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$1000 Speakers for dorm room setup only classical music

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
Hey guys
Completely new to this forum and only have previous knowledge with headphones. So for the last two years I've mainly used the sennheiser hd 600 with the magni/modi amp/dac with my laptop to listen to classical music. I particularly enjoy romantic era symphonies including Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius, Schuman, etc. I also really enjoy the great piano and violin concertos. So I've never bought a nice speaker before so could you help me out. I would want this speaker to work with my laptop since it's my only source of music. I'm going to be moving into a college dorm in a few months that's reasonably small but a single. So I don't know anything about passive speakers, external amp/dacs, powered monitors, etc for speakers. I only know a bit about headphones from headfii. The sennheiser hd 600 has served me very well but I'm looking for something different and hopefully better. I know the budget and circumstance isn't the best.



This is the only picture of the room I could find online just to give you an idea of the size. And FYI I would never decorate my room like this smile.gif

Dimensions of room is 16' x 8 so not very big frown.gif

So what do you guys think?
Edited by slayerming2 - 7/7/13 at 6:19pm
post #2 of 43
So a black speaker perhaps to match with the zebra skin wink.gif

You could go with powered monitors, or you could get a receiver (or amp) and passive speakers.

I would suggest getting the latter as it could also be the start of a home theater setup for when you eventually move out of the dorms into an apartment or house.

Kef Q300s will run about $600 or so new. They are front ported, which is a plus for a desktop setup with big speakers like this. If you use rear ported speakers, the speakers would need to be out from the wall to allow the ports to breathe.

Focal Chorus 700 series has some nice bookshelves, too. Also front ported.
post #3 of 43
Thread Starter 
Hey thanks for the response the q300 certainly look interesting. So would I be able to simply plug them into my laptop and they will be able to work or will I need other things in addition? Sorry if this is a stupid question since I have very little knowledge on speakers......
post #4 of 43
You'll need a separate receiver or integrated amplifier to power the speakers, select from the inputs, and control the volume. Or you could use a power amplifier and control volume from your PC, but that will make it more difficult (if even possible) to connect other sources such as a CD player, MP3 player, or turntable. You can probably find plenty of stereo / home theater receivers on your local Craigslist (or similar) site. If you want new, a few options are Onkyo TX-8255 or A-5VL, Yamaha A-S300, Pioneer Elite A-20.
post #5 of 43
Agreed. Those are passive speakers that need power. Only you can't use a headphone amp to run them smile.gif

Do you have HDMI or optical out on your laptop? If not, then you would disconnect the Magni and run the Modi to an amplifier or receiver. If you have HDMI out, you can connect directly to an AVR and use its DAC. If you have optical out, you could use an AVR and some stereo receivers have DACs with optical inputs, such as the Onkyo TX-8050 or HK 3490.

If you want to use the Modi, you could get something a little smaller than a full sized receiver or amplifier, like the Emotiva mini-X a-100.
post #6 of 43
You can check American music supply for some active powered studio monitors ,they offer 4,5 and 8 ez payments without credit or you can just paid then cash ,This speakers will cost you less than what your local guitar center offer, so you will save some money.


http://www.americanmusical.com/Active-Powered-Studio-Monitors

For the type of music that you listen I recommend the ones with ribbon tweeters.

Also zzounds offer the same as American music supply here is the link

http://www.zzounds.com/cat--Active-Powered-Studio-Monitors--2864


Good luck.
Edited by losservatore - 7/7/13 at 11:27pm
post #7 of 43
From those sources: I can more specifically recommend http://www.zzounds.com/item--BEHB2030A

To attach to your laptop: you'll likely need a 1/8" - XLR converter. Most likely, you'll need two pieces: 1/8"-RCA and (pair of) RCA-XLR.

If you ever want to add a sub, however, I'd recommend going the "passive + avr" route instead. (if space is a concern, but you wanted to leave the option open later: you could use something like http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-383)
post #8 of 43
Considering your budget: if you'd like to go more up-scale in appearance and sound; I'd recommend http://philharmonicaudio.com/philharmonicaudio/philpages/monitors.html

As a bonus: a portion of the profits go to the Washington Philharmonic Orchestra.
post #9 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

Considering your budget: if you'd like to go more up-scale in appearance and sound; I'd recommend http://philharmonicaudio.com/philharmonicaudio/philpages/monitors.html

As a bonus: a portion of the profits go to the Washington Philharmonic Orchestra.

Hey that looks great and I love supporting orchestras. The problem is can I Just plug them straight into my laptop or do I need other amps and wires? Honestly I'm fine with purchasing wires, but I don't really want to spend more money on an amp unless it's kind of cheap.
post #10 of 43
Since you are in a small space, you could easily use a tripath amp (t-amp) to power passive speakers. These amps are small, efficient, and affordable.

