Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

$300-400 computer speakers + sound card, any suggestions?

Last response: in Components
Share
February 8, 2007 6:49:36 AM

Hi, i know absolutely nothing about sound cards or speakers and i am gonna buy a new computer soon. I really need better computer speakers to my new computer because the sound is not very good in those that i have now.

I dont have a TV or a stereo so i use my computer for all entertainment. I watch alot of movies and play alot of games.

I dont know how interested i am in a sound card that increases performance in games, i dont know if it actually makes a differance.

I was thinking i could spend around $300 on computer speakers + sound card for my new computer but i am not sure how far that will get me. I could spend alittle over $300 but not much more.

Also, i live in Sweden so please suggest stuff that you think could be baught in europe.

Edit: I wrote $300 at first and that is before taxes, i am not sure how your tax-system works but i am willing to spend $400 after taxes (since i will order my whole computer as one package shipping is "free" for the speakers)
February 8, 2007 12:40:08 PM

I think a logitech Z 5300 coupled with an xtremegamer or xtrememusic card would knock your socks off. Should be able to get both for <$400. THX certified is the way to go if you're into movies and games. It still amazes me that you can get speakers of this quality for under $200.
February 8, 2007 1:46:23 PM

THX certified...lol
Related resources
February 9, 2007 6:39:45 PM

Quote:
I think a logitech Z 5300 coupled with an xtremegamer or xtrememusic card would knock your socks off. Should be able to get both for <$400. THX certified is the way to go if you're into movies and games. It still amazes me that you can get speakers of this quality for under $200.


Thanks alot. And if i also want good headphones, got any tips for that?
February 10, 2007 4:40:40 PM

Quote:
I think a logitech Z 5300 coupled with an xtremegamer or xtrememusic card would knock your socks off. Should be able to get both for <$400. THX certified is the way to go if you're into movies and games. It still amazes me that you can get speakers of this quality for under $200.


Thanks alot. And if i also want good headphones, got any tips for that?

Meh...still looking for a good pair of those myself. :?
February 11, 2007 7:20:18 AM

Hah, looks like Reos looked at my signature and posted in the Audioholics forums. Powered monitors are a great suggestion and I agree with those folks for simplicity and sound quality. Good luck with your purchase whatever it ends up being.
February 11, 2007 5:29:55 PM

Quote:
I think a logitech Z 5300 coupled with an xtremegamer or xtrememusic card would knock your socks off. Should be able to get both for <$400. THX certified is the way to go if you're into movies and games. It still amazes me that you can get speakers of this quality for under $200.


The Logitech Z 5300 seem great, i have some questions though.

I read this in a review: "the cable lengths are generous", how long are the cables? I need atleast 8m for the rear speakers.

I am gonna use these speakers for my computer as i said before and my front speakers will be just infront of me (about 0.4-0.5m away) and my back wall is about 2.5m away so i dont know how the sound will be. Is it possible to adjust the back speakers to compensate for this? So i gues the question here is: Will it sound good if my back speakers are 3m away and my front speakers are 0.5m away?
February 12, 2007 7:28:28 AM

Quote:
THX certified...lol


LOL LOL 8O :lol:  :lol: 
February 12, 2007 8:23:23 AM

Best speakers for watching movies and listening to music, if you can still find them at best buy, are klipsch promedia ultra. If you want more features such as digital decoding, more i/o connections, etc then the Logitech will probably be best for your use, although you will sacrifice some sound quality. The gigaworks have real nice highs but the sub that comes with the klipsch is by far the most musical out of all the current and past pc speakers and the highs are pretty close to the quality of the gw which is why i'd say go with the klipsch for the overall better system. The logitech's sub is just out right boomy, it might be your cup of tea however. Also, dont pay any attention to THX certification, it's all just a marketing scheme. Look at the higher end audiophile systems, they don't boast thx everywhere.
February 13, 2007 12:52:46 PM

Quote:
I think a logitech Z 5300 coupled with an xtremegamer or xtrememusic card would knock your socks off. Should be able to get both for <$400. THX certified is the way to go if you're into movies and games. It still amazes me that you can get speakers of this quality for under $200.


The Logitech Z 5300 seem great, i have some questions though.

I read this in a review: "the cable lengths are generous", how long are the cables? I need atleast 8m for the rear speakers.

