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post #1 of 18 Old 12-24-2012, 10:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I recently bought an HK 3490 and i've been using it to drive my Ultrasone Pro 900 headphones, I am looking for the best Speakers I can get for $500 or less and then I will add a sub later. I want a setup that can go loud but is also usable 2-3 feet in front of it. I am looking for clarity but also deep and powerful bass, I have no preference over the speakers sounding bright/dark.

I am using these for my pc, I need the speakers to be wall mounted because theres no room on my desk for them between my 3 monitors and hk 3490. My desk is made out of glass and metal, I don't know if this will affect the sound. My desk is also located in the corner but I can convert it to a straight desk and move it to the center of the wall.

Budget: I was going to get a note 2 but its to pricey unlocked so I will go up to $500 for just the speakers.
Considering

Pc audio out: My pc's sound card is an ASUS Xonar Essence STX, audio is being sent out through a glass braided optical cable with 24k gold tips ( 3 feet) to a Harman Kardon 3490.



Considering:

Setup 1:
PC -> Hk 3490 via optical
HB-1 Mk2 wall mounted
sub: HSU vtf 2 mk3

Setup 2:
PC -> Hk 3490 via optical
Speakers:Polk Audio Rti a3 wallmounted
sub: HSU vtf 2 mk3

Setup 3:
PC -> Hk 3490 via optical
Speakers: Infinity Primus P162
sub: HSU vtf 2 mk3

I was also wondering if I could use floor standing speakers from behind, but I have heard this will destroy the soundstage/immersion.

Usage:
Music (320kbps, flac, Spotify): 50% of the time
Games 49% of time
Movies: 1%

Room type
size: medium
Walls: normal walls
windows: 1
Carpet: short, typical house carpet.
Objects in room: Desk (glass top, near where speakers will be), dresser (made of wood), bed
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post #2 of 18 Old 12-25-2012, 01:00 AM
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How far will the speakers be from your ears? How are you mounting them, and will the back of the speakers be mounted right up against the wall- if so, rule out the HB-1s, they have rear ports which shouldn't be blocked off. You will want to give those ports a couple inches of room.

You definitely won't want to use tower speakers from behind, you would regret that for sure.

I have both the HB-1 and Primus p162 as luck would have it. I haven't heard the Rti 3, but i have listened to the Rti 8s a bit. I have used the HBs with the HK3490 too, good receiver! The Primus and Hsu speakers are good, the Polk Rti isn't too bad either but I don't like how they sound at louder volumes. The Hsu speakers have the strongest bass, but since you already have a good sub picked out for them that isn't a concern. I think the Hsu speakers are a bit more laid back than the Primus speakers, and I think the Primus has more detailed highs. In my opinion the Hsus have more realistic mids, but a narrower soundstage. The Primus feel more open, but they don't handle loud volumes as well, but since you are not going to be far from the speakers, that wouldn't really be a consideration. I think because the Hsu speakers don't have as pronounced highs that I can listen to them louder for longer periods without hearing fatigue, but I don't think they are quite as neutral in sound as the Primus speakers. Both are good speakers, in my opinion.

The desk won't cause that much of a problem, especially since the speakers won't be right on top of it.
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post #3 of 18 Old 12-25-2012, 01:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Speakers will be 2-4 feet from me, forgot to put it in the original post but I will be mounting with a Pinpoint AM-40B so they will not be directly against the wall, I think I will be going with the HSU's, they seem to be the best speakers in there price range, will them being wall mounted about a foot from a corner cause boominess?

Edit: is there any benefit of going with the HC-1 MK2 and turning it vertical other than just looking cooler since I am going to buy a dedicated sub?
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post #4 of 18 Old 12-25-2012, 01:47 AM
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The Pinpoint are very good mounts, I have both the Primus and HB-1 on those as well, lol a lot of coincidences here. At the moment I am using the HBs as surrounds for my computer system (HCs for fronts) and the p162 as surrounds for my home theater. The corners shouldn't cause boominess, however the hk3490 does not have room correction so you are not going to get a flat frequency response at listening position. You may want to get some kind of software EQ package like ARC to correct for the room. For something that is free, check out Nevi's EQ for winamp, a 250 band EQ, and tune it by ear to how you like it. It's not precise at all but you might be able to get rid of some annoying peaks for music listening. It would really help to have a SPL meter assisting you with that as well.
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post #5 of 18 Old 12-25-2012, 01:56 AM - Thread Starter
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The one downfall of the hk 3490 :P, otherwise it is a great receiver, got mine for $275 on amazon. I will definitely look into buying the hsu's after the holidays.
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post #6 of 18 Old 12-25-2012, 02:29 AM
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You'll want some near-field monitors. I just bought a pair of Emotiva Airmotiv 5 and they are excellent near-field monitors. I use them strictly for computer audio so they are powered. They hit 99 dB with PC volume at 70% sitting 3 feet away. They are ported in the back, so they can't go flush against a wall. They DO have 2dB and 4dB trim on the low frequency to keep the bass from "booming." Might need a pair of wall mounts from eBay seller FourPair or the ones from Displays2Go. Pinpoint AM40's are $80 and look similar to the ones at Displays2Go for $55. Two of the FourPair mounts are $50 but the pivot point is where the arm meets the wall and are harder to keep from sliding down on their own. Have to REALLY tighten the screws once your tilt angle is set.

