High-End Computer Speakers

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High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:20 am

Does anyone here have experience with both the Logitech Z906 5.1 Speakers and the Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speaker System? I am finding it difficult to choose between these two. I'm wondering if I shouldn't just stick with the 2.1 setup because I have limited space, but in the future I may have plenty of space and want to upgrade to 5.1. Of course, by then I might be able to afford a real high-quality sound system instead...

I'm all set for headphones. I got the Ultrasone Alienware Ozma 7; I'll probably cry when these finally die on me because you can't find them anywhere. Not the most comfortable for long sessions, but the sound is orgasmic.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:44 pm

I'd look into getting Klipsch Promedia 2.1's. I've had a lot of experience with these guys and the sound is unbeatable for the cost. As far as 5.1 goes... the space issue is more annoying that the benefits. Save yourself the headache and just go 2.1!
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:47 pm

BloodSoul wrote:I'd look into getting Klipsch Promedia 2.1's. I've had a lot of experience with these guys and the sound is unbeatable for the cost. As far as 5.1 goes... the space issue is more annoying that the benefits. Save yourself the headache and just go 2.1!


QFT

Although quality is suspect since the takeover. Anyone purchased a set recently?
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:58 pm

Few questions about your setup. What is your price range, and are you looking for a 2.0,2.1, or 5.1 setup?
Personally I have no experience with either of your choices but I have ready reviews that seem to describe them as decent computer speakers. From your title I believe you are looking for higher end computer speakers, not high end speakers that you can use for your computer. I went from a cheap (Logitech X-530) to the Z-2300. Initially I missed the surround sound but quickly came adjusted to the 2.1 setup. After wanting clearer audio I went for M Audio Bx8A Deluxe monitors, sent from Creative Z Soundblaster into SM Pro Nano monitor controller. Since then I haven't looked back. (The z-2300 are amazing for price and sheer noise, sadly the sub part gave out last month) I would get the 2 channel setup now, since you say you have limited space and would want an actual 5.1 system later on. The z906 would work, but I don't think you will be impressed as with sound replication as you would with a decent HT system.
Your choice of the Corsair SP2500 seemed in the right direction and I have had nothing but good experience with Corsair. (HX-520 did go up in smoke, they promptly sent a HX-650 back out) However if you do decide to go with a 2.0 or 2.1 setup you have a massive amount of options. You could build your own setup, buy higher end PC speakers such as the Corsair's, or buy speakers not directly targeted for PC users, but nice a nice desktop sized setup. For building your own, if that is the route you want, you can buy a small amplifier (Dayton Audio 100a,150) and a set of nice bookshelf speakers. those will sound very nice for the price point. (Around $200)If you want marketed PC speakers then the Corsair's would suffice. Desktop speakers really open up choice, however price will increase. Swan, Audioengine, B&W, are a few names I would recommend to start reviewing on Google.
Lastly I would recommend trying to hear the speakers in person before buying, everything sounds different to another person.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:25 pm

I picked up a ProMedia set about 18 months ago from Best Buy. The physical construction of the overall package isn't quite as nice as it used to be but the sound quality remains excellent for the size and price.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:06 pm

ludi wrote:I picked up a ProMedia set about 18 months ago from Best Buy. The physical construction of the overall package isn't quite as nice as it used to be but the sound quality remains excellent for the size and price.

Ludi, have you heard the Z-2300? If so how would they compare? looking for something simple to replace a failed z2300 setup.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:39 pm

GeForce6200 wrote:
ludi wrote:I picked up a ProMedia set about 18 months ago from Best Buy. The physical construction of the overall package isn't quite as nice as it used to be but the sound quality remains excellent for the size and price.

Ludi, have you heard the Z-2300? If so how would they compare? looking for something simple to replace a failed z2300 setup.

I have not. For the specs and price, the main difference is that I think your old set used an analog amplifier topology, while the ProMedias appear to use Class D.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:48 am

The alternative to PC speakers if you don't want surround sound is powered studio monitors; They don't have the booming bass that 2.1 setups have, but the actual audio quality is much, much, higher and after owning a set you realise that quality of bass sound is much more important than volume. I had a Klipsch Promedia set a long long time ago - from what I've heard they've gone downhill but are still reasonable units.

Brands I like to recommend based on personal/ownership experience are M-Audio and Audioengine:

AudioEngine A2
(Very small, accurate sound, a bit light on bass for my tastes but they are very popular and rate well in various reviews)

M-Audio BX5
Decent build quality, decent sound, absolute bargain all-rounders since they're regularly on sale; Proper 5" Kevlar cones and silk-dome tweeters for around $250 = Win.

