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I am looking for an upgrade for my desktop near field monitors  where i live highend speakers can only be found in the used market and options are very limited , ultimately i want to find a pair of LS50 ,but cant find them yet , but i have found a pair of used genelec  M030 for around 800$ , how would the genelec's compare to the KEF's , should i buy them or wait till i find the KEF's .

 

My Current setup is pretty basic a Desktop PC with Audioengine D1 DAC and Edifier S2000V 5.5" bass driver by phil jones internally amped by LM3886 , I use them for listening to music , my current speakers are good for songs with  vocals and slow paced music ,  but if i play classical rock (SACD) or any track with lots of musical equipment playing at the same time , it gets a little muddy and not very enjoyable. so would the genelec M030 perform better in this scenario 

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13 hours ago, Phonautograph said:

..  but if i play classical rock (SACD) or any track with lots of musical equipment playing at the same time , it gets a little muddy and not very enjoyable...

If you buy the KEF's or Genelecs you may still have this problem... its where audio reproduction is most challenging.  Source, amplification and speakers need to be well matched to minimize this. In my experience source is the biggest cause of muddiness; speakers color the sound and  struggle with low bass but rarely cause muddy sound if whats feeding them is good quality.

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I assume you mean the active LS50W, in which case you can factor in that they have a non-bypassable DAC built in. Since both amp and DAC are built in, to a large extent, given a clean source, how they sound in the demo room is how they can sound at home (room acoustics excepted). 

 

My own experience of hearing the LS50Ws was that they had the very tendency you are seeking to avoid - becoming muddy on complex music. However, speaker choice is very personal and the LS50Ws are popular. If you have heard and like the LS50Ws, then I think you should hold out until you find a pair. 

 

If you mean the passive LS50s, they can sound very different depending upon the amp feeding them. 

 

I have not heard the M030. I have heard some of the bigger Genelec models and liked the 8040s.

 

 

 

 

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i have read  the LS50's are picky about which amp to be paired with specially that they have aluminum dome tweeter and they can sound harsh if paired with the wrong amp.

 

 its annoying that I cant enjoy my favorite genre of music as much as i would like , what kind of setup (within the same mentioned budget) would be best for classical rock ? is this not achievable with near field monitors and a small room acoustics setup ? do i have to step up to floor standers in a bigger room  ?  i dont have showrooms where i live so i'll depend on your own experience 

 

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I bought passive LS50's because I needed a speaker that will do well in a small room. Their biggest challenge is room positioning to flatten out the bass response, all too easy to get them too close to a wall and have a bass "hump". If you want a bookshelf speaker that can go close to the wall, look elsewhere, these need to be 3-5' away from nearest wall.

But a much easier speaker to drive than MG 1.7's.

 

If limited in budget, and assuming  a wifi network, I'd go along the lines of

 

1) PC as music server, running Minimserver for UPNP/DLNA music streaming.. believe you already own a PC and Minimserver is free

2) Raspberry Pi 3b+ with DietPi OS, using built in Wifi and enable GMRender as your UPNP renderer  ~$50 with a case

           Power supply is critical for the Pi, can start with iFi 5 V ~$50

           Use BubbleUPNP or Kinsky controller on your existing phone/ tablet/PC to control playback - free

3) Uptone Audio 2" USPCB connector  between Raspberry Pi and DAC ~ $35

4) Use existing Audioengine DAC

5) Consider the NAD 316BEE as your starting point for an integrated solid state amp. ~ $400 

6) Speaker to be chosen after  amp purchased, based on room size, placement limitations and your preference. An alternative to the LS50's worth considering

is the Zu Omen "dirty weekend special" when they offer it again later this year.

 

But you may decide amp and speakers can wait after playing around with the RPI as its much more expensive to improve on the powered speakers you have than the

source solution.

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, Phonautograph said:

so the problem is that my pc is producing too much  signal noise to my DAC that is making it more difficult for my DAC to provide better separation ? 

there's a variety of factors...basically if you don't have a Mac, the internal hardware integration is "least cost bidder" with a lot of hardware current spikes causing timing and noise anomalies for PC audio digital out. If you network stream audio, that keeps music in data form  when received by a separate renderer and allows you to outsource the digital data to digital audio conversion to a device that is simpler and cheaper to deal with for hardware stress on power supply. 

 

While your DAC is modest, its unlikely to be the culprit for massed instrument muddiness... DAC's usually impact tone color correctness, low volume resolution and digital artifacts. The muddiness is more likely blurry source signal resolution due to timing weaknesses and electrical noise interference of doing the audio rendering inside the PC... you can make out the "large objects"  but when you have a lot of "smaller objects" in the audio picture the object edges are blurring together, not a sharp picture to your ears.

 

Note that some recordings also are bad, one of my favorite sound tracks, the original  "Pirates of the Caribbean" was poorly mastered for its loudest passages.

