Author Topic: Computer Speakers?  (Read 481 times)

Offline number six

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Computer Speakers?
« on: May 16, 2017, 12:58:19 PM »


Way back in the late 90s I bought a Toshiba Laptop that came under some sort of class action lawsuit. The settlement was a $250 gift card to Toshiba. Not anywhere near enough to buy another Laptop (especially in the 90s) so I spent the money on a rediculously expensive (At the time) pair of Harman Kardon Speakers. Turned out to be a great deal as I've used these things for the last 17 years.

Well the right speaker has gone bad now, not sure if its the speaker or the subwoofer/amp. The speakers aren't really replaceable as they have specific connectors blah blah.

I can get another set of these off eBay for $50ish shipped.. but these will obviously also be almost 20 years old (damn, stuff like this really makes me feel my age).

So before I do that any recommendations for decent computer speakers? Figure something with a subwoofer at least since its really hard to get lows with just 2 in speakers by themselves.

People talk these up: https://www.amazon.com/Cyber-Acoustics-Multimedia-Speaker-Subwoofer/dp/B0027VT6V4

But I'm not familiar with Cyber Acoustics.

Offline lordtakuban

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Re: Computer Speakers?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2017, 01:29:09 PM »
I bought a CreativeLabs set of speakers with sub/amp (2.1 sound I believe it's called) recently.  they sound pretty good.  I'm not familiar with Cyber Acoustics either.  If you are looking for really good, high end, sound, then I'm not sure what to get.  But the CreativeLabs speakers that I have now (and the set I had before) sound good in my setup.

Offline Maverick1978

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Re: Computer Speakers?
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2017, 09:09:42 AM »
All depends on your desired level of sound (ie 2.1, 5.1, 7.1, positional audio, etc) and price. I personally use about a 10-12yo altec Lansing 5.1 setup I found in the local recycle dumpster.

If you're looking for higher end, look at the creative and Logitech higher end stuff.

Or you could go another route and use your home stereo. I've an old stereo from the 70s that makes for a fantastic 2.0 speaker set. It's not great for positional audio, but produces crisp, accurate stereo sounds which is usually all that I'm after anyway (at least with my retro DOS rig)

Offline number six

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Re: Computer Speakers?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2017, 10:58:31 AM »
I have a pretty nice ascend setup in the living room so I'm not using these as my main speakers or anything.. I just want something that sounds decent.

Creative Labs seems decent.. I'm also thinking about just hooking up an amp and using bookshelf speakers as that seems like the easier route in terms of controlling quality.

Everybody has been raving about these cheap Micca MB42 speakers, they'd just be a bit bigger than normal computer speakers though.

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Re: Computer Speakers?
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2017, 05:28:18 PM »
But I'm not familiar with Cyber Acoustics...

not that good. but sadly, you can't go by brand name. you have to check reviews or listen to a set live.

for my desktop, I gutted a 4.1 altec setup, using 2 car speakers on my desk...altec subwoofer and altec rears.   
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Offline Baiter

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Re: Computer Speakers?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2017, 07:51:26 PM »
I use the E-MU close range monitor speakers.  Briefly they are bookshelf sized speakers that are designed for music production to produce accurate sound reproduction (the "monitor" designation") at lower volumes (the "close range") part.  They are cheaper than the highest end computer speakers but with a far higher sound quality than any of them will get you... I got mine for about $200 on sale, but they are now discontinued.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/e-mu-pm5-precision-monitor--each

I think Creative bought the E-MU speaker division, as they have the E-MU XM7 bookshelf speakers available for around the same price, which are designed for use with the Sound Blaster X7.  They are advertised as bookshelf speakers rather than close range monitor speakers, so who knows...but both speakers seem to have a 5-star rating across the 6 reviews on each link.

https://www.amazon.com/XM7-Passive-Bookshelf-Speakers-Black/dp/B00V4NK1GU

Regardless of the particular brand or model I would highly recommend close range monitors over any other speaker type.
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Offline lordtakuban

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Re: Computer Speakers?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2017, 03:03:19 PM »
After looking at home, turns out I have Logitech speakers.  2.1 setup.  But I had a creative labs setup prior to that.  both sounded decent enough for my needs.  My office area isn't set up in a way where 5.1 or any other type of surround sound would be doable.  So it works for me.

Like K7 said, check the reviews.  I like looking at Amazon reviews as long as there is a really large sampling of them to weed out the shills and haters.

Offline number six

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Re: Computer Speakers?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2017, 01:52:12 AM »
I think Creative bought the E-MU speaker division, as they have the E-MU XM7 bookshelf speakers available for around the same price, which are designed for use with the Sound Blaster X7.  They are advertised as bookshelf speakers rather than close range monitor speakers, so who knows...but both speakers seem to have a 5-star rating across the 6 reviews on each link.

I'm sure those are amazing sounding but that's well over my budget for computer speakers.

I've got a pretty good investment in my main living room audio setup so if I really want to listen to something it would be in there. I've also got a nice set of headphones if I want to listen to music well..

