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Confused and Looking to Upgrade

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello all,

 

So I'm toying with the idea of upgrading my desktop audio setup. To be honest, even after reading through several threads here I'm a little confused so bear with me. Currently I have laptop -> Audioengine D1 -> Promedia 2.1s. Personally, I don't believe that I need the subwoofer and have been thinking of an upgraded 2.0 setup. For additional future flexibility (and value?) - I was thinking of moving to a passive setup.

 

After reading through the info here - would I be correct in saying that a possible setup would be D1 -> receiver -> speakers?

In terms of options, likely looking at a "budget" to start for now with an eye towards eventually upgrading. In the range of around $150 I am looking at the Audioengine N22. At this price range, are there any other options I should look into in this price range? I have seen the TP21 etc mentioned.

 

Are there any recommendations for starter passive speakers in the $150-$200 range? Musical preference is mainly rock based with some additional variety. For example, a current playlist includes Arcade Fire, M83, Black Keys, Chvrches and Daft Punk. Elsewhere, I have seen the Pioneer BS22s and Monoprice BX5 knockoffs recommended.

 

To close out - would it alternatively be worth just purchasing the Audioengine A5s at around $350? Of course - the question that always comes up with this hobby. How much of an upgrade would this/any potential setup offer over the Promedia 2.1s?

 

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 9

I replaced my ProMedia 2.1 with Monoprice 5" studio monitors, $170. (M-audio BX5 knock offs).

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=115&cp_id=11504&cs_id=1150401&p_id=605500&seq=1&format=2


Edited by PurpleAngel - 6/19/14 at 5:42pm
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

@PurpleAngel - would you say that the change was worth it? What are you using to drive them?

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_dong146 View Post
 

 

 

After reading through the info here - would I be correct in saying that a possible setup would be D1 -> receiver -> speakers?

 

yes i do this with my dac and passive speaker system. 

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_dong146 View Post
 

@PurpleAngel - would you say that the change was worth it? What are you using to drive them?

 

The Monoprice 5" studio monitors each have two amplifiers built into them, so they are self-powered.

I'm using a Audio-GD NFB-15.32 for the DAC.

Sound quality seems to be just as good as some of my better headphones.

 

I switched out because I live in an apartment with someone right below me, so I never could really use the ProMedia's sub-woofer anyway.

post #6 of 9
Sweetwater has the JBL LSR305s for $120 a piece: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/LSR305 Those get amazing reviews from everyone. For under $400 for powered monitors, I would go for them over anything else. .

I think the Audioengine A22 is over priced for what it is (people buy it because they know the brand). Get a Topping or Indeed t-amp instead. Or, if you have room for a full sized unit, a Denon AVR-1513 or Denon E300. Good thing about a full receiver is the flexibility to later build out a surround sound system, built in DAC, HDMI for connecting a computer, bass management features for later integrating a sub, and the ability to plug up multiple devices (TV, CD player, gaming console, etc.). Then the E300 also has Audyssey MultEQ room correction software which automagically smooths the in-room response of the speakers. The E300 is a step up otherwise, so worth the money over the 1513. But I would still recommend the 1513 over the t-amps if you have room for it.

Passive speakers that are good values in the <$300 range are HSU Research HB-1 MK2s and Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SEs. In the closer to $200 range EMP Tek E5Bi, Cambridge Audio S30 (check accessories4less.com), and Wave Crest Audio HLV-1. At around $100, Pioneer BS22-LR. I'd say all are probably close in price/performance value, and you'll definitely get what you pay for with any of them.

I used to recommend the Chane Arx bookshelf speakers, but (a) they are out of stock at the moment and have been for a while and (b) have had some bad experiences with the owners of the company--so good product, but not my choice of people to deal with.

BTW: I originally started with Klipsch Promedia 2.1. In my setup, I tried Cambridge Audio 30s, Energy RC-10s, Energy V5.1s, and B&W 601s (each for a good length of time, not just a short demo). Finally at Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SEs and like them the best. Very neutral sound with excellent transient response. Easy to drive.
Edited by cel4145 - 6/20/14 at 4:01pm
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

@cel4145 Wow - thanks for your great reply. I am very tempted by the LSR305s. I know that this is a difficult question, but if you were to guess - would the LSR305s outperform a Denon 1513/Cambridge Audio S30 setup?

In reading some of the reviews - some pertinent additional information. This setup would be for a bedroom/desk with the speakers relatively only a few inches from the wall/in a nearfield setup.

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_dong146 View Post

@cel4145 Wow - thanks for your great reply. I am very tempted by the LSR305s. I know that this is a difficult question, but if you were to guess - would the LSR305s outperform a Denon 1513/Cambridge Audio S30 setup?

There are some that the think the Cambridge Audio S30 is the greatest speaker since sliced bread. However, that is not in nearfield usage at a computer. It's the imaging and soundstage that one gets when they are properly setup in a room that is what fans of the S30s really like. I would bet that you would like the SQ of the LSR305s better for computer use, but you know speaker choice is very much a personal taste thing. But at $240, the LSR305s are very much an excellent choice. I think you'd probably have to get up to the HSU or Ascend speakers to get to an equivalent class of speaker.

Then again, a receiver gives you more flexibility for future upgrades once you have one. For instance, if you were ever thinking about adding a sub, a receiver makes that much easier because of the ability to set different crossover points to integrate the speakers and the sub together. And there are also a lot of good reasons why powered monitors are not a great choice for building a 5.1 surround system (if you are thinking you might want to do that in the future).
post #9 of 9
Quote:
etc.....if you were ever thinking about adding a sub, a receiver makes that much easier because of the ability to set different crossover points to integrate the speakers and the sub together.....etc

 

This is true. A receiver is an especially good choice if you are more into Action films and gaming than music. It can also work out cheaper overall in many cases.

 

However, if you have already started down the active or powered loudspeaker path all is far from lost. You can get the same advantages, plus many more, by opting for a multichannel audio interface instead. One with 8 analogue channels out will be approx 2x the cost of a basic 7.1 receiver but one suitable for a 2.1 or 2.2 system will cost more or less the same amount of money.

 

You have the choice of setting all output parameters per individual channel. Low pass, high pass, gain, parametric EQ, etc etc. Effectively all you need to design your own crossover(s).

 

I'm not trying to say one method is definitively better than the other. Merely that the user does have a choice of method to reach a similar position.

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