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Topic: More speakers / monitors questions

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  1. #1

    More speakers / monitors questions

    A new thread because I didn't want to redirect Steve's thread.

    Any suggestions when limited space is an added requirement? Because of very restrictive space requirements I need desk-top speakers in a terribly unsymmetrical acoustical space - less than a foot away from a wall on one side. (This is obviously a very near-field environment so I'm hoping the nearness of the wall won't matter too much.) I'm willing to go up to a couple hundred dollars per speaker - more if that's the only way to get good sound (but I won't be happy about it).

    Pat

  2. #2

    Re: More speakers / monitors questions

    Quote Originally Posted by pokeefe View Post
    A new thread because I didn't want to redirect Steve's thread.

    Any suggestions when limited space is an added requirement? Because of very restrictive space requirements I need desk-top speakers in a terribly unsymmetrical acoustical space - less than a foot away from a wall on one side. (This is obviously a very near-field environment so I'm hoping the nearness of the wall won't matter too much.) I'm willing to go up to a couple hundred dollars per speaker - more if that's the only way to get good sound (but I won't be happy about it).

    Pat
    Well, redirecting would've been fine, but no biggie.

    Anyway, when I had my headphones vs. speakers thread going, C J Pro recommended the Alesis M1Active 320 and 520 USB monitors. These are nearfield monitors, their specs look really good, and I think they meet both of your criteria. The 520s got a very favorable review from Sound On Sound, and the best price online is $149 here.

    I have similar limitations in terms of physical space and budget, so I'm leaning pretty heavily toward the M1Active 520s.

    Steve
    If you'd like to hear a couple of pieces I might actually finish someday, please visit my virtual concert hall.

  3. #3

    Re: More speakers / monitors questions

    Thanks Steve. Based on your comments I'm looking into these, and I'm getting very confused.

    First, the USB connection won't do me much good because I'll be hooking the speakers up to my M-Audio Delta 2496 - no USB on that card. But I'm not completely ignoring USB because Alesis has produces both 520 and 520 USB. The non-USB model is more expensive than the USB model (by about $100 at some outlets). $100 to not have USB support does not make much sense to me. Is the USB version significantly lower quality? And the 320 has only a USB version.

    Both #20 USB and 520 USB have non-USB inputs available. The 320 USB input specs sound reasonable: two 1/4" phone jacks, 1 stereo 1/8" TRS mini jack and stereo RCA. The 520 USB input specs do not sound reasonable: two balanced-1/4”. Balanced 1/4"? I thought 1/4 inch phone jacks were unbalanced - ground, left, right. This is something else? And no RCA?

    Sound on Sound reports that the 520 (non-USB) has balanced XLR and TRS jack inputs. The review makes it sound like a pretty reasonable speaker for me, but it costs a bit more than I'd like.

    Edit: With some further digging I've confirmed that the 520 and 520 USB are indeed completely different speakers. At the very least, the 520 USB pair share a power supply. (I'm not sure how much that matters to me.) I also confirmed that the 520 USB has fewer input options than the smaller 320 USB.

    I think I've also confirmed that a balanced 1/4" jack is for a single channel - sleeve for ground, tip and ring for balanced input. I have no idea how to adapt that to the RCA outputs of my audio card, and whether the (non-USB) 520's 1/4" TRS input is balanced one-per-channel, or is a two-channel plug.

    Pat

  4. #4

    Re: More speakers / monitors questions

    Quote Originally Posted by pokeefe View Post
    Thanks Steve. Based on your comments I'm looking into these, and I'm getting very confused.

    First, the USB connection won't do me much good because I'll be hooking the speakers up to my M-Audio Delta 2496 - no USB on that card. But I'm not completely ignoring USB because Alesis has produces both 520 and 520 USB. The non-USB model is more expensive than the USB model (by about $100 at some outlets). $100 to not have USB support does not make much sense to me. Is the USB version significantly lower quality? And the 320 has only a USB version.

