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first post: speakers for computer

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
i can hear people groaning: "aw, not a thread on this topic again!" sry, but please bear with me

anyway, hi, i have been looking through the threads on head-fi for awhile, but this is my first post!

...*checks wallet*

after a fair amount of research and inspiration from my "audiophile" friend, i have finally decided to buy the gilmore lite and emu 0404.

following these purchases, i want to buy a decent pair of speakers (2.0) for my computer. My preferred budget for the speakers + preamp(if necessary) is around 500-700$, but i can go up to 1000$ at best if it's worth it, but I'd say around 600$ is the best.

the question i have here is:

1. will the gilmore lite be good enough to serve as a preamp for the speakers? or should i buy a separate preamp for them?

2. should i buy active or passive speakers? (my room is pretty small: 12ftx12 (4mx4m)

3. what will happen if i plugged in "active" speakers into a preamp(gilmore lite)? will it improve the sound quality?

4. any recommendations for what speakers I should buy? because i dont need huge speakers for a small room, im considering maybe the M-Audio BX8s or swans m200s. I havent put much research on passive speakers, but if there are any that are good, please recommend (and if i should buy a separate preamp, please recommend that as well).

im sorry for being such a noob, but im learning as quickly as possible from head-fi. im more than glad to be a part of such a great forum.
post #2 of 35
Hmm.. if you WANT to, you can use the Gilmore Lite as a pre-amp and then just get a power amp and speakers... this would allow you to use higher quality parts, though you will need to convert the 1/4 inch jack to stereo RCA connections (this is do-able, and actually works nicely, mind you).


Gilmore Lite --> Conversion Cable --> Power Amp --> Speakers

The products I just linked you to are the famous Parrasound Zamp v .3, a very high-quality amp for the price. It's a B-Stock so you'll also save some cash going that way. The Epos E3 speakers are world-renound for their price/performance ratio, and have all sorts of awards.

I think that this is actually a fantastic method to take, because one can upgrade the sound by adding a dedicated pre-amp when the time will come, for an even bigger boost in performance. But, remember that using your headamp as a pre-amp is perfectly acceptable and should be a great remedy, even for a full-time budget setup.
post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 
aman, thank you for the input.

instead of the conversion from 1/4 to rca, can't i simply use regular rca cables with the loop out on the gilmore lite? (i want to use the 1/4 jack for my headphones)

if there are any more recommendations, it will be greatly appreciated
post #4 of 35
I'm not going to tell you what specific brand and model to buy, but I'm going to tell you how to choose it...

In the price range you are talking about, you would do a lot better to get an amp or receiver and regular speakers. Most powered speakers for computers are fine for computers, but spending more than $100 on them is a waste.

Take a dozen or so CDs that you are extremely familiar with in as many types of music as possible down to your local stereo store. Make sure the place offers a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee. If they don't, shop elsewhere.

Have the salesman show you the listening area for bookshelf speakers. Get him to show you how the switcher works and then chase him away. Go through your CDs, listening to them on every single set of speakers in the house. Don't pay any attention to the brands or prices... only the sound. Jot down your opinions on each set of speakers as you listen to the different CDs. Take your time. It may take hours. Eliminate ones that suck and whittle it down to three or four models you like. Then look at the price tag. Odds are, the prices of the speakers will vary widely and some of the brands may not be what you have heard are the best... cost and brand names aren't always a guarantee of good sound. Go with what sounds good to you.

Decide on the set of speakers that you like the best (and that you can afford) and go shopping for a small amp or receiver that is strong enough to power them. If you need to go frugal, go frugal on the amp, not the speakers. Most likely the speakers you choose will cost more than the amp.

Take the stuff home and listen to it nonstop for thirty days. If there is anything you are dissatisfied with, take the whole thing back for a refund and start again.

I guarantee if you do this, you will be extremely happy with your speakers. Moreso than if you just take someone's recommendation of a specific brand and model.

