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 Post subject: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:33 am 
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Talking about speakers in a forum about silence does seem like an oxymoron, however there is a point to this thread.
I have been reading this forum with great interest in the last few months. Over the last year or so I seem to have become particularly sensitive to the noise emanating from my pc. As a result I have been researching silence and making moves towards silencing my PC.
Today I made an important discovery. A significant portion of the noise I'd been blaming on my PC can be heard even when the PC is off. This got me puzzled enough to experiment with switching devices off at the wall (ok, at the powerboard). The humming noise I'd been hearing wasn't coming from my PC at all. It's coming from the cheapo PC speakers. Even when the speakers themselves are switched off they emit this hum. If I switch them off at the powerboard the noise stops immediately.

Naturally I did a search on Google for speakers that don't hum, but I quickly discovered 2 things.
1) The white noise emitted by speakers is often ignored in reviews. The information isn't widely available.
2) I'm in way over my head.

I've gone full circle and returned to this site. If anyone is going to know how to buy good speakers for a PC whilst ensuring they don't produce any unwanted noise, it will be you guys.

I've learned the following in my search
* Active speakers have a built in amp and thus require power. (This is the type I have currently. I don't really want to have an amp just for my PC. There's no other hifi equipment in this room)
* Passive speakers require a separate amp.
* In terms of sound quality, virtually all PC speakers are inferior to speakers made by an actual speaker company.
* The 'types' of speakers I should be looking at are 'bookshelf speakers' or 'studio monitors'.
* Studio monitors are more appropriate than bookshelf speakers because contrary to the name, bookshelf speakers generally need to be kept at least 1 foot away from all walls.
* Studio monitors are also more likely to have evenly balanced/non-biased tone range. i.e. no overpowering base and no missing mid-range
* Most of these speakers are much larger than I'd want on my desk. I currently have speakers measuring roughly 7" x 3" x 3.5". I could easily go larger than this, but I don't want to go too far. My speakers live behind my monitor...

Have any of you made this same discovery and managed to fix it? What speakers do you recommend? Is there a section of the forum where this has been discussed in the past? A search did not turn up any threads on this topic. No subforum seems particularly appropriate, so as a relatively new poster I figured this was the best place to ask.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:10 pm 
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Usually the cheap speakers came with en even cheaper power adapter, which is the cause of the hum. To verify the theory, unplug the power adapter from the speakers, but leave in the wall, and check the situation.
As solution: if the power adapter is humming, and you'd like to keep the speakers, try to find a compatible switching mode adapter(hint: it weight less then a plain transformer which I suppose that you have); if you decide to change the speakers, I would recommend a 2.1 system, since take the least amount of desk space, and give you pretty good audio response, or just switch to headphones.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:48 pm 
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The power adapter cannot be removed from these speakers, so unfortunately I can't test that.
I'm completely happy to replace them - I was planning to anyway as I'd like a better sound quality. The problem is that I'm not sure how to choose my replacements. I'd expect that a more expensive set of speakers would not have such issues in the first place, but I'm skeptical.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:34 am 
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No quality speakers should hum. As to what solution is best for you it is hard to say. You would probably be happy with a reasonable priced 2.1 system like Zolishoru recommends. There are also high priced studio monitors that you can connect directly to your computer. My setup is computer -> DAC -> amplifier -> speakers.

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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:42 am 
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How much do you want to spend ?

See this post for a different alternative - no I don't work for Sonos, I'm just an enthusiastic user !
See : viewtopic.php?f=18&t=63177&p=548684#p548684

My Play3 is silent (as are my Play5 units).


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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:44 am 
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Also make sure the computer is powered off a grounded outlet.

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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:15 am 
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Check out this link : viewtopic.php?f=18&t=62305
I am still very happy with the speakers and they have a power/volume knob in the back that turns them off (no noise at all, no hum, no hiss that I can hear with my ear right against them...)

