Geekzone: technology news, blogs, forums
Guest
Welcome Guest.
You haven't logged in yet. If you don't have an account you can register now.




1095 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 66

Trusted

Topic # 99362 17-Mar-2012 20:42
Send private message

Hi everyone

So I'm in the market for some new computer speakers and I need all the advice I can get.

First, to give you an idea of what I'm after:

I'll be using the speakers for general computer use - a mix of music, TV and movies.
The speakers will be placed on my desk on either side of my monitor (24"). There is between 15 and 20 cm of space on each side. About the same amount of depth space is available.
I'm really only looking for a 2.0 setup. Music is much more important to me than movies and I don't have anywhere to place the other 4 speakers in a 5.1 setup.
Although I'm not a particularly active musician or producer, I do the odd bit of audio engineering (mixing). 
Everything I've read and everyone I've talked to so far suggests I should be looking for powered speakers.
My budget is roughly $1000. It would be great if I could spend less than that, but I'd much rather spend more (even significantly more) and get better quality than skimp and regret.
My budget doesn't extend to an AV receiver with traditional HT speakers (I may get one of them separately)... but I still want something powerful enough to fill a small room with sound for rocking out and movies (the term "bookshelf speakers" seems appropriate).
I want really good audio and build quality; something that will last me for 5 years minimum.

I've spoken to a few semi-pro musician and engineer friends and they have given me a few recommendations. Well, actually to be honest they gave more "negative" recommendations (ie. stay away from...) than "positive" recommendations. Basically anything with a plastic housing is apparently a no-no, and that covers almost all of the "traditional" computer speaker market (Logitech, Creative etc.). To be honest, I haven't seen one pair of traditional computer speakers that looks like it would be powerful enough for what I want anyway. HT brands like Bose and Wharefdale immediately bring negative connotations to mind - I've heard *many* bad things and would be reluctant to go down that route... but my mind is not closed. The low end "pro" audio brands like Behringer are almost certainly a "no" - again, heard *many* bad things.

The few suggestions I did get were:

KRK Rokit 5 ($600)
Alesis M1Active MKII ($1000)
Mackie MR5 MK2 ($1000)

The trouble with most of those is that they're almost verging on too big (physically). I was thinking more along the lines of:

Audioengine 2 ($200)
M-Audio AV-40 ($250)

I've read quite a few good reviews on both of those units, however the prices almost seem too good to be true. I have not yet had a chance to listen to either of them but I suspect that they are in a completely different [lower] league to the options mentioned above, purely because of size constraints. Maybe I need a bigger desk!

Two final points:
1. Auditioning
I can almost certainly rule out anything that I am not able to audition. Given that I live in the Manawatu (which is to say, there aren't the same number of shops as Auckland or Wellington), there aren't too many options for this. In fact I'm only aware of one shop: The Rockshop. Of course I can always check out options next time I'm in the big smoke, however that is quite infrequently at the moment. Any advice on this issue would *really* be appreciated.

2. Used
NZ seems to have a few online resellers (eg. soundstoreNZ sounds) with a reasonable range of the gear referred to as "high end" (eg. Adams, Genelec) on websites like gearslutz. However unless I've missed something, what we don't seem to have is any sizeable used/second-hand market other than Trade Me. Gearslutz in particular seem to often recommend that people in my position go for high quality used gear, but I'm at a loss for where I might go to find any of that in NZ. Again, any recommendations here would also be really appreciated.

So there it is. Thank you sincerely in advance for any advice you can offer!

mm

Create new topic
400 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 62


  Reply # 597112 19-Mar-2012 13:32
Send private message

Hi, I own a set of the Audio-Engine A2's and I can say that they are very good for the price,

I'm by no means an audio expert nor even enthusiast but the audio quality is very good, the best I've heard on any computer speakers, they can go very loud, much louder than I should need. With the volume knob turned half-way they are loud enough to annoy neighbours on this side and the other side of the street, certainly enough to be hazardous to my ears when I'm sitting in front of my monitor.

The build quality is exceptional, kevlar woofers and a multi-fibre-board casing.They seem very sturdy and the weight as compared to other logitech speakers I've owned (bad) is perhaps an indication of this. These are very small speakers too, 100x150x135mm.

If you have more space and I see that you have the budget you should look at the A5s as well, they are 178x254x197.

Apparently Yoobee sell both these models, so perhaps you should check if there is a local store and if they have them to demo, unfortunately I'm in Auckland but if you do come up here I would be happy to let you trial them.