I am gonna use these speakers for my computer as i said before and my front speakers will be just infront of me (about 0.4-0.5m away) and my back wall is about 2.5m away so i dont know how the sound will be. Is it possible to adjust the back speakers to compensate for this? So i gues the question here is: Will it sound good if my back speakers are 3m away and my front speakers are 0.5m away?

Extensions for the rear speakers can be picked up at any radioshack or or local electronic store. The thx certification is not a marketing sceme but a series of requirements that must be passed. The gigaworks are nice but much more expensive. As for the 5300 just having a "boomy" base, well it just isn't so. I own a pair and they happen to be quite nice with a very accurate response. Read any review of the 5300 including the one at Toms hardware and you will find that they are indeed a very nice system.
February 13, 2007 7:47:33 PM

Quote:
Extensions for the rear speakers can be picked up at any radioshack or or local electronic store. The thx certification is not a marketing sceme but a series of requirements that must be passed. The gigaworks are nice but much more expensive. As for the 5300 just having a "boomy" base, well it just isn't so. I own a pair and they happen to be quite nice with a very accurate response. Read any review of the 5300 including the one at Toms hardware and you will find that they are indeed a very nice system.


So you do think i will need extensions?

And as for my second question "Will it sound good if my back speakers are 3m away and my front speakers are 0.5m away from where i sit?". Anyone have any experience with this situation?
February 13, 2007 8:48:49 PM

Quote:
The thx certification is not a marketing sceme but a series of requirements that must be passed.


Ask any audiophile, THX certification is all a marketing scheme. So you are saying that THX certified speakers will sound better than non THX certified speakers? This is definitely not true. THX certification only means that a product meets certain minimum requirements, it does not mean it sounds better than something not THX certified. It just all depends if a company finds a need to pay for testing it's certification and badging their products. Check out Wilson audio which is a top of the line type company with 100k pairs of loud speakers, just because they're not THX certified they must not sound as good as the 1k pair that are correct?

Quote:

As for the 5300 just having a "boomy" base, well it just isn't so. I own a pair and they happen to be quite nice with a very accurate response.


when i was referring to how the Z5300's produce alot of boomy bass in the 50hz range. You don't want that for serious music reproduction because you want a balanced frequency range. The Ultra's sub goes down to 30Hz with power and doesn't have a spike at 50hz like the Z5300's sub. In other words, the Ultra's sub will kill the Z5300's sub any day. Plus it's the z5300's 6.5 inch sub versus the ultra's 2x 8 inch. try playing a tone that is below 40hz and see how "accurate" it will sound. I'm not a fanboy, i'm just telling it how it is. I have a z680 system that has a 8 inch sub which sounds better than the 5300, and it isnt half as good as the ultra's. The klipsch promedia ultra's sub is the best sub made for computer speakers, nothing but clean tight bass.

Not only do they have a boomy sub, but they have no tweeter. No matter what is trying to be accomplished with the phase plug design, it will not reproduce the same quality of highs as a separate tweeter will. it is very saturated when compared to other systems with separates. I will say that the logitech's do have pretty nice midrange response however.

Quote:

Read any review of the 5300 including the one at Toms hardware and you will find that they are indeed a very nice system.


I didn't say they aren't a good system, i'm just saying they're not the best for the money. BTW, Tomshardware.com does not go into detail about frequency response and distortion which is done using measuring devices like at any audiophile type review.

I know you are just trying to defend a system that you bought and enjoy, but i'm telling it as it is, for the money, better speakers can be had.
February 14, 2007 1:59:22 AM

If you arent looking for a 5.1 system but want decent speakers with great sound and plenty of power I suggest these.... http://www.klipsch.com/products/details/promedia-2-1.as...

Its a shame they dont offer their 5.1 set up anymore. I personally have the 5.1 setup they use to sell. Very great sounding and plenty of power to fill a decent size living room.
February 14, 2007 3:07:09 AM

Quote:
If you arent looking for a 5.1 system but want decent speakers with great sound and plenty of power I suggest these.... http://www.klipsch.com/products/details/promedia-2-1.as...

Its a shame they dont offer their 5.1 set up anymore. I personally have the 5.1 setup they use to sell. Very great sounding and plenty of power to fill a decent size living room.


Actually yes, if your lucky, a local best buy might have a set still on the shelf. They have them priced at under $300 i believe. Up until about 2 months ago, my local best buys had a couple laying on the shelf. I haven't really noticed lately but they can still be had online too i believe.

