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2.1 vs. 2.0 PC Speakers Comparison

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Ok, guys a new topic. I think we had "Five 2.1 Speaker Comparison" from Tom'sharware recently. Now they have come up with "Four 2.0 Speaker Comparison".

Tom'sHardware Link : Four 2.0 Speaker Comparison

The contenders are:
1) Altec Lansing Expressionist Bass FX3022 ($105)
2) Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 ($500)
3) Creative Gigaworks T40 Series II ($150)
4) M-Audio ($180)

Altec Lansing Expressionist Bass FX3022 


Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 


Creative Gigaworks T40 Series II


M-Audio 


Tom'sHarware subjective quotes:

Altec Lansing Expressionist Bass FX3022: "My first impression of the Expressionist Bass FX3022 speakers is that they sound very good. Careful listening suggests that the high end of the spectrum is probably overemphasized. The frequency response suggests a sharp peak at 15 kHz, but these speakers sound like they’re enhancing the upper range more than the chart suggests. People tend to like this sort of sound, since it sounds less muddled to many folks. While audio enthusiasts might not appreciate this effect, I admit I like FX3022's output. Despite an unquestionable emphasis on the highs, music and games have a surprisingly notable bass presence, too.

On the negative side, these speakers lack a feeling of strong, sub-bass power. Because of this, game explosions and noises don’t have the punch I’d like to feel. Aside from this there’s not much to complain about, except for those '+' and '-' volume button controls. Our biggest concern here doesn't involve the FX3022's sound, but the set's lack of headphone output. Nevertheless, for the $105 purchase price (the lowest in our two-channel speaker roundup), there’s undeniable value here. We have no problem recommending the Altec Lansing Expressionist Bass FX3022 to people who want great sound reproduction on a $100 budget."

Bowers & Wilkins MM-1: "The Bowers & Wilkins MM-1s have good depth, great presence, and impeccable highs. The frequency is the flattest of the four speaker systems we’ve tried overall, when you consider the sub-bass range.

There’s only one thing missing, and that’s a dip in the audible bass spectrum. As a result, important bass and rhythm notes are noticeably muted in music, and game explosions don’t deliver a solid punch. Yes, the MM-1s boast amazing build quality, a full-function remote, and an integrated DAC. The USB audio functionality is unique in our roundup and certainly offers advantages, especially for folks who want to use the speakers on a system with lesser-quality audio hardware. But the $499.95 price tag demands solid fundamentals, and without them, the MM-1s are a hard sell, even to elitist audiophiles who might otherwise swear by the Bowers & Wilkins brand."

Creative Gigaworks T40 Series II: "Creative’s Gigaworks T40 Series II has a good, even sound. It tends to perform well with hard-hitting rock and dance music, and is a great gaming companion with good bass and detail. What’s great is that you can trim treble and bass to taste with the best controls available in the test group.

Our only complaint is the speakers’ lack of real sub-bass punch—probably due to the plentiful but relatively small 2.5” drivers—and because of this some music will feel stronger than other selections. But the result isn't bad, and on the whole these speakers sound quite good. They look great, especially with the speaker grilles removed and the orange drivers shown off in all of their 2.5" glory. The $149.99 price tag is high compared to the Altec Lansing FX3022 speakers and quite close to the M-Audio AV 40s, so you should take a close look at the competition before making a decision. Creative’s Gigaworks T40 Series II speakers are certain to appeal to some tastes, though."

M-Audio Studiophile AV 40: "The M-Audio Studiophile AV 40s do what reference speakers should: they sound rich and solid, without too much bass or much high-end boost. According to our ears, they offer the flattest and most accurate response in our test group, even if the MM-1s show a flatter sub-bass curve in frequency response tests. Put simply, the AV 40 is the best-sounding system in our test group and probably the best two-channel system we’ve ever heard.