A2 are $198 shipped to North Island http://www.aquilatech.co.nz/productDetail.asp?idProduct=A2W 
A5+ are $386 shipped http://www.aquilatech.co.nz/productDetail.asp?idProduct=A5%2BW
Both also come in black, and the A5 also have a bamboo style.

Aquilatech is a great store, I ordered the previous day and the speakers arrived the next. 9.55 with 39 reviews on pricespy.
The price on these are great as well, pretty much a steal, I was amazed that they cost the same as in the US and after currency conversion even much less.





1199 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 118

Subscriber

  Reply # 597161 19-Mar-2012 14:29
Send private message

I looked into this a few months ago and came to the same conclusion re the AudioEngine A2's, they just seemed too good to be true. But I spoke to a friend of mine who had nothing but good things to say about them and especially the A5's.

Have you considered buying them and spending the rest on a desktop amp/dac to drive them ?

I use an old Dell laptop as an 'ipod' using foobar2000 (with asio4all) bypassing the sound card and sending it all via USB to a Fiio E7, which then drives my Senn595's. The Fiio is certainly at the budget end of the spectrum but was only $100 from dealextreme and has excellent reviews for what it is. There is a new E17 (I think) coming out shortly which is getting some very good reviews.

I would imagine a similar setup would work just as well for the AudioEngine's and you could probably still bring it all in at somewhere between $5-600 and you have $400 to treat yourself to a set of proper headphones aswell ;)


 
 
 
 




1095 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 66

Trusted

  Reply # 597298 19-Mar-2012 18:02
Send private message

Cheers for the advice!
I'm still making up my mind, talking to other friends and acquaintances, so any additional advice would be much appreciated. The biggest sticking point at the moment seems to be auditioning...

3497 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 539


  Reply # 597313 19-Mar-2012 18:41
Send private message

Personally, I'm a fan of the KRK's and came 'this close' to buying a set for my ProTools rig when it was up and running...
BUT - they're designed primarily for studio work, not as all round speakers.
Neutrality is their thing, not musicality. A lack of 'boogie' or 'swagger' is replaced with pinpoint accuracy.
Also, they're very much restricting themselves to being a 'computer only' setup.

Instead, I'd grab a set of stand mount (bookshelf) passive speakers, add a home theatre receiver and go from there.
I'd agree re: Bose. I'd disagree about Wharfedale Diamond 9 or 10 bookshelves. But don't forget KEF, Jamo, Klipsch, Polk, B&W etc. They will all keep you happy, and can later on be paired with a full on home theatre system or near-field 2 channel music system.


Oh yeah, remember, when it comes to speakers EVERYTHING is subjective.
Be prepared for lots of confusing comments / bias.
Much of which I have offered up here...



1095 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 66

Trusted

  Reply # 597327 19-Mar-2012 19:11
Send private message

Hi and thank you Dunnersfella

BUT - they're designed primarily for studio work, not as all round speakers.
Neutrality is their thing, not musicality. A lack of 'boogie' or 'swagger' is replaced with pinpoint accuracy.
Also, they're very much restricting themselves to being a 'computer only' setup.

Understood. Neutrality is really what I'm after I think. Sound can be coloured or corrected to a degree with EQ, however I'd prefer to start reasonably flat if possible. The things I really want to avoid are things I can't "fix" easily like phase, build quality, or things I haven't anticipated.

Instead, I'd grab a set of stand mount (bookshelf) passive speakers, add a home theatre receiver and go from there.
I'd agree re: Bose. I'd disagree about Wharfedale Diamond 9 or 10 bookshelves. But don't forget KEF, Jamo, Klipsch, Polk, B&W etc. They will all keep you happy, and can later on be paired with a full on home theatre system or near-field 2 channel music system.

Noted, thank you.


Oh yeah, remember, when it comes to speakers EVERYTHING is subjective.
Be prepared for lots of confusing comments / bias.
Much of which I have offered up here...

Smile
The more I read, the more I realise that. This will be my first serious computer or HT audio purchase so I don't really have any reference for my own taste. That is why I'm intent on auditioning before buying.

2747 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 98


  Reply # 599333 23-Mar-2012 23:34
Send private message

These are very nice for the price

http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentlist.asp?parttypeid=37

My brother has the 6c slightly smaller, and I think it's best speaker <$300 and they sound good.




