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Assistance required in selecting the right speaker system

SamMaster

Member
Jun 26, 2010
59
22
81
So we are moving soon (happened quickly) to an apartment, and there will be no more space for the audio system we have (long story). We are planning in using our laptop as the entertainment system and we will require a set of speakers for it.

We already got a Dell AY410 system with it, but it is good for up-close, not for watching on a sofa as much (if I am not mistaken). I did some research and I came down with the following:

- Logitech z623
- Corsair SP2500
- Creative Gigaworks T3
- Edifier S730
- Just get an amp and home speakers

Now, as you noticed, I am looking for 2.1 (or good quality 2.0). From what I could gather, the creatives have monster base that is hard to control and may be overwhelming; the z623 might degrade in quality at higher volumes; corsair are good but possibly overpriced; none hold a candle to the s730 which are pretty expensive.

Which ones would be the recommended set? Should I just get myself a small home system instead?
 

SamMaster

Member
Jun 26, 2010
59
22
81
Here's a bit more info to help you out:

The room the laptop will be in is 10½' by 14', with one side being completely open to the kitchen. I plan on getting a ASUS MX279H screen (dual HDMI and 3.5mm out), would be more adequate then the 23'' I have right now for further viewing. Also, since it is an appartment, I would prefer something that doesn't give out too much base; just enough to complement the rest of the spectrum but without bothering everyone. I also am not a fan of high pitch sounds (they irritate me or hurt my hears), so something with a good mid-range spectrum quality would be preferred. Also note we are on a budget.

As always, if anyone has other suggestions, I am open to any idea.

Thanks.
 

tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
7,363
640
121
I just wanted to touch on the subs real quick and reviews on audio quality in general.

The type of person that buys these speakers, which are essential PC speakers, is not the type of person who does Home Theater. Therefore, their review is based off what they've heard before, which is usually shiity PC speakers that are built in, or just cheap 10 dollar things laying around.

This was me. I then bought the logitech premier 5.1 set. Can't remember what it's called since the models are old. I also bought the 2.1 one as well. OMG THESE ARE AMAZING I thought.

Until I got my first HT setup. That was around 1k spent for my first HT setup, which is considered entry level on HT forums.

So I'm just saying when people say "OMG BASS WAS SO BIG!!!!" It really is in comparison to what they've heard before, which is NOTHING.

Because of the fact that you're using this on a laptop, and the screen you're getting is so tiny, I wouldn't really take the plunge into a HT setup, or anything too expensive. Just get something and see how you like it.

I got the logitech set. All of this is fun for your first "system" but you wont find anything in this price range that will accurately produce sound. As for "Prefer something that doesn't give out too much bass. You have a bass knob on the system for a reason. Use it. There is a difference vs bass and "Quality Bass". What 99% of people have heard in their life is bass. Very few people actually have heard accurate systems, especially when it comes to bass reproduction.
 

crashtestdummy

Platinum Member
Feb 18, 2010
2,894
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Going by your choices, it looks like you're looking at the $100-180 range. I'd start with a T-amp and some bookshelf speakers. You'll get better sound at about the same price, and you can upgrade in stages if you decide you want to later. Unless you really need thumping base, that combo will do you better than computer speakers.
 

Lewy

Member
Aug 22, 2001
69
0
66
I use a topping TP-30 amp (search Google) with a built in USB DAC and 15 watts per channel going to some old but very decent Klipsch book self speakers but almost any decent but efficient (89 db or better) speakers will do nicely. The sound is amazing and more than loud enough. The topping can be found for around $120 and good quality speakers are usually easy to find on Craigslist etc. The USB DAC part of the tp30 is found and controlled by W7 so no drivers are needed. One of my friends uses his to drive a pair of inexpensive Bose 201 speakers and they sound marvelous and can be driven quite loud too.
 

UglyCasanova

Lifer
Mar 25, 2001
19,323
1,355
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I use a topping TP-30 amp (search Google) with a built in USB DAC and 15 watts per channel going to some old but very decent Klipsch book self speakers but almost any decent but efficient (89 db or better) speakers will do nicely. The sound is amazing and more than loud enough. The topping can be found for around $120 and good quality speakers are usually easy to find on Craigslist etc. The USB DAC part of the tp30 is found and controlled by W7 so no drivers are needed. One of my friends uses his to drive a pair of inexpensive Bose 201 speakers and they sound marvelous and can be driven quite loud too.
Can you notice a difference going through the USB rather than coaxial? I'm thinking about doing the same type setup myself, and I'm debating on if it is worth spending so much more for the topping vs a $25 Lepai.
 

Lewy

Member
Aug 22, 2001
69
0
66
It depends on the audio chipset. You probably wouldn't hear a difference between the latest and greatest RealteK audio chip coax/optic outputs going to a decent DAC but USB is at least as good or better especially for older systems and almost all laptops. It all depends on the audio chipset. If you have a receiver with it's own DAC or an external DAC already I would use that unless you're a really big audiophile or something?

