I think you will find that the dynamic presentation from active studio type monitors lends itself well to HT.
Unlike a lot of compressed modern music (mastered for commuters in cars), most movies are sonically much more representative of the dynamics of real sound. (Basically the best sound systems outside of high end studios are at to be found at the Cinema...)
Highly recommend going active. My HT is all active, but with a bit of a difference. The speakers use external amps, separates for the 3-way mains, and the HT receiver's amps for the center and surrounds (since they are single driver). One of the greatest advantages is when the bass and their amps are getting driven hard by movie LFE tracks, there's no stress on the midrange or treble drivers or amps.
Near-field shouldn't be an issue for HT. Though, you might find for music near-field will be better. I move the stereo mains out from the front wall for music. This improves soundstage, clarity and transients. You'll have the best of both worlds.
One of the greatest advantages is when the bass and their amps are getting driven hard by movie LFE tracks, there's no stress on the midrange or treble drivers or amps.
...yep and that means much lower IMD distortion. On a three way it can mean pristine midrange and treble clarity at much higher dynamic levels! This is where bass woofer demands are HUGE - we are talking AMPS - and the stress often leaks into the delicate treble (high order and often odd harmonics)!
My 2.1 music/HT system is active. Can't imagine doing it any other way now. I looked at the Mackies (HR824) seriously, but went with JBL LSR4328 DSP controlled instead. I was told by Ethan Winer (Real Traps) that he uses the Mackies in his HT and thinks they're great speakers.
I can highly recommend Blue Jeans cable for balanced ICs: http://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/balancedaudio/index.htm
I use the Belden 1800F.
. . . and that means much lower IMD distortion. On a three way it can mean pristine midrange and treble clarity at much higher dynamic levels!
This begs the question. Why are the majority of high-end and super high-end speakers still not using active crossover & amplification?
Why are the majority of high-end and super high-end speakers still not using active crossover & amplification?
Audiophiles haven't embraced the concept yet so the manufacturers are providing what the market demands. Doesn't Nelson Pass offer such a speaker? I wonder how many he's sold?
Audiophiles haven't embraced the concept yet so the manufacturers are providing what the market demands.
Is this an example of the chicken or the egg? One could also say, manufacturers haven't embraced the concept yet, so audiophiles are buying what the market provides.
There are a few manufacturers that offer active versions of some models, almost as an afterthought, and it usually adds a few thousand to the cost.
Is this an example of the chicken or the egg?
Paradigm offered up the active Studio 20s many years ago. It was said to be very good. How long did it stay on the market? Many audiophiles are more interested in tweaking rather than having high fiedlity sound. Typical active designs limit tweaking. Quad now has a couple of active designs. Let's see how long they stay around.
If enough audiophiles went shopping in the pro studio market, I suspect that we'd begin to see active speakers being produced by mainstream audiophile manufacturers.
I had a recent discussion with SVS about their speakers and subs and suggested an active design would sell well in the HT market. I was told that active speakers are a small niche market and not worth considering.
Another aspect is that audio magazines don't review active designs. John Marks, in his Stereophile column, is currently putting together a cost effective music system. He did the same last year. In neither case did/has he consider active designs, which can be very cost effective.
The Active 20 was a great speaker, it sounded excellent and had RCA and XLR inputs. Unfortunately the 20s and 40s were discontinued but they were the hot setup at the time for an active system. Meridian was really the first high end line to embrace active speakers, they've also been the only company to continue successfully in that niche.
The problem with consumer pre-pros is that only the high end segment is truly diffential balanced outputs. Most components that are affordable to the average guy are single ended designs with "balanced" jacks.
"Audiophiles haven't embraced the concept yet so the manufacturers are providing what the market demands."
Actually, for the most part, most manufacturers are not targeting "audiophiles" - which make up only a small percentage of the market. Passive speakers are less fuss, easier and cheaper to make. The market, in general, just want's descent sound. All those extra expensive active speakers with extra cables and fuss are harder to market, more expensive to make a profit from, etc.
There are some excellent active speakers out there. Most people are never even exposed to them, or are not edjucated on the benefits. Thus, why spend $8k for an NHT 2.0 active speaker setup, when you can buy some B&W's for $350/pr + $500 subwoofer?
Well it all comes down to marketing. Heck, just look at Bose...
wow!, excellent responses; appreciated. i'm convinced that going active for ht is the way to go; maybe not necessarily for music 2 channel listening. it has only been since i've been recording for my son's band with a mac and cubase, that i got the idea of going with active monitors.
it would seem that even the big theatre house would benefit a great deal with such a setup. after all, running speaker cables for hundreds of feet, i imagine would most certainly degrade quality. of course, some may already use the active approach. (in my search, i found some commercial active monitors - way too big and ugly for a home theatre)
i still have a "traditional" stereo setup that i will in all likelihood keep intact for my main music listening. running an active design approach alongside will be a neat comparison, although i'm not sure it will be a fair one -(see my virtual system).
any others in addition to mackie, yamaha, dynaudio or jbl that i should include on my shortlist? also, what about ht processors with balanced outputs? i know sunfire makes one and perhaps b&k, but any others to consider?
If you want something to use with your PC then NHT M00 and NHT S00 are one option you should definitely check out.
If you want something even better quality then I really like the Genelec 8050A (sound quality will be competitive with your main system - but won't play as loud or as deep)
If you went active pro models for HT main system you will undoubtedly gain an extra 10 db SPL of crystal clear undistorted loudness/dynamics (bordering on real concert levels, live drum sets in your room). However, are you prepared to put up with the expense and the ugly boxes to achieve this when what you have is already extremely good (better than 99% of systems) and well suited to domestic requirements.
Here is an example of what you could do - 5.1 system of Mike Roskelley
Given the proximity of the listening position to the speakers - this system can probably achieve around 120 db spl continuously with practically no distortion and 10 db spl of headroom.
If you went that route - somehow I suspect your wife will think you have gone mad!
Mike mixes for DJ Kaskade - so that is his excuse for such excesses.
yeah, i think she might feel that way too. i think i might have gone mad myself. mike's system appears to be in a custom "room" - it looks like acoustic treatments of some sort. if i go that route, i might do so in our garage/recording studio. in fact, that may actually be a better solution; keep the audiophile 2 channel sytem intact/untouched in the main living rom, and move the ht components (projector and screen) to the garage/studio. i will look into those other recommended brands. thnx.