Best sound system for your mac? What do people suggest

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by crzdcolombian, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 16, 2010
    So I am looking to retire(give to my parents) my old Bose Sounddock that I use to plug my iPod into. I am looking at getting the Bose Soundlink speakers which are $300 bucks.

    The sonos system looks good but never met someone who has them.

    Anyone have either or another speaker system that they recommend?
  2. macrumors regular

    Jul 25, 2007
    Finer stores everywhere.
    Audioengine a2, a5 (+) - Universally excellent reviews. The a2s sell for anywhere from $150 to $250, the a5s go for around $250 to $400.

    Emotiva Airmotiv - Also very well reviewed. Pleated-diaphragm tweeters are a nice touch. The Arimotiv 4 sells for about $350.

    If I was looking for a set of powered speakers with a budget of $400, the a5 and the Airmotiv would be at the very top of my list. If I was looking more in the range of $150, I'd either go with the a2 or the two below.

    M-Audio AV40 - Generally quite well reviewed. Your local Best Buy may carry them, making an audition easier. Price runs in the $150 range.

    Swan M10 - Reviews are usually very positive. They do use an unusual setup with a "mid-woofer" in a separate box that most mistakenly refer to as a sub. They always sell out very fast, but when you can get them, they cost around $130.

    Alternatively, if you're on a stricter budget:
    Dayton B652 speakers, Lepai LP-2020A+ - Considered by many to be a great budget setup. In my own experience, it sounds better than it really should. Not a pretty setup, and the Audioengines are almost certainly going to sound much better, but it's still a decent setup. Depending on when and where you buy, the amp will cost about $20 while the speakers vary from the $22 I paid all the way up to $60.

    If you're willing to go with a separate amp and speakers, you should look into the Dayton APA150. It's a solid amp that performs well above its $150 price. Pair it with a moderately good set of speakers in the $200 price range, and you'll probably have a better-sounding system than you'll get from any of the powered monitors listed above for about the same price as the a5+.
  3. ChrisA, Sep 17, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013

    macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    What is your budget?

    What is the size of the space that you want to fill with sound? Is this an 10 x 12 dorm room or 35 x 40 foot living room.

    How far between the speakers and the listener(s)

    How much room do you have, does this need to be physically small? Always if you have room, bigger is sound better.

    You can always find better sounding speakers than Bose at lower price. If you have a $300 budget and want table top size "computer speakers" to fill a small "near field" space then look for 5" studio monitors from a second tier company There are many products in this category. I know people will argue about these but I assume a $300 budget. Look at the Samson Technologies Resolv A5 . They are $299 per pair. There are some other brands and you'd get better speakers if you have another $150 or so to spend.
    Here is one example that is better known than the Sampsons and cheaper too.

    For the same $300 if you had more space The Polk Monitor 50 is a great bargain. A pair of these and a $100 amplifier and you'd be a bit over budget but much better sound. It depends on the space you have

    I have the Resolve 5a on my 27" iMac and i used then mostly for video editing now. the stereo imaging is good. I have the Polk "50" connected to a Yamaha P-155 digital piano through a 50WPC amp. they sound good with a grand piano patch. Acoustic piano is a hard test for speakers and these do well.
  4. macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Yes I agree. With an "about $300" budget you will get much better sound with passive speakers. As for the amp, I happen to like the Audiosource AMP100. They are well made, Just like I would have built one with a good size toroidal power amp and linear supply inside. But really all amps in this class sound so much alike you are fooling yourself if you think you can hear a difference. The speakers do matter. I think the Polk "50" I wrote about are good but Infinity makes a competing model that is as good.
    If some day you need more power buy a second of these amps "bridge them" and have a total of 300W. Some people run entire home theater system with racks of these amps. But one will be enough.

    With speakers you can pretty much follow the rule that a larger cabnit will sound better assuming the price is the same.
  5. macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2007
  6. macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    We are buying the Creative T20's to go with the Mac Pro. It's plugged into my mixer at the moment, and plays sound through my Genelecs, but that's overkill really, and since I need to use them for other things we decided a desk set was required. It's also connected to our Onkyo AV amp, so the Creatives are really for gaming etc.

    Attached Files:

  7. macrumors 68000


    Oct 25, 2008
    This person did their homework and I say that seriously. All of these are really excellent choices and great advise for the original poster. If going a bit more up in cost - Focal has some excellent options as well as Orb speakers with a small stereo amp and not to forget the often overlooked Harman Kardon Soundsticks. The latter is a bit retro with its near all acrylic speaker design. Candidly, I would explore what the person above advised if I was in your shoes.
  8. macrumors regular


    Sep 25, 2003
    Bournville, UK
  9. macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    I have 6 Sonos units. What do you want to know ?
  10. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 16, 2010
    I am looking more for a streaming music speaker system that is why I went with the Bose or Sonos. I have a decent sized apartment and when we have people over or a small cook out I want something I can take outside and play music on because my Air speakers aren't strong enough, my friends macbook pro speakers are even worse. Those other speaker systems look great tho.

    For sonos does it work with you macbook/iMac sound or no? It appears that the Bose only works with the iphone/ipad/ipod. I was wondering if the sonos works with any wifi device.
  11. macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2013
    i agree with you,Those other speaker systems look great tho.thank you[​IMG]
  12. macrumors 68040


    Sep 24, 2010

    Attached Files:

  13. drsox, Sep 18, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013

    macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    Sonos doesn't use normal WiFi. When it is working wirelessly, it does operate on the 2.4Ghz band, but creates its own mesh network. It also works fine with a LAN cable connection. That's why Sonos wireless configs also need a second device (such as a Sonos Bridge) to be the other end of the mesh. This second device will be connected by LAN into a Router (typically). The Audio content will then take the following route : Audio Library (e.g. iTunes Library on an iDevice)>WiFi or LAN connection>Router>LAN connection>Bridge>Sonos Mesh Connection>Sonos Play device. Controlling the Play device is by a Sonos App (runs on iOS and OSX - as well as Win and Android).

    By doing this Sonos can play the same track in 100% synch on up to 64 devices. The Mesh Network provides enough control to avoid lags and dropouts. I have 4 Sonos units in a long room (happens to be 4 rooms connected together). I can hear the same stuff at any point in the room (usually from the 2 nearest sources). If I want to I can also link in the two upper floors and hear the same stuff in synch as I go up/down stairs.

    Sonos doesn't work with the speakers on any iDevice but will play tracks stored on any iDevice.

    My Audio library is on a NAS (it happens to be an iTunes Library, but iTunes isn't involved in playback - I only use it to manage the Library). The Play5 unit has excellent HiFi quality (I used to have 5 sets of BIG speakers - now I only have just one) and is portable.

    If you want specific config advice, I suggest you post on the Sonos forums - lots of helpful folks there (
  14. macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2009
    I've had the Focal XS system since 2010. When I bought it I figured it was way overpriced, BUT after using it for nearly 3 years the sound quality is incredible. Only downside purchasing now is the dock connector is the old style, not lightning. BUT I rarely use the dock feature anyway, and if I do I use my iPod classic so it's a non issue.

    They really do sound amazing.
  15. macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2012
    The Bose companion 20 is worth a look. Definitely one of Bose better speakers
  16. macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2011
    Ontario, Canada

    I use the audioengine and stream via the airport express... sounds lovely and is wireless too...

Share This Page