I like the Topping TP-30 (it also has RCA inputs) because for a about $110 delivered now you get both a quality DAC and a very decent and well built HI-FI amplifier. [I[/I]

If you want to go cheaper and get a stereo sound system that still sounds really good you can pickup something like a Muse T-amp on Ebay delivered for twenty bucks and hook it up with a mini plug to RCA adapter to the units RCA inputs From your computers speaker or headphone out jack . Just make sure that it comes with a power supply. I never found a T-amp I didn't like but the TP-30 is outstanding for a small room computer stereo/entertainment setup. iIMHO.
 
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Zap

Elite Member
Oct 13, 1999
22,378
2
0
The room the laptop will be in is 10½' by 14', with one side being completely open to the kitchen. I plan on getting a ASUS MX279H screen (dual HDMI and 3.5mm out), would be more adequate then the 23'' I have right now for further viewing.
How about a 32" HDTV? Starting price is not much more than the screen you linked to. Alternately, 40-42" HDTVs often go on sale for super cheap, since they are the volume leader.

Going by your choices, it looks like you're looking at the $100-180 range. I'd start with a T-amp and some bookshelf speakers. You'll get better sound at about the same price, and you can upgrade in stages if you decide you want to later. Unless you really need thumping base, that combo will do you better than computer speakers.
:thumbsup:

Keep an eye on Hot Deal forums. These JBL Loft 30 bookshelf speakers were $67 shipped at least twice in the past two months. They won't give deep thumping bass, but they will probably sound better than any "multimedia" speaker short of the premium ones that will cost much more. You probably don't want deep bass in an apartment anyways, because that's how you get your neighbors to complain. I've also seen Polk bookshelf speakers on sale for pretty cheap. Otherwise, at "regular" pricing you can go for the cheap $40 speakers (I've seen on sale for $30) or more expensive $110 speakers which sound pretty amazing for the money.

Cheap class T amps will work reasonably well. Shop carefully as sometimes the cheapest ones don't come with the AC adapter.

Alternately, if you have room for a receiver, look on eBay/Craigslist. You can score an old receiver sometimes for really cheap.
 

UglyCasanova

Lifer
Mar 25, 2001
19,323
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Lewy

Member
Aug 22, 2001
69
0
66
I think that a cheap T-amp and some decent but efficient small speakers will beat out any computer specific system for good sound in stereo. At least any that I've ever heard?

Decent; http://reviews.cnet.com/separate-speakers/dayton-audio-b652/4505-7869_7-35265150.html

Better: If you have the room for them; would be to by a pair of Bose 201's which sound very good indeed with a T-amp. Various iterations of this very popular and efficient speaker show up on Ebay and Craigslist for well under $100 all the time.

IMHO
 

Lewy

Member
Aug 22, 2001
69
0
66
I like both suggestions. Yamaha does make good speakers and the reviews on Amazon are pretty good too. I can't vouch for the speakers myself but I have heard the Lepai amp and it is pretty darn good for the price. I think that any good speakers rated 10 watts a channel at least or 89 db and above will do but higher db and lower starting watt ratings are better. The best I've heard, for cheap, are the Bose 201 series which can almost always be found on the Ebay or Craigslist for $100 and under( they are over $200 list). They are fairly large for a desk or bookshelf so check out dimensions for your application. Be careful about speaker efficiency too if you plan to go for a small Tripath amp like the Lepai. There are many small bookshelf and even much larger speakers that range from poor to extraordinary that can work. Price, availability, sound quality and size constraints make for your only limits.
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/product/...specifications

http://app.audiogon.com/listings/full-range-fab-audio-model-1-speakers-high-efficiency-97db-2013-09-19-speakers-m8x2s8
 

Chime

Junior Member
Mar 19, 2013
23
0
0
I just got a Lepai 2020A about a week ago, and for sub $30 I'm really impressed with it. I ordered mine from Parts-Express without a power supply because I'd heard the included one was only a 2A unit, while the Lepai can use ~4A. I'm using a 12V 5A power supply from an LCD monitor on mine and it works perfectly. Pair it with a set of high efficiency speakers and it can sound loud and awesome. I'm using a pair of old speakers rated at 91db that I had laying around and I'm quite impressed with the setup.
 

j03h4gLund

Senior member
Nov 8, 2010
354
3
81
Thanks for the post. A couple questions before I do a similar bookshelf speaker/T-amp build.
Will a DAC provide a noticable improvement over mini to RCA adapter?

Will a PCI-e sound card provide a noticable improvement over onboard Realtek HD soundcard?

Should I instead buy a soundcard that has RCA jacks?

If I go the mini to RCA route, does the length of the cables matter? 3ft versus 15ft.

Thanks in advance!
 
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