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New speakers needed


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My creative 5.1 speakers sound fine in use, but when nothing is playing they have a constant popping sound that is starting to bother me.  They are 13 years old and giving me the itch to upgrade.  It's not PC/wall outlet related, those have both changed over the years. 

I've grown accustom to using a DAC/headphone amplifier, and can't help but think I should have a DAC/Amp for computer speakers as well.  My Objective 2 DAC/Amp could work as the DAC, but I think I'd  have to change the wiring to switch between headphones and speakers.  I'd much rather a switch/button, or even software setting than swapping wires all the time.  Which means I may be interested in a new DAC/Amp, and some new speakers.  My 5 speakers are all in front of me on my desk, so I don't know how relevant surround sound is.   Might be nice in a theater setup, but not relevant for directional sound in gaming, I use headphones for that. 

 

I'm at risk of spending countless hours researching and way more money than I should on audio equipment.  That said, I really like quality, clean sound.  It doesn't have to be loud.  I value my hearing. 

Max budget $1,200.  I'd sleep better if it were around $400 or less.  Part of me is cringing as I write that, knowing that if I bought some $150 speakers I'd likely be content.  If I'm going to use it for 12+ years I don't mind spending a bit more.  Audio technology hasn't changed a lot over the years.  Amplifier/speakers are always relevant, the only thing that seems to change are receivers (CDs, Bluetooth, arc HDMI, wifi, etc.), which is why I might be better off only buying a receiver if I switch where the sound system is. 

 

Any suggestions?  How deep is this rabbit hole, and how do I climb out before I've spent way to much time and money?

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If you have the space, I'd recommend powered nearfield monitors. The Kali LP6 V2 is a really good value, as well as the JBL 305p. The JBL has a slight bit of hiss when nothing is playing, so you may notice it if the room is dead silent. The Kali V2 reduced the hiss from the first gen. Both are very well tuned speakers and insane value. 

LP6 V2 testing : https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/kali_lp-6v2/

305p testing : https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/jbl_305pmk2/

 

Edited by T.Sharp
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The rabbit hole is very, very deep. Your options are only limited by your creativity and your budget.

 

I spent about $750 between bookshelf speakers, a subwoofer, a DAC, and an amplifier. I think the speakers were about $200. It's been about 12 years since I bought them so I don't recall exactly. The speaker options are seemingly endless if you choose to supply your own power.

 

Because I rarely use headphones with my rig, I didn't prioritize routing headphone audio through the DAC, although I certainly could have when I was shopping for the hardware. I'm okay with onboard sound driving front panel headphone audio, but otherwise I'd probably have spent even more on my DAC and gotten the SMSL M500 MKⅢ. However, I still have an XtremPro X1-1 USB DAC that I can use if I need a boost over onboard.

 

You could get away with a receiver if space isn't a concern. I couldn't put one on my desk and still have room for anything else.

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I can't recommend the monitors (as already suggested) or a receiver/+floor pounders for PC audio, ENOUGH.  That said...

 

You'll be quite content at the $100~150 level with a 2.1 Klipsch Pro Media THX set.  I use one with my rig and it's... delightful.

 

FWIW~!

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Sounds like you basically want a setup like mine. Decent sound card for the PC - hooked up to a good stereo amp/receiver for a standard home theater style setup. 

 

You can use HDMI from a PC to a receiver but you will not have any options for how to control the output, which is important on a PC which is why you need the sound card. 

 

The sound blaster Z is enough feature wise to give you all the control you will need to setup/adjust 5.1 from a PC. 

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I'd use a digital signal from your pc (USB or hdmi), and use a built in dac on a receiver or amp. You don't need to separate the dac and amp. Most receivers have a fantastic dac. But like others have said, it all boils down to your use and creativity. 

 

How much space do you have? 2.1 or are you wanting to push for surround (can you PROPERLY setup surround?). What size speakers do you want? What frequencies do you want the setup to reach (example, most apartment people probably don't want a subwoofer capable of 20hz). Do you require headphones amp capability in the same setup as well? That'll effect what amp(s) you pickup too. 

 

And yeah, don't say creative sounds good again. We'll fix that line of thinking real quick! 🤣 

Edited by pioneerisloud
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Coming from some old Creative PC speakers, literally anything of decent quality is going to blow you away. Sounds like you actually DON'T want a surround setup if you just run your current 5.1 with all the speakers on your desk... 

