Good speakers for less than $100?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by alexf, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. alexf macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    Apr 2, 2004
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    Planet Earth
    #1
    I am looking for some new speakers for my Power Mac G5.

    I can afford no more than $100 USD max. Can anybody recommend a good set of speakers which deliver exceptional sound quality for less than $100?

    Thanks! :)
     
  2. michaelrjohnson macrumors 68020

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    54140
    #2
    I've been very happy with my JBL Duet speakers (though, I use them in combination with an iSub). They're only about $40.
     
  3. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    #3
    Be careful, some of the audiophiles on MR will blast you for even asking this question.

    I appreciate high-end audio equipment but I'm not insane. I only like to recommend equipment I've actually heard/used so this is the best I can do:

    Altec Lansing VS41213 - I bought a pair of these for my ex-gf as a Christmas gift. They are pretty good for the money. Basically, I went to Best Buy, Ciricuit City, etc and listened to every system they had to find which one I believe sounded the best. Then I went and bought that system from newegg.com. I couldn't find this item on newegg today so I linked buy.com ($73), another online retailer I have had good experiences with. This might not be the exact same model as the ones I've used (mine were black) but it's really close, maybe this year's model is slightly different. The bass was boomy, as it is on all of the cheaper 2.1 systems, but the mids and highs were good for the money and if you turn the bass down a few notches it all blends fairly well.

    If you are willing to spend some more, not TOO much more, but enough, then you can get what I believe are the best multimedia/computer speakers around for the money.

    Swans M-200s - These run $175 and just rock! They are sized more like traditional monitor/bookshelf speakers and do not come with a sub but the imaging and sound quality are simply amazing. I was blown away. I own an Aego2 system by Acoustic Energy that cost me $400 and the M-200's blow them away, IMO. I know it is nearly double what you were looking to pay but if you can afford it they are a solid investment, great speakers!
     
  4. zelmo macrumors 603

    zelmo

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    Jul 3, 2004
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    #4
    You can get the JBL Creature II speaker set for about $70 shipped, if you do a little digging. I've been very happy with them.
     
  5. Omen88 macrumors regular

    Omen88

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    Flanders (Belgium)
    #5
    I have the creatures too and they're the best IMO quality/price.
     
  6. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    #6
    Thanks, feakbeak. This is very helpful.

    Yes, I know that some audiophiles may be foaming at the mouth right now after reading the topic of this forum. Fortunately I find myself safely behind my computer. ;)

    I am trying to replace my 4+ year old Bose MediaMate speakers, which just died. Would the Altec Lansing speakers be superior in sound to these?
     
  7. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

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    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    #7
    Personally, I hate Bose. They are far over-priced for what you get. I haven't listened to many Bose systems lately, but I'm confident I would prefer the Altec Lansing system I recommended over most any Bose system.

    It's hard for me because I believe most Altec Lansing/Creative/Logitech/Bose systems are usually decent/good at best. However, I realize that speakers/sound is a very subjective thing - what I believe is decent might amaze you and/or you could think the Swans M-200's aren't very good (doubt it :D ).

    I'm pretty sure the Altec Lansing system I listed will be within in the same quality range if not a little better than your Bose system.

    *Restraining from pushing the M-200's more*

    Oh, I give in... Go to newegg.com and read the reviews. If you don't mind their size I'm confident you'll find they are worth the additional $100 if you can manage to stretch your budget.
     
  8. tom5304 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    #8
    If $100 is your price range, you can't go wrong with the JBL Creature II speakers. I've found that they are very well balanced. I'm going to give the Harman Kardon SoundSticks II a try, but if I have to go back to the Creature IIs, I won't be disappointed.

    I had earlier posted kudos about the M-Audio StudioPro 4 speakers, but that's because I had picked up a pair yesterday. After a lot of listening through the line-out on my iPod mini, I'm becoming less impressed with the M-Audio Studio 4s. There are whole areas where musical sounds are just lost. Certain guitar riffs are totally missing from the Studio 4s, and the vocals on too many songs are somewhat muted, where they sound just fine on a cheap set of headphones or my old Creature IIs, which I returned yesterday due to a faulty volume control.

    So, the search continues. It's nice to know I can always go back to the Creature IIs. Although they're not as sharp as I'd like, they're sharper than anything else I've tried yet.
     
  9. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

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    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #9
    I've got a set of Logitech's Z3e speakers. I think I paid $80 for them back during Christmas and I've been pretty happy with them.
     
  10. Sparky's macrumors 6502a

    Sparky's

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    #10
    Having family members who used to work for and develop for Altec Lansing and JBL my opinion was somewhat biased for a time. When I bought my Rack system back in the mid 70's I went to every high end stereo shop I could talk myself into and just listened, both to what "MY" ears liked and what kind of crap the salesmen were spewing. Then I went out and found the best price for what I wanted (Sansui rack system backed with Boston Acoustic speakers) about $7,000 for the whole system. I suggest you do the same, but this time check out the speakers you want on eBay. I bought my recent set of JBL's for the house there and ended up paying $60 a piece for them (80watt 3-ways about 30 pounds with cabinet each) ;) Good luck
     
  11. taeclee99 macrumors 6502a

    taeclee99

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    #11
    get the Klipsch promedia ultra 2.0 for 99 smackers. they are supposed to be awesome for the price.
     
