Did you check M-audio studiophile? They're perfect for mixing and sound terrific for its size.
I wouldn't even look forward for passives at all.
I wouldn't even look forward for passives at all.
If you haven't already, I would think about where you are going to put them. There are good places to put speakers in a given room related to the room dimensions and it is extrememly unlikely that optimal placement will be on a desk. Been there, done that. So you may end up, for sound quality reasons, with your desk in the middle of the room somewhere...with speakers somewhere between the front of your desk and the front wall, on stands. So factor stands into your budget. Make sure they are the right height. You could also go the "home brew" (or used equipment) route for stands.
You could be making a mistake by buying too small a speaker and deciding to get something bigger later. Also been there, done that (Yamaha HS-5-->Yamaha HS8). It is better to get the right speaker the first time instead of hoping to add a subwoofer later. IMHO the HS8s are fine for casual listening which is how I use mine, in a dedicated listening room the size of a master bedroom. They have more bass and loudness than the HS5s but the HS5s worked pretty good right on my desk, which was up against a wall.
I heard the JBLs in a music store and (like the Tannoys I also auditioned) they seemed to produce a bit too much "self-noise" in my audition, but YMMV.
Other than Yamaha HS Series, I was also going to check out the following, but never got around to it: Mackie MR8mk3, Event 20/20BAS.
Hi everyone, thanks for all the advice. I think active is the way to go. I was at a Guitar Center and was able to listen to quite a few of the speakers recommended here. The Adams were amazing, but way above my price... Very sad. I liked the KRK, but was a little more impressed with the JBL LR305s. However, my absolute favorite were the Tannoy 502 Reveal. They make a 4" (402 Reveal), but it is not stocked, so online is it. My only concern is there are too many online posts about the Tannoy speakers hissing. Apparently they only use a 2 prong AC cord. Sure, it could be some power/ground thing with these people and their house (and I paid a boatload to have my house rewired last year), but I just hate dealing with returns.
Ddd1, that must be frustrating. These were by far my favorite monitors, but your story and others is a problem. You are all set now with your HS8's right? The HS5's I listened to seemed quite extreme in focusing on mids and seems designed strictly for mixing, but would be miserable for casual listening. Not at all trying to criticize your taste (who knows what each of us hear in our heads), but does this at all jibe with your experience in listening to the HS5s?
"You are all set now with your HS8's right? The HS5's I listened to seemed quite extreme in focusing on mids and seems designed strictly for mixing, but would be miserable for casual listening."
That's an interesting point. One thing you need to do when looking at products like this is to verify the setup. As audiophiles, I think we take for granted that when we demo a system, someone takes a CD player, plugs it into a preamp, to the amp and then the speakers. And aside from volume, there's not much else to adjust. Pro gear is different. There's buttons and controls everywhere. High and low pass filters, tone controls and all types of other things that will change the sound. Just out of curiosity, I looked at the Tannoy 502's. On the back of that speaker, it has controls for speaker position (I'm assuming left or right), high frequency cut and HF boost. I think it would be a good idea to look at the system from source to speakers and verify all processing is turned off, or set to neutral. People in pro audio usually have no problem with that type of processing, and wouldn't think to turn it off before a demo.
I just had the Tannoys and then the HS5s temporarily on the desktop. About a foot from the wall behind them, which is not correct positioning. I guess you could say that the small Tannoys, except for their self-noise, sounded a bit smoother than the HS5s when both were not set up properly. Not sure which would sound better if they had been set up properly. Any self-noise might be bothersome from a 3 foot listening distance but not be a factor at all from a 6 foot distance.
My audio system was in the same room and my Magnepan 1.7s stood in the optimal speaker locations in the room. I never tried the HS5s in the same spot the Magnepans were. When the Maggies needed to be sent out for repair, I got this crazy idea about combining both my computer system (HS5s) and my regular stereo system (Magnepan) into one system. So I traded in the HS5s and put the new HS8s on sand-filled 4-post Target stands roughly where the Maggies were, rather than on the desktop. Now all is good.
