Nice, balanced, non fatiguing desktop monitors for $300-400?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by Roflcopter_Down, Apr 26, 2018.

  1. Roflcopter_Down

    Roflcopter_Down [H]ard|Gawd

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    Hello, i'm looking to buy some nice new or used monitors. Mostly for listening to music. Some video and vidya.

    I really like 50s 60s 70s music, which is mastered very differently than newer stuff, so hopefully both would sound good.
    I dont really care about bass nor listen to much electronic music and hip hop.
    Later I plan to get some annoyingly bright studio monitors for mastering sound, but I'd hope for these to not be fatiguing for long term listening

    I dont know too much about speakers. My friends dad used to have a garage full of vtg speakers, 100s of pairs. I'd give him $40 or some pills and he'd hook me up with some big wonderful speakers I would play to death over a few months. I do know that its possible to get large speakers, than can be played at low volume but still be able to hear everything, and wont give you a headache after listening for 8 hours straight. If it makes a difference I would probably be 2-4ft away from the speakers most of the time. I remember big speakers were better than any headphones for counter strike noise detection.

    I also do not have any amp, just a Mac Pro, so I could get something cheap on craigslist, or maybe decent amps are affordable these days, Google play integration might be cool?

    I'm researching but if anyone has some advice or other sites/forums to search, would be appreciated.
     
  2. Decibel

    Decibel 2[H]4U

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    If you're looking for powered monitors, take a look at the JBL 305p. These are the updated version of the LSR305, which has been the go to budget desktop solution for several years now.

    Going that route you'll want to get your DAC outside of your case, they're sensitive to sources. You can get a decent optical DAC for around $100 these days, or a prosumer audio interface like the Behringer UMC204HD for $80. Figure another $20 to get the cables you need.
     
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  3. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    Just make sure you place the 305 on your desktop in near field. They lose a lot of resolution mid/far field due to their small size.
     
  4. HiCZoK

    HiCZoK Gawd

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    I would just get mackie cr4 or something and be done with it
     
  5. HammerSandwich

    HammerSandwich [H]ard|Gawd

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  6. Roflcopter_Down

    Roflcopter_Down [H]ard|Gawd

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    Anyone heard both LSR305 and 305p?
     
  7. delita

    delita [H]ard|Gawd

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    I use M-Audio BX5 studio monitors. They are crisp, and can handle most ranges besides the bass of dubstep and hip hop. Clarity is the point of studio monitors though, so no surprise there. I recommend something like them - that being said they have individual connectors for each speaker (they arent interconnected - so if that's an issue for you then find a set of speakers not individual monitors). I have mine run through a DAC where I have inputs for left and right speakers. I use Schiit audio products for my DAC/AMP. They have affordable combos that will definitely bring some more oomph to your music over an integrated card in a Mac. I bought all of my components individually so I got to hear them through each step - and I could hear the difference bringing each new piece into the equation.

    If you're just looking for an integrated solution, I recommend Edifier over Swan.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016PATXS...eg&pd_rd_r=QFN00APDF1GGC7EGKKPD&pd_rd_w=oUjDj
     
  8. Roflcopter_Down

    Roflcopter_Down [H]ard|Gawd

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    I went with the jbl 305p and that Behringer box. I'm very excited, since its quite an upgrade from my Philips X2/27 headphones which are ok, and only speaker the last 3 years, a "Bose color soundlink". Although, for what it is, it's actually a decent Bose product. Also, there was a pop up on amazon suggesting i call them for a coupon. I did and got 10% off the order...

    sCMvrhC.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018
  9. Decibel

    Decibel 2[H]4U

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    Cool. That's a solid combo. It also gives you options if you want to start streaming or recording.

    What are you doing about cables?
     
  10. Roflcopter_Down

    Roflcopter_Down [H]ard|Gawd

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    1/4" to xlr for speakers. Might return box for the 4 input version ($20 more) to make room for mic, guitar and usb/midi keyboard. and it has xlr out, though I've never used xlr other than setting up auditorium/outdoor monitors, so i don't know if it makes a lick of difference.
     
  11. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    Having balanced XLR suppresses noise effectively. Usually it wont make any difference until you start pulling over 10 meter pulls. However if you have a balanced line from preamp to speaker, you gain a lot of output and you can set your input sensitivity lower - this helps with the notorious hiss LSR305 has when being forced to set the input sensitivity to max.
     
