M-AUDIO AV40 vs Logitech Z2300 vs Creative GigaWorks T3 vs Bose Companion 3 - Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-17-2009, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

Long time light user of the forums, first time contributor. I'm not an audiophile but I do appreciate good sound quality, or at least what my ears perceive it as. When researching 2.x speakers to purchase I came across a few products regularly in threads. These being the M-AUDIO AV40, Creative GigaWorks, Bose Companion 3, and Logitech Z2300. Here is my comparison of them. The opinions stated here were echoed by the friend product testing with me.

The Setup
Each system was attached simultaneously to a computer with multiple audio outs that were each tested to ensure that no output sounded different than another. Also, this means sound comparisons could be done in real time instead of a setup-listen-breakdown-repeat situation. All audio came from CD quality Flac files or DVD. The room tested in is 12 x 14 and is carpeted.

Rankings - The Short of It
Note: if an two items show up with the same ranking, they are tied and the next rank will be skipped. For example if there are two items that rank second, no item will rank third and the next item will rank fourth.
Price:
1. M-AUDIO AV40 - $125
1. Logitech Z2300 - $125
3. Creative GigaWorks T3 - $225
4. Bose Companion 3 - $250

Value:
1. M-AUDIO AV40
2. Logitech Z2300
3. Bose Companion 3
4. Creative GigaWorks T3

Overall Sound Quality
1. Bose Companion 3
2. M-AUDIO AV40
3. Logitech Z2300
3. Creative GigaWorks T3

Volume/Power
1. Logitech Z2300
2. Bose Companion 3
3. M-AUDIO AV40
4. Creative GigaWorks T3

Reviews - The Long of It

Logitech Z2300
The first system we listened to was the Logitech Z2300. On first listen it sounded pretty good. With the volume nob cranked you could feel the base, which says a lot for a system at this price. If you really want a cheap speaker system that can give you some chair rattling when you watch your favorite big action movies, go with this but don't listen to any other system. After listening to our Bose and AV40s, you immediately notice that the speakers are quite muddy. The clarity that even the Creative T3 has is completely lacking. Many reviews say that this has great highs but no mids. I disagree. I would say that this has mediocre highs and muddy mids. I will state though, that if you go to a store and listen to this set and you like the speakers this could be a very good setup for you, especially at this price. This may have had the strongest bass umpf of the group.

M-AUDIO AV40
This is what I purchased. It had very good sound quality from top to bottom. I feel it was the second best at representing all areas of both music and movies - bass, mids, and highs. In classical and rock music, each instrument could be heard distinctly and accurately. In the deeper stuff, you couldn't feel the bass but what you could hear was accurately represented and had a full sound. As a warning, these have a large desktop footprint, but this didn't bother me whatsoever. I chose these because they not only sound great, but cost half the price of the other system I liked, the Bose.

Bose Companion 3
These were my favorite sounding of the group. They had great clarity and a full sound from top to bottom -- essentially, all the same sentiments on the AV40s. What made these sound better than the AVs comes in two spots. Deeper, harder bass, due to the subwoofer, and a slightly fuller sound, partially due to the sub and partially to something that I could not pinpoint. The bass was rivaling that of the large subwoofer of the Z2300 and the clarity and quality of sound was rivaling that of the AV40s. Also, during a test on one of the action scenes on Lord of The Rings, some of the background fighting sounds came through much stronger (in a good way) on the Bose than on any other system; the others sounding somewhat subdued in this very specific aspect. The only reason I did not keep the Bose is because the AV40s met what I considered to be good sound quality at a much lower price point.

Creative GigaWorks T3
I was really disappointed with these speakers. The overall sound quality here compares fairly well to the Z2300, each having its own merits. This has clear highs and no mids. The Z2300 is lacking some highs and has muddy mids. This has a slightly more accurate sub. The z2300 has a much more powerful sub. I thought at a price point near Bose and with Creative's long standing good reputation for other products, these would meet or exceed my expectation. Instead I found that the subwoofer was weak for its size and the speakers, while pumping out nice clear highs, lacked mids of any kind. Against even the Z2300s this left a feeling that the sound was not full and at a price near the Bose, this is inexcusable. Had I not listened to any of the other systems, I would have thought that these were clear, decent speakers but wouldn't have realized how much sound was missing. With the AV40s' bass boost turned on, you can get about the same punch.

----

I also tried the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 at Best Buy. I got the feeling they were about the same as the Z2300s. Maybe a little less bass and possibly slightly higher quality highs but not substantial. Furthermore these were listened to in a completely different environment and not side-by-side, as the others were.

