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B&W is releasing what looks to be high-end computer speakers called the MM-1's. http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/display.aspx?infid=4503 If you do not know who B&W are, they make quality home theater speakers. The interesting thing is that they also have essentially a build in DAC, the main part of a sound card. The speakers only connect through USB, no sound card required. The MM-1's are supposedly going to be launched in March with a retail of around $500-$650.


I am looking to upgrade my computer sound system. Currently I have a Creative Labs Sound Blaster 2 Audigy Gamer and a Creative Labs S750 speaker system. The S750's keep turning off with well know power supply issues and I do not use the 7.1 speakers so it is time to upgrade to a top of the line 2.0 or 2.1 system.


I've looked into the Creative Labs T3 and Razer Mako but I've found a lot of rave reviews about the Audioengine A5 and A2's. Stereophile magazine out of all magazines gave the A2's a stellar review. The A5's would be too large and awkward for my desk.


How would the Audigy 2 ZS Gamer I bought back in like 2004 compare in sound quality to like the Asus Xonar Essense STX? I've read that is pretty much the best sound card at the moment.


My options would be to purchase the Asus Xonar Essense STX for $200 and the Audioengine A2's for $200 or wait a month and try and get the B&W MM-1's for about $100 to $200 more. My only concern would be about the sound quality interface between using some sort of software, through USB to the onboard electronics in the MM-1's. On another note, I wonder if the B&W's will require more computer CPU power due to the software/USB type audio connection.


Thoughts?
 

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For that price, I would buy the B&W Zeppelin instead. This is what I use for my computer speakers and the sound quality is the best I've ever heard/owned for this kind of use. What's even better is that it's, of course, also an iPod dock. So my Zeppelin performs double-duty of being my usual PC speakers, but when I have friends over and we have a bbq on the roof, I bring up the Zeppelin and use it as the music system and it's fantastic. Coupled with an iPod, it's basically a digital jukebox that I have running playing just on shuffle, and it's great.


The obvious drawbacks of using it as a PC speaker is that you cannot separate the speakers. So if you like them further apart, etc., you're out of luck. The way I have it set up is that it sits on a stack of external drives and hard disks so that it's exactly above my laptop, so it's perfect for my set-up. But for others who prefer their PC speakers to be on either side of their monitor, for example, it wouldn't be able to do that.


Another disadvantage is unlike the MM-1 or even the Zeppelin Mini, it won't connect to the PC via USB, but the traditional way which is via the soundcard with the mini-jack. I've tried it on two different computers, and the quality of your soundcard and connection makes a huge difference. On one computer, there was a hissing noise due to a bad connection, but this would happen on any "normal" PC speakers. I do find that quality of connecting it to the iPod is superior to it connected to my PC, though this could just be in my case. However, I've demoed the Zeppelin Mini, and the original Zeppelin kills it in terms of sound quality. Not surprising as the original Zeppelin is a 3-way 5 driver speaker, while the Mini is a 1-way 2 driver set-up. The MM-1, for comparison's sake, is 2-way with 2 drivers in each speaker.


Soundwise, I haven't heard the MM-1 yet, but I doubt they would sound as good as the Zeppelin.
 

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The MM-1 will fall in between the Mini and full sized Zeppelin soundwise (given power output, speaker design, and feedback I've gotten from B&W reps). The stereo separation issue is a good point to make as I find myself way more picky about that for desktop use. For background use, I don't care all that much, but if I will be sitting in front of a static system for any length of time, I want better soundstaging. So, in that regard, the ability to play with distance between satellites is important to me. While the Zeppeling doesn't have USB audio streaming and decoding support form a computer, you can feed it an optical digital signal, which the Mini and MM-1 don't support.


Also, I too think that the Mini doesn't compare at all to the full Zeppelin. I tested it for a week in comparison to my Zeppelin and took it back. It's just not in the same league, but it's hard to expect too much from such a small footprint.


Jeff
 

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I've been following this in the main B&W Owners thread.

The UK Apple store has had the MM-1 listed for a few weeks with good reviews, but it has just showed up in the US Apple store. I haven't talked to my local dealer since Feb, so I plan on calling them this week to ask when they'll be selling the MM-1.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by FAUguy /forum/post/18349134


I've been following this in the main B&W Owners thread.

The UK Apple store has had the MM-1 listed for a few weeks with good reviews, but it has just showed up in the US Apple store. I haven't talked to my local dealer since Feb, so I plan on calling them this week to ask when they'll be selling the MM-1.

My B&W dealer told me that the Apple Store has a 6-week exclusive.


Jeff
 

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i'm no expert, but....


i'm gonna propose a couple of "Ifs" for you to ponder?

- IF you don't need a USB-powered speaker...


(can you live with plugging in a power cord and running rca cables from your computer?)

- IF you don't need onboard DACs...


(can you live with the sound card on your computer?)

- IF you can live with a larger footprint...


(is sound more important than form-factor/size?)



IF you answered the above 3 questions "yes", i would think that, AT THAT PRICEPOINT, you would be well-served to check out a set of powered studio monnitors from musicians friend/guitar center/etc.


more power, designed for nearfield use, more bang for the buck IMO.


you can get a pretty nice set of studio monitors in the 500-600 clams range.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by drumsky /forum/post/18349905


i'm no expert, but....


i'm gonna propose a couple of "Ifs" for you to ponder?