  12. Decibel

    Decibel 2[H]4U

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    The UMC204HD has MIDI ins and outs along with the two mic/instrument inputs. Signal wise TRS to XLR is the same as XLR to XLR, just a little less robust.

    You might get away with saving the $20.
     
  13. Roflcopter_Down

    Roflcopter_Down [H]ard|Gawd

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    That was my original plan; can plug the keyboard usb straight into PC too, i think. However, I have a dream, that i will one day meet like minded people who like playing and possibly even recording music together. Which is surprisingly a lot to ask.

    Good to hear about XLR, interference is maddening
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
  14. Roflcopter_Down

    Roflcopter_Down [H]ard|Gawd

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    As per
    anyone heard or own the Mackie MR624?
    The JBL 305p are indeed nice but lacking at low volume; however despite being so loud, they're actually not very fatiguing... but hiss is annoying when they're silent

    ALSO- Is there a difference between setting the monitors at 5/10 volume and setting the amp at 10 vs setting them at 10 and the amp at 5?
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  15. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    The hiss usually comes from setting your monitors to 10 volume. That way all noise of the system is amplified to the max. Better to set the speakers sensitivity to a level that removes most of the hiss and crank up the preamp.
     
  16. Decibel

    Decibel 2[H]4U

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    I don't get much hiss out of mine - I have to stick my ear less than a foot from the tweeter. The fans of my nearly silent PC wash it out at my normal listening position. I also turn them off when not in use. They're class D, it's not like you have to worry about warming them up.

    What do you have the input switch set to? And as B00nie asked, what do you have the volume knobs set to?

    To avoid bit loss, set your Windows volume to max. Plan to use the knob on your audio interface for final volume. To find the sweet spot on the JBLs, set Windows to 100%, your volume knob to max, turn the JBLs down to zero and play something LOUD. Turn up the JBLs until they are just into the uncomfortably loud, party zone. Turn them up one more click. Adjust volume on your audio interface back down to the comfortable listening range. Done.

    And yeah, as much as I love the crazy weeabo, Zeos isn't really the best source. He's an enthusiast, not a pro. For aesthetics and build quality he's your guy, for sound quality... not so much.
     
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  17. Roflcopter_Down

    Roflcopter_Down [H]ard|Gawd

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    I can hear it at any monitor volume setting (10 is slightly louder than 2). They sit <2.5' away. At about 3.5' it's far less annoying, drowned out by an air purifier. Current desk situation is temporary and far from optimal; in a couple months I'll probably have them on stands 3-4' away. From what i've read the 305 buzz is different than some minor interference amplified.
     
  18. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    I have the non-p 305s and I just checked, have to stick my head right next to the speaker to hear the hiss. After about 10 inches the aquarium aerator overcomes the hiss already. But admittedly it burbles a lot. The built in amp hiss of the 305 seems to stay constant despite of the input sensitivity setting so I was talking out of my ass earlier.
     
  19. HammerSandwich

    HammerSandwich [H]ard|Gawd

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    Short the 305's input, and you'll hear whatever noise is created in its internal electronics. This shouldn't change with the volume knob or input sensitivity.

    When you hook them back up normally, any additional noise is being fed to the speaker. THAT is what the speaker amplifies, and it should respond to gain settings, wiring tweaks, better front-end hardware, etc.
     
  20. Otto

    Otto n00bie

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    I replaced my JBL 305's with the Mackie MR624. They have a lot more detail than the 305's in my opinion. Mine are hooked up to a Asus Essence STX II and I use a Emotiva Control Freak for volume control. There is only a slight hum on the MR624's when I max the level knob on the back of the monitors. No where near as bad as my 305's.
     
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  21. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    As good as they are otherwise the cheap price of 305 has to show somewhere and in this case its low quality components in the amp -> hissing.
     
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  22. spaceman

    spaceman [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I am using some rewired PSB Century 300i loudspeakers with a 1982 Sansui AUD-33 amp. Bought the combo for around $200. I would suggest that route. Aka the vintage buys. I really dig mine.
     
  23. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    Preowned is a great route if you have the desk space for the amp and speakers. But be wary - don't buy Pioneer, Technics, Yamaha etc. branded speakers. You know the kind that came with stereo sets typically. They're manufactured with 3 dollars a pair I kid you not.