Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

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Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:32 am

If any of you guys are on Head-Fi, you might notice I have the same thread posted over there, but I figured I'd hit up TR forums too since people seem more responsive here, probably because new threads get buried so quickly over at Head-Fi.

I'm shopping around for some 2.0/2.1 speaker setups for my computer. My budget for the speakers is $150-200. I would prefer to be in the $150 range, but if the extra $50 will make an appreciable difference, I'll be willing to make the jump.

My plan is to pair the speakers with the Asus Xonar DX, which I plan to buy with the speakers (or rather, when Asus gets around to releasing Windows 7 RTM drivers). I am unwilling to go for any fancy setups of external DACs and pre-amps and all that jazz, just straight sound card to speakers.

Looking around on the Head-Fi forums, I've seen these speakers recommended in my budget:


Any other recommendations? Anybody with experience with any of these sets? Any comparisons would be appreciated too. I'm kinda leaning towards the M10s because of their visual appeal and their price right now.
Last edited by Zoomastigophora on Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:25 am

Logitech Z-2300, I'm kind of shocked that no one mentioned those. It's what I have and I'm very satisfied.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... Tpk=z-2300

THX-certified bliss for $140 on Newegg, I think I managed to get them for about $120 so shop around. To my knowledge, any 2.1 speakers "better" than a Z-2300 would fall into the "extreme audiophile" category and be out of your price range. CNET review: http://reviews.cnet.com/best-pc-speaker ... umnArea1.1 "If you're looking for a set of 2.1 speakers, buy these. It's as simple as that."

By the way, Asus has a beta Windows 7 driver out. Right now I'm still using a Creative card on WinXP so I can't vouch for the driver quality. I'm planning to get a Xonar DX and Win7 very soon myself.
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:29 am

I'm extremely happy with the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speakers. I've purchased several sets: for my computer (+ recommended to several friends for their computers) and as powered "mini home theater" speakers in lieu of an external amplifier and a true home theater speaker complement with my 37" Sharp GP1U LCD television (and similar setups for my parents and my sister's family).
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:57 am

im not knowledgeable on 2.1 systems since i jumped from an old set of 2.0's from mid early 90's to my x-530 5.1 system a few years ago, but the first thing that came to mind with 2.1 would be the logitech z2300, like grape flavor pointed out. they seem to fall into that well rounded category for the price and i dont think ive read people not really like them, should compliment the asus card very nicely
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:34 am

Grape Flavor wrote:Logitech Z-2300, I'm kind of shocked that no one mentioned those. It's what I have and I'm very satisfied.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... Tpk=z-2300

THX-certified bliss for $140 on Newegg, I think I managed to get them for about $120 so shop around. To my knowledge, any 2.1 speakers "better" than a Z-2300 would fall into the "extreme audiophile" category and be out of your price range. CNET review: http://reviews.cnet.com/best-pc-speaker ... umnArea1.1 "If you're looking for a set of 2.1 speakers, buy these. It's as simple as that."

By the way, Asus has a beta Windows 7 driver out. Right now I'm still using a Creative card on WinXP so I can't vouch for the driver quality. I'm planning to get a Xonar DX and Win7 very soon myself.


This. Hands down, they have the best sound I've ever heard from a 2.1 speaker set. Plus, logitech's support has been second to none with them. Once, I was bumping music so hard (for a party) that one of my speakers blew, I called them up and reported this, and they sent a replacement set. No hassle at all! I didn't even need to return my old set! I ended up selling the sub (200W) to my brother!
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:52 am

I have two friends, one with the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 and the other with the Logitech Z-2300. Now, it may have been the MBP driving the Z-2300, but to me at least, the Klipsch sounded far closer to what I heard in music with my ATH-A500s than the Z-2300 did, which is why I didn't include it in my list of initial considerations. But it seems people are willing to stand by them so I'll keep them in mind now. Thanks.
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:00 am

z cinema ftw!
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:15 am

For 2.1, go for the Swan M10.

For 2.0, go for the Audioengine A2 (nothing else in that list competes with them).
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:31 am

out of topic, but i just noticed im finally gerbil first class... woohoo!
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:42 am

Klipsch ProMedia all the way. I kinda went through exactly what you are right now a while back, and this was the decision I made after much research. Never had a regret in the world.
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:46 am

Kurotetsu wrote:For 2.1, go for the Swan M10.

