Premium Two-Channel PC Speaker Roundup

Objective Benchmarks: Bass And Treble Control

Only the Creative Gigaworks T40 Series II gives the user some real control over frequency response via bass and treble knobs. Here are results showing the ranges that these controls can affect:

You can see how these controls have an effect on the higher and lower frequencies, giving the user some influence on the sound.

The only other speaker in our roundup that offers control over the audio spectrum is M-Audio's Studiophile AV 40s, with a bass boost switch on the back of the right speaker. Here’s the difference that it makes:

You can see how the bass boost switch adds a little pepper to the bass range, which is a nice touch for those who crave a deeper sound from their two-channel speakers.

Finally, we examine what advantage that Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 set offers with its built-in DAC. The following chart doesn’t indicate frequency response, but instead, the difference in frequency response between the kit's built-in DAC and an analog output from either SigmaTel HD integrated audio or Realtek ALC889 high-definition audio. A flat line would mean there’s no difference between USB and analog output, and a curved line would indicate notable differences in the audio spectrum:

Clearly, the built-in DAC has notably different output from the SigmaTel HD codec. But when the Realtek ALC889 high-definition audio codec is used, there’s not even more than a decibel’s difference from 20 Hz to 15 kHz. So, while the MM-1’s USB input can offer some benefits on machines with poor audio hardware, a decent integrated audio codec with analog output will perform as well as the speaker system's integrated DAC.

  • Has the reviewer heard of Audioengine A2 speakers? They are outstanding 2 channel speakers for $199.
  • Randomacts
    No love for the budget minded folk?
  • Harby
    jdmiHas the reviewer heard of Audioengine A2 speakers? They are outstanding 2 channel speakers for $199.
    Indeed, A2s are really good, though a bit on the weak side with 30 watts. But since you went with B&W you could have tested Audioengine A5s which are insanely awesome and cheaper than B&W's at ~$325.
  • gostumpy
    Large knob that feels quick robust? ;)
  • dEAne
    I like that Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 - but yes theirs a bit lacking to the design.
  • sparky2010
    I'm really happy with my 4 year old creative soundworks 7.1 system... until now it still offers great sound, and having true 7.1 really rocks, especially in FPS... although i'm considering the logitech z5500.. hat sounds amazing and looks even better...
  • icehot
    Nice review, I bought the Creative Gigaworks T40 Series II about 4 months ago, and have loved them, the sound is superb.
  • titaniumsquirrel
    The AV 40s were the first speakers I've ever owned that failed on me. I don't care how good they sound if reliability is an issue. I'm never purchasing another M-Audio product. Decided to go with a pair of Gigaworks refurbs for a fraction of the price afterward and have been very pleased.
  • hardcore_gamer
    2.0 is way too low.For gamers, a 5.1 is the minimum requirement.
  • megatron46
    Nice Speakers but i like my Monitor Audio RX8 teamed with Definitive Technology Supercube I sub and Cambridge Audio Azur 840A Amp.......