 

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I want the speakers to be a little forgiving and not too critical as well

44 minutes ago, esldude said:

 

I think you need a subwoofer with either speaker you are considering.  Unless you can learn to live without the bass being fully fleshed out. 

 

 

 

is there a way to add a subwoofer to my existing setup (DAC + Speakers) and see how this plays out ? 

i attached images of the ports on my active and passive monitor ports 

 

back-big.jpg

edifier-s2000v-test-bild-3.jpg

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@Phonautograph - I do feel for you if you are having to do everything without the ability to demo stuff beforehand.  Also, when it comes down to speakers, it is all so subjective.

 

esldude is speaking a lot of sense, although I have to admit that I am not a great fan of separate sub-woofers when building a system on a lowish budget for a small space.  I would always prefer more detail at the expense of some low end grunt - but this is where personal preference really kicks in.  Having heard the Genelec 8040s, I would say that many would find the bass they produce very acceptable in a small room, but it is not "reggae sound system" deep. 

 

I would avoid simply adding a sub-woofer to your current set-up (even it that is feasible) because I don't think it will help with the "muddiness".  A sub-woofer cannot clear up any low-mid range congestion, if that is what your current system suffers.

 

The JBL speakers esldude mentions are well regarded at the price but I would regard them as a change rather than a significant progression in your speakers.  

 

If I were in your shoes, I think I would be looking at other active studio monitor options (at least you will know the in-built amps have been matched to the speakers).  You should be able to find a selection of reviews for products from makers such as Hedd, Adam, Neumann and Genelec to give you an idea of how they might sound if you cannot demo.

 

I am UK based, and often studio speaker stores here will allow at 14-30 day trial period (even on "B" grade or discounted products).  Is that an option for you?  If you were able to test a couple and still felt the sound to be muddy, then the DAC might indeed be inadequate for your wishes. 

 

In a small room, a pair of active monitors with a 6 inch woofer, can produce a detailed and reasonably beefy sound. 

 

One thing to bear in mind on studio monitors - some only come with balanced XLR inputs, whereas your DAC has only unbalanced RCA outputs I think.  

 

A more "hifi"  alternative would be the Dynaudio XEO 2 or 4 wireless products.  I do think the Dynaudio XEO range is very interesting for a "one-stop shop" option to digital audio, but whether you would like how they sound I cannot say.  Certainly, they will not "blow you away" with their bottom end.

 

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Just keep in mind this computer truism when someone tries to tell you speakers are most important - GIGO.   Audio salespeople love speakers as its far easier to sell new speakers on eye candy and construction details, vs persuade the novice to buy new/better gear to feed the speaker (which silver/black box are we listening to??). Notice also that @church_mouse has heard your speakers and respects them... and uses a Mac Mini to feed his DAC.

 

When I sold audio in the 80's, it was sad to see how many people were manipulated this way, big expensive speakers with crappy amps and turntables.  Linn at least tried to educate the consumer. Low bass is the most expensive area  to get right... and it still requires good source

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@david256.  Just for the sake of accuracy, I did not say that I respect the OP's current speakers.  I fear he could make all the changes you have suggested and still be left with a muddy sound if he has his current speakers.  I appreciate that you have said he should make your changes and change his speakers. 

 

I recognise that GIGO always applies but I am not so certain as you that his feed is sending garbage.  I can accept his feeling that his current speakers get muddy.  

 

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19 minutes ago, church_mouse said:

@david256.  Just for the sake of accuracy, I did not say that I respect the OP's current speakers.  I fear he could make all the changes you have suggested and still be left with a muddy sound if he has his current speakers.  I appreciate that you have said he should make your changes and change his speakers. 

 

I recognise that GIGO always applies but I am not so certain as you that his feed is sending garbage.  I can accept his feeling that his current speakers get muddy.  

 

that's fine. But trying an RPI with iFi power supply is only a $90 investment to find out, considerably more for any other change. The other question that we should

be asking of the OP... what headphones do you have and do you hear the same muddiness with  headphones?

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2 minutes ago, davide256 said:

that's fine. But trying an RPI with iFi power supply is only a $90 investment to find out, considerably more for any other change. The other question that we should

be asking of the OP... what headphones do you have and do you hear the same muddiness with  headphones?

Actually, that is an excellent question. 

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46 minutes ago, Phonautograph said:

I have a sennheiser HD380pro I stopped listening to my headphones i dont enjoy thier sound at all , its alot muddier but i guess being closed cans that is expected ?

closed cans sound less airy but don't have to sound muddy. I've no experience with your headphones, but  WhatHiFi characterizes them as close in sound to Grado SR60's which are pretty decent inexpensive headphones. Are you able to use them directly connected to PC and if so does the muddiness improve? It's possible

the headphone DAC/amp/pre out combo is what you aren't happy with.

