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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Hello,

Would just like to start off by saying that I have absolutely zero knowledge on audio, speakers, etc. Complete noobie, so bear with me.

I'm looking for a basic speaker setup just to play my HQ music collection in a small room (12 ft x 10 ft). I don't have an audiophile ear by any means, so I'm not looking for anything epic, but of course general quality is important (I care more about sound quality than bass or loudness). 

I could spend up to a $700 if I needed to but I doubt that'd be necessary for what I want. The cheaper the better, of course, and I'm willing to sacrifice small increments of quality it means a large drop in price.

 

Would 5 speaker surround sound work?

Would it be better to have a receiver/amp setup instead of bookshelf speakers that just hook up to the PC (so I don't have to deal with a sound-card/mother-board)?

Right now I just have small $50 Cyber Acoustic speakers hooked up to my PC.


 

 

Let me know if I need to include anymore details.

I would appreciate the help 
  Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyrob425  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24505571


What are you planned use for these speakers? Are these just for when you are on your computer surfing the web? Or is this two fill your room with sound during a party.


For simple computer speakers with great audio I would look at the Audioengine A5+'s
 

Yes, exactly, just for when I'm sitting in my room.

 

 

Somebody else also suggested the same ones. I was wondering if I would need to upgrade my PC's sound-card and/or mother-board to utilize speakers like these?

 

And the pros/cons of using computer speakers like those vs. external speakers with a receiver/amp/etc.

 

 

Thanks for the reply :)
 

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Just to throw out another option:

Denon AVR-1513
NHT Absolute Zero
Dayton SUB-1200


This receiver has a DAC, bass management, and can offer future expansion to 5.1. Upgrading components is easier because you don't need to replace everything. Those Absolute Zero speakers are very accurate , and would be an excellent choice for nearfield use at a desk. Being sealed, you can put them close to a wall without worrying about port interference. The Dayton is a good budget sub, putting it close to you in a bedroom will fill out the low end. Just an alternative to going with active speakers (and yes you will need a DAC).
 
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Just so you know, the A5+ is a little...enthusiastic on the lower end, not a particularly neutral speaker though it will be a good step up from what you have.


I'd look at Emotiva speakers specifically the Airmotiva 5's given your price range. This allows room to add soundcard or (more likely a better choice) an external DAC/preamp if it's needed.


One of the benefits of going with an AVR or preamp/amp and passive speakers is that you'll be able to do bass management, and in some cases have access to some form of room correction which may be beneficial. On the other hand, it takes up more room in what could be valuable desk space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24506400


Just to throw out another option:

Denon AVR-1513
NHT Absolute Zero
Dayton SUB-1200


This receiver has a DAC, bass management, and can offer future expansion to 5.1. Upgrading components is easier because you don't need to replace everything. Those Absolute Zero speakers are very accurate , and would be an excellent choice for nearfield use at a desk. Being sealed, you can put them close to a wall without worrying about port interference. The Dayton is a good budget sub, putting it close to you in a bedroom will fill out the low end. Just an alternative to going with active speakers (and yes you will need a DAC).
 

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ien2  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24506404


Just so you know, the A5+ is a little...enthusiastic on the lower end, not a particularly neutral speaker though it will be a good step up from what you have.


I'd look at Emotiva speakers specifically the Airmotiva 5's given your price range. This allows room to add soundcard or (more likely a better choice) an external DAC/preamp if it's needed.


One of the benefits of going with an AVR or preamp/amp and passive speakers is that you'll be able to do bass management, and in some cases have access to some form of room correction which may be beneficial. On the other hand, it takes up more room in what could be valuable desk space.
 

Thanks for the responses, guys.

 

Yeah, I'm leaning towards passive + external devices like the setup Transmaniacon suggested. I have a small room here but space isn't an issue.

 

Also, if it matters, my desk is about 7 inches away from the back wall and 14 inches from the left wall, but it can be moved a few inches to either side (no right wall and no front of course).

 

---

 

I googled reviews but I just ended up with dozens of products that garnered good ratings, so I'm looking for specific suggestions like you guys have given me. 

 

I understand there are going to be many differing opinions but because I have no knowledge on this subject, I'm having trouble deciding which product to choose.

 

Transmaniacon's setup seems nice when it comes to price/quality from what I've read, but I'd like to see more opinions :)
 

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Hey,


Heh, I must have posted just a couple of seconds after Trans, didn't realize he posted but that's a pretty good setup he suggested.


