Selecting computer speakers
Feb 1, 2015 at 9:37 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 36

Ionme

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I've been stalking the forums for quite some time now, but I think now is time for me to post something.

Warning: I am a guy who persuits the perfect sound but also total noobie to the audiophile community, and a very limited spender. 
 
I want to turn my PC to a budget friendly sound quality paradise, and I'm starting with speakers. (Programs, Lossless files etc. are already in my sound-knowledge collection) 

I am going for a 2.0 balanced system (a little extra bass wouldn't hurt though) focused in music 
I will also be buying a DAC in the near future, so I don't really need to pay for a preinstalled one (also cheaper speakers=pricier DAC)

The big problem is that I live in greece, so I have very limited options (Yeah, besides amazon)
 
In detail, after some days of hard review reading I now have to choose between these beauties. 
 
1) Bose Companion 20 (Just at the edge of my budget, seems pretty solid and a familiar brand can't be a bad thing)
  (Bose Companion 2 Series III is also another solution, certainly more pocket-friendly)

2) M-Audio Studiophile AV40 (Heard a lot of good things about them)

3) Audyssey Lower East Side (found them In a similar thread)

4) Creative Labs GigaWorks T40 Series II (kinda ugly but man, these reviews are better than plastic surgery)

And maybe some Audioengine A2+ that would be an overkill at the given price (325$) , but look really good!
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 11:01 AM Post #2 of 36

ProtegeManiac

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1) Bose Companion 20 (Just at the edge of my budget, seems pretty solid and a familiar brand can't be a bad thing)
  (Bose Companion 2 Series III is also another solution, certainly more pocket-friendly)

 
These sound larger than they look, but still sound small overall. I have a friend who works with the Bose distributor here who knows I'm into serious audio, and he never tried to pitch any product thinking I'll just bash it. I told him if I needed something tiny and can spend a lot of money the least compromised sound (at that size) is usually Bose. I wouldn't pay regular price but hey when someone whips out a portable Bose speaker I'm never one to complain (I'm first to hook up via BT to the one we use at a friend's patio - sure beats hauling his studio monitors out and then putting them away when we're all too tired).
 
4) Creative Labs GigaWorks T40 Series II (kinda ugly but man, these reviews are better than plastic surgery)

 
Not too bad for the size and price, but if space/size isn't a problem definitely pass on these.
 
 
 
And maybe some Audioengine A2+ that would be an overkill at the given price (325$) , but look really good!

 
Looks good, and you'll really like the sound if you really like bass with distorted sub bass with no upper bass impact. If I'm going to listen to bass that sounds like that I'd sooner get the Creative T40 for a lot less money. The midwoofers are just too small and they forced the cabinet and port design to extend further down at the cost of flabby low bass (that doesn't stretch all the way down anyway) and barely any upper bass impact.
 
------------------
If these are jsut for listening and not for monitoring, mixing and mastering, look at these other speakers and see if they might be available there:

1. Swans D1080 MkIV 
2. Swans M200 MkIV
3. Aktimate Mini or Micro*
4. KRK Rokit 5 or Rokit 6*
5. Monoprice Studio Monitors*


*These are all available on Amazon
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 11:33 AM Post #3 of 36

cel4145

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In addition to what ProtegeManiac said, Audioengine A2+ have their own internal DAC. If you are going to buy a good DAC later, you would be paying for a feature with the A2+ that you won't need if you get a DAC with a pre amp.

Also, where are you that A2+ are $350?
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 12:57 PM Post #5 of 36

ProtegeManiac

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  greece. And that's actually an offer. They regulary cost about 360$ (Pretty ******* generous don't you think?)

 
I didn't pay $250 for them here in SEAsia (if I really needed tiny speakers I'd get these over the Bose though) and I'll be damned if I don't try to convince you to not pay $100 more for them 
tongue.gif

 
Feb 1, 2015 at 1:18 PM Post #6 of 36

cel4145

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greece. And that's actually an offer. They regulary cost about 360$ (Pretty ******* generous don't you think?)


