Very small speakers for kitchen tv - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 03-21-2012, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a Vizio 19" tv on the counter in a corner in my kitchen. It sits on top of the Moto Fios box, and so reaches to underside of cabinet. The sound is of course abysmal. I would like to add a pair of very small speakers, or a very small 2.1 setup. I can use a mini-jack output or standard rca from the fios box. Ideally the speakers should be no more that 6" tall or 4" wide. Actually ideally they would be no more than 4" by 2" so I could put them on the box under the tv. My budget is under $100, but I could be flexible for something exceptional. Not interested in a soundbar (which I doubt anyone would recommend for such a small setup anyway). Thanks!

Doug
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post #2 of 33 Old 03-21-2012, 07:22 AM
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since there is no receiver involved in this setup sounds like you need some powered speakers. Basically you're looking for computer speakers or something similar.

Maybe one of these Swan speakers will meet your needs?
http://www.theaudioinsider.com/produ...5bd9657fc30581

http://www.theaudioinsider.com/produ...5bd9657fc30581

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post #3 of 33 Old 03-21-2012, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes, I need powered speakers. I didn't know the Swan and they look great - just a little on the big side, have to remeasure and rethink... Swan does have an even smaller set, tho it doesn't have a subwoofer which isn't that big a problem. Know anything about these:
http://www.theaudioinsider.com/produ...oducts_id=134&

Doug
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post #4 of 33 Old 03-21-2012, 07:34 AM
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The H2 Dimensions: 3.1 x 3.75 x 4.6in

I'd rather have the set with the subwoofer though.

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post #5 of 33 Old 03-21-2012, 07:41 AM
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They want $749 for the H6 sub? A 30lb unit with a 6.5" driver? :O

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post #6 of 33 Old 03-21-2012, 07:50 AM
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I doubt anyone would buy that H6 sub unless they like throwing away money.

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post #7 of 33 Old 03-21-2012, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
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I'd prefer the sub too. Unfortunately, even the M10 sub is too large for my space. Also thinking I could mount the H2's to the underside of the cabinets.

Doug
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post #8 of 33 Old 03-21-2012, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaz50y View Post

Ideally the speakers should be no more that 6" tall or 4" wide.

The following active speakers fit this requirement, and at least according to the specs (65Hz-22kHz +/-2.0dB), may go deep enough to satisfy without a separate "sub":

http://audioengineusa.com/Store/Audioengine-2
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post #9 of 33 Old 03-21-2012, 01:28 PM
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I saw the AE-2 but the price is $199 which is double what he was willing to spend.

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post #10 of 33 Old 03-21-2012, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, it is double my budget, but on the other hand I did say I could be flexible for something exceptional and these might be it. Plus they are exactly the largest dimensions that would fit comfortably in my space. Perhaps I will try to talk to my wife about it...

Doug
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post #11 of 33 Old 03-21-2012, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afrogt View Post

I saw the AE-2 but the price is $199 which is double what he was willing to spend.

You're right, I don't know how I missed that because I usually look at the budget first! On the other hand, it's useful for comparison, anyway, or in case the OP happens to be that flexible.

I looked around some more, and the options sure seem to be limited. The only alternative I've been able to find so far is the JBL Jembe ($60), which measures 5.3" x 4.2" x 4.2". It probably has better bass than the Swan H2, but my concern is that they both appear to have a single full-range driver. While they probably sound better than a small flat-panel TV's speakers, I'm not sure by how much. I seriously doubt that either would compare to the Audioengine 2, which of course costs $199, but seems to be a pair of full-fledged hi-fi speakers as opposed to computer speakers.
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post #12 of 33 Old 03-22-2012, 06:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. Comments inspired me to dig deeper, and I found a few things. The Audioengines, like the Swan M10 are a bit large, tho I might go for them if I could find a good deal. The JBL's also look like a good value, but I feel the Swan H@ materials and electronics still might have better sound, regardless of the bass. Here are some more I found:

A little tall, but that is the least dimensional constraint:
Behringer MS16
http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-MS16.../dp/B000979TV0

Some sketchy reviews for durability on Amazon, but otherwise attractive:

