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Best 2.1 Speaker System for Under $100

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, I would greatly appreciate some of your expertise in making my decision.

 

I'm a college student and I wanna buy a 2.1 system for under $100 that has clear sound, solid bass, and is basically a bang for it's buck. I've been doing a lot of research on this forum and over the web and I discovered this little guide:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57439115-47/build-your-own-desktop-stereo-for-under-$70/

 

This setup or similar setups have gotten a lot of good reviews but I'm not very good with wiring and I'm not sure if the bass is that good since there's no sub. So I was wondering, is that really the best overall sound I can get for my price range? Is there a solid 2.1 system that I can just buy and setup easily that can match the sound quality provided there?

 

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/2.1+Computer+Speaker+System+(3-Piece)/9402185.p?id=1218100580401&skuId=9402185&st=2.1%20speakers&cp=1&lp=4

This has some good reviews and fits my price range, but I really don't know how good. I understand that I'm not going to get anything crazy for under $100 but there's gotta be something out there that's good enough and I just can't tell from reading specs...I feel like I have to listen to these in person, which is why I'd rather trust you guys since you guys really know what you're talking about.

 

So please let me know if that Cnet article is really the best I can do, and even if it is, please link me to some good 2.1 stereo systems that could be good enough if I decide not to deal with setting up the amp with the speakers (I must sound like such a noob not knowing how to set those up and trying to avoid it lol).

 

For what it's worth, I just bought the JBL Flip and was severely disappointed. I mean, for the price and size, the speaker is great, but judging from the reviews, I was expecting something with deeper base (foolish now to expect that in hindsight given the size) and clearer sound in general.

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 25

For a 2.1 speaker set and keeping the price under $100

Best might be to get a used (off eBay) Klipsch Pro Media 2.1

post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by propet View Post

Hey guys, I would greatly appreciate some of your expertise in making my decision.

I'm a college student and I wanna buy a 2.1 system for under $100 that has clear sound, solid bass, and is basically a bang for it's buck. I've been doing a lot of research on this forum and over the web and I discovered this little guide:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57439115-47/build-your-own-desktop-stereo-for-under-$70/

This setup or similar setups have gotten a lot of good reviews but I'm not very good with wiring . . .

If you made it into college, you can learn how to hook up something like this. It's not rocket science. It's one cable and two speaker wires. Get a friend to help smily_headphones1.gif

I don't know how to get "clear sound, solid bass" for $100. If you can find the Promedia 2.1 set for $100 as PurpleAngel suggested, that's very good for the price. But better would be to get the above setup and save for a sub to add later on.
post #4 of 25

Heya,

 

Please read this before you waste your money and your audio experience on bullcrap 2.1 computer-box tweeter systems.

 

The Klipsch Promedia 2.1 is nonsense if you're wanting an actual speaker setup. That subwoofer is NOT a subwoofer. It's just a woofer. It's a 6.5" woofer. That's a mid driver in a speaker. Not a sub. And those little speakers are tweeters. So if you buy that 2.1 system, you're not getting a 2.1 system. You're getting two tweeters and a single 6.5" woofer mid speaker. Just separated up. This is nonsense. Seriously. It's all marketing. Look at a proper bookshelf speaker. It will have a woofer that size and a tweeter per speaker, not just one. I would avoid the 2.1 computer "box" setups. They are not good at all. They are just tweeters with a mid-woofer being called a sub. It's not a sub. The word sub is used to describe things that produce sub bass. That 6.5" woofer cannot drop sub bass. It's roll off is going to be around 70~80hz for sure.

 

So if you want to spend your money well, get a pair of bookshelf speakers. Don't waste your time and money on silly 2.1 computer speaker setups that are just tweeter satelites with a single mid-speaker woofer being called falsely a "sub."

 

Note, the Dayton bookshelves each have a 6.5" woofer. That's TWICE the amount of pressure for bass than that silly 2.1 promedia can produce. Simple science. One 6.5" woofer. Or two.