HTPC: Intel i3-2100 / 12GB RAM / AMD HD7750 / 480 GB SSD / 58TB Storage / MediaPortal / MadVR / Win10
AVR: Pioneer Elite SC-LX87 220W 9.2 Ch AVR
Speakers: Wharfedale Jade 7 Fronts / Jade 2c Center / Jade 5 Rears
Subs: iNuke 3000dsp 3000W proamp with 4x 15" JBL Sealed Subs
Display: Samsung 60" UA60H6400 LCD TV
Accessories: Gefen HDMI Detective with splitter




1095 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 66

Trusted

  Reply # 619030 3-May-2012 19:48
Send private message

Hi everyone

Just wanted to update the thread for anyone who happens to be in my position in future. I ended up buying a pair of Yamaha HS50m (3/4" tweeter, 5" mid/low) professional monitors from Musicworks for ~$900.

I managed to audition some more "traditional" computer speakers but decided I wanted to invest in a more "professional" option. I tried some KRK Rokit 5s and VXT4s at the Rockshop. The VXTs sounded very good for their size (4"), but at $1200 were too expensive for my budget. The Rokit 5s at $600 were alright, but time alignment between low (kick, bass) and high (high hat, ride) frequencies just didn't sit quite right - it annoyed me enough to search for another option. With the 5" size constraint, the Rockshop didn't have any other options for me within my budget.

I happened to come across the Yamaha HS50ms on the Musicworks website and my local store were able to get some in for me to listen to. I decided to go with them because... well, basically they tick all my boxes. They sound great in my opinion - perhaps a little lacking in bass and a little hotter in the vocal/brass range than what I'm used to, but otherwise very crisp highs and punchy bass. Not overly "warm", but not "cold" either; in other words, neutral, which is what I was looking for. Time alignment seems to be good. They were within my budget; seem to be well built; fit the physical constraints. The white cones take a little getting used to, but looks aren't everything (Wink).

Cheers everyone for your advice!

258 posts

Ultimate Geek
Inactive user


  Reply # 619045 3-May-2012 20:33
Send private message

kiwijunglist: These are very nice for the price

http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentlist.asp?parttypeid=37

My brother has the 6c slightly smaller, and I think it's best speaker <$300 and they sound good.


I have the 6C and they seem to a good buy, but t hey are big imoh and im looking for something else now. Something abit smaller.

1526 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 115


  Reply # 619049 3-May-2012 20:47
Send private message

This may be a strange idea, but what about a Tivoli Model 2. Sure they aren't standalone computer speakers, as its radio as well, but I heard them once plugged into an iPod and they sounded very impressive.

I think there is options to add a sub and CD player too.

1992 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 421

Subscriber

  Reply # 619268 4-May-2012 09:04
Send private message

I'd tend to err on the side of being able to expand slightly in the future - especially if you're spending $1000 or so.

A setup that can have a sub and/or an extra couple of speakers added would certainly make the investment a more worthwhile exercise to me...but therein lies the crux. That's MY opinion, based on what would suit ME.




Handsome Dan Has Spoken.

1 post

Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 621963 8-May-2012 22:39
Send private message

Hi All

I know the original poster has now purchased speakers - that's fine.

It's an interesting thread regardless and I've registered here just to add my input.

First: to the the bloke who suggested regular hifi speakers (e.g. tannoy wharfdale, etc.. whatever). They are not ideal for this type of application. Speakers at your computer nead to be aligned for 'near field' sound. That is - the sound comes together very close to the front of the speakers e.g. 1 metre. Regular hifi bookshelf speakers are optimised for much longer listening distances typically 2-4 metres.

In this instance studio monitors are the ideal self powered computer speakers, albeit a lot more expensive than your average computer speaker.

Recently, I demo'd the JBL 2328P studio monitors... talk about mind blowing. Amazingly big and accurate sound. No need for a sub with these babies.

Expensive though.. NZ $999

cheers!

PS: The Audio Engine speakers are also amazing. In particular the A5+ but I'm not convinced they are optimised for near field sound.

Create new topic



Twitter »

Follow us to receive Twitter updates when new discussions are posted in our forums:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when news items and blogs are posted in our frontpage:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when tech item prices are listed in our price comparison site:



Geekzone Live »

Try automatic live updates from Geekzone directly in your browser, without refreshing the page, with Geekzone Live now.


Support Geekzone »

Our community of supporters help make Geekzone possible. Click the button below to join them.

Support Geezone on PressPatron



Are you subscribed to our RSS feed? You can download the latest headlines and summaries from our stories directly to your computer or smartphone by using a feed reader.

Alternatively, you can receive a daily email with Geekzone updates.