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Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? #2920788 12/07/19 09:22 PM
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AndyOnThePiano Offline OP
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I'd like to use a pair of old (or should I say 'vintage' ;)) hifi speakers as near field monitors for my DP, but I'm concerned that they're too big as I've heard that for near field monitors you shouldn't use anything bigger than 4 or 5 inches drivers.

The speakers are old Heybrook HB1's which were well regarded budget hifi speakers back in the 1980's and are currently sat idle in my loft. They're a simple two way speaker with an 8 inch woofer and a soft dome tweeter. I'd try them rather than asking the Piano World massive, but they need reconing and I don't want to bother going to the hassle and expense if they won't be suitable.

Is there any formula or recommendations on spacing etc as a function of cone diameter ? They'll be about 4 feet from my ears.

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Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: AndyOnThePiano] #2920795 12/07/19 09:52 PM
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Hooey... try em. They will be fine. Issue will be placement and angling. For that you must experiment. With those nice woofers, you may want to place them say half above and half below your keyboard height as it is nice to feel that bass below the belt.

The issue you may face is odd frequency response.... do you have an equalizer or tone controls with variable frequency range switches... or something like that on your amp/receiver? How about in your keyboard? Crossover is I think about 4k hz so those woofers will be producing most of the sound... so how high/low above/below the board will be a big issue.... I think.

I am using home stereo speakers in my setup and I find it fabulous. Remember, our keyboards are trying to reproduce recorded or modeled pianos.... no different than what may be on a recording and therefore a home stereo speaker is just fine. I think you will love what they do .... especially when you hit a bit major chord down there.

Peace
Bruce in Philly

Last edited by Bruce In Philly; 12/07/19 09:54 PM.

Peace
Bruce in Philly
Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: AndyOnThePiano] #2920804 12/07/19 11:18 PM
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Four feet away you would ideally want coaxial speakers, and if not, the axis of the tweeter to be as close to the axis of the woofer as possible, which is why some might say you want a smaller woofer for nearfield listening.

If your vintage speakers need new surrounds for the woofers, and you would have to acquire an amp, the cost would likely not be worth it compared to acquiring powered monitors.

Also, a typical keyboard output uses pro line level (+4dBu, a higher line level standard) and running it into a consumer stereo amp with sensitivity for the less hot -10dBV standard will result in dynamic range compression at best, and can damage the amp if you are not careful.


Login name is a tribute to Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, arguably the historically first great keyboard virtuoso.
Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: AndyOnThePiano] #2920813 12/08/19 12:16 AM
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Talk about coaxial speakers, I used a pair of vintage Tannoy CPA5 ICT coaxial spk to supplement mid-high frequency of my CA98, and driven by a small desktop tube pre amplifier.
They work pretty well and produce clear and warm high voice.


CA98~~RME ADI2 DAC
VSL CFX&D274&Bluthner1895, Ivory2 ACD, Galaxy VintageD&StD, Bechstein DG, Embertone 1955Walker
Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: AndyOnThePiano] #2920832 12/08/19 01:52 AM
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FWIW (I am not a "golden ears" -- too old, and not enough experience to make up for it) --

The EV ZXA1 stage monitor / PA speaker has an 8" woofer, and horn-loaded tweeter. I have one, about 42" from my ears, and I find it OK. Two would be better.

My ear is just about at tweeter-level. If it weren't, I'd tilt the speaker so the tweeter pointed at my ear.

There's no way to find out "Will the Heybrook's sound OK?" without actually repairing the surrounds, setting up an amplifier, and trying them out. It's _your_ ears, and _your_ room. So I agree with Sweelinck:

. . . If you can do that inexpensively, it's worth doing the experiment.

"Good budget hi-fi" speakers, 36 years old, might not be so "good" by current standards.

Behringer (I think) makes the least-expensive 8" powered monitor -- the NEKKST K8. Those could set your total-price limits for getting the Heybrook's running. (It's possible the Heybrook's would be better than the NEKKST K8, or even something more expensive, but I think it's unlikely.)


PS -- I'd like to know the argument that the woofer diameter gives you a minimum distance to your ears. I don't see why that should be true.




Last edited by Charles Cohen; 12/08/19 01:53 AM.

. Charles
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PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: Charles Cohen] #2920876 12/08/19 05:57 AM
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Thanks everyone for your responses. I appreciate your replies.

I think that the only thing is to repair the surrounds and try them. Although I mentioned I didn't want to go to the expense of fixing them if they weren't going to be suitable, this whole exercise isn't really about cost, it's about recycling an old pair of speakers that I bought new 30 years ago when I first starting working. I've realised that they have sentimental value and so deserve to be fixed.

In honesty, I'm not convinced that they'll be too far behind most modern speakers in terms of performance. They had fairly classy drivers in their day and were considered capable of being driven by much higher grade equipment. I actually split the x-over and ran them bi-amped for a long time. This also isn't really about getting the best possible sound, (not with the way I play hahaha), but I do want something to give a rich and clear tone. i normally play through headphones, but have an Ashdown 4x8 basscab and associated amp that I often use, and gives a lovely sweet tone, especially around the mids, but I'd like stereo.