M-Audio Studiophile AV30 MkII
http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Studio...dp_ob_title_ce

Tall and pricey, but might find a deal:
Nht Super Zero 2.0
http://app.audiogon.com/listings/nht...ini-monitor--2

Doug
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post #13 of 33 Old 03-22-2012, 09:05 AM
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Why not the PSB Image B4? It's hella small. Pair that with a micro Amphony M200 amp (50W@8ohm per ch):

http://www.amphony.com/images/main/a100size.jpg
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post #14 of 33 Old 03-22-2012, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaz50y View Post

The JBL's also look like a good value, but I feel the Swan H@ materials and electronics still might have better sound, regardless of the bass.

I've never heard either of them, so I wouldn't know. Some similar products I've heard and used can sound surprisingly decent, but hi-fi they are not. Maybe the Swan H2 is an exception to the rule, but I'd have to audition it myself. Hopefully somebody here who owns or has heard it will compare it to quality compact two-way monitors.

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Originally Posted by jaz50y View Post

Here are some more I found:

A little tall, but that is the least dimensional constraint:
Behringer MS16
http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-MS16.../dp/B000979TV0

I looked at the MS16, but rejected it because it's over 9" tall and over 5" wide. If that would be OK with you, then the MS16 will do, but then again I rejected every other speaker, both active and passive, that I looked at due to size, as well. Passive speakers--in combination with an inexpensive miniature stereo amplifier that you could probably tuck away--would give you a lot more options, I believe (I'd have to look again to see what's available).

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Originally Posted by jaz50y View Post

Some sketchy reviews for durability on Amazon, but otherwise attractive:

M-Audio Studiophile AV30 MkII
http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Studio...dp_ob_title_ce

I don't like the look of those negative reviews, not just for durability/reliability concerns but in regard to audio quality. It's larger than 6" x 4" anyway, and you might be able to find a good deal on the slightly larger but far superior M-Audio AV40 (may actually sound better than the Audioengine 2 for less money...if you can accommodate its size).

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Originally Posted by jaz50y View Post

Tall and pricey, but might find a deal:
Nht Super Zero 2.0
http://app.audiogon.com/listings/nht...ini-monitor--2

I rejected this one, too, for being significantly larger than your specs. It's a passive monitor, so you'll need an amplifier to go along with it (such as this one).

So what are your real maximum dimensional specs?
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post #15 of 33 Old 03-22-2012, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veda View Post

Why not the PSB Image B4? It's hella small. Pair that with a micro Amphony M200 amp (50W@8ohm per ch):

http://www.amphony.com/images/main/a100size.jpg

Now this is a nice setup (I want this for my computer now...thanks a lot ), but I think that the NHT SuperZero 2.0 (suggested by the OP himself) at less than 2/3 the price should suffice for this purpose while keeping closer to the original budget (unless you've found a fantastic deal on the Image B4, as even used they'd go for more, I'd think). I like NHTs anyway, and being sealed should, if anything, help ameliorate some of the potential placement issues.

I'll look for additional options as soon as the OP tells us exactly what the absolute maximum dimensions are, as every additional fraction of an inch would potentially give him more options.
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post #16 of 33 Old 03-22-2012, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I got a bit carried away with the NHTs when I saw a good deal, I'm afraid - didn't even notice they were passive. The psb's are too much in every dimension including the dollar dimension. I really shouldn't go beyond 6" by 4" for appearances, but since I am easily influenced by quality differences, I could stretch that an inch. The Audioengine 2's look perfect except for price, but I could look for a deal.

Some people seem to like the Bose Companion 2 Series II, which is probably as big as I should go:
http://www.amazon.com/Bose-Companion...2446935&sr=8-1

Also there is it's predecessor for less money.

Doug
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post #17 of 33 Old 03-22-2012, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaz50y View Post

I got a bit carried away with the NHTs when I saw a good deal, I'm afraid - didn't even notice they were passive.

