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  1. #26
    Junior Member wgb113's Avatar
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    @Eloise

    Yes, the Wharfedale Pro Diamond Studio 8.1 and 8.2 Actives use identical drivers and amplification to the Quad 11L and 12L respectively.

    The only difference, other than the quality of the cabinet finish, is that the Quads feature two ports on the rear where the Wharfedales feature one port on the front and a slightly different crossover frequency (2kHz vs 2.2kHz I believe).

    They measure identical and those slight differences may be close enough in sound to be a toss up in the end.

    I had the 12L Actives in cherry. They were very nice speakers, if a bit too polite for my tastes, but an easy listen to say the least.

    Bill
    Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
    iMac->iTunes->AIFF->Schiit Gungnir->McIntosh MA6300->KEF LS50

  2. #27

    Have you considered some of

    Have you considered some of the DIY single driver full range speakers like the Mark Audio speakers? You can buy flatpacks for many of the speakers so all you would have to do is glue them up and finish them. Lots of good informationin the Mark Audio, fullrange, and planet10 forum on DIYaudio.com. One that comes to mind is the new FrugalHorn Mk3.
    Jeff

    Main system: MPaD -> Fanless VortexBox -> Emotiva XDA-1 -> Adcom GFA-555II -> Working on the rest
    Desktop System: J.River Media Jukebox -> WIN7 -> HRT Music Streamer II -> Virtue Audio One.2 -> DIY Martello speakers


  3. #28
    Freshman Member autoformer's Avatar
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    Bill makes a good point

    ...about using studio monitors for hi fi listening. Think about it. Studio monitors are capital equipment, without the luxury goods premium. They are designed to represent music as accurately as possible, so why wouldn't they be good for hi fi?

    Good active studio monitors usually have controls to allow you to control tweeter volume and roll off for both high and low end, allowing you to tailor the sound based on how close you are sitting to the monitors and their placement in the room.

    Lastly, active monitors include their own amplifiers, which are designed specifically for the speaker! They are essentially mono blocks!

    Best of all, they are usually much less costly than typical hi fi monitors. Consider these:

    Adam A5X
    http://www.guitarcenter.com/ADAM-Audio-ADAM-Audio-A5X-Powered-Monitor-H65550-i1563068.gc

    Adam Sub 7
    http://www.guitarcenter.com/ADAM-Audio-Sub7-7--Subwoofer-580581-i1437898.gc

    Right there, for less than $1000, you have a full range solution for your small apartment. And you don't even need an amplifier. Simply add a good DAC with preamp such as the excellent Wyred4Sound DAC2, and you're pretty much there.

    I should add that a friend of mine recently set up these speakers with the DAC2 connected to a MacBook Pro and I don't think I could equal the sound for the same price.

    Another nice combination that would sound great and save space would be:

    Bel Canto C5i (Integrated amp with integrated DAC)
    http://www.belcantodesign.com/Belcanto_C5i_DAC_Integrated_Amplifier.html

    Harbeth P3ESR
    http://www.harbeth.co.uk/uk/index.php?section=products&page=p3esr&model=P3ESR

    REL T5 Subwoofer
    http://www.rel.net/t5.htm

    Good luck!

  4. #29

    Monitors

    That's been my line of thought and all of my speakers have been self powered including the tiny Bose MusicMonitor, the slightly larger Bowers & Wilkins MM-1, and a set of Yamaha monitors along with their matching Yamaha subwoofer.

    I've always thought that powered monitor is the way to go because of the internal amps which makes things simpler.

    However, as I listen to some mid-fi systems, it is slowly occurring to me that there are significant disadvantages:

    1. Sometimes, for stereo listening, one may not want the most accurate sound possible as if one was monitoring for editing music as over many hours, that sound may be fatiguing to some.

    2. Separates allows amps and preamps to be selected to match a particular kind of sound. So for example, I am increasingly tending towards a nice tube sound - just more organic to me. I do not know of any monitors that are tube based.

