2.1 speakers for music

Hi everyone,

I'm planning to buy a set of 2.1 speakers for use with a computer. I will be watching movies etc on this system, but the most important thing is that the quality is excellent for music. At the moment I have some Klipsch iFi speakers, but unfortunately I can't take them with me when I move universities so my younger brother will take them over...

Anyway, I am looking for some 2.1 speakers that will outperform the Klipsch iFi, I can stretch quite far when it comes to price. To get this kind of quality, would I have to buy a standalone receiver and find two speakers and a subwoofer myself or is it possible still to find a set? I have been looking around but haven't really found anything. I've been told the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 are of worse quality than the iFi and the iFi speakers are no longer being produced.. I greatly appreciate any help with this!
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  1. I forgot a couple of things - I will be buying an external sound card for my laptop and most of the music I play is high quality mp3s (some 320 kbps VBR, some 320 kbps etc). In terms of price - I'm willing to go to 1000 USD if necessary, but preferably less. My suspicion is that if I were to buy speakers, receiver and subwoofer separately, I would have to stretch beyond my budget even to get something decent. So almost any suggestion/comment is welcome.
  2. What country?
  3. I'll be buying the speakers in the US, sorry for not specifying.
  4. Err, some stuff I know like Edifier S530D is not available in the US. Well known and available are Razer Mako and Harman-Kardon Sounsticks II but how about those, they have great reviews.


  5. He's looking for higher quality speakers than that...


    1) Do you have size constraints?
    2) Small room or big room?
    3) Appearance of speakers? What kind of finish are you looking for? Real wood? A particular color? Piano Black?

    The way I see it should break down for a $1,000 budget:

    $250 receiver
    $750 split between speakers & receiver:
    - Small Room: $400 speakers, $300 subwoofer
    - Big Room: $250 speakers, $450 subwoofer
  6. astrallite said:
    He's looking for higher quality speakers than that...


    1) Do you have size constraints?
    2) Small room or big room?
    3) Appearance of speakers? What kind of finish are you looking for? Real wood? A particular color? Piano Black?

    The way I see it should break down for a $1,000 budget:

    $250 receiver
    $750 split between speakers & receiver:
    - Small Room: $400 speakers, $300 subwoofer
    - Big Room: $250 speakers, $450 subwoofer

    I reckon I'll be staying in small rooms for most of my time - this first one has a living room approximately 3x5m (that'll be 10x17 feet if you're American) where I'll be staying. It's a studio, so that sort of extends into a kitchen, the floor plan is actually here: http://tinyurl.com/3296e9t. My approximate dimensions were based on assuming the bed is about 2.1m long.

    I'm not too keen on the wood finishes, so any kind of black would be good. As for size constraints - I'm flexible about that, it's my room after all, and good sound is important to me, so if I have to go bigger for better sound that's fine with me.

    Thank you for the help with the breakdown, I have never attempted to design my own system before. Do you reckon this is a decent budget? If it outperforms my iFi in terms of quality I will be very happy, as these speakers have served me very well indeed.

    @mosox: Thanks for trying to help mate =) But I think I can afford to spend a little more than on those, and the Klipsch iFi which is no longer manufactured is probably of better quality than those speakers.
  7. Don't ask me about budget, I spent $3k on my computer speakers lol.

    So we'll work on your budget.

    If your main focus is music you probably don't need a large sub. Sealed subwoofer, very good extension (down to 25hz). It's not going to get loud for like the big home theater subs, but it's fast and accurate.

    For subwoofer I'd recommend Elemental Designs A3S-250. It's $350, free shipping I believe.


    As far as receiver, I like HTR-6240. Very affordable and has DTS-HD/Dolby Digital HD recording. I like the ease of use for Yamaha receivers (I'm using a monster Onkyo receiver right now, but the navigation menu is a pain). $245 shipped.


    For speakers you have a lot of choices, I'm gonna look some up. You should have around ~$400 or so to play around with. Off the top of my head, I would look at the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170SE, NHT Classic Two (or Absolute Zero if you can't squeeze in the extra $50), TCA WAF-1, Dana 620, Swan Diva, maybe the Energy RC-10. I'm sure I'm forgetting some.
  8. @astrallite:

    Thanks a lot - I only had a brief look at these now, but I'll have a closer look later or tomorrow. This will be the only speaker system I have, so it's likely I'll watch some movies occasionally too, but this is definitely a secondary use to me. Either way I'd be using my computer as the player, it has a bluray player :>

    I've never been a fan of the booming subwoofers that come with say Logitech speakers (I shuddered the first time I heard one of those to be honest, never understood the fascination for them).

    Presumably I have to buy cables in addition right? The first speakers you mentioned were $388 including shipping btw.

    Speaking of budget, I have a feeling I could very well be sucked into this later, but for now I'll stick with this budget I think. I mean you can make a speaker system arbitrarily expensive right..

    Edit: Just saw your second post - thanks again, I have to say I like the look of those classic twos..
  9. Go to monoprice.com for cables.

    You will need probably an optical cable for a digital connection, or a minijack to RCA cable for analog to connect the sound card to the receiver.

    From the receiver to speakers, you need speaker wire; 16 gauge is fine.

    From the receiver to the subwoofer, you need a mono RCA cable.

    If you can't cut it for the price of the NHT 2s, the model down is the Absolute Zero:


    Looks identical, just has a 5" woofer instead of 6". With a 6" woofer I would set a 80hz crossover point on the receiver, with a 5" I'd probably consider moving it up to 90hz.
  10. By the way...high quality music should be FLAC, WAV, WMA Lossless, Monkey's Audio, etc.

    320kbps cuts off the treble at around 16KHz. WAV/Lossless will go out to 22KHz.
  11. Sorry for not replying faster, but needed some time to have a look around at some reviews and stuff.

    @mosox: Actually what I had in mind was more similar to what astrallite suggested - was keen for a good 2.1 system, and it doesn't really have to be portable, but thanks for trying to help! =) It's a really great deal though, if my main emphasis was movies I guess I would go for it.

    @astrallite: The components you recommended look good. They all seem to have gotten generally good reviews. As for speakers, I'm tempted by the classic twos, but I'll have to have a look at budget again later when I'm actually making the purchase. The receiver and sub both look good to me after reading a few reviews. There wasn't much on the sub, but I get the impression that Elemental Design is a pretty serious company about their sups, and I liked the looks of it too. It's bigger than the one I have now (which must be a good sign!).

    As for music - I'm aware that lossless formats do have higher quality, and I have some of my music in lossless as well. I'm likely to put whatever I can in lossless formats when I get my new computer and when I get home and actually have access to my CDs.

    Also, I was thinking about external sound cards, so I would want one with an optical toslink output. My new computer (Vaio Z series) won't have an optical output. How is the Creative SB1090 USB X-fi? (http://tinyurl.com/36lwmg4 on Amazon) I've always bought creative before, and after looking around a bit this seemed like an ok option. It is rather cheap, but since I would be sending an all-digital signal to the receiver anyway the sound card presumably shouldn't make much difference since it's not really doing much encoding right?
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