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No speaker improvements in 4 years?

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November 9, 2008 12:44:17 AM

I have been using the Logitech Z-5500 set of speakers for years now. No complaints. They are great speakers. I just wonder why, with upgrades to cpu's, mb's, memory, hard drives, etc,....that I haven't seen any high end speakers for the computer. I saw a recent bose offering....two computer speakers for $400 but I don't really count that as they are overrated. But what about it? Just seems like with such a big focus on cpu performance, etc, that the market is just begging for a better speaker system.

What say you?
November 9, 2008 12:54:38 AM

I like my Klipsch 2.1.
a b à CPUs
November 9, 2008 1:19:34 AM

The way speakers work hasn't really changed in 4 years. Sure, there's incremental stuff, but they just don't change the way that CPUs do. My dad still has his stereo set from the 1980's, and it still sounds quite good.

Of course, it is too bad that nobody has come out with a truly good speaker setup for computers. I have my comp hooked up to an external amp and speakers because there simply aren't any computer speakers that can compare.
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November 9, 2008 1:28:17 AM

As cjl stated, you'll have to buy a separate amp/receiver and real speakers/sub if you want better sound than the Z-5500 give you.
November 9, 2008 1:28:43 AM

^+1 for what cjl said. Most computer speakers are not so good. Last year I bought Logitech's g-51 and they sounded good for games but horrible for music and movies. Now I have 2 TOA speakers that came with a professional pa system. They sound great for games, music and movies.
November 9, 2008 1:37:12 AM

that's a bit like keyboards and mice i guess. i mean there really hasn't been any major advances to the mouse except the move from optical balls (:lol: ) to lasers. increases in dpi are not much these days, and higher dpi doesnt necessarily mean better. things like these just don't NEED to be changed much.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
November 9, 2008 1:52:53 AM

laser technology sucks for mice

I went from a g7 to a mx500

the difference is astronomical... thats with the mx500 polling rate at default...

change the polling rate to 1000 hz instead of 125... and it just gets better

Seriously though... its so much smoother and more precise now... at a certain speed lasers just get really glitchy...


Onto speakers now... hehe... how can you really improve on something thats already been improved a lot and no matter what you do still really requires the same setup... I mean a cpu theres always ways to improve things... but with speakers... its a magnet... you can upgrade or make this magnet as nice as possible... but at a certain point... its still just a magnet and as far as i know... thats not going to change any time soon
a c 140 à CPUs
November 9, 2008 2:11:21 AM

Quote:
laser technology sucks for mice

I went from a g7 to a mx500

the difference is astronomical... thats with the mx500 polling rate at default...

change the polling rate to 1000 hz instead of 125... and it just gets better

Seriously though... its so much smoother and more precise now... at a certain speed lasers just get really glitchy...



The laser mouse tech just like optical has had several bumps in the road. Cheep optical(and laser) mice loose track at even moderate speeds.

I have 2 MX 518's(Both of them do not pass 500 reports/sec(lucky you with the 500 :p ) even with the USB ports set to 1000[the kicker is with logitech's software it FORCES 125 to make the other mice look better, BASTARDS]) and they are the BEST thing in the price range(i got one for $20 at staples and the other was an RMA for a MX700 when I said NO MORE to wireless), but i do use a G9 and like it(with the exception to the fact that the rubber on the comfort grip is wearing right though).

One of the biggest differences with a laser based mouse is that its not only sensitive to side to side, but also up and down moments. I rest my hand rather heavy on the mouse and it would cause a clear jittery moment on my soft mouse pad. Getting a hard mouse pad did solve this problem. I also have a MX 400 and it can not keep up with fast moments.

Onto speakers....

Since not much changes are made to the systems they do not need to release new ones often. Most updates now are just for "Cool" features. A good stereo will always sound better, but i still use an old pair of 4.1 speakers(Alteclansing 641[sounds great to me :) ]) and will continue to do so until they die.
November 9, 2008 2:32:13 AM


i have logitech z-560 4.1 speakers, they sound great, have had em for like 4 years

if you want better than that then you need to get a separate amp and a good set of speakers + sub which is lots of $$ hehe

if you want better than that then you need to get studio monitors with studio equipment, which is even more $$$

if you want better than that then yea i dunno, watch the band live hehe
November 9, 2008 2:37:31 AM

why don't you get a nice headset? nothing beats circumaural silence...