I would recommend the Topping TP23, it has 25 watts per channel, which is plenty of power for near field use, and also has a USB DAC. This means you just plug a USB cable from your laptop to the TP23, and then speaker wires from the TP23 to your speakers.

For speakers, I would suggest you look at the Ascend Sierra-1, Focal 706V, and Swan D2.1se (http://www.theaudioinsider.com/product_info.php?p=swan-d2-1se%2B-stand-monitor&products_id=69&osCsid=99492e3d1794afca8cb47dd1b4de45ea).
post #11 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

Since you are in a small space, you could easily use a tripath amp (t-amp) to power passive speakers. These amps are small, efficient, and affordable.

I would recommend the Topping TP23, it has 25 watts per channel, which is plenty of power for near field use, and also has a USB DAC. This means you just plug a USB cable from your laptop to the TP23, and then speaker wires from the TP23 to your speakers.

For speakers, I would suggest you look at the Ascend Sierra-1, Focal 706V, and Swan D2.1se (http://www.theaudioinsider.com/product_info.php?p=swan-d2-1se%2B-stand-monitor&products_id=69&osCsid=99492e3d1794afca8cb47dd1b4de45ea).

So you think the $119 dollar amp will be able to power the $549 speakers? Is that all I have to buy or am I going to have to buy anything else?
post #12 of 43
I would highly recommend Behringer TRUTH B3031A Monitors. They sound really excellent. The ribbon tweeters have a very smooth and extended top-end, with a broad horizontal off-axis response. They also have switches to optimize the sound to different speaker placements. I would write more, but I have to go now. BTW... I played Oboe for 9 years and was on a musical scholarship in college, so I know what orchestral music should sound like smile.gif

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/behringer-truth-b3031a-monitor-single

Cheers, Joe
post #13 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muzikal-JRNE View Post

I would highly recommend Behringer TRUTH B3031A Monitors. They sound really excellent. The ribbon tweeters have a very smooth and extended top-end, with a broad horizontal off-axis response. They also have switches to optimize the sound to different speaker placements. I would write more, but I have to go now. BTW... I played Oboe for 9 years and was on a musical scholarship in college, so I know what orchestral music should sound like smile.gif

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/behringer-truth-b3031a-monitor-single

Cheers, Joe

Hey thanks Joe. So to buy a pair it would be $500 dollars total right? Also would I need an amp or anything like that to plug into my laptop or can I just plug them straight into my laptop?
post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by slayerming2 View Post

So you think the $119 dollar amp will be able to power the $549 speakers? Is that all I have to buy or am I going to have to buy anything else?

Depends on how loud you want it. I use an Indeed TA2021 (same t-amp chip as the Topping without a built in DAC), and it gets much louder than I can stand for sitting at my desk. It will also fill a small room nicely at moderately loud volumes. For more volume, I would go with the Focals since they are rated at 90db sensitivity. Sensitivity is a rating of how loud speakers will get given a specific amount of power--the higher, the better.
Quote:
Originally Posted by slayerming2 View Post

Hey thanks Joe. So to buy a pair it would be $500 dollars total right? Also would I need an amp or anything like that to plug into my laptop or can I just plug them straight into my laptop?

Yes. Those Behringers are powered monitors. Read the descriptions for the speakers, and they'll tell you if they have built in amplifiers and what kind of power they have.
post #15 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by slayerming2 View Post

So you think the $119 dollar amp will be able to power the $549 speakers? Is that all I have to buy or am I going to have to buy anything else?

Definitely. Because you will be close to the speakers, you don't need a lot of power to make them loud. With 8 watts of power those Swans would be hitting 94dB at 1 meter away. This is like being across the street from a jackhammer... Your ears will give up before the amp or speakers do wink.gif

You would need, the amp, speakers, a USB cable, and speaker wire.

If you go with powered monitors (another good option and what I currently use), you just need the speakers and a wire to connect them. I use a mixer with mine to give me a DAC, balanced connection, and volume control. Guitar center is a good place to hear a lot of different studio monitors.
post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

Definitely. Because you will be close to the speakers, you don't need a lot of power to make them loud. With 8 watts of power those Swans would be hitting 94dB at 1 meter away. This is like being across the street from a jackhammer... Your ears will give up before the amp or speakers do wink.gif

Great analogy. LOL

I tested my Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SEs with my Indeed t-amp. Got it up to 100db running pink noise for a couple of seconds from 2.5 to 3" feet away, with a little bit of headroom left on the amp. And it was way too loud for me smile.gif
post #17 of 43
The $90 amp i linked to will power those fine. The difference between 25wpc and 100wpc is 6db. You are close, that should be fine.

You will need speaker wire and a 1/8" - rca adapter cable.
post #18 of 43
Thread Starter 
Okay so the Ascend Sierra-1 looks pretty good at a price of $848. So I just need to buy the $848 dollar pair and the 119 dollar topping T23 amp. Where would I buy the wires for the laptop to amp and wires from amp to speakers? Is that all I have to buy?