For 2.0, go for the Audioengine A2 (nothing else in that list competes with them).

Could you elaborate a bit more on why you feel those are the best for the particular categories. Also, are there any benefits going for a 2.1 over 2.0?

StuG wrote:Klipsch ProMedia all the way. I kinda went through exactly what you are right now a while back, and this was the decision I made after much research. Never had a regret in the world.

My initial decision was just to get the ProMedias, but after reading around on Head-Fi and Audioholics, many people seem to agree that the Swans M10, M200, or D1080 sound better than the ProMedias. I certainly appreciate the subwoofer on the ProMedias, that thing is a beast, but I'm willing to lean for more accurate music reproduction over being able to have overwhelming bass, which is what the Swans seem to offer.
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:13 pm

I had a pair of Swan M10s, and I must say I was terribly disappointed by them. The sound was tinny and timbreless, and the subwoofer was more of a sub-yipper.

I'm currently using the Altec Lansing Expressionist PLUS, and they are amazing for the price. The bass and high registers sound amazing, and the midrange is clear and pleasant, though if I were to point to any weakness, the lower midrange (before the woofer takes over) can be a bit overwhelmed. Still, it is great for rock, pop, metal, jazz and gaming, only not quite so good for classical/orchestral music. The two models in the Expressionist Line above it may address this shortcoming, however. But the PLUS that I have truly sound louder than their rated wattage, and listening to Muse's The Resistance with them turned up is like practically being at a concert.
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:40 pm

Zoomastigophora wrote:My initial decision was just to get the ProMedias, but after reading around on Head-Fi and Audioholics, many people seem to agree that the Swans M10, M200, or D1080 sound better than the ProMedias. I certainly appreciate the subwoofer on the ProMedias, that thing is a beast, but I'm willing to lean for more accurate music reproduction over being able to have overwhelming bass, which is what the Swans seem to offer.


I have only noticed the ProMedia's having overwhelming bass in two instances, one when you turn it way past the dot they put on the control for the "normal" bass level. The other I have also noticed is fall off in accuracy with the ProMedia's (more so than other speakers) when paired with an on-board audio. It does seem as though the bass takes away some of the definition when ran through a low quality source (such as onboard audio). With my Asus D2X (which is practically your DX but with more little things) I have never heard any speakers that really beat it in quality, low-medium-high levels, and accuracy (minus speakers way out of this price level). Most of my friends are audiophiles so I've had a chance to compare these against a lot of speaker systems out there, never once have they let me down. I have to say every time I've ever heard a Swan audio system I've been fairly under-whelmed. Particularly in the warm and bass sounds they lack. So basically I very much agree with Voldenuit. Through all the testing, my friends (who have cycled through different systems so much it makes my head whirl) have settled on using one of these three systems (granted only one is a 2.1):

In this order of popularity:
Klipsch Promedia 5.1
Logitech Z-5500
Klipsch Promedia 2.1

But either way, you also want to consider the type of music you would be listening to through these speakers. I don't see anywhere what type of music you plan on running through your speakers, and that can make a pretty big difference in the end which ones you get (when comparing the little things). One thing I did with the ProMedia that you could look into if you feel the bass is a little overwhelming (I did this because my speakers are behind both my monitors, and some of my sound gets blocked off because of that) was I added a third speaker to the set up (which routes both a cable to the left output and the right output, making it a center speaker). This has really helped to even out the entire system, though if i had more room this wouldn't be as needed (but could help resolve what you feel could be a drowning bass).
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:49 pm

Also, I am using Windows 7 RTM so I can tell you about their drivers. First off, you won't be able to use the Windows 7 beta driver. It is not for the RTM at all (it works fine in the RC though, but I'm guessing that anybody would be shooting for the RTM at this point). When it comes to getting it to work on the RTM, you have to download the same bit driver of vista, and than turn off both of the hsmgr.exe that come with the driver. This will turn off the flex-bass speaker (but given that your going to have a good speaker system that shouldn't be a huge problem). If you decide to not turn off both of the hsmgr.exe at start-up, no executable file will start. Its a huge pain, don't even try it.
Either way, its not a huge deal just thought I'd warn you.
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:10 pm

