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Need help choosing the best speakers for desktop PC (A5, A5+, M200MkII, M200MkIII) + a few questions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'm building a new desktop PC and am looking for high quality speakers to replace the old Logitech Z4s that I've been using for the past 5 and a half years.  After doing a fair amount of research I've found the Audioengine A5 and Swan M200 to be the two most frequently recommended computer speakers for under $500, but I'm still having a hard time deciding which to get and if the newer versions are worth the extra money.

 

Right now these are the four I'm looking at:

 

 

My questions:

 

  1. Is there a clear winner out of these, or do they all perform similarly enough that it wouldn't make much of a difference which I chose?
  2. Is the Audioengine A5+ worth the extra $100.00 over the Audioengine A5?  What exactly is the difference, other than the A5+ being newer?
  3. Likewise, is the M200MkIII worth the extra $150.00 over the M200MkII, plus the time waiting however long until they come back in stock?  How noticeable of a difference is there between the two?
  4. How necessary is a subwoofer with any of these speakers?  And (forgive me if this is a dumb question) would I be able to hook up the subwoofer from my old Logitech Z4s to work with these?
  5. My new PC will be using an Asus P9X79 WS motherboard.  Given the audio specs of that motherboard, would there be any significant advantage of purchasing an additional sound card for use with my speakers and headphones (Audio-Technica ATH-M50s) or would I be just as good going with the onboard sound?
  6. Right now both my speakers and headphones are connected to an ART HeadAmp4 Four Channel Stereo Headphone Amp which is connected to my Xonar DG sound card in my old computer.  Assuming I stick with the P9X79 WS for my onboard sound in the new computer, what would be the best way to connect the speakers and headphones?  Simply connecting them to the standard audio jacks in the motherboard with the supplied cables, connecting them to the HeadAmp4 Amplifier which would connect to the motherboard or using something like the Audioengine D1 DAC?  I've seen lots of posts recommending the D1 DAC but I don't know if it would be necessary or how much benefit it would offer me when paired with my motherboard, headphones and any of the above speakers.

 

Sorry about the noob-ish questions, still pretty new to all this so any help is much appreciated.  Thanks in advance!


Edited by dorsia - 9/9/12 at 12:55pm
post #2 of 9

My two cents

Speaker wise, I would say to go for for the older model(s), chances are they are discounted to sell them off to make way for the newer model(s).

Chances are the new model(s) are selling at full retail price just because they are "new", I'm sure their true value (price drop) will come out after the new-ness has gone away.

So chances are the new models are not worth the current price difference.

Which of the two to pick Audioengine or Swan, I have on idea.

I would say to forget trying to add a sub-woofer, computer audio does not come with a 3-channel audio setting (2-speakers and 1 sub-woofer).

The cheapest decent sub-woofer is the Velodyne VX-11, $170

It would be easier to buy a receiver (with optical input) with two unpowered speakers and a separate sub-woofer (you might find a good deal on Craigslist for used stuff).

You could try installing the Xonar DG into the new computer and hooking the Audioengine D1 DAC (using optical) to the Xonar DG's optical output.

I would say to upgrade your headphones before buying the Audioengine anyway.

You can always just use the Xonar DG/ATH-M50 combo for now, gives you time to look for good deals on better headphones.

post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
It would be easier to buy a receiver (with optical input) with two unpowered speakers and a separate sub-woofer (you might find a good deal on Craigslist for used stuff).

 

I recommend going this route. That's what I did about five years ago when I got rid of my Klipsch Promedia 2.1 setup.  The Energy RC-10s from Vanns are a good deal. Pair them with a used receiver off of Craigslist, and you'll be good to go. 

post #4 of 9

I dont see anything in the specs that makes the A5+ worth 100 more, the swans mkIIs and IIIs use active crossovers I believe if so I would go with those over the others.
 

post #5 of 9

I had agonized over the same situation for years. I was using Klipsch iFi speakers (designed as an iPod dock, but they make wonderful computer speakers, albeit mid-fi). The Klipschies sounded nicer than pretty much any computer speakers on the market, but are unfortunately kind of fragile. 

I moved to a set of Polk Audio Monitor 30 speakers (off Craigslist) and a Polk powered subwoofer with a used Denon AVR-1400 receiver. This setup costs me less than $200 which is what I got the iFi speakers at on closeout. Going with an amp and regular stereo speakers seems to be the route I should have taken a long time ago.

post #6 of 9

I'm actually about to switch from my Swans MK200MKii to a receiver and bookshelf speaker system and a sub (b&w 686b and bic america f12).  

 

If you are interested in the mk200s, I can tell you that they sound excellent (just spread them apart about 4-5 feet). It is a huge difference from 3 feet apart.  The bass definitely is lacking on these though which is one of the big reasons why i'm moving away from them.  

320 for mk200s sound high though.  I bought mine 3 or 4 years ago and paid 250 (IIRC).  I don't remember the site though.

 

I definitely don't regret buying the mk200s, however if I had to do it again, and I had the funds for a full system, I would go with the receiver option.

post #7 of 9

What about the Emotiva Pro Airmotiv 4?

post #8 of 9

Frankly just get the Airmotiv 4 or if you can find, a prodipe ribbon 8 or something like that. All speakers around this range are the same, you get the some 6 inch or so kevlar/plastic woofer with a 1" silk tweeter. Only stuff that stands out is ribbons or the heil coil driver which are supposed to have better extension and speed. Hell my speakers are like what, 100 bucks and they come with the standard offerings already. What is more important is how your speakers are placed and whether you know how to EQ them to sound better.


Edited by firev1 - 9/13/12 at 11:21am
post #9 of 9

Quote:
Originally Posted by dorsia View Post

I'm building a new desktop PC and am looking for high quality speakers to replace the old Logitech Z4s that I've been using for the past 5 and a half years.  After doing a fair amount of research I've found the Audioengine A5 and Swan M200 to be the two most frequently recommended computer speakers for under $500, but I'm still having a hard time deciding which to get and if the newer versions are worth the extra money.

 

Right now these are the four I'm looking at:

 

I'm going to tip my hat to the Swan M200MkIII. Reason being? The M200MkIII is actually comparable to the top-of-the-line Swan T200b.

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