I currently have the creative inspire t3000 speakers and find them more than satisfactory for my needs. Now I know they obviously aren't the best speakers out there, but they sound great to my ears. I am looking to get another pair of speakers for my computer and would like to spend around the same amount $50. What do you guys suggest? Also, I know this is a speakers to headphone comparison, but how do the creative inspire t3000 speakers compare to a pair of headphones like the ath-m50s or something similar to them? Thanks.
Best Speakers for $50?
Gear mentioned in this thread:
I recommend saving just a little more and getting this setup: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57439115-47/build-your-own-desktop-stereo-for-under-$70/
cel4145 I read through that post and found it a great suggestion. The only problem is the bookshelf speakers he suggested have apparently been significantly downgraded recently. Amazon reviewers claim they got a new manufacturer, and the sound is completely different. So do you/does anyone have any other suggestion for speakers for around the same price? Also, I was thining about buying the LP-2020A+, and Fiio E10 as he suggested. Do you suggest this or buy some other combo? Also, could someone explain or link me to an explanation of what those two devices do? I'm not very familiar with speakers.
Someone on head-fi called Parts Express, and apparently that manufacturing problem was corrected. You can call Parts Express yourself (Dayton is their house brand) and confirm. If they say it has been fixed, I have no doubt it has been fixed. They are a well-respected major seller of DIY speaker and subwoofer parts.
The Lepai is an amplifier, so it amplifies the sound so that speakers can play it back. The Daytons are passive speakers. They don't have amplifiers built in like many desktop multimedia speakers. Passive speakers and an amp (or receiver, which has an amp) is how most home audio systems work.
The E10 is a DAC/headphone amp. It processes the digital signal and converts it to analog (DAC) that can be amplified. The E10 has a headphone amplifier so that the sound is properly amplified for headphone use. It has a line out (unamplified) so the analog signal can be sent to another amplifier (like the Lepai).
Awesome. Will contact them. Do you think the E10 is necessary? Is it overkill with this setup and should I get a cheaper DAC or maybe not get one at all? And how familiar are you with speakers? Do you think these Dayton's are the best for the price? And Last question, how do you think this setup would compare with the ath-m50, because I do love the openess of speakers, but if in the end headphones sound better, I'll just get a pair of headphones.
Cel4145, thanks so much for your help. I really appreciate it.
I haven't heard those speakers, but $40--which is super cheap--the reviews are extremely positive. Here's a head-fi discussion thread about that setup: http://www.head-fi.org/t/627161/my-very-low-budget-nearfield-desktop-rig-lepai-amp-and-dayton-audio-speakers
If you can step up to spending more, something like the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR are much better (note that Amazon actually has them for sale with free shipping cheaper than that price). Here's a review of those bookshelves: http://www.stereophile.com/content/pioneer-sp-bs41-lr-loudspeaker. Here's a review of the whole speaker set: http://www.audioholics.com/tower-speaker-reviews/pioneer-sp-pk52fs. Best Buy typically stocks them and you could see if they have them setup to listen to.
The E10 might help. It depends on the quality of your motherboard audio, which is difficult for anyone to predict unless they've heard it. More often than not, motherboard audio is pretty crappy. But sometimes you have to step up a good bit more to get better sound than your computer puts out.
The E10 is very small. If you buy from Amazon or fulfilled by Amazon (not 3rd party Amazon vendors who do their own shipping), the RMA process is painless and it would likely cost you well under $10 to ship it back (just keep everything mint). Could be worth trying, especially if you have headphones you use with your computer.
If you don't use headphones with your computer, the Asus Xonar DX or D1 is a great sound card for a little more. It doesn't have a headphone amp, so not the best audio quality for headphone use. There are also cheaper options for DACs that don't have headphone amps for around the same price as the E10 or less, but I'm not that familiar with them.
I appreciate the suggestion, but I don't think I can afford the Pioneer speakers right now. They'd be around $130 even if I got the free shipping and then I'd have to buy the Lepai and probably the E10 which would push it to around $250. The setup I'd be using would mainly be my laptop, or with my phone (galaxy nexus). I doubt either one has a good sound card (the laptop was only $400 when I bought it a few years back, I did some upgrades to make it faster, but none to the soundcard) so do you think I'll be fine without buying an Fiio E10? I can still plug my phone or laptop into the lepai and the speakers will work fine right? Also, the only headphones I have are my brother's monster turbine pro copper's, and my audio technica so I doubt the Fiio E10 would help either or those, but very well could be wrong.
Edit: Oh and, what cables would I need to buy? Like I'm right now just planning on buying the speakers for Parts Express, and the Lepai with the power supply from Amazon. What else should I buy to have the setup work?
Edit: my audio technica's mean ath-cks77
Edited by cardboardhome - 9/8/13 at 11:32am
You need speaker wire and then a cable to connect your phone/laptop to the Lepai. The Lepai has a 3.5mm input (says mp3 on the plugin) or RCA inputs. Might as well just get a 3.5mm cable. Some 3.5mm cables don't plug into a phone with a case very well because where the plug tip ends it gets too big too fast. That one should be fine because as you can by looking at the end.
Awesome. But just making sure, I don't need a DAC/amplifier for this setup to work right? Just the lepai and the speakers should be fine? I'll probably end up buying a Fiio E10 used from someone on this site, but just want to make sure the setup will work without a Fiio E10. Also, are the speaker wire and 3.5mm cable good? They won't affect sound quality?
Also, turn Windows up to 90 to 100%, then use the Lepai volume control to turn the speakers up and down.