Computer audio $500-$600 - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 26 Old 02-11-2013, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
repete66211's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Kansas City area
Posts: 1,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked: 223
Greetings all. I'm sure this is asked periodically so I apologize in advance if you're sick of seeing yet another "What computer speakers should I get?" thread. I searched but didn't find anything that answered my questions. I promise I did. So, here goes:

Budget: $500-$600ish
Purpose: Some music use (lossy) though mostly interested in just a general all around improvement in audio quality. (I'll listed to music on the 5.2 system in main listening room.)
Gear: New iMac. That's it. No desire for a sub, so keeping it strictly 2.0.
Goal: Good audio, smallish footprint, keep it clean (read: minimize cords), relatively low maintenance (read: dummy proof)
Aesthetic: Design is not paramount but WAF is a factor
Room: My office is just a large closet right now so not much cubic footage but I'll be moving soon so hoping to "future proof" it for full-size office.

Right now the short list is the Audioengine A5+ (bamboo), which is a bit larger than I want to go, and the Emotiva Airmotive 4. Second tier consideration is going to the B&W MM-1s & Swans. Any speaker recommendations? What about DAC recommendations? Given my anticipated usage is a DAC overkill?

I appreciate any input you guys could offer.

repete66211 is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 26 Old 02-11-2013, 11:14 PM
AVS Special Member
 
postrokfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Ft. Collins, CO
Posts: 2,826
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 94 Post(s)
Liked: 500
I would eliminate the B&W MM1s-too many issues. I think you meant the Airmotiv 5 correct? These would be great for your small space. However, they are $450 and that would not leave much for a DAC. The Audioengine D1 or Nuforce uDac2 would fit within your budget if you went with the Airmotivs.

"Guns for show, knives for a pro..."
postrokfan is offline  
post #3 of 26 Old 02-12-2013, 03:34 AM
AVS Special Member
 
glangford's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,806
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked: 55
You can get an emotiva 4 on their pro website for 349. I think you'd be happy with either the audioengine a5 or the emotivas. I have the small audioengine 2s and they are great.

Given the use, the dac might be overkill. Try it without and see what you think.
glangford is online now  
post #4 of 26 Old 02-12-2013, 06:12 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
repete66211's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Kansas City area
Posts: 1,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked: 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by postrokfan View Post

I would eliminate the B&W MM1s-too many issues.
Yeah, I've read about a widespread buzzing issue. Not worth taking a chance at that price tag.
Quote:
I think you meant the Airmotiv 5 correct?
Actually, since the Audioengine A5+ and Airmotiv 5 are both pushing the limits on available space and the Audioengine A2 seems a bit too small the Airmotive 4 seemed to be a good compromise.
Quote:
The Audioengine D1 or Nuforce uDac2 would fit within your budget if you went with the Airmotivs.
Those were the two DACs I was looking at.
Quote:
Originally Posted by glangford View Post

Given the use, the dac might be overkill. Try it without and see what you think.
I think you may be right. Thanks!

repete66211 is online now  
post #5 of 26 Old 02-12-2013, 06:38 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
arnyk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
Posts: 14,387
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 763 Post(s)
Liked: 1178
Quote:
Originally Posted by repete66211 View Post

Any speaker recommendations?

Behringer B2031A. It is my idea of a small footprint speaker, but it may not be yours.
Quote:
What about DAC recommendations? Given my anticipated usage is a DAC overkill?

Yes, at least until you find that the converters (unknown to me at this time) in your PC are sonically deficient. It is not a given that they are deficient.

In that event, the Behringer UCA 202 will likely solve the problem, and its cost won't upset the rest of your budget.
arnyk is offline  
post #6 of 26 Old 02-12-2013, 07:17 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
repete66211's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Kansas City area
Posts: 1,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked: 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Behringer B2031A. It is my idea of a small footprint speaker, but it may not be yours.
Thanks arnyk. I've seen that speaker frequently recommended. Question: How would you handle the connection from the USB or headphone jack on the iMac to the XLR or 1/4" TSR on the speakers?

repete66211 is online now  
post #7 of 26 Old 02-12-2013, 07:33 AM
Advanced Member
 
Ysay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 500
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
I am not familiar with the Behringer. Here is what I use on my Rokits for TRS connection:
http://www.amazon.com/GLS-Audio-Y-Cable-Splitter-Cord/dp/B0062QPERU/ref=pd_ys_iyr10
Ysay is offline  
post #8 of 26 Old 02-12-2013, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
repete66211's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Kansas City area
Posts: 1,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked: 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ysay View Post

