Category: On Listening

  • Kali IN8 vs KRK Rokit 10-3 G4

    For all that three is the magic number when it comes to speaker design, three-way monitors don’t sell at this price point. These models are unloved, languishing at the bottom of the sales charts within their range. And yet, they are palpably better in every way than their smaller siblings – and still very affordable. […]

  • Hiss Ranker (2021 Edition)

    Measurements were made against a standard baseline of background noise in each session using a Sonarworks XREF 20 embedded in a foam shielded cone at a distance of 180mm from the tweeter face. Total Hiss is calculated across a 1-20KHz spectrum as the sum of deviations from the baseline. Peak Hiss records the maximum spike […]

  • Three-way studio monitors: Part 2

    KRK Rokit 10 G4 v Dynaudio Core 59 A wise audiophile once said: “ye cannae change the laws of physics, cap’n.” Sit down to design a full range cone speaker and nature repels the idea with force of an opposing neo magnet. As surely as iron filings order themselves at 80Hz on a piece of […]

  • The Wizard of Ear Mountain

    Once upon a time there was a horseshoe mountain. Some said it resembled a human ear. On the Western side lived the Professionals. Between them and the Audiophiles encamped to the East lay a deep rift, spanned by a single, rickety, and seldom-used bridge. Bickering carrion birds watchfully circled the canyon. On entering the valley […]

  • Why Studio Monitors Hiss, and Shouldn’t.

    A small active speaker is a Fundamentally Good Idea for a small listening triangle and small rooms. It’s equally right for mix engineers, media producers, gamers, home workers and audiophiles – with one caveat . . . . You might reasonably expect  (demand, even) that speakers primarily designed for near-field listening should have low distortion […]

  • Principals of Audio: System Building

    The Golden Rule of System Building Audio systems tend to begin with seeds: a hand-me-down from an older brother, a gift from a parent, a component rescued from a skip – maybe a couple of items bought with scraped-together savings or a first pay packet. Occasionally a new home, or a moment of peaking disposable […]

  • Principals of Audio: Active Speakers

    There are no good small passive speakers. The opening years of the new millennium witnessed a minor revolution in the pro audio marketplace: the rise of the active nearfield speaker. We can perhaps even pinpoint the moment: in 2001 Yamaha discontinued the seminal (passive) NS10 monitor. Four years earlier, Mackie had launched the active HR824: […]

  • Principals of Audio: Introduction

    A practical guide to system building Introduction: The Lilliputian realm of audiophilia is united by the quest for fidelity, yet riven by innumerable conflicts over issues that appear trivial – even ludicrous – to outsiders. Furious online debate between Big-endian and Little-endian factions have flamed into real violence – although commonly the physical incarnation of […]

  • Pro Amps in Stereo and Multichannel Home Systems

    The problem Despite the lamentable ubiquity of integrated amplifiers, there’s a perennial demand among cognoscenti for modestly priced, reference-level power amplification. No-frills ‘straight wire with gain’ is often on the shopping list when smart system-building decisions are made: it’s mandatory for DIY speaker activation; it’s essential when eschewing a preamp for DAC-direct connection, and it’s […]

  • A Tale of Two Three-Ways

    Having the HEDD and ADAM ranges side-by-side allows us to make  interesting comparisons between their subtly differing designs. Clearly there’s a lot of shared DNA here: when ADAM hit a rough patch in 2014, two companies effectively continued development of the the product range: ADAM MD, physicist and R&D chief, Klaus Heinz, severed ties with […]