I'm in the market for some mid-range audiophile-grade 2.1 channel (space constraints) PC speakers that will work with an Asus Essence STX (or better) sound card, and would appreciate some input. I would ideally like to spend about the $200 mark. I don't want to spend too much on the speakers and then skimp on the sound card.
This set of speakers will be used for listening to classical, pop, gothic rock, and heavy metal music on a daily basis. I'm picky about sound and like the highs and the mids to be crystal. Not really a bass junkie, but I like my bass to be in the just right category: tight, and controlled; not loose and flabby.
Apart from that, action movies and FPS gaming.
This set of speakers might later be used for sound-editing, but I'll probably buy some decent headphones for that.
I was considering two tiers of speakers:
Tier 1 ($100+)
> Altec Lansing MX6021: Leaning towards this one. Looks + good highs.
> Logitech Z623: Doesn't seem like it has tweeters, but it's got some great user reviews.
Tier 2 ($200+)
> Corsair SP2500: Seems like the end-all set of speakers. Stellar expert reviews; so-so user reviews.
> Harmon-Kardon Soundsticks III: Rave user reviews. A little too pricy @ $300, where I live.
I'm open to suggestions, but product availability may be an issue in where I live.
None of the 2.1 speakers on your list are remotely close to audiophile. If you're as picky about sound as you say you are then don't get any 2.1 under $300. Most of them are junk including the SP2500 that a lot of people talk about. Just take a look at the review of that speaker on this very website to see what i mean.
If you want really good speakers then 2.0 is what you should be looking for. Passive hi-fi speakers plus amp would give you the best value for money. A good alternative, especially since you want to get into editing, would be the KRK RP5 speakers.
I'm picky about sound and like the highs and the mids to be crystal. Not really a bass junkie, but I like my bass to be in the just right category: tight, and controlled; not loose and flabby.
Getting a system that does that job properly is going to cost thousands of dollars.
A $300 system isn't going to give any bass, the bass will be of horrible quality and innaccuracy, and your highs will be horrendous.
^But, thats all based on reference points and standards, my sound quality standards are way higher then most people and I've heard systems that make anything below 10-20k sound like crap. Yes the law of diminishing return does apply, but the key word is *diminishing*, not gone.
Best bang for the buck would be a M-Audio sound card, out to an all in one Denon preamp/amp, then on to a decent set of three way speakers. So yes 300 dollars is out of the question for good sound. For around 300 Klipsch pro media is pretty good.
Me and my buddies have found good deals on audio gear on craigslist in the past.
I have a pair of Polk Monitor 30 Series 2 bookshelf speakers that put out clear sound that I like. I was looking for a solution to use them for my computers audio. I decided to use an AudioSource Amp50. This amp has a 1/8" stereo input jack that works perfect for a computer. It is small enough to have it within arms reach on my desk. I love the separate bass and treble controls. (they were the deciding factor over the AMP100 which has no tone controls) I have the amps speaker outputs going first to a Polk PSW10 sub, then out to the Monitor 30s. The sound is impressive. Better than any other prepackaged computer 2.1 setup that I've heard. Considering I paid $240 for the whole setup, I do believe I built myself a bargain kickass system. (Amp=$70, Polk Monitor 30 Series2=$80 a pair, Polk PSW10=$90) I keep the volume around the 9:00/10:00 position and it is very loud if the computers volume is maxed. I use macro buttons on my mouse to control the volume.