and headphones have improved more than speakers have in the past few years, possibly due to surge of apple garbage.
a b à CPUs
November 9, 2008 5:43:42 PM

Well, as you can see from the other posts you do have an alternative. You could connect your pc to a high end audio system. I tried it with my pc. I simply ran an S/PDIF (fiber optic) audio cable from my pc's rear i/o panel to my Yamaha amp. It's awesome. It's a good thing I live alone because I can literally rock the house anytime I want to.
November 9, 2008 5:52:16 PM

It's speakers. There isn't much room for improvement anymore, just like keyboard.
a b à CPUs
November 9, 2008 10:22:05 PM

dude, why improve? we are humans and have a limited hability to feel diffrence in sound quality and dB. its like i dont know, DVD and blue ray, diffrence is possible to see, but not needed at all.

besides speakers u ahve have same max sound as a jet plane starting ( if u dont belive me google it), i doubt anyone wants to listen it that high.
November 9, 2008 11:00:07 PM

Interesting responses. I can definitely tell by the posts who has experience with sound. I have used many different sets of speakers and believe me, there is a big difference between average computer speakers and higher end. Of course, higher end for me would be the Logitech Z-5500. While they are loud, I don't believe they are as good as the sound (particularly music) can get. I don't particularly care for headphones although I do have some Sennheiser noise canceling headphones but I mainly use them when traveling by plane. My head is so large (7 3/4") that its hard to find ones that don't hurt my ears. I've tried ear buds, on ear, and over the ear but just don't feel like the sound is the same. Particularly the bass.

I have the luxury of being able to play my music louder if I wish. I have a 40x60 shop next door to my house with a 13'x15' office inside.

Well, I think I am going to look into an a quality amp with some nice speakers. Thanks for the suggestions.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
November 9, 2008 11:10:49 PM

I'd be the one with no experience :D 

I have rather large hands... 10 inch span... so I wouldn't be able to use the g9 laser mouse as it is WAY to small for my hand... as it is the base of my palm on the mx500 is on the mouse pad and the tips of my fingers can touch the other side of the mouse pad across the mouse...

What are you saying about forced polling rate? Does logitech force it back down even if you manually changed it? ugh... i hate stupid stuff from logitech... luckily their mouse ware that is for the mx500 doesn't install any processes/bloatware


November 9, 2008 11:21:55 PM

I am not a fan of Logitech Z-5500s even when they are hooked up to a good sound card through highend silver/non-oxidized copper thread mesh cables. They just are not good in any particular way, just kind of average. The only PC speaker setup I kinda like are these:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I am using this sound card:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I am using this receiver:

http://www.outlawaudio.com/products/rr2150.html

With these speakers:

http://www.amazon.com/Infinity-3-Way-Floorstanding-Loud...

All connected with $200 worth of custom cables

I like highend audio, but I can't afford the best, but this setup is good enough for my PC. If I want to really listen to music I use my Grado SR325is through my receiver (thats why i have a great receiver and average speakers). With my Cowon D2 I run Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 Pros. Not a bad collection for a teenager that makes $8.50 an hour I think, took me forever to save up for this!

Edit: Onto the mouse conversation, I find the Razer diamonback Plasma to be the most comfortable mouse I have used yet, maybe some day I will upgrade to a newer version but I am happy with what I have.
a b à CPUs
November 10, 2008 12:35:36 AM

Why $200 cables?

Cheap, decently sized cables (12-14Ga) are fine. Other than that, nice setup though. Definitely blows any standard computer setup away. I'm running a Denon AVR 2808 with a pair of B&W 685s, along with an SVS 16-46 PC Plus sub.
November 10, 2008 1:29:22 AM

Cables make a large difference, also since the receiver is the only part of that system I most likely wont replace I wanted great cables for any future upgrades. I also got a great deal on them from the guy who makes them. I have been meaning to upgrade the speakers, but honestly they are pretty good for gaming and decent for movies. Music is a little less than stellar, but I use my Grado's for music anyway.
November 10, 2008 1:55:34 AM

Cables make no difference that you can hear, unless you're stretching it for a mile long. :na: 
a b à CPUs
November 10, 2008 2:11:12 AM

Cables make zero difference, assuming that they are of sufficient size. Fatter cables are better, but fancy, extra shielded ones are only good at liberating audiophiles from their money. Spend the extra money on speakers and amps if you want better quality, not on cables. It'll make a lot more difference (especially if you spend it on the speakers).