And yes, if 2.1 is acceptable, the promedia 2.1's are definitely nice. Although the Klipsch iFi are even better (they use a version of their reference rsx3 HT speakers for the satellites as well as version of the sws sub for the sub/amp). Together they create a very musical sound stage and response along with a dock for the ipod.
February 14, 2007 4:54:40 AM

Quote:
If you arent looking for a 5.1 system but want decent speakers with great sound and plenty of power I suggest these.... http://www.klipsch.com/products/details/promedia-2-1.as...

Its a shame they dont offer their 5.1 set up anymore. I personally have the 5.1 setup they use to sell. Very great sounding and plenty of power to fill a decent size living room.


Actually yes, if your lucky, a local best buy might have a set still on the shelf. They have them priced at under $300 i believe. Up until about 2 months ago, my local best buys had a couple laying on the shelf. I haven't really noticed lately but they can still be had online too i believe.

And yes, if 2.1 is acceptable, the promedia 2.1's are definitely nice. Although the Klipsch iFi are even better (they use a version of their reference rsx3 HT speakers for the satellites as well as version of the sws sub for the sub/amp). Together they create a very musical sound stage and response along with a dock for the ipod.

I already have a 2.1 system:
http://www.alteclansing.com/product_details_intl.asp?pI...

I am 100% sure mine is worse than the 2.1 systems you are talking about but i think i want a 5.1 system for the suround feeling, i have never had that.

I found Klipsch ProMedia GMX D-5.1 here in Sweden, the ultra only seem to come in a 2.0 system. There seem to be two 2.0 systems and two 2.1 systems available and one 5.1 system (Klipsch ProMedia GMX D-5.1).

Klipsch ProMedia GMX D-5.1 ($400) costs alot more than the Logitech z5300 (z5300 costs about $200) about $200 more actually. The Klipsch ProMedia GMX D-5.1 costs alittle more than even the z5500. Is the Klipsch system that much better? Is it worth the extra $200?

Edit: The prices are after taxes translated from sek into usd.
February 14, 2007 12:59:36 PM

Quote:
If you arent looking for a 5.1 system but want decent speakers with great sound and plenty of power I suggest these.... http://www.klipsch.com/products/details/promedia-2-1.as...

Its a shame they dont offer their 5.1 set up anymore. I personally have the 5.1 setup they use to sell. Very great sounding and plenty of power to fill a decent size living room.


Actually yes, if your lucky, a local best buy might have a set still on the shelf. They have them priced at under $300 i believe. Up until about 2 months ago, my local best buys had a couple laying on the shelf. I haven't really noticed lately but they can still be had online too i believe.

And yes, if 2.1 is acceptable, the promedia 2.1's are definitely nice. Although the Klipsch iFi are even better (they use a version of their reference rsx3 HT speakers for the satellites as well as version of the sws sub for the sub/amp). Together they create a very musical sound stage and response along with a dock for the ipod.

I already have a 2.1 system:
http://www.alteclansing.com/product_details_intl.asp?pI...

I am 100% sure mine is worse than the 2.1 systems you are talking about but i think i want a 5.1 system for the suround feeling, i have never had that.

I found Klipsch ProMedia GMX D-5.1 here in Sweden, the ultra only seem to come in a 2.0 system. There seem to be two 2.0 systems and two 2.1 systems available and one 5.1 system (Klipsch ProMedia GMX D-5.1).

Klipsch ProMedia GMX D-5.1 ($400) costs alot more than the Logitech z5300 (z5300 costs about $200) about $200 more actually. The Klipsch ProMedia GMX D-5.1 costs alittle more than even the z5500. Is the Klipsch system that much better? Is it worth the extra $200?

Edit: The prices are after taxes translated from sek into usd.

I personally think they are that good and the sound quality is much better then the speakers you listed. The 5.1 setups from klipsch that I have put out 600 watts of power between all the speakers. Klipsch themselves use to specialize in home audio speakers for entertainment centers before they entered the computer audio setups so they do have a good bit of knowledge in making good quality speaker systems.

Here is a review of the ones I have.. not sure how old this review is though since the speakers have been out for awhile.. http://gear.ign.com/articles/317/317291p1.html
February 14, 2007 11:12:34 PM

The GMX D-5.1s are made for console systems and have digital input only. They aren't really computer speakers per se.
February 15, 2007 4:49:50 AM

Quote:
The GMX D-5.1s are made for console systems and have digital input only. They aren't really computer speakers per se.