There are nice little amps you could use passive speakers with, though. The example I gave earlier, the Lepai TA2020A+, is only $30.24 (including shipping)--that's more than nothing, but it should give you more quality options, which I'll get back to you on. My main concern is that whatever you end up purchasing will be worth what you paid for it, and even with "computer speakers" that cost $100, I'm not convinced that you'll get enough of an improvement over your TV's built-in speakers.

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Originally Posted by jaz50y View Post

The psb's are too much in every dimension including the dollar dimension.

Yes, but they would be a big improvement. Unfortunately, regarding audio quality, size and money both matter, especially at this end of the size range. You don't need to spend that much to get a worthwhile improvement, though.

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I really shouldn't go beyond 6" by 4" for appearances, but since I am easily influenced by quality differences, I could stretch that an inch.

OK, I'll compile a list based (loosely) on this.

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Some people seem to like the Bose Companion 2 Series II, which is probably as big as I should go:
http://www.amazon.com/Bose-Companion...2446935&sr=8-1

...but it's...Bose! I've actually listened to these out of curiosity, and I thought they sounded terrible (makes the reviled Acoustimass systems sound great in comparison). I'm trying not to be biased, but I doubt that the slurred sibilance and general lack of definition that I heard was imagined. Even my sad little $12 Altec Lansing BX1120 computer speakers sound better than the Companion 2--they may be dull but at least they're reasonably accurate and resolving for cheap speakers, unlike the "staticky" Bose speakers (no better than Cyber Acoustics). Go and listen to them for yourself wherever they're sold (I forget, maybe Target?)--they're better than the built-in speakers of small flat-panel TVs in some ways (louder, less hollow), but worse in others. Even for $99 or less, total, you should be able to do better.
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post #18 of 33 Old 03-22-2012, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaz50y View Post

Yes, I need powered speakers.

One thing to consider is that if you want to control the volume with the TV's remote you'll need a variable line out signal going to the power speakers. Most TVs don't have that option. The Sonys do. A headphone output may work OK.
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post #19 of 33 Old 03-22-2012, 05:05 PM
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I'm not done searching yet, but so far I've found this:

http://www.amazon.com/BIC-AMERICA-DV...2458463&sr=8-1

It's inexpensive, very small (7" H x 4 7/8" W x 4 1/8" D), and cheesy spring clips aside, seems to be of decent quality. It should sound much better than "computer speakers" of similar size, I'd expect--"real" speakers for a total system price of about $80 (with a separate stereo amplifier).

Mull over that while I continue to look around--or better yet, help me look around.

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Originally Posted by Dave1027 View Post

One thing to consider is that if you want to control the volume with the TV's remote you'll need a variable line out signal going to the power speakers. Most TVs don't have that option. The Sonys do. A headphone output may work OK.

That's a good point. Vizio TVs all seem to come with at least headphone outputs these days, which will work if nothing better is available, but I don't know about variable line outputs, and I don't know about older models, either. jaz50y, does your TV have either type of output or both?
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post #20 of 33 Old 03-22-2012, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post

Passive speakers--in combination with an inexpensive miniature stereo amplifier that you could probably tuck away--would give you a lot more options, I believe (I'd have to look again to see what's available).

Well, I took a second look, and unfortunately had to reject every single one of them again--except for the aforementioned BIC DV32B/DV32W--due to either excessive cost (the vast majority) or inadequate quality. I guess there's not much of a market for tiny speakers (less than 8" tall or so) that are affordable but don't suck.

I also took a second look at active pro monitors, and came up with the Alesis M1Active 320 USB (7.375" H x 5" W x 6.5" D):
http://www.alesis.com/m1active320usb
http://www.amazon.com/Alesis-M1Activ...2465009&sr=8-1

It seems to be heavily discounted at $83.61 (see link above), at least for now, and looks like a great deal.

About the only other alternatives I've managed to find are along these lines:

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Speak...463659&sr=8-36

Not too promising, I suspect, although I could be wrong.
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post #21 of 33 Old 03-26-2012, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
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I found an acceptable compromise: I just bought a used pair of A2's within my budget. Fingers crossed that they meet the description of the seller...

I also did demo the Bose Companion 2 Series II and the demo (obviously made for the speakers) was very clear in the midrange, faint in the treble and boomy and artificial in the bass.

