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Best PC Speakers for 2009?

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June 4, 2009 3:28:25 AM

I've got an old pair of (2.1) PC speakers that I've been using since 2004 (Samsung), they worked perfectly fine (200W sub, 2x 14W speakers) and they just died on me - so obviously I'm looking for a replacement...

Most of my time is spent watching shows on my PC (TV), gaming, and some music - I am by far not a music audiofile expert but I appreciate quality sound. I'm looking to spend between $75 - $200 (USD) for a nicer pair of speakers - now the only question is ... which ones ...

I've done some reading and 2 things really suprised me:
1- I would have assumed (5.1) was the way of the future, but for my needs (and in general) most reviewers seem to recommend (2.1) instead, for the price/quality that is
2- The highest rated speakers are from 2004 !...!

Seems the general concensus is the following:
1- (2.1) Logitech Z-2300
2- (2.1) Altec Lansing's VS2321
3- (2.1) Harman Kardon Soundsticks

Seriously ... the best on the market is still an old 2004 PC speakers...?
I do not have a hard time believing that (2.1) is best for my needs (and price) but to go for a system like the Logitech Z-2300 (from 2004..?)

So, obviously I'm here looking for feedback, I love "nifty" speakers (like the SoundSticks which look like an awsome Jellyfish) but they still have to work well (15W sub is pretty pathetic no?) ....

Any comments, feedback, ideas, etc... would be much appreciated - having a hard time swallowing that in 2009 I'll be buying 2004 speakers again...
Thanks,

More about : speakers 2009

June 4, 2009 4:15:02 AM

Bose makes a pair of speakers that will blow those away. They're a bit more at 250 dollars.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you can find them the Klipsch promedia 2.1 was the best for the money at 150 dollars.
http://www.klipsch.com/products/details/promedia-2-1.as...
My brother found these at a freakin thrift store for 50 bucks.

But if your willing to actually setup a surround sound system my money went to the z5500 from logitech. Great sound, and has a optical, and digital coaxial cable input for other devices. Once you've gamed in surround sound it's hard to see how you did w/o it.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
June 4, 2009 4:59:26 AM

Hi S

The Bose ^ PsykhiqZero linked you to would definitely be worth taking a look at, I bet they sound good. Bose=quality.

Related resources
June 4, 2009 6:25:50 AM

Bose=crap.

Seriously. If you care about quality, rather than advertising, look elsewhere. I'd probably go for something like an M-Audio Studiophile AV40, M-Audio Studiophile BX5a deluxe, Audioengine A2 or A5, or Swan M200. The best you could do would be to get a good set of bookshelf speakers and a separate amp, but that could get expensive, and is also a lot larger than most computer speakers are. That's what my setup is - I have a 2.1 setup with a Denon AVR 2808 reciever, B&W 685 speakers, and an SVS PC-Plus 16-46 sub.


(Oh, and to be perfectly fair, Bose do sound decent for cheap speakers. The only problem is that they aren't cheap, so for their price, they are terrible)
June 4, 2009 6:51:09 AM

Those aren't bad. They won't match the ones I mentioned for clarity, but they should beat most Logitech and Bose setups, and they also give you full surround for a decent price.
June 4, 2009 7:03:46 AM

"They won't match the ones I mentioned for clarity"

I wouldn't be so sure about that my Xonar D2X matched with these titanium supertweeters and triple voice coil sub, it don't get much clearer than that. A good 5.1 is much better than a good 2.1 and a good 7.1 is much better than a good 5.1, I know I have both. I have a Fatality driving my 5.1.
June 4, 2009 7:17:02 AM

I disagree. I'd put my 2.1 setup against your 7.1 any day of the week.

On a slightly more realistic note, yes, yours may have titanium tweeters, but that alone does not make a good speaker. It has to do with a combination of factors, and although yours are quite nice (as I said, nicer than Logitech or Bose, both of which tend not to use tweeters at all), I would be quite surprised if they beat the M-Audio BX5a deluxe for example, which use absolutely wonderful 1" silk dome tweeters. Similarly, the Audioengine A5 uses a 20mm silk dome tweeter that is quite nice. Having heard many creative speaker sets (though admittedly not that specific one), I have a hard time believing that they could match these for clarity. Of course, the Creative setup is a lot cheaper per speaker than the ones I'm mentioning too - it's $400-$500 for a 7.1 setup, and most of the ones I'm talking about are $300-$400 for a 2.1 or 2.0.

(Oh, and if you want unmatched clarity, you need to hear a set of high end B&W 800 series speakers. Their diamond dome tweeters are absolutely phenomenal. Of course, the speakers that come with those tweeters start at about $8k per pair...)
June 4, 2009 7:32:59 AM

$500? That's what they cost now, my speaker's have a couple of years on them. I paid a little over $700.00 back in 06. I have no doubt technology will pass me by, it always does but I think back to this; appreciate what you have, not what don't have. Peace "C".
June 4, 2009 8:18:18 AM

cjl said:
(Oh, and if you want unmatched clarity, you need to hear a set of high end B&W 800 series speakers. Their diamond dome tweeters are absolutely phenomenal. Of course, the speakers that come with those tweeters start at about $8k per pair...)