AudioEngine A5
These are (in my not-particularly-experienced opinion) the finest speakers I have heard in this size/class. They are expensive but I mention them anyway - in case you find them on sale for under $300.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:38 am

Chrispy_ wrote:The alternative to PC speakers if you don't want surround sound is powered studio monitors; They don't have the booming bass that 2.1 setups have, but the actual audio quality is much, much, higher...


You'd think so but this isn't always true. I once bought some Alesis M1Active 520 active monitors which I found to be unacceptably noisy, especially for something marketed as a professional product. They were advertised as having a greater than 100 dB unweighted SNR but the amount of hiss they generated was comparable both in level and in tone to that produced by cassette tape. My cheapo Dayton Audio DTA-100a amp easily surpasses the sound quality of the junky electronics that were built-in to them which is a pity since the quality of the enclosures and drivers they used seemed very good.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:58 am

Tried the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 set last year, and returned it because of the background hiss that was always present at all volume levels (even with the source unplugged). The left speaker also cut out below about 5% volume, which is really where the volume needs to be for any kind of close-range listening.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:03 am

rephlex wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:The alternative to PC speakers if you don't want surround sound is powered studio monitors; They don't have the booming bass that 2.1 setups have, but the actual audio quality is much, much, higher...

You'd think so but this isn't always true. I once bought some Alesis M1Active 520 active monitors which I found to be unacceptably noisy, especially for something marketed as a professional product. They were advertised as having a greater than 100 dB unweighted SNR but the amount of hiss they generated was comparable both in level and in tone to that produced by cassette tape. My cheapo Dayton Audio DTA-100a amp easily surpasses the sound quality of the junky electronics that were built-in to them which is a pity since the quality of the enclosures and drivers they used seemed very good.

Did they use an external power brick? The issue could've been a poorly designed (or defective) switching supply. A lot of places just source power bricks from the lowest bidder, so even if the electronics in the speakers themselves was decent they could've shot themselves in the foot with crappy power.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:06 am

Parallax wrote:Tried the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 set last year, and returned it because of the background hiss that was always present at all volume levels (even with the source unplugged). The left speaker also cut out below about 5% volume, which is really where the volume needs to be for any kind of close-range listening.


That's so weird. I think the PM 2.1's have virtually no hiss, at least the ones that I own. They're MUCH better than the Logitech something or other set they replaced. Mine are three years old now though. I do have a friend that has some that did the exact same thing yours did at low volume though. One of the speakers, can't remember which, cut out while the other was still audible.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:17 am

DancinJack wrote:
Parallax wrote:Tried the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 set last year, and returned it because of the background hiss that was always present at all volume levels (even with the source unplugged). The left speaker also cut out below about 5% volume, which is really where the volume needs to be for any kind of close-range listening.

That's so weird. I think the PM 2.1's have virtually no hiss, at least the ones that I own. They're MUCH better than the Logitech something or other set they replaced. Mine are three years old now though. I do have a friend that has some that did the exact same thing yours did at low volume though. One of the speakers, can't remember which, cut out while the other was still audible.

My current desktop speakers (a really ancient set of Yamaha 2.1s) do the same thing. Seems to be a mismatch between the left/right channels in the (analog) volume control knob at the low end of the range. Workaround is to lower the output level of the PC to the point where you can raise the level on the speakers to around the 25% mark for a comfortable listening level.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:40 am

just brew it! wrote:Did they use an external power brick? The issue could've been a poorly designed (or defective) switching supply. A lot of places just source power bricks from the lowest bidder, so even if the electronics in the speakers themselves was decent they could've shot themselves in the foot with crappy power.


Nope. Each speaker was mains powered via a C14 IEC connector by their own built-in power supply. The defect is actually a (little) known fact about these speakers, something I discovered only after I had bought the speakers and scoured the Internet in search of an explanation. It could've been worse, at least mine weren't making buzzing noises in addition to the hiss as another dissatisfied owners were doing.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:50 am

rephlex wrote:
just brew it! wrote:Did they use an external power brick? The issue could've been a poorly designed (or defective) switching supply. A lot of places just source power bricks from the lowest bidder, so even if the electronics in the speakers themselves was decent they could've shot themselves in the foot with crappy power.

Nope. Each speaker was mains powered via a C14 IEC connector by their own built-in power supply. The defect is actually a (little) known fact about these speakers, something I discovered only after I had bought the speakers and scoured the Internet in search of an explanation. It could've been worse, at least mine weren't making buzzing noises in addition to the hiss as another dissatisfied owners were doing.

