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Best Speakers for $300

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Good evening everyone! I was wondering if there are suggestions for the best speakers (either passive or active) that can be bought for $300? I'm planning to use it as a nearfield monitor for my computer. My audio preferences lean towards folk, acoustic, alternative-type music, with a preference for male voices and guitar music. Hope I could hear from a variety of people! Thanks!
post #2 of 19
Some passive ones for you to look at

Cambridge S30 http://www.crutchfield.com/S-vYHwF8lvJh5/p_779S30N/Cambridge-Audio-S30-Noir.html

Arx A1b http://www.theaudioinsider.com/product_info.php?loudspeakers=arx&p=arx-a1b-monitor-loudspeaker&cPath=21_32&products_id=65&
post #3 of 19
Based on several good personal reviews here and at audioholics I'm looking to upgrade my desktop speakers to http://www.emptek.com/e41.php
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Based on several good personal reviews here and at audioholics I'm looking to upgrade my desktop speakers to http://www.emptek.com/e41.php
Carnival short 2 is better than these?
post #5 of 19

I own the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE and use them in a near field setup. Great sound for that, but a little bit more than your budget.

I recently got rid of the Cambridge Audio S30s. Excellent speakers for their price, but to me the CBM-170 SEs are better. Neutral, accurate speakers with excellent tight bass response.

I've seen people compare the Arx A1bs favorably with the CBM-170s. I'd look into them over the S30s.

However, you mention active or passives. Do you already have an amplifier/receiver to power passives? If not, the Emotiva Airmotiv 4's might be a good choice. These are powered speakers, so you would not need to buy an amp, too.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by caloyzki View Post

Carnival short 2 is better than these?

My Mordaunt Short Carnival 2 are wonderful little speakers, perfect IMO for desktop use, but the E41 should be better. Worth the price of upgrade? Honestly, the Carnivals have wowed me such that I have a doubt, but I plan to find out! wink.gif
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

My Mordaunt Short Carnival 2 are wonderful little speakers, perfect IMO for desktop use, but the E41 should be better. Worth the price of upgrade? Honestly, the Carnivals have wowed me such that I have a doubt, but I plan to find out! wink.gif
But acxording to specs mcs2 has a better specs?
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I own the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE and use them in a near field setup. Great sound for that, but a little bit more than your budget.

I recently got rid of the Cambridge Audio S30s. Excellent speakers for their price, but to me the CBM-170 SEs are better. Neutral, accurate speakers with excellent tight bass response.

I've seen people compare the Arx A1bs favorably with the CBM-170s. I'd look into them over the S30s.

However, you mention active or passives. Do you already have an amplifier/receiver to power passives? If not, the Emotiva Airmotiv 4's might be a good choice. These are powered speakers, so you would not need to buy an amp, too.

I think if the OP has no size restrictions then the A1bs would be the way to go (Arx fanboy here tongue.gif) But the S30 seems to be a nice compact bookshelf and might be easier in placement on a shelve or cabinet.

The Arx is a pretty large bookshelf at 14" high and 11" deep but it has great bass and full sound.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

I think if the OP has no size restrictions then the A1bs would be the way to go (Arx fanboy here tongue.gif) But the S30 seems to be a nice compact bookshelf and might be easier in placement on a shelve or cabinet.

The Arx is a pretty large bookshelf at 14" high and 11" deep but it has great bass and full sound.

Just curious. One of my listening test criteria is the way a speaker handles intentionally high distorted guitar in some modern alternative rock, such as in Kasabian's Underdog and Silversun Pickups Panic Switch. The 170s do a very good job of reproducing it with a hard, well-defined edge. I'm guessing the A1bs do well with that kind of music, too?
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Just curious. One of my listening test criteria is the way a speaker handles intentionally high distorted guitar in some modern alternative rock, such as in Kasabian's Underdog and Silversun Pickups Panic Switch. The 170s do a very good job of reproducing it with a hard, well-defined edge. I'm guessing the A1bs do well with that kind of music, too?