 

Really it seems like you just need some decent quality speakers for when you don't feel like wearing the headphones. So I would stick to a 2 channel setup. Whether you want a sub or not sort of dictates the direction you would want to go. 

 

I've been down this path in a couple different directions. I've used a home theater receiver with decent speakers/ subs which worked well but the receiver took up a lot of desk space. I've done setups with 2 channel compact amps with passive speakers. Currently using powered nearfield studio monitors. 

 

My main rig uses the slightly larger JBL 306p than what have already been recommended. I have them hooked up to a Motu M4 USB interface since I use an XLR mic 

I also have a Monolith 10" THX sub (a little overkill lol) 

Based on how much I love this setup, I'd easily throw another vote for the 305p JBL's. 

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Is your onboard audio really that bad? Why not keep your Objective 2 for headphones and run your speakers off onboard? 

 

If it doesn't sound good enough you could always swap the DAC later for something that can do both, but I've been running a Hel for headphones and onboard for speakers for a while and haven't felt the need. 

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Lots of responses, thanks everyone!  I'll try to answer questions.  If I don't respond directly to you, please know that your opinion is still appreciated.

I'm in a house, the closest neighboring house is about 25 feet away, with all other houses being much farther away.   In the 3 years I've been here, I think the owners of the nearby home have only been around a couple months, it's not their primary residence.  I live alone, though I do have a guest that stays in the room below for a couple weeks of the year, so the option to limit or turn down the bass during those times would be helpful.  The room is decent sized, with the main focus of it being the computer.  It's on a folding table, with another desk nearby that is unused.  I like the table for the surface area.  Most of my table is occupied by 2 32" monitors, I've considered adding a 3rd and will probably do so at some point in the future. The gap between the table and monitors is 6-7 inches, depending on if the monitor stand is taking up the other inch.  The gap between the table and monitor bezel is 8 inches, but that would put the speakers fairly close to me.  I'm not opposed to using stands for speakers and have a book case directly behind me that speakers could easily sit on.

 

The reason I haven't used the 5.1 setup on my current speakers is that they don't have a stand and the wires are fairly short.  For the amount of impact they make, the effort hasn't been worthwhile.  Speaking of wires....  I embrace wire chaos.  I believe that if a wire looks at itself it instantly becomes tangled.  I'm not opposed to a better setup, but currently I haven't figured out a good way to hide wires and make them look respectable.  I do have a concern about running wires across the floor (around the edge of the room might be ok), as people with dogs visit me and they don't seem to respect wires, creating a potential tripping/failure point.

 

A receiver could easily sit on the desk next to me and be reachable/controllable without moving. 

 

 

9 hours ago, T.Sharp said:

If you have the space, I'd recommend powered nearfield monitors. The Kali LP6 V2 is a really good value, as well as the JBL 305p. The JBL has a slight bit of hiss when nothing is playing, so you may notice it if the room is dead silent. The Kali V2 reduced the hiss from the first gen. Both are very well tuned speakers and insane value. 

LP6 V2 testing : https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/kali_lp-6v2/

305p testing : https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/jbl_305pmk2/

 

 

The slight hiss would bother me.  My environment is usually quiet.  This is the first I'm learning about monitors, so yeah...  Guess I have more reading to do. 

3 hours ago, GanjaSMK said:

I can't recommend the monitors (as already suggested) or a receiver/+floor pounders for PC audio, ENOUGH.  That said...

 

You'll be quite content at the $100~150 level with a 2.1 Klipsch Pro Media THX set.  I use one with my rig and it's... delightful.

 

FWIW~!

That was the speaker set that I was thinking about.  I've got that terrible itch to scratch that makes me wonder if I shouldn't invest a bit more.  I probably fall into the audiophile category (scary), since I've got about $800 invested into my headphone setup.  These days I'm not using my headphones very much, only for specific situations.  I wouldn't feel bad spending more if it's something I can get 20 years of use out of.

 

I've used sound cards in the past.  My old system had one after I messed up the onboard sound.  There was a noticeable difference between driving headphones with a DAC/Amp vs using the sound card.