Just goes to show that even established, respected brands can put out a dud on occasion.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:03 pm

Nearly all carbon-resistive dual-channel pots, especially logarithmic units commonly used for analog volume control, do not track exactly equally anywhere across their range, which becomes evident at very low adjustment levels. Digital volume controls obviously don't have this problem, but there's a trade-off in complexity.

The solution is to skew the source level (as already suggested) so that the pot is never operating at its extreme positions during normal listening.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:11 pm

just brew it! wrote:
rephlex wrote:
just brew it! wrote:Did they use an external power brick? The issue could've been a poorly designed (or defective) switching supply. A lot of places just source power bricks from the lowest bidder, so even if the electronics in the speakers themselves was decent they could've shot themselves in the foot with crappy power.

Nope. Each speaker was mains powered via a C14 IEC connector by their own built-in power supply. The defect is actually a (little) known fact about these speakers, something I discovered only after I had bought the speakers and scoured the Internet in search of an explanation. It could've been worse, at least mine weren't making buzzing noises in addition to the hiss as another dissatisfied owners were doing.

Just goes to show that even established, respected brands can put out a dud on occasion.


Established, yes, but i'm not sure i'd call Alesis respected. At least not any more it seems. Their sale in 2001 seems to have been the turning point.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:51 pm

Another alternative to PC speakers and powered monitors is a T-Amp and passives. This combination is fairly popular and budget-oriented:

Dayton Audio B652 6-1/2" 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers
Lepai LP-2020A+ Tripath Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier

This setup makes it easy to upgrade the speakers and/or amp later on, or throw in a subwoofer.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:18 pm

Kurotetsu wrote:Another alternative to PC speakers and powered monitors is a T-Amp and passives. This combination is fairly popular and budget-oriented:

Dayton Audio B652 6-1/2" 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers
Lepai LP-2020A+ Tripath Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier

This setup makes it easy to upgrade the speakers and/or amp later on, or throw in a subwoofer.

Well I guess I've satisfied my "learn something new every day" requirement for today. Until just now I had no idea what a "Class T" audio amp was (had to Google it). :wink:
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:28 pm

Kurotetsu wrote:Another alternative to PC speakers and powered monitors is a T-Amp and passives. This combination is fairly popular and budget-oriented:

Dayton Audio B652 6-1/2" 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers
Lepai LP-2020A+ Tripath Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier

This setup makes it easy to upgrade the speakers and/or amp later on, or throw in a subwoofer.

While a decent setup, the Lepai can't ouput clean audio at any respectable levels, which is why in my previous post I recommended the Dayton DTA 100a or the Dayton APA 150 The speakers linked would work, but if budget allowed it may be wise to upgrade Sony or even used higher tier bookshelf speakers.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:27 pm

rephlex wrote:I once bought some Alesis M1Active 520 active monitors which I found to be unacceptably noisy, especially for something marketed as a professional product.


Urgh, unlucky :( I read about those Alesis units before I switched up to my BX8 units. IIRC, the 520's you bought have a load of sliders in addition to the amp's gain control as a kind of poor-man's equaliser. What that means is that the budget that ought to have been spent on a good quality, plain and simple amp was split between the amp and the equaliser circuitry. For the same money that means that probably both the amp and the equaliser were compromised and they used cheaper, nastier units.

Equalisers have no place on a pair of so-called "studio monitors"; That label should be reserved for units which are supposed to have a flat-response curve without an equaliser!
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:34 pm

GeForce6200 wrote:
Kurotetsu wrote:Another alternative to PC speakers and powered monitors is a T-Amp and passives. This combination is fairly popular and budget-oriented:

Dayton Audio B652 6-1/2" 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers
Lepai LP-2020A+ Tripath Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier

This setup makes it easy to upgrade the speakers and/or amp later on, or throw in a subwoofer.

While a decent setup, the Lepai can't ouput clean audio at any respectable levels, which is why in my previous post I recommended the Dayton DTA 100a or the Dayton APA 150 The speakers linked would work, but if budget allowed it may be wise to upgrade Sony or even used higher tier bookshelf speakers.


The Dayton Audio DTA-100a is very hard to beat for the price. It uses the Tripath TK2050 (TC2000/TP2050) chipset which is capable of greater power output than the single Tripath TA2020 chip used in the Lepai LP-2020A+. I agree with GeForce6200, you will need this extra power.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:28 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:Equalisers have no place on a pair of so-called "studio monitors"; That label should be reserved for units which are supposed to have a flat-response curve without an equaliser!