What’s the downside? I suppose some people might not find the traditional look appealing, but that’s subjective at best. Our main concern is the size and price. The AV 40s are quite large and heavy, and one of the strengths of a two-channel PC speaker system should be how easily it fits on a desk. For the $179.99 price tag, you could purchase a 2.1-channel config with smaller satellites for the desktop and a nice bass-emphasizing subwoofer hidden inconspicuously. To be fair, professionals would likely put the AV 40s on speaker stands behind the desk where they belong, so this might not be a fair complaint. But this is a consumer-level review and it has to be mentioned. Aside from this, the AV 40s offer indisputable sound quality and pro-level connectivity options that make them an attractive product for enthusiasts."

It seems from their review M-Audio AV 40 is the clear winner.

But after reading the final note of the review below:

"A Final Note 

The price spread between premium two-channel and 2.1-channel products is not much at all, yet a subwoofer can add a lot of bass presence. With very good 2.1-channel PC speaker systems starting in the $150 range, you really need to define your PC audio goals to understand which product is right for you. Are size and convenience your primary concerns, or can you you can spare the space and love your bass? Whatever you choose, you should try these options out at a local electronics outlet before you commit to a purchase."

Considering the price of some good 2.1 PC speakers:
1) Corsair SP2500 ($260)
2) Klipsch Promedia 2.1 ($120)
3) Logitech Z623 ($140)
4) Logitech Z2300 ($110)

The question generally arises that if a person have $200 to spend on PC speakers which way will he/ she go. Buy 2.0 or 2.1? Performance wise which one will be better?

Looking at the audio frequency graphs of below:

2.0 Speakers



2.1 Speakers



In terms of performance I do not see a hell a heaven difference between the 2.0 & 2.1 in midrange & high frequencies. Though 2.1 with dedicated subwoofer seems to excel in the bass department. But maybe I am omitting something.

I would love if some light is shown on this subject.

post #2 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by RishiGuru View Post

In terms of performance I do not see a hell a heaven difference between the 2.0 & 2.1 in midrange & high frequencies. Though 2.1 with dedicated subwoofer seems to excel in the bass department. But maybe I am omitting something.
 


Just because two sets of speakers can hit the same freqs, doesnt mean the sound quality is the same

post #3 of 21

The general thing to remember with 2.0 vs 2.1 is that for the same price you're paying for 2 bits of equipment v.s. 3 and so quality wise the 2.0 should usually be better. However the other general thing is that bookshelf speakers/nearfield monitors won't give you the same low end because there's no way something that small can push the same amount of air as a hefty sub.

 

I always think it's better to get some decent 2.0s, which will usually be perfectly adequate for music, and then think about adding a sub further down the line if you find yourself wanting to feel the bass more, which may well be the case if you game or watch films where you often get low frequency effects that go deeper than basslines in music and stuff like that. It's a more sensible upgrade path than just getting some 2.1s and after the novelty of the boom boom bass wears off you find yourself wanting to get a whole new kit.

 

The other thing to consider is whether you're going to be in a position to use a sub properly. I've seen way too many threads on forums where people can't use a sub because of flatmates/neighbours e.t.c. Little point going 2.1 if you're going to have to turn the box on the floor down all the time.

 

I just ordered those Creative Gigaworks T40 IIs for my mum actually lol, she had a 2.1 set up in the kitchen for her Creative Zen but the sub is rather large and gets in the way, and the sub tends to travel through everything. Convinced her to eBay them and get those instead.

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThumperSD View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by RishiGuru View Post

In terms of performance I do not see a hell a heaven difference between the 2.0 & 2.1 in midrange & high frequencies. Though 2.1 with dedicated subwoofer seems to excel in the bass department. But maybe I am omitting something.
 


Just because two sets of speakers can hit the same freqs, doesnt mean the sound quality is the same

 


Absolutely right. Let me give an example:
 
1) A person upgraded from his $25 2.0 speaker set to the Klipsch Promedia. Being a member of this forum he posts: "The best PC speakers in the world. It is going to blow all its opposition to heaven in terms of performance." 
 
2) An audiophile bought the Klipsch Promedia for his eight year old son. Being a member of this forum he posts: "Good speakers for eight year olds. But not for us. My $12,000 JBL Gotham subwoofer will produce bass that will come like a hurricane & blow the Promedia fart boxes to the heaven."
 