I am not familiar with the Behringer. Here is what I use on my Rokits for TRS connection:
http://www.amazon.com/GLS-Audio-Y-Cable-Splitter-Cord/dp/B0062QPERU/ref=pd_ys_iyr10
That's the ticket. Thanks Ysay.

repete66211 is online now  
post #9 of 26 Old 02-12-2013, 03:03 PM
Newbie
 
jkotubey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I just ordered PSB's relatively new offering into the computer speaker world. They haven't arrived yet, but they are 300 at Crutchfield which should allow for enough money to get a nice DAC along with them. There weren't a lot of reviews on them out there, so I'll be interested to see how they sound when they arrive.
jkotubey is offline  
post #10 of 26 Old 02-12-2013, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
repete66211's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Kansas City area
Posts: 1,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked: 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkotubey View Post

I just ordered PSB's relatively new offering into the computer speaker world. They haven't arrived yet, but they are 300 at Crutchfield which should allow for enough money to get a nice DAC along with them. There weren't a lot of reviews on them out there, so I'll be interested to see how they sound when they arrive.
Thanks. I'll check them out. They look similar in size to the Audioengine A2. Let me know how you like them.

repete66211 is online now  
post #11 of 26 Old 02-12-2013, 08:05 PM
Member
 
DerKaiser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 113
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 12
I don't understand why most of these have the volume control on the back of the speaker. The Airmotiv is the only higher quality powered speaker I've seen with the volume on the front.
DerKaiser is offline  
post #12 of 26 Old 02-12-2013, 09:03 PM
Member
 
cyde01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 119
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Would bookshelf speakers and a small T-amp be viable? Cambridge S30's & a Topping TP-21 amp can be had for $300. The amp is about the size of 3 blu-ray cases stacked on top of each other, so it won't take up much desk real estate. An inexpensive $20 DAC might be worthwhile since you'll probably get interference from your PC with an analogue cable. Personally I don't care for the sound of those studio monitors and prefer a little coloring in my music.

Definitive Technology Studio Monitor 450's are $280 on Newegg and go on sale for $250 if you want more bass without needing a sub. 13" x 8.4" x 11.5" isn't too big.
cyde01 is offline  
post #13 of 26 Old 02-12-2013, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
repete66211's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Kansas City area
Posts: 1,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked: 223
I don't know either, but I suspect it's because most aren't necessarily intended to be used as computer speakers, but rather as powered/active near-field monitors. That's one extra bonus of a DAC--the volume knob on the front.

repete66211 is online now  
post #14 of 26 Old 02-13-2013, 07:16 AM
Member
 
DerKaiser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 113
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by repete66211 View Post

I don't know either, but I suspect it's because most aren't necessarily intended to be used as computer speakers, but rather as powered/active near-field monitors. That's one extra bonus of a DAC--the volume knob on the front.

You may be right, but it's funny that Crutchfield has the Audioengines, the PSB Alpha PS1s, the Paradigm shifts, the B&Ws, and the NuForce S3-BTs in their computer speakers section. Even Audioengine's website says "join the computer audio (r)evolution". And they put the volume knob on the front of the 5+ speaker, but they're just too big for my computer space. I may end up buying the A2s and a DAC.
DerKaiser is offline  
post #15 of 26 Old 02-13-2013, 07:31 AM
AVS Special Member
 
mnilan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Central NY
Posts: 2,111
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Check out the Vanatoo Transparent One. Stereomojo.com has a review.

mnilan
mnilan is offline  
post #16 of 26 Old 02-13-2013, 07:41 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
repete66211's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Kansas City area
Posts: 1,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked: 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by DerKaiser View Post

You may be right, but it's funny that Crutchfield has the Audioengines, the PSB Alpha PS1s, the Paradigm shifts, the B&Ws, and the NuForce S3-BTs in their computer speakers section. Even Audioengine's website says "join the computer audio (r)evolution". And they put the volume knob on the front of the 5+ speaker, but they're just too big for my computer space. I may end up buying the A2s and a DAC.
I was referring to the Airmotivs, Behringer, etc. Audioengine's A5+ and A2 are definitely designed for computers. Where the volume knob is I think depends primary on size and design. The A2s and some of the others are just too small to have a knob on front and the clean lines of the B&Ws don't really allow for it. The A5s and Airmotiv 5s are about as large as I would go as well but the A2s are just too small, which is why I was considering the Airmotiv 4.

repete66211 is online now  
post #17 of 26 Old 02-14-2013, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
repete66211's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Kansas City area
Posts: 1,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked: 223
Emotiva is having a sale on refurb/demo/class B stock. The Airmotiv 4s are the perfect size so that's what I bought. The DAC is on hold until I determine if it's needed. Thanks for the input guys.

repete66211 is online now  
post #18 of 26 Old 02-14-2013, 09:46 PM
AVS Special Member
 
postrokfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Ft. Collins, CO
Posts: 2,826
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 94 Post(s)
Liked: 500
Nice score. Enjoy!

