Speakers flaking

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Speakers flaking

Postposted on Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:12 am

My old logitech's are starting to fail; they issue a weird thub-thub-warble sound when turned on, even if the PC's on mute. So I'm going to be needing to replace them.
I'm kind of wondering about using non-PC specific speakers since these days I don't game as much as I used to, and use the PC a lot for music and movies. But I'm not really sure how to go about doing that, what it cost, or how much space I'm looking at. I'd like something with decent sound quality, and I don't much like headphones or earbuds (I find them uncomfortable). If I get a soundcard, is it possible to hook that up to a self-powered sub and a set of small bookcase speakers or something? would that sound any better than using another set of mid range (50-100 dollar) PC speakers?
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:34 am

Whatever you get, don't get USB headphones. Worst friggin' idea ever. I've never had so many problems with such a simple concept.
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:57 am

I was wondering about using something like

http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SP-BS22-L ... s=speakers

but I wasn't sure about the viability of that with a PC?
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:22 pm

Your budget doesn't look quite as large as other guy's but perhaps this other speakers thread has some ideas for you: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=86058

If you want to skip the audiophile talk from pages 2-4, i think ludi sums it up nicely:
ludi wrote:In that case, flip back to Page 1 of the thread...I think you're back to either the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1s that several people recommended, or the AudioEngine A2 powered monitors that Chrispy_ recommended. Compact options under $200 don't get much better than that. Flip a coin and click the Buy Button :wink:
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:34 pm

You'd need an amp or recievers for those Pioneers.

Typically, if you want PC speakers, you either need to buy a half-decent PC-specific set, like the Klipsh Promedia 2.1, Antec Soundscience 2.1 or one of the better Logitech Z-series sets.

The alternative to PC-specific speakers is a powered studio monitor; The imporant part being that studio monitors include a built-in an amplifier, rather than relying on external amp/receiver hardware. These bookshelf speakers typically offer a more accurate sound than PC speakers, but they don't have as much bass-thump as a setup using a subwoofer like the Klipsh/Antec/Logitech I just mentioned.

Options (in price order) that I can recommend through personal experience:

  • Audioengine A2 (very compact indeed for monitors)
  • M-Audio BX5
  • Audioengine A5
  • M-Audio BX8 (what I have been using for a few years)


There are loads of other decent products out there and I'm sure people will chime in with alternatives, but as a semi-serious music listener I have enough experience to know that those four studio monitors are above average choices.
In particular the A2 is about the best set of monitors you'll find in a very small size, and the BX5 (D2) is probably my favourite since you can regularly find it on sale for under $250 instead of the $400 MSRP.
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:46 pm

after looking at those prices...I'll probably go with the M-Audio BX5 D2. Thanks! If I have to use adapaters to make their connectors work in my sound card, will that degrade sound quality or will it be fine?
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:22 pm

paulWTAMU wrote:If I have to use adapaters to make their connectors work in my sound card, will that degrade sound quality or will it be fine?


I honestly don't know if new BX5's come with a cable included because they weren't mine. I'm assuming they won't because monitors are typically something you plug instruments/decks/guitars into - usually with their own leads.

You will need either a single cable that has 3.5mm audio (1/8th inch) jack to a 1/4 inch, or just get a standard 3.5mm audio cable and use a 3.5mm to 1/4" adapter. Gold plated is supposedly better if you are using an adapter but I honestly doubt that even the die-hard audiophiles could tell. What's more important is how good the cable quality is. Don't go nuts, but it's probably worth spending up to $20 on a thicker-guage, shielded cable if you can find one.
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:01 pm

My M-Audio speakers did not come with cables either, I picked mine up at GC for around $30. It was the "Livewire" brand, which I believe is their in house brand, it does what it needs to, nothing fancy. If you decide to go the studio monitir route I suggest getting a monitor controller instead of changing volume levels via software, as this can lower bitrate. Here are some controllers that will work with either the TRS unbalanced or XLR balanced inputs of Bx5s. I have the SM Pro Nano Patch+ and it does a fantastic job at controlling volume. The more expensive models from SM have outputs for headphones if need be.
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:48 pm

wait, they don't have their own built in volume controls? That's just...very strange to me. Not a deal breaker but odd.
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:27 pm

paulWTAMU wrote:wait, they don't have their own built in volume controls? That's just...very strange to me. Not a deal breaker but odd.

They do, on the back of each speaker, however for me it is much easier to use one simple controller instead of two simultaneously and using software to control the volume can decrease bitrate. Since they are studio monitors you are going to want the highest quality source, since you will be able to tell with poor quality audio.
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:51 pm

GeForce6200 wrote:
paulWTAMU wrote:wait, they don't have their own built in volume controls? That's just...very strange to me. Not a deal breaker but odd.

They do, on the back of each speaker, however for me it is much easier to use one simple controller instead of two simultaneously and using software to control the volume can decrease bitrate. Since they are studio monitors you are going to want the highest quality source, since you will be able to tell with poor quality audio.


