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 Post subject: speakers advice...
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 1:49 pm 
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Hi,
I'm looking for a decent pair of speakers to listen to my CDs, a few movies/series on DVD, and a few games. They'll be hooked up to the integrated audio of my motherboard.
Also, I'm not a musician, let alone an enthusiast audiophile, but I expect my CDs to come out right. I'll be listening to all kinds of music, but mostly jazz, good old rock'n'roll, and the occasional techno (nothing better while cleaning the place !). They'll be in my living room, where my computer is, so it would be nice if the sound didn't get too distorted if I'm not at my desk (like from my couch 6 feet away for example))
I don't want the cheapo flimsy scratchy crap that ruin my jazz (tried it, no thanks) but right now I cannot afford more than $100-$120 for the pair.
So far, I'm leaning towards the M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 ($122 on amazon). I found them in a store and they sounded good to me.

I read the previous thread on this topic but the prices mentionned are out of my range.

Any input, brands to look at ?

PS : I should mention that I don't like the way boose stuff sounds, but I do like my Sennheiser headphones.

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 Post subject: Re: speakers advice...
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 2:21 pm 
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Location: Switzerland
6ft away from desktop speakers in a living room? There is no accounting for taste but I don't think you could find any that would touch good Senns at any price.
Larger speakers or a subwoofer could do something your Senns can't do and fill the room with it.
Are your Senns not comfortable enough for prolonged use or do you want to play music for other people? Playing music for a couple 6 ft away is one thing. But filling a crowded room is something else.
If you're OK with the limitations of small speakers then I guess you could choose much worse than these. But I've got no experience with them and I'm not an expert about desktop speakers by any stretch.


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 Post subject: Re: speakers advice...
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 2:49 pm 
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Thanks HFat, yeah those headphones are great and quite comfy, but not when I'm not sitting at my computer, the cable is not long enough ;) . Or if I'm watching a movie with someone else, sharing headphones isn't that great...
As far as filling out a room with music, I know I can't do that with my budget. But I was hoping that decent good sound 6 feet away from a pair of speakers was going to be doable... I'm in the "Playing music for a couple 6 ft away" category :)

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 Post subject: Re: speakers advice...
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 3:47 pm 
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Definitely doable. But you've got to watch the setting. Is there a wall right behind your couch for instance?
EQ can go a long way to fix sound problems but there are limits.

This kind of speakers would be the first choice of people who like headphones but can't stand wearing them or need stereo imaging. They're not ideal for your couch should work fine with some care. Just don't expect powerful explosions in your movies.

For the "cable is not long enough" situation, I highly recommend a portable player (you can get old but good flash players for next to nothing on the used market).

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 Post subject: Re: speakers advice...
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 3:51 pm 
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No wall behind couch :) that's a good thing right ?

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 Post subject: Re: speakers advice...
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:08 pm 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
I haven't tried the Logitech Z2300 but reviews that I've read indicate that they are good value for money. The bass is very powerful so they should be great for movies etc. Be mindful of your neighbours though!


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 Post subject: Re: speakers advice...
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 5:27 am 
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I've got a pair of the M-Audio Studiophile AV speakers hooked up to my TV in the kitchen (18' x 12') and they sound tremendous for the price. There would be absolutely no problem filling a room with sound!! The only drawback is that there is a noticeable hum when the source is turned off so you will probably want to turn them off when not in use. (Switch is at the back sadly) The hum is not heard when in use. I use them a lot for music, either radio through the TV (Freeview) or from a laptop plugged into the front socket which is very convenient. There is also a front headphone socket, again very convenient.
I suppose the limiting factor would be the quality of your onboard soundcard but I have no complaints with the sound quality from my laptop so you should be OK.
Absolutely recommended. One thing, they are very bassy so need to be well away from the wall or else do what I have done and stuff a sock in each of the rear facing bass ports.


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 Post subject: Re: speakers advice...
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 10:03 am 
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Location: Switzerland
frenchie wrote:
No wall behind couch :) that's a good thing right ?

