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I have the HiVi Swan M200 MKIII's (very decent powered speakers, soon to be replaced/upgraded by me)--and every time I look at these Edifier speakers, I think they must be using the same basic box, possibly also drivers.
There are reviews out there: some on Amazon (not particularly flattering) & a few scattered comments on Head-Fi.
I did a LOT of research before buying the Swans 1+ yr ago, and have done even more lately into powered studio monitors that people use for music listening (small subset of an already small sample). FYI, the Swans & Edifiers fit into a miniscule "market" of powered speakers that are NOT studio monitors and are (apparently) intended primarily for music listening.
In studio monitors, as in all things electronic--the last thing most care about is how it actually sounds.
Curious, what have you found for monitors used (good) for music listening?
To make sense of all this, you'll need to read a lot. Just finding reviews, and especially user comments, can be challenging. "The Usual Suspects" for that include Amazon.com; Sweetwater.com; MusiciansFriend.com; GearSlutz; Reddit; Head-Fi.
When you read this list, bear in mind that every monitor out there collects the occasional extreme/negative comment. But when you read dozens, if not hundreds of comments for each by users + reviews in industry periodical, by reading between the lines, you can figure out which have a more humane sound on actual music (as compared to "mixes" in professional setting).
1. Yahama HS series (HS5/HS7/HS8): long & esteemed studio lineage here, and I'm pretty sure the biggest sellers in the entry-level bigtime studio monitor space. You frequently see comments from users who happen to be audiophiles, not studio pros--or studio pros who admit (sounding kind of surprised) that they actually enjoy listening to music on them. In ~2 months, I'm getting the HS7 (which barely fit on my space/depth constrained desktop)--more than likely w/the "Zen Pro Mod" by Zen Pro (ie, buy them new/modded). Note: the HS8's are on a very well priced drop here.
2. Focal CMS65: Not as many users here, but some rave about its sound on music playback. A few others (and 1 reviewer) say the exact opposite. Starting w/this monitor in the list, it's harder to tell the real truth about listeability, due to clashing viewpoints.
3. Hedd Type 05/07: Of all the newer monitor designs that include an AMT (pleated/folded driver) tweeter, this one has its sound overtly praised on occasion. Then again, its installed base is, as yet, a fraction of #4. These are pricey.
4. Adam F7/A7/AX7: With the exception of the economy model F7, the Adams line is definitely upscale and is very often seen in mixing rooms in studios. Some praise them for use in music listening, while others charaterize them as ruthless accurate. The A & AX series are pricey.
5. Eve SC 207: Another AMT tweeter design. Some praise its sound on music; others call it bright & unforgiving. Expensive.
6. APS Klassisk: This monitor really divides listeners. Some say it sounds amazing on music, while others say it sounds horrible. Expensive.
7. Mackie HR624: Mackies are often found in studios, particularly the HR series and lower priced models. They don't (as a group) get a lot of love for their sound on music, but the HR624 is occasionally characterized as good for living room audio.
8. Rokit KRK V6 S4: Lower priced Rokits dominate in the budget monitor scene, but the higher priced V6/V8 monitors are sometimes characterized as sounding pretty good (or the opposite).
I'm also interested by a couple of splinter brands on the scene--both come from overseas, are expensive, and sometimes said to sound wonderful (or not):
-- RCF Mytho 6/8: this Italian monitor by the company renowned for its PA system speakers is sometimes said to sound good--but it's impossible to find many comments or reviews on it. Expensive.
-- AVI DM10: this tiny British brand has fierce proponents (most not working in studios, but using it for music)--but also some fierce critics who despite the company and its designs. Their earlier iteration, the ADM9.1, is even more often praised (I'm looking semi-seriously at a used pair in UK). No U.S. distribution.
JBL monitors are a reasonable suggestion--they're very popular, affordable, and both models (LS 305 and LS 308) are said to sound good on music as well as mixing. However, in the many many comments and reviews for both, I kept encountering disturbing references to 2 unwelcome traits:
1 - Excessive "self-noise," where you can hear the power amp hiss/hum at a perceptible/fixed level even when no music signal plays. In fairness, many, if not most powered monitors have some degree of self-noise, but in the better ones, it's nearly imperceptible even heard close up, and totally imperceptible heard at the typical nearfield listening position of 3-4 ft from speakers.
2 - Cabinet resonances, where these built-to-a-pricepoint speakers reveal cost savings in cabinet thickness & rigidity. Some users speak of creaking noises at certain frequencies, different for each, since these resonances are typically excited by bass notes, and the 5" and 8" mid/low drivers of these boxes have different bass extension/impact characteristics.