Maybe some monitors with front ports, like the Adam A3x or A5x. These are slightly over your budget but they can be seen and heard at B&M's, like Guitar Center. Also KRK or Behringer.

As far as non-powered speakers go, in addition to those already mentioned, I usually recommend taking a look at the Definitive Technology Studio Monitors. Newegg has good deals on the SM350 and SM450. Also take a look at the Polk Monitors, 30 II, 35B, 40 II, or 45B. The Polks are under $200.

If you are looking at the Polk RTI A1 or A3, then the Definitive Technology SM450 for $280 a pair at Newegg are definitely worth a look. I don't think you can beat that deal on performance vs. cost. I seriously doubt you'll even need a sub with the SM450's IF you can give them 200 watts a piece.

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post #7 of 18 Old 12-25-2012, 03:13 AM
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I would have recommended some monitors too, but he already has the receiver. The Hsus do not do badly for computer speakers, but there are some good passive and inexpensive monitors to look at as well, like the Behringer Truth 2031p.
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post #8 of 18 Old 12-25-2012, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
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What about some Polk Audio Lsi 7's
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post #9 of 18 Old 12-25-2012, 04:12 PM
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I haven't heard the Lsi, but supposedly their tweeters are better than the Rti.
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post #10 of 18 Old 12-25-2012, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
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From what I can find the Lsi 7 + hk 3490 seems to be a better combo.
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post #11 of 18 Old 12-31-2012, 08:02 AM
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post #12 of 18 Old 12-31-2012, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adam1024 View Post

Look at here
http://bestpcspeakers.org/best-computer-speakers/

Got LSI 7's coming on Thursday + wall mounts already, I wanted bookshelfs that can be wallmounted not that type of speakers.
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post #13 of 18 Old 12-31-2012, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adam1024 View Post

Look at here
http://bestpcspeakers.org/best-computer-speakers/

The fact that Bose not only made that list once, but THRICE, totally discredits that reviewer. LOL

All those speakers are crap compared to larger speakers at the same price or near-field monitors for double the price. These systems are good for size and simplicity though. I've had most of the stuff on that list at some time or another, except for the Bose, and kept going back to a pair of powered speakers I've had since the late 1980's.
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post #14 of 18 Old 12-31-2012, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jevans64 View Post

The fact that Bose not only made that list once, but THRICE, totally discredits that reviewer. LOL
All those speakers are crap compared to larger speakers at the same price or near-field monitors for double the price. These systems are good for size and simplicity though. I've had most of the stuff on that list at some time or another, except for the Bose, and kept going back to a pair of powered speakers I've had since the late 1980's.
The only pc speakers I have ever found a kind of good were the audio engines a5.
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post #15 of 18 Old 12-31-2012, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by HDShatter View Post

The only pc speakers I have ever found a kind of good were the audio engines a5.

I really never thought of the a5 as being computer speakers but more like studio monitors. They aren't compact like the a2 and other offerings from Creative or Logitech plus they cost $400. Most folks are happy with Creative or Logitech because they still might be using the 3.5mm analog output which is pretty noisy, even on motherboards with decent chipsets. It is when you step up to a dedicated sound card with digital output that studio monitors and an external DAC would come into consideration. As soon as I figure out where I can put it, I'm going to get an Emotiva XDA-2 USB DAC and just use Toslink or USB to deliver the audio.

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post #16 of 18 Old 12-31-2012, 06:34 PM
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I see the Adam Audio speakers (A3x, A5x, etc.) often used in edit bays and smaller music/mix bays. They are designed for pro-use - i.e. as a near-field monitor with a very accurate and very flat, neutral response.