Now it is you to judge. I think price/ performance ratio gives the best indication of a speaker system's performance.
 
My personal preference is to buy the M-Audio AV 40 first & latter add a sub with it.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

     Quote:

Originally Posted by Somnambulist View Post

The general thing to remember with 2.0 vs 2.1 is that for the same price you're paying for 2 bits of equipment v.s. 3 and so quality wise the 2.0 should usually be better.

 

Absolutely right. A 2.0 costing the same as a 2.1 will have better quality components.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Somnambulist View Post

However the other general thing is that bookshelf speakers/nearfield monitors won't give you the same low end because there's no way something that small can push the same amount of air as a hefty sub.

 

 

Spot on.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Somnambulist View Post

I always think it's better to get some decent 2.0s, which will usually be perfectly adequate for music, and then think about adding a sub further down the line if you find yourself wanting to feel the bass more, which may well be the case if you game or watch films where you often get low frequency effects that go deeper than basslines in music and stuff like that. It's a more sensible upgrade path than just getting some 2.1s and after the novelty of the boom boom bass wears off you find yourself wanting to get a whole new kit.

 

     I also follow the same route.

 

Note: I did like all your comments regarding the subject. You seem to be one of those rare ones who not only provide his/her views but also draws a conclusion that is at least justifiable. Thanks for your contribution.

post #6 of 21

Hey guys, I am after a set of computer speakers that have really solid, deep bass and sharp, clear highs. I have max budget limit $250 - I just want the best. I am willing to consider any brand from any store. A 5.1 system would be overkill for me because It must go on the desk of my computer, not mounted around, and I would have nowhere to put the additional speakers. Corsair SP2500 seems to be a good bet since I prefer games over music. Any other suggestions?

 

Thanks, adcom268

 

post #7 of 21

It's too bad they turned the bass up to the max for the tests. It would have been more useful if they tested them at their flattest response, whatever that would be.

 

Edit: ...but then you have to consider the intended market of these speakers...

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by RishiGuru View Post

     Quote:

Originally Posted by Somnambulist View Post

The general thing to remember with 2.0 vs 2.1 is that for the same price you're paying for 2 bits of equipment v.s. 3 and so quality wise the 2.0 should usually be better.

 

Absolutely right. A 2.0 costing the same as a 2.1 will have better quality components.

Thats not aways the case, take the audio engine a2 & a5 search around here and google you will find there amps go faulty and start to buzz , the m-audio av40's have realibity problems aswell,

If you compare a high-end 2.1 to a 2.0 low-end studio moniters then the moniters do have better soundquality and often use better drivers but that doesn't mean every single component is of better quality, also you have to consider manufactures profit magins, a manufacture of a 2.0 set may use cheap components and mark up the price, while a manufacture of a 2.1 set may use better quality components and not mark up the price so much, you can't just say every 2.0 set is better than every similar priced 2.1 set.

A 2.0 is more likely to have better components , yes.

 

 

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by RishiGuru View Post


Quote:
Originally Posted by ThumperSD View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by RishiGuru View Post

In terms of performance I do not see a hell a heaven difference between the 2.0 & 2.1 in midrange & high frequencies. Though 2.1 with dedicated subwoofer seems to excel in the bass department. But maybe I am omitting something.
 


Just because two sets of speakers can hit the same freqs, doesnt mean the sound quality is the same

 


Absolutely right. Let me give an example:
 
1) A person upgraded from his $25 2.0 speaker set to the Klipsch Promedia. Being a member of this forum he posts: "The best PC speakers in the world. It is going to blow all its opposition to heaven in terms of performance." 
 
2) An audiophile bought the Klipsch Promedia for his eight year old son. Being a member of this forum he posts: "Good speakers for eight year olds. But not for us. My $12,000 JBL Gotham subwoofer will produce bass that will come like a hurricane & blow the Promedia fart boxes to the heaven."
 
Now it is you to judge. I think price/ performance ratio gives the best indication of a speaker system's performance.
 
My personal preference is to buy the M-Audio AV 40 first & latter add a sub with it.


