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What kind of speakers should I choose?

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March 9, 2003 2:00:05 AM

I have just bought a Creative SB Audigy2 sound card, but I'm still using my old 2.1 speakers which I think is not suitable for this super sound card. So, what kind of speakers should I choose for this sound card? I mainly use it to play games and some times watch DVDs too.
Thanks a lot!

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March 9, 2003 9:08:21 AM

Creative Megaworks, go check it out

My PC has gone to hell... because it's a killing machine...
March 9, 2003 11:57:32 AM

How much is that? I have just heard of PC WORKS and SOUND WORKS series. Is this one even better? Thank you!
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March 9, 2003 10:01:04 PM

Megaworks 550 THX is the latest model of creative speaker. It sounds fantastic (better than Logitech Z-680 IMHO) and it should be priced around $400.

My PC has gone to hell... because it's a killing machine...
March 9, 2003 10:08:46 PM

Depends a LOT on how much money you want to spend, and on how many speakers you want to have. I'll give you a little breakdown:

Disclaimer: It's always best to get out to the computer stores and hear these speakers for yourself. One person's sense of quality sound is not always the same as another person's.

5.1 (Includes Subwoofer, One center-front speaker, left and right speakers, and two sattelites for surround sound. These are generally thought of as excellent 3D gaming setups, because the many speakers help provide more accurate positional sound.)

Klipsch Promedia 5.1 THX speakers have AWESOME sound quality, IMHO, but cost an arm and a leg. (Around $360.00) I've also heard that Klipsch has a reliability issue with their amplifier (it's a heat problem), so you may be doing some RMA's if you buy these speakers. Nonetheless, they really are the best that I, personally, have heard. Unfortunately, they do not include a DTS Digital Decoder. You can buy it seperately for a mere $150. Klipsch also makes a mid-range (?) 5.1 system that is not THX certified that runs around $275. From what I know, Klipsch doesn't make anything that would be considered a "value" system. Klipsch is widely regarded as high-end.

Logitech has their new Z-680 5.1 THX speakers which are probably a better value than the Klipsch speakers. They cost around $300, and include the DTS Digital Decoder, whereas the decoder is seperate on the Promedia system. I've read that the speakers have a constant hiss that can be annoying, but generally is no louder than the fan noise from a typical computer. Also, these speakers are renowned for their bass power. Note: Bass power and bass quality are not always the same thing.

Logitech also has their less expensive Z640 5.1 speakers for around $80. I think of these as the JBOS (just a bunch of speakers) sets. They do not stack up to the higher priced sets in terms of quality. However, if you are not planning on trying to blow the ceiling off your house, a set like this might be perfectly fine for you.

Creative has their Megaworks 5.1 THX system priced at around $275. It also has very good sound quality. It does not include a DTS Digital Decoder. The Megaworks set is the least expensive of the premium 5.1 THX sets.

Creative also has their Inspire 5.1 5200 speakers, a value set priced at around $80. These are similar to the Logictech Z640s.

Speaking of value, one set that I personally think are an excellent value is the Altec Lansing 5100 5.1 set. ($140) It is not THX certified, but have a little better power and sound quality (IMHO) than the Creative and Logitech value sets. This is another nice system that is great for gamers who are not necessarily audiophiles.

Altec Lansing also has their value-priced 251 5.1 set, at around $70. Again, these ar on-par with the Creative and Logitech Value sets.

4.1 (Same as 5.1, only without the front-center speaker.) 4.1 systems are considered the minimum for 3D sound, but a quality set can do an excellent job. If you don't feel like spending $300+ on a premium 5.1 set, or you don't feel the burning desire for that front-center speaker, 4.1 might be the way to go, since you can buy a high-quality 4.1 system much cheaper than an equivalent 5.1 system.

For example, the Klipsch Promedia 4.1 THX set runs around $225. It has the same kind of high-end sound (relative to other PC systems) as the 5.1 system, for $130 less.

Logitech's THX certified Z560 4.1 surround sound system is a very good value at around $150.

When you are looking at Creative speakers, remember that the Inspire speakers are alway their value speakers, whereas the Megaworks speakers are their premiums.

I focused on 4.1 and 5.1 speakers because you specifically mentioned gaming as a priority, and 3D positional sound is a nice thing to have--when it works right. There are also very good quality 3.1 and 2.1 systems out there with great pricing. Also, I stuck with the four major players because those are going to be the easiest for you to find.

I tried to stay away from critiquing the sets here too much (with the exception of the Klipsch sets) for two reason: A: I haven't heard all of them, though I have heard most of them, and; B: Sound is subjective, so what I like may not be what you like.

<-----Insert witty sig line here.
March 13, 2003 8:33:06 AM

I have Logitech Z-680s showing up tomorrow and I'll give you a review on those ASAP. I got them for just under $250 US shipped. The huge selling point for me was the integrated Dolby decoder, which saves me MUCHO bucks over a Klipsch setup requiring another $150 decoder on top of the $360 speakers.