 

You're way better off with the Dayton and any little speaker amp. Performance is way better. I have several bookshelves and have tried lots of the silly little computer speaker setups. They are trash. Just get some good bookshelves. They blow 2.1 "box" setups out of the water. Way more sound for your money. Way more volume. Not just a boomy mid-speaker being called a sub with a high crossover.

 

Hooking this up is easy.

 

Plug the DC power into the little amplifier. Take some speaker cable (14 to 16 gauge maybe), cut it as long as you like. You then just put the positive lead into the positive post on the amplifier and the back of each speaker. Line them up. Do the same for the negative leads. If you want to make it nicer, terminate the speaker wire with banana plugs. You just screw them on. You can watch a YouTube video on how to do it, so you can be a pro in 5 minutes. You're in college now. Do some research, get used to it.

 

Here's some cheap cables and banana plugs to do all this. Cable. Banana Plugs. And here's a video on how to do it. (Note this only applies if the speaker has banana posts, some don't). For those, you can use banana pin plugs. Like these.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX - 9/5/13 at 12:14pm
post #5 of 25

Totally agree with Mal, as Klipsch makes a lot of overpriced crap what you really need to be careful picking.

post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

The Klipsch Promedia 2.1 is nonsense if you're wanting an actual speaker setup. That subwoofer is NOT a subwoofer. It's just a woofer. It's a 6.5" woofer. That's a mid driver in a speaker. Not a sub. And those little speakers are tweeters. So if you buy that 2.1 system, you're not getting a 2.1 system. You're getting two tweeters and a single 6.5" woofer mid speaker. Just separated up. This is nonsense. Seriously. It's all marketing. Look at a proper bookshelf speaker. It will have a woofer that size and a tweeter per speaker, not just one. I would avoid the 2.1 computer "box" setups. They are not good at all. They are just tweeters with a mid-woofer being called a sub. It's not a sub. The word sub is used to describe things that produce sub bass. That 6.5" woofer cannot drop sub bass. It's roll off is going to be around 70~80hz for sure.

Actually, the Promedia's do have a separate .75" tweeter and 3" midrange driver in the satellites. I used to own them, and they do sound better than other multimedia desktop speakers in their price range. While I would agree that Klipsch's claims of 35hz extension for the subwoofer is exaggerated, I doubt that the Dayton B652s, which have massive rolloff starting just above 100hz, will extend any deeper with usable output. The Promedia sub seemed to perform better than that. And it makes sense that it could. Creating and designing a cheap 6.5" driver to only put out bass say from 200hz on down (in the Klipsch sub) vs. a cheap 6.5" driver in the Daytons which has to cover a much wider frequency range. Easier to make that sub produce lower bass.

That being said, I agree that a full sized passive speaker will give better overall sound. Eventually pair a sub with the Dayton/Lepai setup, and it would kick the Promedia's up and down the block in bass. biggrin.gif
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSheep View Post

Totally agree with Mal, as Klipsch makes a lot of overpriced crap what you really need to be careful picking.

Kind of ironic to totally agree with Mal when you have MM1s that have the same size mid range driver as the Promedia 2.1 satellites and no sub. There are many people that find the MM1s overpriced for what you get. There are plenty of larger, cheaper speakers--even without a sub--that will out perform the MM1s. I actually think the Promedia 2.1s are a good bit better price/performance value than the MM1s.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Kind of ironic to totally agree with Mal when you have MM1s that have the same size mid range driver as the Promedia 2.1 satellites and no sub. There are many people that find the MM1s overpriced for what you get. There are plenty of larger, cheaper speakers--even without a sub--that will out perform the MM1s. I actually think the Promedia 2.1s are a good bit better price/performance value than the MM1s.

True, but I am not big on desktop audio and I need a really compact setup.  I also like the sound of B&W for some reason so yeah, guilty.

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSheep View Post

True, but I am not big on desktop audio and I need a really compact setup.  I also like the sound of B&W for some reason so yeah, guilty.

I understand. And I think that's where the Promedia is probably best in class at it's price point. Providing a small speaker footprint.