Hmm, really? What do you mean digital input, isnt that good for computers (i dont know anything about this), why would computers have analog output?
February 15, 2007 7:07:39 AM

Analog and digital are audio monikers.

Analog means that a the digital bits (0s and 1s) are decoded at the source and sent to the amplifier as sound waves.

Digital means the digital bits are sent to a decoder built onto the amplifier.

With computers, analog means = the soundcard decodes the sound, and sends the sound waves to the amplifier on the speakers to be amplified.

Source signal (0s & 1s) -> Sound Card converts source to analog wave form -> Amplifier -> Speaker Output

Digital means there is no decoding on the computer end, the digital bits are sent to a decoder/amp unit to be decoded, and then amplified.

Source signal (0s & 1s) -> Decoder converts source to analog wave form -> Amplifier -> Speaker Output

It's a minor difference in terminology.

Console systems have RCA (stereo) or digital (surround) outputs.

Most computer onboard or PCI soundcards are primarily stereo mini (3.5mm) output.

The GMX is digital only.

If you are really interested, you should read up on digital/analog on wikipedia or something. It's hard to explain when I'm certain there are a lot of key phrases you don't understand.
February 15, 2007 7:09:30 AM

oh wow, I didn't realize you were in sweden. The GMX 5.1 aren't in the same league as the promedia ultra 5.1, although the lows and highs sound better than the logitechs. If you can't find the promedia 5.1 or promedia ultra 5.1, then i suggest you try to find a set of gigaworks. Those would be the next best thing. They're just about as good as the ultras but cost a little more and has a less responsive sub; although is still a real good sub. so I suggest you try and locate one of those around town.

here's some pics of the systems discussed:

klipsch promedia ultra 5.1


klipsch iFi (those satellites retail for 2-300 usd a pair)


klipsch gmx 5.1


creative gigaworks s750 7.1
February 15, 2007 10:36:27 AM

I cant find promedia ultra 5.1 anywhere, although i am only looking in netstores, i dont think there are any in normal stores either.

I know where i can get the klipsch gmx 5.1 and they cost $400 and that is the roof of my budget and i wanted to get a soundcard + speakers for $400 and i was thinking about a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty and that itself costs about $130-150.

The creative gigaworks s750 7.1 costs $500 and that is really too much :( 


Is my budget too small? Should i wait untill i am ready to spend that much money on speakers or is the Logitech Z 5300 or maybe the Z 5400 a good choice for my price range? I was thinking $100-150 for a sound card and then $300 for speakers, total $400.

I already have a 2.1 system ( http://www.alteclansing.com/product_details_intl.asp?pI... ) so i would like to try a 5.1 (or more) but i want it to be an upgrade in soundquality. I dont want to spend $300 on speakers and then be dissapointed, but i am not sure if it is possible with my budget.
February 15, 2007 8:53:29 PM

well, since you had stated that the gmx costs $400 over there, that's almost double what they go for here (assuming the currency you are referring to is USD). The extra $100 for the gigaworks would definitely be worth it going from the gmx to the s750. What card are you referring to that will cost 130 - 150 bucks? If the gmx cost 400 there how much do the z5300 go for (as the z5300 competes with the gmx; likewise the z5500 competes with the gw and ultras).

BTW, any system you upgrade to out of all the systems discussed in this thread, will sound worlds better than what you have currently. My g/f has the 4.1 version of the speakers you have and, although they have suprising sound for the size of the system, they are nothing compared to any of the systems mentioned here.
February 16, 2007 4:45:43 AM

Quote:
well, since you had stated that the gmx costs $400 over there, that's almost double what they go for here (assuming the currency you are referring to is USD). The extra $100 for the gigaworks would definitely be worth it going from the gmx to the s750. What card are you referring to that will cost 130 - 150 bucks? If the gmx cost 400 there how much do the z5300 go for (as the z5300 competes with the gmx; likewise the z5500 competes with the gw and ultras).

BTW, any system you upgrade to out of all the systems discussed in this thread, will sound worlds better than what you have currently. My g/f has the 4.1 version of the speakers you have and, although they have suprising sound for the size of the system, they are nothing compared to any of the systems mentioned here.