As you are a lucky bastard with an Audigy 2, this issue is not a concern for you. :)  But I'd still be willing to bet that if you could find them for $250, they'd be a great deal compared to the Promedias (or the Megaworks).
March 13, 2003 1:03:53 PM

Thank you very very much!
I'm not going to buy a set of new speakers these days as I've bought both this Audigy2 and a Leadtek Ti4200 with AGP8X (128 MB). But I'll try to buy one soon, my budget is about USD250.00 any way.
I have two 2.1 speakers now, can I combine them into a simple 4.1 system? What should I do with them?
Thanks again!
March 13, 2003 1:11:32 PM

Many thanks!
I look forward to seeing your reviews!
March 13, 2003 1:32:48 PM

yes, you can easily combine them into a simple 4.1 system.
just keep your 2.1 hooked up on the main channel, get
a pair of whatever speakers and hook it in your sound card
I'm SURE there is a connector for raer-speaker-out on your
audigy2. And there is a noticeable difference between a
2.1 and a 4.1 IMO(not much between 5.1 and 4.1 unless you
are watching DVD movies).

Trix are <font color=red>NOT JUST</font color=red> for kids
March 14, 2003 4:08:48 AM

Is a 4.1 system quite enough for games?
March 14, 2003 5:04:19 AM

Yup! 4.1 gives you a subwoofer and two speakers next to your monitor along with one speaker to each side of you. Surround sound, in other words. A good sound card with EAX or A3D can give you a good 3D sound experience. I like my 4.1 setup, and it's really hard for me to justify spending the money for one extra speaker. I just don't think it would be THAT much of an improvement.

I guess 5.1 would be a little better because it gives you a front-center speaker, but that just doesn't seem THAT important to me. Now, 6.1 also gives you a speaker directly behind you, which I could envision giving a little more accurate positioning, but 4.1 is good--especially if you buy good speakers. A high-quality 4.1 system will give you a better experience than a cheap 5.1 system--guaranteed. If you really can spend $250 and want 4.1, I would highly recomment the Promedia 4.1 Surround setup. I believe it costs right around $250. Creative Cambridge Megawords 4.1 is also excellent.

<-----Insert witty sig line here.
March 14, 2003 10:42:46 AM

Well, I was heard that a 5.1 system is recommended for watching DVDs. Because human voices come from the center speaker.
But some people also told me that a 4.1 system is quite enough for games. So I don't know whether a 5.1 system will help the 3D sound positioning much?
Any way, if a 4.1 system is quite good enough, I will probably not buy really good one of it.
Any suggestions?
March 14, 2003 10:32:23 PM

For gaming a 4.1 system is good enough, there is no difference between 5.1 and 4.1 during game play but when come to DVD movies 5.1 is always favourable. Anyway if you already have a DVD player hook up to a decent receiver for 5.1 surround you can get 4.1 for gaming on your PC since you won't watch DVD on PC. And Promedia 4.1 is a very good one I must say.

My PC has gone to hell... because it's a killing machine...
March 16, 2003 6:02:00 AM

Another option are the new 6.1 Creative Megaworks THX speakers. They're selling them for $359 on newegg -- down to $324 after the $35 rebate. I've ordered a set of these, since I just got some extra cash and decided to do some upgrading. I'll post my observations when they arrive next week.

Mitch
www.mitcharf.com
March 17, 2003 2:47:34 PM

not recommended to use different speakers in a 4.1 setup, ie. combining your current 2.1 speakers with 2 other speakers, cos different speakers have different frequency response, blabla. would sound funny.

The No. 1 cause of divorce is marriage - 100% of all divorces starts with marriage
March 17, 2003 5:12:30 PM

yeah....getting two diffrent set of speakers to make it a 4.1 is not going to have the best quality, can't argue with that
BUT!! it is cheap =) just go around and you can find people with extra little speaker came with their E-Mechine, Aptiva or whatever. After all, get their speakers for 5 bux and make your 2.1 become a 4.1, I think its a great deal =P

Trix are <font color=red>NOT JUST</font color=red> for kids
March 17, 2003 11:56:55 PM

I just want to combine them into a 4.1 system for only 1-2 months. Because I don't have much funds left now. So just with the 2 2.1 speakers, what can I make the best use of them as a 4.1 system?
Thanks again.
March 18, 2003 7:24:06 AM

yup, sure you can... since it's only for a temporary solution.. but the sound quality will depend upon what kinda speakers you getting. i agree with sillyrabbit, this is indeed a cheap system of *5.1*. =)

The No. 1 cause of divorce is marriage - 100% of all divorces starts with marriage
March 18, 2003 7:28:30 AM

Why would you call it a 5.1? Or am I missing the joke somewhere.

<-----Insert witty sig line here.
March 18, 2003 12:28:50 PM

you mentioned you're going to use 2 "2.1 speaker systems"
so there is going to be 4 satllite speakers and 2 subwoofer.
that makes it total of 6 pieces, that will be a 5.1 with a subwoofer as central channel? hehehehehe......

