2.1 Speakers

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Insilin1i, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. Insilin1i macrumors regular

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    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #1
    I did a search and couldn't find any recent threads so I was wondering what are some good 2.1 speakers. The speakers are gonna be used in my office and I would generally use them for music(very important), movies, not to much gaming. I just bough a new iMac so need a good pair of speakers and this is the first time I have ever decided to buy speakers.

    The iMac speakers are not that bad but bass is pretty much non-existent. I can't buy any online so they would have to be easily found in stores in Canada.

    So what does everyone recommend?
     
  2. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    "Between the Hedges"
    #2
    I use the Harmon Kardon Soundsticks II
    They are enough for me

    [​IMG]

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  3. Insilin1i thread starter macrumors regular

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    Toronto, Canada
    #3
    Ya, I was looking at those because they look amazing and people say they are good midrange speakers so I just might. How is the sub? Does it give a rich low end or sound dry?
     
  4. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #4
    I am no audiophile, but it sounds fine to me
    Speaker performance is very subjective
    Personal preferences, prejudices on brand and more play a part in how they sound or how they are perceived to sound

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  5. jetjaguar macrumors 68030

    jetjaguar

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    #5
    i am thinking bout picking up the soundsticks or the swan m10s
     
  6. Insilin1i thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 30, 2009
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    #6
    Ya, I read the Swans are one of the best but I can only find them on online retailers so it looks like I am going for the sticks.
     
  7. jetjaguar macrumors 68030

    jetjaguar

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    #7
    yea i think im going with the swans but the other online seller i see that has them wont have stock til february
     
  8. Morod macrumors 68000

    Morod

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Location:
    On The Nickel, over there....
    #8
    Try out the Soundsticks first if you can.

    I was really tempted to buy them recently and got the chance to listen to them. Not for music. The highs are really pronounced with very little mids to be heard.
    They're not 2.1, but on a music board I visit, these speakers were far and away the choice for music:

    http://www.audioengineusa.com/a2_home.php

    I think they'll be coming home with me soon.

    Best of luck with whatever speakers you choose!
     
  9. surflordca macrumors 6502a

    surflordca

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    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #9
    I have the Bose Companion 5 speakers and love them...
     
  10. Dan73 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 30, 2009
  11. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

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    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    #11
    I have the JBH Spyro setup on my Mini. Sears had them seriously cheap on sale a few months ago, and I picked them up. They sound really good for such small speakers. If you can live with the interesting design, they are pretty good.
     
  12. scissorband macrumors member

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    Jan 16, 2010
    #12
    Do you just want off the shelf speakers or are you looking for high-end audiophile speakers?
     
  13. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #13
    Let me start about by saying: sound is 100% subjective. Everyone's ears are different and while 100 of us can give you a recommendation - your ears are the ultimate judge. With that said, very rarely are you going to have the opportunity to test all the speakers we recommend or you find in one place (or even at all) some of the brands and models mentioned. You can spend $10 on a pair of speakers or $1,000 - if you can't tell the difference, it's just an extra $9,990. (no, seriously) So now let's get onto what I just described as a process that could be "worthess." I won't make judgement on anything I haven't gotten to hear, so those $1,000 Harman Kardons might be worth it, but...

    So, you want to know what's going to happen? A couple people are going to recommend Bose, soon the "Bose haters" and myself will tell you that's probably not the right idea (more on that later.) The Sound Sticks by Harman Kardon are going to get recommended shortly thereafter (if not before) - I'm going to tell you that these are also overrated, but perhaps not as much as the ones before. Next my old favorite the Altec Lansing FX6021s are going to get some love, at under $150 - I can't say they wouldn't tempt me; good luck trying to find that price though. Then we will get the Logitech Z-2300 and JBL Creatures. At this point in the discussion, there will be a couple of mass diversions. First, someone will swear to ___ that the $25 pair of speakers they found at Wal-Mart produce the greatest sound in the world. The Bose haters (and myself) will quickly attempt to bring back reality. M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 will get some love, go to the Apple store and check them out, they aren't a bad option, but I don't think they are the best. Next, someone will recommend getting yourself a good pair of headphones and explain to you that for the price, you aren't going to do better - while that is likely true in almost every case, it's not what you asked for. Next someone will tell you that there is no point buying computer speakers (more on that later). After that the Bose discussion will go on. Someone will recommend AudioEngines and pro monitors (more on both of those later) There will probably be some other recommendations, but at the end of all this, what you see above: sound is subjective, your ears, etc. That idea will be mentioned and probably agreed on - that doesn't really help you.

