Help needed choosing studio monitors (BM5 mkIII, A5X/A7X, HS7, Alpha 65 Evo, ...)

Hello! First post here! Here goes:

A few years back I had a pair of KRK Rokit 5 G3’s and they were ok but I sold them when moving apts and started producing on headphones. But I’d like to get a set of monitors again.

I did some research over the past couple of days and finally ordered a pair of Dynaudio BM5 mkIII’s. I received them today but unfortunately they hiss way too loud for my liking. I mix at low volumes and can discern the hiss underneath the music. Also, whenever I turn the music off, the hiss is loud enough to be distracting. I tried a number of things to ensure that the hiss was not introduced by my environment and confirmed that the hiss comes from the speakers themselves. I am thinking of returning them. Not sure if I should because they do sound very good…

I am considering other candidates.

  • Yamaha HS 7
    • Very popular but when watching online comparisons I felt like they accentuate higher frequencies a lot. Is that true? There must be a reason for the popularity? The price is also really nice.
  • Focal Alpha 65 Evo
    • Huge footprint but I’ve heard only good things about Focals.
  • EVE Audio SC207
    • Expensive. Worth it? Not much talk about EVEs anywhere.
  • Adam T7V
    • Really don’t like what they look like but the price is right and the reviews are solid.
  • DAM Audio A4V
    • Brand spanking new model. Has a bunch of new tech built-in which makes me feel like it would be adding complexity. I want to avoid complexity and want to have predictability instead. Also, is the 4" woofer too small?
  • ADAM Audio A5X
    • Has an impressive frequency range on paper… Love the look and the size.
  • ADAM Audio A7X
    • A lot of people online say that the 7" is better for bass-heavy electronic music. I really like the look of the ADAM AnX series…
  • Neumann KH 80 DSP
    • Stellar reviews everywhere but expensive and 4" woofer.
  • Presonus R65 V2
    • Good price but I dislike the “cyclops” look. Cannot unsee it. But still considering it.
  • Genelec 8030C
    • A lot of people praise Genelecs but they are expensive and this model, which is already stretching my budget, is a 5".
  • Dynaudio BM5 mkIII
    • And of course the original candidate. Should I suck it up and live with the hiss?

So yeah, I’d love your guys’ feedback. I am producing techno/downtempo in an untreated room at low volumes. Having clear bass is important. Having a lot of volume is not important. To summarize:

  1. Is it worth it to get monitors if producing in an untreated room or should I just continue with headphones?
  2. Are 4" monitors incompetent for techno? Is 5" enough? Is 7" enough?! I sure hope so because I do not have space for 8" and I do not want to use a sub.
  3. I really love the ADAM Audio A5X and A7X monitors. Are there better options from the list I wrote above? Any issues to know about? They are, at this point, 10-year-old models. Does it matter?

Thanks!

EDIT 1: Crossed out the eliminated candidates.
EDIT 2: Went with Neumann KH 120 A’s. The Genelec 8030C’s would be just as good for my use case.

1 Like

I did some extensive research about that topic, ended up with a pair of Kali LP-6 V2, couldn’t be happier. Their lowend in particular is impressive for the size and cost.

I suggest to look at audiosciencereview forum, it was an eye opener for me about monitors

1 Like

I wouldn’t live with the hiss. If you A/B a monitor with a 4” driver against the same model with a 6-7” driver, you’ll find the smaller speaker lacks bass extension, detail and imaging in comparison. I think small monitors need a sub for electronic music. I have a pair of T7V’s and they’re solid monitors—haven’t heard anything better for the price. I have a pair of A7V’s on the way. I sure wouldn’t buy A7X’s unless you get them at a blowout price. The A7V’s have dsp that allows baked in EQ profiles, plus other design improvements.

Bigger woofers generally equals better low end extension, but check the graphs.

T7v offer incredible value — I use them and they’re great. The A7x are definitely better… whether they are enough better to justify the extra cost, is up to you.

Untreated room? 7” woofers might get you in trouble… you’re likely to suffer some booming and problematic frequencies… 5” could be safer. Smaller than that I personally wouldn’t bother.

Summing up everything from your post — feels like you should just get some Adam A5X and don’t bother wasting time deliberating all the hundreds of other options! They’re great monitors and you’re drawn to them…

Geez, here I am feeling like a bum with my Presonus Eris 2.5s.

2 Likes

Yeah you don’t want bigger than 5” in untreated room, how big is the room?

Thank you for chiming in guys!

