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Looking for speakers for a computer for $500 or so, including bookshelf speakers.

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#1 of 4 OFFLINE   Jonny K

Jonny K

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Posted February 02 2008 - 10:20 AM

I've currently got a high end soundcard (Auzen X-FI Prelude) going into an old Kenwood 1080VR receiver. The receiver is used to amplify and drive a set of Paradigm Atom speakers with a seperate powered 8" home theater sub. I'm running the speakers through the sub instead of running the speakers directly from the receiver since the sub output on the receiver doesn't work correctly. While the computer soundcard is outputting a beautiful 120 dB s/n ratio the receiver isn't so great with only 95 dB s/n ratio.

The other day one of the Atom speakers started rattling. Somehow it has become damaged and makes awful rattling whenever low frequency sound plays. So, I'd like to shop for a new pair of bookshelf speakers to replace the current ones. I want something good, no cheapie speakers allowed. To put things in perspective, my current home theater is running a set of Axiom Audio speakers including M60 towers and a VP150 center channel. The receiver is a Yamaha RXV-1300.

I've been searching the archives and researching and from what I can see there isn't a lot ot choose from for computer speakers:

1. Swan M200 MKII - $300 a pair

These look ok, but running my subwoofer with them looks like a pain. I'd have to split the output from the computer and run it to both the sub and speakers seperately which would mean managing volume settings between the speakers and sub seperately (or using the computer to control them).

The Audio Insider - Home loudspeaker systems and reviews

2. Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 - $200 for the set

These are highly rated computer speakers, but I'm not sure how they rate in general terms. Most computer speakers suck, and so a highly rated computer speaker may not be a good speaker in the grand scheme of things. They also include a sub, which I don't necessarily need but will accept if I can get a good system. The 200 dollar price tag has me uneasy though, it doesn't seem expensive enough to be a high end system, and they don't provide response graphs.

ProMedia 2.1 - Computer Speakers, Computer Speaker System, PC Speakers

3. Bookshelf speakers

The third option is to buy bookshelf speakers and run them through the receiver like I'm currently doing. But there are two issues with this. Firstly, bookshelfs don't appear to be shielded and I still run an old CRT monitor that needs sheilded speakers. The Atoms aren't sheilded, and as a result I've got them pushed way out to the sides to keep the proper distance (which takes a lot of desk space and also decreases fidelity since I'm hearing sound from each speaker at an angle and not straight on). Secondly, I'm concerned about this old receiver decreasing the sound quality though I'm not sure how big an issue this is. I'm open to the idea of running speakers directly from the soundcard as long as I can get high quality sound and good volume levels still.

As far as bookshelf speakers are concerned, it's an overload. It's difficult to research speakers online because everybody says the speakers they own are great. If all speaker reviews are positive then what good is that? I'm wondering about something like a pair of Ascend Acoustics CBM-170s, though I'm really not sure.



#2 of 4 OFFLINE   Kean-Hock Yeap

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Posted February 02 2008 - 03:07 PM

You may to want to check out the Audioengine A5 speakers also:
Audioengine 5 Speaker System

They are self-powered but have a subwoofer out connection. May work for you.
Perpetual Novice

#3 of 4 OFFLINE   Jonny K

Jonny K

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Posted February 02 2008 - 04:18 PM

Hey, that Audioengine 5 system is interesting. I'm not sure what league of sound quality it will be in though. I read on their website that they tuned the speakers specifically to sound good when playing compressed MP3s and such. Since compressed MP3s sound like crap, I can only imagine what these sound like. And most of the reviews are by computer and ipod users. I'd like to see what some home theater enthusiasts would say about the sound quality before jumping in.

I'm currently looking at the Axiom M22's. They're shielded and when placed on either side of my monitor the tweeters would be right at ear level. I do like my existing Axiom setup. It might be grossly overkill but hey, that's fine with me. :-)

Bookshelf Speakers : Millennia M22 v2 - Axiom Audio

#4 of 4 OFFLINE   Jonny K

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Posted February 05 2008 - 03:51 PM

Ok, I've settled on a pair of Axiom M3's running through my receiver. I asked a lot of questions and Alan Lofft of Axiom was really helpful in answering them all. One of the things he told me was that the S/N ratio of my receiver wouldn't be an issue (inaudible) and that the receiver could run the speakers fine. It ended up costing me less than the M22s for a pair of speakers that will still be of excellent quality. I can't wait to hear them, I'm already impressed with the other Axioms I have.

Bookshelf Speakers: Millennia M3 v2 - Axiom Audio

One other consideration for me buying from Axiom was buying within Canada. I've become so sick of paying high brokerage fees on shipping ($100 dollars on a $600 dollar order recently) that I really didn't want to face that again.

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