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steelcity_ballin
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New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:27 am

I have a large L-shaped home office desk that is currently featuring an old 5.1 Logitech setup. I'm tired of the space they take up while looking cluttered (even with wire wraps), and honestly not really making that big of a difference in my gaming experience these days. If it matters, my primary uses are workday-music, and gaming. I'd like them to look good (and not gamer-y, so no RGB monstrosities please). I'd like them to be punchy as well clear; subjective to be sure. If I had to give an analogy of what I'm looking for, perhaps it's that I want the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphone experience, but at a desktop speaker scale - if that makes any sense at all.

I'm not opposed to another 5.1 setup if it looks good, but I'm really leaning towards 2.1 I think. Thanks!
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:35 am

I've been looking as well at 2.1 music-first speakers and am willing to drop some coin. I've been through all of the previous threads and it seems like most every good-sounding 2.1 self-powered "studio monitor" system out there for less than $1,000 has horrible reliability.
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:49 am

Captain Ned wrote:
I've been looking as well at 2.1 music-first speakers and am willing to drop some coin. I've been through all of the previous threads and it seems like most every good-sounding 2.1 self-powered "studio monitor" system out there for less than $1,000 has horrible reliability.



Yeah same - I don't need anywhere near a $1K recommendation, just something that can thud and without muddy-ing up the mids and highs while being pleasing to look at.
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:55 am

I personally think all of the 2.1 solutions out there look cluttered. Either speakers are daisy chained and you can't set them up exactly how you want, or you have a Kraken's worth of tentacles sprawling out over your desk. I have a pair of KRK Rokit 6G2s which are around 4-5 years old,
but the current-generation Rokit 6G3s can be had for $400. No subwoofer but a pair of six-inch woofers should give you plenty of bass.

Connecting them to a PC directly requires an 1/8" to RCA cable, but I went the audio-interface route with my MBox 3 and some balanced TRS cables. You can get a cheaper interface (Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 that TR uses for DAWBench is $149, and you can get a Focusrite Scarlett Solo for $99) that'll still sound really good. Even then, that setup is probably gonna cost close to $550 (if you need to buy cables yet). If you want great music use and some thump in your games, I'd put this up against any 2.1 set and feel comfortable that it'd win easily. You can save a hundred bucks by going with the Rokit 5G3s but I have no experience with the smaller drivers and no recommendation on them.
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:19 am

A set of decent bookshelf speakers and a Lepai LP2020 (or any of the modern derivatives) is a great combination. There's ample power to drive a reasonably efficient subwoofer as well, I have a 10" Cerwin Vega on mine.

Bookshelf speakers are highly subjective, but you have a lot more to choose from than with 2.1 setups. Larger drivers are nice, I tend to favor the sound of the newer Dayton bookshelfs especially given their price points. If you're willing to do a little assembly, these are freakin' great bang for the buck: https://www.parts-express.com/dayton-au ... r--300-640

I'll fully admit I'm nowhere near as much of an audio snob as I used to be. Smooth, clear, and reasonably low distortion are all I really look for these days.
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:35 am

I've been looking at powered 2.1 for small satellites and leaving the bass to the sub. I'd love 6" woofers on the desk, but just don't have the room. I was looking at an Audioengine A2+ plus sub system, but after discovering that there's a non-defeatable bass boost in the amp circuitry, that idea got tossed.
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:05 am

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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:19 am

Recommendation for a pair of studio monitors—Mackie CR5BT ($220), the KRK RP5s in the previous post, or PreSonus Eris E270 ($270). Even units with 4.5" or 5" woofers will provide you with a serious bass punch, obviating the need for a "sub" that isn't.
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:21 am

Nothing too fancy here, I use a Bose Companion 5 ($400) - comes with a subwoofer, and 2 speakers on the desk. Fully satisfied with it.
 