Right now I'm mainly looking for just computer speakers but something a bit nicer than the $20 run of the mill stuff.

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Re: Computer Speakers?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2017, 09:27:04 PM »
You'll probably have good luck picking up a pair of high quality $20 speakers at Goodwill/Salvation Army.  Last time I was there I saw an Altec Lansing ACS45.2 set, which is another awesome computer speaker.  I have one of those, and even the single good speaker it has w/sub is far superior to most computer speakers.  I saw a Harmon Kardon set as well.  Quality audio equipment never actually gets dated, the only difference is the features, but there are no real "features" to add for speakers.
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Offline number six

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Re: Computer Speakers?
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2017, 10:36:44 PM »
You'll probably have good luck picking up a pair of high quality $20 speakers at Goodwill/Salvation Army.  Last time I was there I saw an Altec Lansing ACS45.2 set, which is another awesome computer speaker.  I have one of those, and even the single good speaker it has w/sub is far superior to most computer speakers.  I saw a Harmon Kardon set as well.  Quality audio equipment never actually gets dated, the only difference is the features, but there are no real "features" to add for speakers.

Problem is old audio equipment apparently gets old and the amps go bad. That was ultimately the problem with my Harmon Kardons. I actually picked up a 2nd pair since the original post off Craigs List for cheap AF. Was able to confirm the problem was my amp but the Amp on the new set was also screwed up in a different way. I'm sure its probably caps leaking or something but I don't feel like spending 2 hours trying to disassemble the thing so I chucked them both.

I've seen speaker sets at Goodwill as well but you have to make sure it's all there. Often times you'll get a partial set, ie missing a satellite or the amp/sub. With these computer 'all-in-one' speakers its all custom integrated so it's not like you can easily make up for a missing piece.

Offline SpineyNorman

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Re: Computer Speakers?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2017, 11:05:28 PM »
I've had my Logitech z506's for years. Not expensive, great computer sound, music is a tad weak in the mids and a weeny sub is a weeny sub but it suffices for my simple needs...of course I have an L shaped desk so I have somewhere for the surrounds to go.
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Offline number six

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Re: Computer Speakers?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2017, 09:39:40 PM »
I've had my Logitech z506's for years. Not expensive, great computer sound, music is a tad weak in the mids and a weeny sub is a weeny sub but it suffices for my simple needs...of course I have an L shaped desk so I have somewhere for the surrounds to go.

Yeah the wife has a cheap pair of Logitechs and they are surprisingly good.. but wanted something different this go around.

Offline number six

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Re: Computer Speakers?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2017, 04:47:50 PM »
I've seen speaker sets at Goodwill as well but you have to make sure it's all there. Often times you'll get a partial set, ie missing a satellite or the amp/sub. With these computer 'all-in-one' speakers its all custom integrated so it's not like you can easily make up for a missing piece.

Just to make sure I did venture out to the Goodwill a few days back. On the rack was a set of Logitech THX rated speakers.. which while THX is a bit of a whore with ratings and doesn't mean what it once did, i'm sure these are pretty good speakers for the purpose.

So the subwoofer/amp was there, then 2 of the 4 satellites.. that's OK i only need stereo as i'm not planning on doing rears. Goodwill being goodwill had each priced separately versus a group but altogether probably about $20. Sweet!

Let me just power it on.. wait where's the inputs? Yeah there are no inputs on the sub just speaker posts. But wait there's an input for something called a control box.. which probably has the inputs.. and guess what was missing from the Goodwill?

So yeah unfortunately Goodwill not so good on stuff like this. Wonder how long that sub will sit there as while you could use the speakers for something else that sub is absolutely worthless without the control unit.

Offline number six

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Re: Computer Speakers?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2017, 04:53:42 PM »


So this was my final solution (that sounds bad)

Amazon had the Micca speakers for $32 in a 'slightly damaged box'. I've never understood why they drop 50% off if the box has a small dent as long as the speakers are OK. So went for that.. they took 1 day longer to get here than they should have (prime is so inconsistent) so I bitched to Pradeep and got $16 refunded so speakers were only $16.  As the reviews state they are very good for the price (especially $16) and the size. Easily as much bass as my old Harman Kardons and very clean sounding.

For an amp I picked up on of these (at the time $16): https://www.amazon.com/ONEU-amplifier-Stereo-Booster-Supply/dp/B019MBUX40/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1496177421&sr=8-1&keywords=oneu+amp

It came with a really nice 3.5mm > RCA stereo cable as a special which made it a better value. Once again for $16 it's not spectacular but its powerful enough to drive these 2 speakers and sounds OK. There's some hiss at 50-60% volume and distortion like a bitch over 70% but you only need to run it at 40% volume tops to be uncomfortable given this is in a small office room.

The whole setup is a tad bigger than i'd maybe want but I didn't want to go down in size and give up any sort of bass response. I also like not having a small sub on the floor as its less wires and one less thing to kick/attract dust.

So all in about $35 for a different but pretty good setup. I'm happy with it at least. I would have thought about this sooner but I didn't know they had these cheapo amps.