 

Your second example just highlights the snobbery of some people round here , like me saying my 1million+ bugatti veyron super sport , it faster than your 10grand fiat panda , whats the point in saying that other than showing off? .

It is also possible for cheaper speakers to perform better than higher priced speakers , it depends on the manufacture, there profit margins etc, i could make a set of speakers from £10 worth of parts , badly quickly construct them and then sell them for 1million , they won't even be likely to out perform a £5 set of speakers from a good manufacture.

When buying speakers listen to them if you can , otherwise take time to read as many reviews as possible etc, rather than just throwing money around.


  Quote:

Originally Posted by RishiGuru View Post

     Quote:

Originally Posted by Somnambulist View Post

The general thing to remember with 2.0 vs 2.1 is that for the same price you're paying for 2 bits of equipment v.s. 3 and so quality wise the 2.0 should usually be better.

 Absolutely right. A 2.0 costing the same as a 2.1 will have better quality components.

 

Thats not aways the case, take the audio engine a2 & a5 search around here and google you will find there amps go faulty and start to buzz , the m-audio av40's have realibity problems aswell,

If you compare a high-end 2.1 to a 2.0 low-end studio moniters then the moniters do have better soundquality and often use better drivers but that doesn't mean every single component is of better quality, also you have to consider manufactures profit magins, a manufacture of a 2.0 set may use cheap components and mark up the price, while a manufacture of a 2.1 set may use better quality components and not mark up the price so much, you can't just say every 2.0 set is better than every similar priced 2.1 set.

A 2.0 is more likely to have better components , yes. 

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

     Quote:

Originally Posted by JRG1990 View Post

 

Your second example just highlights the snobbery of some people round here , like me saying my 1million+ bugatti veyron super sport , it faster than your 10grand fiat panda , whats the point in saying that other than showing off? .

It is also possible for cheaper speakers to perform better than higher priced speakers , it depends on the manufacture, there profit margins etc, i could make a set of speakers from £10 worth of parts , badly quickly construct them and then sell them for 1million , they won't even be likely to out perform a £5 set of speakers from a good manufacture.

When buying speakers listen to them if you can , otherwise take time to read as many reviews as possible etc, rather than just throwing money around.

 

 

 

Actually there are some members is every audio forum who are gonna say:

 

"My system will blow yours to heaven"

or

"I am right & you are wrong"

or

"Your system is a crap"

or

"Blow your shit out of the water"

or
"get used to the fuzzy feeling after a while, or you'll go jump off a building"

 

I never answer to them cause I think they lack the basic knowledge or intellect to understand what I am trying to say. Also a truely knowledgeable person will never speak like that. I avoid them as much as possible.

 

I completely agree with you in that impulse buying is the worst case scenario for judging a audio system. Quote:

 

Originally Posted by JRG1990 View Post

 

Thats not aways the case, take the audio engine a2 & a5 search around here and google you will find there amps go faulty and start to buzz , the m-audio av40's have realibity problems aswell,

If you compare a high-end 2.1 to a 2.0 low-end studio moniters then the moniters do have better soundquality and often use better drivers but that doesn't mean every single component is of better quality, also you have to consider manufactures profit magins, a manufacture of a 2.0 set may use cheap components and mark up the price, while a manufacture of a 2.1 set may use better quality components and not mark up the price so much, you can't just say every 2.0 set is better than every similar priced 2.1 set.

A 2.0 is more likely to have better components , yes.

 

I have heard about those problems about AE2 & AE5. My AE5 is going strong though. Hope it lasts. 

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JRG1990 View Post

 

Thats not aways the case, take the audio engine a2 & a5 search around here and google you will find there amps go faulty and start to buzz , the m-audio av40's have realibity problems aswell,

If you compare a high-end 2.1 to a 2.0 low-end studio moniters then the moniters do have better soundquality and often use better drivers but that doesn't mean every single component is of better quality, also you have to consider manufactures profit magins, a manufacture of a 2.0 set may use cheap components and mark up the price, while a manufacture of a 2.1 set may use better quality components and not mark up the price so much, you can't just say every 2.0 set is better than every similar priced 2.1 set.

