Advice Request: 2 Channel Computer System - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 5 Old 06-14-2010, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
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My current speaker system has failed me, and it is time for me to move on from Klipsch. While doing some research, I came across this site and it seems like there is a lot of great advice on here, which I would like to tap if I could. Lets see if I can garner bonus interest by giving more details than most help seekers.

Room: Second bedroom, office, computer room, carpet floors
Size: 10' x 14'
Location: Curved corner computer desk, leaving 4" gap on flat walls, 18" gap right in the corner due to desk curve

Current Setup
Klipsch 5.1 ProMedia Ultra (discontinued)
Amp in the subwoofer is cutting in and out, works fine after it heats up
This system can go a lot louder than I need, I rarely even get to ~50% of the maximum non-distorting volume.

Source: Almost all 256 kbps AAC sound files on computer
Sound Card: SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional
Expertise: I like high quality audio, visibly cringe at built-in TV/computer monitor speakers, but I am not an audiophile

Looking For
System: A 2.0 or 2.1 system for music. I use headphones for all positional audio, since they trounce even 5.1 systems for position.
Budget: Cheap, looking at $600 or less, with a preference of $400 or less
Power: Given the computer-desktop ecosystem, I am guessing self-powered is best but up for suggestions

I am moving to a two channel system to reduce clutter, and enable me to buy two more expensive speakers rather than five cheaper speakers. Plus, I don't need 5.1 for positional, and I suspect that I can make a good-enough soundstage with a two channel system. Let me know if you disagree.

I don't know if I need a subwoofer. I do not listen that loud (I live in an apartment building), but I like solid bass, but only if tight/controlled, not sloppy rumbling. It would be awesome to get that with a 2.0 system, but maybe it is not possible.

I keep reading amazing things about the Audioengine A2 and Audioengine A5 systems. I like these, but I wonder if the A5 would be enough as a 2.0 system and I doubt that the A2 could work unless it was a 2.1 system. I have also heard good things about Swans (various models) and the AV40.

One option I discovered on this forum is that I could just replace the sub/amp from my Promedia set with a new sub and amp. I guess that might work too, but I don't know how that would compare.

So that is where I am so far. Anyone have a good solution in mind?
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post #2 of 5 Old 06-14-2010, 02:59 PM
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A Harman Kardon 3490 paired up with with some bookshelves like from Polk sounds like it would fit the bill. Sony and Sherwood also make 2ch receivers that might be a bit cheaper. Any of these would also have 2ch headphone jacks in case you wanted to get some nice cans.

The HK has sub outputs if you wish, but most subs have speaker-level inputs that will work in case you get a reciever that does not have sub outputs.

If the noise floor of your sound card is a problem (if you have the volume turned up but arent playing anything you can sometimes hear computer noises in the backgound that are kinda annoying) the HK has a digital coax input and internal dacs that will probably be much quieter/better.

I've had my computer hooked up to a stereo since I got my first computer way back in 1998.
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post #3 of 5 Old 06-14-2010, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by erusalio View Post

I keep reading amazing things about the Audioengine A2 and Audioengine A5 systems. I like these, but I wonder if the A5 would be enough as a 2.0 system and I doubt that the A2 could work unless it was a 2.1 system.

I would definitely put the AudioEngine speakers on your short list. They are as good as everything you've read. It sounds like the A5's may be better for you, but if space is really tight, the A2's would also be worth considering. The A5's are rear ported, so you need to consider that in where you place them. The A2's are front ported, and so can fit almost anywhere.

AudioEngine makes a small subwoofer which you can add later if you feel you need it (I haven't heard the subwoofer). While the A5's go a bit deeper and louder, they are both outstanding speakers. I own a pair of A2's as travel speakers and think they're great.
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post #4 of 5 Old 06-14-2010, 04:52 PM
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I had the A5's and they were quite the performers for the price. They are clearly performing on a level a step up over computer speakers at a similar price. Bass off them depends how much wall reinforcement you have behind the speakers.

In my initial setup with no wall, the bass was minimal and needed a sub to really sound complete. Added an HSU STF-1. Later when I upgraded to a new stereo setup, I moved the A5's to another computer close to the wall and the bass was so overpowering, I had to use an EQ to turn it down. I added the old sub to that later and it's superfluous except for some specific music genres and LFE.

The speakers overall were very smooth sounding, a bit laid back, neutral and easy to listen to. Not as detailed and clear compared to more expensive stuff, but at least held a pretty pleasant presentation. Tilting them up off the desk and/or putting them on stands is needed to clear up the sound a bit; aim the tweeters over your ears if you can. They aren't small, but still save a lot of space over a regular stereo system.

The only real nagging issues I had with them were the auto-off which has a pop that can scare you, and the pass though which is fixed and not controllable with the volume knob. Makes it so a sub hooked up can't be used with the volume knob--need to control the volume on the computer. Also, the boxy, serious gear aesthetics don't quite look pretty.

Still, they deliver where it counts, and I don't mind listening to them even though my other gear cost 10x as much.
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post #5 of 5 Old 06-15-2010, 12:42 PM
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Behringer makes some well regarded self powered speakers as well.

Yamaha CX-A5000 - Acurus A100x3 & Outlaw 7075 - Salk Song Towers - Custom Selah Audio Center - Oppo 103 - Marantz TT42
Twas a woman who drove me to drink. I never had the decency to write and thank her ~ WC Fields
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