Best 2.1 Speaker System under $200
Nov 30, 2008 at 12:57 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 27

yeahman67

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Here's what I want. I pretty much want everything in these speakers, and I care quite a bit about bass, and kinda want to go with the logitech z-2300's because of the bass. I tried them out and they sounded alright, but the lack of mids sometimes got on my nerves. I want to go with the klipsch promedia 2.1's but the low-end distortion, plus the build quality of them aren't very good as people say. Also, I was wondering what the wattage has to do with the sound, does it mean the speakers can play louder? Anyways, just give a me a good speaker system based on my specifications.

-Thanks
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 1:34 AM Post #2 of 27

Uncle Erik

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I haven't heard a computer speaker set that I liked very much. I think you'd be better off buying a pair of good bookshelf speakers and powering them with a used receiver. If you have a two channel receiver around the house, that would work. If not, check Craigslist, garage sales, thrift shops, junk stores, and eBay. You'll find one, cheap.

Receivers have a lot of side benefits. Some of them make very good headphone amps. All of them have an AM/FM tuner and most of them have a phono preamp if you want to give vinyl a spin.

As for speakers, I think the Best Buy Insignia bookshelves are pretty good, especially for $88. You can find them here:

Insignia® : Bookshelf Speakers - BestBuy

These have something of an audiophile cult following. You can find mods, crossover replacements and other tweaks to get the most out of them.

I also think the PSB Alpha B1 is a terrific speaker. You can find the Stereophile review here: Stereophile: PSB Alpha B1 loudspeaker Actually, I just bought a pair this morning as a Christmas gift for my mother. They list at $279, but you can get them here for $169: https://dmc-electronics.com/Default.htm

I drove down there and picked them up at the store. David, the owner, is a nice guy and helpful. I'd do business with him again.

There are other quality bookshelves out there, but these two will outperform pretty much any computer setup on the market, even ones that cost far more.

Watts don't tell you everything about a pair of speakers or a receiver. It's sort of like trying to figure out how fast a car is by only looking at the horsepower. A 500HP engine sounds powerful, but if you put that in an eight ton bus, it's going to creep along. A 200HP engine in a Lotus would scream past it. Likewise, if you use a very efficient speaker, like one of Klipsch's horns or a Lowther, you can get earbleeding sound with two or three watts. Even a 1.5W amp will make them uncomfortably loud. On the other end, you could have something like an Apogee ribbon with a 1.2 Ohm impedance that will make a 100W amp melt down. Pick the speakers you want, then find an amp capable of driving them.

If you want to do some homework on receivers, look here: www.fmtunerinfo.com. They provide a lot of good evaluations and you can figure out what brands to look for. Personally, I like the older gear from NAD and Marantz, but there are other good brands, too.
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 2:15 AM Post #5 of 27

Alai

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If I had the money, I would splurge on the new prices on the D1080 and M200 Swan Loudspeakers.
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 3:23 AM Post #6 of 27

plonk420

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i'd suggest going to a store and listening to bookshelves.

coming from moderately sized Sansuis, i was blown away by how much bass Bookshelves could produce.

that said, i love my Infinity Primus 160s. my friend loves his JBL 6.5" bookshelves i suggested he get. i would try my damnedest not to get "computer speakers" (like logitechs or even the ProMedia style Klipschses).
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 9:36 AM Post #8 of 27

evu325

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if you're looking for the z2300 or a simple computer system there's a new version of the z2300 available at Fry's for $149: FRYS.com*|*Logitech
The z2300 had plenty of bass and these seem to be similar in power but with better multimedia functions and i think they look pretty cool. They seem to be really well received on amazon customer reviews so if you're looking for simplicity these may be what you're looking for although with the special on Swans right now you could grab a pair of the D1080s or M200s (or audioengines if you're willing to spend a bit more) and just add a sub (cheaper velodyne or something) for a little over $200 or $300 depending on which you decide. The velodynes all have line out which makes integrating powered speakers easy. im sure there's better options in the way of bookshelf/amp combos but as a student i've valued simplicity. Hope this helps a little!
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 4:45 PM Post #9 of 27

yeahman67

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Do you think it would make a difference if I got a soundcard because I'm currently using onboard audio, but do you think by getting a soundcard, that would help the sound of the logitech z-2300's? Maybe something simple like the creative audigy?
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 5:38 PM Post #10 of 27

Uncle Erik

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Quote:

Originally Posted by nauxolo /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Hi Uncle Erik,

How are these bookshelf speakers if you place them approximately 2-3 feet away from you on your desk? Also, what kind of amp did you purchase to power these?