See ya
post #5 of 35
I would go the passive speaker route similar to what Aman suggested. I haven't really found any computer speakers that I liked. I would look at some bookshelf speakers and a receiver or an integrated amp or a power amp with your Gilmore.
post #6 of 35
Originally Posted by 1031tensai
aman, thank you for the input.

instead of the conversion from 1/4 to rca, can't i simply use regular rca cables with the loop out on the gilmore lite? (i want to use the 1/4 jack for my headphones)

if there are any more recommendations, it will be greatly appreciated
No, you can't. As I explained, the power amp will not have gain control, so you'd be unable to control how loud the sound got. The Gilmore Lite would act like a volume knob, similar to how a pre-amp does. It takes a lot to get speakers powered so they sound their best, so I think it'd be your best bet to get the best power amp you can buy, with the speakers I mentioned, and then, if you find a reason to upgrade, just get a dedicated pre-amp instead of using your headphone amplifier. Just remember that a headphone amp makes a fine pre-amp.


If you WANTED to, you could get an integrated amp, or a receiver, which would have volume control, though you'd be sacrificing a lot of sound to take that route. For such a low budget on a speaker system, I'd say that get the best thing you possibly can, so that you can make room for the future as well. And mind you, this system will sing. An integrated amplifier will only bring down the quality.
post #7 of 35
I don't understand how an integrated amp will bring down sound quality.

edit: I guess if you have the Gilmore, you don't need an integrated amp. I was thinking of the integrated amp instead of the Gilmore.
post #8 of 35
how about magneplanars? I heard some real good things about them, despite their tendency to wear out, hideous space and amping requirement.
post #9 of 35
In that price range, speaker selection is the main variable for sound quality, so consider digital amplification instead, and put the saved money for better speakers (or better wallet )
post #10 of 35
Originally Posted by meat01
I don't understand how an integrated amp will bring down sound quality.

edit: I guess if you have the Gilmore, you don't need an integrated amp. I was thinking of the integrated amp instead of the Gilmore.
Not that it'd "bring down" the sound quality, but that it will sound worse through an integrated amp. In his situation, he should take advantage of that nice head-amp he has.
post #11 of 35
Thread Starter 
thank you everyone for the input!

i have decided to take the passive speaker route, since the majority is recommending it.

as of now, it seems that the best route is Aman's procedure with the 1/4 of the gilmore lite to the power amp then the speakers. Is there any other route?

i am still seeking for recommendations for speakers, poweramps, etc. i am considering to raise my preferable budget by another $100, so if there are any improvements that $100 can make on that system, please recommend. also, for the future, can anyone tell me approximately how much a decent preamp will cost?

once again, i really appreciate everyone's input. more will be futher appreciated

p.s. i can feel the head-fi monster starting to chew off my wallet already
post #12 of 35
Put most of your budget in the speakers. That's what will make the most difference. Don't worry about a preamp. As long as the amp is powerful enough to push the speakers you choose, it won't matter how good it is. (If you were getting a full sized speaker system it would matter.) No one can recommend speakers for you. You have to listen to them and decide for yourself.

See ya
post #13 of 35
I haven't heard these...

...but I have high respect for Meier Audio headphone amps, so I'm sure Jan's speaker amps sound extremely good for the money.

post #14 of 35
Thread Starter 
i understand that i should actually listen to the speakers, then decide. it is obvious that i will be much more satisfied if i choose the speakers that i actually liked.
but unfortunately, i do not know of any local audio stores around my area where i can test the speakers. i am hoping that if most of the people enjoyed particular speakers, i will so as well.

for the amp that u posted, is that the corda poweramp? it seems that it costs $975... that's a little too much for my budget. for poweramps, it seems the zamp is the best one to buy for its price...

now that i've added 100$ to my budget im considering to buy better speakers. how are the Axiom M22ti's? how are they compared to other speakers in the 400 range?
post #15 of 35
It would be worth taking a trip to the closest stereo store. Speakers are the most important part of a system. It doesn't matter how good the rest of your system is, it all gets translated into sound by the speakers. The sound of speakers varies so widely, what sounds good to someone else may sound awful to you. I would buy just about any component by mail *except* speakers.

See ya
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