If I were to add options, I'd include the Cambridge Audio S30's , HTD Level 2 or 3 bookshelves , EMP Tek E5Bi's , Ascend Acoustic CBM170SE , and HSU HB-1 MK2's .


As for what you should go with, I think you'll find yourself pretty happy with any of the choices (look at the dimensions though to see if it's too big for you).


Another consideration would be to get a different sub. If you are planning on placing it under the desk or in a boxed in area, you may want to consider getting the Mordaunt Short Aviano 7 and going with one of the less expensive speakers listed or the NHT SuperZero 2.1's , this is because the Mordaunt comes with a variable notch filter. Basically it reduces a particular narrow frequency range (in the form on a valley). I'm suggesting this because if you do place the sub in a confined space there will be a frequency that will be amplified, having the filter will allow you to tune that down so you're sub will be less a one note wonder and instead be more smooth.


If the sub is going to be place more in the open then it will be less of a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Yeah, I the sub will be semi-enclosed: 

- wall a couple inches away on one side

- desk a couple inches away on the other side

- wall 2 feet behind it

- open in front

 

Does that change things?

 

-----

 

I keep reading good things about the Cambridge Audio S30, NHT SuperZero and NHT Absolute Zero. The first two are like half the price of the Absolute Zero (about $200 vs $400 for two speakers), how much of a jump is there in quality? Sorry, I know it's not exactly the easiest question to answer.

 

I've read that the Cambridge is the best out there value wise in the price range. Cost is important to me, but I want to make sure the sound quality is significantly better than the run-of-the-mill $50 Logitechs or Cyber Acoustics I have now :p The last thing I want is to turn them on and think "I don't hear anything different" :p

 

----

 

While reading up on the Denon AVR-1513, people keep saying to buy a higher model (1613) because this one doesn't have "Audyssey MultEQ". I obviously don't know what the heck that is, but maybe someone could determine whether that is important for my needs or not :p
 

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I have the denon 1613 and audyssey allows your receiver to level match speakers and help smooth some room affects. For me, it really brought the level of my surrounds up! Not all that useful for near field stereo listening, however!
 
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You should be able to manually level adjust a Denon-1513 receiver either just using your ears or using an SPL meter (there are free apps for phones that work good). A refurbished 1513 is on sale right now for $99 at accessories 4 less.


Me personally I wouldn't want to fuss with a full size receiver in a small computer room. I'm pretty minimalist in my decor choices though.


Another thing to consider with these speakers is I'd strongly recommend getting a front ported or sealed design instead of a rear ported speaker. Which would work much better being placed on a desk or against a wall in a more office like environment. If you can place your speakers 4-5" away from a wall rear ported would be fine.


I would look at an AudioEngine N22 desktop amp, or even the NAD D 3020 desktop amp (which has a built in DAC). Then paired with either AudioEngine P4, the NHT or PSB speakers mentioned. I personally have the Audioengine A2 speakers and am very happy with them. You would likely be perfectly pleased with them (A2+ now) or the A5+ speakers and any of them would pair fine with a sub. For that small of a room the Dayton SUB-800 would probably be perfectly sufficient.


There are also many very nice desktop DACs now to get high quality audio out of your PC without a new sound card...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanucks25  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24509392


I've read that the Cambridge is the best out there value wise in the price range. Cost is important to me, but I want to make sure the sound quality is significantly better than the run-of-the-mill $50 Logitechs or Cyber Acoustics I have now :p The last thing I want is to turn them on and think "I don't hear anything different" :p
Anything mentioned in this thread would blow away run-of-the-mil $50 Logitechs.
 

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Basically what Elihawk said. On the 1613, Audyssey will set speaker distance, level match, eq the speakers, along with set the crossover with what it thinks it should be. Overall, since you are really in the near field, I'm guessing the face of the speakers will be 3 feet or less from you, those aspects of Audyssey become less important.


I suppose one aspect you get that could be beneficial is Dynamic EQ. As you change the volume in what you are playing, if it's linear throughout the entire frequency range you'll find that the highs and lows seem to change more than the mids. It's one of those quirks in biology in how we hear. What dynamic eq does is change the eq curve to compensate for that perceived change, boosting the low and high ends as you lower the volume, and reducing as you increase.


Some people like it, some don't. But given your tight budget I'd stick with the 1513.


All the speakers mentioned will be a nice big step up in quality. As far as the Absolute's worth the extra $200, unfortunately that's more of a personal decision, it's not twice the sound quality but that doesn't mean it's not worth it.


