HiFi Bookshelfs vs. Studio Monitors

Wish you all a relaxed sunday, best time for browsing through audio equipment :slight_smile:

So I’m looking to expand my audio experience. Got a few decent headphones but wanna look into some nice speakers, since all I’ve got is an old, crappy Phillips Stereo.

I kinda decided to go for active speakers, because I already can’t really decide on a speaker and this way I don’t have to look into amps as well :smiley: Sadly there is no place where I can try speakers in my area nor nor do I have much experience with quality speakers.

RN im looking at T5V/T8V, Kali IN 8 (sale rn for 580 a pair) or some Swans D300. From my research I can’t really get the figure out weither I am better of with “Studio Monitors” or “Hifi Brands”.
Studio speakers are in general more flat but we all now that the T8V are defently not that either… So is there actually a diffrence or something I should prefer?

I don’t really care about the looks, run them out of my PC/Dac+PreAmp. I’m probably going to be listening to them in midfield (2-3m // 6-10 feet) at medium level. Is this where Studio speakers are lesser than “HiFi” speakers? I mean Zeos was all over the Adams for a room…
Obviously I’ll only use them for listening and not for producing music and in general it’s hard to find reviews on studio monitors that comment on listening experience and not only studio value.

Can someone comment on this regarding price/performance, distance of listening and sound flavours? Maybe give a comparison? Would be very much appreciated!

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As a pretty experienced person, I think @M0N could help you out if he has time

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Really will come down to what you can get and what sound you are after in the end, both can be viable options. I do think with sub 1k powered and planning to use nearfield/midfield you might get more value out of the studio monitor market, but all depends on what you want to focus on and what’s available

What source will you be running them from, what sonic aspects do you want to focus on, and also what price point are you generally looking to hit?


I think it depends more on what your source is. Most of the Hi-Fi brand powered monitors have a built-in DAC and preamp. That provides greater value if you have a digital source.

If you already have your own DAC/Preamp, then the studio monitors provide better value. You won’t be bypassing the DAC/Preamp of the Hi-Fi speakers (or worse, going through 2 preamps).

I have the Adam Audio T5V, A5X and A7X. They’re all fantastic and work very well in nearfield/midfield arrangements.

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I would agree, although honestly most of the built in dacs for powered speakers really don’t sound all that great imo unless you get quite up there, so I don’t even think they are a value add if you don’t have one since you really should get a better dac either way (since I do think most of the even 100 buck dacs end up being better than most all integrated dacs in the sub 1k powered speakers that have them)

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Hi, defently availible are all of the common studio monitors. Some of the Swans as well, and Edifier is running well here.
Im trying to be at the up to/around 500€ mark. I think in general I like a sound that is not to far into one direction because I listen to almost every genre. I think first importance is instruments and acoustics and second electonic music. So I do like my music rather detailed then to warm, nice trebble that is not to sharp. Mids mostly balanced and voices not to far out. For headphones I run Sundaras and DT770, I like the detail, space and seperation, but I do run some EQ to tame the highs. Image and separation is kinda important. Basswise I prefer quality over quantity and I have a cheap ELAC sub that produces way more low than needed for my room (not very clean tho).

I use an E30 dac from my PC (USB) with Amazon Music losless and Asgard 3 as preamp.
Thanks for helping me out here

In that case, I’d either look toward Adam t5v or focal alpha 65 monitors (not heard the new evo though), as I think they would have the signature you might be looking for (actually moreso Adam since they have smoother treble than focal does). Both of those have great speed and septation, resolution, and space. Signature wise the Adam are going to be a bit more relaxed than the focal, both cleaner leaning without lacking body or being overly analytical.

I do like the Kali, but moreso for studio purposes, it’s less something I’d want to listen to casually, very no nonsense and capable but for more regular listening it might be too intense, I think the Adam or focal strike a better balance there, the Kali are a bit dryer and flatter leaning monitors overall

Another potential option might be tannoy gold 7, they are very coherent and accurate while still being pretty organic, interesting sound

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Nice, I was really into Adam right from the start, especially since I am in Germany I can shoot them a bit cheaper then others. I just havent decided on the size yet. 8 inch might be overkill but I’m still liking the idea… :smiley: I have no experience with anything over 5’’.

Thanks for the comment on the Kalis, those things are hard to get from the reviews. I was only really intrigued by the 3-way driver and what it could do to the mids.

Uhh I’ve never seen them before, but those look damn sexy, kinda like a jet turbine. I’ll try to find some more info on them.
I can probably make up with myslef buying two pairs for testing and returning one, without calling myself a maniac.

Can you tell me what the “Swan-Sound” is like in presentation and signature? I imagine it beeing very bright fore some reason.

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Oh nice, you could probably go to a music store and demo them pretty easily. Size wise, I do think the 8 in is overkill for most people, but will depend on the volume you plan to play and the size of the room/space

It’s a great value speaker, I just personally wasn’t that big of a fan of it for casual listening, absolutely worthwhile for studio work though

If you can do that, that’s the easiest way to make a decision lol

So I’ve actually not really had much experience with the swan speakers so I can’t really comment unfortunately

Probably yes. For some reason a lot of people seem to not be a fan of the 7’’. Usally I do not listen do very high volumes but you know… partys happen at this place :smirk:

Yeah I just need to break it down to two pairs.

To much “studio” in the sound?

Alright, maybe I’m lucky and someone else who has got some Swans can do that. Particularly the D300.

what about the powered monitors from Focal?

I think it’s too unforgiving of poorly recorded music for casual listening, too forward for casual listening, and more dimensionally flat than I typically prefer. It’s a speaker that nails overall frequency response linearity, resolution, speed, and control, but falls short in some of the things like spatial recreation (it’s sharp and accurate, just not that wide and not that deep), timbre (it’s fine, but not stand out), dynamics (great macro, eh micro), and texture (although that’s not that fair since I don’t expect a speaker in this range to do texture all that well)

Also, a potential concern on the tannoy, I don’t remember if it accepts unbalanced input or not, I’m pretty sure it could, but I’m not 100% sure

I do like the brand, but the Evo 65 come in at 700 a pair, thats a bit to high right now.

Yeah that does sound like it misses some aspects for musical enjoymant.
Depth is something I to look for, defently.

They do :slight_smile: But it is either Aux or 6.3mm

I picked up a pair of powered Klipsch ‘The Sixes’ for $599 and added my old Definitive Technologies pro sub 100 to that. Later I picked up a Klipsch branded sub (sw120) because my Definitive Tech is 30 years old.

This is a super ‘fun’ system I use for gaming, music, and for producing music via cubase + midi. Any actual mixing or mastering is done on headphones and tested on other hifis in the home. I use a Focusrite 8i6 gen3 usb audio interface.

The Sixes aren’t perfect (the phono input leaves something to be desired, Bluetooth is erratic, I sometimes get a crackle on power-on/power-off) but they are nice and tight and precise in the highs and mids, as Klipsch tends to be, and the sub makes the bass hit fairly hard. I’ve got this sub turned so it isn’t too woofy and remains punchy.

When I want pure reference sound I listen to our Marantz model 30 in the bedroom, but my ‘The Sixes’ system is fun and ready to go. Gaming is really good on them.