Couldn't stretch to that as I only have two kidneys to sell and I still came up short, so I had to settle for a pair of B&W DM604 S2's with a B&W AS2 sub and a Rotel RB-1070 power amp with a Rotel RA-05 as a pre-amp, I'm probably not the best one to advise the OP on how to to do sounds for $100 or less :lol:  .
June 4, 2009 8:38:10 AM

Those 604 S2 are 1 gen older than my 685s, right (and of course they're floorstanders...)? I love my 685s - they sound great, especially given the price range (I got mine for $650 a pair).

Also, how's that sub? I've heard mixed reports on the B&W subs, and I haven't had a chance to hear one yet. I love my SVS, though to be perfectly fair, they aren't really in the same price bracket.
June 4, 2009 9:01:02 AM

I find it quite subtle, unlike some which get a bit too 'thumpy' it reinforces the 604's nicely without ever becoming overpowering or buzzy and my 604's are about ten years old now and still going strong so I've no need to make my wallet whimper just yet on another newer set, however should I ever win the lottery a set of Nautilus will be first on my shopping list. :) 
June 4, 2009 9:11:24 AM

Yeah - that's actually one of the best signs of a good sub. Mine will gladly take over the room and make you wonder if the foundation will hold, but only when there is supposed to be a lot of bass (typically in movies). In music, it is surprisingly subtle and in many cases, you can't even tell it is there. It extends deep and is effortlessly powerful, but it doesn't sound like what most people would think a powerful sub would with a lot of thump - it simply sounds like the speakers happen to extend below 20Hz.

Of course, I would still gladly take a pair of 800Ds and an SVS PB-13 ultra (or a JL Fathom 113) if I won the lottery, but I have to say, I'm quite happy with my system as it is for now.
June 4, 2009 12:33:41 PM

the harmon and kardon soundsticks you mentioned are actually surprisingly good. they ripped all over my current 5.1 setup of a sherwood rd3095 amp, jamo sonics for front and backs, 100W sub and over average center speaker. Shame i swapped them with my mate for a 30gb ipod :p 
June 5, 2009 3:14:26 AM

perham3d: Sadly I'm having a hard time to finding the Harmon/Kardon Soundsticks at any stores in North America ...
Anyone know of a good store (online or not)?
June 5, 2009 5:04:18 AM

Hmm I am also looking for 2.1 speakers

I think I am either going to get the Soundsticks or Promedia but I'm having trouble finding the Klipsch so I think I may go for the Soundsticks
June 5, 2009 5:21:36 AM

I love my Klipsch pro media 2.1 but Cjl knows what he is talking about.
June 5, 2009 6:24:44 AM

The klipsch aren't bad - I had a set of those for a while. They certainly beat logitech and bose for clarity (if nothing else because they actually have a tweeter). My biggest complaint with them was actually the sub - it didn't have quite the clarity or depth that I would like (and if I can only have one trait in a sound system's bass, I'll take clarity over depth or power any day).
June 5, 2009 9:01:16 AM

You'll be happy with any logitech Z series speakers. The quality they get out of those are mind boggeling. I know there are alot of people that will disagree with me but hey, thats life. :) 
June 5, 2009 9:23:09 AM

Mind boggling?

Nah. They aren't bad, but the treble is sorely lacking (since they don't have tweeters), and although the bass is surprisingly powerful and deep, it's quite muddy. I'd take the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 instead of the Logitech.
June 5, 2009 11:44:39 AM

Case in point...
June 5, 2009 12:35:19 PM

I'd go for the Logitech. Tried and trusted.
Over here the Harman Kardon are a bit too pricey...
Anonymous
a b Ô Samsung
September 10, 2009 6:27:06 PM

The Genelec 8020 or 8030 series + Subwoofer like the 7060 or 7050 are plain superb for whatever you are doing.

As an alternative, you can keep on buying those Logitech, Altec Lansing and other 200 euro toys. And you can keep on buying them set after set as they will never be really good. Buying a set of Genelecs will serve you for 40 years, actually forever and the quality won´t be beaten of whatever new stuff comes up. The 8030 + Subwoofer makes 108 db with a subwoofer... that is true 108 db from a true 30hz to a true 20.000 hz. Not "made in Japan" type of "300w power" and all that BS.

Trust me. Buy them, no regret. End of bullshit.
September 10, 2009 6:40:39 PM

Quote:
The Genelec 8020 or 8030 series + Subwoofer like the 7060 or 7050 are plain superb for whatever you are doing.

