Seriously, how big is too big for desktop speakers? [Setups] | Cult of Mac

Seriously, how big is too big for desktop speakers? [Setups]


Side by side images show the computer setup's front and back sides.
Side by side images show the computer setup's front and back sides. Can you spot the speakers? Squint if you must.

We love serious audio here at Setups Central. But is it possible for the audio gear in your computer setup to be too serious? For example, can your desktop speakers be too comically oversized, as if you’re making some sort of visual joke about your life being all about the music?

In today’s featured setup, a magnificent 32-inch Pro Display XDR actually manages to look puny in between two monstrously huge Yamaha powered studio monitors. And yet, believe it or not, they may not actually be too big.

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Setup’s Yamaha speakers dominate Pro Display XDR: Are they too big?

Redditor Kulimeya, a self-employed developer in Germany who shares his home office with his significant other, a teacher, showed off the 16-inch M1 MacBook Pro-driven setup in a post entitled, “Standing desk delivery arrived today, my new WFH setup!”

Naturally, the first thing most people notice about the setup is the giant white speakers bookending the Pro Display XDR, Apple’s $5,000 6K monitor (which would normally be a focal point, if not a brilliant centerpiece overshadowing all else).

The weirdly dominant speakers and humbled XDR sit on Kulimeya’s new Ikea Bekant sit/stand desk, which he likes to raise up all the way because he’s six-foot-five.

“Bro can hear God,” said one commenter.

“Bro probably cannot hear much,” corrected a second, suggesting he’d already blown out his ears.

“Nice,” added a third, more middling remark. “But, aren’t the speakers somewhat ‘in your face’ a little?”

And that’s just a small sampling. The jokes in the comments went on and on.

“No worries, I usually don’t listen to music very loud, I just like the sound quality of these,” Kulimeya said.

Yamaha HS8 Active Powered Studio Monitors

The Yamaha HS8 Active Powered Studio Monitors are, indeed, somewhat in your face in this scenario. And that’s kind of how they’re supposed to be, actually. Large size does not necessarily mean deafening volume.

With near-field monitors, you want to position the speakers so they point right at the listener (or recording device) to achieve the proper sound mix. That’s regardless of size and even if they’re used as desktop speakers.

The three points — the two monitors and the listener — should form a perfect triangle with equal angles. That goes for small or larger spaces, whether you’re 18 inches away or across the room.

A commenter posted a useful article about that and a handful of commenters agreed Kulimeya set up his gear appropriately. You can see in the photos he’s also got the monitors mounted on stands. They probably help stabilize and focus the sound.

The Yamaha field monitors feature 8-inch cone woofers and 1-inch dome tweeters. They manage a 38Hz – 30kHz frequency response through a 75W low frequency plus 45W high frequency bi-amp system for high-performance 120W power amplification.

So, in other words, Kulimeya probably could deafen himself with those giant white boxes. But he just doesn’t crank it up all the way.

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