why not use biamped studio monitors?

My brother is a sound engineer, both live and studio, so of course his "home system" is really a studio system ( all digital. Still having heard what he has, it begs the question, why not combine nice inputs ( turntable/cart, Cd etc. ) with a nice line preamp and some Mackie or Genelec biamp powered monitors. Should allow for excellent imaging, great detail, ability to tailor the sound to the room, and at a realatively low cost. Has anyone tried this? Experience?
Very good question - I am thinking the same thing. The amps are matched to the drivers, flat frequency response, highly accurrate. It appears to me that if one wants to hear what is on the source a studio monitor is unsurpassed. Furthermore, the amps make sense - usually a higher powered amp for the low end than the high end. The specs on the tri powered speakers are phenomenal. Of course they do not look as good as typical audiophile speakers - which fit in nicely with home furnishings - but for myself I am only after the sound - if the speaker looked like a mossy rock and sounded great, I'd be happy. Hope to hear from folks who have listened to these - particularly any negatives - would be nice to have an objective reason (i.e. a specification or measurement comparison) for any negatives - not just that they are "less musical."
That's exactly what I do in my bedroom system: Tannoy AMS-12A active monitors (12" dual concentric driver, two 180 Wrms MOSFET amps and electronic crossover in each cabinet), fed by Bryston BP-26 line stage which is in turn fed by two sources (turntable's in another set-up): modified Teac VRDS-25/Lavry Black DA10 DAC and modified Sony ST-S555ES tuner. And it's all powered by a Torus RM20 isolation transformer/surge protector.

Glorious (but neutral) sound. Highly recommended, although I've only ever seen one pair of AMS-12A on the used market and I bought them.


Yes, why not? It makes a great deal of sense. I've not done exactly what you're proposing, but something similar with a point source tri-amped set-up. The performance/cost ratio is very high. Getting the passive crossover out of the signal path between amp and driver is just one of the big advantages.

But you asked why NOT? Cosmetics, brand name recognition, a slightly more complex set-up.
The main negative is you get what is on the source - that is the main goal of monitors - mistakes in recordings and mixing are more obvious as that it what these speakers are designed for (low distortion and high dynamic range). You can hear all kinds of detail and where bits and pieces have been spliced in a studio. An over compressed pop recording will sound harsh and unpleasant but a good recording will shine better than ever. Bass response is usually tight and detailed or "thin" and without the usual warm lush or richly harmonically distorted sound that is more prevalent in consumer designs, depending on your tastes this can be less enjoyable.

A second negative is that many of these monitors are designed for near field listening with narrow dispersion. These are not well suited to a domestic environment where you want great sound over a wide area (rather than one spot). A few are designed with wider dispersion such as the Genelec's and their 8050A model which IMHO is one of the best imaging speakers period.

Finally - studio monitors vary a lot too - just like domestic designs - so you can find lush and distorted bass heavy active studio monitors also - bass sells in five minute demos and A/B's - although this is less prevalent than in domestic audio. The problem with distortion and harmonics in the bass or "one-note bass" designs is that all tracks sound the same in the bass - even if the sound is overall a pleasant coloration in a A/B test against a "thin" or accurate sounding speaker. An easy way to identify one of these speakers is to play a variety of music and observe which speaker plays the bass with the greatest variation in response rather than which speakers "sounds nicest". There is an incredible amount of detail in the bass but it is all but inaudible on the most popular "small box big sound" speakers. (Since harmonic distortion and group delay or resonance can only be added then the best speakers add none or as little as possible and allow you to hear what was actually recorded and intended by the artist/producer/engineer).
For Pacific Island Audio and Dr. Joe - what distance to the speakers (near field) and what genre of music do you listen to ?
That's what I've done in my main system: Denon 3910 -> Benchmark DAC1 -> Bryston BP26 -> JBL LSR4328 (monitors) + JBL LSR4312 (sub). It makes sense for me since my preference is to hear what's on the source and I like the "pro" look. The simplified system - fewer boxes - has removed some of the audio clutter from the living room.

In regards to Shadorne's comment about narrow dispersion. Thanks to Dr. Toole (I assume) at Harman, the JBLs are designed for a wide smooth dispersion.

My office system will go that route before too long -- thinking of an SVS sub with JBL LSR 6325 monitors.

My listening distance is about 8 feet and my music preferences are 40's & 50's jazz and pop - Louis, Ella, Basie, Ellington, Sinatra, etc.

I think a sub is a must with these setups and should be heavily weighted in the decision process.
My current 2-channel system is an EVS (Tweakaudio) Level-2 mod'd Oppo 970 universal player (CD, DVD, SACD, DVD-A, HDCD) using it's built-in volume contol and connected directly to a pair of Quad 12L Active speakers.

This is easily the best bang for the buck system I've ever owned. BTW, I do listen in a nearfield setup. I think the Quads may be more forgiving than a typical studio monitor. I don't get listener fatigue like I had with some previous speakers.


There are those in the narrow dispersion camp, and those in the wide. Narrow certainly has the advantage of less room interaction. Either way, the off-axis response needs to be linear to preserve the balance of the reverberant field.

I listen about half to classical, from Renaissance to 21th century, chamber to full orchestra, and half to jazz, leaning more towards small group. As for near-field listening distance, about 6-7 feet, but I prefer more distance for orchestral works, about 9 feet.

Regarding bass, the best I've heard is dipoleĀ—it requires a lot of equalization to get flat. The next best is acoustic suspension. It often requires some EQ or a higher system Q, which I think is why most speakers rely on the internal resonance of the enclosure to extend and boost the bass (ported bass reflex), unfortunately at the expense of critical damping.
great question and great responses! i use tubes and transmission line ported meadowlark spks and hi quality cd's mainly, (xrcd etc.). to my ear the sound is more musically compelling than what i hear on studio type systems. all systems have strengths and weakness of course, but i like to recreate live performance 'feel' for my classical and jazz tastes. imo, the studio gear can be a little overly analytical. i do use a sub. i think for different genres tho and to certain listeners my set up would not be as crisp, eg. ac/dc sounds pretty bland and laid back...