- IF you don't need a USB-powered speaker...


(can you live with plugging in a power cord and running rca cables from your computer?)

Just to clarify, these aren't USB powered AFAIK. They require the AC adapter to operate.
 

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I'm looking at a pair of these to connect to an iPod for an office system. I'd like to keep the iPod in a drawer instead of out on display (like with the Mini) for people to mess with or try to steal. And these have a very clean, classy look. I'm hoping they sound great.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by drumsky /forum/post/18349905


i'm no expert, but....


i'm gonna propose a couple of "Ifs" for you to ponder?

- IF you don't need a USB-powered speaker...


(can you live with plugging in a power cord and running rca cables from your computer?)

- IF you don't need onboard DACs...


(can you live with the sound card on your computer?)

- IF you can live with a larger footprint...


(is sound more important than form-factor/size?)



IF you answered the above 3 questions "yes", i would think that, AT THAT PRICEPOINT, you would be well-served to check out a set of powered studio monnitors from musicians friend/guitar center/etc.


more power, designed for nearfield use, more bang for the buck IMO.


you can get a pretty nice set of studio monitors in the 500-600 clams range.

Honestly, why would you even bother to come into this topic to post this? Its obvious the people in here are well aware of the product, its intended use, and the price.
 

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It's similar to someone going onto a car thread and saying:

- IF you don't need a vehicle with a motorized engine...

(can you live with providing all the power manually?)

- IF you don't need passenger seats in the vehicle...

(can you live with not having any passengers?)

- IF you can live with a smaller seat...

(is manuverability more important than form-factor/size?)


IF you answered the above 3 questions "yes", i would think that, IN THAT SCENARIO, you would be well-served to check out a bicycle from a bike store/pawn shop/etc.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgbyhkr /forum/post/18349808


My B&W dealer told me that the Apple Store has a 6-week exclusive.


Jeff

That's interesting. I haven't heard that....yet.

When I talked to them the first of Feb they said a shipment should be in March and it would be a normal stock item, not a "special order".
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by FAUguy /forum/post/18352103


That's interesting. I haven't heard that....yet.

When I talked to them the first of Feb they said a shipment should be in March and it would be a normal stock item, not a "special order".

My dealer here in Hong Kong said that same thing about the Apple Store exclusive.
 

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I just picked up a pair at my local Apple store. They didn't have them out on display but they were in the back. These speakers sound AWESOME to me. The stereo imaging is amazing. They play pretty loud, very clean, and actually pretty respectable bass given their size. And the design is gorgeous, they look very classy. If you're looking for a nice pair of computer speakers to listen to your Mac/PC/iPod at your desk or in a bedroom, they will do a great job.


I'm going to have them in my office with the iPod Touch streaming Pandora/Rhapsody so that I can put the iPod in the drawer and just have the nice clean look of the two speakers.
 

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I've never been much for active speakers.


For $310 you can get Gizmo 1.0M amp and 2 WAF-1 bookshelves . For me, the WAF-1 were too big on my desktop so I have KEF 2001, DefTech ProMonitor 800 are another option.


Then get a DAC/pre and hook it up by optical or coax to your existing soundcard.


I have a Beresford Caiman, big brother to the 7520 you can get for $280. The Matrix Mini-i is another DAC/pre option.


The nice thing about the Gizmo is it has a built in crossover (at 100Hz) and sub-out. I found a used Jamo Sub200 for $50 to round out my computer setup.


There are options out there...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gchanjam /forum/post/18350926


Honestly, why would you even bother to come into this topic to post this? Its obvious the people in here are well aware of the product, its intended use, and the price.

Maybe because this is not a B&W owners thread, the OP is looking for options (HINT: its in the title "And other options" duh!
) and he was posting the truth. Studio style monitors built for nearfield listening are as good as or better then High Margin B&W stuff.


Maybe B&W owners can leave their extreme BIAS at the door next time?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyaDawn /forum/post/18351233


It's similar to someone going onto a car thread and saying:

- IF you don't need a vehicle with a motorized engine...

(can you live with providing all the power manually?)

- IF you don't need passenger seats in the vehicle...

(can you live with not having any passengers?)

- IF you can live with a smaller seat...

(is manuverability more important than form-factor/size?)


IF you answered the above 3 questions "yes", i would think that, IN THAT SCENARIO, you would be well-served to check out a bicycle from a bike store/pawn shop/etc.

NO...


...this is a thread discussing options for improving computer audio where an initial suggestion was a set of USB-connected powered speakers.


Very definitely not the only option.


Now maybe if it was a short distance commuting thread then suggesting a bike could be similar to drumsky's suggestion.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray /forum/post/18366474


Maybe B&W owners can leave their extreme BIAS at the door next time?

Wow, you've really taken up the mantle of anti-B&W troll.
Why don't you add to your sig your "I hate B&W" mantra like you proclaimed in the other B&W thread? At least be open about it. Love how you love to insert yourself in every B&W thread though, what's with the obsession? And why attack B&W owners?
 
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