I guess everything has its fans but yeah. Unless you have an unusally obnoxious room, if you have a couch that's reasonably absorbing and you position the speakers right, you'll be pretty much set.
Typically that kind of speaker has a poor off-axis sound so you might have to snuggle a bit at the middle of the couch if you're both picky about sound. :-)

The bass will be lacking of course. As you can see on the FR graph, they tried to hide it by boosting the lower mids. It might be a good idea to tame that bump with EQ. But maybe you like it (there are many Senns which do something similar).


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 Post subject: Re: speakers advice...
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 10:40 am 
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I'm all over cheap and decent sounding audio :D

But, $120 is probably too low to go.

Since it's your living room, I'd suggest getting a small Class D amp and a pair of passive speakers (I don't think much of these active near-field setups). You can expand it later with a sub.

Amp: I've been very happy with the Scythe Kama Kro 1100. Pretty amazing for $50. I mostly wanted you to look at em again, Frenchie :D

Speakers: Hit the audio showrooms and listen. Find some small floor standing or even larger bookshelves that sound good to you. I've been happy with Polk Monitor 40's. $150 at newegg - but, I've seen them as low as $125 with free shipping.

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 Post subject: Re: speakers advice...
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 8:51 am 
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You really can't beat a pair of second hand speakers and a new class D amplifier.

You are really pushing the boundaries at that budget to get good sound.. i'm not 100% sure on US prices but I would see if you can get something like a pair of B&W 601 s1 's (ebay, or one of the hifi sites which have trading areas-- much greater likelihood of a mint-condition pair with the latter, often better prices too).

I would suggest you paired that with a lepai TA2020 amp which you can get for stupid-cheap on ebay. You will need to add a 12 PSU (again, v. cheap and you may well have one lying around). This will provide excellent quality amplification, but it won't go very loud, for that you would need to spend a little more. It should be enough for most non-house-party duties, however.

That will provide you with a system comparable to new ones costing in the range of $1000. You should get the amp/PSU i mentioned for $20.. $100 is probably a little low for a pair of 601s. If you are prepared to do your homework on speakers and scour ebay you could get a pair which are roughly comparable for $100, i would guess; stick with a similar sized bookshelf. If not, i would recommend living off rice and beans for a couple of weeks. Speakers without major compromises are SO worth it. You can build on this over time (eg, get/make proper stands).

CA_Steve offers good advice, althought i am not familiar with the Polk Monitor 40, and would be extremely sceptical about any new $150/pair speaker. If you have a B&W retailer nearby then the current 685s are the replacement to the 601, and will give a comparable listening experience. Similarly paradigm, keff, tannoy, etc etc.

Avoid logitech like the plauge.

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 Post subject: Re: speakers advice...
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 2:45 pm 
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Thank you all for your advice, it is much appreciated !!

So, I ended up getting a pair of audioengine A2 powered speakers. The reasons ?
- One, it was reviewed by SPCR and did quite well (should I say more ?)
- Two, I got a very good deal and they come with a bit more than 2 years left on the warranty !)
- Three, the M-audio only have a one year warranty, and they cost a few cents more.

I will slowly be saving more $$ to get an amp and decent passive speakers, and move the audioengine to the other room.

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 Post subject: Re: speakers advice...
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 4:12 pm 
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Congrats and enjoy :)

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 Post subject: Re: speakers advice...
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:44 am 
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Little update : WOW !!!

Those little things are GREAT : The sound is really nice, clear, crisp, both the jazz bass and the high pitch of a clarinette sound amazing !! I'm not an audiophile at all but it sounds like I got new CDs :)
For other kinds of music (note : I have them sitting on 1 inch of soft foam) :
- dance/techno (I haven't managed to push those things all the way up, it hurts my ears) : they push the papers off my desk :mrgreen:
- voice : again, nice and crisp, totally changed the way I hear the sound. You can hear the voice and the instruments very well, no overpowering of one over the other.

I have the black version (a really nice black mate finish, not shinny) and they look very nice to me. They also are quite heavy for their size ; nothing like most of the cheap smaller speakers you find in stores.
And they will fill a room with sound without a problem, although the sound quality decreases (good enough for a party).

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 Post subject: Re: speakers advice...
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:26 am 
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Glad they worked out for you. Life is too short to listen to crappy sound. :D

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