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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:43 pm 
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Thanks for that frenchie. I'm not sure how I missed your thread when I was searching!
The audioengine a2's sound like a good option. I'm having trouble sourcing them in Australia though. I'll keep looking.

victorhortalives; I won't say money is no object, but I'm not strapped for cash either. My original target price was $100 Aus, but I'm willing to go up from there if the difference is worth it. I'd say $250 AUS is my upper limit.

I should point out my requirements though; These will purely be PC speakers. I won't be sitting more than 4 feet from them at any time. I have a much bigger pair of speakers attached to my hifi system and TV - I use those if I want to fill the house with sound. Unfortunately they're in entirely the wrong room to run from this computer. I just need something to make gaming sound a bit nicer while getting rid of that annoying hum.
I should also point out that I'm not a fan of 'punchy' bass when gaming. I don't like having gunshots be so bassy that they rattle my chest. For this reason I'm not really considering 2.1 as an option. 2.0 sounds like an appropriate choice for me.

Also, I'm not a fan of wireless devices. These speakers are only a few feet from my PC, so running a cable is no issue.

Prior to starting this thread, I'd been looking at the 'Altec Lansing FX3022 Expressionist Bass 2.2 Dual 4 Subwoofer Speaker' as they were getting good reviews. I know that contradicts my point about wanting a 2.0 system but reviews have indicated that the bass isn't overpowered. I was also considering 'Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II'. Does anyone here have experience with either of these speakers?


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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:10 am 
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I own the Creative T40II. I can't really comment on the audio quality since I'm not quite audiophilic enough to judge. But otherwise, they're quite decent. The volume knobs are not deep enough, so it can sometimes be a problem to get my fat fingers to turn the knob without the other knobs getting in their way. And sometimes I need to hold the speaker firmly in place to turn the knob, because I would otherwise flip over the speaker. But as you can here, these are only minor complains! If you haven't already read all the links on the internet, I could send them to you. The reviews are rank the T40 very high. 8-10 out of 10 points!

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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:40 am 
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I've now read numerous reviews of the Audioengine A2. I give in :P These are what I'll be buying. No matter that there's only two stores in Aus that sell them. Both on the other side of the country to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:04 pm 
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I'm running Microlab 6C speakers, and I can't hear them when they're plugged in without input signals. They're really good value.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:05 am 
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Zustiur wrote:
I've now read numerous reviews of the Audioengine A2. I give in :P These are what I'll be buying. No matter that there's only two stores in Aus that sell them. Both on the other side of the country to me.


I bought a second-hand pair off e-Bay... the bloomin' power supply ticks. Not silent speakers.

Other than that they're pretty decent for their size, a bit directional for close-up listening and needed to fiddle with the equalizer on my audio output to get the bass/middle/treble mix as I wanted it. Worth the £75 I paid for them for the final purpose they'll be put to (on an HTPC in the kitchen).


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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:51 am 
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nutball wrote:
I bought a second-hand pair off e-Bay... the bloomin' power supply ticks. Not silent speakers.

EEEK! Is that a common problem or just a one off? Does anyone know?
Does it only happen when they're on? Only when they're off?


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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:01 am 
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Zustiur wrote:
Does it only happen when they're on? Only when they're off?


It happens both when the speakers are switched on and switched off (using the on/off/volume knob on the back of the amped speaker). I've not seen it mentioned in eg. the SPCR review of them so I assume I've got a dodgy unit.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:04 am 
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No noise in mine either... Me thinks you got a lemon... :(

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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:16 am 
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nutball wrote:
Zustiur wrote:
Does it only happen when they're on? Only when they're off?


It happens both when the speakers are switched on and switched off (using the on/off/volume knob on the back of the amped speaker). I've not seen it mentioned in eg. the SPCR review of them so I assume I've got a dodgy unit.

Still using our samples in the lab, no issues with any noise from the AC/DC adapter or spkrs.

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 Post subject: Re: Silent speakers
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:14 am 
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Good to hear Mike. Thanks for that. And thanks for the helpful review of them too! I'm amazed at how many top reviews they get.


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