I do think a coaxial speaker might be better in his application. I'd actually looked at buying a small pair of KEF Uni-Q bookshelf speakers some time ago for this but decided against it. Really because I thought that I should try and use what I already have.

My intention was to run them from the output of a small Behringer mixer (which has basic tone controls) via a domestic power amp. Funnily enough, I also have a selection of those lying around (a choice of Arcam or Naim) I hadn't appreciated that the input levels were different so will look into that before I connect them up.

Robinlb - I do like the idea of a small tube pre. I once built a small tube headphone amp from scratch which I still use and love. I probably still have enough of the critical parts (tubes, sockets etc) left to build another one and configure it as a preamp, so maybe it's time to plug in my soldering iron again :-).

Once again, thanks for all the feedback. I'm not sure where my initial feelings about not wanting too large a driver for near field monitors came from, but reading around the subject there does seem a distinct reluctance to use larger drivers if you're so close.

I'll order the refoaming kits and get them done over Christmas. If I'm unhappy with the results I'll look at something else. I'd consider the KRK, Alesis etc, but quite fancy the Wharfedale pro-active diamonds.

Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: AndyOnThePiano] #2920900 12/08/19 08:57 AM
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Who said new is better? Paul Klipch famously said a long long time ago when criticised he wasn't updating the design of his famous horn speakers.... "My theories on audio and audio reproduction will be proven wrong only when the laws of physics change.". Cheepie mass production rules especially with lower priced units. Unfortunately, most folks appear audio phobic... note Mr. Cohen's distancing himself from being able to hear quality..... Mr Coehn, you can... it is programmed into our genetics from millions of years being predator and prey. We just don't rely on it anymore as modern times are both loud, safe, with plenty of food.

Repairing the surrounds on those speakers.... please post the cost of this..... it may be possible to get a higher quality speaker used for the same price but I just don't know about that one.

The stereos in your basement do nothing different than the monitors you buy specific for these keyboards... they reproduce sound. Try 'em!

Peace
Bruce in Philly

Last edited by Bruce In Philly; 12/08/19 08:59 AM.

Peace
Bruce in Philly
Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: Bruce In Philly] #2920902 12/08/19 09:06 AM
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New stuff sometimes gets better, sometimes not.
But old stuff never gets any better.
So I view this a hubris, nothing more ...
Quote
Paul Klipch famously said a long long time ago when criticised he wasn't updating the design of his famous horn speakers.... "My theories on audio and audio reproduction will be proven wrong only when the laws of physics change.".

Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: AndyOnThePiano] #2920914 12/08/19 10:19 AM
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In the "old days,” you needed at least 8" woofer to get decent bass but today 6" is enough. Engineers have improved their design.

When I got my digital, I used my old Tannoy HPD speaker with 12-inch woofer, it sounds good but I changed them for a pair of 5-inch Energy monitor. I'm not missing any bass. Anyway I never hit the lowest note on my keyboard, I play mostly in the middle range.



"The piano keys are black and white but they sound like a million colors in your mind.”
– Maria Cristina

Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: AndyOnThePiano] #2920917 12/08/19 10:30 AM
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Uhhh ... no. In the "old days" 8" didn't do it. Even 10" was mere wannabe. Woofers started at 12". Subs started at 15".

Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: Serge88] #2920929 12/08/19 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Serge88
When I got my digital, I used my old Tannoy HPD speaker with 12-inch woofer, it sounds good but I changed them for a pair of 5-inch Energy monitor. I'm not missing any bass. Anyway I never hit the lowest note on my keyboard, I play mostly in the middle range.

I can relate... my new Presonus Eris E5 XT's have just 5-1/4" woofers, and provide a surprising amount of lovely, clean bass. I love how I can "feel" those lower notes; no need for a sub, that's for sure. I can't imagine needing anything more than these monitors for a digital piano.

Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: AndyOnThePiano] #2920939 12/08/19 12:08 PM
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There is plenty of old gear that sounds great.

I would do a quick rebuild the old speakers if you liked them. Worse case scenario you can set them up in another room to listen to music. My local audio guys charge low labour rates and do a nice job, so that is an option. The main caveat is that your bookshelf speakers were probably designed / tested to be a few meters away from your head. They may sound better if not abutting the back wall.

New powered monitors are pretty good values and typically are designed to be closer to your ears.

For speaker size, acoustic pianos have very little energy at lower frequencies so small monitors are fine for your use IMHO. I have some newer ~6 inch monitors that are great. I also have a monster subwoofer; that is awesome for organ, synths, movies, jazz music, but adds just a very slight bit of room ambience for the piano. Frankly, for acoustic piano, reproucing below say 50 or 60hz is barely/not audible, expensive and difficult to set up.