I always thought the software-controlled volume > quality issue was only really problematic for old/very cheap onboard soundcards. Obviously the lower the software volume, the lower the effective sampling bitrate becomes. Since I was not really audiophile enough to discern the difference between 16 and 24-bit DAC's in my CD player, It means that I'm probably not best qualified to comment, but for me anything more than about 15% software volume seems to give me all the detail and clarity I'm listening out for. I'm aware of the issue below about 10% but not really concerned about the fidelity until <5% volume or so. If you're running your sound at 5% volume and trying to listen to details, you're doing something else wrong ;)

However, I might consider one of those cheap monitor controllers. I do occasionally change the volume on my BX8's and to date, the only reason I have ever thrown speakers out is because the power/volume controls have degraded and started crackling/hissing.
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:31 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:to date, the only reason I have ever thrown speakers out is because the power/volume controls have degraded and started crackling/hissing.

Hope you're throwing them in the direction of a repair tech :o Analog volume control cleaning/replacement is one of the cheapest and easiest fixes possible.
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:49 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
GeForce6200 wrote:
paulWTAMU wrote:wait, they don't have their own built in volume controls? That's just...very strange to me. Not a deal breaker but odd.

They do, on the back of each speaker, however for me it is much easier to use one simple controller instead of two simultaneously and using software to control the volume can decrease bitrate. Since they are studio monitors you are going to want the highest quality source, since you will be able to tell with poor quality audio.


I always thought the software-controlled volume > quality issue was only really problematic for old/very cheap onboard soundcards. Obviously the lower the software volume, the lower the effective sampling bitrate becomes. Since I was not really audiophile enough to discern the difference between 16 and 24-bit DAC's in my CD player, It means that I'm probably not best qualified to comment, but for me anything more than about 15% software volume seems to give me all the detail and clarity I'm listening out for. I'm aware of the issue below about 10% but not really concerned about the fidelity until <5% volume or so. If you're running your sound at 5% volume and trying to listen to details, you're doing something else wrong ;)

However, I might consider one of those cheap monitor controllers. I do occasionally change the volume on my BX8's and to date, the only reason I have ever thrown speakers out is because the power/volume controls have degraded and started crackling/hissing.

Personally I can't find fault between lowering sound via software and a controller. This may be since I generally listen to lossy music, but I agree with you that even onbaord audio on todays higher end motherboards are of repsectable quality and offer many features. I set my Bx8a at half volume on rear and full for software. The monitor controller I use for everything else. It's really convenient for adjusting volume, much preferable over any software
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:20 am

paulWTAMU wrote:I was wondering about using something like

http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SP-BS22-L ... s=speakers

but I wasn't sure about the viability of that with a PC?


Home theatre.com gave those a good review:
http://www.hometheater.com/content/pion ... ker-system

But you'll need an amp to power them since they are passive.

A Lepai T-amp is cheap and will do nicely if you just want to get things running on a budget:
http://www.amazon.com/LP-2020A-Lepai-Tr ... ai+tripath


Scratch that, looks like those speakers are 6 ohms so you might have to get yourself a real amp, or at least something with a bit more power than the Lepai 2020 or Dayton DTA-1.
The Dayton DTA-100 maybe? Of course there's always craiglist.
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:38 am

ludi wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:to date, the only reason I have ever thrown speakers out is because the power/volume controls have degraded and started crackling/hissing.

Hope you're throwing them in the direction of a repair tech :o Analog volume control cleaning/replacement is one of the cheapest and easiest fixes possible.

Without trying to derail the thread, no ;)

My "good" speakers have lasted well - The Klipsh were given to a friend and I think he repaired them, and the BX8's are still going strong.
It's the plastic-bodied, cardboard-coned sub-$150 sets from my past that I've traditionally not bothered (Altec, Logitech, Cambridge Soundworks junk).
The cost of even transporting them sometimes outweighed their value ;)
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:41 am

paulWTAMU wrote:after looking at those prices...I'll probably go with the M-Audio BX5 D2. Thanks! If I have to use adapaters to make their connectors work in my sound card, will that degrade sound quality or will it be fine?


Just be sure to get cables with the proper terminations. The BX5 only have balanced inputs (three conductors: ground, +,-), whereas soundcards and consumer stuff is typically unbalanced (two conductors: ground,+). I'd read through the BX5 manual to see how the cables should be constructed, usually to go from unbalanced to balanced the ground and - conductors on the balanced side are combined into the ground conductor on the unbalanced side, and the + conductor goes straight through.
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Re: Speakers flaking

Postposted on Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:27 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:Just be sure to get cables with the proper terminations. The BX5 only have balanced inputs (three conductors: ground, +,-), whereas soundcards and consumer stuff is typically unbalanced (two conductors: ground,+). I'd read through the BX5 manual to see how the cables should be constructed, usually to go from unbalanced to balanced the ground and - conductors on the balanced side are combined into the ground conductor on the unbalanced side, and the + conductor goes straight through.

Correct -- because in general, any balanced line connection can be connected using either the (+) or the (-) input for the signal (usually the (+) input) and shorting the other input (usually the (-) input) to the ground terminal. The disadvantage is that you lose 3dB of input sensitivity and may have to crank the volume a bit more. There are cheap passive cable adapters available that will convert from the RCA to the XLR.

Balanced line was developed for analog, its default configuration is a difference amplifier. If the (-) input is shorted to ground, it conveniently becomes a simple non-inverting amplifier.
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