What computer speakers to get?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by nuraman00, May 15, 2016.
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  1. nuraman00
    How do you know how many decibels you're listening at?
  2. nuraman00

    Right now, I don't have a DAC or a subwoofer.

    But the way I think about the arrows, it's like this:


    Is this correct?

    If I were to get a sub (not anytime soon), would it be like this: PC-->Sub-->Speaker?
  3. Pharmaboy
    Sometimes it's there's no way to distinguish, because in some audio components, these qualities can seem mutually exclusive. ie, if they're highly resolving, they're also edgy, bright, and unnaturally sharp. Or if they're relaxed/euphonic sounding, they can't convey much detail & sound dark/murky. A lot of otherwise pretty decent audio gear is like this: binary, all one thing or all the other.

    However, in some audio products--in my experience, the really good ones that are very well designed & "voiced" (tho not necessarily crazy $$), you can get both. You get a relaxed, musical sound with lots of detail. This is a sonic holy grail IMO: hard to find, but once you hear it, easy to recognize.

    The ATC SCM12 Pro's (based on very short-duration listening in an alien environment w/bad cabling) might just be an example of this "you can have it all" phenomenon. For example, I put on symphonic music that has big dynamic peaks w/all instruments playing, also quieter passages w/just a few instruments. The quiet passages were clear as a bell, detailed, not bright. Then came the louder passages, and the ATCs scaled way up, instantly, to much louder, but still very clear, with all instruments blazing away. During these bigger/louder moments, the violins & other string sections didn't sound hard or edgy...they sounded exactly as the quieter passages did, tonally, just louder. It was easy to hear different instruments, also some rather subtle sonic cues like size of hall, reflections, and so on. In other words, lots of resolution w/o the price of peaky brightness.

    I have a lot of listening to do when the ATCs land in home office. Maybe they'll stay this way or get even better; or they might go downhill because my office isn't an optimal environment. Then again, the environment they were in when I first heard them is way less optimal than the office.

    An example of this "have it all" thing among headphones (in my experience) is the ZMF Eikon. Listening to that amazing closed design, I was wowed by the sheer detail & nuance available at every part of the frequency range...these are highly resolving headphones. Yet at the same time, they have a quality of subtle warm, relaxed/organic tonality, no punishing brightness (you can make them sound peaky, but it takes weird combinations of a certain SS amp + a certain music cut to do it).

    Another headphone example, one I'm still puzzling over, is the Focal Elear. That open design has the most detail I ever heard in headphones, even more than the Eikon, plus extreme dynamics (they scale up so big vs softer passages that you jump). Overall, they do not sound in any way warm or relaxed: you're just bathed in detail & dynamics. Yet oddly enough, they don't seem all that bright. Nevertheless, all the dynamics + details give me a headache. Not at all relaxing, lots of detail--but not spitty & obviously unbalanced/peaky in treble. I need to listen more to figure that one out.
  4. theveterans
    A calibrated sound level meter at 2ft away from the speakers which is my nearfield listening position
  5. Neyeah
    Hi Pharmaboy and all headfiers

    Looked around ebay, hifishark seems like Adam F7 is still the favourable choice price-wise.

    However at the back of my mind, I was thinking what if I go crazy and just go higher tier immediately almost once and for all, so the upgrade last a longer time ?

    So in the end I also took a peek at Adam A7X. Or do you have other recommendation at this price range ? heard nothing but the best for A7X, Skip sub altogether for sure if go for these prices range for me.

    Do you think A7X would be too high and a waste for my level right now ? I only listen to mostly Itunes Top 100, Edm/Trance music etc.. actually also msged Kingwa to ask for advice on r2r 11 vs nfb 11.28 roughly for my usage since I know sh*t lol

    what do you think ?

    lastly, i don't see a volume control on F7 on these models or am I missing something ? Sorry I'm so green at this. I saw in some videos some people have there's external volume where there's a knob and etc what are those ? any recommendations ? it connects to both speakers or if i were to use the variable setting in r2r11/nfg11.28 does it work as well ?
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  6. Pharmaboy
    Re volume knob, some monitors have "sensitivity" pots on the back, while some do not. But even when these pots are present, it's impractical to use them for actual volume setting...imagine having to reach behind each monitor to rotate that pot, not being able to see its new position, thus not being to match that volume on the other monitor.

    This is why you need something like the Audio GD R2R11 which allows its volume pot to be a master volume control for both headphones (if connected to headphone output) and powered monitors.