See this article for details:

http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

Note: the exception to this rule is for cables over 50 feet, where cable capacitance and inductance begins to noticeably cut into high frequency content. However, I'm assuming that your cable run is under 50 feet, in which case you don't need anything better than standard cables. I'm running basic 14AWG speaker wire (admittedly biwired though) for mine.
a c 140 à CPUs
November 10, 2008 2:14:31 AM

I use the cable from an old vacuum cleaner for my speaker wire(the far rear one) :p 

cjl, Thanks for the link.
November 10, 2008 9:49:55 AM

But I heard a large difference....
a c 103 à CPUs
November 10, 2008 11:24:27 AM

johnje said:
I have been using the Logitech Z-5500 set of speakers for years now. No complaints. They are great speakers. I just wonder why, with upgrades to cpu's, mb's, memory, hard drives, etc,....that I haven't seen any high end speakers for the computer. I saw a recent bose offering....two computer speakers for $400 but I don't really count that as they are overrated. But what about it? Just seems like with such a big focus on cpu performance, etc, that the market is just begging for a better speaker system.

What say you?



I say if you're a gamer, or audiophile you won't find anything any better than this, for the money!

http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=4&subcategory=789&product=14661

Creative fan or not, these speakers flat rock!!!!

My wife has the same speaker system as you, and there is no comparison in the performance between the 2 systems, Creative rules this area!

And they should, as I'm pretty sure Cambridge Soundworks makes these speakers for Creative, at least they did in earlier days!


November 10, 2008 12:28:12 PM

Theyve been making high performance speakers for decades, while cpus only a few decades, if that, in current form. So speakers have reached their peak in performance. The only things thatd make them better is small incremental improvements and costs savings
a b à CPUs
November 10, 2008 5:21:18 PM

The_Blood_Raven said:
But I heard a large difference....

It's psychological. My dad heard a large difference too, until I did a blind test with him (not double blind unfortunately, but it still was effective).

Of course, if the cables you were using before were too small, it wasn't psychological, but it also didn't require $200 cables to fix (just larger cheap cables).
November 10, 2008 6:43:16 PM

No, I am sorry but highend cables do make a difference. The difference is not very noticable with my Infinities, but it was there. The bass became more controlled and the sound stage expanded a little bit. The difference was noticable with my SR325is with the addition of a silver cable going from my sound card to my receiver. When I hook up better speakers like a pair of highend $800 Polks that I sound tested, I tested 3 different sets of wire and there was a large difference in the sound in each. The stock made the sound somewhat muffled and cold. The Oxidizes Copper ones I use for my mother's little system fixed the muffled sound, but my high end copper and silver wiring was able to get some warmth from those Polks (not easy with Polks). I also noticed a more balanced midrange. Regardless of my preference there was a different and distinct quality to each setup. Cables do NOT make a huge difference in most circumstances and tend to be a waste of money when you can put that money towards better speakers, but I got all my cables extremely cheap since the guy who makes them as a hobby fell on hard times and I had already bought 5 silver and gold plated HDMI cables and 1 HDMI/DVI version off him. I bought them because of the terrible box that Comcast gave us, which was the top of the line they offered. I spent a good amount on it and those cables increase color accuracy and fixed the flicker problem I was having with even the high end Monster HDMI cables. The HDMI to DVI was free so I said why not, and it does make a slight improvement on my monitor's contrast effect in games, it is not very noticeable, but shows up in tests. Also using Winstone cables on my Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 Pro earphones made the largest difference out of all my examples and made them MUCH more accurate in terms of bass.
a b à CPUs
November 10, 2008 6:51:51 PM

First, the only region where a higher end cable makes any difference is high frequencies, not low. This is because of the inductance and capacitance that resists fast changes in voltage and current. Even this however is negligible in cables less than 50 feet long. Sorry, but there is simply no difference, though I'm sure you won't accept this (especially after you bought high end cables).

Second, even more useless than high end speaker cables are high end digital cables. Digital is a wonderful thing. It relies on only needing to distinguish two states - a 1 or a 0. Because of this, a cable either fully transmits the signal or it doesn't. There is no such thing as a slight contrast improvement by improving your digital cable - the signal is transmitted in a way that it will literally make no difference, and this is a provable fact.
November 10, 2008 6:57:01 PM

lol.

Do a blind test on your cables. There is a reason that none of the "high end" cable makers don't do comparison and blind tests between their cables and the competing products...It is because there is virtually nothing to differentiate them!