Well, disagree or agree, I hope you enjoyed this review. Feel free to post feedback. This has no other purpose than to help those who are going through the same dilemma I did.

---

Thanks to:
- Brandon for a second set of ears
- Tiger Direct for a good deal and prompt delivery of AV40s.
- Fry's Electronics for taking returns on the other speakers without blinking. Had I not already ordered the AV40s from TD, I'd have gone w/ them as a thanks for making the returns so easy.
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-17-2009, 06:34 PM
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Hey thanks for the nice review! Its hard to find comparisons of more budget-friendly computer speaker solutions. I currently own the Logitech Z2300, and agree completely with the analysis. They are a very bass-heavy system, I keep my subwoofer almost on off so as not to overpower my music. I have not compared directly with another studio monitor such as the AV40, but my 5.1 surround sound is much clearer and crisp, and I realize that I am missing a good bit of detail and clarity at my desk.

I have been toying with the idea of upgrading, the options I am considering are the Swan D1080MKII, Behringer MS40, and the M-Audio AV40. My main use would be music, and its nice to hear the AV40 produces that well, moreso than my current speakers. I would deduce that the other options I am looking at are pretty comparable to the M-Audio, which is good to hear.

One question, how did you connect the the AV40 to the computer? Did you use an external DAC, or just the conventional line-out on the computer?

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post #3 of 10 Old 12-17-2009, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply and good question.

My mobo has multiple line out ports and each system was connected via line out concurrently.
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-17-2009, 07:07 PM
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I have the av40's as well as a logitech 5.1 set, and while the av40's are better for music, I much prefer the logitechs for any kind of tv/movie watching because the bass on the av40 overpowers dialogue (placed several feet away from the wall).
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-18-2009, 05:33 PM
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Thanks for sharing!

I like your organization - as I've posted a review comparison between the new Bose MusicMonitors and the AudioEngine A2... and definitely lack organization.

Anyways... With the M-audio AV40's I haven't had the chance to listen to them - as no stores that I know of here in Canada sells them - but I have listened to the AV20 / AV30's and they sound decent.
I do prefer the Audioengine A2 or A5. Have you checked them out??

The A2's are in your comparison's price range. They retail for $199 usd... and you can get 10% off with an online coupon code. But the A5's are alot more - just under 2x -- but they definitely sound full - one of the better Monitors.

I have heard the Bose Companion 2's and 3's and 5's when I was in the market for them ... but I found them pricey- [of course-they are Bose], but main reason I didn't particularily like them was because of it's response. All 3 systems have coloration [just like the Bose MusicMonitors]. - What I mean by this is Seriously listen to them a little longer - and you'll find them FATIGUING -painfull to listen for long periods. Their high-mids + highs [treble] is boosted- alot.

I looked into the drivers of all the companion series speakers... and none of them have tweeters. Just what Bose calls: twiddlers [cross between mid-woofers and tweeters]. They use an internal eq - or a dac to force these twiddlers to do the job of - well normally 2 separate drivers: a woofer + tweeter.

Don't get me wrong - Bose's idea on pleasing - sparkling sound : well -does sound great! Especially when comparing from speaker to speaker. -which is like comparing Pepsi to Coke-- side by side - PEPSI tastes better -because [many may know or not know] pepsi has more sugar. But drink too much Pepsi and It'll make you sick [maybe? drink enough-both will-lol]--- but is more sugar really better???
I did a blind test with the AudioEngine A2's and Bose MusicMonitors --- and after 5 minutes of each... Although the Bose were less bass, less loud, - it was still preferred over the AudioEngines. WOW right!!! ... Then after longer listening. The sparkles start to fade because listener fatigue factors in.

Peace
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-18-2009, 05:48 PM
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ps.
Just a little more on the Bose Computer speakers.
It is a fact that none of their computer speakers have tweeters.
So like I've mentioned, they use a DAC-equalizer to force their Twiddlers to do the job. They do a decent job... they do sound ok. But they do miss the mark on certain points.

One i'd like to stress- or ask is that the highs: - above 16 khz: a suspicious consumer must ask: if the 2" twiddlers can reproduce them without dropping in volume ... and if so, how many decibel drop??
Furthermore, even if the did do a decent job of the highs... what happens to them when they have to also produce mid-highs, mids, mid-lows??? --- sounds like a disaster of smear and mud.