It sounds like the sub location is also open above, so I'd say it'll be less of a problem. The Mordaunt is a good sub for it's price range though and might be something to consider anyways, but in the interest of keeping the budget down the Dayton isn't a bad choice. Either way, you're looking at a good increase in quality over what you are using.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Smith  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24509588


Me personally I wouldn't want to fuss with a full size receiver in a small computer room. I'm pretty minimalist in my decor choices though.


Another thing to consider with these speakers is I'd strongly recommend getting a front ported or sealed design instead of a rear ported speaker. Which would work much better being placed on a desk or against a wall in a more office like environment. If you can place your speakers 4-5" away from a wall rear ported would be fine.


I would look at an AudioEngine N22 desktop amp, or even the NAD D 3020 desktop amp (which has a built in DAC). Then paired with either AudioEngine P4, the NHT or PSB speakers mentioned. I personally have the Audioengine A2 speakers and am very happy with them. You would likely be perfectly pleased with them (A2+ now) or the A5+ speakers and any of them would pair fine with a sub. For that small of a room the Dayton SUB-800 would probably be perfectly sufficient.

...

His desk is 7 inches from the wall, so rear ported speakers shouldn't be an issue.


One thing nice about the 1513 is that you have bass management which you don't with the AudioEngine and NAD, most DAC's don't have that option either. But space doesn't seem to be and issue with him so the 1513 at $99 seems just way too good to pass up in his case
.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24509517


I have the denon 1613 and audyssey allows your receiver to level match speakers and help smooth some room affects. For me, it really brought the level of my surrounds up! Not all that useful for near field stereo listening, however!
 

Thanks for the info :)

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Smith  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24509588


You should be able to manually level adjust a Denon-1513 receiver either just using your ears or using an SPL meter (there are free apps for phones that work good). A refurbished 1513 is on sale right now for $99 at accessories 4 less.


Me personally I wouldn't want to fuss with a full size receiver in a small computer room. I'm pretty minimalist in my decor choices though.


Another thing to consider with these speakers is I'd strongly recommend getting a front ported or sealed design instead of a rear ported speaker. Which would work much better being placed on a desk or against a wall in a more office like environment. If you can place your speakers 4-5" away from a wall rear ported would be fine.


I would look at an AudioEngine N22 desktop amp, or even the NAD D 3020 desktop amp (which has a built in DAC). Then paired with either AudioEngine P4, the NHT or PSB speakers mentioned. I personally have the Audioengine A2 speakers and am very happy with them. You would likely be perfectly pleased with them (A2+ now) or the A5+ speakers and any of them would pair fine with a sub. For that small of a room the Dayton SUB-800 would probably be perfectly sufficient.


There are also many very nice desktop DACs now to get high quality audio out of your PC without a new sound card...
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ien2  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24509681



His desk is 7 inches from the wall, so rear ported speakers shouldn't be an issue.


One thing nice about the 1513 is that you have bass management which you don't with the AudioEngine and NAD, most DAC's don't have that option either. But space doesn't seem to be and issue with him so the 1513 at $99 seems just way too good to pass up in his case 
.
 
 

Yeah, that prices seems too good to pass up right now. Like you said, the speakers will be at least 7-8 inches from the back wall and space isn't an issue.

 

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Smith  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24509603



Anything mentioned in this thread would blow away run-of-the-mil $50 Logitechs.
 

Okay good, hehe :p

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ien2  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24509627


Basically what Elihawk said. On the 1613, Audyssey will set speaker distance, level match, eq the speakers, along with set the crossover with what it thinks it should be. Overall, since you are really in the near field, I'm guessing the face of the speakers will be 3 feet or less from you, those aspects of Audyssey become less important.


I suppose one aspect you get that could be beneficial is Dynamic EQ. As you change the volume in what you are playing, if it's linear throughout the entire frequency range you'll find that the highs and lows seem to change more than the mids. It's one of those quirks in biology in how we hear. What dynamic eq does is change the eq curve to compensate for that perceived change, boosting the low and high ends as you lower the volume, and reducing as you increase.


Some people like it, some don't. But given your tight budget I'd stick with the 1513.


All the speakers mentioned will be a nice big step up in quality. As far as the Absolute's worth the extra $200, unfortunately that's more of a personal decision, it's not twice the sound quality but that doesn't mean it's not worth it.