    UL

  5. #30

    Audioengine and Amphion

    Audioengine makes some nice active speakers.
    Finland's Amphion passive ion and Argon3 are also excellent.
    Mac Mini ? Weiss DAC202 ? ML 326s ? ML 532h ? Wilson Sophia3

  6. #31

    Aurum Acoustics makes vacuum tube active monitors

    Newfoundland based Aurum Acoustics (that's why you've never heard of them) makes the Integris Active 300B which uses vacuum tube technology to power its loudspeakers.

    http://www.aurumacoustics.com/integris_300B.html


  7. #32
    Freshman Member autoformer's Avatar
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    Tuning sound

    The same thing occurred to me. That's why, even on my desktop, I use separates. You really do get a lot more flexibility when everything is separate. In my case, I like to experiment with different combinations to tune my sound.

    Separates allows amps and preamps to be selected to match a particular kind of sound. So for example, I am increasingly tending towards a nice tube sound - just more organic to me. I do not know of any monitors that are tube based.

  8. #33

    Thanks. So such a best does

    Thanks. So such a best does exist... Probably cost more than mere mortals can afford but looks beautiful.

    UL

  9. #34
    Mastiff Level Member Paul.Raulerson's Avatar
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    Darn Shame! (IRT: Aurum Speakers)

    Their web site doesn't seem to have been updated since 2008, and there is no list of dealers.

    It surprised me when I realized the speakers were at least 3' tall!

    1. Main Music: AIFF Library -> Mac Mini i5 (Late 2012) -> MacOS Mavericks / Windows 7 Ultimate -> JRMC 19/A+/Amarra/iTunes -> Kimber USB -> Wavelength Proton -> [NAD T747?] -> Nodost Flatline MKII Speaker cables -> Large Advents
    2. Bedroom -> Macbook Pro -> MacOS Mavericks -> JRMC19 -> Wavelength USB2S/PDIF -> AVA T8 -> NAD BEE326 -> Nordost Flatline MKII -> [working on this... Changes often]
    3. Office -> Experimental System, changes when I want it to. Includes SAN, NAS, Routers, Switches, etc. Maggie's, Genesis, other goodies up here.



  10. #35

    Totem Dreamcatcher or Mite

    Or any other of the Totem speakers. I've owned the Mite---incredibly listenable speakers, really enjoyable, some of the most enjoyable I've heard despite their size and low cost.

    I read a review recently on the Dreamcatchers. The reviewer said he enjoyed the music from these speakers more than any other speaker he's reviewed.

  11. #36

    Paradigm

    I have a similar situation: a small Manhattan apt., many neighbors, etc. I installed a pair of Paradigm Atoms I had lying around upstate. I was planning on using them for office speakers. Surprising amount of detail for 200ish. A sub helps them a lot, it's tricky in a manhattan apt because low-frequency sound is like rain on a leaky roof --- who knows where it can travel. And yes, they sound much better off the wall, ever so slightly toed in, ...
    larryb

  12. #37

    knock knock anyone home

    Hey Mashedmeat, any decision?
    Visit my audio blog: Digital Audio Directions

  13. #38
    Trouble maker... Audio_ELF's Avatar
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    Corrections / pedantry...

    @seta: as the writer of an audio blog you should know that Audioengine speakers are NOT active speakers, they are only self powered - active use a "line-level" crossover and multiple power amps one per driver; self powered just means the power amp is built into the speaker.

    @bill: I'm not convinced that the Wharfedale active are the same as the Quad active (even if they do use the same amplification and drivers). Having heard the Quad passive and Wharfedale active (albeit in different environments) the Quad passives are vastly superior to the Wharfedale and not just in build quality!!

    Eloise
    ...in my opinion / experience...

  14. #39
    Junior Member wgb113's Avatar
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    @Eloise

    After looking into both again a little more they appear to have been voiced to sound slightly different as their crossover point differs slightly as does their porting. I wouldn't however say that it's vast or superior, just slightly different. As for the difference in price you can be assured that nearly all of it is the gorgeous cabinet finish on the Quads and the "audiophile tax" associated with the Quad name.

    That said the Wharfedale sound may be preferable to some over the Quad and the looks or name status may not matter.

