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Near Field monitoring system

Discussion in 'audio' started by foxwelljsly, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Keep Music Vile

    As the family expands, I am finding that I spend more and more of what little listening time I still have in the company of the desktop speakers in my office.

    Currently these are a pair of Meridian M30 active monitors, which are OK, but they are very low gain and sound far better from 10' than 3' and I suspect I could do better.

    I have never really given serious consideration to a desktop or nearfield setup, so would welcome advice ads to what sort of devices are best suited to this purpose.

    Modern LS3/5a's (Spendor S3/5's, Harbeth P3's etc)? Or some fancy pro monitors? JR149's and a stereo 20 (Tony? :))?

    Pre is a Linn Akurate Kontrol/D, if that is germane to the discussion, and I would rather not replace this as it does a whole bunch of stuff very well for a single neat box.

    I have a Quad QSP and a BK Sub that could be co-opted into this solution.

    Suggestions welcome.

  2. AndyU

    AndyU pfm Member

    Have a look at Neumann KH-120. Designed for near-field listening, exceptional stereo image imo, listenable, uncoloured, active, and have useful mounting accessories. You could sneak a matching sub in under your desk at a later date if you fancied.
    igor_xxxx, foxwelljsly and Whaleblue like this.
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The amps should be fine, I’d just try and listen to as many options as you can. A lot depends on just how close you listen and how loud you want it to go. I listen close and not too loud and have a distinct preference for sealed boxes and non-metal tweeters. What is the budget?

    If you can cope with a well behaved port and metal dome tweeter (and Chinese manufacturing) I’d add the Kef LS50 to the shortlist as it is a point source and a very good little speaker. Lots of nice options from ProAc, plus pro stuff like ATC MEG etc. Budget for very good stands too.
    foxwelljsly likes this.
  4. Strictly Stereo

    Strictly Stereo Trade: Strictly Stereo

    I have some ex demo Graham Audio LS3, LS3/5a and LS6 available are the moment, in case those are of interest.
    foxwelljsly likes this.
  5. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    I don’t find my M3’s to have low gain, and you could use them with a DAC which has adjustable output, modern active monitors might measure better be slightly less coloured and use more efficient Class-D amps but I still enjoy my Meridians.
  6. Julf

    Julf Facts are our friends

    If you go to any major broadcast or AV event, most of the demo desktops use Genelecs.
    igor_xxxx likes this.
  7. eddie pugh

    eddie pugh pfm Member


    Like you I listen far more in near field in my study these days than on my main system due to SWMBO watching TV

    The computer system has evolved over the years from a Technics "Concise" (late 70's) with JBL Control 1's to the present day Avondale 821 cards in a NAC72 fronting a pair of Avondale M130's driving a pair of Steffan - (orangeart) 's build of James's Ergo IX bookshelves. Additional base is provided by a Dynaudio sub under the desk. For me this system is as good as it gets and I use it with various front ends and I edit my own CD's from recordings taken from concerts with a Sony D100 recorder. Analogue to digital conversion is by RME HDSP 9632 sound card and there is an Audiolab MDAC directing various digital sources - moOde, Squeezebox Touch, Lin Karik etc
    I even have an audio capable Sony SDT9000 playing DAT recordings from my old Sony M1 DAT recorder integrated on this system

    Speakers over the years have ranged from Mordant Short M20 Pearl, Kef Q15 Harbeth P3ES3

    There's very little to choose between the Harbeth and the Ergo IX

    The system has been static now for many a year and I'm now only worried what issues I run into getting it all to work With Windows 10

    Good luck with your speaker search I strongly advise the use of an additional agile sub

    I think I sold you an Audio Alchemy DAC many years ago
  8. Whaleblue

    Whaleblue Southbound

    If you want the perfect studio style monitor look no further.

    If you want traditional hifi, JR149s are an excellent choice. In fact I have a pair likely going up for sale! Let me know if interested.
  9. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    I have Genelec 8020s on my (quite large) desk, raised to ear level on home made stands. They sound great, can't fault them, although I do wonder if I might prefer a homelier sound. Sometimes I think about trying the Spendor S3/5r: smaller than LS3s and a good bit cheaper. There's a thread on here comparing them.
  10. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Keep Music Vile

    Yep, you did. A DDE 1.1, if memory serves. Used it for years with my MacBook until a hot connection toasted something inside.

    Thanks all. Tempted to put the M30's in the dining room for occasional use and sell on my recently acquired, but wonderful, 104/2's as they are getting so little use.