The sound card that costs $130-150 is the X-fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682... it costs $121 on newegg and that is before taxes. My prices are after taxes so its about the same price.

Prices with taxes included (prices are usd):
Creative sound blaster X-fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty $140
Creative sound blaster X-fi XtremeGamer $110
Creative sound blaster x-fi xtreme audio $50
Creative sound blaster x-fi xtrememusic $90
Creative GigaWorks S750 $514
Klipsch promedia gmx d-5.1 $410
Logitec Z-5300 $221
Logitec Z-5400 $264
Logitec Z-5500 $380
February 16, 2007 1:11:41 PM

Man just go with the Z-2300 and you will not be disappointed. It may not be the Ferrari or the lamborghini of sound systems but it is the Jaguar. It is very powerful and produces very good quality sound across the board. Don't let these guys talk you into a purchase that just isn't necessary. I've been gaming and cranking the electronic music for many years now and i am still blown away by the quality of this system.
February 16, 2007 2:51:27 PM

Im hardcore into the gaming side and headphones is key. My buddy who has been doing it for awhile says hands down the Plantronic's DSP550 headphones are the shizzzzznit....

I did have the older Klipsch 5.1 Pro Media's, but something is fried, they wont even power on now, those things kicked ass for playing music and grooving around the house....
February 16, 2007 2:52:04 PM

Quote:
Man just go with the Z-2300 and you will not be disappointed. It may not be the Ferrari or the lamborghini of sound systems but it is the Jaguar. It is very powerful and produces very good quality sound across the board. Don't let these guys talk you into a purchase that just isn't necessary. I've been gaming and cranking the electronic music for many years now and i am still blown away by the quality of this system.


The Z 2300 is a 2.1 system, i kinda want surround sound this time and also Z 2300 costs almost as much as Z 5300 which seems good at its low price.
February 17, 2007 1:16:32 AM

Quote:


The Z 2300 is a 2.1 system, i kinda want surround sound this time and also Z 2300 costs almost as much as Z 5300 which seems good at its low price.


Sorry i meant the Z-5300. :?
February 19, 2007 9:30:35 AM

if the z5300 is cheap then go ahead and go for it. In the end you might be satisfied with it, but you also might have regret for spending the extra cash.

The only reason i'm pushing you to get the s750 (since the promedia's can't be found in your area) is because you mentioned this would be your means of audio for your movies. If this system was only meant for gaming and a once in a while occasion of listening to audio or watching movie, then really any midrange system would do such as the z5300. If you want the closest to having an actual HT setup without spending twice the $$$ for equivalent sound, then the s750 was meant for you.
February 19, 2007 5:19:22 PM

Quote:
if the z5300 is cheap then go ahead and go for it. In the end you might be satisfied with it, but you also might have regret for spending the extra cash.

The only reason i'm pushing you to get the s750 (since the promedia's can't be found in your area) is because you mentioned this would be your means of audio for your movies. If this system was only meant for gaming and a once in a while occasion of listening to audio or watching movie, then really any midrange system would do such as the z5300. If you want the closest to having an actual HT setup without spending twice the $$$ for equivalent sound, then the s750 was meant for you.


Yea i am alittle afraid i will be dissapointed with one of the cheaper systems but as some of you said i would probably see a big improvement from what i currently have. In the long run i might regret not getting a more powerfull system but i really cant afford the GigaWorks S750 or even the logitec z-5500 right now since i am buying a whole new computer. Maybe its best to hold off a while with the speakers... this is so hard :( 
February 20, 2007 2:52:50 AM

You aren't really going to get big improvement by getting other PC speakers if you already owned the Klipsch 5.1 PMs. For you, "improvement" is going to start with bookshelves or studio monitors. Little satellites have major problems voicing movies, which focus a lot in midrange performance.

You can easily start off with a 2.0 setup and just build up from there.
February 20, 2007 5:09:19 AM

Quote:
You aren't really going to get big improvement by getting other PC speakers if you already owned the Klipsch 5.1 PMs. For you, "improvement" is going to start with bookshelves or studio monitors. Little satellites have major problems voicing movies, which focus a lot in midrange performance.

You can easily start off with a 2.0 setup and just build up from there.


I never owned the Klipsch 5.1.

This is the system i currently have: Altec Lansing powercube 2.1
!