I haven't compared my current motherboard's onboard vs DAC.  That would probably be the rational/economical way to do things.  The question really comes down to, do I need an amplifier for the speakers, if so, I might as well throw in a DAC.  I plan to keep the Objective 2 for headphones. 

 

Edit - Realtek onboard doesn't sound great in linux, apparently the drivers are proprietary and they haven't released a linux driver.  I do notice a difference in sound quality between windows and linux, which has significantly impacted how much I'm using linux.  I'd like to be using linux a lot more, but when the overall activity I'm doing is the same with either operating system, but one sounds a lot better...  I'd prefer to be using Linux over Windows.

 

3 hours ago, pioneerisloud said:

I'd use a digital signal from your pc (USB or hdmi), and use a built in dac on a receiver or amp. You don't need to separate the dac and amp. Most receivers have a fantastic dac. But like others have said, it all boils down to your use and creativity. 

 

How much space do you have? 2.1 or are you wanting to push for surround (can you PROPERLY setup surround?). What size speakers do you want? What frequencies do you want the setup to reach (example, most apartment people probably don't want a subwoofer capable of 20hz). Do you require headphones amp capability in the same setup as well? That'll effect what amp(s) you pickup too. 

I have the space I could run a surround sound system.  Part of the problem becomes positioning the speakers and running wires to them, which could probably be done, I'd need longer speaker wires to avoid dragging them across the center of the room.  I like the chest rattling of a sub, I just don't want to over do it to the point that it drowns out other music qualities.  I'm looking for a good balance.

 

So far I'm leaning towards a receiver with near field monitor speakers, but I should probably do more research on monitor speakers so I know what I'm getting into. 

3 hours ago, pioneerisloud said:

And yeah, don't say creative sounds good again. We'll fix that line of thinking real quick! 🤣 

This made me laugh.  🤣

Edited by Kaz
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2 hours ago, Kaz said:

Lots of responses, thanks everyone!  I'll try to answer questions.  If I don't respond directly to you, please know that your opinion is still appreciated.

I'm in a house, the closest neighboring house is about 25 feet away, with all other houses being much farther away.   In the 3 years I've been here, I think the owners of the nearby home have only been around a couple months, it's not their primary residence.  I live alone, though I do have a guest that stays in the room below for a couple weeks of the year, so the option to limit or turn down the bass during those times would be helpful.  The room is decent sized, with the main focus of it being the computer.  It's on a folding table, with another desk nearby that is unused.  I like the table for the surface area.  Most of my table is occupied by 2 32" monitors, I've considered adding a 3rd and will probably do so at some point in the future. The gap between the table and monitors is 6-7 inches, depending on if the monitor stand is taking up the other inch.  The gap between the table and monitor bezel is 8 inches, but that would put the speakers fairly close to me.  I'm not opposed to using stands for speakers and have a book case directly behind me that speakers could easily sit on.

 

The reason I haven't used the 5.1 setup on my current speakers is that they don't have a stand and the wires are fairly short.  For the amount of impact they make, the effort hasn't been worthwhile.  Speaking of wires....  I embrace wire chaos.  I believe that if a wire looks at itself it instantly becomes tangled.  I'm not opposed to a better setup, but currently I haven't figured out a good way to hide wires and make them look respectable.  I do have a concern about running wires across the floor (around the edge of the room might be ok), as people with dogs visit me and they don't seem to respect wires, creating a potential tripping/failure point.

 

A receiver could easily sit on the desk next to me and be reachable/controllable without moving. 

 

 

 

The slight hiss would bother me.  My environment is usually quiet.  This is the first I'm learning about monitors, so yeah...  Guess I have more reading to do. 

That was the speaker set that I was thinking about.  I've got that terrible itch to scratch that makes me wonder if I shouldn't invest a bit more.  I probably fall into the audiophile category (scary), since I've got about $800 invested into my headphone setup.  These days I'm not using my headphones very much, only for specific situations.  I wouldn't feel bad spending more if it's something I can get 20 years of use out of.

 

I've used sound cards in the past.  My old system had one after I messed up the onboard sound.  There was a noticeable difference between driving headphones with a DAC/Amp vs using the sound card.

I haven't compared my current motherboard's onboard vs DAC.  That would probably be the rational/economical way to do things.  The question really comes down to, do I need an amplifier for the speakers, if so, I might as well throw in a DAC.  I plan to keep the Objective 2 for headphones. 

