What makes a nearfield monitor a nearfield monitor?

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Hi guys,

I'm on a journey on to learning how to design and build speakers, passive ones that is as a huge part of understanding a speaker is in the knowing of how and why a crossover does what it does.

So anyway, I am already designing a super cheap large 3-way SB acoustics using 2*8" -5" -1" using the cheap plastic framed 8"s and most probably one of the svereral alike 12MNRX matched to a 26STAC tweeter.

That's my main learning project that will be judged by and turned to the reference of a pair of Elsinore speakers.

Anyway, as I have band members in my family that needs help mixing on gigs and he(my mother's man) is now building a real professional studio for many tens of thousands of euro, and I have the opportunity to be able to borrow most needed for me making electronic music, but I don't want to buy a near field monitor when I can create a passive one with for ex minidsp or DCX2496 as crossover and DSP.

I would like to have them passive, but a DXC are already on the buiyng list.

So can you guys help me out with what's so special about a near field monitor and what it should have for extension downwards and so on, what it should do that other speakers shouldn't and so on?

They would be placed on custom brackets mounted to the wall at which I will be seated a bit higher up but still not too high and a bit out from the wall so that my screen monitor doesn't interfere.

My idea is to build a 2,5way speaker, letting the lower woofer make the bafflestep and a ordinary TMM layout, ported for the intended music I would make and exclusively listen to is electronic psytrance, EDM and EBM music.

These genres needs a monitor reaching lower than 40hz,
but I also have the ability to build a subwoofer for the system or use the subs from my main system that is pointed in a 90* angle from the studio setup. Those are very capable diy subs.

So guys, what would you have done and why?
If you are listening to speakers in the near field, such as at a mixing desk, you want them to have very good off-axis response as it does not take much movement from the optimal listening position to be at quite some angle off-axis. You don't want your frequency response to crash and burn when you reach across the desk. Speakers with large and numerous drivers are not good at this as they require some distance for all the drivers to sum together properly. Consider that if you are stood close to a 3-way tower speaker your ears might be on-axis and 0.5m from the tweeter, but 45degrees off axis and 0.7m from the bottom woofer. The difference in path lengths from the drivers to your ear can cause the frequency response to droop, especially near the crossover frequencies. In extreme cases huge nulls can appear in the frequency response.

Also when you are listening to speakers nearfield the effects of baffle step are much reduced, so you don't need as much baffle step compensation built into the crossover. Speakers which sound fine when set up in a large room can have bloated and overblown bass when brought to a mixing desk, because they have too much baffle step compensation. 2dB baffle step and a 40Hz F3 will suffice. The SPL requirements are also overall much lower than for a speaker listened to in a large space from some distance away. This usually means you can get away with a much smaller woofer which will probably produce better midrange and better off-axis/polar response with the tweeter by being able to reduce the CTC spacing and being overall smaller.

That's why speakers marketed for nearfield monitoring are generally 2-way with just one smaller woofer (5-6.5").
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I beg to differ.

Full baffle step is a must with nearfield monitors that don't have boundary reinforcement (no desk to sit on, which is the case with MIJK if i understood correctly - brackets on walls that extend into the room). Home speakers can get away with less than full bsc because you can always tweak the speaker position to get enough room gain.

In this particular case, since you know your exact loudspeaker position, i'd first do some sims to see what will happen with lows at that distance from room boundaries. In the end your mic and ears will tell how much bsc is just right, as always. It would be useful to do it with dsp first, just to see what your target functions and levels are.
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What i learned in my sound engineering days (before my back killed that carreer)

The output must be flat within 3dB before it's considered as a real high end studio monitoring and the lowest distortion (harmonic or disharmonic) that is possible and the flat sounding dispertion of the sound must be wide. The amps must be totally clean (so certainly no tubes or class A that tend to colour the sound, even if it's in a way we all love). Higher end Class D (like NCore) is perfect here. But the most used amps in studio's are probally the Bryston SST amps (super clean uncoloured AB Class amps). A Behringer DCX is actually not considered a good dsp in that world (but you could start with it and replace it when you feel the need for it).

Speakers must also be rather small and light, as most put it on the bridge of the mixing console or studio desk.
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