I'd consider looking at the used passive bookshelf speaker market and getting a t-amp to power the speakers. You might get better value for your money.
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 1:37 PM Post #7 of 36

Ionme

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I'd consider looking at the used passive bookshelf speaker market and getting a t-amp to power the speakers. You might get better value for your money.

Well the thing is I am kinda worried about adding more stuff between my computer and my ears, including the second-class cables that I will be buying. 
Intresting thought tho. I'm gonna look into It. 
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 1:40 PM Post #8 of 36

cel4145

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Well the thing is I am kinda worried about adding more stuff between my computer and my ears, including the second-class cables that I will be buying. 


I don't understand your concerns there. Can you elaborate? It's not hard to put together a passive speaker system that bests the the speakers you have listed in your first post. But of course, local costs considerations could change that.

And you shouldn't be thinking of expensive cables buying equipment anywhere near your budget range. Not worth it at all.
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 1:47 PM Post #9 of 36

Ionme

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I don't understand your concerns there. Can you elaborate? It's not hard to put together a passive speaker system that bests the the speakers you have listed in your first post. But of course, local costs considerations could change that.

 
Well having little knowledge of how things work, It's just natural that I am a bit conservative here. Including the reliability of a second hand speaker. 
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 3:46 PM Post #10 of 36

cel4145

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Passive speakers can last a long time--decades. Some 1980s speakers have problems because of foam surround used at that time. But if you find ten year old speakers that sound good, you could easily get another ten years out of them.
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 11:56 PM Post #11 of 36

ProtegeManiac

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  Well the thing is I am kinda worried about adding more stuff between my computer and my ears, including the second-class cables that I will be buying. 
Intresting thought tho. I'm gonna look into It. 

 
First off, there is still technically the same number of stuff between the computer and your ears - the only difference between active and passive speakers is that active speakers have the amp built into the cabinets, which means that:
 
1. If you're using professional monitors where each speaker has its own amp, so you run a power cable and a line signal cable to each cabinet
(vs a Master-Slave set-up where all amp circuits are in only one speaker, then you run a speaker cable to the other speaker; Audioengine, Swans, etc use this set-up for simplicity)
 
2. If the amp breaks, you can't use the entire speaker until you get the amp fixed; and on speakers like the older Audioengine A5, they didn't put a good enough heatsink to cool the IC on the amp, which was a proprietary IC that you can only get from Audioengine
 
3. If you're worried about cheap cables (not that I think it's that big of a problem, but for the sake of illustrating the issue...), how do you know the active speakers aren't using cheap cables inside to hook up the amp channels to the drivers? And if you use passive speakers, you can upgrade the speaker cable going to the Slave, but the drivers in the Master are hooked up with cheap cable
 
In any case it's easy enough to get good quality but lower price cables - don't buy into the cable voodoo. Buy Belden cables and have them terminated with the plugs you need, or order them as such from BlueJeans Cable. If you're using passive speakers, get Belden speaker cables and mount banana plugs yourself (or order them from BlueJeans Cable).
 
 
Feb 2, 2015 at 12:20 AM Post #12 of 36

Headzone

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I'd consider looking at the used passive bookshelf speaker market and getting a t-amp to power the speakers. You might get better value for your money.

+1, you can get a very good 90's B&W bookshelf pair for around 100-150$ and they will last forever. Vintage amps cost next to nothing, or you can just get a cheap TA2020 based amp with them first and upgrade later..
 
Feb 2, 2015 at 3:22 PM Post #15 of 36

lugnut

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What about buying a pair of regular, new bookshelfs and an amp? Cause most of used Items I've seen won't ship to greece

That is just what I would do, no question !
A pair of these for $298.00 they are sealed, so you can put them any where, against the wall. Add a small amp and small sub and be done for years !
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/htm200/htm200.html
 
Or a pair of these if you want a ported pair and get by with out a sub, for $348, http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/cbm170/cbm170.html
These are high quality hand made in USA, very good speakers, AND 
 
International Orders:
We ship products worldwide on a case-by-case basis. If you are overseas and would like to purchase Ascend products, please send an email to 
sales@ascendacoustics.com
. We would be happy to research cost-effective shipping options.
 
They will support what they sell. Drop them a email with any questions, I think you will be surprised with their effort. Google any of their products and read the reviews.
 

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