As an alternative, you can keep on buying those Logitech, Altec Lansing and other 200 euro toys. And you can keep on buying them set after set as they will never be really good. Buying a set of Genelecs will serve you for 40 years, actually forever and the quality won´t be beaten of whatever new stuff comes up. The 8030 + Subwoofer makes 108 db with a subwoofer... that is true 108 db from a true 30hz to a true 20.000 hz. Not "made in Japan" type of "300w power" and all that BS.

Trust me. Buy them, no regret. End of bullshit.


I might not be able to afford them, but I sure would like to hear what they sound like....has to be nice.

http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Genelec-80...

December 31, 2009 5:59:20 AM

Have pair of Klipsch promedia 5.1 modified cooling-amp though..love em :bounce:  All 2.1 now never owned those but I hear there good.


http://www.vonschweikert.com/
Brother has set of anniversary-I picked up his old VR4SR neighbors bang on walls somenites idling... :kaola: 
January 1, 2010 7:18:40 PM

No highs...no lows...must be Bose! :hello: 
January 1, 2010 8:31:36 PM

5.0: with FR and FL in karlsson design: each has a 400watt 12inch sub, 200watt midtoner, and 2 100watt tweaters. a piece probably cost me (well, my dad), just under 1000 euro to build. (yes I built them with my dad)

FR: Karlsson 800 watt
FL: Karlsson 800 watt
Center: Pioneer satellite 100 watt
RR: Pioneer satellite 100 watt
RL: Pioneer satellite 100 watt
Total watts: 1900watts (REALLY %*@#*&^ NICE WITH MOVIES, THIS SOUNDS BETTER THAN IMAX THEATERS)

No subwoofer, as mentioned is built into the FR and FL.

Using an old sony str-425 something amp.

Loving it, neighbors dont.


So if your willing to spend around 2000 dollars (if you go slightly cheaper than I did), you could consider building some speakers, and getting the most dynamic, awesome hidef "orgasmic" sound as I did.

after using these for 2 years i decided to go to a bose store while is was at a mall to see what they had to offer, and I walked out quite unimpressed. dissapointed actually. interesting how my amp from the year 2000 (hey its now 10 years old), sounds better.


Sorry just had to brag about that setup. :) 
January 1, 2010 8:43:20 PM

cjl said:
Bose=crap.

Seriously. If you care about quality, rather than advertising, look elsewhere. I'd probably go for something like an M-Audio Studiophile AV40, M-Audio Studiophile BX5a deluxe, Audioengine A2 or A5, or Swan M200. The best you could do would be to get a good set of bookshelf speakers and a separate amp, but that could get expensive, and is also a lot larger than most computer speakers are. That's what my setup is - I have a 2.1 setup with a Denon AVR 2808 reciever, B&W 685 speakers, and an SVS PC-Plus 16-46 sub.


(Oh, and to be perfectly fair, Bose do sound decent for cheap speakers. The only problem is that they aren't cheap, so for their price, they are terrible)


This post is so much win, BX5as, audioengines, and swans! That is EXACTLY what to look into.

On a side note, I auditioned a few of those and decided on the Swan DK1080MKII, which sound very good and are very comparable to the Swan M200s but at a better price. My only complaint is that they could go lower, no the bass is powerful enough, but doesn't reach as far as the M200 or A2.
March 8, 2010 2:01:50 PM

I came across this forum post and must say that you are right about Bose. I don't like them because of my perceived quality/value. Allot of people in the audiophile hobby feel the same way. I will not say they are crap, but to My Ears the value is not there.

I own a 5.1 603 series 3 based B&W system with a B&W sub, and am amazed with it. The new attitude with B&W owners suck. This is the third time I've heard a B&W fanboy spout of on how great their system is. Let me save you some trouble, I don't care!

With that said I DON'T agree with a B&W system for a computer speaker setup (nor do I recommend any HT system for a computer setup). First, the number one factor in speaker performance is speaker placement. I can put my HT system 6 feet from any wall and they definitely deliver the goods.

Now B&W does make some very unique clear speakers that seem to perform in less then optimum conditions, and are a bit harsh compared to other brands. Well not harsh, just very accurate. They lack any real personality. This makes them great for 95% of all Home Theater setups, but when listening to music I (yes I) enjoy some more warmth. I miss my Thiels cs.5!

What we need is a "near field" speaker setup, which means they are designed for a very close proximity to the speaker. This requires a specially built speaker. As to date, I do not know of any near field B&W speakers. I do read good thing's about the more expensive Logitech setup's but I would never spend more then $800 for a good set of 5.1 speakers for computer audio. Again, lets face it, HT speakers are for HT use, not Near Field computer use.

BTW: This is the first time in years I have posted to TomsHardware forums because of the amount of anger and flame that occurs. I see it hasn't changed much since I have left:( 

Part of the problem is that I can not Audition a pair of computer speakers and reviews are rare and hard to come by. I would love to find a very comprehensive yearly computer speaker review, but I just don't see them:( 
February 12, 2012 7:45:09 PM

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