For home use (music, gaming) a lot of people may find that sound too dull. AudioEngine A5, by design, is kind of halfway in between that pro neutral sound and a more typical home audio sound. They are one of a new breed of active near-field monitor, not catering to the pro market (mixing, etc.) but to the home computer-music/iTunes market that wants a more refined sound (than the previous generation of mostly gaming driven computer speakers - Logitec, etc.).

Several of the Swan active desktop systems get good reviews, but they're hard to find right now.

I haven't heard the Emotiva Airmotiv 5 but I'm very curious about it.
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post #17 of 18 Old 12-31-2012, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by sdg4vfx View Post

I see the Adam Audio speakers (A3x, A5x, etc.) often used in edit bays and smaller music/mix bays. They are designed for pro-use - i.e. as a near-field monitor with a very accurate and very flat, neutral response.
For home use (music, gaming) a lot of people may find that sound too dull. AudioEngine A5, by design, is kind of halfway in between that pro neutral sound and a more typical home audio sound. They are one of a new breed of active near-field monitor, not catering to the pro market (mixing, etc.) but to the home computer-music/iTunes market that wants a more refined sound (than the previous generation of mostly gaming driven computer speakers - Logitec, etc.).
Several of the Swan active desktop systems get good reviews, but they're hard to find right now.
I haven't heard the Emotiva Airmotiv 5 but I'm very curious about it.

I heard the Adam at Guitar Center with some reference CD I brought with me when I was shopping. I liked the A7x but they were too big for my desktop with a computer sitting on each side of it plus a 27" or 30" monitor. The Behringer were nice as well. Of course, I ended up with the Emotiva Airmotiv 5. I'd like to do a REW graph of these but the fan noise from my PC would distort the results. I'm only going by how I felt about the Adam, but the Emotiva seems to be a little brighter. The graphs at Emotiva do indeed show a little spike at 4k. I really won't be able to judge them fairly until I complete my setup with a DAC, but I like the way they sound so far. They can only get better once I dump the 3.5mm analog output from Analog Devices on-board sound.

The Airmotiv 5's were $349 a pair and the Adam A5x are $1000 a pair. The Airmotiv 5 and Adam A5x are very similar on paper and, to me, were a wash between the two with the Emotiva being a bit more bright. The only real way I can A/B these is to bring my Emotiva into Guitar Center and hook them up. Doubt they would let me do that because I'm sure folks would want the Emotiva for $400 vs Adam for $1000. Just like Adam, the Airmotiv can be tuned just a little bit. HF is -2dB, 0, +2dB and LF is 0, -2dB, -4dB. Only major difference is the Airmotiv is back-ported and the Adam are front-ported. I have about 5" of breathing room in back for mine and angled mine in just a bit to improve imaging when sitting close to them. More than likely, I'll be moving these Airmotiv 5's into another room for folks to use when they visit and getting a pair of Emotiva Stealth 8, which I will place on stands about 45" high behind my desk and high enough to clear the desk by 15".

I actually bought the Airmotiv 5 a week before Stealth 8 were put up on the site. I heard these at EmoFest 2012 and they were literally kick-ass. I really didn't want to spend $1500 right away though but still wanted to try something different. I would say that the Stealth 8 would bury the Adam A7x simply on sound volume alone. The Stealth 8 are 400 watts RMS ( 200w HF, 200w LF ) total per speaker, so a pair would be good for 800 watts. The Adam are 150 watts RMS ( 50w HF, 100w LF. )

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post #18 of 18 Old 12-31-2012, 09:31 PM
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^^ Interesting stuff. Makes me wonder if the Airmotiv 5 is also one of the "new breed" of near-field monitor. I'm curious to hear the new KEF active monitor which I think is also in that category.

Re the (seemingly exorbitant) higher price on the Adam 5x ... For pro (or semi-pro) (or would-be-pro) guys mixing audio having the most "accurate" monitor they can afford is a big deal, so in general I'd guess the point-of-diminishing-returns on price vs sound-quality is different than it is for consumer home audio. The consumer home audio notion of picking speakers with a sound that we "like" (bright, warm, etc.) doesn't work for the pro mixer/engineer. They need to mix on the most neutral (flat) speaker they can so the audio will sound good on the widest range of speakers.

But as I mentioned before, quite often accurate/neutral/flat pro level monitors don't sound pleasing to the average consumer.
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