Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Looking for sub-$500 computer speakers?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Looking for sub-$500 computer speakers?

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

I'm looking for a pair of sub-$500 pair of computer speakers for music. 

 

I'm currently looking at:

- B&W MM-1 (heard they have a hissing problem...?)

- Audio Engine A2

- airmotiv 4

- Focal XS Book

 

These speakers are going to be used for playing music from my computer 90% of the time. Since they are going to be tabletop speakers, they have to be relatively small. The Audio Engine A5+'s are probably a bit too big.

 

Would some of those speakers (the ones without built-in DACs) benefit a lot from a DAC? If so, any DAC recommendations? I was looking at the Audio Engine D1.

 

Any thoughts or recommendations?


Edited by kzhlin - 9/12/13 at 11:33pm
post #2 of 40

I have the mm-1's and they are magnificent. If you have never heard them, do yourself a favor and go to your local apple store and have a listen, they usually have them. You won't need another dac with them, they sound great as is. They are better than the A2 and the XS 2.1 (never heard the XS Book or the airmotiv 4 though). They just have a perfect sound to me, amazing bass, great vocals and silky smooth treble. They also have a sweet spot (sitting in front of your pc), sit there and you will have a smile on your face.

 

I also have the HE400 headphones that I have to EQ to hell to make them sound nearly as good as the mm-1's. The bass on the HE400's is kickass though. The mm-1's also have a pretty good headphone amp in them too.

 

They do have a hissing problem but only if you connect the analog-in and the USB at the same time and play at high volume, with just either one connected there is no hiss. I have tried it on 3 pairs and all hissed so it seems to be a design issue. The hiss is mainly audible when no music is playing but is very obvious when sitting in front of your pc. If you have to use the analog-in and the USB, you will have to pull one of the cables out all the time. Luckily I just use the USB. I don't think B&W will ever fix it because they won't even admit there is a fault. Still easily worth every dollar though, even with this problem. Great sounding speakers!

post #3 of 40
It's easier for speaker designers to get more--and better--bass out of larger drivers (and larger driver speakers can generally fill a room better with sound). This is why small satellite speakers in desktop multimedia systems often have a sub. So I generally like speakers that have larger drivers (my current desktop speakers have 6.5" drivers). However, which speaker you like best will come down to your listening tastes and how you use them more than anything else.

The Airmotiv 4, B&W, and Focal speakers are all definitely a better class of speaker than the A2s. So cross the Audioengines off your list.

Audioengine D1 is a good DAC/headphone amp/pre-amp for speakers and headphone use. If you don't need a headphone amp, the Schiit Audio Modi is a better DAC (can't plug headphone into it) for less money. The B&W MM-1s have their own DAC built in, so no need to buy an external one.
post #4 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlxx View Post

They do have a hissing problem but only if you connect the analog-in and the USB at the same time and play at high volume, with just either one connected there is no hiss. I have tried it on 3 pairs and all hissed so it seems to be a design issue. The hiss is mainly audible when no music is playing but is very obvious when sitting in front of your pc. If you have to use the analog-in and the USB, you will have to pull one of the cables out all the time. Luckily I just use the USB. I don't think B&W will ever fix it because they won't even admit there is a fault. Still easily worth every dollar though, even with this problem. Great sounding speakers!

So if I'm using then directly through the computer via USB I shouldn't hear any hiss?
post #5 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

It's easier for speaker designers to get more--and better--bass out of larger drivers (and larger driver speakers can generally fill a room better with sound). This is why small satellite speakers in desktop multimedia systems often have a sub. So I generally like speakers that have larger drivers (my current desktop speakers have 6.5" drivers). However, which speaker you like best will come down to your listening tastes and how you use them more than anything else.

The Airmotiv 4, B&W, and Focal speakers are all definitely a better class of speaker than the A2s. So cross the Audioengines off your list.

Audioengine D1 is a good DAC/headphone amp/pre-amp for speakers and headphone use. If you don't need a headphone amp, the Schiit Audio Modi is a better DAC (can't plug headphone into it) for less money. The B&W MM-1s have their own DAC built in, so no need to buy an external one.

I've heard lots of positive things about the airmotiv 4s, mm-1's, and the focal xs books. How do they compare?
Edited by kzhlin - 9/13/13 at 9:24am
post #6 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by kzhlin View Post

I've heard lots of positive things about the airmotiv 4s, mm-1's, and the focal xs books. How do they compare?

Probably will have trouble finding people that have compared all three and are reliable at offering observations. You might try asking over at AVS forum or AVForums, as those forums are aimed more at non-headphone audio. You might try Emotiva Lounge (pretty active community), but they will be biased a little toward the Emotiva brand. There is also an Airmotiv 4 discussion thread here on Head-Fi you can try.
post #7 of 40
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I'll check that out!
post #8 of 40
I'm back on my computer so I can post some links smily_headphones1.gif

Here's the Airmotiv thread on Head-Fi. Perhaps someone there has heard all three. If you go over to AVS, post in their speaker forum with a title line like "Focal XS Book, B&W MM-1, or Airmotiv 4?"
post #9 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by kzhlin View Post


So if I'm using then directly through the computer via USB I shouldn't hear any hiss?

 

Nope, no hiss.

post #10 of 40
Thread Starter 
If I go with an airmotiv 4, I would need to use a dac right? Do they benefit a lot from dac's?
post #11 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlxx View Post

Nope, no hiss.

Someone told me that the MM-1's don't have 24/96 playback capability?
post #12 of 40

I'd go with the audioengine a2s if you like a warmer bassy sound with nice mids.

post #13 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzyorange View Post
 

I'd go with the audioengine a2s if you like a warmer bassy sound with nice mids.

 

I'm not too much of a bass head. I listen to mostly pop/mainstream and classical.

 

Right now I'm debating between these two:

1. B&W MM-1

 

2. Focal XS Book + Schiit Modi

 

 

I might pick up some airmotiv's in the future when they go on sale, but for the time being, they seem too big and powerful.

post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by kzhlin View Post

I might pick up some airmotiv's in the future when they go on sale, but for the time being, they seem too big and powerful.

I could understand the size being a problem, but too powerful??? Generally we want speakers/amps that we can't push near their limits where they start to lose composure, and you don't have to turn them up as loud as they can go smily_headphones1.gif
post #15 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by kzhlin View Post


Someone told me that the MM-1's don't have 24/96 playback capability?

No it doesn't, limited to 16/48. CD's are 16/44 anyway. If you really want 24/96, then you will need a dac that is capable of it (like the modi).

Not needed though, just wasting your money. They sound perfect as is.

 

Don't be fooled by the size of these things, the bass is very satisfying. They are small and sexy, perfect for a pc.

Go listen to them first at an apple store before you do anything. They will be one of the best speakers you ever hear.

I recommend them to everyone, I love them!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Looking for sub-$500 computer speakers?