The battle for the best powered speakers under $2500 per pair!

The battle for your office sound or small room is ready to take way! For $2500 or less what set of powered speakers do you choose!?

Here are a few options to get the conversation started!

The Battle begins who wins!?

3 Likes

With or without a sub-woofer?

How much flexibility in placement (distance to a rear wall)?

On stands or on the desk?

3 Likes

Do these count?

I’m just gonna see myself out of this thread now…

6 Likes

Without a subwoofer. They would likely be placed closer to the rear wall than desirable in most normal circumstances and paced on stands.

1 Like

I like the idea of the non-dsp Elac’s. The Ebony Emara look nice, as well.

2 Likes

Then I would probably default to the KEF LS50W, as those have a reasonable amount of flexibility in how you set them up and match them to/configure them for your environment (i.e. app-configured, on-board, correction/adjustment capabilities).

I might like the Dynaudio’s better with a sub and more flexibility in placement.

Not using DSP in a digitally-fed, active, speaker is just throwing away half the advantage such speakers can have.


Also, I hate BASH amplifiers. Everyone I’ve ever had has failed at some point. And they’re just a class-D stage feeding a class A/B stage, which is a recipe for getting the bad aspects of both …

2 Likes

Kind of what I was thinking to @ValentineLuke plus they scale up some with the ability to plug in external Dac’s. They might be more room sensitive as far as placement though.

2 Likes

I also read the same thing about the KEF speakers for rooms without the ideal placement scenario. They look ascetically pleasing too. I also read the bass is cleaner and tighter with the KEF, have you heard all three @Torq ? I haven’t heard any of them and they are not able to be heard locally.

2 Likes

Nope, I’ve only heard the KEFs of the specific models you’ve listed.

My experiences with ELAC’s entry-level passive speakers has been quite positive.

My experiences with Dynaudio over the years has been more so, albeit at higher prices.

Generally in budget models I find fewer drivers to be better. And the more drivers in a digitally-fed active speaker the more I want the crossover done in the digital-domain.

But mostly here it’s down to trying to get a small speaker to give the best sound with small bass drivers, limited placement flexibility and no sub-woofer. That’ll require tweaking, and as far as I know only the KEF allows for much adjustment on-board.

5 Likes

This is great advice! Thank you sir, as always I appreciate your input and knowledge.

Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.

Funny, I remember being impressed from what I was hearing in Zeos’ review of these, but he (Zeos) was very unimpressed. Of all his videos, these were some of the best sounding (the Genelec’s sounded the best) speakers I’ve heard in his reviews.

Granted that’s not an accurate portrayal of speaker performance, but subjectively they sounded good.

1 Like

I am looking at LX Mini’s with or without subwoofers. You can buy the pre built in this price range and they have lots of flexibility in placement. https://lxspeakerfactory.com/lxminis/

2 Likes

These remind me of the Linkwitz Labs Orion’s. Very cool.

1 Like

:smile:… Taxi for Prof… Lol.

2 Likes

Well, of the three you list I have only heard the KEF (I am in fact working on a review currently). They are a great piece of hardware for sure.
I would like to chime in regarding the adjustments that are possible on KEF speakers. I already reviewed the KEF LSX which offer the exact same adjustments as the LS50W. I find that KEF’s solution to placement is brilliant and bring a real improvement to the board. I’ll explain why.
I currently live in London where I share a house with other people; one of them is disabled and needs space to move around on his wheelchair. The living room has therefore an odd placement of furniture to take this into account. I placed the LSX where I could - far from an ideal positioning, actually, and this was apparent when listening to the speakers. But using KEF’s software I was able to get the most out of them - it was truly a “night and day” difference.
I think that with powered speakers it would be a shame not to take advantage of DSPs, so I find KEF’s solution to be effective and rational.

5 Likes

This is very positive review! Can you bypass the internal Dac in the Kef speakers and use my Bifrost in the chain? Also between the 50’s and their smaller brethren what were your thoughts? I did read your review by the way!

“ Final Thoughts

Given their small size, the KEF LSX are a bit of a miracle . They are a pleasure to listen to not only thanks to their tuning, but especially because of their technical ability. The width of the stage is impressive for speakers this small , and the imaging is sensational. I don’t know if KEF designed the LSX to be the one and only system in a house , but they surely can fill this role (save for the most demanding audiophiles, but that ça va sans dire ). I’m honestly impressed with how far active speakers this size have gone.”.

I believe Darko compared them to the their bigger brothers and he had said they were very good but not nearly as good as the LS50W’s. But of course they are double the price too.

The analog inputs on the KEF LS50W feed an ADC that converts the input to digital, that’s processed through the unit’s DSP (and whatever settings you apply), then is sent via the internal DAC to the amplifier stages.

It’s transparent enough that you can hear differences in analog sources, but it’s not a direct analog path, so the ADC and DAC in the speaker would still be used, and you’re therefore limited in ultimate performance to what those components can do.

In other words, you won’t get any better fidelity or capability using an external DAC with them vs. just using the internal streaming capabilities.

2 Likes

That’s what I thought I read and was one of the advantage to the Elacs but like you said earlier my room acoustics and not optimal placement positions may eat up any sonic advantage the Elacs would give over the KEFS.

Being able to fix/address room issues via EQ/DSP will have much bigger effects on the overall sound than the relatively minor differences you’ll hear between any two competent DACs.

I would look at the KEFs as being a complete music system, that happens to be able to take an analog input as a convenience (if it was me, the only thing I could see using those inputs for would be to add a turntable).

4 Likes

Have you auditioned the LSX KEFS ? I wonder since my office isn’t huge maybe 12 ft x 12ft if they would be more than enough at half the price of the LS50W’s?