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Should I upgrade from M-Audio AV40 monitors?
konsole
post Dec 7 2011, 03:21
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I bought these speakers a few months ago and have been very satisfied with them. I know they are well reviewed, but are considered to be on the low end of the "professional monitors", or atleast the high end of cheap speakers.

I've been debating buying some higher end monitors for my desktop computer and was hoping you guys could help me decide if its worth it or not. I use the AV40's for nothing more then listening to music and playing games, so I won't be using any new speakers for mixing or any other editing. I just got back from Guitar Center and I wasnt impressed with the 10 or so monitors they had. The monitors were either too big and expensive or I wasnt liking the quality of construction. I didnt listen to any of them because I don't really care how good they sound when I don't like their construction, plus I'm confident I can read enough reviews online about sound quality and be happy with what is said.

This is what I'm looking for in a speaker...
- 2.0 setup is preferred, so tweeter and woofer in same box.
- relatively small, doesnt have to be tiny but I don't want to go twice the size of the AV40's.
- prefer to either have grilles covering the drivers or the drivers are solidly designed to withstand some accidental hits.
- want to keep it well under $1,000, and even $800 if I can.
- doesnt require any extra hardware to hook up to my computers soundcard, or the extra hardware is very cheap.
- great sound quality overall, lots of bass is nice but as long as it has moderate bass I'm happy because I'm more into rock then hip hop.
- prefer not to buy a separate subwoofer and send the price well over $1000.

While at Guitar Center the one monitor that stood out to me was the Adam's, not based on its sound quality but based on its quality of construction and how the tweeter was well protected and the woofer was so solidly built. Considering how the Adam's are well liked I put the A3X on my list of possibilities (since Guitar Center only had the A7X but it was was too expensive and too big). I know that I'm not likely to accidentally damage the drivers by hitting them, but I'd prefer to have them either covered with grilles or very sturdy.

Browsing online the other 2 monitors that have caught my attention are the Genelec 6010A and the Audioengine 2 or 5, but it appears that the Audioengines have an unprotected soft domed tweeter that I said I wasnt a fan of the contruction. The Genelec 6010a have me most interested out of all the monitors I've looked at and I can get them for a little over $600. Obviously Genelecs have an excellent reputation, and everything about the design of the monitor has my interest. I like their small size, I like how the drivers are covered by sturdy grilles, and how their overall design and construction just oozes quality, not to mention pro audio people rave about their excellent sound quality. I know they wont produce a ton of bass, but like I said as long as they have moderate bass I am happy. The only thing holding me back on these is the high price tag even though they are in my price range.

So is it worth spending $600+ for the Genelec 6010a when I am fairly satisfied with the M-Audio AV40, or is there another monitor that matches my preferences, or should I just stick with my AV40's?

This post has been edited by konsole: Dec 7 2011, 03:27
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andy o
post Dec 7 2011, 09:07
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I have the 6020A, and while the construction is superb as you say, I would not go smaller (6010A) without a sub. The AV40 should get you deeper bass.
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konsole
post Dec 7 2011, 15:35
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QUOTE (andy o @ Dec 7 2011, 03:07) *
I have the 6020A, and while the construction is superb as you say, I would not go smaller (6010A) without a sub. The AV40 should get you deeper bass.


Do you mean the 8020B? I dont see a 6020A listed on Genelecs website.

As long as the 6010A's have some bass I would be happy. For me clear lows are more important then chest thumping bass, but I guess it would be nice to have a little bit of a "thump" to it.

This post has been edited by konsole: Dec 7 2011, 15:35
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RonaldDumsfeld
post Dec 7 2011, 16:57
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I also started off with a pair of AV40 on my desktop.

I was delighted with them at first. Decent desktop monitors are a brilliant concept and once you have them there is no going back.

They started crackling after 3 months and one broke down completely inside a year. It's a common problem (cf. the M-Audio website) due to dodgy, cheap capacitors.

M-Audio will grudgingly fix them for you, usually at a price if they can get away with it. Or you can do it yourself inexpensively.

I couldn't be arsed, had some cash on hand and loved the concept so much I was prepared to invest in something even better.

So I bought a pair of ADAM A3X like you are considering.

Similar size, extra 25 Hz on the bottom end, over twice the power and with an active crossover. Like you noticed - excellent build quality.

They cost 4 times the price of the AV40 but, crucially, they come with a 5 year, no quibble guarantee. So I managed to convince myself they were a better bargain longterm. wink.gif

At first I used software and my old floorstanders when I needed more oomph but in the end I bought a sub. If you really don't want to do that you might consider the A5X although for the type of listening you suggest I don't think you will feel it necessary 90% of the time. I didn't.

You cannot beat the ADAMs on acoustic sources. Particularly voice and piano. Rock is fine as well but beware if you listen to a lot of loud modern pop or house music with a maxed out 4/4 beat. It's got to be really LOUD but you can buzz the ports sooner than some alternative models. Consider KRKs in that case. Othe competition? Focal now have a competing product in the CMS range. Fostex are less expensive and reliable. Some people swear by Berhinger models, which are undeniably cheap, but I haven't had good luck with their stuff in the past so I avoid it now. I know I cannot afford proper Genelecs but I probably would if I could. tongue.gif

Also, you need to be aware that when these guys say 'monitors' they really mean it. The AV40 are really small desktop hi-fi speakers. Lovely bumpy sound mind but by no means flat or revealing. ADAMs are and at first I found it disconcerting. Poor sources will sound poor because that's what the speakers are designed to do. I'm thinking worn, old vinyl, amateur recorded live sets, very low bit rate MP3, some youtube etc. Never go back though. Anyway if I wanted to I could roll off the top and bottom early and gently boost what was left to mimic the AV40.

