Not just active, but digital, DSP-based speakers

Darko discussing digital, DSP-based speakers.


I agree fully with the principle, even though I have heard none of those three speakers.
The Meridians have similar goals and principles, aided by Roon DSP RC.
I am definitely done with passives and analog crossovers.

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I have a pair of Grimm speakers and I’m a big fan of the approach!

I’ve used the Meridian, the Beolab 90 and the Kii and I believe they are the (near) future of audio.

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The thing that gives me pause at the moment is: just how reliable are these first generation attempts? The KEFs in particular seem to be plagued by reliability problems, judging by the posts on this and other forums.

I have heard the KEF and Kii speakers multiple times and I own a pair of Dynaudio Focus 60 XD. I definitely think that active speakers will be the way to go. The sound of KEF is not my taste but the ls50 wireless works pretty well. The Kii is an amazing speaker: very well designed and it uses very good amplifiers (ncore’s), but to me the Dynaudio’s have the best overall balance and sound the most musical.

In short, I am a very big fan of the concept. :sunglasses:

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I used active speakers for about 8 years - AVI ADM9 then ADM40 and DM10. They didn’t have the room correction stuff but were very good value and sounded much better than passives to my ears (and to my partners also).

About a year ago I changed to speakers with full range drivers - Jordan Aurora which use 2 Jordan Eikona drivers per cabinet. Level of realism and detail - particularly in midband - even better than actives - probably because they are, in effect, active speakers (no nasty passive crossover bits between amp and speaker) but there is no crossover - each driver covers the full range. A modest amount of DSP in Roon is used to do room correction.

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I have recently been getting quite interested in the Kiis but stopped when I read about a dodgy batch of n-core amplifiers. They also have some startup issues and there is currently no way to update the firmware yourself. They are working on an app to do it. Presumably if I had an issue they would have to go back to Germany to be fixed, so not ideal for me in the UK.

I’m definitely waiting to jump on the next generation Kiii3’s. Very impressed with the demo I had with those. I hope a floor stander eventually comes along.

The LS50W’s are fantastic too but I’d wait for the next gen of those too.

I wasn’t a fan of the Meridian SQ demo’s I had :disappointed_relieved: but respect their great history and they look good.

That’s a real shame. A pair of well set-up Meridian DSP speakers can be very special indeed. IMO.

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Yes, they are.

My DSP5200’s will be ten years old this year. They still sound marvellous compared to modern day systems.

The DAC technology inside is 13+ years old. It limited to 96/24, but is still perfectly viable as part of the whole DSP magic. That – and 96/24 brings in the largest part of high-res goodness and is in a weird way perfectly compatible with the limitations of MiniDSP/Dirac for Room Correction and MQA Core decoding.

It all adds up to a very nice experience that I would not trade for any of the systems in the Darko article. If mine were to break beyond economic repair, I’d replace them in a heartbeat (maybe moving up the line a bit if funds allow). If they don’t fail on me, they’ll be playing in my living room for years to come.

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These set the standard for me and my subjective personal SQ preferences.

Sure their price is eye watering but given their performance, I’m super interested in how their technology filter down into speakers they may produce in future. Or maybe they license their tech to other speaker makers.

I went the other way , From Meridian DSP 6/8ks to Vivid audio Giya G1 spirits passive … I do my DSP with a trinnov.
The local B&O agents decided I could not afford a pair and cancelled my audition of the Beolab 90’s

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Meridian have been at it for 30 years, so not first timers. Exceedingly reliable repairable and stunning value for money used. Best kept secret…

When we compare cost and value it is important to remember cabling.

I once thought the Meridian DSP7200 was a good comparison with the Wilson Sasha, but the dealer insisted on ARC electronics and Transparent cabling and pushed the price up to DSP8000SE level, where it didn’t compete.

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It’s pretty interesting to think how many audiophile obsessions go out the window if everybody moves to active speakers: no more cables, cable supports, different connectors, etc. And it mostly ends up being Class D too, which turns out to be perfectly suitable after all.

BTW, does anybody have a sense when there might be a successor/new edition of the LS50W? How long have they been around (two years?) and how often does KEF refresh their lines?

Wowza. That was quick.

big, big vote for the Dynaudio XD60s (or XD600 in the latest guise). I was quite sceptical but tried them at home and consequently sold my Naim/Chord system in its entirety. Now I just use an innuos Zen and a Rasp. pi/hifiberry bridge - that’s it. Minimal DSP in Roon, and a little bit of tweeking on the Dynaudios. Has a much, much higher WAF with the effect that she is enjoying and using the system now.
They are damn expensive, although the previous versions (the XD60s) can be had at a hefty discount and they are suposedly the same thing internally - all firmware updates work in both models.

The future…

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Found my next speakers.

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About a week ago, down in my “man cave”, I was looking at my system, separate preamp, power amp, power conditioner, DACs, transport, server, etc. and thinking that the younger generation is not so interested in all this “mixing and matching”, opening a thread on the Audio Aficianado site “Where’s It All Going”.

I suspect that 10 years from now, many of the manufacturers will adapt to the model of having a pair of active speakers with DSP and a single streamer/server/DAC/preamp unit or quite possibly a pair of active speakers with DSP and a built-in DAC, with an app on one’s phone/tablet.

At last year’s Capital Audiofest one of the presenters (can’t remember which company he was from) said that he has enjoyed being in the audio manufacturing business for the last 30 years or so, but that he suspected that most of the companies in business today would not exist 10 years from now. I just don’t see how much demand there will be for all those separate components.

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Anyone interested in active speakers (also fully digital) should look into the Adam Audio range. Those are studio monitors but sound just fantastic! I have a full set of Adams for my 11.4 movie setup and I am very happy with it…

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