Looking for a higher end 2/2.1 system for my new computer- help with deciding? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 04-06-2013, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everybody,

First post here.

I just got a new iMac and am looking to upgrade from my current crappy Altec Lansing speakers to something nicer and higher end (relative to the AL's).

I'll be using the system exclusively with my iMac. Don't really care how it'll perform with movies, will just be using it to listen to music- I spend six+ hours a day doing that while I work (I'm a photographer), so it's important that it's a good sounding system. I also will do some minor music production so it would be cool if it worked well for that and was somewhat neutral (doesn't have to be completely neutral like dedicated studio monitors). I listen to a very wide range of music, which I know isn't an ideal piece of information... If I had to narrow it down, I'd say a lot of electronic music (house, trance, drum and base, etc.) and rock. I like my bass, though not to the point where it sinks everything else.

The space I'll be using them in is somewhat of an acoustic nightmare. It's a finished, L-shaped (give or take a few nooks), basement (with granite floors)- 1100 square feet, very open. My work station sits right at the top of the "L".

One more thing I'd like to mention as a criteria is that I often have people over and would like for the system to fill the space out nicely. They're hardly audiophiles, the people I have over, but still would be nice to have something decent sounding for when company is over. The current speakers I have get very muddy and distorted when louder.

A nice, sleek design wouldn't hurt either!

Ideally, I wouldn't want to spend more than $700-800.

Some speakers I've looked at are:

-Paradigm Millenia CT (top contender at the moment)
-Bowers & Wilkins MM-1
-Auido Engine A5+ (though reports of lack of bass concern me)

I'm guessing a 2.1 system would be better for me, being someone who likes their bass and who wants something to fill a space when company is over.

Any input/advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 15 Old 04-08-2013, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
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I also have done some research and am considering the following systems:

Emotiva Airmotive 6
Paradigm A2 (x2)
Audioengine A5+, as mentioned above, but with S8 sub on top of it.

Really my only concern with some of these is their potential lack of a substantial bass response. I guess this rules out the MM1's.
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post #3 of 15 Old 04-08-2013, 12:09 PM
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I suggest that you get the Audioengine 2 speakers, which I have and are excellent, and add a Polk PSW505 subwoofer.

You should be able to do that for around $450, and it will sound very good.

I think the 2 actually sounds better than the 5, and they both require a subwoofer to have any real bass.
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post #4 of 15 Old 04-08-2013, 03:13 PM
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I'll suggest that the Swan M10 system is very very decent sounding, reasonably priced, and good looking to boot- I got mine in black. The only place I know of to get them anymore is audioinsider, an authorized swan dealer (they sell over the internet). Newegg used to carry them, but stopped for some reason. It's a sort-of 2.1 system.

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post #5 of 15 Old 04-09-2013, 03:24 AM
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I have the audioengine a2s and I like them alot. If I were buying today though I'd give some serious thought to the emotivas.
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post #6 of 15 Old 04-09-2013, 05:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRKM View Post

Hi everybody,

First post here.

I just got a new iMac and am looking to upgrade from my current crappy Altec Lansing speakers to something nicer and higher end (relative to the AL's).

I'll be using the system exclusively with my iMac. Don't really care how it'll perform with movies, will just be using it to listen to music- I spend six+ hours a day doing that while I work (I'm a photographer), so it's important that it's a good sounding system. I also will do some minor music production so it would be cool if it worked well for that and was somewhat neutral (doesn't have to be completely neutral like dedicated studio monitors). I listen to a very wide range of music, which I know isn't an ideal piece of information... If I had to narrow it down, I'd say a lot of electronic music (house, trance, drum and base, etc.) and rock. I like my bass, though not to the point where it sinks everything else.

The space I'll be using them in is somewhat of an acoustic nightmare. It's a finished, L-shaped (give or take a few nooks), basement (with granite floors)- 1100 square feet, very open. My work station sits right at the top of the "L".