For your loudspeakers, you can find replacement drivers and datasheets below. A lot of these are still in production as noted in second link so finding exact replacement bits might be rather easy, if that is what you like.

https://www.falconacoustics.co.uk/vifa-m21wg0908-woofer.html
https://www.falconacoustics.co.uk/drive-units-1/vifa-speakers-and-drive-units.html

Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: AndyOnThePiano] #2920954 12/08/19 12:53 PM
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Over the last twenty plus years, I've bought almost all of my stereo gear from Audiogon: www.audiogon.com

A lot of old gear does indeed sound great. I think there are components at all price levels on Audiogon, and a bunch of honest, helpful people there.


Yamaha U1 Silent Piano
Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: AndyOnThePiano] #2920963 12/08/19 01:17 PM
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Thanks all.

The speaker refoaming kits are these. I'd say I'm up to doing this myself, so will probably buy them and do it over Christmas. The investment is pretty low, really just a bit of time.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Heybrook-HB1-8-Trio-JPW-foam-surrounds-for-Vifa-M21WG-THE-RIGHT-ONE/153296460494?hash=item23b12e5ace:g:neIAAOSwvD5aSuWZ

Whilst I agree that progress has meant that smaller speakers are now as capable as bigger ones I don't think that this necessarily means that good vintage kit isn't still very good. I'm not really asking if a modern 4, 5 or 6 inch woofer would be good enough for what I want, I'm sure that they would be. I'm just interested if an old pair of 8 inch woofers would be worth restoring considering that they'll be very close to my ears and backed up against a wall.

I've give it a try and see what they're like. If nothing else it gives me a project over Christmas to get away for a couple of hours of peace.

I have the eq. on the mixer and my DP has parametric equalization to tweak it a bit. If I don't like it I'll buy a couple of smaller monitors, but reckon that after 30 years they deserve being reconed rather than scrapped.

Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: AndyOnThePiano] #2920975 12/08/19 01:47 PM
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You only need speakers with bass response down to about 55Hz for piano monitors. Play the low A on an acoustic piano and listen carefully to the sound as it sustains. It takes about 1/2 to 3/4 of a second for the fundamental to be damped and the dominant sound to be the soundboard resonating the harmonics without the fundamental.

For organs, an 8’ stop goes down to 64Hz on an organ manual, but a 16’ pedal stop goes down to 32Hz, which is in subwoofer/large speaker territory. Synthesizers also can produce deep bass.

If you want to use passive speakers, whether vintage or modern, studio or audiophile or consumer grade, at least get a studio amp that has sensitivity spec’d for the line level standard of your keyboard. A used Crown or Alesis power amp or a new Samson power amp would work.


Login name is a tribute to Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, arguably the historically first great keyboard virtuoso.
Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: AndyOnThePiano] #2920982 12/08/19 02:06 PM
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Quote

I'm just interested if an old pair of 8 inch woofers would be worth restoring considering that they'll be very close to my ears and backed up against a wall.

Well, the ports are in the front of them so they can be placed against a wall. The main question is whether the distance between the axis of the tweeter and axis of the woofer is large enough for you to get noticeable phase distortion at close range listening. I think the only way to answer that is to refurbish them and try them.

You also may want to test that crossover components are at spec. Older electrolytic capacitors with liquid electrolytes tend to degrade over time from evaporation or leaks. Or just plan to replace them as even if working now, they are about 40 years old.


Login name is a tribute to Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, arguably the historically first great keyboard virtuoso.
Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: AndyOnThePiano] #2920997 12/08/19 03:11 PM
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Wow, great project! Report back.

Any anomalies from the wall, not the wall, the obese cat.. .whatever... you can tame it.

Peace
Bruce in Philly


Peace
Bruce in Philly
Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: AndyOnThePiano] #2921010 12/08/19 04:00 PM
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Quote
. . .
If you want to use passive speakers, whether vintage or modern, studio or audiophile or consumer grade, at least get a studio amp that has sensitivity spec’d for the line level standard of your keyboard. A used Crown or Alesis power amp or a new Samson power amp would work.


There's a mixer, between the DP and the amplifier input:

. . . The input level to the amp is controlled by the "Main Out" knob/slider on the mixer,
. . . and the channel gain setting on the DP's input to the mixer.

All will be well.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: AndyOnThePiano] #2921014 12/08/19 04:31 PM
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Depending on the functional specs of the mixer, you may still get dynamic range compression when you map the voltage range of the analog domain to a narrower voltage range.


Login name is a tribute to Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, arguably the historically first great keyboard virtuoso.
Re: Near Field Monitors With 8 Inch Drivers ? [Re: Sweelinck] #2921018 12/08/19 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Sweelinck


If you want to use passive speakers, whether vintage or modern, studio or audiophile or consumer grade, at least get a studio amp that has sensitivity spec’d for the line level standard of your keyboard. A used Crown or Alesis power amp or a new Samson power amp would work.


Good point, I hadn't realised the difference before this post (everyday's a school day) but as Charles has pointed out, my piano goes into a mixer and I've just learnt that the tape outs on mixers are -10, it also gives me the option to turn it down a bit before it hits the amp.

I've ordered the surrounds and will report back.

I've also taken notice of the comments amount the capacitors in the x-over (I knew about this in old audio kit) and will probably replace them all at the same time once the surrounds are done. I'm even quite tempted to split the x-over again and run them bi-amped for old times sake.

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