    Both #20 USB and 520 USB have non-USB inputs available. The 320 USB input specs sound reasonable: two 1/4" phone jacks, 1 stereo 1/8" TRS mini jack and stereo RCA. The 520 USB input specs do not sound reasonable: two balanced-1/4”. Balanced 1/4"? I thought 1/4 inch phone jacks were unbalanced - ground, left, right. This is something else? And no RCA?

    Sound on Sound reports that the 520 (non-USB) has balanced XLR and TRS jack inputs. The review makes it sound like a pretty reasonable speaker for me, but it costs a bit more than I'd like.

    Edit: With some further digging I've confirmed that the 520 and 520 USB are indeed completely different speakers. At the very least, the 520 USB pair share a power supply. (I'm not sure how much that matters to me.) I also confirmed that the 520 USB has fewer input options than the smaller 320 USB.

    I think I've also confirmed that a balanced 1/4" jack is for a single channel - sleeve for ground, tip and ring for balanced input. I have no idea how to adapt that to the RCA outputs of my audio card, and whether the (non-USB) 520's 1/4" TRS input is balanced one-per-channel, or is a two-channel plug.

    Pat
    You're bringing up some good points, and these are things I'm going to have to look into myself. I just don't know about all this stuff, although one place I'll start is to post a new thread asking about the USB issue. I'm in the same boat as you -- my sound card doesn't have a USB port, and I have my headphones and speakers connected old-school through the 1/4" jack. So stay tuned and let's see what kind of answers I get.

    Steve
    If you'd like to hear a couple of pieces I might actually finish someday, please visit my virtual concert hall.

  5. #5
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: More speakers / monitors questions

    You might also want to invest in a pair of high end headphones if you don't already have a pair. $250 +.


    Phil

  6. #6

    Re: More speakers / monitors questions

    Quote Originally Posted by fastlane View Post
    You might also want to invest in a pair of high end headphones if you don't already have a pair. $250 +.


    Phil
    Already did that -- I recently bought a pair of Sennheiser HD280 Pros. The sound is outstanding, and they only cost $99. (Sadly, Sennheiser is discontinuing this model.) My satisfaction with them has led me to stick back on my sense of urgency about getting a pair of nearfield monitors. Still, I think both headphones and monitors are important to have for doing any decent audio work.

    Thanks, Phil!

    Steve
    If you'd like to hear a couple of pieces I might actually finish someday, please visit my virtual concert hall.

  7. #7
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    Re: More speakers / monitors questions

    G’day,

    Steve you said:

    “These are nearfield monitors, their specs look really good …”

    There are no “Nearfield Monitos”. “Nearfield Monitors” is a term invented by unscrupulous and dishonest salesman in an effort to catch unsuspecting customers. It does not matter whether you call them speakers or monitors, they do not create a field, they create sound waves.

    In the past, I have written a lot about hardware and acoustics on this forum. It may help you, if you read those posts. Unfortunately I cannot give you any links to my post as I have not worked out yet how to access those posts since the forum had been redesigned. I would be grateful if somebody could help me in accessing my earlier posts.

    Here are a few points.

    In relation to the type of speakers we are talking about, virtually noting has changed over the last 50 years. The laws of acoustics were well known before speakers were first built and never change. There has been a remarkable progress in audio amplifier technology to the extent that almost perfect audio amplifiers are now built at a very low cost. Active speakers should be preferred. It does not matter if an active speaker is driven by an analog signal or a digital signal. If you wish to reproduce orchestral music, you must use a sub woofer. For pop music, take your pick. The size of a speaker is related to the wavelength of the lowest note you want to reproduce. To reduce the size of a speaker and maintain its low frequency performance, the speaker must be driven with more power and must be stronger to withstand higher internal pressures, resulting in an unexpected high weight of the speaker.


    Best wishes,

    Herbert

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