So I didn't include them--unfairly, probably--because I'm not personally considering either. My bad.
That's cool. I've listened to many as I was putting together a home studio. I chose the Yamaha foe mixing. Whence I can afford the Jbl, that's what I'll get to listen to the end product. THEY sound really good.For noise,I won't have my computer plugged into the same strip. ALSO, If you making a long run, better use good xlr cables that are well shielded.
Which Yamaha? And how does it sound on music vs mixes?
noaudiophile.com review of JBL 308 didn't like them a whole lot, but he's pretty picky/unforgiving.
You are correct, most lower end studio monitors have "self noise" (good description). I have/use a pair of lower end monitors that exhibit this slightly audible hum, regardless of volume/input (i'm connected via TRS, and does this on unbalanced as well). For casual listening this wouldn't even rate as a factor, since there will always be music playing and distance from the speaker (hopefully) great enough to never notice. Even in a small home studio environment I find the noise more than acceptable, to the point I don't even notice anymore. It certainly plays no role in the actual mixing/tracking use.
The lower end JBL, Presonus, and Yamaha (5+") offerings IMO would make for great music playback systems. I often listen to big studio releases on my setup and it seriously rawks. [my 8" Samson monitors look identical to some of the Presonus models, so it's likely they're just a rebrand of the same units] I would probably pair them with a sub depending on the music being played, studio monitors are aiming for a relatively flat response and big bass is the opposite of this. I have an 8" studio sub tied into my setup for this reason (I produce mostly rock/metal, some synths).
Re bass, I have a very good, "musical" subwoofer (SVS SB1000 sealed 12") that is 100% effective for completing the low end reproduction of music. At the moment I'm using the sub's built-in 12 dB/octave high-pass filter, but soon will reconfigure to use an external, variable frequency crossover (Marchand XM44).
Re self-noise, you'd be surprised that some extremely high-end/costly studio monitors also get flagged for this (low but noticeable). It comes from pairing an amp directly w/a driver w/no intervening passive crossover.
I check for it by reading as many comments as possible for each monitor, then informally tallying mentions of self-noise. W/some monitors, people come right and state there's no self-noise at all...or perhaps just a couple comments out many dozens will mention minor self-noise. In those cases, I feel relatively certain it wouldn't be a problem.
But for other monitors (one Presonus model comes to mind), multiple comments directly mention self-noise they find to be concerning. I tend to avoid those models.
My concern w/self-noise is simple:
1 - Little sonic annoyances tend to drive me nuts. If I heard hiss/hum, even at low levels, it wouldn't take long for me to dump the speakers.
2 - I work in a very quiet home office (freelance writer) & my powered speakers are on ~12 hrs/day, usually streaming low volume classical or jazz (I do crank them sometimes). The speakers are 3 ft from my ears. In other words, if there is a self-noise issue, I'm pretty well set up to experience it constantly.
Obviously, my needs & sensitivities are different from those of studio professionals.
Good crossover filtering is the key when tying in a sub. The sub I have has a hard high pass filter so it send 80hz+ to the speakers over TRS and ONLY sends the lower frequencies to the sub. This eliminates overlap and suppresses (most) phasing issues.
If NOT picky the average person can get a lot of quality mileage from entry level studio monitors in a smallish room. Living rooms and other spaces require a different approach.
Not that you asked me, but I found the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 self-powered "computer" speakers to be really good. They do seem to have a flaw in that the amp in those eventually die with use, maybe 30k hours or so (that's 16 years at 5 hours a day just for quick-reference.) . They are designed for listening not engineering/editing, and although I wouldn't call them "audiophile" I would call them solidly "mid-fi" - and for only about $150! They are 2.1 - so they have a sub which is not comparable to these, but I just think they are really solid contenders for self-powered "music listening" speakers. I'd love to see a drop on the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 at or below $100 because I really do think they are a quality product and possibly the best in their category, even at full price.
I have a small room, so I chose the Yamaha 5". My decision was based on mixing. They are very flat. OK for pleasure, but I would buy something a little more colored or add a sub. The Jbls have an extended sweet range and more bass. I think these are great for pleasure. Very accurate, good bass thats controlled and doesn't muddy the waters.
Many people say good things about the Yamaha HS models. And many w/the HS5 mention the need for a sub to get full bass coverage .
Three factors are pushing me toward the Yamaha HS7's:
1 - They will just fit my desktop (depth-constrained) and IMO look very handsome. The 2nd matters less than the 1st, but since I'm paying $$, why not get looks, too?
