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Powered Speakers for computer office setup, low volume listening (Adam a5x, swan m200mkiii?)

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Looking for some speakers to hook up to my desktop / computer setup.  I have great headphones, but sometimes I need some speakers for it.

 

It's my home office, and I tend to work / listen at night when my girls our in bed / asleep, so I need to keep the volume relatively low, so I'm looking for a set of speakers that work well at low volumes.

 

From my readings, the Adam A5x and Swan m200MkIII seem to do really well for a lot of people, but I hadn't seen much reference to their abilities at low volumes.

 

The room I'm listening in is also quite small (probably about 10 x 10 or so)

 

I like a lot of detail and seem to like fairly neutral setups with maybe a hint of extra bass (my favorite iems to date are Miracles > Klipsch x10 > hf3)

 

On the desk, I have a pretty decent preamp and a really nice dac hooked up balanced. The pre has both balanced and rca outputs, as does the dac, although my thoughts were to run through the preamp to the powered speakers, and use the volume control on the pre.

 

Edit:

 

Forgot to mention that I have a fabulous floor setup that I can almost never use now due to the little ones, so I really don't ever see the need to have a system for the office that needs to expand for room filling, or anything other than near field listening at lower volumes


Edited by ronrad - 12/28/11 at 9:46am
post #2 of 27

My own PC room is slightly larger and a T-amp paired with decently efficient passive bookshelf speakers churn out excellent SQ whilst being lite on the wallet hehe

post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by trog View Post

My own PC room is slightly larger and a T-amp paired with decently efficient passive bookshelf speakers churn out excellent SQ whilst being lite on the wallet hehe



Yeah, I'm short on space for the amp in the computer room, so was looking to avoid that route.  (I have my Dac and Pre on the desk as my monitor stand, but another piece would pick it up too high)    

 

I just picked up the Adam A3X from Guitar Center to try, and have them setup.  I like the sound even better at home than I did in the store.  (although the a5x were definitely a lot nicer in the store than the a3x, and I have no doubts, that at home it also would be substantially nicer.  However I had spaced on the pricing per single instead of a pair so figured the a3 was worth a try at home to see if that was enough.  To my surprise, listening at home, I'm really impressed by the a3)  I listen to a lot of guitar and other mid - treble based music, and the ribbon tweeter does an awesome job on that.

 

Not sure I will actually be able to use them for most of the time though.  If I get too far down on volume the bass thins out too much :(  And I pretty much have to get there to keep from waking up the young ones.

 

post #4 of 27

i can tell you that the Swans M200 MKIII performs outstandingly good at low volumes. Because I bought the speakers to be used for low volumes. Even though the Swans has plenty of power and could easily fill the room with music at around 10-11oclock volume, you will be surprised how well it sounds at around 9oclock (which i am using most of the time right now) I tend to listen to music at night since people are asleep around 10pm so its impossible for me to turn it up. But i do have to agree with you, at low volumes the bass basically thins out and disappears but after adding in the Auralex Mopads, it made everything clear and stood out. Now i just love listening to my Swans day or night, doesnt matter what the volume is.

post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 

Sounds like the mopads are a good investment.  I was noticing yesterday that on my desk the speakers were a lot boomier than in the store.

 

Hmm.  Choices choices.  I'm trying to decide now whether I should audition a pair of swans to compare for the inhome.  I'm pretty darn happy with the adams, but the t200 and m40 mk iii also look like good options.   The t200 is comparable to the a3x in price, the m40 is cheaper.  The a5 is a few more bucks yet.  Hmm.  Too many choices :(

 

I'm half tempted to just go down and grab the a5x and be done, however, if the t200 are comparable at a better price, then it would be foolish not to try.

 

So, looking at the mkiii vs the t200b according to reviews the mkiii is biamped and active crossover, but I'm not sure about the t200b and the page on audio insider isn't clear.  Anyone have the info on that?

post #6 of 27

dont know the specs on the T200B, but i've auditioned both MK200 MKIII and T200B. T200B is far more superior since it is Swans reference monitors. However in the end, i chose MKIII because it was more musical, matched my music library more and the ability to adjust treble, bass which i thought was quite handy. But as for sound quality, t200b is much better in all aspects, its along the lines of studio monitors where the sound signature is as neutral and flat as possible. MKIII is more coloured in a sense. If you're thinking about A5X, forget it because i can tell you that the T200B sounds and performs better than the A7x.

