So many options! 2.1 Speakers for £100 - £150
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milesmuso01

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Hi All,
 
Joined this forum specifically for advice on this dilemma, so I hope you can help.
 
I am a musician working on cruise ships.  I have a very small cabin which contains a 'multimedia' desk with my laptop and current 2.1 speakers, which are Altec Lansing ATP3s. The satellites sit above the laptop on a 'printer shelf' and the sub is in the corner of the cabin, underneath my practice keyboard.  I feed these from a Focusrite Saffire LE audio interface which runs off my firewire port.  This is a great unit, and covers all my various I/O needs as well as MIDI duties.  It is not an amplifier, so I need an active speaker set-up.  (The idea of a separate amp is appealing, but would take up too much space and there'd be too much 'electric string' running around.  I need to be able to bundle everything up in a suitcase after a 3-month contract, then set it all up again a month later for the next 3-month contract (the furniture is still there, but I'm loathe to leave my speakers, etc to what could be a total stranger taking my position for the month that I'm away!)  Unfortunately, the wiring to the left speaker has worked loose and, as it is a sealed unit, it is going to be hard to repair.  So I've been researching various replacements.  All was going well when I only had one or two choices, but each forum browse brings up another couple of models, and I really don't know which is 'best'.
 
SO here's what I've boiled it down to:
 
Swan HiVi M50 (from this very forum) http://swanspeaker.com/products/products.aspx?cid=5&sid=0&pid=22&cmenu=spec
 
Corsair SP2500 http://www.google.co.uk/products/catalog?q=corsair+sp2500&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=17620557797287435134&sa=X&ei=qKkwTqeHMoOohAfnve0l&ved=0CDoQ8wIwAQ
 
M_Audio Studiophile MV40 (probably not, as there's been reports of a buzz in one speaker, or even the amp burning out!) http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/pc-speakers/198141/m-audio-studiophile-av-40
 
Edifier E3350 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Edifier-Style-E3350-Speaker-System/dp/B0018LO2JK/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
 
AudioEngine A2B http://www.head-fi.org/products/audioengine-a2b-powered-multimedia-speaker-system-black-finish
 
Acoustic Energy AE26 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Acoustic-Energy-AE26-06B-active-speaker/dp/B000MN96T6/ref=sr_1_2?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1311812358&sr=1-2
 
and finally the rather funky-looking Harman Kardon Soundsticks http://www.amazon.co.uk/Harman-Kardon-Soundsticks-Channel-Multimedia/dp/B003ZXDOMA/ref=sr_1_1?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1311812358&sr=1-1
 
As I mentioned I am a musician and I do a fair bit or recording (mainly using samples, as live recording can get interrupted by bumps, bells, klaxons, etc) and so a fairly flat 'uncloured' sound would be great;  I also watch a lot of DVDs on my laptop, including BluRay, and I want the audio to sound as good as possible for films.  Lastly, I of course listen to a lot of music (mainly mp3s at good bitrates) and would hope for a fair reproduction.  I'm not a 'bass is everything' person, but I do want the bottom end to be punchy, hence the inclusion of a sub in all but the AudioEngine models.
 
If you've taken the time to read down this far then firstly THANKS!  and secondly I would appreciate your experienced advice.
 
Cheers,
 
Miles
 
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YoengJyh

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Hi,
 
I will suggest you go for Harman Kardon Soundstick iii with the said money you mentioned. I own a HK Soundstick ii. It was cool~
 
If you willing to adjust higher a bit. I will suggest you go for Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 or Focal-xs.
 
Thanks. :)
 
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GREQ

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Out of all of those systems, Harman Kardon would be my very last choice (sorry YoengJyh). 
For pure sound quality I just think they aren't worth the price.
 
Out of your choices, my top choice for portability would be the audioengine a2 although a little 'coloured' and for highest sound quality Swan M50.
 
The Harman Kardon, Edifier, and even the Acoustic Energy aren't sufficient for good music recording or playback. They don't have large enough drivers to reproduce detailed rich mids... in fact they produce very weak mids. 
The Corsair system is designed for gamers.
If you can get a good reliable set of the M-Audio speakers, they could be your best choice for music recording.
 