@Ciaba, thanks for suggesting to (re)visit audiosciencereview. I read their review of the A5X (which was quite positive) prior to buying the BM5 mkIII’s, but your comment reminded me to go back there and search if they have any reviews of some of the other speakers I listed. And they do. Their review of the Yamaha HS7’s was not so positive and so I eliminated the HS7’s from the running. As for the Kali’s - I am sure they are awesome, but their look is not for me. I know looks shouldn’t matter, but for some reason I am having a hard time with the Kali’s and the JBL 305P MKII’s. Something about those sleek warped futuristic lines. Please no offense!

@resonant_space, I agree with you about the hiss. Hearing it every day will surely amount to frustration and ear fatigue. Hence I am eliminating and will be returning the BM5 mkIII’s. The above-mentioned review of the A5X says that they are very quiet. So why live with the hiss, right?

As for the 4-inchers, yep most online comments, and now yours on top, conclude that the 4" will be too small for electronic music so I am eliminating all of them from my list as well. Besides, they are all very expensive!

I’d love to get the A7V’s because I am sure they are a clear step up from the A7X’s a decade later, but they are, unfortunately, way outside of my budget. Why didn’t they make an A5V?! Those would have been perfect!

@esq, @darenager, you are probably right, maybe 7" is too much… Let me measure the room tomorrow and I’ll post the dimensions.

@Claid, at least you are making music while I am scouring monitor comparisons online… in an untreated room lol

Going to eliminate the SC207’s. Saw in one review that they hiss pretty loudly. Also, nobody ever seems to talk about them? Strange, considering that their founder was at (or owned?) ADAM Audio.

Also going to say goodbye to the R65 in favor of going with established, reviewed, and “industry-tested” monitor brands, for better or worse. And for simplifying the decision process.

Lastly, eliminating the Alpha 65 Evo’s because of their large footprint compared to the other remaining options and the space on my desk is limited.

Gonna edit the original post to cross out the rejected models.

So!

  • 5" or 7" ?
  • Do the 8030C’s have any advantages over the Adams?

Genelec all the way!

2 Likes

If high volume is not a necessity then I highly recommend the iLoud MTMs. Seriously are an amazing value and come with built in room correction. They don’t get loud though, so you can’t getting the room shaking. They displaced my Mackie HR624 and are way better than the JBL LSR 306p that I had. Great imaging and frequency response. Very accurate for mixing.

1 Like

Neumann. The end.

2 Likes

The Adam A7X (and A5X) are discontinued and were only slightly less expensive than the A7V’s when I put in my order. I like the A7X’s and if you’ve found a pair in your price range, they’d be a reasonable choice. Is there anywhere you can audition monitors? Untreated rooms vary wildly–may or may not be an issue for you. I don’t agree on 5" speakers being better choice aside from cost and space constraints. Larger drivers sound better than smaller drivers at the same volume. We’re talking nearfield monitors. The T7V’s have a very focused image–which can be a pain, but when you’re in the sweet spot, they sound excellent. DSP/room correction won’t solve the problems of a bad room, but I think it can help quite a bit with smaller room issues. If you’re considering the A5X’s, you might as well listen to the A4V’s too–you never know.

You can’t go wrong with Genelecs. Bonus is that they are ultra durable and should last you for a very long time.

I also think I got a mail from them that said they recently increased their warranty to 5 years as a way to do their part for the environment. Less speakers in the landfills.

My next upgrade will probably be Genelec “the ones” but I think those are above the price range you’re asking for.

4 Likes

Genelec 8030c and Neumann kh80/120 are top notch stuff, but for music rich in the lowend spectrum you need a subwoofer to properly hear what’s going on down there, or use headphones.

From your list I’d go with Adam A7X/T7V.
I’ve got the A3X before moving to Kalis and they were solid monitors.
A bit too boomy (but that’s a design choice with Adams) and completely lacking lowend (and that’s because of the smaller woofer) i also planned to upgrade to A5X, but I couldn’t justify the price for such an old product.

I’ve been in this same boat recently and ended up spending a lot more than I originally intended on the 8030Cs, though I did get them for a relatively decent price being patient with the used market since they pop up fairly regularly.

After discounting speakers with DSP (because I’d rather avoid adding more latency to the chain wherever possible) Genelecs and Focals were pretty much the only choices left outside of passives. Focals seem to have far too many worrying comments about QC/reliability so at that point it was just deciding on the size of Genelec to go for.

I was veering towards the 8020s with a sub (7040 obviously pairs well, people seem to recommend the JBL LSR 310 S for this too) which I think would probably be ideal for a small room really, the 8010s might be enough with a sub even. But then a good deal on an ex-demo 8030 popped up so I jumped on that, then found it a friend.