    That leaves me with the choice of either keeping the QSP and buying some 3/5 type speakers or selling it and getting some of the Neumann actives.

    Something to mull over.
  11. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    I think Spendor S3/5Rs would work nicely. They’re forgiving of boundary placement (within reason) and are great in the near field.
    foxwelljsly likes this.
  12. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Keep Music Vile

    Thanks all. Tempted to give the JR149 and the S3/5's a go as they can be got for a lot less than other options here.
  13. Rug Doc

    Rug Doc pfm Member

    I once put my NS1000Ms on my desk (well on stands just next to) so was 2.5 ft away they were amazingly good near field..

    I really like KEF uni-q near field, and do have a look in teh classifieds someone has a pair of Tannoy system 6's for sale, again very good nearfield monitors!
  14. JemHayward

    JemHayward pfm Member

    I have both Meridian M3 and M30. The M30s are the rears in my TV system and are listened to in the near field, and way off axis, but they sound superb, I think because the tweeters are at ear level. The M3s are in the office and of necessity are quite widely spaced (two of us work in there) and I made some stands so that the tweeters are at ear level. They run off a passive shunt volume control, with a Squeezebox touch as the source. They sound superb, and without wishing to upset worshippers of the LS3/5a - (I used to have some original Rogers LS3/5a) - in a completely different league from most small passive speakers. I have tried some more modern active nearfield monitors (Genelec - not sure of model) which were really good, but a bit fatiguing after a while. In my case the limits of the positioning are the biggest issue, not the speakers themselves, but before you give up on the M30s try to see if you can get more from them.
  15. topoxforddoc

    topoxforddoc pfm Member

    I have both LS3/5as and a pair of Wilmslow Audio HSM (Home Studio Monitors), which are designed as compact studio near field monitors. The HSMs are about the same physical size as the M30s - sound pretty good from about 5 ft in my study.

    BTW I used to have a pair of M3s and they sounded fine from 5-6 ft many years ago.
  16. irb

    irb pfm Member

    How about a single driver speaker? Unbeatable for desktop use. To be honest, I'd never been impressed by single driver speakers until recently, when I fell under the spell of some old Bandor 2 inchers. A modern alternative would be something like this:
    I've not heard them, but that's what I'd be looking at first if I was searching for desktop speakers. With your BK sub, they could be perfect.
    Sue Pertwee-Tyr likes this.
  17. SteveH

    SteveH pfm Member

    I have both Genelecs and Kii3, both of which are intended for near-field monitoring.
    I guess it's staing the bloody obvious in terms of price differential, but there is absolutely no comparison - the Kiis murder the Genelecs but the latter are easier to place, are cheaper, and are bullet-proof (I've had several Genelecs over the years for listening while PC working).
  18. lpjc

    lpjc New Member

    I am similarly banished to my office for listening but am lucky enough to have picked up some ATC SCM20ASLPro active monitors second hand - they are sublime and I am listening in about a 2 metre equilateral triangle. They are a bit pricey but my main system has the passive SCM19s which also sound great. As an obvious ATC fanboy I am fairly sure that their smaller models would also work well for you if you have a suitable amp. I have decided that I will always own non-ported speakers now as they are easier to place in small British rooms.
  19. k90tour

    k90tour pfm Member

    I listen mainly in my study (I work from home). I have a pair of Harbeth HL-P3ES on tall stands that bring the speakers above the desk. I really like it. My listening position if usually 4-5 feet in front. I just move the chair back from the desk for some proper listening. The amp is a low power 2A3 valve amp and it's not having to work very hard, I suppose. On the next wall is the turntable, CD player and pre-amp.
    Torris12 likes this.
  20. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Near field suits my hearing better these days. Room reflections just mess things up for me now. Reading the thread and having some time to myself this week prompted me to move speakers and stuff around in the living room. I wanted to try out ls3/5as against some other minis and I noticed some strange effects when the heavy coffee table was in its usual position in front of me and between me and the speakers. Moving my head created some very obvious phase shift on Radio 3 so I shifted the table away. I’d never noticed that before.
    Next I pulled the WB Discoveries close to me, slightly behind where the ls3/5as are in the pic and this didn’t work at all -they don’t produce a cohesive sound at this proximity. They normally live on the floor beyond the carpet. I moved them into the position they’re in in the photo which is is pretty ideal.


    I think I may be heading for Tannoys as main speakers. I need the speaker-room equivalent of giant headphones.
    Torris12 and Rug Doc like this.

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