$200 budget for speakers

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by rocanlover163, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. rocanlover163 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    #1
    Looking for some speakers to add to my rmbp and thunderbolt display. Im not looking to go over $200. Ideally here is what I'm looking for in them.

    -wireless or USB connection. (is there a quality difference?)
    -nice sleek design that will compliment my display, wireless keyboard and magic mouse.
    -ability to connect to my tv as well (not sure if this is possible)

    Any recommendations? I guess my top priorities are, the less wires the better.
     
  2. rocanlover163 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    #2
    Friendly bump..

    Anyone have experience with:

    -Harman Kardon Soundsticks III
    -Edifier Prisma E3350
    -UCube Compact USB speakers
     
  3. Jb07 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Location:
    Dallas
    #3
    I don't have tons of expierence with those speakers but since no one else has commented on this thread, I decided to jump in.:)
    It seems the Harmon Kardon has the best reviews. It's also one of PC Mag's Editor's Choice speakers. If I were you I would get those.
     
  4. Destroysall, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012

    Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Destroysall

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    Feb 28, 2012
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    #4
    Well you have a few options here. I have yet to hear the Harmon Kardon Soundsticks, but I have heard the GLA-55. I know the price difference is huge, but I also heard the Harmon Kardon car audio system, and all in all, they sound great. So I will assume the Soundsticks are a great bang for the buck!

    A few others to consider:

    - Audioengine A2
    - Swam M10

    If you have the desktop room for the Swan M10's sub, I'd vouche for it. It has a really great sound and it having a dedicated sub makes it the best all-rounder. However, the A2 have received favorable reviews immensely and are great due to their small form factor.
     
  5. rocanlover163 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #5
    Hey Thanks for the replies!:)

    Yea I was leaning more towards the sound sticks as well. They seem to look great next to a thunderbolt display also.

    I don't have much desktop room, so I would like to save as much space as I can, however the Swan 10's you linked looked great and actually have a nice price with them.. Do you know how the sound would compare with the sound sticks?
     
  6. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a

    Pharmscott

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    Dec 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    #6
    You didn't say if you prefer a 2 speaker system or a 2.1 (or I missed it). If you have room for a 2.1, this is a great deal at $100 off:

    http://us.store.creative.com/Creative-Gigaworks-T3-2.1-Speakers/M/B001S10DDO.htm

    I have the T20s on my desk at work and they sound very nice. These can only be better with a dedicated sub. I'll second the Audio Engines but they can get pricey after the entry model.

    ----------

    One more thought: Read reviews on wireless speakers if you decide to go that route. My (home) wireless Logitechs mess with my WiFi signal so they end up off most of the time (which is too bad because they sound amazing).
     
  7. Fuchal macrumors 68020

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    Sep 30, 2003
    #7
  8. mizzouxc macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2010
    #8
    Klipsch Promedia. No contest. (edit: the Promedia 2.1 model)

    I got my girlfriend some edifiers, and tried personally 3-4 other brands. All sucked compared to the promedia's.


     
  9. shrakner macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    #9
    My vote's for the Harman-Kardon soundsticks. I have the Soundsticks II model, and they're exceptional speakers. Turn off any iTunes "audio enhancement", these things are crystal, with excellent bass from the sub.

    Only caveat I've noticed is that they're fairly directional- some other speakers, like the Altec Lansings I had before these, have down-pointing mid-range speakers for a good area effect. The Soundsticks are darn near perfect desk speakers, but they're not dance party speakers. :)
     
  10. rocanlover163 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    #10
    Thanks for all the replies and suggestion guys! I'd like to go with a 2.1 system. After doing a bit more research I think I am going to stay away from a wireless setup for now.. Seems to be some loss of quality from what I've read.

    I would prefer to connect the speaker via USB rather than the headphone jack, so that it can go directly into the TBD (Less connecting to do when mounting my computer). Is there any difference in quality between connecting via USB and the headphone jack?

    I will look at the suggestions that everyone has posted.. I'm a bit bummed that the soundsticks aren't USB..
     
  11. sine-nomine macrumors regular

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    Jul 25, 2007
    Location:
    Finer stores everywhere.
    #11
    I'd vote for either the AudioEngine A2s or the M-Audio AV40s if you're wanting to go the powered speaker route. Many Best Buys have the AV40 in stock, which might make an audition possible before you buy. The A2s have universally excellent reviews. Before I purchased my current setup, these were the two top contenders I was considering.

