3.5mm vs USB Speakers

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by davidg4781, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. davidg4781 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Location:
    Alice, TX
    #1
    My apologies if this may be a dumb question....

    I've had a MB/MBP for the past 7 years and I think I'm tired of sitting on the couch/table looking at a 13" screen when I actually have to do real work, which isn't very often.

    I bought a 20" ACD and I'm thinking of buying some speakers. I know there are USB speakers out now. I've never really bought "computer" speakers since I've always used a set of really good Sonys I've had since 1995.

    Should I look for USB or just stick with regular analog. How about Bluetooth?

    As far as future proofing and what not I do plan on getting a newer MBP later. I'd love and TBD but don't think I can handle the price tag. Right now sound is coming out of my MBP which is facing away from me with the display closed. If I get a BookArc they'll be facing down.
     
  2. Calvinator666 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #2


    A pair of Audioengine A2 and you are all set. They are 3.5mm jack connected, or you can even go USB if you get the Audioengine D1 DAC. In my opinion, having a DAC is mandatory!
     
  3. davidg4781 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Location:
    Alice, TX
    #3
    Would the A2+ work? I think it has a built in DAC. They're $250, a bit more than what I was planning for, but my last ones are still going strong after 20 years. I think I paid $100 for those back then.

    How would a similar priced Bose set compare to these? I was shying away from that price point but I'd hate to drop more than $30 and be disappointed.
     
  4. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    www.emiliana.cl/en
    #4
    If possible, use a Toslink cable, like this:
    http://store.apple.com/us_smb_78313...ink-optical-audio-cable-with-line-out-adapter

    and a separate amplifier. The amplifier can then use thicker (standard) audio cables:
    http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=102&cp_id=10239&cs_id=1023901&p_id=2789&seq=1&format=2

    USB is also an option and provides also a digital connection between your Macs and amplifiers/speakers. A digital connection has no problem with analog noise.

    The worst connection is the standard 3.5 mm copper cable connection, because it uses a) analog signals and b) uses very thin copper cables, which have a lot of shortcomings (high resistance, analog noise, ...).

    Wireless audio “connections” are good enough for speech or temporary solutions. I cannot recommend them, if you have a collection of lossless compressed or non-compressed music (Audio CDs).
     
  5. Calvinator666 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #5

    You will have no regrets with the Audioengine speakers. Yes an A2+ will work perfectly as well! But they are going for around $50 more, and I might not think they do not much difference with the A2, in terms of sound. And furthermore, you can replace better speaker cables with the A2 when you want it.

    In terms of amazing sound accuracy and at that price point, it is really hard to beat the A2 or the A2+.
     
  6. Calvinator666 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #6
    Just got myself the Audioengine D1 recently after using the A2 for almost 2 years, and I am extremely pleased with how my music is represented now.
     

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  7. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #7
    I recommend the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 speakers.

    As for USB vs 3.5mm, If you forget to plug in the 3.5mm speakers all that happens is the sound comes out of the built in speakers. If you forget to plug in the USB speakers settings can change to point to the internal speakers. Of course if you're not moving the MacBook around then this doesn't matter.
     
  8. davidg4781 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Location:
    Alice, TX
    #8
    Do you think the A2+ with built in DAC is worth the extra $50? I mean, I could save $50 and buy the DAC later, but at $160 and using an extra wall jack, is it better to bundle? I'd lose the headphone jack but I rarely use that.

    I'm lost about the forgetting to plug in part. If I forget the 3.5mm it plays out of the MBP. If I forget the USB it plays out of the MBP. Am I missing something?

    And I'll check into the Klipsch. There's a podcast I listen to and one of the guys swears by Klipsch.
     
  9. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #9
    I wasn't clear. 3.5mm vs internal speakers is via hardware detection. USB vs. internal speakers is software settings. If you forget to plug in the USB speakers, the software settings default back to the internal speakers and when you plug the USB speakers back in, you'll have to change the settings to use the USB speakers again. For a system where the USB speakers are always connected, it's not an issue at all.
     
  10. davidg4781 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Location:
    Alice, TX
    #10
    I have some Logitech USB headphones and they seem to switch whenever I plug them in, which is pretty rarely. I'm using SoundSource to manually switch the output so maybe it's doing it for me?
     
  11. Calvinator666 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #11

    I think to simply put, the A2+ was designed to have an in-built DAC so that it bypasses your MacBook Pro's internal soundcard (usually inferior quality) and to the slightly better A2+'s DAC. To be honest, I don't think they would have made the in-built DAC to sound equally good as the Audioengine D1 in this case. That would seem like cannibalizing the D1's standalone feature.

    A more detailed perspective into the A2+: http://www.custompcreview.com/reviews/audioengine-a2-plus-powered-desktop-speakers-review/19352/

    Putting the DAC issue aside, the Audioengine A2 or A2+ will more than serve what you need.
     

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