    Bill
    Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
    iMac->iTunes->AIFF->Schiit Gungnir->McIntosh MA6300->KEF LS50

  15. #40
    Trouble maker... Audio_ELF's Avatar
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    Wharfedale vs Quad

    Not all the cost of cabinets is "audiophile" tax; though there is a lot of labour goes into the high gloss finish of the Quads. Cabinets really do make the same drivers sound different and different construction methods and designs do cost more to make.

    My point of reference is passive speakers but the Quad L series do sound superior to Wharfedale's Diamond 8 range.

    Eloise
    ...in my opinion / experience...

  16. #41
    Junior Member wgb113's Avatar
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    I meant to imply that the

    I meant to imply that the audiophile tax was over and above the cabinet finish. Part of the price of owning Quads vs Wharfedales. I worked in HiFi retail and this cost is all too real.

    Wharfedale's consumer Diamond range is greatly different from their professional Diamond range from a peek at the websites. Much more different than the Quad L range's active vs passive.

    Bill
    Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
    iMac->iTunes->AIFF->Schiit Gungnir->McIntosh MA6300->KEF LS50

  17. #42

    Paradigm Atom is a legendary

    Paradigm Atom is a legendary bookshelf speaker and are highly recommended. They are quite affordable, especially for some of us mere mortals.
    You might also look into Focal 706V Chorus -- even better still than the Paradigm Atoms.

  18. #43

    Tiny Apartment Speakers

    Take a look at the Sierra 1 from Ascend Acoustics. They are having a spring sale on these now. These can be wall mounted, I believe. Also, the Selah Audio Aureality Monitor; it's their smallest monitor, but they use the highest quality drivers (including a Raal ribbon tweeter). The sensitivity is rather low on these though, at 82db.

    pawsman
    Oppo BDP 103/Schiit Bifrost DAC/NAD326BEE preamp/Emotiva UPA-1 monoblocs/Selah Audio Verita Monitors/2 Emotiva DSP 10 Subs/Emotiva cabling

  19. #44
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    Quads vs Wharfedales

    I own both. I have opened both up and rebuilt the modules. The basic circuitry is the the same. The parts used are better in the Quads. Same with the drivers, they look a little alike but there are differences.
    Stock the two sounded close. The bass was looser with the Wharfedales. With rebuilt amplification modules the differences are greater. The better drivers in the Quads are easier to indentify. The highs and mids are cleaner. The low end is much tighter and this may be on reason the rest sounds clearer.
    The Wharfedales bass response is bigger but loose. I think this is as per design. Makes them seem to have more low end response.
    I do not listen to the Wharfedales anymore. The Quad are a much better sounding monitor.

    George
    2011 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. 60 GB Force 3 SSD, PM/PV software, KRK Ergo with board work, Penasa My_Ref Evolution Rev A amplifier, Thiel CS-3.5 with Blue Sky SUB 212, G-Tech G-Drive 5400 rpm FW Drive, Plextor 880-U external drive for ripping. 2 GB Fanthom drive for 88.2/24 vinyl rips. TC Impact Twin as ADC for vinyl rips.
    Ergo doing quad duty as Dac, Preamp, Crossover, and DRC.

  20. #45
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    Blue Sky 2.1 systems

    If the industrial looks are not a problem, look on eBay for a Blue Sky 2.1 system. The Exo2 would be perfect, but has a volume controller. With your Big Knob a Pro Desk or ProMedia may be the ticket.
    I am listening to an Exo system right now. Best 189.00 I EVER spent on stereo equipment. This is their cheapest, lowend system. It is great. I also have a System One 2.1 and if it had hardwood cabinets I would sell my Quad 12L/Lite Sub system. Sonically it is very good. But bigger and maybe more expensive than you are looking for.
    Deals pop up on eBay from time to time. Blue Sky is only known in the Pro Sound Market. And specialize in 2.1 systems. Having small monitors and a sub allows flexibility on placement and full range playback.

    George
    2011 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. 60 GB Force 3 SSD, PM/PV software, KRK Ergo with board work, Penasa My_Ref Evolution Rev A amplifier, Thiel CS-3.5 with Blue Sky SUB 212, G-Tech G-Drive 5400 rpm FW Drive, Plextor 880-U external drive for ripping. 2 GB Fanthom drive for 88.2/24 vinyl rips. TC Impact Twin as ADC for vinyl rips.
    Ergo doing quad duty as Dac, Preamp, Crossover, and DRC.

