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Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Imola Ghost, Nov 19, 2012.
Looking for some smaller footprint desktop speakers that actually sound excellent.
John Blue JB3
I want some new speakers too.
Budget? Powered or externally amped?
dynaudio has some desktop-specific angled monitors that look pretty cool. i haven't auditioned a set yet. Not sure if they're "audiophile", though.
I had a pair of B&W's MM1 for a while. Great sounding if you're not into super low base.
Establish a budget, please. There are a variety to choose from.
Also how do you define small?
Lots of people complain about hissing issue with them. Just google it.
They also lack auto standby support (doesn't switch off automatically).
I am personally thinking between Bose Companion 20 and Focal XS book for 2.0 setup or Bose Companion 5 and Focal FX 2.1 for 2.1 setup.
The Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 speakers are the best computer speakers I've ever heard. I spend hours every day listening to them, they're that good.
Yes, they do have that hissing 'issue', but (at least in my case) the hiss is extremely quiet and is more like white noise, barely audible or noticeable.
Small footprint, the size of coasters.
Full-range sound without a bulky subwoofer and the inevitable related cable mess.
Incredible clarity; they really do sound like full hi-fi speakers shrunk to desktop size. All digital, USB-fed signal with built-in DSP.
Accurate sound reproduction, unlike Bose and their messy and muddy sound (no offence to Bose fans).
Can go very loud, far louder than would be necessary for near-field speakers such as these. No noticeable distortion at high volumes.
Great build quality and gorgeous design, complementing any modern Mac very well.
Low-end is there, but don't expect floor rumbling, chest pounding bass. They're not designed to emulate a club experience.
They do emit a faint hiss when there is no sound coming from the computer, but as I said above, it's extremely quiet and easily forgettable.
Expensive (£400), although worth every penny, in my opinion.
Hands down, the AudioPro LV2 or LVe2 beat almost all of the above listed choices.
Not "small" as computer speakers go, but small bookshelf sized, leather bound, self amplified speakers.
Not even close to "cheap", but certainly surpass most "computer" speakers in audiophile quality.
Oh yeah... Did I mention they're wireless? Only need AC power and a supplied USB dongle and you're set.
This would have been my suggestion as well; I'm a big fan of B&W equipment, and have been looking into purchasing them for myself.
While I don't have the speakers, I do have two sets of their headphones, the P5s and P3s and both are excellent.
I see you mention they don't come with a subwoofer, so how does the low end sound with these small speakers?
Yamaha HS50m. I have a pair of these, as well as a pair of the larger HS80m's. They're both great sounding speakers. You'll beed an audio interface with XLR or 1/4 outputs to connect them though.
My experience was that without a sub, they do still kick out some low end for being a small speaker.
But then again, they are a small speaker. I used them for two days before I went looking again, At which point I realized that I would need to spend in the neighborhood of $600 & up to get the quality that I wanted.
That's how I ended up with the aforementioned AudioPros.
Why not go passive? You can get the Dayton Audio B652 loudspeaker set along with the SUB-1200 12" sub woofer. For amplification, go with the DTA-1 from Dayton Audio. If you need a USB DAC, grab the E10 from FiiO which doubles as a headphone amplifier as well. This should make for an excellent setup under $300.
If size is a concern, try out the D1080 MkIV from HiVi Swan at The Audio Insider.
Magneplanar Mini's if you have the space and budget are really really good.
If you are space/budget constrained look at the Focal Pro products.
Bose have an awful reputation in audiophile circles. I would give them a wide berth.
Airmotivs by Emotiva
4s, 5s & 6s $350-$570
I've had the 6s since november and love them. They have ribbon tweeters and are crystal clear. You can drive them off a nice pre-amp or tube pre-amp for added sound
+1 here for the I had a pair of B&W's MM1, I wish I could afford them, a friend has got them and they are imply superb.
If it was not for their price tag a pair of them would have been long standing on my desk...
I forgot to reply to this, but since the thread was recently resurrected...
They may be small speakers, but the bass drivers are high-efficiency and high-powered with a bass response down to 38Hz. They won't give out the hugely powerful kind of bass that a subwoofer would, but the bass notes are definitely audible and (depending on the room and its acoustics) can be surprisingly strong.
The MM-1 speakers are really designed for music lovers. They produce amazingly clear and full sound that suits every type of music (apart from very bass-heavy stuff such as dubstep...), but they're perhaps not quite so thrilling for gaming or action films, although they still sound fantastic for those types of media.
You might also consider serene audio's active speakers. Being 2.0, they are not for bass lovers, but they have a subwoofer output that might come in handy if you decided to add a sub later.
Smaller the better are two conflicting requirements. If they are vary small them you need a sub-woofer and the problem to avoid is if the sub-woofer needs to be crossed over abot about 40 or 50 Hz.
Those systems with the tiny 3 inch speakers and the big sub are Ok of video games and action movies but for serious music they are very poor. You will get the best sound from a pair of good studio monitors. As a rule get the bigest ones that will fit in the space you have.
The next step is acoustic treatment for the room. At least cover all the first reflection points. With out getting the room set up right expensive speakers are a waste. The way to think of it is like this: The sound comes out from the spekers and goes in all directions only a tiny fraction of the sound hits you ears. Most of it goes right on past you and hits a wall and then is echoed back. Controlleing this process is more important than the brand of speaker.
I was looking at KEF X300A, an active speaker with USB connection
The AMT tweeters in ADAM's stuff is unparalleled anywhere else. Only problem with the A7s is that you really, really need a decent ADDA converter to drive them properly. IMHO, a pair of A7's running through an Apogee Duet 2 would make for one hell of a setup.
Realise this is old thread but for what's its worth, personally, if I were spending > £400 on desktop speakers I would also consider buying an ordinary stereo amplifier plus a normal set of speakers.
I used to have the Logitech Z2300, which are decent but they have poor mid-range compared to an ordinary speaker and the bass is boomy. I gave up on computer speakers.
Currently I have a surround sound system - 5.0 speakers for £220, sub for £300 and amplifier for £350. Probably not audiophile speakers though.
I am saving up for some really nice stereo speakers at the moment...