I'll report back on how the A2's work out.

Doug
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post #22 of 33 Old 03-26-2012, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post

Well, I took a second look, and unfortunately had to reject every single one of them again--except for the aforementioned BIC DV32B/DV32W--due to either excessive cost (the vast majority) or inadequate quality. I guess there's not much of a market for tiny speakers (less than 8" tall or so) that are affordable but don't suck.

I'd like to think that winky means you know you're being unreasonable and unrealistic. Yeah, wouldn't adding a flux capacitor or two let them defy the laws of physics and economics?

$50 for these Pioneers

Small, cheap, good sounding - pick any two
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post #23 of 33 Old 03-26-2012, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Just for the record, the Pioneers are too big for this discussion:
7.1" x 12.6" x 8.1" (W x H x D)

Doug
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post #24 of 33 Old 03-26-2012, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaz50y View Post

I found an acceptable compromise: I just bought a used pair of A2's within my budget. Fingers crossed that they meet the description of the seller...

And the description of the manufacturer. I've always heard good things about it, though. Good luck!

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Originally Posted by jaz50y View Post

I also did demo the Bose Companion 2 Series II and the demo (obviously made for the speakers) was very clear in the midrange, faint in the treble and boomy and artificial in the bass.

I think the one that I listened to was actually the older (non-Series II) version, which sounds a bit different from your description in that they had a more prominent but distorted treble.

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Originally Posted by jaz50y View Post

I'll report back on how the A2's work out.

Good, I always like to hear about results (doesn't always happen, leaving everybody hanging ).

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Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

I'd like to think that winky means you know you're being unreasonable and unrealistic. Yeah, wouldn't adding a flux capacitor or two let them defy the laws of physics and economics?

Well, sort of in that the OP was asking for a lot, and therefore shouldn't be too surprised to find that the number of options was limited. On the other hand, what I was looking for were tiny speakers that "don't suck"--nothing fancy or of super high quality, but something clearly better than typical computer speakers at around the same size and at not too high of a price. This is neither unreasonable nor unrealistic, and as proof I even found one such example in the BIC DV32 (and another active speaker, although it was on sale). I did initially expect to find at least a few more examples among passive speakers, but instead what I found were either extremely cheap and awful, or rather expensive and of exquisite quality, with very little in between--just the BIC DV32, really, and a Dayton satellite speaker that seemed like a clearly inferior value, so I didn't even bother mentioning it.

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Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

$50 for these Pioneers

WAY too big for the requirements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

Small, cheap, good sounding - pick any two

Point taken, albeit I was in fact successful in finding a few acceptable options, so it seems that physics and economics both got pwned, big-time.
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post #25 of 33 Old 03-27-2012, 06:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I have to agree that such a speaker is almost impossible to find. My main 7.1 system is mostly Paradigm, and if price and spouse weren't a factor I would have gone with the Paradigm MilleniaOnes.

Doug
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post #26 of 33 Old 03-27-2012, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post

Well, sort of in that the OP was asking for a lot, and therefore shouldn't be too surprised to find that the number of options was limited. On the other hand, what I was looking for were tiny speakers that "don't suck"--nothing fancy or of super high quality, but something clearly better than typical computer speakers at around the same size and at not too high of a price. This is neither unreasonable nor unrealistic, and as proof I even found one such example in the BIC DV32 (and another active speaker, although it was on sale). I did initially expect to find at least a few more examples among passive speakers, but instead what I found were either extremely cheap and awful, or rather expensive and of exquisite quality, with very little in between--just the BIC DV32, really, and a Dayton satellite speaker that seemed like a clearly inferior value, so I didn't even bother mentioning it.


.....


Point taken, albeit I was in fact successful in finding a few acceptable options, so it seems that physics and economics both got pwned, big-time.

I'm one of the few people here who regularly mentions that the point of declining returns for speakers starts at about $40. So I'm all for cheap speakers, the enjoyment and value is tremendous.

But you're just showing how little you know to suggest that BIC speaker doesn't kinda suck. All little speakers kinda suck, they simply can't deliver enough mid bass to deliver a natural tone. They can't reach down far enough to cross with a sub. And now you're saying that all you're looking for is "acceptable." OK.