  21. #46

    B&W CM1

    ...maybe beyond your budget, but these perform. They like a little extra juice (8 ?/84 dB) to really sing, but they excel beyond their size.
    Jason[br]Office: MBP (i7, SSD, Amarra/Decibel) · Nordost Blue Heaven · Wavelength · Nordost Blue Heaven · Bryston · Nordost Blue Heaven · Dynaudio · Custom Power Cords[br]

  22. #47
    Senior Member firedog's Avatar
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    a few more suggestions

    Powered monitors are a good suggestion. KRK also makes some good powered monitors.

    I agree with the suggestion to try some single driver speakers. They can sound very good, and are just the thing if you aren't worried about having very low bass.

    Look up the JohnBlue JB3 Speaker; JohnBlue also makes some very small full range speakers. Both are great for small places, and made to be put on a desktop or shelf.
    System (in small home office): GIK Acoustics Room Treatments>Tranquil Fanless PC with Windows 7(Sonore External PS, Dual Core Atom Board)>JRiver MC >FW to Mytek 192 DSD Stereo DAC >Odyssey Audio Kismet Stereo Power Amp (Khartago Case) >Devore Gibbon Nines. Also own: ClassDAudio SDS-470 Amp; Squeezebox Touch slaved to an Empirical Audio Pace Car; a standard SB Touch; Squeezebox Boom. Dual 506 TT, Ortofon M20 (used only for recording vinyl) MF X-DAC3; MF X-150 Amp;Goldpoint passive pre.

  23. #48

    Lenehan ML1's

    I have come late in this thread. But one of the best small monitor speakers money can buy are ML1's. They can be had for about $2.7k if that is not outside you price range. Here is a review:
    http://www.audiophilia.com/hardware/Loudspeakers/reviews/lenehan.htm

    When I say they are one of the best small monitors money can buy that is not hyperbole - I have been at many shootouts with that speaker - even much more expensive $30k speakers don't touch them - they are that good.

    Thanks
    Bill


  24. #49

    http://www.computeraudiophile

    http://www.computeraudiophile.com/avi-adm-9-1-review

    or the Neutron system

    http://www.avihifi.co.uk/neutron.html
    Brian
    Squeezebox Classic - Beresford Caiman-Gator DAC - Quad 520f with Dada refresh - Quart 980s German Tower Loudspeakers.

  25. #50

    "(Vs a better dac /

    "(Vs a better dac / headphones / a proper headphone amp / etc...)"

    Loren,

    Since nobody has spoken in favor of headphones, I will. :8^)

    Your headphones are already pretty good. There are some guys who have modified that model with good results, I believe. There's also some other models out there that can sound wonderful, especially when modified some. If you are interested in clarity, then you should be able to find some first rate headphones as well as a suitable amplifier to drive them.

    Pluses for headphones:

    They are independent of the room. That means that room acoustics are not a consideration, which is something that you really have to consider especially in a multi-purpose room such as yours. This can give a lot greater clarity to the sound.

    The amplifier needed is far smaller and usually far less expensive. Because of that, the AC power system is easier to manage. The latter is a real concern for folks who live in apartment buildings, especially in large cities.

    External noise is less of a problem.

    The size thing matters for economics, too. Consider that the best headphones available for sale right now, except for some electrostatic models from Stax, are priced below $2000. Now, where in the pecking order of speakers does a $2000 purchase place you? This scales down, of course, as well. The same is largely true for amplifiers.

    Minuses for headphones:

    It's a solo activity. That may not be a concern for you.

    The "soundstage" in headphones usually, but not always, tends to be flattened and centered in the middle of your head. There are ways around this. Or, this may not matter to you.

    You won't feel the bass notes with your entire body as you might with speakers.

    You're attached to the electronics by a cord.


    My own opinion is a little more systematic. I believe it's better to optimize your source equipment and then work down the chain. I find nothing more irritating than really well reproduced distorted sound. Everything downstream from the source can only make the sound worse. The degree to which it does is always open for opinion, but at very best the degradation will be zero. So, starting out with the best source that you can manage is a good approach, especially if you plan further improvements later on.

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