 

Adams and Swans are great choices either way, adams more geared to flat and neutrality. T200B runs a long those lines. If you want something relaxing, musical and fun, M200 MKIII for sure. If you really compare specific music genres, MKIII sounds best for guitars. Adams and T200B are way more superior for Classical, piano, orchestral type.

post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 

I really like detail clarity and imaging, most of the must is vocals, guitar, flute and a few others along those lines.   Once in a while jazz, flamenco, and electronica for background listening.

 

Hmm.  Sounds like I should try the MKIII first as a comparison.  

post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tip on the Auralex Mopads.  They made a huge difference setting up on my desk.   

 

Also have a set of T200Bs on order, so can't wait to compare them.  Also,I'm assuming you compared the Swans and the Adams on your AudioGD?  I've noticed that as expected, the Adams are super sensitive to my source. They sound reasonable out of my Android with an unbalanced connected, but way better with my desktop setup.  Also, the difference is even more noticeable between Pandora high quality and my flacs than it is with my headphones.

 

I spoke with the folks at AudioInsider today for a fair length of time.  Seemed like very good people, and he steered me towards the 200b.  He was also trying to steer me towards the Dana passive setup, and thought that with the right amp that would have better sound quality yet than the t200b, but I think I'll stick with trying the actives.  


Edited by ronrad - 12/29/11 at 9:45pm
post #9 of 27

If you put a speaker on the desktop you might get a booming bass because of:

post #10 of 27

thats great, let us know on your impression with the t200b. I tested everything with my desktop equipment and they do sound much better with better dacs and cables.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronrad View Post

Thanks for the tip on the Auralex Mopads.  They made a huge difference setting up on my desk.   

 

Also have a set of T200Bs on order, so can't wait to compare them.  Also,I'm assuming you compared the Swans and the Adams on your AudioGD?  I've noticed that as expected, the Adams are super sensitive to my source. They sound reasonable out of my Android with an unbalanced connected, but way better with my desktop setup.  Also, the difference is even more noticeable between Pandora high quality and my flacs than it is with my headphones.

 

I spoke with the folks at AudioInsider today for a fair length of time.  Seemed like very good people, and he steered me towards the 200b.  He was also trying to steer me towards the Dana passive setup, and thought that with the right amp that would have better sound quality yet than the t200b, but I think I'll stick with trying the actives.  



 

post #11 of 27

the Auralex Mopads can solve both Resonance and Reflection since they provide the capability of both isolating and tilting the monitors. Extremely useful product.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roseval View Post

If you put a speaker on the desktop you might get a booming bass because of:



 

post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 

Well, the Swan t200bs showed up today.  I also went back to GuitarCenter and switched the A3x for A5x so I'm now comparing the t200bs and the A5x.  While I think that all three are great speakers, I definitely found the A5s to be a nice step up from the A3s. Clearer, better details, and better bass. 

 

Choosing between the Swans and the A5x is going to be tough though.  Time to let the Swans burn in and then I need to figure out how to do a decent a/b between the Swans and the A5s!


Edited by ronrad - 1/5/12 at 1:54am
post #13 of 27

thats good, cant wait to hear your impression especially now its the A5x vs. T200B
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronrad View Post

Well, the Swan t200bs showed up today.  I also went back to GuitarCenter and switched the A3x for A5x so I'm now comparing the t200bs and the A5x.  While I think that all three are great speakers, I definitely found the A5s to be a nice step up from the A3s. Clearer, better details, and better bass. 

 

Choosing between the Swans and the A5x is going to be tough though.  Time to let the Swans burn in and then I need to figure out how to do a decent a/b between the Swans and the A5s!



 

post #14 of 27

Interested in the A5X vs. T200B shootout as well. As an aside, I went with the ADAM ARTist 5 over the A5X. Richer, smoother midrange and tighter bass (thanks in no small part to a redesigned cabinet and a smaller rear port) with all the upper details you would expect from the X-ART. 

post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 

The A5x was definitely stretching the budget already for where I wanted to go, so the Artist 5 were definitely out for me!  So far I think I'm liking the A5X better than the t200, but waiting for full break in before I start comparing seriously

 

The A5X definitely seem to be able to kick sound around the house a lot better though. The extra power in the amps probably helps there!  (I've been having both sets up as loud as I can get away with doing burn in while nobody is home)

 

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