"Guns for show, knives for a pro..."
postrokfan is offline  
post #19 of 26 Old 02-18-2013, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
repete66211's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Kansas City area
Posts: 1,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked: 223
I received the speakers today and unfortunately one of them is a dud. I have yet to hear back from Emotiva but needless to say I'm very disappointed.

EDIT: I hooked them up at lunch. I think the iMac needed a power cycle for the iMac to recognize the headphone output but when I got home from work they worked fine.

repete66211 is online now  
post #20 of 26 Old 02-19-2013, 08:28 AM
AVS Special Member
 
glangford's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,806
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked: 55
How do they sound?
glangford is online now  
post #21 of 26 Old 02-19-2013, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
repete66211's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Kansas City area
Posts: 1,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked: 223
It was a bit late and I have neighbors so I wasn't able to engage in any high level listening but they sound pretty good. As stated above size was a concern. Being about 50% of the volume of the Airmotiv 5, Audioengine A5+ and many of the other "nicer" computer speakers the Airmotiv 4s are an ideal compromise between sound quality and space. Budget was obviously a concern as well and at about half my projected budget I'm satisfied it was money well spent.

My "office" is nothing more than a ~30 square foot walk-in closet. I have the Airmotiv 4s at ear level about an arm's length away. They have plenty of clearance in the back. Right now they're sitting bare on my MDF desk, but I'll probably put some felt or foam under them eventually. Once I've had a chance to get used to how they sound I'll start experimenting with the high and low frequency trim controls.

repete66211 is online now  
post #22 of 26 Old 02-19-2013, 03:52 PM
AVS Special Member
 
glangford's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,806
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked: 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by repete66211 View Post

It was a bit late and I have neighbors so I wasn't able to engage in any high level listening but they sound pretty good. As stated above size was a concern. Being about 50% of the volume of the Airmotiv 5, Audioengine A5+ and many of the other "nicer" computer speakers the Airmotiv 4s are an ideal compromise between sound quality and space. Budget was obviously a concern as well and at about half my projected budget I'm satisfied it was money well spent.

My "office" is nothing more than a ~30 square foot walk-in closet. I have the Airmotiv 4s at ear level about an arm's length away. They have plenty of clearance in the back. Right now they're sitting bare on my MDF desk, but I'll probably put some felt or foam under them eventually. Once I've had a chance to get used to how they sound I'll start experimenting with the high and low frequency trim controls.

Be interested in your complete impressions when done. I have the audioengine A2s, the airmotiv wasn't available when I bought them. I'm interested in the airmotiv because of the ribbons.
glangford is online now  
post #23 of 26 Old 02-20-2013, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
repete66211's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Kansas City area
Posts: 1,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked: 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by glangford View Post

Be interested in your complete impressions when done. I have the audioengine A2s, the airmotiv wasn't available when I bought them. I'm interested in the airmotiv because of the ribbons.
I haven't heard the A2s so I can't make a comparison. The Airmotiv 4s have very good clarity on the upper end and the bass is what you'd expect from a speaker of this size. Naturally, as with all speakers, get the largest you can for your given space.

repete66211 is online now  
post #24 of 26 Old 02-20-2013, 09:57 PM
Member
 
wlvca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 105
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I'll endorse the Airmotiv 4's. Had a pair but gave them to my son. Have a pair of Airmotiv 5's in transit from the Emotiva warehouse sale.
wlvca is offline  
post #25 of 26 Old 02-26-2013, 01:42 AM
Advanced Member
 
jevans64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 856
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 39 Post(s)
Liked: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by wlvca View Post

I'll endorse the Airmotiv 4's. Had a pair but gave them to my son. Have a pair of Airmotiv 5's in transit from the Emotiva warehouse sale.

I have the Airmotiv 5's but trying to figure out how to cram in a pair of Stealth 8's on stands behind my desk.

I notice considerable vibration on my MDF desk when I play the 5's at a decent volume. I was thinking about getting a pair of IsoAcoustics desktop stands to isolate the speakers from the desk.

HD-DVD = 94
Blu-Ray = 120 ( 24 Warner red2blu )
jevans64 is offline  
post #26 of 26 Old 02-26-2013, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
repete66211's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Kansas City area
Posts: 1,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked: 223
I'm getting resonance out of the 4s as well. I'll probably pick up a pad to put them on eventually. Good luck finding room for those Stealths. They are monsters.

repete66211 is online now  
Reply 2-Channel Audio

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off