Speaker
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/SRM1/srm1.html
Amp
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=310-334
post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Great analogy. LOL

I tested my Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SEs with my Indeed t-amp. Got it up to 100db running pink noise for a couple of seconds from 2.5 to 3" feet away, with a little bit of headroom left on the amp. And it was way too loud for me smile.gif

I really want to grab one of those and try it out!
post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by slayerming2 View Post

Okay so the Ascend Sierra-1 looks pretty good at a price of $848. So I just need to buy the $848 dollar pair and the 119 dollar topping T23 amp. Where would I buy the wires for the laptop to amp and wires from amp to speakers? Is that all I have to buy?

Speaker
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/SRM1/srm1.html
Amp
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=310-334

www.monoprice.com

Just buy a standard USB cable, and 50' of 16awg speaker wire. You could buy a smaller amount at radioshack or lowes, but you might end up paying the same price as monoprice.
post #21 of 43
Thread Starter 
Okay thanks guys for all the advice. So what can i expect the Ascend Sierra-1 to give me that would be different from the Sennheiser hd 600? Once again my knowledge of speakers is very minimal.
post #22 of 43
Oh cel !!! lol you don't miss a chance to promote your speakers on every single thread .ascend should be proud of you lol.


Well my recommendations is there good luck !!!


I think powered studio monitors will suit better in your case, the setup will look cleaner.
post #23 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by losservatore View Post

Oh cel !!! lol you don't miss a chance to promote your speakers on every single thread .ascend should be proud of you lol.


Well my recommendations is there good luck !!!


I think powered studio monitors will suit better in your case, the setup will look cleaner.
Any examples for classical music?
post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

I really want to grab one of those and try it out!

I previously had a Lepai TA2020, but gave it to someone who was in need of any kind of amp. But I kept wondering what the better build quality Indeed and Toppings with the slightly more powerful TA2021 chip would sound like. It was a present surprise smile.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by losservatore View Post

Oh cel !!! lol you don't miss a chance to promote your speakers on every single thread .ascend should be proud of you lol.

LOL

I wasn't promoting them. Discussions of sensitivity, volume, and t-amps are pretty meaningless without knowing which speakers. The TA2021 t-amp ratings for the Indeed indicate 0.1% distortion at 7 watts and 10% at 14 watts into 8 ohms. So with speakers with an 89 or 90 db sensitivity for 1w/1m should be able to get 100db out of the TA2021 t-amps.
post #25 of 43
slayerming2 if you are going for the ascend ,because you listen to classical music, I recommend the ascend sierra with ribbon tweeters or the philharmonic.


Or get the powered monitors studio with ribbon tweeters.


Ascend with ribbon tweeters cost 1,184 including shipping
Philharmonic with ribbon tweeters cost $850 including shipping
Powered monitors with ribbon tweeters, this ones can cost less or more.


Also this brand golden ear technologic http://www.goldenear.com/index.php/products/aon-series.

For classical music, people tend to choose ribbon tweeters.


Good luck.
Edited by losservatore - 7/8/13 at 12:18pm
post #26 of 43
The Emotiva Airmotiv 6 are on sale right now and have a ribbon tweeter. Another option is the Behringer TRUTH 3030A.
post #27 of 43
While I agree that ribbons and classical music are a great combination, this doesn't mean that every time I listen to classical I rush down to my theater and Philharmonic Audio speakers. All three of my setups do just fine, there is currently classical being played through both Ascend and Emp as we speak.

The Philharmonic monitors are an excellent choice. Another consideration, based on user feedback and professional reviews, is Kef LS50. With a small amp you will go just over budget, but they are definitely worth considering. You won't be getting the low frequencies of organ music but for everything else they're a good fit and apparently fantastic speakers.
post #28 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

While I agree that ribbons and classical music are a great combination, this doesn't mean that every time I listen to classical I rush down to my theater and Philharmonic Audio speakers. All three of my setups do just fine, there is currently classical being played through both Ascend and Emp as we speak.

The Philharmonic monitors are an excellent choice. Another consideration, based on user feedback and professional reviews, is Kef LS50. With a small amp you will go just over budget, but they are definitely worth considering. You won't be getting the low frequencies of organ music but for everything else they're a good fit and apparently fantastic speakers.

Hey thanks will definitely consider it!
post #29 of 43
Thread Starter 
What do you guys think about this? I heard great reviews from tyll from innerfidelity http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/serene-audio-talisman-computer-speaker
post #30 of 43
Are you looking for computer speakers?


It looks like you want to have very clean look on your computer desk.


I don't see any measurements of this speakers and I don't think this speakers go down to 70hz.
Edited by losservatore - 7/8/13 at 5:27pm
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