 

Edit - Realtek onboard doesn't sound great in linux, apparently the drivers are proprietary and they haven't released a linux driver.  I do notice a difference in sound quality between windows and linux, which has significantly impacted how much I'm using linux.  I'd like to be using linux a lot more, but when the overall activity I'm doing is the same with either operating system, but one sounds a lot better...  I'd prefer to be using Linux over Windows.

 

I have the space I could run a surround sound system.  Part of the problem becomes positioning the speakers and running wires to them, which could probably be done, I'd need longer speaker wires to avoid dragging them across the center of the room.  I like the chest rattling of a sub, I just don't want to over do it to the point that it drowns out other music qualities.  I'm looking for a good balance.

 

So far I'm leaning towards a receiver with near field monitor speakers, but I should probably do more research on monitor speakers so I know what I'm getting into. 

This made me laugh.  🤣

From everything you're describing, yeah it sounds like receiver + a really good 2.1 setup.  Subs, you can always use more than one to gain the effect you're looking for, or one that has really good range + some transducers on your chair to get the "impact" even with lowered volumes.  Either way, definitely want the lowest frequency extension you can possibly get within your budget.  Speakers, there's so many to choose from, or you can even look at DIY options too.  If you're into that idea, go browse around parts express for a while.  I'm always super budget, so I can't speak on the higher end prebuilt sets, but even budget options like Daytons or Micca's would probably blow you away in comparison to Creative stuff.  Depending on how you want the setup to sound too, you might consider watching the lower frequency ranges on the speakers too.  Personally I like my sub crossed over around 60Hz or so, so I usually want my speakers to extend down to at least 60.  Something to think about at least, is that you want the sub and speakers to blend well at your crossover point.

 

Don't knock out the smaller desktop DAC / amps either, there's several of those out there that support proper 2.1 with USB input as well.  Some even have a headphones amp too, my SMSL AD18 does.  Receiver will definitely be more powerful usually though, and have a lot more functionality to it than a small desktop amp though.  Just other options to think about with a 2.1. 🙂  

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Since I primarily listen to music, sometimes even while playing some games, I've never seriously looked at setting up more than a 2.1 in front of my computer. Given the challenges of setting up surround sound and running and hiding speaker wires, I'd rather have a strong 2.1 than a untidy surround setup. If you're not using the 5.1 surround setup of those Creative speakers now, you really won't miss it after you upgrade your speakers to something decent.

 

HDMI or TOSLINK in to a receiver is probably the easiest solution if you have a place to put one.

 

Otherwise, it's not lost on me that a good chunk of the expense for a desktop-friendly dedicated audio setup is in trying to make the hardware compact. A Schiit Stack of a Magni+ and Modi+ would get the job done and look good for headphone and speaker switching for relatively cheap. From what I've read, the Magni+ would also be an upgrade over the Objective 2. You'd have to run a sub with a speaker-level input with this combo though.

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I'm not that much of an audio expert or up to date with modern speakers, and am still using a 2007 Logitech z2300 (2.1; THX certified; 120w 8" sub, 40w satellites) and I love it. It goes loud but still sounds very clean. It's great for Hospital records station while racing in Forza Horizon 4 and 5. It plays music well too though not as good as my retro 90s Technics SB-A32 tower speakers on my retro modern stereo I built. (Four 8" woofers, 2.5" midrange, 1" tweeter, 300w 12", Pioneer receiver, monitor with a Raspberry Pi with Kodi and a remote to stream from my pc)

 

That said, if I were going to replace it, I second the person who said Klipsch 2.1 setup. I think 5.1 is a waste if you're just going to stack them on top of your desk. I would imagine it would sound muddy. Too much interference between low end and high end/midrange with the center speaker.

 

Personally I would look for Klipsch with a sub as powerful as you can get as well as desk speakers with both a midrange 2.5" and 1" tweeter, assuming those exist in a set.

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I spent some time bumming around trying to learn more about audio sound.  Ultimately, it led to information overload. 

What I learned:

 

I should probably take @GanjaSMK and @The Pook's advice, buy a 2.1 Klipsch speaker set, run onboard sound and escape while I can.  Sadly, I never claimed to be smart. 

