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Top bookshelf speakers for <$300

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi, it's my first time here at AVS forums, and I apologize for if I am posting at the wrong section of the forums, but seeming that this community specializes in speakers, whereas Head-fi is more into headphones, I figure that this forum would be the best place to start.

I am looking for a good 2.0 or whatever speaker setup for my computer. Back at Head-fi, I have narrowed it down to the BX5 D2 and Audioengine 5+, but here, what would you guys recommend?

I wish to use it for primarily rock, D&B, instrumental (post-rock, epic game and movie soundtracks, orchestral, etc.), and jazz, though for any other music to not sound terrible or muddy. Bass is not an issue, but it should be at least present and true to the music, and should to cover at least 120 degrees of the room facing straight with loud enough volume to reach up to 3.5m of the room.

Bonus: I am also debating whether to get the FiiO E10 to provide better quality to my headphones (and possibly speakers going from the line out), or a better sound card. If you can help me with these decisions, that would be very helpful for me. Also, is it possible to combine a 2.1 speaker setup (ex. AV40 + subwoofer) into one 3.5mm jack that I can insert into a line out in the FiiO E10?
post #2 of 14
With the FiiO E10, that puts you close to $400 for a setup. Today only as the deal of the day, Vanns has the Energy RC-10s for $230. Add a Denon 1612 receiver, and you'd have a great setup for 2.0 audio that would work well for your headphones. Because the 1612 is a HT receiver that has bass management, it would also work well for adding a subwoofer later on.
post #3 of 14
That Vanns price is also the Amazon price so it might not be "today only". Still, I like Cel's suggestion as a budget home theater setup. I just bought the Denon AVR-1612 (also on sale at Amazon right now) for my projector setup and I'm quite happy with it. I have a pair of older Cerwin Vega 6" bookshelfs on Sanus stands as well as an Energy 10.3 subwoofer from Newegg.

Another option would be the Denon AVR-1612 combined with the BIC DV62si for $110. Hits your price point and gives you something to grow into. The BIC's are shielded too.

The main caveat for a recommendation like this is that you're talking about a computer desk. The receiver is a big honking stereo component and these bookshelf speakers are still quite large for putting on either side of a computer monitor. Powered studio monitors (like the M-Audio AV40's you were talking about) will have a smaller footprint and you can skip the receiver, but getting that setup to play nice with a sub will be less turnkey later on.

It really depends on your ambitions. Go to guitar center and try to audition some of those small studio monitors. Craigslist will have them in the $125 to $175 range and you could get something bigger for your money provided you had room.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bozekitty View Post

That Vanns price is also the Amazon price so it might not be "today only".

On Amazon, that's still Vanns as the vendor. So it's coming from Vanns current pricing. Typically, they are at least $250 as of late on Vanns, so it'll probably go back up tomorrow on Amazon, too.
post #5 of 14
post #6 of 14
If you can find a pair, I would highly recommend the Dali Lektor 3 bookshelf speakers. A while ago, you could get a pair from Amazon for $275 a pair, but they have since been discontinued. I did a quick search on amazon and found one used pair for $350. That still isn't bad considering they retailed for $700/pair until they were discontinued.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

With the FiiO E10, that puts you close to $400 for a setup. Today only as the deal of the day, Vanns has the Energy RC-10s for $230. Add a Denon 1612 receiver, and you'd have a great setup for 2.0 audio that would work well for your headphones. Because the 1612 is a HT receiver that has bass management, it would also work well for adding a subwoofer later on.

Just once I'd like to beat you to one of these threads and recommend either the Mordaunt Short Carnival 2 or Energy RC-10. I don't know how you do it. biggrin.gif

Great recommendation, as always.
post #8 of 14
Based on the OP thread, I would assume he/she is looking to get some active speakers and skip the receiver. the Audioengine 5 are almost listed amongst the best active speakers.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Like Elihawk said, I am not planning to purchase a receiver, rather I prefer to be able to hook up my speakers directly to my sound card or my FiiO E10. Any suggestions? smile.gif
post #10 of 14
Considering active speakers...

