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Buying Speakers Individually?

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Buying Speakers Individually?

Postby jimh76 » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:24 pm

Hi,

I have seen some speakers that I'm thinking of getring but its actually cheaper to buy 2 individual speakers than a pair, as the pair comes with extras that I don't need. Is there any problem in buying 2 seperate monitors that won't be neccesarily matched?

They are exactly the same model.

Thanks,

Jim.
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Re: Buying Speakers Individually?

Postby blinddrew » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:24 pm

Shall we go with 'it depends'? I think we shall... ;)
This is all going to come down to the manufacturing consistency. Some companies will have very good consistency and hence the difference between any two models will be negligible. Some will be less precise in the manufacturing but have good quality control and will match pairs like that. Some will have neither of the above and you could actually have a fair bit of mismatch within a boxed 'pair'.
The other factor is Digital Signal Processing (DSP). I think some manufacturers rely on DSP to correct for small deviations in the manufacturing so pretty much anything from that model line will sound identical.
What model were you thinking of?
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Re: Buying Speakers Individually?

Postby jimh76 » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:31 pm

Hi Blinddrew, thanks for the reply.

It was the new generation 4 of the KRK Rokits 5 inch monitors. The reason I'm getting those is that they seem to have quite good room adjustment settings and are front baffled and not rear (my monitors are quite close to the wall) which will help in my room.

I'm geeting the 5 inch as my room is not huge and I think the 7 would be too big.

They seem to be slightly cheaper (and in stock) when bought individually, but more expensive in a pair........

Have you any thoughts in them?

Cheers

Jim
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Re: Buying Speakers Individually?

Postby ef37a » Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:46 am

There are several ways to tackle this question...

First of all, how much individual QC (other than basic function) do you think a $100 individual monitor gets? I would say next to buggerall so a "pair" is no more likely to be acoustically matched than two bought at random.

The really top end manufacturers I am sure go to great lengths to match speaker chassis (Phil W, any idea?) . Then there is 'matching a pair' and making a consistent product which is sold as individuals, the latter calls for extremely stringent control IF each speaker is to be a match to any other. Now, it is well known here that I wear the dunce cap for digital matters but, I cannot see DSP having any effect on cone colouration? That occurs in very tight frequency 'slots', a flat frequency response is no guarantee of an accurate loudspeaker.

But at the end of the day what matters is how fussy you are about accurate stereo imaging. If you want pin sharp positioning, that'll cost ya. A 'broad wash'? Easy, go cheap singles.

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Re: Buying Speakers Individually?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:35 am

ef37a wrote:The really top end manufacturers I am sure go to great lengths to match speaker chassis (Phil W, any idea?) . Then there is 'matching a pair' and making a consistent product which is sold as individuals, the latter calls for extremely stringent control IF each speaker is to be a match to any other.

They do. The high-end professional monitor manufacturers typically test and calibrate their speakers to match their reference standard within +/-0.5dB (or better) so that any speaker can be paired with any other of the same model with perfect imaging.

This graph shows the aggregated QC frequency response measurements of 2500 speakers from a certain German manufacturer making lovely grey speakers with white badges....

Image

Since its design and QC is so good, this company guarantees that any two speakers selected at random will definitely be matched (between 40Hz and 10kHz) within ±0.9dB (magenta lines), but actually 80 percent of them will be matched within ±0.35dB (blue lines), and at least half of them will be better than ±0.2dB (cyan lines). Which is seriously impressive!

Of course... not every manufacturer takes this much care and attention, and the lower the price, the less care will be taken in ensuring each unit conforms to a tightly defined standard.

For the OP, I'd recommend buying from a supplier that allows returns. Buy two singles and listen to them. If their imaging is solid and stable you're good to go. If not, return one speaker and swap it for another... rinse and repeat until you have something approaching a well-matched pair! Depending on your listening environment, the chances are the first pair will work just fine.
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