I still might add a sub at some point if I feel I can risk it upstairs with the neighbours but it’s surprising how much bass you get with them (coming from someone who likes dub etc.) and what’s there is very well controlled. They remind me a bit of my Sennheiser HD 600s that way - not the lowest extension in the world but what’s there is nice. To be fair, my KEF R300s downstairs only go a few Hz lower on the spec sheet and I don’t think many would argue that they lack bass in the ranges you generally get with recorded music.

The only trouble is I really wanted the ones in the raw finish 'cos I love that industrial look. Like an idiot I’m now toying with buying some and selling these on :sweat_smile:

By the way, if you go for some and end up needing desktop stands these K&Ms are the exact same thing for a bit cheaper than the ones advertised as being Genelec stands. Mine from Thomann even came in Genelec boxes.

@darenager, so I measured the room. It’s 4.7m (~15.5’) front-to-back and 4m (~13’) side-to-side. I have no clue how that compares to other studios. Would you say this room can handle 7" drivers?

@ssante, @Munro, haha I hear you guys! So far I see only positive things being said about both Genelec and Neumann. They are premium brands and are expensive, though. So going for either of these would keep me in the 5" territory, which I am afraid would be not ideal for techno… Which models do you guys have?

@dfunk1983, yeah, I’ve seen these! How is the low end on them?

@resonant_space, I sit pretty close to my monitors at about 90cm, which makes me wonder if getting a set of smaller 5-inchers would help with getting a better blend from both speakers. The Genelec 8030C’s and the ADAM Audio A5X’s are very compact and I would be able to push them to the very edge of my desk and get an extra 10cm of distance between the drivers and my ears. Also, Genelec’s placement guides suggest that listening to 8030C’s at <1m distance is within the ok range. So yeah, I keep jumping between 5" and 7". I don’t really know how much the size really matters in the end considering my room, etc. I mean, is the bass extension of the 5" driver of the 8030C or the 5.5" driver of the A5X going to be that much different from the 7" driver of the (larger, more expensive, and less easily-available) A7X?

@Airyck, I am seriously considering the 8030C’s. Two things that I need to figure out: do they hiss, and how do I get them to ear-height (I have a regular, 1-tier desk)? I have IsoAcoustics stands, but those rubber feet on the Genelecs look like they need something proprietary… Genelec sell stands for them but they are expensive and also they don’t appear to do any decoupling between the speaker and the surface like the IsoAcoustics. How are you mounting yours?

@Ciaba, yeah the A5X’s are getting old now… Maybe I should go for A4V’s and use headphones, but I feel like I will really miss the low end. Getting a sub sounds like trouble for my room, but I’ve never used one before so have no experience whatsoever. Maybe at low volume it’s ok?

Thanks for all the comments so far, everyone! It’s really fun to discuss this and hear your opinions.

I’ll go ahead and eliminate the T7V’s because they hiss like crazy, and because you guys confirm that the AnX series is better. Since I want the new monitors to last me a long time, I’d prefer to get the better-built and better-sounding A5X’s/A7X’s or the rock-solid Genelecs.

The ultimate question remains: are 5" drivers enough for electronic music production in my room, or should I simply cut those options from consideration and go for 7"? I simply do not have enough experience to know how drastic of a difference in low end there is.

If 5" is too small then that would eliminate the Genelecs. I don’t have the budget for the larger models. Also, if they hiss, they would have to be out too…

I really like ADAM Audio so far. AES Dana uses them and he is a great musician and a mastering engineer, so I value his opinion. A lot of other producers praise them too. And, according to these tests, the A7X’s are some of the better ones when it comes to hiss.

@Mumdad, yours is another vote for the Genelecs! I was pretty set on going with the ADAMs but more and more people are recommending the 8030C’s. And yeah that raw finish is absolutely fire. I am lusting for it too…

We are spoiled with too many options these days… I just need to pick one set of monitors and focus on learning them, doing room treatment and, ahem, making music?!

8030C / A5X / A7X ??? :slight_smile:

Just doing same research and consensus seems to be Kali Audio LP6 v2 are the budget choice £300 ish. Lots of great reviews.

It’s onlly personal so I would say A7X and 100% analog compared to the new A7V!

Dynaudio are great speakers. I have never heard of Hissing speakers.
Are you sure that they still hiss without anything plugged in ?
Try this first !

My 0.2 - spend a few hundred on room treatment, in a room that size I’d be inclined to say 7” would be ok if the room is treated.

Genelec 8010A. Translate fabulously to all sources. Easily one of the most popular among pros across all genres. If you want tons of low end humf in your studio than add a genelec sub-woof. But totally not needed for mix and mastering reasons.