Best 2.1 for around USD $800

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by ncc1701d, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. ncc1701d macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    #1
    Not another speaker request thread! :eek:

    So, as the title suggests, I'm after a new set of speakers. I currently have the BlueSky EXO 2.1**. http://abluesky.com/products/exo2-new/

    The speakers themselves are great, but they have conked out twice now. While the service has been excellent from the home office in the USA, the dealer service where I live in Hong Kong (not honoring the 2 year international warranty) has left me jaded and looking at options.

    I would even consider upgrading to the MediaDesk 2.1 http://abluesky.com/products/mediadesk-2-1/ if the sales dude here would agree to supporting the 2 year warranty. But, it's been a few weeks now and nothing has come of it. I can't justify spending that much money for only a 1 year warranty.


    My set up is for a '09 Mac Pro (4.1). Would prefer just to use the audio out jack at the back with no preamp / power amp. It's for standard itunes listening, nothing professional. Not interested in the "soundsticks" etc. Due to my previous issues, I need at least a 2 year warranty and I live in Hong Kong. I've searched a few review web sites and some manufacturer sites directly (B&W, Bose, Entek), and of course MacRumors; but it's starting to do my head in.

    Any help appreciated :) Thanks!


    ** looks like there is now an "EXO 2" - this must be pretty new, my issues have been with first one they brought out.
     
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #3
    What are you doing, if it's beyond listening to music. Pro monitors here we come. The Focal computer speakers aren't the best option.
     
  3. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 30, 2008
    #4
    Pretty much just what I get through itunes, 95% listening to music, but I like it controlled and good quality. Something befitting my MacPro.

    To be honest, the blueSky speakers are exactly what I'm after, just the warranty situation where I live.. just on principle...
     
  4. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #5
    See if you can get better warranty and a chance to view some of HiVi's line. There are plenty of good Chinese computer speaker makers.
     
  5. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 30, 2008
    #6
    I did check out the Swans, but tbh, the best I saw was pretty low end. The is likely a "lost in translation" with the distributor who pointed me to a clapped out computer store in the middle of no where. Maybe I should be looking at better systems from them.

    I went and had a look at the MW50 (http://www.swanspeaker.com/products/products.aspx?cid=5&sid=0&pid=22). Pretty average
     
  6. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 30, 2008
    #7
    Those focals look good! A bit small for what I'm after. I had a look on their main site and there are some nice looking speakers, but not available in Hong kong :(
     
  7. bchamorro macrumors regular

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    Dec 31, 2007
    #8
    Yes they are. A lot of PRO monitors won't have the right connections for a simple setup.
     
  8. Gymnut macrumors 68000

    Gymnut

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2003
    #9
    Just out of curiosity what exactly happened with the EXO's? I've considered getting the 2.1's after having used their high end monitors.
     
  9. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 30, 2008
    #10
    I can only "review" the older model. There is a newer one out now called the "EXO2", which I would hope they would have fixed any problems.

    Basically, the first time it went dead on me was when I turned the power on only after a few uses and it blew the amp in the sub woofer. I had basically been turning my computer off at the end of the day before going to bed and turned my exo's off at the sub as well. (I thought that the cool little remote control device would have had an "off -> on and keep turning for volume rheostat type thing", but it's strictly volume and base control). I did this every night for about a month and eventually one morning they didn't turn on.

    I tried to get things sorted out through the sales guy I bought them from, but partly my fault, I don't speak cantonese, so it was a bit hard to get my issue sorted out. So, I contacted the main guys in the USA who were extremely helpful - they shipped out brand new replacement parts for the sub - basically all internal parts - including some fancy thing which weren't in the ones I had bought. They gave me instructions on how to install.

    They also suggested to NEVER turn the thing off. So, I basically I never did. The sub was always powered.

    Fast forward 18 months (mid december 2009) and the battery on my raid card on my '09 mac pro crapped out, so it needed to be replaced (under warranty of course), so the guy gets the replacement part and proceeds to unplug everything from the back of the computer, including the analog jack for the exo's. Diligently trying to do the right thing and before I can stop him, he turns off the power to the sub.
    After the job is done and on start up, everything works fine... but no power to the sub. Same problem as before. Now, I can understand they don't want me to keep turning it off and on every day, but this was once after many months...

    I've check the fuse in the plug, but all is good there, he sales guy said that he thinks it's overheated, but I think that's bs, the only other thought I had was maybe the mac pro issues with the audio problems through itunes might have caused something (but the initial problem sub blow out was with using an 08 iMac, so doubt it's that either).

    Anyway. The dealer here in Hong Kong has a big stamp on the invoice saying it's only got a 1 year warranty, but BlueSky head office is saying that the dealer is obligated to honour the 2 year international warranty. Head office said they would look into it but I've not heard back. That was a few weeks ago now.

    To be honest, I really enjoyed the EXO's. I found them to be better than my home theatre 5.1. The sales guy in Hong Kong has said I can exchange and upgrade to the media desk 2.1's or even the pro desk (a bit of overkill for my purpose). I'd love to upgrade to the media desk 2.1 - but not on a 1 year warranty.

    Sorry that I haven't cut a long story short - which BlueSky set up have you been using?
     