  12. Lucky8 macrumors regular

    Lucky8

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    May 18, 2005
    #12
    How about Klipsch Promedia GMX?
     
  13. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    #13
    Yes, but these are more "portable" speakers. I am looking for desktop speakers.
     
  14. Trekkie macrumors 6502a

    Trekkie

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    Wake Forest, NC
    #14
    I've been very happy with my JBL Creature 2 speakers, think they can be found for $99, sou you'll have enough left over for one iTunes song
    :D
     
  15. tom5304 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    #15
    By the way... Costco has the Harman Kardon Sound Stick IIs for $119.99. I picked up a pair today, and so far they are holding up to my musical torture test quite well. Very well balanced so far, and better detail and oomph (a very technical term) than the Creature IIs. The vocals are crisp and clean, and though I'm not done testing, I can hear pretty much every track. No more lost guitar riffs and missing subtle details!
     
  16. MattG macrumors 68040

    MattG

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    May 27, 2003
    Location:
    Fletcher, NC
    #16
    I wouldn't say that...not sure what you mean by 'portable'. At any rate, I just got a set of these for my G5 at work and they rock. Considering their size, they put out a good amount of bass and sound crystal clear.
     
  17. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2003
    #17
    The Boston speakers sold by Gateway (check eBay, academic surplus, et cetera) run well with iMacs, iBooks, et cetera, when you hook them up analog.

    Some of them have a digital input, but you'd need an adapter to get it working with a digital-out Mac.
     
  18. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
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    Planet Earth
    #18
    Thanks for all the help everybody.

    I was condsidering the JBL Creature IIs, but I think I may just splurge and get the Harmon Kardon Soundstick IIs for $120 at Amazon (supposedly an amazing deal).

    Any suggestions? Has anybody heard these two speakers side by side, or can anyone recommend one over the other? Also, are the Harmon Kardons a lot bigger than the JBLs? Size is a consideration.

    Also, what exactly does 2.1 mean in regards to speakers?
     
  19. tom5304 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    #19
    I'll take a shot at answering your questions, since I owned the Creature IIs for two months until they went defective this week. I bought a set of the SoundStick IIs at Costco yesterday, and I've been putting them through their paces today. Oh, and 2.1 means two satellite speakers and one subwoofer. A set of 2.0 speakers are just two satellite speakers, and 5.1 (as in Dolby 5.1) means five satellite speakers and one subwoofer.

    The SoundStick IIs are noticeably better than the Creature IIs, but not so much better that you should completely disregard the Creature IIs. The SoundSticks are just deeper and better balanced than the Creature IIs. You might say that the SoundSticks are like the Creature IIs on steroids; better at just about every level, but still in the same ballpark.

    Ergonomically, the SoundSticks have tall, cylindrical satellites, and the Creature IIs have short, squat satellites. The subwoofers are fairly similar in size. One thing that is somewhat disturbing about the SoundStick IIs is the blatantly phallic look of the satellites. Although I'm fairly secure about these kinds of things, I'm not all that hyped up about having a pair of big glass dildos sitting on my desk. But, for the quality of sound, I'll get over it.

    I was at GoodGuys and was able to directly compare the SoundStick IIs against the Bose Companion 3 system, and I thought the SoundSticks came across as way superior to the Companion 3s, despite costing $130 less! The Bose system sounded somewhat flat and shallow to me.

    So, the Creature IIs are a perfectly respectable system, and the SoundSticks are a completely awesome system. Good luck with your choice!
     
  20. Trekkie macrumors 6502a

    Trekkie

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    Nov 13, 2002
    Location:
    Wake Forest, NC
    #20
    No highs, no lows, must be BOSE.

    I dislike them, I'm biased. I've owned them. ever wonder why their home theater stuff is always way away from the lesser expensive stuff? You're paying for the name, not the product.

    I'll stop my rant now :D
     
  21. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    Apr 2, 2004
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    #21
    Thanks for the advice and the laughs - just what I needed (esp. the laughs
    :D)

    Yes, I too realize that visitors may give me funny looks upon see the giant "glass dildos" on my desk, but I am willing to tolerate that for sound quality.

    I think I will have to splurge and get the Soundsticks instead of the Creature IIs.
     
  22. joshwest macrumors 65816

    joshwest

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    Apr 27, 2005
    #22
    go to compusa and get them to price match you for macmall's price.. i do believe its the lowest at around 79.99
     
  23. wide macrumors 6502a

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    NYC
    #23
  24. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    Apr 2, 2004
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    Planet Earth
    #24
    If the Creature IIs are what you are referring to, Amazon.com has them for $69.99.
     
  25. alexf thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexf

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    #25
    Just got the Soundstick IIs for just over $110 tax & shipping included at Buy.com.

    Amazing deal!

    Thanks everyone for the help and advice. :)
     

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