 

@pioneerisloud I don't know enough to build my own audio equipment.  I can handle the electrical stuff, but when it comes to generic stuff I am woefully lacking.  I don't know the difference between two different sets of speakers based on their stats.  One thing I do know, I don't want an MDF finished product.  Perhaps there is a way to make them look decent, I'd love to learn more.  In high school I had a welder friend build a sub box for me out of MDF.  If I were to do it again, I would buy a carbon fiber box and not think twice.  That's not to say the MDF under preformed, Jeff Keys (owner of Sight and Sound), told me my subs would probably do better in a band pass box.  Now days I'd pay more for a slightly finished product.  If you can give me the knowledge on how to make a product seem finished, I'm still interested,

 

I fell into the trap of listening to advertisers tell me why their stuff is good.  Only to decide, they are marketing guys and I don't trust anything they say.  A few 'neutral' youtube videos later and I realized these guys don't have a clue what they are talking about.  This led me back to @T.Sharp's chart information, and I realized I should reset and learn how to read a chart. 

 

That's it for today.  Maybe tomorrow I will make more headway.  @Neurotix I'm really happy to hear someone is using a Raspberry Pi to drive their audio equipment.  I happen to have a Pi that's not in use.  I originally bought it to drive a TV, but I'm disappointed in it's graphics for a 4K TV.  Driving from something as simple as a Pi, makes things seem a lot more future proof.  (The joke about future proof, is the best way to future proof your stuff is to buy it in the future).  What are you using for remote, and are you running headless?  You mentioned gaming, is your system also running off a main computer as well as the Pi?

 

 

Edit - What's up with @user formatting?  How do I make them all the same?

 

Edited by Kaz
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6 minutes ago, Kaz said:

I spent some time bumming around trying to learn more about audio sound.  Ultimately, it led to information overload. 

What I learned:

 

I should probably take @GanjaSMK and @The Pook's advice, buy a 2.1 Klipsch speaker set, run onboard sound and escape while I can.  Sadly, I never claimed to be smart. 

 

@pioneerisloud I don't know enough to build my own audio equipment.  I can handle the electrical stuff, but when it comes to generic stuff I am woefully lacking.  I don't know the difference between two different sets of speakers based on their stats.  One thing I do know, I don't want an MDF finished product.  Perhaps there is a way to make them look decent, I'd love to learn more.  In high school I had a welder friend build a sub box for me out of MDF.  If I were to do it again, I would buy a carbon fiber box and not think twice.  That's not to say the MDF under preformed, Jeff Keys (owner of Sight and Sound), told me my subs would probably do better in a band pass box.  Now days I'd pay more for a slightly finished product.  If you can give me the knowledge on how to make a product seem finished, I'm still interested,

 

I fell into the trap of listening to advertisers tell me why their stuff is good.  Only to decide, they are marketing guys and I don't trust anything they say.  A few 'neutral' youtube videos later and I realized these guys don't have a clue what they are talking about.  This led me back to @T.Sharp's chart information, and I realized I should reset and learn how to read a chart. 

 

That's it for today.  Maybe tomorrow I will make more headway.  @Neurotix I'm really happy to hear someone is using a Raspberry Pi to drive their audio equipment.  I happen to have a Pi that's not in use.  I originally bought it to drive a TV, but I'm disappointed in it's graphics for a 4K TV.  Driving from something as simple as a Pi, makes things seem a lot more future proof.  (The joke about future proof, is the best way to future proof your stuff is to buy it in the future).  What are you using for remote, and are you running headless?  You mentioned gaming, is your system also running off a main computer as well as the Pi?

 

 

Edit - What's up with @user formatting?  How do I make them all the same?

 

Make it easy on yourself.  You can still do this easily without going with a out of the box 2.1 set that is still going to leave you wanting more later anyway.

 

Look up Dayton, SMSL, Shitt (spelling?), Fosi, Lepai, Topping, etc for DAC / amp combos.  Try to find one that has a subwoofer pre-out if you can, that'll make adding a subwoofer easy.  If you find one you like but its missing a sub out, no big deal we can fix that later when you're adding your subwoofer.  There's still methods.  You'll also want one that has digital inputs such as USB, optical, or HDMI.  A receiver will also work in this place as well, give you more input options, surround abilities later, and crossover options, but at the expense of space.  Your call there.  Pioneer, Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo, Sony.....I mean just about any mid-range or higher name brand receiver from the last decade should "work" (so long as its got digital inputs and at least 5.1 proper output).