So taking your requirement above as gospel It looks like the A5X which are just inside your preferred. I'd recommend getting a pair of A3X now and considering a Sub7 if you felt the need later. It has a cool feature that lets you turn on and off a 85Hz high pass filter with a footswitch. In total marginally above your max budget but you can do it in two stages.
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konsole
post Dec 7 2011, 19:10
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The Adam A3X really have my interest right now. I found a gently used set on ebay for $575.

How exactly would they hook up to my computers soundcard though? Would they include an RCA adapter that splits into 2 for each speaker?
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DVDdoug
post Dec 7 2011, 20:44
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QUOTE
How exactly would they hook up to my computers soundcard though? Would they include an RCA adapter that splits into 2 for each speaker?
I wouldn't count on an adapter being supplied. But, you can pick-up this kind of Y-adapter (female RCA0 or this kind of cable/adapter (male RCA) at any audio/video store, or Radio Shack, etc. Guitar Center probably has 'em too. (I've got a box-full of cables & adapters! biggrin.gif )

In your price range, I probably wouldn't consider anything with a woofer smaller than 8-inches. There are no hard-and-fast rules with speaker design, so there are exceptions, but it's hard to get smooth, deep, powerful bass from a small speaker.

QUOTE
I didnt listen to any of them because I don't really care how good they sound when I don't like their construction, plus I'm confident I can read enough reviews online about sound quality and be happy with what is said.
If you are picky about sound, I recommend you do listen before making a final decision and forking-out the money. All speakers sound different.

P.S.
Ironically, if you were buying these to use as monitors I'd say it's somewhat less important to audition before buying. With monitors, you need smooth fairly-flat frequency response. Then after some time, you learn your monitors and your room, and you learn to produce a good-sounding "product" on them. It's not so important that you like the sound of your tools/monitors... It's more important to learn them.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Dec 7 2011, 21:20
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andy o
post Dec 8 2011, 01:59
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QUOTE (konsole @ Dec 7 2011, 06:35) *
Do you mean the 8020B? I dont see a 6020A listed on Genelecs website.

The 6020A was basically the same as the 8020A. Both had XLR inputs, but the 6020A had an unbalanced RCA input, and the 8020A instead had an XLR output. It appears that they've been replaced by the 8020B, which seems like a downgrade, in that it doesn't feature either.

QUOTE
As long as the 6010A's have some bass I would be happy. For me clear lows are more important then chest thumping bass, but I guess it would be nice to have a little bit of a "thump" to it.

It's not just a matter of not being loud, but also not being deep.
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pawelq
post Dec 8 2011, 04:01
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QUOTE (konsole @ Dec 7 2011, 14:10) *
How exactly would they hook up to my computers soundcard though?

How can we know if we don't know what soundcard do you have? Different cards have different outputs, many use single 1/8" TRS jack for stereo output, but other may provide dual RCA, or dual TS for unbalanced stereo, or dual TRS for balanced stereo.


By the way did you check AX manual? It explains what connections do the loudspeaker use (dual mono XLR or dual mono RCA), as well as how to connect in the Stereo Link mode, which alows you to adjust volume using volume control on one speaker (normally, studio monitors have separate volume controls for each speaker, sometimes even placed on the back panel). Stereo Link is only available for A3X and A5X (not for larger monitors of the series) and only if you use RCA inputs (not XLR inputs). Also, the manual says that an additional mono RCA cable is provided, but they don't say anything like that about other cables. Which implies that you need to purchase a cable (or two mono cables) compatible with your soundcard on one end, and having either male RCA or (mostl ikley male) XLR connectors on the other end. Also, this page says that "Cinch-cable, Power cord, Manual" are included, again, this means that you will only gate one cable for Stereo Link.


By the way, I have been using A7 (predecessors of A7X) for a few years as my computer loudspeakers, and I love them. They are revealing and may be fatiguing for some. In my setup, I found them slightly unsatisfactory in large orchestra pieces; however, I suspect that this more due to poor room acoustics, not due to speakers themselves.


--------------------
Ceterum censeo, there should be an "%is_stop_after_current%".
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konsole
post Dec 8 2011, 16:47
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I bought a pair of barely used Adam A3X on ebay for $575 shipped. Can't wait to get them.
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konsole
post Dec 10 2011, 18:30
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QUOTE (konsole @ Dec 8 2011, 10:47) *
I bought a pair of barely used Adam A3X on ebay for $575 shipped. Can't wait to get them.


I chose RCA over XLR and at Radioshack I picked up a 1/4" stereo male right angle to rca male 6ft. cable. Then I ran that to one speaker, and then ran an rca to rca cable from that speaker to the other speaker. These speakers have a stereolink feature were you can have one speaker be the master which can control the volume on both speakers. Speakers sound great, though the woofer isnt designed quite the same as the Adam speaker I saw at Guitar Center, probably to keep he cost down.
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