    Before all that happens, you'll likely be reading this post and my recommendation, which will generate some debate. My default recommendation for most users are the Swan M10s.
    My review and more questions answered, here. Thread I, got close but a lot of good audio discussion and answers about the M10s.
    Thread II.
    Swan M10 vs. M12
    Swan M10 vs. Swan 1080 MKII

    They are a 2.1 system that can be had for under $100 and produce results that are extremely impressive for the price range. Generally, most people swear by them, two cases of users not being happy with them have arose on here - but the overwhelming majority (93 Percent) seem to be extremely impressed. I will however make some warnings:
    • If you can't put the woofer box at near head level (plus or minus say three feet) these are not for you. The system is very directional and I wouldn't recommend these if you cannot get the woofer placed there.
    • If you are looking for earth-shattering bass that will annoy neighbors; these aren't for you. The Swans feature what most refer to as a "midwoofer." This produces an incredible accurate sounding bass, but it's not going to rumble - hence why you can place them at head level, as opposed to the ground. It's not to say that there is no bass, that would be a lie - it just may not be right for you.
    • If you want a system that is going to power a medium or large sized room, these aren't for you. They are plenty loud for desk use (turning these up beyond 65ish percent is probably going to be distateful for most users), but this is not a boombox for home DJ-ing.

    So, if not the Swans? All of the following I have gotten to hear, some I have owned, others not so much... Anyway here's a list and my brief thoughts:
    • Klipsch Pro Media 2.1 - Don't buy the second version of these, there was a huge gap in quality. This system is extremely loud and features decent accuracy. It's not like the Swans in that sense, but they aren't bad at all. Just find the first generation.
    • Cambridge Soundworks SoundWorks 2 - Need something small on your desk? The satellites are tiny, but the sound is anything but. Trying to find these aren't the easiest thing in the world, but I doubt that you'll be disappointed.
    • Logitech Z-2300 - The alternative to the Klipsch are these. The low-end is not as powerful as the Klipsch, but they do well as the little brother to the Z-5500. Very similar to the Klipsch Pro Media 2.1.
    • Altec Lansing FX6021 - Need something to match your 30" Cinema Display and your Mac Pro, here's what you wanted. Oh, by the way - they sound good too. Head to your local Apple store to take a listen.
    • Swan D2000 MKII - These are bookshelf-esk and sans subwoofer. Powered speakers that make music sound beautiful, if you don't have room for the midwoofer - these aren't a bad start.
    • Creative Sounds T40 - Needed something even more on a diet, Creative made the T40s. The bass can't replicate the lack of a subwoofer, but the tiny package delivers a huge and accurate punch.

    If you like to watch movies or play video games: the answer is fairly easy, Logitech Z-5500 (or similar model.) These feature a ridiculously powerful bass in a THX-certified 5.1 package. This system is designed for gaming and movies, not to say music sounds awful - but the bass overwhelming at times, that's an understatement. If you are wondering, most Mac computers can connect to these via Toslink meaning no external sound card needed.

    If you want to spend a $1000 on computer speakers: don't. Go and buy yourself a home theater system with a proper amp and proper bookshelves.

    My thoughts on Bose. Audiophiles will tell you never to buy Bose. People like me, that want to be audiophiles will tell you not to buy Bose. I don't think they sound awful, but when you place the price tag next to them, then they start to sound awful. For the most part, the Bose stuff is mid-range stuff at top range prices. With that being said, if you are satisfied with your purchase, then more power to you. To say that Bose is "junk" is probably a little overstating it, because they are no worse then any of the other companies. But, to say that they are the best, is giving way too much credit. I love my 901s, but I believe that the in-ear headphones belong only in one place, the trash.

    My thoughts on AudioEngine. I really feel like the Mac community just got duped into the Bose story again. Are they bad? no. Are they overpriced? yes. I feel that AudioEngine has done an incredible job targeting the high-end computer speaker market, but I really wasn't impressed with the A2 or A5 for the price. There are quite a few consumer and professional applications that will achieve the same result. Some people swear by them, just like Bose. If one wants wireless speakers, their adaptor might be the best route to go.

