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Small 2.0/2.1 Speakers With USB Input Advice

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,


I've been shopping around for some small 2.0/2.1 speakers that have a USB input for around £200. The only decent speakers I've found are the Audioengine A2+'s but some people complain that the bass is overblown and can be overbearing on certain genres of music. I know the USB input requirement is limiting but a separate DAC isn't an option.


So my question is, are there any other alternatives that are around the same size and price?



post #2 of 14
Yeah, Audioengine A2 series has boosted upper midbass. I'm not sure what's available in the UK for small speakers, but know that small is generally a problem for small drivers anyway. I'd definitely look and see what is out there for 2.1. At least with a sub, you can turn it down if you feel the bass is overwhelming.

Little more than your budget--and not that small--are the JBL LSR 305s. People here in the US have been going nuts over them since they were released last fall.
post #3 of 14

I think you have got your money on the right horse acmis but you are about 18 months too early.


Given that the current generation ADC & DAC SoCs are both excellent and inexpensive the logical next step is to only have DACs in loudspeakers and headphones and ADCs in microphones and pickups.


At the moment we tend to have a 'best' DAC and feed everything through that. It makes far more sense to keep everything in the digital realm as much as possible. So in the not too distant future what you are looking for will be commonplace.


For now though it's only for early adopters and priced accordingly. ADAM do a hi-fi version of their popular AX series with USB. They are called the Artist range and are priced to appeal to audiophiles.


All is not lost... perhaps. Berhinger have just announced a new USB range. £200 should get you a pair of these when they hit the shops.




I am interested in this market myself and would appreciate anyone with knowledge of other products to post up please.

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice guys.


Sadly the JBL LSR305 and the Behringers are too large, the Audioengine A2's are really just under the limit for size.


Another alternative for me would be to get something like the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1's and run them off on-board sound, they are currently £139.20 on Amazon.


I'm not very clued up on anything to do with speakers, I've always been a headphone guy so if I were to get an inexpensive, good looking external DAC, what are the options? I am very picky about my aesthetics, I run a Schiit Bifrost and Valhalla stack with my headphones and they look absolutely amazing. The speakers will be for a different setup so I can't just run a splitter off of my Bifrost before anyone suggests that.

Edited by acmis - 2/14/14 at 8:57am
post #5 of 14
I used to own the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1. They are decent for that price. Better than most desktop multimedia speakers, even those costing a good bit more. Given your size limitations, these could be a good choice. Then experiment with the sub location with 2 or 3 feet of where you are sitting to see what optimizes the bass.

If you are headphone guy, then what are you connecting your headphones to on your computer?

Also, what is your budget for a DAC?
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

I won't be using headphones with this laptop, speakers only.


My budget for a DAC would be around £50-£100.

post #7 of 14
 My budget for a DAC would be around £50-£100.


I which case it's simply not worth bothering. Not any more.


Provided your motherboard is less than 4 years old (Realtek 889 and later) and you are not unlucky with noise the chances of you being able to distinguish the on-board from any specialised DAC at that price by ear alone is vanishingly small. I know that sounds incredible (sic) and it is, or rather does. 

post #8 of 14
You could try a Fiio E17, which is both a DAC and a headphone amp. It would also need the Fiio L7 line out dock for hooking up your speakers.

But as RD said, you might hear a good difference, you might not. It's sort of impossible to really predict with laptops unless someone has reported trying external DACs with the same make/model.

If you want to give a cheap budget DAC a try, the HiFimeDIY Sabre USB DAC is popular for its price. It's a direct from China Ebay item, so you should be able to order it in the UK. http://www.head-fi.org/products/hifimediy-sabre-usb-dac
post #9 of 14

What about these?  Worth a read at least. 1" bigger all round than ideal but an all in one box solution.



post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice everyone.


My on-board audio is ALC892 I believe, which as far as on-board goes, isn't that bad. All these speakers that you are recommending seem great but they are just too large.


So now I've narrowed it down. Audioengine A2+ vs Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (w/ on-board)? I'm siding with the Klipsch because it provides proper bass and it's about £70 cheaper.

post #11 of 14
I think given your concerns about the bloated bass of the A2s, the Promedia is definitely a good choice for giving you control of the overall bass output without having to restort to EQ on your system. The other thing is that the Promedia will have usable bass response (nearfield) down to below 50hz. You won't get that with the Audioengines.
post #12 of 14

Have you considered the  ALESIS M1 Active 520 USB Monitors 

post #13 of 14
post #14 of 14

i have the original A2 and IMO, they are not worth it unless they are on sale. 

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