usb speakers?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by slipper, Dec 15, 2003.

  1. slipper macrumors 68000

    slipper

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    #1
    i was thinking about purchasing a set of soundsticks to accompany my ibook. pretty firm on my decision cause they match my iCurve i thihnk i read once that USB speakers suck though. something about lagging, especially with onloine games. could someone please clue me in on USB speakers.
     
  2. CubeHacker macrumors 65816

    CubeHacker

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    #2
    Simply put, USB is not meant for speakers. It takes up more processor time compared to using the audio out jack. There is a sound card/chip in your computer for a reason. Because USB speakers are so dependant on your CPU, its prone to cut out or lag behind during intensive applications, such as games, for example. My advice is to avoid USB speakers at all costs.
     
  3. slipper thread starter macrumors 68000

    slipper

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    #3
    ok what would be a good yet fasionable speaker using audio jacks?
     
  4. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #4
    thats where you're making a mistake. function over form is always the way to go. ask yourself this.. do you just want to be happy with how the speakers look and not with how they perform?

    companies that make crappy equipment that looks cool make all their riches off people like you :)
     
  5. titaniumducky macrumors 6502a

    titaniumducky

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2003
    #5
    You could try something from JLB, Klipsch, Bose, or Denon. They are all top quality speaker makers. Of course, don't waste your money on surround speakers because your laptop doesn't have a rear-audio output.

    Just make sure that they are not USB speakers before buying. USB speakers are not the best as stated by DOAcleric. They were really meant for people without a sound card who couldn't or didn't want to upgrade.
     
  6. telecomm macrumors 65816

    telecomm

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Location:
    Rome
    #6
    What about JBL Creatures? I've read some decent reviews of them, and was thinking about getting a set for my girlfriend.

    Oh, and the white ones would match your iBook.;)
     
  7. CubeHacker macrumors 65816

    CubeHacker

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    #7
    I've yet to find multimedia speakers that sound better than Klipsch Promedias. A tad pricey, but worth it.

    www.klipsch.com
     
  8. joerick macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    #8
    I've actually got a set of sound sticks from Hardon/Kardon. They are great! I personally have not experienced any lag playing quake and UT on my G3/500 so any strain on the processor must be minimal. The only disadvantage of USB speakers I have found is that if you plug them into a hub they take a huge bandwidth from everything else (i.e. stop music before printing)

    Joe
     
  9. slipper thread starter macrumors 68000

    slipper

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    #9
    preference is preference. you may prefer blondes , i prefer brunettes. as long as the speakers sound better than the OEM speakers, i will be happy.
     
  10. manitoubalck macrumors 6502a

    manitoubalck

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #10
    My computer speakers are floor standing Energy C5's with an NAD amp, Denon CD player:D Soud is so clear, no Sub, don't need one with good speakers, + if you listen to music with a sub your a fool.
     
  11. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #11
    funny that a pc user that roams mac forums calls others a fool...
     
  12. manitoubalck macrumors 6502a

    manitoubalck

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #12
    Sub's are used for low frequency effects, since MUSIC (not rap/hiphop/R&B/Club beats) doesn't have low frequency effects, sub's blur the bottom end of the track. Sub's are ment for use when watching movies and the like, where explosions, gunfire, etc require that enforced bottom end.

    "fool: n: Person who follows blindly, without question."
    one of the meanings from my dictionary, could be said about many mac zeolites.
     
  13. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #13
    why are you here? what purpose do you have on a mac forum?

    are you just here to insult macs and their users like a typical pc user?

    you truly are a cookie cut from the same cutter as so many hopeless millions before you. go play with your mac ripoff os and leave us mac people alone.

    just when I think the world couldn't be any less logical a windoze user proves me wrong..
     
  14. jevel macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2003
    #14
    [offtopic]
    Just had to comment on this.

    If there's any insulting done around, it's pretty even the way I see it. You have to measure it by %, not by counting incidents.

    What really bothers me is the way a lot of Mac users always have to make fun of PCs and PC users. You don't see much of that the other way around, do you?

    I'll agree that Mac surely is a better platform in some occations, but the PC has just as many strong sides as Mac nowadays.

    OS X may have given the Mac a little edge on the PC, but new CPUs and form factors on the PC are going to make up for that. It all boils down to one thing: Personal Preference. And just because someone doesen't have the same preference you have doesen't mean they're stupid or know less than you!
    [/offtopic]

    When it comes to topic, I must give the Klipsch ProMedia a thumbs up for overall sound quality. The JBL Creature is pure pants. Treble is halfway decent, but that's it. If you want a threepiece combo with nice design, have a look at Altec Lansing. They've been known to do some radical design with decent sound quality.

    -KJ
     
  15. manitoubalck macrumors 6502a

    manitoubalck

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #15
    1: I am here because I like to hear what others have to say, and also offer an opinion from a different point of view.