Trix are <font color=red>NOT JUST</font color=red> for kids
March 19, 2003 1:45:36 AM

Hehehe... could a subwoofer be a good central unit? Should I put it above?
March 19, 2003 6:44:15 AM

That would make it a 4.2 speaker system. The LFE is always listed after the dot in x.x. And two subwoofers won't do anything special besides making the bass sounds louder than one.

And a subwoofer isn't suitable for a center speaker (or for any other place in a surround setup for that matter) because it's only good at producing low-frequency (bass) sounds. A center speaker should have a flat frequency response well into higher trebles and be specially good at reproducing midrange tones (frequencies of the human voice).
March 20, 2003 2:29:52 AM

Emmmm... so my current 4.1 system is not suitable for DVD movies at all? Especially for human voices, right?
March 20, 2003 5:58:26 AM

For DVD movies 5.1 is always better than 4.1 because this is what they are made for.

My PC has gone to hell... because it's a killing machine...
March 20, 2003 11:22:37 AM

Is a 6.1 system the best choice for my Audigy 2?
March 20, 2003 12:21:15 PM

The 6.1 speakers take the best advantage of the Audigy 2. My MegaWorks THX 6.1 set arrived last night, and I've been playing around with them since then. I'm happy with the sound quality. I only have one movie encoded for 6.1 audio (Fellowship of the Ring), but I'm told it's becoming an increasingly popular option. For EAX games the extra speaker has been very nice, and definitely adds some extra spatial sense.

I've got to run to work, but I'd recommend the 6.1 MegaWorks THX. Nice set of speakers so far.

Mitch
www.mitcharf.com
March 21, 2003 5:25:39 AM

I envy you...
How much is it?
March 21, 2003 7:26:47 PM

They are around $325 on newegg (with a rebate). Shipping is free.

Mitch
www.mitcharf.com
March 23, 2003 5:07:08 PM

I sure hope you like them, since I just got mine a couple days ago--but won't be able to set them up until I decide what motherboard and processor I'm going to buy for my next upgrade. I now have everything except the mobo, processor, RAM, graphics card and hard drive.

I connected the speakers to my current system just to make sure everything works and they sounded good. Then I put them back in the box since my current sound card isn't really optimized to use them. Besides, I wanted to experience everything in my new system at one time.


<-----Insert witty sig line here.
March 27, 2003 1:19:48 PM

Ok, I'll go to see it. If you could give me a link that will surely be better.
March 28, 2003 3:15:47 PM

I am eager to hear how the 6.1 MegaWorks sound. In my opinion there is no need for the Audigy 2 unless you get 6.1 speakers. There is no need for either if your DVD software doesn't support 6.1/7.1.
I do not think that PowerDVD, the best in my mind, supports 6.1 using the Audigy 2. It definetly supports 6.1/7.1 using the Hercules cards however I like Creative products.
March 28, 2003 7:50:57 PM

I was considering getting the Creative 5.1 Inspire speaker set or the 4.1 (same make) I would mainly use them for games, I hardly ever watch movies on my PC (I have a SB Live! Value SC) so would the 5.1 be worth the extra cash?? (I pretty much can only get creative stuff around here)..
March 28, 2003 8:47:05 PM

Well, from what I understand, the Audigy 2 is the only sound card currently able to play DVD Audio. Also, the overall sound quality of the Audigy 2 is superior to its Creative Labs predecessors. Since you can buy the Audigy 2 for less than $80 these days, I think those are sufficient reasons to consider purchasing it, even if you don't have a 6.1 setup.

Mitch
www.mitcharf.com
March 29, 2003 4:58:56 AM

I'm looking seriously at Altec Lansing 5100 speakers for myself. Here in Australia speakers cost a shitload more than in the states so the 5100s are almost twice as expensive here once you convert the prices (eg. AU$450 for Logitech Z-560s in Australia, which cost around US$138 or AU$230 in the states).

I had my eye on either AL 641s or Logitech Z-560s, until I realised that for DVDs (which I watch exclusively on my computer) 5.1 is much better.

Mind you, if anyone has any other suggestions I'm open for it, since the sounds on the 5100s isn't as good as on some others.
March 31, 2003 12:52:13 PM

An Audigy2 is only USD80.00/PC now?
April 1, 2003 2:39:14 AM

Megaworks 6.1

<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=manufa..." target="_new">http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=manufa...;/A>

OMFG these speakers are AWESOME! I couldn't wait any longer--I had to hook em up. I played my Gladiator DVD on 5.1 and it is freakin awesome. Like in a movie theater.

I've never really owned a set of speakers above mid-range, so I am really imressed. They're really smooth--the base is strong and the range seems excellent. I'm not an audiophile, so I can't get into much more than to say it's the best I've heard outside a movie theater.


<-----Insert witty sig line here.
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