Speakers?  Seriously, you can pickup any set of bookshelf speakers.  Anything.  If you want a cheap budget option that'll sound fantastic to get you going, look at the Dayton MK402 set.  Even better, you can look at center speaker options (the Dayton set is also fantastic for this), and buy a matching pair of center channels too if you want a little extra lower end extension out of your fronts.

Subwoofer?  If you have a subwoofer pre-out on your amp above, you can choose literally any powered subwoofer.  Dayton again makes solid budget choices, but there's tons you can choose from.  Again, in this regard you'll want to look for something with some power, and with as low of an extension as you can possibly find.  The lower your subwoofer extends, the better.

Subwoofer pt 2?  Still want more "thump" in your chest and that pounding feeling still?  You can always add bass shakers off an amp to your chair.  If you happen to pick a subwoofer that doesn't give you enough low end oomph too, these are useful in the lower frequencies to help you really feel the lower subsonic frequencies.  Of course you can always add more than one sub too with a DIY setup as well if you just want more sound output too.

 

---------------------------------------------------


Start off with your DAC / amp combo (or a receiver if you want to deal with a receiver).  If you want a subwoofer (sounds like you do), make sure whatever you pick has a subwoofer out to make it easy.  Make sure your DAC-amp / receiver has digital inputs, not analogue only.  You can literally choose any speakers and any sub once you've made that decision.  Personally, I'm using a small SMSL AD18, that'll do exactly what you're asking for too and I love my little DAC / amp combo.

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1 hour ago, Kaz said:

I should probably take @GanjaSMK and @The Pook's advice, buy a 2.1 Klipsch speaker set, run onboard sound and escape while I can. 

 

I know it was a joke (I think) but don't buy them in 2023. Lepy LP-2020ADayton Audio B452Monoprice 108248. ~$10 more, upgradable, and better sounding. I ran a vaguely similar setup when my ProMedias died

 

1 hour ago, Kaz said:

I spent some time bumming around trying to learn more about audio sound.  Ultimately, it led to information overload. 

 

Sabaj A4 + Mica RB42. $200. if you find the boom boom lacking, then slap in a sub. 

 

ezpz

 

1 hour ago, Kaz said:

I don't know the difference between two different sets of speakers based on their stats. 

 

they're largely meaningless. unless every audio manufacturer agreed on a standard testing methodology, they're (at best) only comparable within the same brand.

 

look for user reviews on Audio Science Review. They've got plane jane boring measurements and their numbers are infinitely more useful than the manufacturer's specs. 

 

Edited by The Pook
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With such a wide budget and perhaps not a proportionate amount of time, I guess the real questions are:

 

How are you going to use your speakers? When and what is the use case of them over the headphones?

 

What are you expecting versus your headphone setup? What headphones do you currently use?

 

What's your actual budget? What justifies settling at $150, going up to $400, and then over all the way up to $1200?

 

You could call this snobbery (and I could explain in another post at another time), but I think the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 is overrated unless you really just want to escape with a PC speaker system in a box for $150 or less, in which case, you may as well go full budget and buy a used set for $80 or less and be done with it. That'll also give you a buffer for replacement parts since you'll probably need them sooner or later.

 

The thing is, they're great for computer speakers, but all the reviews you read by people who don't review audio make the ProMedia 2.1 out to be something that it's not. They have a signature boomy bass and hollow mid-range sound that make music listening...unremarkable, and the reliability of the set has always been a mixed bag throughout all of its iterations over the past 20+ years. If you do a quick search on eBay, you'll find about as many parted out systems and components as complete functioning ones.

 

Pook's got the formula for a budget setup. The same basic formula has been followed for about two decades with different Class T amp/speaker/sub combinations, but it'll allow you to do much better than the Klipsch ProMedia for $150.

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Here's where I'd start at personally if I were building myself a new setup.