I listen to music in pretty much every genre, which is why I didn't bother noting what I particularly listen to. This also means that the speakers will ideally be able to handle all of them properly. Thanks for the informative posts, StuG and Voldenuit. I'll take a look at the Altec Lansing Expressionist series, the Ultra in particular looks interesting. What I may do is order the M10s from TAI and take advantage of their 30-day audition period (after I get the Xonar so hopefully Asus gets Win7 RTM drivers out soon). It seems my biggest concern with the M10s now will be the exact opposite of the ProMedias: underwhelming lower bass. Keep the feedback coming guys.
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:35 pm

I don't know much about audio/video speaker issues and compatibilities, and I have a few questions to ask this community myself, but I bought a pair of Creative I-Trigue 2.1 3300's a few years ago, and I wouldn't recommend. The sound quality is decent, but the low amps gives a higher volume a worse sound it seems. Plus, there's an issue with the wires from the control pod, everytime they get moved, the sound flucuates dramatically on both the high/low end. I've had them RMA onced, but the problem returned soon after (checked for pinching/normal stuff, couldn't find any).

Maybe I'm just a rambling fool....

But just a suggestion on what not to buy :)
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:08 pm

Too bad there aren't any affordable MTM array self powered speakers. How about the Swan D1080MkII
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:22 pm

Hi Guys,

Anyone recommnded the Creative T-20/ T-40 yet? These are pretty sweeet 2.0 speakers (As opposed to their normal crap).

http://www.trustedreviews.com/multimedi ... peakers/p1

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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:40 pm

Zoomastigophora wrote:Could you elaborate a bit more on why you feel those are the best for the particular categories. Also, are there any benefits going for a 2.1 over 2.0?


I had a chance to listen to the Audioengine A2s at a local Guitar Center a few weeks ago (which surprised the hell out of me because I don't think they usually sell them). I was extremely surprised by the volume and quality of sound coming out of such small speakers (I got a similar impression from the M-Audio BX5As that I bought a while ago, and those are bi-amplified). My own impressions combined with the input of other owners on Head-Fi (who have directly compared them to the Z-2300s and the M-Audio AV40s) leads me to believe that they are the best on this list. The Swan M10 recommendation comes purely from user reviews, a few of which have compared it quite favorably against the ProMedia 2.1s (which are out of circulation anyway). I haven't heard or read anything about the Swan M12s, so I can't really recommend those.

In my personal opinion I would go with a good 2.0 set, especially if music listening is your primary use for these speakers, since all music is made with stereo in mind. I have not found my BX5As to be lacking in bass, but if they did I would still have the option of adding a good, dedicated subwoofer later (and there's a pretty good selection of affordable ones out there).
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:33 pm

My usage will actually be split pretty evenly between music, anime and games. So ideally, the speakers would have clear mids and highs and tight bass, but the ability to produce some low thumping bass when needed to get that extra oomph in explosions in games. That's always been the most impressive aspect of the ProMedia 2.1s for me, that the subwoofer makes explosions really feel like explosions. Essentially, I don't want to give up the clarity and detail of my ATH-A500s when I want to use speakers, but I also want to add the boom to the bass that a subwoofer brings that headphones simply can't replicate because of physics.
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Oct 12, 2009 4:14 am

Ok so just to bring some closure to this thread, I ended up getting the Edirol MA-15Ds with a tSc ASW-8 subwoofer thanks to a recommendation over on Head-Fi and because I found a good deal on the Edirols. I want to take the time to thank everyone that contributed to this thread, in particular Voldenuit and Stug with their first hand experience with the Swans to counter-balance the mostly glowing reviews of the M10s. I got some recommendations I had never heard about and would never have considered.
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Mon Oct 12, 2009 4:40 am

Congrats on your new speakers and don't forget to post how you like them after some burning in! ^_^
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Tue Oct 13, 2009 6:10 pm

Voldenuit wrote:Congrats on your new speakers and don't forget to post how you like them after some burning in! ^_^

So I got everything setup like two and half weeks ago and just left them at the default settings for the subwoofer and speakers, except I put the subwoofer at 180 phase. The speakers had to be placed on a bookshelf thing that sits on my desk, which meant they were above my head. Anyway, I left it that way for about two weeks to just enjoy having speakers at all and to get a feel for the sonic feel of the setup.

Then I few days ago I started reading on subwoofer setup and discovered that the subwoofer manual had specified to leave the crossover at the highest frequency because it was assuming I would be using a digital receiver if I was only using one input. This explained why it seemed like my subwoofer was kicking in at a lot higher frequency than I thought it should have been. After doing some tone testing to make sure the Edirols actually dropped off at 70Hz, I set the sub crossover to be about 75-78Hz. I can't really tell where I have it exactly since it placed on the floor fairly close to a wall, but it's hopefully somewhere around there. That massively improved the sound of the setup and now I was getting great tight low-end extension with the speakers taking care of the rest.