    My thoughts on pro monitors. It's what I use, but I do little mixing now-a-days. They aren't the greatest speakers for personal enjoyment and they definitely aren't the best value. I love my KRK museum (V88, V8 Series I, E8T), but I don't need them to enjoy music. The Swan M10s aren't going to come close to the KRK set-up; but I don't even want to imagine the tiny fraction of the price. Many will tell you that the monitors can produce sound that is "painful." (Shrugs) I can say that there are times in which listening to music for hours straight became annoying, but... In short, stay away unless you are doing mixing - it will save you the money. ​

    Lastly, some notes about soundcards and outputs, etc. There are three main ways to get sound to the speakers. First, is the option most users use - standard 1/8" audio cable directly to them, for most 2.1/2.0 systems this work. If you have a 5.1 system you run into some additional options. First, you can buy a cheap splitter from Radio Shack, this is the cheapest option and will produce sound in all five speakers - but, it will not produce true surround sound. You might be able to use a Toslink cable, but some speaker systems do not support it. If all those options work there are plenty of external sound cards that will allow you to do what you want. Obviously you can use an external sound card or Toslink connection on a 2.1 system, but it may not be required. Every speaker system is different, etc.

    Speakers Discussions Are Rampant:
    A good example of my comments are found here.
    Here is one thread for $100 USD. Good Discussion.
    USB Speaker Discussion Here
    Here is another discussion
    Wireless Thread Here...although it diverged.
    2.0 Discussion Here
    $200 Discussion Here
     
  14. sammy2066 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #14
    I use the Klipsch ProMedia GMX 2.1s ... I don't think they're in production anymore, but you can probably find them on Ebay or Amazon. The reviews will probably tell you how awesome they are ... the woofer's wooden and delivers solid bass. The speakers themselves sound extremely great!

    The only problem is they hiss when you're not using them, but that's something I've learned to easily overlook.
     
  15. Alvi macrumors 65816

    Alvi

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Location:
    Mars
    #15
    I think the iMac's speakers are pretty awesome, as far as i know they're 2.1 Harman/Kardon, i wouldn't really ask more, but maybe you could check out some JBL, Harman, bose ones
     
  16. Insilin1i thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #16
    I just bought the Harman Kardon since they were the easiest to get anyway and they sound really good and do my music a bit more justice than the imac speakers. Thanks for the comments guys.
     
  17. elixir518 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    #17
    swans m10


    I have a room that's approximately 13x22 and just bought the Klipsch Promedia 2.1s. I feel they are pretty decent, perhaps could have a bit more depth of sound and imaging. But overall, a good set. I listen to everything from George Winston and Leo Kotke to Incubus, Green Day, Muse to Fleetwood Mac. Admittedly, I'm intrigued by the Swans M10s. Considering the size of the room and music, do you feel the Swans are worth exploring? I'd hate to waste the money on shipping costs to return them if its unnecessary from the get-go. Thanks!
     
  18. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    #18
    I really like the Harman Kardon HK695 speakers. I bought them in 2001 and they still work really well. The sound quality is amazing, and the bass is great. It has easy controls for bass, treble, surround, and volume. I actually hide the speakers behind my 22" monitor and they still sound great.
     
  19. CubeHacker macrumors 65816

    CubeHacker

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    #19
    You are going to want something a lot bigger/more powerful than the M10's if your room is that large and you feel the Promedia 2.1's aren't enough for you.
    If you want Swans, definitely go for the M200's II or III. They put the M10's to shame.
     
  20. elixir518 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    #20
    Thanks for the feedback. That's helpful. The M200's II or III are more than I want to spend at this point. The Klipschs' put out enough juice, I was just looking for a deeper, more accurate soundstage. Than I realized it really depends on the quality of the tune I'm playing too! duh...

    In any case, they are certainly good enough for now... they're computer speakers after all!
     
  21. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #21
    The M10s are very directional, so room size doesn't matter as much as where you are listening to them. If you are trying to "fill the room" - you are going to what a 5.1.
     
  22. CubeHacker macrumors 65816

    CubeHacker

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    Apr 22, 2003
    #22
    You don't necessarily need 5.1 to fill a room, just big enough speakers.
     
  23. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #23
    There are few computer speakers that could provide decent sound at a variety of points in a room. Most computer speakers tend to be made for listeners to be sitting close to them, some of the 5.1 sets buck this trend.

    Sound is all subjective, but this is definitely not something where I'd recommend:
    A. The M10s
    B. Any monitoring type speaker.
     
  24. CubeHacker macrumors 65816

    CubeHacker

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    Apr 22, 2003
    #24
    Agreed. Thought if he really wants to fill his room with nice, clear loud audio, i'd recommend ditching a 5.1 and instead getting a T-Amp and getting a nice large pair of bookshelf speakers. It'll be cheaper that way and overall better audio quality.
     

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