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:55 am

Every time one of these threads crop up, I go "yeah, I really could use some new desk speakers", then don't do anything about it. Maybe this time...
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:00 pm

morphine wrote:
Recommendation for a pair of studio monitors—Mackie CR5BT ($220), the KRK RP5s in the previous post, or PreSonus Eris E270 ($270). Even units with 4.5" or 5" woofers will provide you with a serious bass punch, obviating the need for a "sub" that isn't.

I'm not entirely certain I would say serious bass, but yeah 4-5" woofers definitely provide enough punch for me and I tend to lean towards that end of the frequency curve (as opposed to treble).

I have a set of Audioengine A5+s (I think they're 4 years old now?) and they have been great. They also have sub outs. Might be an option if you're willing to spend the dough (300-400 depending on your choices sans sub). Anyway, there are a TON of threads about this particular topic in the forums. I suggest a read through them, checking to see if some have sub outputs, and maybe going somewhere to give a listen. The recommendations are usually, mostly the same.
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:10 pm

For desktop 2.1, I highly recommend checking out the Swan M50W's. They are absolutely fantastic near field speakers.
https://www.chanemusiccinema.com/multimedia/m50w
 
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:53 pm

Massdrop JBL LSR30z powered monitors and done. US$179 shipped for the pair, you won't find better sound for that price. Also, this is a revolving drop, so you get it within a few days, unlike most Massdrop sales that can take weeks or months.


[I've participated in quite a few drops, every experience has been excellent except when I have to wait :D ]
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:17 pm

Bruno, I was looking at the PreSonus stuff, but I saw a whole lot of complaints about the subwoofer unit dying quickly.
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:36 pm

Airmantharp wrote:
Massdrop JBL LSR30z powered monitors and done. US$179 shipped for the pair, you won't find better sound for that price. Also, this is a revolving drop, so you get it within a few days, unlike most Massdrop sales that can take weeks or months.


I've seen those powered JBL's as highly recommended on other sites as well. I've been viewing Z Reviews audio guides for awhile:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3XdYJ ... uZMNaTiP8Q

He's posted several guides on speakers, headphones, amps etc. and gives pointers on sound stage/imaging and speaker placements for desktops. I could do without the snarky comments and cussing but otherwise he has tested a lot of equipment.
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:52 pm

As far as I can tell, there is no sub output on those JBL's so you may want to order from somewhere you can return them if you plan on actually purchasing them.

G8torbyte wrote:
He's posted several guides on speakers, headphones, amps etc. and gives pointers on sound stage/imaging and speaker placements for desktops. I could do without the snarky comments and cussing but otherwise he has tested a lot of equipment.

Yeah, I can't even watch him. He's just too much for me. (the cussing doesn't bother me)
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:55 pm

DancinJack wrote:
As far as I can tell, there is no sub output on those JBL's so you may want to order from somewhere you can return them if you plan on actually purchasing them.

My goal has been to find a 2.1 system where there's an active crossover at some point in the chain so that the powered satellites don't have to amplify signals they'll never produce and vice versa. I've found a couple, but they all seem to have longevity issues on the subwoofer side.
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:13 pm

I was actually looking for a 2.1 setup and I think I've decided on the Logitech Z333 2.1 speakers. They seem nice. I don't actually have them yet though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ku4zG3IMopY
 
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:34 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
My goal has been to find a 2.1 system where there's an active crossover at some point in the chain so that the powered satellites don't have to amplify signals they'll never produce and vice versa. I've found a couple, but they all seem to have longevity issues on the subwoofer side.

You can usually set a crossover in software, though. I remember that my old Xonar D2X would let me do that.
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:57 pm

JBL LSR305 best bang for buck, though might be overkill if you have a small office
 
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:43 pm

steelcity_ballin wrote:
I want the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphone experience, but at a desktop speaker scale - if that makes any sense at all.



I'm not sure it's at the scale you want, but it "sounds" as if you want something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Edifier-S1000DB- ... B01CDIS6M0
 
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:02 am

CScottG wrote:
steelcity_ballin wrote:
I want the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphone experience, but at a desktop speaker scale - if that makes any sense at all.