Throughout this time, I had noticed all the songs I played through the speakers sounded different than what I had been used to hearing with my headphones, but I assumed that it was because of the subwoofer and the placement of the speakers above my head. Then last night, I discovered the "How to Equalize your headphones" tutorial over on Head-Fi and man, my ATH-A500s had a big spike in the frequency response from 4-5.8KHz. After EQing out the spikes, my headphones sound much more like my speakers. So yea, definitely appreciate my speakers now because otherwise, I would have never noticed. And like the tutorial said, I can't believe I've been listening to my headphones like that for two years.
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Tue Oct 13, 2009 6:45 pm

Grape Flavor wrote:Logitech Z-2300, I'm kind of shocked that no one mentioned those. It's what I have and I'm very satisfied.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... Tpk=z-2300

THX-certified bliss for $140 on Newegg, I think I managed to get them for about $120 so shop around. To my knowledge, any 2.1 speakers "better" than a Z-2300 would fall into the "extreme audiophile" category and be out of your price range. CNET review: http://reviews.cnet.com/best-pc-speaker ... umnArea1.1 "If you're looking for a set of 2.1 speakers, buy these. It's as simple as that."

By the way, Asus has a beta Windows 7 driver out. Right now I'm still using a Creative card on WinXP so I can't vouch for the driver quality. I'm planning to get a Xonar DX and Win7 very soon myself.

I too have these. Absolutely fantastic. Configurable bass, goes nice and loud, but still sounds nice soft. Headphone port on the remote is awesome. Can't recommend these enough.
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:15 am

See, it's interesting that some people will swear by their Z-2300s, but others (generally audiophiles or those who claim to be) will bash it for its generally terrible audio quality and really boomy bass. I can understand the boomy bass complaint and the Z-2300s I've heard just somehow sound off to me (this could just be my friend having some bizarre EQ settings; he never really paid attention to the fact that he had been running with EQ for a long time), but I have nothing against them really. The THX certification certainly would be handy to have in a speaker setup, and it's absurdly powerful at 200 watts RMS? Jesus, the sub I bought is rated at 50 watts RMS and the speakers are 15 watts RMS each so combined, I'm at like 40% of the Z-2300s.
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:55 am

RMS power ratings are essentially meaningless without "full disclosure." A proper spec would read 200 watts RMS into a nominal 8 ohm impedence from 20-20,000 Hz +0.0 -1.5 dB at 0.005% IM distortion and 0.03% total harmonic distortion with a signal-to-noise ratio greater than 110 dB at all frequencies. I doubt the Logitech amplifier could claim 10 watts with such stringent specifications, much less 200.
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Wed Oct 14, 2009 12:34 pm

edh wrote:RMS power ratings are essentially meaningless without "full disclosure." A proper spec would read 200 watts RMS into a nominal 8 ohm impedence from 20-20,000 Hz +0.0 -1.5 dB at 0.005% IM distortion and 0.03% total harmonic distortion with a signal-to-noise ratio greater than 110 dB at all frequencies. I doubt the Logitech amplifier could claim 10 watts with such stringent specifications, much less 200.

Wow good to know.
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Re: Need 2.0/2.1 Speaker Recommendation

Postposted on Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:24 pm

Logitech satellite/subs are great for gaming and movies, much less so for music unless you're not very discerning. Very much boom-n-tizz excitement rather than realistic reproduction.

Personally I have A2s in a 2.0 setup and like them very much, I don't know that I'd want to pay $200 though but I got them at a very good price used. They do have a bit of a midbass hump, well not hump exactly just that you can tell it's not something the drivers are naturally capable of but it's quite balanced...maybe call it a midbass extension due to the transimission-line type port - it doesn't sound really unnatural. The stereo imaging is fantastic though even in a nearfield less than ideal setup, I have yet to make little pedestals for them so the tweeters are at least 6" below ear level.

I've been looking at subs or a DIY sub every once in a while and will check out the one the OP got. I've never found a tuned port sub that really works well though, at least not in the budget or mid-fi range. Unfortunately I don't want to spend much so those are basically the options unless I DIY.
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