    If you're interested in more flexibility and potentially better sound, look into unpowered speakers and a separate amplifier. A decent starter system could be something as simple as the Dayton B652 speakers and either the Dayton DTA-100a T-amp (which has very nice sound, but poor quality control, leading to some units having some channel imbalance or a making some static with volume adjustments), or the Topping TP21 T-amp. Lepai also makes a decent little amp for somewhere around $30 IIRC. The nice thing about going this route is the ability to shop around and really tailor the sound, or incrementally upgrade as your budget/tastes/needs change. You could even go nuts and throw a better DAC into the mix.
     
  12. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Destroysall

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    #12
    I wouldn't be too sure. I wouldn't say one is totally better. The SoundSticks "might" be a tad better, but a DAC will indeed do further good to any set of speakers. $110 for the M10 leaves you room in your wallet for a great DAC, like the Fiio E10 or the HRT MS2. Just remember also that Harmon Kardon is also a popular audio brand. You're paying for the brand name like you pay Bose or B&W.

    ----------

    I was going to suggest this setup, but it goes over his budget slightly.
     
  13. rocanlover163 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #13
    So after looking at the Swan M10's they aren't as big as I imagined them, which is good. I think I can manage them on my desk. I just need to compare both and see which seem more logical to buy I guess, from the sounds of it I won't go wrong with either ones. These two seem to "look" better as well which is something I'm looking for.
     
  14. PhoenixMac macrumors 65816

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  15. LaunchpadBS macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Creative Gigaworks T40 II
    Have the 1st gen ones for a few years now and they sound as awesome as they did the day I bought em.
    Seriously best bang for buck you'll get as far as PC speakers go.
     
  16. sine-nomine macrumors regular

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    Finer stores everywhere.
    #16
    One thing to keep in mind about the Swan M-10s is that the "sub" isn't really a sub. It's more of a "midwoofer" and is meant to sit at or near ear level.
     
  17. ladymacintosh macrumors member

    ladymacintosh

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    Jan 25, 2011
    Location:
    Seattle
    #17
    This.

    The AV40's are awesome and you can find them on eBay or Craigslist for under a hundred bucks. You can add a sub to them and you can connect them to your TV if you want.

    If you are interested in USB connected speakers, I would recommend the Alesis M1Active 520USB or 320USB http://www.ebay.com/itm/Alesis-M1-A...954?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4845ac7b3a

    or Akai RPM3, which are actually identical to the Alesis 320USB, just a little different aesthetically. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Akai-RPM3-R...550?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a1e9f4406
     
  18. LeandrodaFL macrumors 6502a

    LeandrodaFL

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    Apr 6, 2011
    #18
    Google "Creative i-trigue", the white ones have an amazing design
     
  19. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 12, 2005
    #19
    Another vote for AudioEngine...just stellar sound quality for the price.
     
  20. rocanlover163 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #20
    I'm trying to figure out if how much desk room I will have if I purchase the M10's or similar. I'll post a pic of my setup when I get home, maybe you guys can help me.

    Everyone seems to like Audio Engine. I'm leaning more for the M10's, design wise they look better and have read good reviews about the sound as well. Do you guys think there is a big difference in sound between the AudioEngines and Swans M10?
     
  21. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Destroysall

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    United States
    #21
    The Audioengine A2, I believe, has the ability to add in a subwoofer. In that case, that adds an advantage to the A2 over the Swan M10.
     
  22. tbell macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    #22
    Audyssey Lower East Side Music Speakers $170
    http://www.amazon.com/Audyssey-Lowe...71713&sr=8-1&keywords=auddysey+media+speakers

    Gizmodo review:
    http://gizmodo.com/5825342/audyssey-lower-east-side-speakers-desk+small-tv+brilliant/gallery/1

    Just got them and they ROCK. Finally come to the end of my search for a sick, good-looking 2.0 system. Not wireless out of the box, but hooked up to my Airport Express (and thus AirTunes) they're pretty perfect.

    Edit: just to be clear, no need for a subwoofer with these.
     
  23. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Destroysall

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    #23
    Think of it this way, if you have a hard time deciding between both the A2 and the M10, both The Audio Insider and Audioengine USA offer a 30-day Satisfaction Guarantee. Buy one, if you don't like it, try the other; vice versa.
     
  24. rocanlover163 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    #24
    Thanks for all the advice guys! I will let you all know what I decide on! I will probably make a decision in the next week or so. Still breaking in my the rMBP and display! :)
     

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