Alot of Jazz/Classical/Slow rock listeners say these speakers are decent... but when playing techno or rap or hard Rock --- they just don't suffice-- NOT FOR THEIR PRICE ANYWAYS.
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-18-2009, 05:52 PM
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Oops double post
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-19-2009, 06:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I wish I could have held on to those speakers for longer than a day to keep testing them. I think the listening process was done over the course of maybe 2 or 3 hours so we didn't get enough time to test ear fatigue. Also, I would have loved to test the A2s but there was nowhere I could get and easily return them to. I hear great things though.

Also, I just want to just make clear that both me and my test helper are average joe-shmoes. Our audio quality expertise goes as far as, if it sounds good to me... On that point, I will say that what lucidd stated about the twiddlers is interesting. Furthermore there was very little rap tested on these systems, no techno, and the hardest hard rock was probably The Clash or maybe some of the Smashing Pumpkins stuff which definitely doesn't have the same sound footprint as, say, Pantera would. I kind of wish I could go back now and add those genres to the testing.
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-19-2009, 02:46 PM
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I wish I could have held on to those speakers for longer than a day to keep testing them. I think the listening process was done over the course of maybe 2 or 3 hours so we didn't get enough time to test ear fatigue. Also, I would have loved to test the A2s but there was nowhere I could get and easily return them to. I hear great things though.[/quote]
Yes.. for my comparison review, I kept the Bose MusicMonitors for about 2 weeks - as I took them on a business trip. I give props to Bose for 30day full refund policy + 90day exchange policy. AudioEngine also does a 30day refund.


Also, I just want to just make clear that both me and my test helper are average joe-shmoes. Our audio quality expertise goes as far as, if it sounds good to me...
Hence, these forums exist. Please don't missunderstand my tone towards these discussions. I do enjoy reading what other's think - and put in my thoughts and get feedback-sometimes corrections. I found out long time ago, that manufacturers [including Audioengine, Bose, B&O, etc] give high praise to their own products: using grand/sensationalized/sometimes misleading words to describe their products. And the only way to get past these "words" is to look/ask for opinions from friends/aquaintances - in this case forums.
I would say that some of my opinions are rooted from the fact that I've got burned by Bose a few times. 3 out of my last 5 cars were equipped with factory Bose systems... and I've always thought that they were the BOMB! And although I'd admit that I did enjoy the systems...
---It wasn't till my buddy-with his BMW-335i -equipped with a Harman Kardon Logic 7 system [which is not the best out there for factory equip], absolutely BLEW me away with the sound detail*clarity!!! --- Yes... he became cocky and smug etc... and I didn't appreciate it... but actually, now, I do appreciate the fact that he helped show me the light to the BETTER*

. . . and after some time... I started to notice numerous threads that are not positive on Bose / and it's "natural" sound. I'd only like to share my 2cents -as forums are a good medium for that


On that point, I will say that what lucidd stated about the twiddlers is interesting. Furthermore there was very little rap tested on these systems, no techno, and the hardest hard rock was probably The Clash or maybe some of the Smashing Pumpkins stuff which definitely doesn't have the same sound footprint as, say, Pantera would. I kind of wish I could go back now and add those genres to the testing.
___yup - like I mentioned in my review of the Bose MusicMonitors and A2... I did test both systems thoroughly with all types of music --- but I do enjoy some electronica - Depeche mode type of music [check out thier flac files - remaster to 5.1surround!] ... and although the A2's are not perfect, they are definitely better than the Bose ---for separation of freq... ... the bose got messy - and cutting frequencies/volume flux etc-when the music became busy*.

Like I mentioned in the review... the Bose MM are well made - very well made compared to the others systems they've had in the past... but I don`t get it... why don`t they just use TWEETERS! ^for size constraints¨-sacraficing sound qualityÉÉÉ... anyways... hope they are listening:P
PEACE!
______________L
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-26-2013, 12:07 PM
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Nice simple, well written review. I agree most Logitech speakers are muddy and more for Bass heads. The Teufel E 400 from Germany would be an interesting system to review too. Also i'd like to know what the big difference is between the Companion 3's and Companion 5's. I myself was disappointed with the Companion 3's. Whilst they were loud and clear they lacked bass punch and the bass was under powering past 40% volume. Maybe I picked up a bad set, who knows? What's the frequency response like in the lower end with the AV40's?

Oops I just now accidentally bumped a 4 year old thread, my bad. I did not see, I assumed it was just a few days when the last person had posted.
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