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£200/$320 (closer to $250 in terms of value) budget pc audio recommendations?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

so i want good sound for my pc, either 2.1 or 2.0 speakers that don't roll-off extremely at the bottom, with non-software volume control; space isn't a concern. uses are music, games, movies, with a preference for balanced sound that covers low lows and high highs... lol. currently my sound comes through an onboard alc892 - i was using a creative x-fi xtrememusic, but abandoned it after learning that non-native pci on socket 1155 potentially messes with hdds, usb, etc., and adds latency. while i don't claim to notice which is more accurate, the x-fi was definitely less hissy (even thought i heard crackling on the on-board once). if a nice setup requires a sound card, a recommendation on that would be nice - though it must be within budget and be pcie (no pci. and no usb either, since usb presumably also adds latency, and takes up a usb port!).

 

possibilities:

klipsch promedia 2.1 (hard to get in the uk, and recent models are deemed unreliable),

av40s+sub (cheap subs are hard to find in the uk, even if i did find one it wouldn't have volume controls),

audioengine a2s+sub (same cons as av40s),

pioneer bs21 or dayton b652 or SS-B1000 with a lepai 2020a+ or lepai t amp.

something like a logitech z623 (last resort!!)

 

are there any more? the lepai amp and speakers seems great but i can only get the amps easily. the speakers cost at least twice what americans pay due to customs taxes, delivery charges, and of course no sales for $50; effectively i'd pay $120-150 if i could even find them. by alternatives i mean wholly other choices, or even alternative speakers for the lepai setup. as i say you could even spec me $120-150 speakers to pair with the lepai since that's what i'd pay anyway, and hopefully some of the ones you recommend are sold locally.

 

from what i gather the lepai amp with bookshelf speakers don't need a sub, sound the best, are cheapest, and have external sound controls. so assuming i find cheap and/or good bookshelf speakers, i'd be taking this route. in that case should i go for the lp-2020a+ or ta-2020? the price difference is small enough to ignore if there's even the slightest improvement on the more expensive ta-2020. would i need extra cables? a receiver (not sure what that is)? finally, would i need a sound card, or will the lepai amp do? the other choices would obviously need a sound card, but i don't know if i'd need one for this - maybe just to avoid any possible crackling or hissing?

 

would be grateful for any input. thanks for your patience.


Edited by dukeReinhardt - 11/7/12 at 2:44pm
post #2 of 10

The Lepai t-amps work quite well for the price. 

 

Instead of people here suggesting speakers and guessing what you might have locally, see what you can find in your price range. List half a dozen, and I'm sure one or more will stand out. 

 

For low budget PCI-E sound cards that can improve over motherboard audio, look at the Asus Xonar DGX or DSX.  

post #3 of 10

Hmm  if for nearfield and the UK i would really try fishing great speaker bargains on places like Gumtree UK darthsmile.gif And yes : TA2020 drives many Brit speakers (Tannoy, Mission, Whafedale, etc) sweetly for near field and u dun need to compromise/settle for badly built/muddy sounding pc/multimedia stuff deadhorse.gif

 

Actually in the used market vintage/classic amps are always gems waiting to be found..like a NAD 3020 for 20-30 quid for example ^^

 

Edit : Monitor Audio Bronze B1 50 quid

http://www.gumtree.com/p/for-sale/speakers/1002755179

Some of our forum members take

http://www.head-fi.org/t/169580/monitor-audio-bronze-b1-owners-out-there


Edited by trog - 11/8/12 at 12:49am
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

thanks for the replies guys. i should have updated to say what i've been up to, but been pretty busy with essaaays (uni!) and occasional speaker browsing procrastination

 

cel4145, that is a good point. it does make a lot more sense for me to find what i have around me! so i've actually looked around a bit. firstly, i realised amp plus speakers would still need a sub, and that the mentioned speakers+ta2020a+ are a taad low end. instead i've looked on ebay like trog said (thanks a bunch for the names!), and found what seems to be a fitting and not-too shabby pair - b&w dm601 s2? hoping for 80-100 for when that auction ends.

 

i also realised i'm either gonna get new powered monitors, or used amp+speakers. if all goes well though, those b&w should be mine. i will be listening nearfield, but if i can get good speakers for cheaps then i can just... move away from my desk a bit!