Most people eventually realize that it's worth finding the space for a speaker that's a little bigger than that one. (The ones with a clue will laugh at how they thought they actually knew something about speakers when they started out.) The laws of physics haven't been repealed.

The Audioengines and some other little speakers tweak that a little, but at a price. There's those laws of physics and economics again.

As far as price, many people will spend $100-200 a pair, plus the cost of an amp - or get powered speakers in that range - and get substantial improvement, that's closer to the sweet spot, where almost anyone can hear the differences if they listen.

But cheap can be very good, especially on sale or used. Small always kinda sucks, though sometimes it's a tradeoff people find worth making.
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post #27 of 33 Old 03-27-2012, 06:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaz50y View Post

Just for the record, the Pioneers are too big for this discussion:
7.1" x 12.6" x 8.1" (W x H x D)

The point was - small, cheap, good, pick any two. The Pioneers are an example of cheap and good. The Bics are small and cheap. The Audioengines are small and good.

But as many here often mention, going used can be a good way to improve on the tradeoffs. As can waiting for a sale, there's always something on sale, being phased out for newer models, etc.
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post #28 of 33 Old 03-29-2012, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

But you're just showing how little you know

Sure, attack the poster instead of what he says.

Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

to suggest that BIC speaker doesn't kinda suck.

I shouldn't even have to mention this to somebody as sage as you, but sure it kind of sucks--the point, however, was to improve upon the sound quality of even punier flat panel TV speakers without being significantly larger than the requirements, or too expensive. Sound quality is relative, correct? So is the definition of "sucks," which in this case means flat panel TV and most small computer/multimedia speakers. My point was to give the OP as many options as possible--more expensive for higher quality or less expensive for lower quality, but it has to be rather small.

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Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

All little speakers kinda suck, they simply can't deliver enough mid bass to deliver a natural tone.

That's right--they ALL do in some ways just because they're small, even more expensive ones that try to work miracles through DSP or other technologies. That's the trade-off for small size--who doesn't know that?

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Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

They can't reach down far enough to cross with a sub. And now you're saying that all you're looking for is "acceptable." OK.

Not acceptable for a home theater front channel, but more acceptable than a couple of Bose computer speakers, yeah. Much depends on expectation, as well, and the OP wasn't expecting miracles--just something noticeably better that was very small.

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Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

Most people eventually realize that it's worth finding the space for a speaker that's a little bigger than that one. (The ones with a clue will laugh at how they thought they actually knew something about speakers when they started out.)

We already went over the size issue earlier--the OP doesn't want anything larger than about 8" tall or so. He isn't building a home theater or music system for critical listening--just watching TV in the kitchen.

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The laws of physics haven't been repealed.

That was a joke.... That's what "" often means.

Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

But cheap can be very good, especially on sale or used. Small always kinda sucks, though sometimes it's a tradeoff people find worth making.

I totally agree (strange, huh?), but standards and requirements are absolute, not relative, right? (the rolling eyes icon is often used to indicate sarcasm or exasperation)
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post #29 of 33 Old 03-29-2012, 06:33 AM
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post #30 of 33 Old 04-08-2012, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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No space for zvox - tv sits on fios box with about 1/4" clearance from cabinet.

But I received the audioengines, clearly a solid, high-quality product. They turned out to be new, with stands, for less than my budget limit! I didn't have high expectations, but they are perfect for the use - they just fit the space allocated, and the sound is warm and full. Problems with the sound are from the fios box - I could sure use some equalizing. But the bass is firm at moderate volume, and midrange is clear. Treble is quiet, but again I am sure that is the box, which probably is slanted toward voice and bass. Makes me realize I need to make some adjustments to my main theater system for the fios.

Another feature I like is you can attach two sources, one thru the rca's and one thru the mini-jack. My ipod touch has Pandora, and also wifi2hifi, an app that acts as a server and streams any sound playing on my computer. So now we can have music too. And my wife likes them.

So overall, am happy camper for under $100. Thanks to all for their insights and comments that led me here.

Doug
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