Like I said in my first response, you won't get optimal sound with studio monitors if you stick them on your desktop (or be able to tell their capabilities in a music store). Like audiophile speakers, time needs to be spent finding the best positioning for them, the room needs to be treated and they have to be sitting on good stands at the correct height and you need to feed them good source material. Of course most studio monitors have switches on the back to help compensate for less than ideal positioning, but this should only be done as a last resort.
You need to get some of these home and try them out, on good stands with lots of time on your hands, bringing back to the store the pair that doesn't sound as good to you in your room the way you have it set up. Room differences, positioning differences, personal tastes, loudness levels, etc. can obfuscate the differences between different sets of monitors.
FYI, apparently Tannoy has acknowledged and addressed the problem with the hissing/buzzing issue in their Reveal monitors:
Out of curiosity, I went out a couple of weeks ago and bought a pair of Tannoy's. Reveal 502 is what it says on the box. If you get the hum, you're not hooking them up properly. Depending on what type of connection options you are going to use, the fix may be different. But if you have a pair of them and want to prove that nothing is wrong with them and the hum can really go away, try this: First, take a stereo 3.5mm to 3.5mm interconnect and go from the output on something like an ipod, pc, or something similar, to the 3.5mm input on one of the speakers. (You need to make sure the cable is stereo, not mono.). Take another cable exactly like it, and connect it to the monitor link input on both speakers. Just to clarify, one cable goes from a source to 1 of the speakers and the other cable goes from one speaker to the other. If you connect everything this way, you shouldn't get a hum.
Ddd1 I agree and with that acknowledgement from Tannoy I am going to get the Reveals. It is so rare for a company to step up and admit anything these days, even when it is clearly the right thing to do to build customer trust. Lewinskih, thanks for the tips. While people do need to follow directions it seems clear from Tannoy they had a quality issue resulting in the hum. I'm sure people wiring things oddly added to the confusion. Zd542 I was looking at the AudioEngines very seriously. I think they are probably great for listening, but I do want to do some mixing too, though not up to the level of professionalism promoted by some people here. On the positive side, I think it's great there are so many choices out there. Almost too many!
"Out of curiosity, what makes for a good speaker for listening but not for mixing? I never mixed so I'm lost with my admitedly basic thinking of "both need to reproduce as acourately as posible, right?"
I've noticed some differences between the 2 types of speakers. Studio monitors don't seem to have the same imaging qualities of regular speakers. They just need to be detailed enough to let you hear whats on the recording. Probably the biggest difference is that most monitors are meant to be listened to near field. People tend to sit very close to them. Also, there's really no need to use expensive, exotic materials, like they do in some high end speakers. Not only that, a lot of regular speakers sacrifice studio monitor qualities in order to gain others. A good example is Magnepan. They measure terrible. A frequency response print outs look like a heart rate monitor when someone's having a heart attack. They wouldn't make for good monitors, but people buy them anyway because they like other qualities that monitors typically don't have.
Lewinskih01, my apologies for not checking in here for so long. I think Zd542 explains things better than I ever could. For what it's worth, I went through quite a saga. I ordered Tannoy Reveal 402s, but they had a buzz or hum that Tannoy actually acknowledges as a known problem on their site. I thought this would be okay, but it was not. So, I had to ship my brand new speakers to Tannoy's service facility since they told me they couldn't just send me a pair that don't hum. Then they told me they couldn't fix them and sent me a new pair where just one buzzed and hummed. I gave up on Tannoy. I ended up with a pair of JBL LSR305s. They are kind of ugly (unless you like the Batman look) and a little big for my set up, but sound so much better. Imaging is very good. I am just a hobby person, so I can't say anything truly intelligent about monitors vs speakers, but I can tell you this. I had mixed something I recorded here and thought it was okay. On the JBLs I heard all kinds of problems, so I remixed. Now that recording sounds (to me) better on the monitors, but also on my 2 channel and in the car and on my laptop, headphones... everything. So, it seems monitors are somehow more transparent and revealing. As for casual listening I am very happy with these speakers.. I mean monitors. For me the test is this - I'm not thinking about them, I am enjoying the music (no buzzing helps too). Of course it doesn't sound as good as my dedicated 2 channel system, but I'd hazard a bet that in terms of computer audio I am a 1% er!