One more thing I'd like to mention as a criteria is that I often have people over and would like for the system to fill the space out nicely. They're hardly audiophiles, the people I have over, but still would be nice to have something decent sounding for when company is over. The current speakers I have get very muddy and distorted when louder.

A nice, sleek design wouldn't hurt either!

Ideally, I wouldn't want to spend more than $700-800.

Some speakers I've looked at are:

-Paradigm Millenia CT (top contender at the moment)
-Bowers & Wilkins MM-1
-Auido Engine A5+ (though reports of lack of bass concern me)

I'm guessing a 2.1 system would be better for me, being someone who likes their bass and who wants something to fill a space when company is over.

Any input/advice would be greatly appreciated!

For the larger space and audience that you want to deal with, I'd recommend Behringer B2031A studio monitors which are well within your budget, even after adding a subwoofer. The subwoofer is a lot more optional with speakers with > 8" LF drivers and than speakers with <3" drivers!



Consider this unsolicited recommendation from an independent industry authority, actually in some sense a competitor:

"I recently had the opportunity to measure a Behringer B2031A loudspeaker in my advanced
polar measurement setup. I was asked to do this in order to compare the Behringer with the
highly regarded Linkwitz Orion loudspeaker. To put it simply I was totally impressed by the
Behringers performance. It was clearly a highly refined design which showed a great deal of
talent in its design.

It is probably no coincidence that when the B2031A was matched against the Orion in a blind
listening test that the results showed the Behringer to be statistically the same as the Orion in
sound quality. This is remarkable since the two speakers differ in price by a very large amount –
the Orion, of course, being many times more expensive that B2031A.

I must commend your design team on what can only be seen as a remarkable achievement –
bringing truly high performance into the range of a highly affordable product."

/Signed Dr. Earl Geddes, president Gedlee LLC. /

BTW the Orion system the B2031 was compared to is composed of more than $5k worth of hardware.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may01/articles/behringertruth.htm

"The B2031s are specified as having a robust maximum output SPL of 116dB per pair at one metre, and are claimed to have a frequency response of 50Hz to 21kHz -- but, as no levels are specified and as no print out of the actual response curve is provided, these figures mean very little. A number of slide switches provide frequency-response tweaks. for various different situations. For rooms that behave badly at low frequencies, or for situations in which a separate subwoofer is being used, a four-way switch provides a choice of bass roll-off frequencies: 50Hz, 65Hz, 80Hz and 100Hz. If mounting the speakers close to a corner is unavoidable, there's also a switch to cut the bass level by 2dB, 4dB or 6dB. Finally, because different users like to hear different amounts of top end, the high frequency level may be boosted by 2dB, or cut by either 2dB or 4dB."

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=321816&Q=&is=REG&A=details
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post #7 of 15 Old 04-09-2013, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for these suggestions- I will check them out more in-depth.

I managed to find a store near me that actually stocked a bunch of the items I've been looking at and got a chance to hear them first hand.

The Paradigm was, undoubtedly, awesome, albeit a bit too coloured for my liking, while the Audioengine A5+'s w/ S8 were more to my liking, not only due to their greater neutrality, but also more substantial bass. Also there were the Paradigm A2's, which were nice- too close to the A5+'s, IMO, to justify a $160 premium. Also wasn't a fan of the aesthetics with the orange logo and super bright LED.

What I'm wondering is if folks can recommend an S8 alternative- something about it didn't seem worth the $350 price tag (read: I feel I could do better for that much).

I was also shown the new KEF X300A, which was really nice, but didn't spend enough time with it. Anyone looked into these? If so, what are your thoughts?

I've slightly upped my budget to the $1100 mark as I really want something good. Also expecting to get the Audioengine D1.

EDIT: I was also wondering... how would Audioengine A2's with an S8 suit my purposes? Mainly near-field use with occasional need to fill a larger space while entertaining?
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post #8 of 15 Old 04-09-2013, 10:56 AM
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I'll go ahead and make a suggestion for you to check out in terms of DAC/amp- you might look at the Teac AH01-S. The nice thing about it is it's got both the DAC and the amp stages in one package, with subwoofer out. Most of the options I've seen do not have a subwoofer output, which generally means sending amplified output to the subwoofer and letting the subwoofer pass the signal to the speakers- less than ideal. I haven't heard/played with one myself, and I'd be curious to hear if anyone else has experience of this option, but it's feature set seems pretty ideal for a computer rig.