  10. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 30, 2008
    #11
    I thought I might add, that the sales guy is of the opinion that the build quality of the EXO's SUB (the one that I have at any rate) is significantly of lower standard than the mediadesk 2.1 and up. The corners of mine are fraying a little bit and I've looked after them. The monitors themselves are in top condition - though I'm no audiophile!

    He could have been just pushing me to get the mediadesk though...

    Hope all this helps!
     
  11. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 30, 2008
    #12
    Turns out the Swans are only 1 year warranty as well.I spoke to the sales guy at B&W and they have a 2 year on electrical and 5 year on the speakers. They seem to be a bit more expensive, but after what I've ben through, I'll pay the extra to get the warranty.
     
  12. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #13
    Hold on, you are getting Bowers & Wilkins computer speakers? I wouldn't recommend that at all.
     
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #14
    Any particular reason?

    I've never had the opportunity to listen to their computer speakers, but have liked the 800 series for quite a few years (bit pricey though ;) :p).
     
  14. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #15
    I got to listen to them briefly last week. While it may be difficult, I would definitely listen to them before buying, because I wouldn't be happy purchasing a pair.

    My parents have B&W's in the home theater, they make good speakers - their recent venture into computer speakers and headphones is not something that does their name good.
     
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #16
    I know their home units are decent, but cost reasons will mean there's corners cut in the lower lines (still decent if though, if not better, compared to others in the same price bracket IMO), and especially things like computer/iPod speakers. So I'm not totally surprised. But I'd hoped that they'd done well enough to not embarass themselves and damage their reputation.

    But as you say, speakers are something that needs to be listened to before buying. Unfortunately, that's become difficult to do. The audio market has had to shift due to the death of many small audio boutiques. There's a few, but not many. :(
     
  16. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #17
    Klipsch went into the computer speaker and headphone market and I don't think that their computer line was a disappointment, it least wasn't a piggyback on the name. Klipsch isn't as high-end of a brand as B&W, but whatever the case - both the headphones and the speakers were disappointing to say the least.
     
  17. mackpro macrumors member

    mackpro

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    Feb 1, 2008
    Location:
    Indiana University
    #18
    Bose will let you try their Companion 5 Speakers without paying a dime. I suggest you give this a try. They only cost $399 and they will blow your mind.
     
  18. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #19
    To be fair, the Companion 5's sound better then the B&W's and they are cheaper. Back to reality, they are going to be a huge step down from the Blue Sky system.

    What about Yamaha or Genelec? Perhaps just go to a 2.1 monitor system from a more professional company?
     
  19. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #20
    That makes sense with Klipsch IMO, as they've gone downhill with their home lines. The market's soft (been declining for years now), and they've had to cut back on what goes in it to meet price points.

    Computer speakers, headphones, iPod devices,... are the products that really move now, and is where they focus their efforts. B&W is still toiling away at the monitor products (european sales for such products are higher than the US I think, given contacts I have), and the rest is more of an afterthought it seems just to have a product out there.
     
  20. nyguy4u macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #21
    Blue Sky products are very nice. A customer of mine has a set, and they sound great.

    If you're looking to spend $800, I wouldn't recommend getting a 2.1 "computer speaker" set. I'd get monitors.

    While my setup in my home isn't very high end, it's better than most, and all I need for basic editing and voice overs that I need to do if I'm not at my office. I got a pair of Mackie MR5 monitors that were $150 each, and paired it with a Mackie 402-VLZ3 that's also around $150. It's really all I needed for my home setup, and the low end is surprisingly good. I'm not even getting a sub.

    Obviously you can spend $800, so you wouldn't be interested in my setup, but I'd definitely get monitors.

    That's my opinion.
     
  21. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 30, 2008
    #22
    Thanks for the replies. I went and listened to the B&W 685's and CM1's. They seemed ok. To be honest, I've done more internet searching than actually listening, it's always nice to go and hear these things - even if they are in fully decked out showrooms ;)

    It's hard for me to compare, but I'd have to say when my EXO's were working, they sounded better than the B&W's and for considerably less (that always makes them sound better though doesn't it ;))

    For the time being I have hooked up an old Pioneer receiver that I couldn't bring myself to throw away many years ago (VSX-D938TX). I've hooked up the EXO speakers to this thing and connected the optical cable from my MacPro to the Receiver. I'm pretty happy with the results. It is still missing the sub woofer though. The exo speakers do not get into the lower range very well. But, the EXO sub contains all the bits and pieces to make the whole system work, with it blown, I'm not sure I can hook the sub to the receiver. I've sent Blue Sky an email asking them, but still no reply. I must have really peeved them off with my warranty problems :eek: :eek: I've always felt I've been curteous to the home office in USA, I may have been a little ... curt with the distributor here though :rolleyes:

    I'm not trying to stir here, but aren't "monitors" a fancy way of saying "smaller speakers for computers"?
     
  22. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #23
    No, we are talking about pro audio monitors.

    If those are the B&W's you are using, you are fine.
     
  23. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #24
    These are MONITORS, for example:

    http://www.genelec.com/products/
     
  24. ncc1701d thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 30, 2008
    #25
    Did some research on those Mackie's. They look very nice and have a distributor in Hong Kong (Tom Lee Music, big audio and instrument shop). Will definitely check them out. Thanks!
     

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