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Speaker + amp/DAC under $500?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by billsonchang007, Jun 2, 2013.
  1. BillsonChang007

    Not sure how to start this but ever since I tell my dad that I am somehow into headphones, right out of the box after trying my headphone, he told me that, speakers is a better all rounder... And that is the reason why I started this thread... [Not sure which section to put it at but I feel more confident here :wink: ]

    I have no idea how much a good speaker will cost to sound better than headphones if not, under $200-350 headphones. So I though will just list down how much I am willing to invest [$500].

    Before that, my living room have a 6.1 floorstanding wireless home theatre system from Philips. However, usually we only run 3.1 for this set up as the other 3.0 wireless ones socket are located somewhere else. We got it for around $2 500[BND$ 3000+] around 5-6 years ago if I recall. Like it with movies but never for music and it only works with DVDs/CDs not with any other source.

    Other than that, I have tried the B&W Zeppelin Air and thought most headphones sound better than it. Just...feel like a $100 headphone but in speaker form.

    Here's what I aspect:
    Great imaging - As I am assuming there are more "drivers" than most headphones and it is big.

    2.1 will do me good enough, more shouldn't be a problem

    Mainly for music [Rarely movies]- everything under the sun but not Taylor Swift [She have beautiful vocal but not a fan of her "style" but I have no idea why, apologize to those who likes her songs, I understand why]

    I am a midrange head [warm, smooth, forward and detailed mids] and prefer to be able to hear all types of instruments in the song. Also appriciate excellent details.

    Not too much bass! Right amount of bass, extend down to 20Hz.

    Excellent clarity - I dislike sibilants

    If you are a fan of headphone as well, I like how the PSB M4U1 and AKG K550 sound.

    Works with both computer[I have a Window desktop and a MacBook Pro] and iPhone if possible but not essential.

    Prefer it to be bookshelf type.

    I would like to learn more about speakers theory as well as I believe it will help me in the long run! :D [Just started with speakers hehe ] If you need more details on what I am looking for, feel free to ask :D

    Billson :)

    Edit: 2.0 will work as well
  2. trog
    If u are willing to go used, for a 2.0 with decent low end i wouldn't rule out vintage stereo amps/receivers with floor standers?  Hmm actually knowing how big a room/listening position would help as well ^^
  3. cel4145
    Look into the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE. Ascend is an Internet direct speaker company, and the 170s are on sale at the moment for $298. Not warm, but neutral. However, they have great transient response, giving the mids and midbass excellent detail resolution. I would describe the Sees tweeter as kind of a dry sound. I understand it's a better version of the tweeter used in some of NHT's top speakers. Doesn't have that sparkly bright sound, which is good for not overshadowing the mids and midbass and for avoiding sibilance.

    There's an owner's thread over on AVS devoted to this speaker line: http://www.avsforum.com/t/629769/ascend-se-owners-thread

    You can also post in Ascend's own community forums on their website, and Dave Fabrikant, the owner and designer, will often answer questions.

    Then if you want deeper bass, save up for a subwoofer. There aren't any good speakers with true 20hz extension. A sub is a much better choice for handling low bass frequencies anyway.
  4. BillsonChang007
    Thanks for the responds guys! Wow! It looks like $500 is not enough for what I am looking for XD

    Yep, I did consider tower (also known as floor standing)speaker, but I already have one for living room and I wanted something different [I do know that tower speakers offer better SQ but there's no room for floor standing speaker in my computer room].

    As for room size...hmm...not sure but to give u a estimated figure, it's about the size of a bit bigger hotel room.

    Billson :)
  5. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    If whatever your source is it has SPDIF outputs, you can get the NuForce DIA - coax or toslink input and a 24watt per channel fullrange Class D amplifier - for $199. You have $300 left for speakers - just make sure the sensitivity is rated at 89db/1w at 1m or better.
  6. cel4145
    In that size room, a pair of bookshelves can work well.

    However, you do have to give up the idea of 20hz extension. That's even very hard to find in towers. The only towers and I can think of that do that have actual built in powered subwoofers, such as the Definitive Technology BP-8060ST.
  7. Theta Alpha 1
    The cheapest high-end headphone and speaker amplifier is the HA2002, since it's a clone of an Audio Technica flagship.
    You could also pick up a Pioneer or Yamaha receiver for a few hundred.
  8. BillsonChang007
    Ok~ Looks like I will have to give up my 20Hz extention but is it essential to use a big AMP for the speaker? I do not need it to play extremely loud... 
    How do the Klipsch Promedia sound? 
  9. cel4145
    If it's just for sitting at the computer or moderately loud music for a bedroom setup, you don't need something very big. I recently switched from a full-sized receiver (HK 3390) to an Indeed TA2021 t-amp. With the dial at 12 o'clock, it hits over 85db from where I sit at my computer, and can go up a good bit from then, much louder than I should definitely sit and listen to. Sound is as good as the HK, but it's 1/10th the size and is over 80% efficient (I think regular amps are more like 50%), which means it uses less electricity and doesn't put out as much heat. Loved it enough that I just ordered another one for a bedroom setup.

    Here's a review I found on a blog of it: http://t-amps.blogspot.com/2012/03/indeed-hifi-ta2021-25wx2-amp.html.

    Klipsch Promedia are good for $150. But you can do much better with more expensive passive speakers.
  10. BillsonChang007

    $150... My local(Beunei) reseller is selling it at around US$250...
  11. cel4145
    Might be better off to go with an amp like the Indeed and find some passive speakers local to you that are a good price. Any audio shops near you to listen to speakers to see if any sound good to you?
  12. BillsonChang007

    There ain't no any audio shop here! You can only try headphones/speakers at the Apple authorized shop...there's only Beats and Bose...just recently they brought in Klipsch Promedia speaker and UE headphones but that's about it...

    Oh, you can find a local online shop selling headphones and speakers but the price is about 30% higher! That is why I prefer to purchase my new audio stuff from Singapore whenever I visit there! XD

    Billson :)
  13. Theta Alpha 1
    Why give up your 20kHz extension?  Speaker amplifiers tend to be pretty large, the HA2002 isn't though, it's tiny compared to a normal-sized receiver.
  14. cel4145

    Not 20khz. He wants 20hz bass extension (see original post) out of a pair of speakers.
  15. HPiper
    Have you ever actually seen a speaker system that went down to 20hz, you need a huge amount of power and some really good (and large) Sub-woofers to do that. Lots of them claim to do that but the sound at that freq is inaudible due to lack of power and drivers that just can not move that much air effectively .

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