A 2.0 is more likely to have better components , yes.

 

 

M-Audio AV-40 is what I call JUST OK monitors. M-Audio charges a lot($150) for what they are really worth of. I will compare with my Z-2300($110) to order to provide a clear picture.
 
Take the example of the power output claim. M-Audio says a "continuous power" of 20 watts per channel which brings to 40 watts for a pair.
 
Dismantling the AV-40, I found a bog standard EI transformer rated at 14V X 2, 1.4A i.e. 39VA. In contrast Z-2300 uses an expensive toroidal transformer of 151VA costing 4x times that of AV-40 transformer.
 
A toroid have numerous advantages over EI type such as low weight, low hum, low noise and also being smaller in size than an equivalent EI type. 
 
I was also astounded that the transformer of AV-40 is so awfully close to the power amp board. In order to prevent magnetic interference from the transformer effecting the amplifier their is a divider made by thin soft iron plate section. This design is utterly crap since the intensity of the internal air flow formed under strong vibration may cause the this thin film to vibrate a cause noise. In addition, this iron plate has already started to rust. So much for quality components.
 
The ripple filter capacitors used in AV40 are made by "God Knows What" KSK brand of 4,700uF,35V. These KSK are famous for getting blown. The Z-2300 at-least uses a known name like SamXon or CapXon rated at 10,000uF, 35V. So the pair of ripple filters on Z-2300 cost 3x times of AV-40.
 
Since the AV-40 uses Class-AB power amps, the max these amplifiers will be able to produce is 39/1.27 ~= 30 watts for a pair. So, you have 15 watts of "continuous power" per channel.
 
Z-2300 also uses Class-AB power amps, the max these amplifiers will be able to produce is 151/1.27 ~= 120 watts. 76 watt goes to the sub & 22 watt to each of the sats.
 
With so less power on AV-40, you crank up the volume and the single ST Microelectronics TDA7265, 25 X 2 = 50W power amp being awfully limited by a sub standard 30 watt power supply gives up. Mind you those TDA7265 comes at $5.7 a piece.
 
Z-2300 have a pair of ST Microelectronics TDA7296 & a pair of ST Microelectronics TDA7295. That sums up to 60 X 2 + 80 X 2 = 280W being limited to 120 watt power supply. Cost of these four amps is over $21.
 
Z-2300 uses a costlier external heat sink, so all the heat from the power amps are radiated outside keeping the amplifier cool. The AV-40 uses an internal heat sink, so the heat remains inside the box causing rise of internal temperature. This shortens the life of the amplifier module. 
 
At least the Z-2300 have a potent amplifier using quality components which later can be used else were. On an average the Z-2300 amplifier is 4x costlier than AV-40 amp module.
 
I used to think that 2.0 monitors below $200 uses better quality components than an equivalently priced 2.1 system. Now after the DIY of AV-40, it seems that I was absolutely wrong. To me AV-40 is not even worth $75. But unfortunately the "M-Audio" name is all one needs to shell out $150.
post #12 of 21

RishiGuru 

 

We hear and feel the music , we dont apply maths and make calculations....

 

So tell us ,if u have heard both of them (i have questions about that) which u preferred and why... 

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 

Z-2300: Enjoying very good audio quality for the past six years. I have a feeling that my Z-2300 is going to last for another decade.

 

AV-40: My friend bought the AV-40. We really enjoyed these for the first 3 months. We enjoyed excellent audio quality minus low end bass. Amp blew within three months of moderate usage. Both the ripple filter capacitors are blown.

 

Current state:

 

Mine: I feel the music on my Z-2300.

 

My friend: Can feel nothing from the dead AV-40.   

post #14 of 21

Ha, very true guys!

 

But are you really debating which speakers to use, from a TOMS HARDWARE review of 'premium...speakers' that include Logitech, Altec Lansing, and Creative,

on HEAD-FI?! Please...

 

My 2p (a small english coin) is that a company such as Audioengine would produce much better speakers; mostly custom designed parts, handmade in-house? Yes please!

post #15 of 21
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