It sounds like the sub location is also open above, so I'd say it'll be less of a problem. The Mordaunt is a good sub for it's price range though and might be something to consider anyways, but in the interest of keeping the budget down the Dayton isn't a bad choice. Either way, you're looking at a good increase in quality over what you are using.
 

Yes, I forgot to mention, there is nothing above the sub.

 

Okay, you guys have convinced me to stick with the 1513 AVR and Dayton Sub.

 

-------

 

Now I just need to decide between the S30 and AZ speakers :p

 

Like I said earlier, I don't necessarily have a highly tuned ear, so the cheaper route will probably work fine. On the other hand, if I don't like it, it's just a big hassle to return and get the other ones 'cause I'm in Canada.
 

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There's nothing wrong with the S30's if you want to keep the budget down, it's a good speaker for the price and has been recommend a lot here on the forms for various duties including desktop. I haven't heard the AZ's so I couldn't advise what you should get, but I've always really liked the various NHT's that I have listened too and it seems that a lot of people who have purchased the AZ's for music really do like them.


This may or may not matter with the decision, but the S30's are discontinued without any real compatible replacement. If in the future you decision you want 3.1 or 5.1 you'll have an easier time adding to the NHT's than the CA's.


Compared to your Cyber Acoustic speakers, either way you win



Oh, I forgot to ask, what are you using on the computer for sound? And does it have a digital out connection be it optical or coax?
 

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For nearfield use, I recommend tje Ascend CBM-170 SEs over the S30s. The Ascends have a nice neutral response that works well for nearfield.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanucks25  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24509720


Okay, you guys have convinced me to stick with the 1513 AVR and Dayton Sub.


Now I just need to decide between the S30 and AZ speakers :p


Like I said earlier, I don't necessarily have a highly tuned ear, so the cheaper route will probably work fine. On the other hand, if I don't like it, it's just a big hassle to return and get the other ones 'cause I'm in Canada.

Since you are in Canada, look at the Boston A25 from Crutchfield Canada - sold each
http://www.crutchfield.ca/SearchResults.asp?sp=lnav&search=boston+a25
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ien2  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24509899


There's nothing wrong with the S30's if you want to keep the budget down, it's a good speaker for the price and has been recommend a lot here on the forms for various duties including desktop. I haven't heard the AZ's so I couldn't advise what you should get, but I've always really liked the various NHT's that I have listened too and it seems that a lot of people who have purchased the AZ's for music really do like them.


This may or may not matter with the decision, but the S30's are discontinued without any real compatible replacement. If in the future you decision you want 3.1 or 5.1 you'll have an easier time adding to the NHT's than the CA's.


Compared to your Cyber Acoustic speakers, either way you win



Oh, I forgot to ask, what are you using on the computer for sound? And does it have a digital out connection be it optical or coax?
 

I was going to ask about that. I actually wanted to go with 5-speaker surround sound right from the start, but I wasn't sure if it'd work for my setup. Opinions?

 

--

 

I'm not sure by what you mean by both parts of your question :( Sorry.

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24509967


For nearfield use, I recommend tje Ascend CBM-170 SEs over the S30s. The Ascends have a nice neutral response that works well for nearfield.
 

Hmmm. What about the CBM compared to the NHT AZ? They are closer in price compared to the S30.

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24509997



Since you are in Canada, look at the Boston A25 from Crutchfield Canada - sold each
http://www.crutchfield.ca/SearchResults.asp?sp=lnav&search=boston+a25
 

It's not really a problem because I live right next to the border. Issues would only arise if I bought a crappy or defective product because returning would be a hassle and costly.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanucks25  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24509720


Now I just need to decide between the S30 and AZ speakers :p


Like I said earlier, I don't necessarily have a highly tuned ear, so the cheaper route will probably work fine. On the other hand, if I don't like it, it's just a big hassle to return and get the other ones 'cause I'm in Canada.
I don't know if you'd be interested or not in floorstanding speakers, there is a fantastic deal right now on the CA S70 which is the floor standing version of the s30.

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/brand/cambridge%20audio/results/1.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Smith  /t/1523375/music-speaker-advice-for-a-complete-noobie-please#post_24510088



I don't know if you'd be interested or not in floorstanding speakers, there is a fantastic deal right now on the CA S70 which is the floor standing version of the s30.

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/brand/cambridge%20audio/results/1.html
 

Wow, $70 cheaper each. These are the exact same but just standing?

 

I'm not sure if I have the space but I'll try to figure it out.
 
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