 

sound cards. i'm going full ocd on this one and i don't want either pci or usb. now i've added another requirement... the card has to be native pcie. so titanium hd or... well that's pretty much almost it. sadly missed a great deal on those (80 new from pc world, clearance sale), but can always wait.

 

in the meantime there is still something i need help with - when searching for amps, what on earth am i looking for? i found out i should search for "integrated amplifier", but other than that i've not a clue what i'm looking at in terms of quality or specs. also with used speakers is there an issue of "dried out ferrofluid" or some such hocus pocus?

 

thanks again!

post #5 of 10

I use to own B&W 601 S1s. Nice speakers.  A little light in mid-bass response compared to other 6.5" driver speakers (they need a sub crossed over at 70 to 80 hz), but they have a very sweet mid range and treble sound. Very polite highs. You can always compensate for the mid-bass with a sub later on if you want. In the US, the B&W 601 S2s tend to sell more around the mid $200 range. 

 

Then you could pick up a used receiver to go with them. Lot of people are dumping non-HDMI AVRs at low cost. 

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Oh you owned them? Thanks for the review :p. Yeah, it would defo be a neat deal if I win at the hoped for prices, though sub is probably out of my range... very sadly. I actually have one but don't think I need to ask if some lame 5" creative sub would ruin the sound -.-.

 

Ok I quickly googled receiver and it seems to be for if I wanted to expand from stereo, is that right? Well, does this mean integrated amps don't actually extend to 2.1, or were you thinking more in terms of 5.1 and beyond? Because a sub as i say, maybe I would consider, but 5.1 definitely not in the near future

post #7 of 10

Yep. Integrated amps don't do 2.1. And like I said, if you are trying to save money, AVRs are often a good deal right now because people are upgrading older models to get HDMI to connect to their TVs, etc. An AVR is a multi channel amp, but generally they can output 40 or 50% when used for 2 (or 2.1) channel stereo. Good models to look at are Onkyo, Marantz, Denon, HK, Pioneer, and Yamaha. And you still might be able to find a good deal on an HDMI model, too, because people are often upgrading to get the latest features. 

 

More modern AVRs that have optical connections (and/or HDMI) will generally have bass management. They often offer more crossover choice flexibility. If you use a sub without bass management, most of the crossovers on subs are only low pass filters. So you set the sub crossover where the speakers roll off on the bass end. Bass management is AVRs has a built in crossover for the sub, but it also has a high pass filter for the speakers. So the crossover can be set even higher than the natural roll off of your main speakers. 


Edited by cel4145 - 11/9/12 at 9:33am
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Yep. Integrated amps don't do 2.1. And like I said, if you are trying to save money, AVRs are often a good deal right now because people are upgrading older models to get HDMI to connect to their TVs, etc. An AVR is a multi channel amp, but generally they can output 40 or 50% when used for 2 (or 2.1) channel stereo. Good models to look at are Onkyo, Marantz, Denon, HK, Pioneer, and Yamaha. And you still might be able to find a good deal on an HDMI model, too, because people are often upgrading to get the latest features. 

 

More modern AVRs that have optical connections (and/or HDMI) will generally have bass management. They often offer more crossover choice flexibility. If you use a sub without bass management, most of the crossovers on subs are only low pass filters. So you set the sub crossover where the speakers roll off on the bass end. Bass management is AVRs has a built in crossover for the sub, but it also has a high pass filter for the speakers. So the crossover can be set even higher than the natural roll off of your main speakers.

 

oh right, thanks a lot for your continued help, those names are really helpful again. if i find what i think looks like a good deal i'll keep this thread updated. wish i had the money for a sub ha...

 

edit: lost my bid, and a friend has a spare amp and some nightclub loudspeakers. ld systems' sat62? would that be suitable at all for nearfield listening?


Edited by dukeReinhardt - 11/10/12 at 12:24pm
post #9 of 10

I'm selling my Klipsch Audio iFi speaker system, which was said to be the best 2.1 system ever made for an iPod or computer (works with both, has an iPod dock).  I'd like to get $350, but would settle for $320 if you're interested.

 

 

Let me know!

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

thanks for the offer but i think i'm quite interested in the bookshelf idea ^^. i'm in the uk anyway, so probably not very practical

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