossover that monitors the "health" of each driver, has one DAC per driver, can be connected via XLR/balanced analog or wireless auto-corrected 24bit/96kHz digital signals, automatic loudness compensation, room measurement/correction, and remote.  Frankly pure "analog" active loudspeakers are becoming rather rare.
« Last Edit: 24 Sep 2020, 11:47 am by JLM »