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 Post subject: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:59 pm 
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Hi, all -

Earlier this year, with the help of several here, I put together a nice silent system. Now I'd like to look into a sound system for it.

My mobo is an ASRock Z68M-ITX/HT. It's got tons of audio connections in the back, and that's frankly got me a bit confused. I'm hoping someone here has some familiarity with this board, and could suggest a decent set of speakers for it. I don't want to go totally crazy, and smaller is better. I don't even know that I need a subwoofer for it...just something to provide decent audio (currently I have zero).

Any ideas? Thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:36 pm 
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I own the Creative GigaWorks T20 II which has received very good reviews on the web. It's a "2,0", meaning no central subwoofer but two speakers. So it's quite compact. It might be overkill for the non-audiophile user who doesn't need to fill an entire house with quality sound. So you should also consider the Creative Inspire T10 (also 2.0).

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:44 pm 
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Thanks for the suggestion. What kind of input do those take? For all my 3.5mm ports, I don't seem to have one for simple stereo output. Do these have a USB option?

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:46 pm 
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Hi,
What are you going to be listening to ? Music ? Game sounds ? Skype ? Movies ?
What's your budget ?

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:38 pm 
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Music, movies and podcast type stuff. I don't think the budget is an issue, as I'm not really interested in top-end. I just want something that I know will work with this mobo.

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:37 pm 
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Imho you should add up an Asus Sonar or comparable sound card to give those budget speakers a decent source of signal. Cheapest models will do if you don't need 5.1

I've had some budget edifier sets, they surprised by a decent sound for the called price. They could be a bit louder overall, but soundwise they were really tolerable.


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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:15 am 
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mzimmers wrote:
Thanks for the suggestion. What kind of input do those take? For all my 3.5mm ports, I don't seem to have one for simple stereo output. Do these have a USB option?

The green port is the default for a single stereo out. You can try plugging in headphones to see if it will work. The motherboard drivers might even auto-detect which port you've plugged into and route signal accordingly.

@Pappnaas: I don't see a reason to use a separate sound card, unless the OP has problems with electrical noise with the onboard audio.


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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:12 am 
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I also think that an add-on sound card is unnecessary. The integrated sound card from motherboards is good enough for the majority of users.

mzimmers wrote:
I just want something that I know will work with this mobo.


I don't think there's such a thing as compatibility between sound cards and speakers. So just choose a speaker you like. :)

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:29 am 
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lhopitalified wrote:
@Pappnaas: I don't see a reason to use a separate sound card, unless the OP has problems with electrical noise with the onboard audio.


In respect to the OP you're right. If this topic were about sound and it's qualitiy, I'd likely oppose.


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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:09 am 
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Here's the $400 2.0 answer: Audioengine A5+

Here's my ~ 2 year old ~$200 solution.

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:42 pm 
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Pappnaas wrote:
In respect to the OP you're right. If this topic were about sound and it's qualitiy, I'd likely oppose.

me too. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:32 pm 
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lhopitalified wrote:
The green port is the default for a single stereo out. You can try plugging in headphones to see if it will work. The motherboard drivers might even auto-detect which port you've plugged into and route signal accordingly.


According to my user's manual, the "lime" port is for a front speaker. I did plug some headphones in, and they *sort of* work. The sound seems to either be all left, centered, or all right. (This is just an observation from watching a few movies; I haven't scientifically studied it yet.) So, that has me wondering whether it's really stereo or not.

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:42 am 
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It seems like the OS didn't realise you were using stereo speakers and put out 5.1 signals.


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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:36 am 
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That's possible...I went into the sound control panel, clicked a few things, and now my front panel audio out is working (it wasn't before). Anyway, I'm still welcoming ideas. I'd still like to go more compact than the A5s that Steve suggested.

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:39 am 
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The A2's?

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:46 am 
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Hey, Steve -

You and I don't seem to have the same definition for "small" -- I'm talking something no bigger than my HK Soundsticks, and preferably smaller than that.

I realize that I'll probably be sacrificing sound when I go to such a small package, but I'm OK with that (I think).

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:22 am 
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Presumably, mzimmers, this is your reference for small? http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2372400,00.asp

You might want to consider http://www.orbaudio.com/index.aspx -- tho I know nothing about them beyond what their web site t/sells.

Those HK satellites are actually taller than the A2s, btw, and I'd bet their footprint on the desk isn't much smaller. Without knowing anything more about them, I'd bet on the A2s in a sound quality contest. 2 to 1 odds, even. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:34 am 
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MikeC wrote:
Presumably, mzimmers, this is your reference for small? http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2372400,00.asp


I don't know about a reference, but minus the subwoofer, those are small enough for me (though I'd prefer smaller.

Quote:
You might want to consider http://www.orbaudio.com/index.aspx -- tho I know nothing about them beyond what their web site t/sells.


Nice, but for a computer, they appear to need a pre-amp. I'd really like to avoid another piece of equipment (trying to keep this simple).

Those HK satellites are actually taller than the A2s, btw, and I'd bet their footprint on the desk isn't much smaller. Without knowing anything more about them, I'd bet on the A2s in a sound quality contest. 2 to 1 odds, even. :lol:[/quote]

Perhaps so, but for my aging, gunblast-impaired hearing, the soundsticks are good enough for me. If I could figure out a way to dual-host them, so I could use them on my Mac and my PC, I would.

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:48 am 
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OK, these are really tiny -- http://www.x-mini.com/

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:10 am 
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OK, I'm starting to warm up to what you guys are telling me here. Amplifiers, battery-powered speakers...you're really saying that I'm not going to be happy with something that's driven solely by the 3.5mm jack, right?

OK...I'll take another look at those orbs, even though they need an amp. Thanks for the help, everyone.

mz

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:57 am 
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http://www.bose.com/controller?url=/sho ... /index.jsp

These are also said to have a nice output.

And the more quality your speakers have, the more angry you'll get at onboard sound chips :)


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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:10 am 
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Pappnaas wrote:
http://www.bose.com/controller?url=/shop_online/digital_music_systems/computer_speakers/companion_2/index.jsp

These are also said to have a nice output.

And the more quality your speakers have, the more angry you'll get at onboard sound chips :)


Hmm...I just knew if I dwelled on this topic long enough, I'd succumb to tech envy.

That dual porting has me curious: so, with these (and presumably some other) speakers, it is possible to hook them up to two PCs? (Or, a PC and a Mac mini?) If that's the case, I could ditch the Soundsticks and go with just one pair. And, if *that's* the case, then...size isn't quite as crucial as I'd originally stated. (Don't you love it when RFIs come full circle?)

So, with this in mind, I'd like to alter my request for suggestions: size, while still important, doesn't have to be micro, but now dual input ports (and the ability to use both simultaneously) are. So...any ideas?

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:59 am 
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Those Audioengine A2s are pretty amazing sounding -- even w/o a sub. They will take the signal straight from your sound card.

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 Post subject: Re: suggestions for speaker system for my build?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:10 pm 
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mzimmers wrote:
I realize that I'll probably be sacrificing sound when I go to such a small package, but I'm OK with that (I think).

If you delete "probably" from that sentence, I'll buy in. :)

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