    IMO there's really no contest between the R2R11 vs NFB-11.28. These devices have roughly the same feature sets (preamp-capable; powerful HP amp built-in; DAC built in)--but the non-oversampling R2R DAC in the R2R11 is likely to sound better--more relaxed/organic/natural, less bright than the sabre delta-sigma DAC in the 11.28. I moved from sabre delta-sigma DACs to R2R ~1.5 yrs ago, and will never go back. Besides, the R2R11 in particular is getting some serious love by various Head-Fi'ers who own it.

    In truth, if you've been getting audio from your computer's soundcard (ie, digital-to-analog conversion done by the card), either of these Audio GD units are likely to sound significantly better than that. So either would be a step up. But the R2R11 would probably be even more of a step up.

    Re Adam 7X vs F7, I've read many many user comments & reviews for each. While I haven't heard either design, I concluded from all those comments that:
    • The 7X is described as being more accurate & revealing for music mixing/monitoring purposes. It's an extremely popular monitor for studio/music professionals. But remember, their sonic mission is almost totally different than yours: they want a "forensically" accurate transducer that lets them hear (and adjust) the tiniest audio cues; whereas you listen to music. So maybe you don't want that ultimate accuracy of the 7X...it may sound bright when playing your music.
    • The F7 is a lower model in the Adam line, and most users of it are also music pros, just ones w/less $$. But I also saw more positive comments by non-professionals/actual music listeners for the F7.
    And then there's cost. If you can step up the significantly higher cost of the 7X, I would have suggested other powered monitors (more expensive ones) in the first place, based on them being described as good for music as well as studio work.
  7. Neyeah
    Thanks, as usual you clear up my mind = )

    for curiosity sake what would you recommend at 7X price range ?

    oh and also, I've been using since the first time i got A5+ http://styleaudio.typepad.com/styleaudio_hifi_usb_mini_/2010/05/2010-new-caratruby2.html
    not computer's soundcard.
    1. Main DAC : Burr Brown PCM1796

    - 24 bit 192Khz sampling advanced segment audio stereo DAC

    - Dynamic range : 123dB / THD+N : 0.0005%

    - 8x Oversampling Digital filter

    2. Digital Controller : Cirrus Logic CS8416

    - 32Khz to 192Khz sample frequency range

    - Low Jitter clock recovery

    3. USB controller : TE7022L

    - USB2.0 FS DAC / Fully compliant with USB1.1 specification

    - Input : 32Khz / 16Bit ~ 96Khz/24Bit

    4. OPAMP : Total 8pcs (DIP type)

    - Output : Texas Instruments OPA604 x 2pcs

    - I/V : Texas Instruments NE5534 x 4pcs

    - Headphone : Burr-Brown OPA2134 x 2pcs

    Can't find any review except this specs for the DAC i'm currently using if it even helps you understand
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  8. properlydeafnd
    I really like my MAudio BX5s. No need for a sub and they sound great. The only hassle is you need an adapter b/c they only take TRS or XLR input. I have a 3.5MM to dual XLR cable that I use for mine.
  9. steph280
    I love my Elac Debut speakers. I recall they were coming out with self powered speakers great to PC use. Not sure if that ever happened.
  10. Quake1028
    Thoughts on where to go from M-Audio AV40? Audioengine 2+/5+, Kanto YU4, something else entirely? Budget under $400.

    These wouldn't be my main listening option, my Senn 558 and whatever I upgrade those to would be. These would be for a computer desk application, fed from a Pro-ject Pre Box S2 DAC.
  11. Pharmaboy
    Of the 3 brands you mention, the one I read consistently good things about is the Kanto. Actually, I've read the best things about the yu6, which has a 5.25" woofer (~$400). If your desktop can accomodate the somewhat larger yu6, you'll get a lot more impactful bass/upper bass w/that one.

    It also definitely helps to put powered speakers on an isolation pad. I use the Auralex pads...a little more expensive. But here's a link to a cheaper set that might be pretty good: https://www.amazon.com/Sound-Addict...-2-spons&keywords=auralex+isolation+pad&psc=1
    Quake1028 likes this.
  12. nuraman00
    Thanks for the post and examples.
  13. nuraman00
    What do people think of the brand Klipsch, for these types of monitors?

    I heard some lower level ones about 19 years ago, and I liked them then.

    Just wanted to see how others thought of them now.
  14. nuraman00
    I bought a keyboard with volume controls on it. (One button to mute; one button to increase volume; one button to decrease volume).

    I can use those buttons to control the volume of the speakers.

    As @Pharmaboy mentioned, it's not practical to use the controls on the back of the speakers.
  15. nuraman00
    @Pharmaboy, what have you read/heard regarding the brand I ended up buying during my search, the Emotiva Airmotiv 6s?
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