I only gave them about two hours of listening before wrapping. They're a gift for my parents, so I wanted to make sure they worked and to get a quick impression with my reference discs. They're good, and while I didn't do any nearfield listening (I was about 10' back) they did not sound bad when I got closer to them. I used a Conrad-Johnson MV-52 to power them. The parents have an older Kenwood receiver that's OK, but am looking into getting them a NAD or Rega integrated to go along with the speaker upgrade.

Quote:

Originally Posted by yeahman67 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Do you think it would make a difference if I got a soundcard because I'm currently using onboard audio, but do you think by getting a soundcard, that would help the sound of the logitech z-2300's? Maybe something simple like the creative audigy?


Soundcards don't change the way a speaker behaves. Lots of people think you should put everything into the source, but I don't agree. The transducer is critical. Put everything into quality speakers/headphones first, then worry about the rest. Here's how I see it:

Great source + great amp + crappy speakers/headphones = garbage

Cheap source + cheap amp + great speakers/headphones = sounds good

Cheap source + great amp + great speakers/headphones = very, very good

Expensive source + great amp + great/speakers/headphones = the best

Running $15,000 of equipment into cheap speakers or headphones sounds like crap. I've tried it. If the "source first" folks were right, a great source would make iBuds sound like heaven. The problem is that iBuds sound like crap whether you have an iPod or five figures of gear behind them. But if you put that iPod into a top end speaker/headphone, well, it can sound pretty good. Try it yourself some time. If you have access to a good amp and speakers/headphones, try running a $29 DVD player into them. It's not quite as good as some $5,000 CD player, but it's totally listenable and enjoyable. I encourage anyone to try this for themselves.

Anyhow, get the best speakers you can afford. Most have decent bass, but not exaggerated bass. Most of the computer setups boost the low end because that's how most consumers judge a system. If the bass isn't noticeable, they think it's "bad." Audiophile gear aims for accurate reproduction, which isn't thumping one-note car subwoofer bass.
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 10:38 PM Post #12 of 27

dwong

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Yeahman, I've listened to my friend's Logitech Z-2300's and my ears were always left unsatisfied with the lack of mid tones and overly boomy bass. I've listened to the Altec Lansing Fx-4021 and found these to have much more fulfilling mids/highs, and a much more punchy bass, and they cost a bit less (around $65 the last time I checked on newegg).

I've done a fair share of research the past few weeks on a similar computer speaker configuration within your relative budget and finally settled for the Swans M10. I ordered them last week, and I am expecting them to come in sometime this week, cost me about $120 with shipping. These are powered speakers with a built in amplifier. The only thing is from what I read is that you must put the subwoofer on your desk to get the best sound quality out of them, which may be a problem if you have limited desk space. If you're using this primarily for music you could probably get a cheap USB external DAC that will function as an external soundcard, which will be a considerably better in terms of SQ to probably any sound cards within that price range, and definitely a nice improvement over your onboard sound. The Hotusb1 I hear is very good and a great deal for $65 (with shipping included).

This setup is what I'm planning on doing. I will let you know how the Swans sound in comparison to the Z-2300's and the FX-4021 once they get in.
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 10:48 PM Post #13 of 27

Xena

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Quote:

Originally Posted by yeahman67 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
...I want to go with the klipsch promedia 2.1's but the low-end distortion, plus the build quality of them aren't very good as people say. ...


Which people say that?
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 11:00 PM Post #14 of 27

Pale Rider

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Have to admit that the Swans look like a heckuva deal. I have had several "computer" and "multimedia" sets for my desktop, and all have been pretty much terrible. But may have to try those Swans.
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 11:28 PM Post #15 of 27

Alai

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They are. I am trying to get my dad to get a pair or two. Lol.
 

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