New Midfield Monitor Advise

Javier Perea

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I currently have some ATC SCM20ASL Pro mk2 6.5" Powered Studio Monitors, I LOVE them.

I use them to mix. I want to buy something to listen to when I am sitting behind the mixing position (Couch) and for the customers of my studio.

Below are my choices for midfield/farfield monitors to buy.

1. Focal Trio11 Be - 450W 3-way Studio Reference Monitor with 10" Subwoofer, 5" Woofer, and 1" Tweeter

2. ADAM Audio S5V 12" 3-way Powered Studio Monitor - Active Vertical 3-way Midfield Monitor with 700W 12" Woofer, 300W 4" Midrange, 100W S-ART Folded-ribbon Tweeter, and Custom DSP Engine

3. ATC SCM100ASL Pro 12" 3-way Powered Studio Monitors - 350W 3-way, 12.4" Powered Midfield/Farfield Monitor with Active Filtering, Wide Dispersion, Overload Protection, and Balanced XLR Input


Thanks in Advance for any of your professional opinions.
 

Tony V.

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How large is the space you want to fill?
Thats quite the budget you have for speakers given the ATC SCM100ASL sells for around 18K
 

Javier Perea

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I like the ATC sound! I record and mix bands, so 18K for speakers is not too bad since I will be using them ALOT. Plus they really don't lose their value as quality monitors. The mixing room is 18 ft X 12 Ft with High Cielings 20 ft

Not sure about the need to spend that much since the ADAMS and FOCAL options seem quite capable.
 

Tony V.

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Personally the Focal have a really nice look to them over the Adams, will you consider using a sub along with them?
The Focal would fill the room other than possibly on the lower end.
 

Javier Perea

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I own a focal 11" Red sub. Use it with my ATC's.

Thanks.... I'm leaning toward focal. My sweetwater rep loves that companies products...
 

Matthew J Poes

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Hey Javier, are you dead set on these options or open to other options?

Of the options you are looking at, I actually like the ADAM and ATC’s but in general I think there are better options for the money.

The JBL M2’s are unequivocally one of the finest mid/far field monitors ever made. They are near technical perfection and sound great.

The Kii Three with the new active bass stands is also a great option. They are compact but more than capable of being used for midfield monitoring. They are sold to domestic clients as primary speakers, so obviously intended to work as a midfield or far field monitor. The new bass stands increase dynamic range and extend bass.
https://www.kiiaudio.com/
I’ve heard these a handful of times and think they are great.

Dutch & Dutch 8C
https://dutchdutch.com/8c/
These are a very cool cardioid monitors. I haven’t heard them but their technical performance is excellent and people I trust love them. They are on my bucket list.

And last but not least:
Genelec 8351
https://www.genelec.com/8351
I love these. If I could have five of these, I would be in heaven. Technical perfection with excellent sound and more than good enough dynamic range for use in a mid-field setup. If you need more, try this:
https://www.genelec.com/studio-monitors/sam-studio-monitors/8260a-sam-studio-monitor

Now why do I like these better than the options you chose? Because of two key things. First, a well known company blinded people to what speakers they were listening to and asked them to pick the best sounding using MUSRA testing. The testing is as rigerous as it gets. Earlier versions of the speakers you chose didn’t fair well. Why? Because the research pretty strongly suggests that a speaker with an uneven off-axis response and uneven on-axis response doesn’t sound good. It’s not accurate. All of these speakers you chose have excellent on-axis measurements, but their off-axis does not follow the on-axis all that well. As such I just don’t consider them to be as good of a speaker as compared to the ones I have mentioned here. The Focals have other issues, being also the least dynamically capable of the bunch.

So while I don’t consider your choices to be bad choices (I owned Focal Utopias as my home speakers for years), I don’t consider them The best option for studio monitors.

Last thing I’ll mention is that I happen to think subwoofers are always a good idea, even for monitoring. I really don’t buy the notion that studio mastering is somehow different from the home listener. It is precisely that environment in which we expect the mastered sound to be best. And we have plenty of good research to show that smooth extended even bass is preferable. So if that’s true, then the reality is that it’s simply not possible to equal such smooth bass using just speakers out in a room in a typical small room. To really optimize the bass you need those LF sources to be in the best places, which is against a boundary, not in the middle of the room off the floor. The nice thing about a sub is that it can extend the dynamic range of the system if done right and getting an well integrated sub is easier because you only have one listening position to worry about.
 

Javier Perea

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Hey Javier, are you dead set on these options or open to other options?

Of the options you are looking at, I actually like the ADAM and ATC’s but in general I think there are better options for the money.

The JBL M2’s are unequivocally one of the finest mid/far field monitors ever made. They are near technical perfection and sound great.

The Kii Three with the new active bass stands is also a great option. They are compact but more than capable of being used for midfield monitoring. They are sold to domestic clients as primary speakers, so obviously intended to work as a midfield or far field monitor. The new bass stands increase dynamic range and extend bass.
https://www.kiiaudio.com/
I’ve heard these a handful of times and think they are great.

Dutch & Dutch 8C
https://dutchdutch.com/8c/
These are a very cool cardioid monitors. I haven’t heard them but their technical performance is excellent and people I trust love them. They are on my bucket list.