I'm sure that it helps you sleep better at night knowing that you had a good deal on an overpriced item that sets you apart from your friends. That, no one can take it away from you for sure. The rest of us are going to spend that money on something that actually has value though ;) 
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
November 10, 2008 7:08:28 PM

who cares? I mean people look at us because we tend to waste money on "useless" computer hardware... we think it is necessary.... others don't... it doesn't matter its all about perspective

Anyway... back to mouse topic...

go back to mouse topic... i know something about it :D 
November 10, 2008 8:03:37 PM

This an ancient argument, and one that I did a lot of research on. However, the only way to find the difference or lack of a difference is to blind test them. I have, and cables do make a difference in certain circumstances, but if you don't want to try them then it is your loss. I never said I got more bass, I said it was more accurate meaning the distortion level was lowered. Digital is not just digital, though you are right to a certain extent. Digital will stay the same up to a certain threshold, depending on the system and the CABLES. At a certain threshold the signal will degrade, but highend cables will increase the threshold which will lower the chance of sound degradation. Another thing that you fail to consider is the imperfections in the stock cables of a lot of audio equipment, which highend cables should not have. I would never pay more than what I did, and what I paid for was something I do not believe is worth the money over some decent handmade copper cables, but the added silver mesh and the added quality construction are nice when it comes to longevity and a tiny bit of sound quality. The difference between the decent copper cables and the better ones I use was $50, an amazing deal. I have tested many different things with true audiophile equipment as my stepfather is a chronic audiophile and spends WAY too much on cables because he wants longevity. I wont argue the difference, because I have been using decent aftermarket cabling for a few years after I proved that there was a difference with some totally blind tests. The HDMI cables were nothing special, the ones that came with Comcast kept failing so I wanted some reliable ones and the Monster HDMI cable I bought died in the same time frame, unacceptable. Also the cable that came with my monitor was not even the right type, so I have no idea if it made a difference because of the cable's quality or the type. You can deny all you want, you can insult all you want, but until you truly test it then I don't want to hear your objections. I do not need help sleeping at night because I had the option to send the cables back or not if I did not hear a difference, and I did. In the end the difference IS minimal and is not really worth the price, but this way I don't have to worry about failing cables, and the sound is slightly better as a bonus. The only time replacing a cable gave a very noticable improvement was the aforementioned westone cables for my UE Super.fi 5 Pro earphones, it truly was a large difference that shocked me.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
November 10, 2008 9:25:20 PM

I prefer 10$ head phones at target...

I find their quality to be within 5% of other higher end sound systems.... thats a fact btw




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honestly i don't believe that... I have 200$ headphones and they are such an improvement... but i don't have room for speakers so thats the best sound system i'll be using for a while
November 10, 2008 10:02:14 PM

jumping in late, but I have to agree that there are not really any great sounding pc speakers. Those logitechs are cool for gaming, and explosion noises, but just sound terrible with music. I got rid of a set of those z-5500s a few years ago in favor of a harmon kardon soundsticks 2.1 system. They're not terribly loud, but very clean and accurate considering the price (i think they were ~$150). They look alot nicer sitting on the desk as well.

For media playing, though, I use my htpc, with an asus xonar output to an onkyo theatre system. Once again, it's not perfect, but about a million times better than any pc speaker system I've come across. Honestly, the base isn't as clean as that little harmon kardon sub.

When it's time to rock out though, none of it can yet beat my old 1980s radioshack Realistic system. And when it's time to listen to jazz, i have a decent turn table running through a 60W tube amp to a nice pair of mackie monitors (that were gifted to me).

Good speakers have been around forever. I think the problem is all of the inbetween parts in creating a good sound system. I'd also argue that digital sound just doesn't sound as good as analog, yet. Well, maybe it's that digital distortion is way more noticeable than analog distortion.

As soon as there are computer speakers that sound half as good as component gear, I'll buy them. But I don't see any reason to dump any money in computer speakers if you actually want good sound.

November 10, 2008 11:25:42 PM

Spending money makes people happy. 4 years from now, they will be selling the same speakers at 4 times the price, and people will be 4 times as happy. :D 
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
November 11, 2008 12:49:40 AM

People say money can't buy happiness... that its beyond false... that is... i don't even know lol
November 11, 2008 12:53:17 AM

Quote:
I like what you say in your posts but you need some paragraphs man. :pt1cable: 


Paragraphs and grammatically correct sentence structure can be hard on an iPhone, which I tend to use for forum browsing.
a b à CPUs
November 11, 2008 3:02:56 AM

You typed that much on an iphone?