I'm not sure cause i'm not familar with either of those artists. I'll find some of there music today and give it a demo. From my experience the Arx excels at music like Dire Straits Brothers in Arms, Fleetwood Mac DVD-A ect... Although AC/DC dual disc sounds pretty nice, you just don't notice the separation and "space" between the strings like you do with the slower Dire Straits strings.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

I'm not sure cause i'm not familar with either of those artists. I'll find some of there music today and give it a demo. From my experience the Arx excels at music like Dire Straits Brothers in Arms, Fleetwood Mac DVD-A ect... Although AC/DC dual disc sounds pretty nice, you just don't notice the separation and "space" between the strings like you do with the slower Dire Straits strings.

I like the Brother's In Arms SACD, sounds great through my Ascend's. But when playing the 2-channel Remastered CD layer, I couldn't listen to a song for more than 45 seconds. The mix was too thin and brittle and the cymbals seemed to have too much resonance. Like cel I am a fan of Silversun Pickups, they have a kind of throwback sound with a lot of fuzzbox and distortion on the guitars. Some people comapre them to the Smashing Pumpkinsm, but personally I like them better. The lead singer has a unique sounding voice. What size drivers do the A1b's use, a 5 1/4" or a 6 1/2"? I noticed the A2b is no longer made is there a reason for that?
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkpoet25 View Post

I like the Brother's In Arms SACD, sounds great through my Ascend's. But when playing the 2-channel Remastered CD layer, I couldn't listen to a song for more than 45 seconds. The mix was too thin and brittle and the cymbals seemed to have too much resonance. Like cel I am a fan of Silversun Pickups, they have a kind of throwback sound with a lot of fuzzbox and distortion on the guitars. Some people comapre them to the Smashing Pumpkinsm, but personally I like them better. The lead singer has a unique sounding voice.

When I first heard Silversun Pickups, the singer reminded me some of Garbage on some tracks of their first album. Try My Lover's Box. I can hear the Smashing Pumpkins influence in SP, too.

And yeah. The CBM-170s can be revealing. Bad recordings stand out a little more. Muse pisses me off sometimes because they have so much dynamic compression going on with their recordings. But I listen to enough old classic rock that I've trained myself not to notice the recording quality for the most part. For instance, Hendrix's Sunshine of Your Love on Valleys of Neptune is not the best recording by today's standards, but what a great rendition!
post #13 of 19
If you are using them near field...Behringer Truth B3031A. Pretty hard to beat for a powered NFM for the $$. Very neutral, exceptional dynamics and bottom end. reasonably tunable. Lot of guys will dismiss them because of the name...that is a mistake.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies! :-) Anyone able to give detailed comparisons of the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE, Arx A1b, Emptek E41, Emotiva Airmotiv 4 and the Behringer B3031A? Read about the thread comparing the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE and Arx A1b, but would like to hear a variety of opinions so that I can make an informed choice. Thanks!
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovinghart View Post

Thanks for all the replies! :-) Anyone able to give detailed comparisons of the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE, Arx A1b, Emptek E41, Emotiva Airmotiv 4 and the Behringer B3031A? Read about the thread comparing the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE and Arx A1b, but would like to hear a variety of opinions so that I can make an informed choice. Thanks!

Do you already have a receiver/amp? If so, then the passive speakers make more sense to me because you are paying for amplification when you buy powered speakers. That's part of the price. In other words, I wouldn't expect the best $300 powered speaker to compete with the best $300 passive speaker because that $300 is also for amplification. And in reverse, if you don't own a receiver/amp, then that's probably another $200 on top of the passive speaker price you'd have to spend. Do you want to spend that?
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Do you think a LP-2020A+ Lepai amp would suffice to power the passive speakers if ever? Or would the active speakers when compared to passive+Lepai?
post #17 of 19
The Lepai can do a very nice job for moderately loud listening levels while sitting at a computer. Certainly, the powered speakers you are considering have more amplification, and would be better able to fill a room with sound at louder volumes.
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Would it be possible for anyone to provide comparisons between the sound of the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE, Arx A1b, Emptek E41, Emotiva Airmotiv 4 andBehringer B3031A? Would like to hear people's impressions. Thanks!
post #19 of 19
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