 

https://www.whathifi.com/sennheiser/hd-380-pro/review

 

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FWIW here are near field my wall mounted Ls50's in my office. Sound brilliant, but you need to make sure that the mounts are securely screwed down to a stud or equivalent. I also put some Herbie's grunge buster material where the speakers meet the mount - made a difference. They actually sound better than when I had them on big steel and sand filled stands in the living room. They don't like to be right up against a wall, and do a need a decent amp - more about current then watts. My little 30w Naim UQ does just fine with them near field, though might struggle a bit to fill living room properly. Source is even more important - you'll hear it. 

kef office_1.jpg

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And like I've said elsewhere, if you want an immediate and huge jump in the sound quality of streaming, then invest in a Cisco 2960 or 3560 Catalyst switch. The newer the better, but even the older ones that go for about $30 used wipe the floor of any consumer switch, lps or no lps. 

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Just get a switch that run an optical link.

 

Go back to esldude's post and read each part carefully.  The one thing he left out is that while noise inside the computer is not going to flip any bits in the digital signal, you can have EM noise problems transmitted along a USB cable and - perhaps - on wired ethernet.  Ethernet has transformers but there can be parasitic leakage currents allowing noise transmission.  Some say it is a problem.  I say it could be.  Optical solves this completely.

 

I often hear that mac's are better built than PCs.  I dunno - in at least some ways, they are definitely better built than most (commodity) PCs.

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My Genelec M030 speakers were clear alright...to the point of producing extremely painful highs. Tinnitus-inducing highs. Maybe your ears are very different from mine, but I've seen at least one other identical report.

I had found my previous speakers too muddy, but the Genelecs were just evil. I found a sweet spot in the middle, and with cheaper stuff too, though they are perhaps not relevant to this discussion.

I've stayed away from KEF LS-50 speakers, as they are reported to not work well with at least one of my warm tube-like NuPrime amplifiers.

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17 hours ago, Phonautograph said:

I want the speakers to be a little forgiving and not too critical as well

 

is there a way to add a subwoofer to my existing setup (DAC + Speakers) and see how this plays out ? 

i attached images of the ports on my active and passive monitor ports 

 

back-big.jpg

edifier-s2000v-test-bild-3.jpg

 

 

Some subwoofers will let you feed the left and right signal to them first.  They'll roll off the low end (it goes to the sub) and then output the signal to the main speakers.  That would be the easiest way I think.  Of course not all subs do this.  You'd have to check on whichever sub you wanted to get. 

 

As for comments about not liking subs added to small nearfields, well it depends.  If you are going to play loud music with lots of low end you'll struggle with most small monitors to get enough bass.  A sub relieves the monitors of that and lets them work better over a range they can handle.  You also have some level control of the low frequencies vs the rest of the range.  It does become more tricky to establish the right level.  If you are listening in a small room, a big sub that goes exceptionally low may also have its own problems with room resonances.  In such cases sometimes you use the sub, relieve the monitors of low frequencies to help them, and keep the sub turned down pretty low.  You almost won't notice it is doing anything, but it can help the overall sound.  Some people just can't resist turning the sub up so they know it is doing something.  And this can be a mistake. Sorry, I don't have clear cut answers for you. 

 

I also am not familiar with your speakers, but Phil Jones has a good reputation.  So would adding a sub to what you have be a big benefit or should you get different monitor speakers?  I don't have enough information to give a good answer on that. 

 

You complain of muddiness and it sounds like musical details running together.  My guess would be the speakers or the amps in the speaker running out of capability.  Maybe even a placement too close to a wall behind the speaker.  Try this.  Use some playback software with the old style graphic equalizer in it.  If you have nothing else you can use VLC for this.  Under tools it has an EQ you can engage.  Pull down the lowest frequency slide on music that gets muddy.  Does that make the muddiness go away?  If no, move it back to the center and move up to the next EQ slide in frequency and pull it down.  Do this and see if you can find a range that clears up the muddiness.  It will change the balance of the sound obviously, but you are looking for a region that if taken out of the speakers lets the speaker clear up for the rest of the range of frequencies.  This might tell you if a speaker change is needed or a sub would help the speaker or if the problem is elsewhere. 

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5 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

Just get a switch that run an optical link.

 

Go back to esldude's post and read each part carefully.  The one thing he left out is that while noise inside the computer is not going to flip any bits in the digital signal, you can have EM noise problems transmitted along a USB cable and - perhaps - on wired ethernet.  Ethernet has transformers but there can be parasitic leakage currents allowing noise transmission.  Some say it is a problem.  I say it could be.  Optical solves this completely.

 

I often hear that mac's are better built than PCs.  I dunno - in at least some ways, they are definitely better built than most (commodity) PCs.

Using optical is a good idea to isolate noise from the other gear. 

 

Macs are better than some PC's and not as good as others.  I generally don't find the PC in use all that important to the sound quality in my experience.  

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A like device that sounds much better than the Audioengine device you have is the Chord Mojo, runs about $500. I'd suggest seeing if you can locate a nearby dealer that

will let you bring in the Audioengine DAC and your headphones to compare. The Mojo requires a mini RCA to regular L/R RCA cable to feed a preamp.

 

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