Dang...
November 11, 2008 4:04:02 AM

holy crabbypatties.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
November 11, 2008 6:38:06 PM

+1 for teenage texting skills :D 

i for one am good... but not that good
November 11, 2008 6:43:13 PM

speakers are speakers... and I would just take the mid-ranged ones. I am curently using an iPod dock lol (it is originally for my iPhone.) But they sound great and I notice a big difference between the monitors built-in ones... they are really lacking bass and its flat and I heard recently that bad speakers can slowly deafen you and then your ears can melt off! :o 
(joking.... :p  obviously :D )
November 11, 2008 6:44:54 PM

The_Blood_Raven said:
Paragraphs and grammatically correct sentence structure can be hard on an iPhone, which I tend to use for forum browsing.


oww... the squinting and all sorts. I can't use my iPhone for internet browsing. It is too slow! :p 
November 11, 2008 8:30:09 PM

I have a nice 3G bubble at my work. :D  To be honest, I only wrote the last 2 posts on my iPhone, but I forget to use paragraph structure and such when I'm on my laptop. (I rarely use my desktop for something so mundane as posting on forums, no offense.) I owe Tom's a lot for getting me through some slow days.
November 11, 2008 8:43:44 PM

The kind of people who buys iPhones are gratuitous shoppers anyway. It all fits. :p 
November 11, 2008 10:29:24 PM

The iPhone does everything, but does not do anything exceptionally well. A full keyboard was important to me and the qwerty buttons on some smart phones are just too small for me. I am happy with my iPhone, but I will be the first to admit it is overly hyped, I knew that going in.
November 12, 2008 4:43:18 PM

audiophiles in the family, audiophiles in your friends, looking down on using a desktop for mundane tasks...

Yes. I do believe that YOU believe the cables make a difference worth 50$.

It reminds me of this story:
At some point, a couple of days before getting to their destination, the captain sends a man to check on some equipment around the ship. The man eventually gets into a container and takes a temperature reading. Apparently, the container wasn't actually cooled at the time but the measuring device was broken and showing a near zero temperature. The door closed on man which got stuck inside the container that he believed was cold.
When they found him, 2-3 days later, he had written his last words on the inside of the container and had passed away, of hypothermia. The temperature inside the container was about 20 degree celcius. The writings were showing that he believed that he was going to die because of the cold.

This goes to show that the mind is a very powerful tool. For better or worse.

Enjoy your cables, speakers and iphone :) 
November 13, 2008 12:14:54 PM

I use the old 750 gigaworks speakers for movies on the htpc, they are adequate, although I dont think they have a particularly "sharp" They can do loud and vibrate the floor just fine but no amazing clarity or "sharpness" they are also severely lacking on the connector front, I would replace them but its hard to find a 7.1 set up with s/pdif for the PC. They will do for now on the plus side they've been problem free for years of movie watching now and Ive not been desperate to replace them.

For serious gaming I like a good over ear head set. Ive never found any speakers that give the same "atmosphere" as even a half decent headset, completely blocking out background noise and immersing you in the sound, great stuff, a game with great audio can make you jump far better with headphones than even a loud set of speakers, and I dont wake up the kids \ annoy the neighbours as well.
November 13, 2008 12:28:31 PM

On the cables front,

When it comes to perception of the difference things make a great example is age of conan at release, they had a dx10 box you could tick, it didnt do anything as the game didnt launch with dx10 but there were so many people saying wow DX 10 looks great, and then the arguments started as they get told the game doesnt have dx 10 yet, and the "believers" coming back saying just because it doesnt work for you doesnt mean it isnt working "I can see the difference when its clicked its like a night and day difference etc etc" at which point they get referred to the forums with the announcement that theres no dx10 at launch, some still came back saying the devs were wrong... I did myself try toggling dx 10 on and off - no difference, The options was later removed to avoid confusing people. But there were loads of people really impressed with the imaginary difference because there was a tick box they could click...

That said I have certainly heard some major differences in sound quality depending on connections in my younger days. Old note to self :- 20 year old recycled heavily oxidised frayed twisted together connections dont make for great sound quality :lol:  , But I havent tried really high end cables to see for myself, for me £20 for cables is enough :D 
!