    2: I have only insulted 2 people while here. Rower picked me up both times. Sorry to those two people, you don't diserve a slap. If I was here to bash macs I wouldn't have posted nearly 700 times.

    3: I'm not a cookie, I am however a poor Uni student and make do with what I can afford, I also need a 3 1/2" floppy disk drive.

    4: Talk to anyone who really knows audio and ask them wheather or not a sub should be used when listing to a CD. However for ~$200AUD computer speakers sub's offer a stop gap solution.

    I am not insulting you or your intelligence, however I am patronizing you.:)
     
  16. iEric macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #16
    Although USB might lag, which I dont find it to, the sound is incredible! it is truly digital sound. If you have a fast iBook, and you play games, it should not be a problem. If you have a slow iBook, you should not be playing games at all. Go with the Soundsticks. the sound will amaze you. All my friends come over and they are like DAAAAMN thats NIIICE.
     
  17. Juventuz macrumors 6502a

    Juventuz

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2002
    Location:
    Binghamton
    #17
    I'd have to agree with what iEric said. I have soundsticks with my TiPB and absolutely love them. They sound GREAT and I've had NO problems with any games I've played so far.

    Go with the soundsticks, you won't be disappointed.
     
  18. CubeHacker macrumors 65816

    CubeHacker

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    #18

    There is no such thing as "digital sound". You can't have digital speakers, cause you'd hear absolutly nothing (or at the very least, a string of 1's and 0's). The soundcard in your computer is digital, and uses a DAC to convert to an analog signal for the speakers to play. In USB speakers, the DAC is housed in the speaker itself instead of in the soundcard. There is no difference in sound quality. I would actually feel that the quality of a good soundcard is greater than that of USB speakers.

    Are there Soundsticks that use a regular analog jack instead of USB?
     
  19. AbeFroman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2003
    #19
    I'd like to point out a few less affordable options with sound quality in mind. I'm a recording enthusiast so I am somewhat well versed in these things. First, I'll explain what I use and why.

    The heart of my sound system is my iBook (500mhz). Next in the "signal chain" is a M-Audio Quattro (Connected to a USB port) then an M-Audio Omni. From there I take two balanced (balanced gives better quality than consumer-level unbalanced connections) 1/4" cables and connect each to each M-Audio BX5 studio monitor (speaker). This is a great setup, anyone interested in this setup could omit the Omni if you don't require the ability to record audio or need a mixer or preamps. This setup works for me but would offer things you don't need if you don't record so I'd advise looking into similar offering from M-Audio that lack unneccesary hardware. I sware by M-Audio.

    In response though, to the question posed earlier in this thread I would recommend looking at an eMagic EMI 2|6 (or whas it the 6|2?). One of these offers 6 outputs which would mean you'd be able to output 5.1 audio from your iBook. Pretty cool, huh? Of course this is probably overkill once again for most everyone. You can still get 5.1 audio out of your iBook if it's Dolby Pro Logic with just the headphone jack. And like someone said earlier, USB will cut out during processor intensive tasks if you don't have sufficient processing power, like I don't at 500mhz.

    And let there be no mistaking that the audio out of the headphone jack is definitely lacking when connected to any HiFi system. There is usually 60 hertz hum, and if you have one with an AV Port you'll occasionally get a taste of what composite video sounds like - not pretty.
     
  20. parrothead macrumors 6502a

    parrothead

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2003
    Location:
    Edmonds, WA
    #20
    what about USB powered speakers

    I have to agree with the people saying that getting USB speakers is uneccessary for good sound. However I think if someone made a good set of speakers that were solely powered through the USB port, that would be really nice. I cant tell you how many times I would have loved a set of speakers like this to make up for my Tibook's pos speakers while watching a DVD or listening to music in a hotel room.
     
  21. legion macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    #21
    The eMagic 2|6 is a MIDI I/O box (2 in, 6 out) It doesn't do audio. Second, balance vs unbalanced audio is more important if you are running cables of a longer distance since "balanced" is a means to ground loop. On short distances, it will be near impossible to tell balanced vs unbalanced. Third, the BX-5 has a lack of bass response and will need a subwoofer to carry a full sound spectrum and the BX-5 is a monitor speaker, not a hi-fi speaker; "what's the difference?", well a monitor has a flat frequency response and definite cut-off points in order to help mixing whereas a hi-fi speaker sweetens the sound to improve the listening stage (and imparts its own sonic characteristics.) The two classes of speakers are for different purposes (different tools for different jobs...)

    Finally, you cannot get 5.1 sound out of a headphone jack. 5.1 refers to discrete channels of sound and headphone jacks can only supply 2 discrete channels (stereo). You can't output 5 discrete channels and a LFE channel out of 2 channels.
     
