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Premium Two-Channel PC Speaker Roundup

Test Setup And Benchmarks

Most PC speaker reviews are limited to subjective opinions. While those are quite useful, this is Tom’s Hardware. We’re going to try to go a little deeper than that with some objective measurements, too.

Our measurements are taken with a calibrated Apex 220 measurement microphone, with phantom power supplied by TubeMP preamp. The measurement software we’re using is TrueRTA audio spectrum analyzer level 4, found at www.trueaudio.com. Testing is done in a 25’x15’ room with the microphone pointed upward 25” from the speaker satellites. Only one satellite is used for testing to minimize phase cancellation.

Mini-ITX Half-Height Build
CPUAMD Phenom II X4 705e2.5 GHz, 6 MB L3 Cache, 65 W TDP
MotherboardAsus M4A88T-I Deluxe Socket AM3 Chipset: AMD 880G, BIOS 0410
NetworkingOnboard Gigabit LAN controller
MemoryMushkin PC3 10700 SO-DIMM  2 x 2048 MB, 1333 MT/s, CL 9-9-9-24-1T
GraphicsRadeon HD 5570 Reference650 MHz GPU, 512 MB DDR3 at 900 MHz
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Black 750 GB 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache, SATA 3.0Gb/s
PowerIn-Win IP-AD120-2 160 W (included with case)
AudioRealtek ALC889High-Definition Audio Codec
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 x64
DirectX versionDirectX 11
Graphics DriversAMD Catalyst 10.11
  • Has the reviewer heard of Audioengine A2 speakers? They are outstanding 2 channel speakers for $199.
    Reply
  • Randomacts
    No love for the budget minded folk?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • gostumpy
    Large knob that feels quick robust? ;)
    Reply
  • dEAne
    I like that Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 - but yes theirs a bit lacking to the design.
    Reply
  • 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...
    Reply
  • icehot
    Nice review, I bought the Creative Gigaworks T40 Series II about 4 months ago, and have loved them, the sound is superb.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • hardcore_gamer
    2.0 is way too low.For gamers, a 5.1 is the minimum requirement.
    Reply
  • megatron46
    Nice Speakers but i like my Monitor Audio RX8 teamed with Definitive Technology Supercube I sub and Cambridge Audio Azur 840A Amp.......
    Reply