I'm not sure it's at the scale you want, but it "sounds" as if you want something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Edifier-S1000DB- ... B01CDIS6M0

I'm amazed at how nice the cabinet design on those is for that price. Hopefully that hasn't taken up too much of the budget for the drivers and crossovers.
 
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:40 am

I would say you should go for some decent active studio monitors. Forget everything about "PC-speakers" and sets using a subwoofer since it is very hard / almost impossible to get good sound quality in such a system. Even with 4" bass drivers, you can get pretty decent bass performance, so unless you expect to use them for drum&bass parties they should cover you well.

If you have the room for it, then you would of course get deeper bass with some larger drivers. Here's a random monitor with 8" woofers which I am confident should provide very good audio quality:
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... itor-black
 
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:26 am

demolition wrote:
I would say you should go for some decent active studio monitors. Forget everything about "PC-speakers" and sets using a subwoofer since it is very hard / almost impossible to get good sound quality in such a system. Even with 4" bass drivers, you can get pretty decent bass performance, so unless you expect to use them for drum&bass parties they should cover you well.




^This times 1000
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:10 pm

OK, pulled the trigger and await Amazon:

Audioengine HD3 (Cherry, with the angled silicone rubber stands)
Audioengine S8
Audioquest Dragonfly Red DAC (will replace the Black in my office rig, which will move to home, and make the stand-alone office rig amp a BB item)

Part of this is finally ditching the soundcard (Asus Xonar D1 in my case), as I've conceded I will never be a gamer and I care more about the music. Spotty driver problems, even with UniXonar hacks, could NEVER have been a part of it (a/k/a forced reboots to reset the driver's left/right balance).

The HD3 has a "bass reduction" switch, which will reduce strain on their amps trying to reproduce sounds they can't play. Tuning the sub (it's got level, crossover freq, and phase controls) will take some time. I went with the HD3 as it has front-panel volume which also controls the sub output level. It all gets here Thursday, and I'll post results then.
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:21 pm

Nice. I still use my A5+'s and still really enjoy them. I haven't opted for a subwoofer as of yet, mostly because I have been moving around, living in apartments, and just didn't care to deal with it. The A5+'s also provide decent bass for their size.

I started out with an Audioengine DAC but stepped up to a Schiit with some more oomph and dual DACs and everything is great (for me, personally). Audioengine, generally, has a slightly warm sound to their stuff IMO so you might have to play with a DSP if you're looking to go totally flat. I think you'll like their stuff though. Hopefully your turntable has RCA out so you can blast 'em there too.
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:40 pm

DancinJack wrote:
Hopefully your turntable has RCA out so you can blast 'em there too.

He's been at this long enough that I'll bet his turntable is "old school" with the phono cartridge wired directly to the RCAs. Not gonna drive a line level input with that...
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:53 pm

just brew it! wrote:
DancinJack wrote:
Hopefully your turntable has RCA out so you can blast 'em there too.
He's been at this long enough that I'll bet his turntable is "old school" with the phono cartridge wired directly to the RCAs. Not gonna drive a line level input with that...

And no plans to. This is strictly the home office rig. Turntable feeds a Parasound pre-amp into a NAD C 272 amp, which drives a pair of Polk Audio Monitor 10Bs.
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:46 am

I really like NAD amps. (..though ironically not the more expensive "M" grouping.)
 
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Re: New desktop speaker recommendations

Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:05 am

Captain Ned wrote:
Part of this is finally ditching the soundcard (Asus Xonar D1 in my case), as I've conceded I will never be a gamer and I care more about the music

Dude, I am a gamer and I've ditched dedicated soundcards ages ago. Other than fancy software tricks and 5.1/7.1 support (something that almost no interface does because WHY?!?!?!? but that's another story), there's really not much to distinguish a PC soundcard from anything else. Unless crap drivers are a desired feature.
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