  22. AbeFroman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2003
    #22
    Wow, legion you are wrong, wrong, and wrong again.:p Seriously though, do a little more digging and I think you'll find that my statements are completely true.
    Go here to see an overview of this piece of gear (which was renamed a couple months ago). IT'S AN AUDIO INTERFACE!

    http://www.emagic.de/products/hw/A26/index.php?lang=EN

    OK, now I'm not a sound engineer- not yet anyways- but there are a couple significant advantages with balanced. They have more output which can mean a lower noise floor. This is something worth doing. Grounds can occur in nasty places when a computer is involved. Maybe the first version of iceBooks had problems that newer ones don't but mine will not give me a clean signal without ground loops out of the headphone jack (as long as the power adapter is connected), or a usb audio interface (if there's a grounded firewire drive connected). Now I can't explain this, but balanced connections should only be a good thing.


    I won't argue with you about the fact that the BX5 is a monitor speaker- I stated that flat out in my post. Now it really depends on what sounds good to your ears - I like a flat response- if I want to boost a frequency it's as easy as using an equalizer. Now the fact that you need a sub for booming bass was an omission on my part that probably deserved mentioning. But these BX-5 have just as much bass as any HiFi bookshelf or satellite speaker. After all these aren't floorstanding speakers and thus are not expected to deliver heavy bass- as I'm sure you know that's the job of the subwoofer. The soundsticks to my knowledge couldn't cover the duties of a subwoofer either, so I didn't feel the original poster was asking where to get ample bass- but this is a moot point.

    From Dolby.com
    "Dolby Pro Logic II is an advanced matrix decoder that derives five-channel surround (Left, Center, Right, Left Surround, and Right Surround) from any stereo program material, whether or not it has been specifically Dolby Surround encoded." So there's no LFE channel, but seeing as this is only a casual discussion I have no problem with being 90% correct if it's possibly going to help someone out. OK, OK, I should have left the .1 out of 5.1

    Legion, you sound as if you know your stuff yet we have two vastly different views on nearly every topic in my post. Why is that? :confused:
     
  23. legion macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    #24
    That's an "A26" not a 2|6. Different items. eMagic makes/made a 2|6 which is a 2 in/6 out MIDI device. So I guess I am right and you've got typos :) (eMagic also makes a 2|4 and 2|8) Frontier does the hardware for these devices for eMagic.
    I am an audio engineer (well, it's one of the many hats I wear.) Balanced cables won't (or shouldn't) help the problem you're describing. Balanced cables can't "improve" the signal. They just prevent any degradation of the signal while being transmitted through the cable (which happens over longer distances more than short distances... running a 1 or 2 ft balanced cable won't do much.) The source of your audio (if it's not a clean signal) will not be improved by balanced cables. It sounds like you have an EMF problem. I'd go in and start shielding everything.
    Ahh, the great marketing mumbo jumbo. What Dolby is doing is playing in the field of psychoacoustics. The difference is that this is not discrete channels (which is what 5 or 5.1 is about) The important words in their blurb is "decoder that derives." What it does is looks at the frequency spectrum and assigns delays (since different frequencies have different spatial characteristics.) In addition, this only works with stereo programs. This is quite a bit different than separately recorded audio channels designed by a sound mixer or sound effects coordinator. If you have a speaking individual crossing the stage in front of you from left to right and a train moving behind you coming from rear right to rear left, you'd have 5 channels (with a possible LFE for the ground rumbling from the train) On RR and RL, you'll have train sounds recorded and the doppler effect, on FL, the speaker's voice will start and move to C and the FR. Those would be 5 separate channels and each with a spatial positioning. For the Dolby system above, if taken from a stereo mixdown, no matter what you do, you'll never have 5 separate descernible channels. You'll have a delay on the train sounds and a stereo crossing of the speaking individual. That's it.

    EDIT:
    eMagic now calls the 2|4 and 2|8 the MT4 and AMT8, though I have the previously named products all around my studio as proof of their naming :D
     
  24. AbeFroman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2003
    #25
    OK now there's only a couple more things to clear up.

    First back to the A26, it was the EMI 2|6 back in the day. Here's a link that proves this.

    From emagic.de...
    Scroll down the page further to March 2003 and you'll see the one with original EMI 2|6 moniker.

    You said...
    Well, that's pretty much true except when it's taken from a multichannel mixdown and encoded, a(ccording to Dolby) it should then be decoded as multichannel (most likely with some sort of degradation in the surround effect and/or signal quality, but still multichannel for our purposes). That is the whole reason Pro Logic exists - not to be just another psychoacoustic surround simulation. There are others out there that do just that.

    If you think back to my first post in this thread the only point I was trying to make was to contrast the (formerly) EMI 2|6's surround sound abilities with a much cheaper approach and still getting some surround sound out of a stock iBook. Still this holds true.

    Oh and by the way, you inspired me to reconnect a subwoofer to my stereo system. After raising the low cut on the BX5's from 56hz to 100hz the subwoofer fits very nicely in my setup.

    forgot to add some smilies...
    ;) :p :eek:
     

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