You may want to consider (for portability) Creative Gigaworks T40, as even these have a better sound than the H.K. Soundsticks.
Edifier also do a range of studio monitor type speakers, but I would try to audition them as they're relatively unknown/unpopular. 
Other studio monitor type speakers:
Mackie MR5
 

[size=1.7em] Tannoy Reveal 501A (more pricey) [/size]

Audioengine A5 (priciest)  - I own this set, but they're difficult to place in a room for best bass sound quality.
 
 
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milesmuso01

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Quote:
Out of all of those systems, Harman Kardon would be my very last choice (sorry YoengJyh). 
For pure sound quality I just think they aren't worth the price.
 
Out of your choices, my top choice for portability would be the audioengine a2 although a little 'coloured' and for highest sound quality Swan M50.
 
The Harman Kardon, Edifier, and even the Acoustic Energy aren't sufficient for good music recording or playback. They don't have large enough drivers to reproduce detailed rich mids... in fact they produce very weak mids. 
The Corsair system is designed for gamers.
If you can get a good reliable set of the M-Audio speakers, they could be your best choice for music recording.
 
You may want to consider (for portability) Creative Gigaworks T40, as even these have a better sound than the H.K. Soundsticks.
Edifier also do a range of studio monitor type speakers, but I would try to audition them as they're relatively unknown/unpopular. 
Other studio monitor type speakers:
Mackie MR5
 

[size=1.7em] Tannoy Reveal 501A (more pricey) [/size]

Audioengine A5 (priciest)  - I own this set, but they're difficult to place in a room for best bass sound quality.
 


Wow!  What a prompt and detailed response.  Many thanks!
 
Harmon Kardon:  no longer in the running after reading your comments
Edifier, Acoustic Energy, Corsair: as above
M-Audio:  Initial findings make these look great, but they also seem far too unreliable.  If something goes wrong whilst I'm on a contract 1000s of miles from home......
Creative Gigaworks:  Poor bass response.  If I'm going to buy Multimedia speakers rather than 'recording monitors', then I might as well go for a 2.1 setup
Audioengine A2B:  Definitely worth considering
Mackie MR5:  Definitely worth considering
Swan M50:  Definitely worth considering
 
Well, I'll look at these 3 reviews again and come to decision.
 
Thanks GREQ for all your input
 
 
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milesmuso01

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Well, try as hard as I might, I couldn't find any Swan M50 available for sale in the UK.  Even Item Audio, who seem to be authorised distributors to the UK, do not have M50s available for sale at this time.
 
So that leaves me with the Mackie MR5 or the Audioengine A2.
 
Weighing up all the options, I've decided to go with the 'slightly coloured' sound of the Audioengine pair.  The Mackies are, I think, TOO transparent for my uses, as I will be using these to play back DVDs, the odd  computer game, etc, as well as mp3 files.  I treat these mp3 files with a software enhancer (DFX for Windows) so a bit more 'colouration' won't really be noticed.  I also think the Audioengine will have a bit more 'bang' in the bass end (and not 'thud' which is NOT what I'm looking for!)
 
In a perfect world, I'd go for the M-Audio, as the spec looks great.  But I can't deal with the unreliability.  So it's the Aodioengine A2 for me.
 
Thanks again to everyone for their comments.
 
Miles
 
 
 
 
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JRG1990

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i'd recommend the edifier studios r1900II http://www.amazon.co.uk/Edifier-Professional-low-noise-high-fidelity-amplifier/dp/B003TWN6M0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312058921&sr=8-1 , http://www.edifier-international.com/products/edifier-studio/r1900tii , I don't like the audio engines much they sound a bit muddy and have no real bass just boasted mid-bass, and at £150 there overpriced for £150 id expect a bit more,  if you want a small speakers because space is an issue the cheaper creatives t20 & t40 sound a bit better there performance at least matchs there price tags, if space isn't issue then the edifier studios r1900II are hard to beat for £100.
The Mackie MR5's are £150 per a signal speaker £300 a pair i think you misread when looking at them, if you can increase your budget a bit you can get the prodipes pro 5 for £200 a pair even though there monitors like the krks they have a bit of a u curve ,a tiny bit of boosted bass and treble so there not completey netruel and there excellent sounding speakers.
 
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DougofTheAbaci

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Aego M. I have one now that replaced the one I bought when I was in England. They are fantastic.
 
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Roller

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DougofTheAbaci

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When I was there you could pick them up for around £100. For the price they are very good. Though, I mostly use them for watching movies. When I'm listening to a lot of music I tend to wear my headphones.
 
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