The Emotiva AirMotiv 4 has gotten postitive reviews... and they're $315 right now.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaiii View Post

Considering active speakers...
The Emotiva AirMotiv 4 has gotten postitive reviews... and they're $315 right now.

X2
They look nice
http://emotivapro.com/products/powered_monitors/airmotiv4.php
post #12 of 14
FWIW a few weeks ago I was looking for small speakers delivering good clarity, decent bass at <$200 for my bedroom. I didn't want ridiculous bass because I live in an apartment with a neighbor below me. I was pointed in the direction of the Boston Acoustics A26 by Zieglj at onecall for $99 (thank you Zieglj). They look really nice with the grills off.

Then because I didn't want a large receiver taking up a lot of space, I picked up the Dayton DTA-100 amp for $90 http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=300-383. It's a small amp and I thought it'd be 50 wpc, but after doing more reading, it's really probably pushing 35. That's ok because the boston's are rated at 89db. At this point you're right at $300 and you will have pretty good sound not taking up much space at all. Overall, I was very happy with the set-up. Then I got creative one day..

I ran my source (either a Logitech Wireless adapter or Sony NWZ E-354 mp3 player) to a Digizoid ZO2 (via 3.5 mm male to male jack) then to the Dayton Amp (again via male to male 3.5 mm jack). I kid you not, you will NOT need a separate sub. I'm afraid of turning it up too loud because of my neighbors. I am amazed by how much bass these speakers can put out and not sacrifice the rest of the sound spectrum. I think you'd be familiar with the ZO2 coming from headfi..retails for about $120. The plus is it's tiny so you can use it for your portable listening with your headphones. You would be at around $420 with the ZO2 so I'm not sure if it's within your budget at this point.

I cannot say enough how impressed I am by the bottom end of these Boston's AND the clarity. For the sound these speakers put out, they're incredibly small. Even at low volumes the bass is nice and tight, not overly present, and music sounds phenomenal! BTW I listen to mostly reggae, DnB, UK Garage, hip hop, r&b, bossa nostra, and whatever else Pandora throws my way (I just wish Pandora had an EQ for additional tweaking).

Just thought I'd share smile.gif
post #13 of 14
I like the Audioengine 2 better than the 5 and they are only $200. I use them with a small subwoofer under the computer table to augment the bass. Since I don't play them super-loud it doesn't need to be a real powerful one.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Syncho View Post

Hi, it's my first time here at AVS forums, and I apologize for if I am posting at the wrong section of the forums, but seeming that this community specializes in speakers, whereas Head-fi is more into headphones, I figure that this forum would be the best place to start.
I am looking for a good 2.0 or whatever speaker setup for my computer. Back at Head-fi, I have narrowed it down to the BX5 D2 and Audioengine 5+, but here, what would you guys recommend?
I wish to use it for primarily rock, D&B, instrumental (post-rock, epic game and movie soundtracks, orchestral, etc.), and jazz, though for any other music to not sound terrible or muddy. Bass is not an issue, but it should be at least present and true to the music, and should to cover at least 120 degrees of the room facing straight with loud enough volume to reach up to 3.5m of the room.
Bonus: I am also debating whether to get the FiiO E10 to provide better quality to my headphones (and possibly speakers going from the line out), or a better sound card. If you can help me with these decisions, that would be very helpful for me. Also, is it possible to combine a 2.1 speaker setup (ex. AV40 + subwoofer) into one 3.5mm jack that I can insert into a line out in the FiiO E10?
post #14 of 14
For active speakers, you should take a look at Guitar Center. I picked up a pair of Mackie MR5's for $300 and they are freaking ridiculous for that price. Fantastic sounding speakers. Two individual amplifiers built in. A 50w amp for the mid/bass driver, and a 30w amp for the tweeter with built in crossovers and switches for room correction features (I forget exactly what they are for because I'm not looking at them right now).
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