And last but not least:
Genelec 8351
https://www.genelec.com/8351
I love these. If I could have five of these, I would be in heaven. Technical perfection with excellent sound and more than good enough dynamic range for use in a mid-field setup. If you need more, try this:
https://www.genelec.com/studio-monitors/sam-studio-monitors/8260a-sam-studio-monitor

Now why do I like these better than the options you chose? Because of two key things. First, a well known company blinded people to what speakers they were listening to and asked them to pick the best sounding using MUSRA testing. The testing is as rigerous as it gets. Earlier versions of the speakers you chose didn’t fair well. Why? Because the research pretty strongly suggests that a speaker with an uneven off-axis response and uneven on-axis response doesn’t sound good. It’s not accurate. All of these speakers you chose have excellent on-axis measurements, but their off-axis does not follow the on-axis all that well. As such I just don’t consider them to be as good of a speaker as compared to the ones I have mentioned here. The Focals have other issues, being also the least dynamically capable of the bunch.
Thank you very much for your detailed response. I appreciate it. I am open to suggestions.

Looking at the JBL M2's... they are pricier than the ATC 100ASL. Looks like they have a more capable low end... down to 20 HZ

Have you heard the ATC's? They do seem to have linear off axis response like the JBL's.

http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/atc-speakers-technology/

Quoted below:

ATC refers to ‘coherent dispersion’ in your speaker specifications e.g. Dispersion: ±80° Coherent Horizontal, ±10° Coherent Vertical, what do you mean by this?
This refers to the off-axis response of the loudspeaker. Over the quoted horizontal and vertical angles, the phase relationship of the drive units is such that the response remains linear.

The GENELEC 8260A seems like a good choice. I just don't have the means to listen to ATC and GENELEC side by side. Arghghg

or the JBL M2 and the ATC 100ASL side by side.............

So I have to decide. GENELEC 8260 A in that price range vs ATC SCM25A

JBL M2 vs ATC 150 ASL ???

I'm going to buy this summer so there is time.

What other issues are known regarding the focals? The ones I was considering are new the Focal Trio 11
 

Tony V.

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Hi Javir, Matts advice is really sound and I trust his input. His comment about a sub is right in my mind also no matter what monitor you choose a sealed sub like the SVS SB4000 would be an ideal addition as this reduces the load on the driver in the monitors and allows for much better control over the 20-80Hz range
 

Javier Perea

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Hi Javir, Matts advice is really sound and I trust his input. His comment about a sub is right in my mind also no matter what monitor you choose a sealed sub like the SVS SB4000 would be an ideal addition as this reduces the load on the driver in the monitors and allows for much better control over the 20-80Hz range
Thanks,
I have the following sub already:

Focal Sub6 Active Studio Subwoofer Features:
  • Frequency response: 30Hz-250Hz
  • Amplification: 350 watts
  • Maximum SPL: 116dB (peak at 1m)
  • Adjustable subwoofer level
  • Lowpass cutoff frequency setting Phase adjustment
  • Polarity adjustment
  • Subwoofer switch (mute)
  • 2.1 bypass (external remote control)
  • Highpass frequency selection
  • Releasable highpass
 

Tony V.

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near-field that sub would be ok but in my opinion is quite under-powered for the space you want to fill. if you bought a second Focal sub then you would probably be ok but at a cutoff of around 30Hz your still not digging deep enough in my opinion even for music..
 

Javier Perea

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near-field that sub would be ok but in my opinion is quite under-powered for the space you want to fill. if you bought a second Focal sub then you would probably be ok but at a cutoff of around 30Hz your still not digging deep enough in my opinion even for music..
If I get the JBL's or the large ATC 150's I probably won't need it! LOL

When mixing, the inability to feel the frequencies recorded at 30 hz to 60 hz is an issue because alot of bad mixes carry unintended recorded frequencies there . I agree.
 
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Tony V.

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I guess that depends on how flat an in room response you want even the JBLs would struggle to fill the full space you have at 20-40Hz (again near field they are fine but not far field in the 4000+ cu ft space).
 

AudiocRaver

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You seem set on a 3-way design. For mid- to near-field monitoring, you might consider a 2-way design. Adam, Genelec, maybe Emotiva Pro. Of all the speakers mentioned, Emotiva are the only ones I have heard. The image tightness of a well-integrated 2-way design is something special and addictive.

The JBL M2 are Matt’s pick, and I have not heard them more than for a few minutes at an audio show, and I was not impressed, but you can almost bet that speakers at a show or in a showroom are set up poorly. Controlled Directivity speakers are less susceptible to room interaction (but VERY susceptible to pecisee setup angle/distance/symmetry relative to the LP), and as such have their own type of sound in the room. It might or might not be what you are looking for, since it sounds like your other experiences are with non CD designs.

I agree with Tony and Matt on the need for subwoofer(s).
 

Matthew J Poes

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As for which speaker, just take a listen to what you can. See what you like. Even if you can’t do it side by side, it at least helps you figure out if certain ones are objectionable to you.

As for subs, it’s reallt not about bass output. It’s about bass smoothness. Getting an accurate LF response, even with a single listening position and lots of treatment, is hard to do without subs.
 
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