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Looking for a DIY Powered Studio Monitor - Recommendations? $400 budget

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  • Looking for a DIY Powered Studio Monitor - Recommendations? $400 budget

    Hey all. Looking to build some audiophile quality studio monitors for my office/desktop. I was looking at the Adam T5V's. They're roughly $200ea, quality, clean look, integrated amp etc...

    Looking for a DIY build that might possibly have the amplifier integrated into one of the speakers as well.

    Their dimensions are roughly 12h x 12d x 7w

    5" woofer, ribbon tweeter.

    What might you recommend that would compete?


  • #2
    I was in your boat about 2 months ago. Did a lot of research on DIY studio monitors and options.

    Looked at kits, looked for plate amps, looked at piecing something together. It was tough. Easy to build quality passive monitors. Really hard to build or find ways to power them like true studio monitors. Eventually I realized after hours of reading, videos, and personal listening that I couldn't beat what's already available on the market (which sounds crazy coming from DIY).

    The Adams you speak of are fantastic speakers, up there with Genelec. I personally came down to the JBL vs Mackie vs Yamaha vs KRK vs Prosonus comparisons though none of those have ribbon tweeters. Obviously a lot comes down to taste but in the end after weeks of research I personally didn't feel I could build anything better or find a plate amp that would work well for custom built monitors and went with Prosonus and their Eris E5. I went with the 5.25" woofer because I knew I would be adding a subwoofer later and because I listen at close range and don't need to fill a huge room (though it turns out these could).

    They are *so* adjustable. High and mid adjustments, built in crossover, built in attenuation for different settings like angled in, against a wall, open space etc. Balanced and unbalanced inputs. The cabinets are dense and heavy. They are bi-amped internally and use A/B class amplifiers where most are going to type D (whether that's really audible or makes a huge difference it is hard to say but A/B traditionally are very clean and so are these E5s). They are also front ported so they are less effected by being near a back wall, true in my situation.

    I have mine running off balanced cables from a Topping DX7 DAC and I cannot say enough good things about these speakers. Not harsh, very clear, not fatiguing. I can listen to these for several hours and place instruments as if I'm in the recording studio depending how the track was recorded. My audiophile friend is now buying his own DAC after hearing this setup when he thought DACs were all marketing before. My other audio friend said it reminded them of vinyl and they got lost in the music of Ray Lamontagne for a while. You can hear strings reverberate on instruments and singers breathing into a mic. It's remarkable. Even pop music is crystal clear. I cannot say enough good things about this setup.

    The subwoofer is where I went DIY. I purchased the PE 8" subwoofer kit which I'm in the process of sanding and prepping now for paint and should have it done this week. That plate amp it came with has built in DSP and balanced inputs and outputs so I'll be able to run from my DAC to the subwoofer and back out to the E5s.


    • #3
      Powered monitors have a large cost advantage for manufacturers. They can do the initial measurements and DSP work, then turn it into firmware for cheap processor and amp builds in volume that we can't touch with DIY.

      To pull it off on your own, you could build a central amp box with a Mini DSP and a 4 channel amp board. Then build some good 2 way cabinets bi-wired. With some measurements and adjustments in the Mini DSP you'd have a hell of a monitor setup, but it wouldn't be build in the cabinets. With a higher budget you could do exactly what you want with the ICE power plate amps. In both cases you'll still need a measurement rig to get your DSP correct.
      Electronics engineer, woofer enthusiast, and musician.
      Wogg Music
      Published projects: PPA100 Bass Guitar Amp, ISO El-Cheapo Sub, Indy 8 2.1 powered sub, MicroSat, SuperNova Minimus


      • #4
        Tiny Tym | Parts Express Project Gallery