SMSL AD18 DAC / Amp / Headphones Amp:
https://www.amazon.com/S-M-S-L-AD18-Amplifier-Bluetooth-Subwoofer/dp/B071JN7GXN

 

Dayton MK402X Speakers:
https://www.parts-express.com/Dayton-Audio-MK402X-4-2-Way-Bookshelf-Speaker-Pair-300-465?quantity=1
 

$225 ish total cost there + whatever subwoofer you choose.  I'd also grab some 12-14ga speaker wire, maybe some banana plugs, and however long of a subwoofer RCA cable you'll need to reach wherever you want to place your sub at.  Parts Express will have all of that stuff in stock with the speakers, and you'll save with the free shipping that way. 🙂


You can literally add any subwoofer you want to that setup, and you might find that you might not even need a subwoofer with the MK402X's.  You probably will though.  There's tons to choose from.  Monoprice and Dayton both have good budget options to get you going.  

Again, if you want more functionality than the SMSL AD18, you can always look at a used (or new) receiver as well.  But that'll be about the same functionality, but a tiny desktop footprint.  That's why I chose it.

 

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Oh snap... The Klipsch 2.1 was a joke? Nevermind any of my useless post then.

 

Listen to pioneerisloud, he has decades of audio expertise and used to build and tune car systems. You can trust anything he recommends, as he recommended a replacement sub for my Polk Audio PSW-505 subwoofer after the stock speaker blew the 2nd time I used it, and what he recommended has been fantastic so far.

 

I think bookshelf speakers/studio monitors and a sub would be best, and sorry about your onboard audio and Linux woes. I also use Linux as my main OS but my sound chip is supported with ALSA (Supreme FX onboard- ALC 4080).

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5 hours ago, neurotix said:

Oh snap... The Klipsch 2.1 was a joke? Nevermind any of my useless post then.

 

Listen to pioneerisloud, he has decades of audio expertise and used to build and tune car systems. You can trust anything he recommends, as he recommended a replacement sub for my Polk Audio PSW-505 subwoofer after the stock speaker blew the 2nd time I used it, and what he recommended has been fantastic so far.

 

I think bookshelf speakers/studio monitors and a sub would be best, and sorry about your onboard audio and Linux woes. I also use Linux as my main OS but my sound chip is supported with ALSA (Supreme FX onboard- ALC 4080).

The Klipsch 2.1 sets are okay for an all in one box set for PC speakers.  Sure.  But there's soooo much better you can do for that price point for clarity and sound quality its silly to think about a boxed PC speaker set. 🙂  And he's got a decent budget for something good.  No reason to settle.  Definitely don't just listen to me though, I'm not that smart.  Everyone here has good ideas.  It's just whatever fits his desk, his budget, and his ears the best. 

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I'm still happy with my Logitech z2300 I've had forever.

 

I really think having *any* speakers and sub attached to your pc makes a huge difference regarding gaming, assuming you play games with their audio on and not music with the game muted.

 

I don't have high end headphones either, but I find for pc gaming, playing something like DOOM Eternal and firing a rocket and hearing it explode has way more impact and is much more immersive when it makes the floor shake vs just hearing it over headphones.

 

Also thank you for your kind post, pio. If not for my rig getting upgraded so much recently I'd consider getting some monitors and a sub possibly but I'm actually wondering about doing 5.1 on my downstairs living room tv. (The 77" CX OLED with my PS5 and Switch)

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  • 9 months later...

I spent like 75 on my LG BH6720S 3D BluRay Home Theater Receiver, but you could pick up a perfect condition one for like 50 today.  Then I bought 100 feet of fire alarm wire solid copper 16 awg 2 conductor cable that supplies top quality audio fidelity to my Sony 5.1 speaker system.  Way higher quality than standard frayed copper or aluminum wire.  It can carry cleaner current to & from the receiver to the speaker.  The cable cost like $25 & the 5.1 Sony speakers were like 75, add a high quality digital optical cable call it 20, thats a total of 50 + 25 + 75 + 20 = 170 bucks not bad if you ask me.  You'll get clean 1536kbps DTS 5.1 & pristine 640kbps Dolby Digital from it over SPDIF Digital Optical.  It doesn't support HDMI Input so that's why it won't support the advanced formats, but it supports all the advanced formats internally and it can playback H264 only 1080p but up to Dolby True HD & DTS Master Audio internally over a FAT32 USB drive.

 

 

LG BH6720S 3D BluRay Home Theater Receiver - Copy.jpg

SONY DAV-X150 Sound System.jpeg

IMG_20240411_224033_smaller_filesize.jpg

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