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post #9 of 15 Old 04-10-2013, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, I've narrowed my choices down to these two:

Audioengine A5+'s + S8

Paradigm Millenia CT

It's a $50 difference, with the Audioengine setup costing more.

If I go with the A5+, I might hold off a few weeks and save up for something like an SVS SB-1000 sub. Would that be a better option than the S8? Might be a bit excessive for my place/needs?

What I was wondering is if I go with the Paradigm, would I be able to hook up a DAC no problem? Specifically talking about an Audiolab M-DAC. The lack of connectivity on the Millenia system is a bit of a turn off, but I keep hearing such good things about it (and sounded great in person).

What would you guys do if you were in my spot, needing them for the same applications as I do?

Thanks again for your help!
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-10-2013, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, I've narrowed my choices down to these two:

Audioengine A5+'s + S8

Paradigm Millenia CT

It's a $50 difference, with the Audioengine setup costing more.

If I go with the A5+, I might hold off a few weeks and save up for something like an SVS SB-1000 sub. Would that be a better option than the S8? Might be a bit excessive for my place/needs?

What I was wondering is if I go with the Paradigm, would I be able to hook up a DAC no problem? Specifically talking about an Audiolab M-DAC. The lack of connectivity on the Millenia system is a bit of a turn off, but I keep hearing such good things about it (and sounded great in person).

What would you guys do if you were in my spot, needing them for the same applications as I do?

Thanks again for your help!
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post #11 of 15 Old 04-10-2013, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, I've narrowed my choices down to these two:

Audioengine A5+'s + S8

Paradigm Millenia CT

It's a $50 difference, with the Audioengine setup costing more.

If I go with the A5+, I might hold off a few weeks and save up for something like an SVS SB-1000 sub. Would that be a better option than the S8? Might be a bit excessive for my place/needs?

What I was wondering is if I go with the Paradigm, would I be able to hook up a DAC no problem? Specifically talking about an Audiolab M-DAC. The lack of connectivity on the Millenia system is a bit of a turn off, but I keep hearing such good things about it (and sounded great in person).

What would you guys do if you were in my spot, needing them for the same applications as I do?

Thanks again for your help!
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post #12 of 15 Old 04-10-2013, 08:05 PM
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Since you've increased your budget, I'll recommend the DynAudio DBM50 active monitors. At $998 a pair, there's simply nothing available at that price point within comparison.

http://dynaudioprofessional.com/bm-series/monitors/dbm50/

Complete with substantial amplification, adjustability for bass response and boundaries, plus adding the desktop volume controller make the Dynaudios one of the most complete desktop speaker packages available. While I know many suggest various Audioengine systems, for your intended use the Dynaudios deserved serious considerations.
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post #13 of 15 Old 04-10-2013, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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While those look seriously amazing, I just couldn't swing getting those and a sub at the moment.
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post #14 of 15 Old 04-11-2013, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I've decided to go with the AE A5+'s and hold off on a sub for now until I save up for an SVS SB-1000.
Will be running them with an Audiolab M-DAC, which I'm getting next week for a great price (used).
Anyone tried the A5+'s with an SVS sub?
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post #15 of 15 Old 04-14-2013, 12:37 PM
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Assuming you have the space for the larger size, I would recommend the SVS PB-1000 over the SB-1000. Same price. Your room is gigantic, and you need all the sub you can get for when you want to fill the room with sound.

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
HT: Energy RC-50, RC-LCR, Veritas VS Surrounds | Dual CHT SS 18.1s | Denon AVR-888 | modified Dayton SA1000 | Antimode 8033C
Desktop: CBM-170 SE | SVS SB-1000 | Audio-GD NFB-11 | HK 3390
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