In fairness though, no speakers exist that have a truly flat frequency response. There are always measurable dips and peaks. I think EQ does have an appropriate place in monitors though, such as compensation for room placement, something you'd still need to consider even if you actually were using those mythical speakers with a truly flat frequency response.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:35 pm

GeForce6200 wrote:
Kurotetsu wrote:Another alternative to PC speakers and powered monitors is a T-Amp and passives. This combination is fairly popular and budget-oriented:

Dayton Audio B652 6-1/2" 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers
Lepai LP-2020A+ Tripath Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier

This setup makes it easy to upgrade the speakers and/or amp later on, or throw in a subwoofer.

While a decent setup, the Lepai can't ouput clean audio at any respectable levels, which is why in my previous post I recommended the Dayton DTA 100a or the Dayton APA 150 The speakers linked would work, but if budget allowed it may be wise to upgrade Sony or even used higher tier bookshelf speakers.


I agree. Though I recommend the Lepai just because its so cheap, which makes it easier to convince people to move to a t-amp + passive setup. I have seen people recommend getting a better power supply for the Lepai to fix some of its issues.

About the Dayton DTA 100a, last I checked on that it was suffering from some balance and QA issues? I'm not sure if thats still the case nowadays.

I, personally, have heard alot of good things about Topping amps.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:23 pm

I looked at the various Logitech and Creative Labs 5.1 speakers and came away very disappointed by the low quality I found. There is a very limited field of 5.1 speakers available now and none of them looked or sounded like they were worth half of the asking price.

I gave up searching and started looking at 2.1 systems. After looking around for a while I settled on the Klipsch Promedia set. They sound good and if your into it, the sub woofer can bounce you out of the room. They have a real solid feel to them unlike the offerings from Logitech and Creative. At $150 the Klipsch are a good buy for what you get.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:59 pm

While we're on this topic, are there any 5.1 and/or 75-100W version of these "T-Amps"? Because currently I'm using an old Sony receiver + bookshelf speakers, but the receiver is huge, and there really aren't many small ones. This leads me to think that I'd be much better off with a much simpler "5.1 amplifier and little else" device, if such a thing existed...
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:07 pm

AudioEngines 5+

Can't go wrong. 3 yr warranty. amazing mids. When my 5's failed after 2.5 years they gave me a free upgrade to the 5+'s.

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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm

RhysAndrews wrote:AudioEngines 5+

Can't go wrong. 3 yr warranty. amazing mids. When my 5's failed after 2.5 years they gave me a free upgrade to the 5+'s.

-Rhys


3 yr warranty, I didn't even see that, ncix canada had the audioengine 5+ on sale this past weekend for $325, maybe I should have grabbed a set, just so many others things with higher priority right now sigh.....
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:17 pm

Khali wrote:After looking around for a while I settled on the Klipsch Promedia set. They sound good and if your into it, the sub woofer can bounce you out of the room.


This is pretty much the choice you make with speakers these days. You can either spend x dollars on a 2.1 system that is loud and innacurate (but fun for gunshots, explosions, music with phat beats etc) or you spend the same x dollars on a pair of full-range speakers that sacrifice outright power to produce better detail across the whole range.

Most 2.1 systems murder bass guitars; I can't quite explain how but the details just get drunkenly slurred together and the volume is inconsistent - all over the place. If you value your music and dialogue over sound effects and atmosphere then you'll want full-range speakers rather than satellites and a sub.

For any given value of x, the 2.1 will be louder for it's physical size than the full-range speakers, but will always be inferior for sound quality. If you are used to the almost-comically boomy and hissy nature of many 2.1 systems, then full-range speakers might sound a little bit light on bass; Only when you go back to satellite & sub systems after using full-range for a while, do you realise that the louder extreme bass is drowning out so much detail in many types of music.

Obviously once the value of x gets very large, the satellites and sub have such high-quality drivers that they can effectively 'meet in the middle' and plug the gap. I do believe that those systems are outside the scope of this thread, and probably budgets of most people, myself included.
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Re: High-End Computer Speakers

Postposted on Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:11 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:Most 2.1 systems murder bass guitars; I can't quite explain how but the details just get drunkenly slurred together and the volume is inconsistent - all over the place.

This is a symptom of massive peaks, dips, and resonances in the frequency response curve at the low end. Fairly typical of inexpensive 2.1s, which are designed to produce lots of bass but sacrifice accuracy in the process.
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