I used to own B&W 601s, and I still have my B&W LM1s because I hate to get rid of them for what they are worth now. So nothing against liking the sound. smily_headphones1.gif
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies guys.

 

I think I'm gonna try and get the amp and Dayton B652 speakers, provided I can return my JBL Flip (guy's out of the office until Sunday :( ).

 

So all I do is buy the 16 gauge speaker wire, cut it in half, and stick it either straight into the speakers/amp or into the banana plugs which then go into the speakers/amp? Do they already have speaker wire with the banana plugs on them that I can just get at Walmart or Best Buy when the amp/speakers come in? Are the banana plugs even that necessary or would I be fine without them and saving the extra $10? And finally, do you know if either the speakers or the amp come with the 3.5mm wire to plug from the amp to your phone?

 

But seriously, much appreciated!


Edited by propet - 9/5/13 at 11:47am
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by propet View Post
 

Thanks for the replies guys.

 

I think I'm gonna try and get the amp and Dayton B652 speakers, provided I can return my JBL Flip (guy's out of the office until Sunday :( ).

 

So all I do is buy the 16 gauge speaker wire, cut it in half, and stick it either straight into the speakers/amp or into the banana plugs which then go into the speakers/amp? Do they already have speaker wire with the banana plugs on them that I can just get at Walmart or Best Buy when the amp/speakers come in? Are the banana plugs even that necessary or would I be fine without them and saving the extra $10? And finally, do you know if either the speakers or the amp come with the 3.5mm wire to plug from the amp to your phone?

Last I checked the Dayton Audio B652 can not use banana plugs.

They might even ship with speaker wire.

post #12 of 25

Heya,

 

You can get speaker wire with terminations already installed, but it costs money. It's way cheaper to just buy wire and terminations and do it yourself. See the links I provided. Enough to cover you with left overs for re-doing it should you need different length later down the road.

 

To do the wires yourself, just take equal lengths off the spool, let's use 4 feet as a guess but use any length you want, the point is to make them the same length. You'll need a tool to get the sheath off the wire. You take about a half inch off the end of each wire termination. This is where the banana plugs are installed to on each end. Each wire will end up with 4 banana plugs, 2 on each end, one for each channel (positive and negative leads on each). Again youtube search how to do this and watch a 5 minute video. This is not complicated and is super stupid easy to do. Take some initiative and just learn to do it. It takes 5 minutes once you see how to do it. Get a tool like this unless you already have one or know someone with one. It will do everything you need for the rest of your life in electronics, wiring, and audio.

 

Take the wire and banana plugs to your local hardware store and ask someone to do it for you if you can't be bothered to do it yourself. They might just do it for free.

 

If you're going with the Daytons, they don't have banana posts. So you don't need to use the banana plugs listed above in a link. You can just stick wire in the back, it has clamps that you open and close.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX - 9/5/13 at 12:11pm
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Last I checked the Dayton Audio B652 can not use banana plugs.

They might even ship with speaker wire.

 

Heya,

 

This is correct, they are just clamps in the back, no banana posts. But you can get banana plugs that fit these too for neatness (pin plugs).

 

And I think they do possibly come with two strands of wire.

 

The OP should probably still learn to do this stuff though for the future.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX - 9/5/13 at 12:15pm
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice. I'm gonna go for the bookshelf speakers and amp setup. Do you guys have any recommendations on a quality 3.5mm male to male jack for around 10 feet?

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by propet View Post
 

Thanks for the advice. I'm gonna go for the bookshelf speakers and amp setup. Do you guys have any recommendations on a quality 3.5mm male to male jack for around 10 feet?

I usually buy Monoprices "Premium" low cost cables.

Not sure how much, if any, the premium cables are better the regular cables, but it's the most I'm will to spend on cables.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10218&cs_id=1021812&p_id=5578&seq=1&format=2

 

Nice part is if you can buy a bunch for low cost cables (or other small stuff) and the shipping price stays the same.

I'll buy 5 to 10 cables and/or small items at a time, ships cost can work out to $1 or even 50 cents per piece.

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