2 - I've upgraded my electronics (DAC + mega-powerful HP amp/preams) to such an extent that I've outstripped the capabilities of my very pleasant current set of powered speakers (Swan M200 MKIIIs--run w/a very fine SVS SB1000 sub). My upgraded electronics were carefully selected ("voiced") to have great bass, full/expressive midrange & non-peaky treble. This means that with a flat/show-you-everything design like the Yamaha, I've "stacked the deck" in favor of getting pretty good sound out of them.
3 - And finally, descriptions of the ZenPro mod available for the Yamahas suggest that for relatively little $$, the accuracy/fidelity/sonic quality of the Yamaha can be distinctly improved.
It also doesn't hurt that the Yamaha's cost just 1/2 to 1/3 of what some big-reputation monitors do (ie, Focals, ATCs, Adam Audio's higher-end models).
Mine are for mixing ,near field monitors. For pleasure, get more bass . Not complicated.
Thanks, I remember seeing them at a local Best Buy and I'm pretty sure I demoed them, but can't remember 100%. Anyway, as I mentioned somewhere else in this thread, I have the Hivi M50 2.1 which is seriously borderline audiophile, and can often be found for under $200 (I paid $150) which is a ludicrously good value. I'd be surprised if the Klipsch sounded even half as good, but I could be wrong about them.
I've never seen the Swans in person but from what I can see online my guess would be that you're right about them being better than the Klipsch. That being said, where do you see them for under $200? At that price I might just be a buyer!
Currently on sale for $179 plus shipping:
I'd be shocked if you weren't thrilled (no I don't work for either Chane or Hivi). Just heard them at a friend's and was like, these cost how much???? If you consider them, keep in mind a couple things:
1) They're high-quality enough that they respond better to better sources, unlike cheap discount store systems that will sound the same, decent-at-best regardless of what you throw at them. They sound really good straight out of my laptop, but sound significantly better through my xduoo xd-05 dac/amp through optical at 192/24-bit.
2) Break-in is real (more real with these than others perhaps). They sound merely good out of the box, then better after 10-20 hours, then really hit their stride after 50 or so.
3) They sound excellent throughout the frequency range, but like most 2.1's, the bass and treble are the stars. The midrange is there and really quite good and detailed, just takes a slight backseat, not quite as lush there as say my Audioengine A5+ or another set of good bookshelves. But the treble matches the A5's, and the bass stomps all over them (unsurprisingly). Just experiment a little with sub placement and level balancing with satellites to your preference.
They are punchy, clear, sparkly and well-extended, with imaging and wide sound-staging that makes you shake your head at the price you paid, but also smooth and well-integrated enough for long listening sessions without fatigue. I've trialed and returned/sold a fair number of audio products in my time. These are keepers.
I have a different pair of Swans--the M200 MKIII's (~$430 incl. shipping). IMO they're very pleasing for desktop audio: they straddle the line between pro monitors (powered, controls for tone) & high-end audio (pretty wooden side-caps, nice grill/covering, a "friendly" music voicing).
In a couple months I'll upgrade to (almost certainly) the Yamaha HS7's--not because the Swans are bad or deficient in any way (they're very good), but just because I want larger bass/mid-bass driver + stronger electronics to better match several endgame headphone amp/preamps I'm using. I'll probably sell the Swans at that time, or give them to my brother for his sys.
My thanks go to you and Pharmaboy for the feedback on the Swans stuff. I feel compelled to check them out fully now. To be honest, when I first saw the brand it was for some low-end computer speakers that just looked odd and ill-conceived to me, but even then I was impressed by the fact that they looked well made. I might just have to get the Swans M50 2.1 to find out for myself.
I know what you mean about mids on 2.1 systems. There just isn't a single perfect system for all scenarios for less than the price of a house. That's why I keep mixing things up. I have a pair of National Electronics (Panasonic) 2-way speakers with 3" paper cone tweeters and "woofers" that are more like "yappers," but they shine in the mids and I hook them up for a few weeks every year just to enjoy their unique sound and for some beautiful clear mids. My best sounding speakers are DCM CX-27 3-ways that I got for free while cleaning out store-room and my second best are NHT SuperOnes that I got free at a church rummage sale as they were closing up (I volunteered $10 because there had been a $5 price tag on one of them but they refused it!). All of these speakers have one great thing or another about them. I know the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 are very common and not spectacular in the midrange, but they are some great easy-listening self-powered speakers for surprisingly larger spaces than I ever imagined and I'm more impressed with them than ever I thought I'd be. I think they actually get sold short, but it looks like the Swans M50 2.1 are a clear step up in both fidelity and build quality. If I do decide to get a set, and I am fighting the temptation, I'll be back here to announce it.