Best Speakers Under $350?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by nickoras, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. nickoras macrumors newbie


    Feb 28, 2013
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Hey guys. Just wondering what are some good speakers for under $350-400 dollars. I don't want to spend to much.

    I've been reading up on the Harmon Kardon SoundSticks III and they seem pretty good.. but I think when I was reading a comparison it doesn't seem to have a subwoofer driver?

    Also, when I compared it to Edifier Prisma... the frequency of the SoundSticks has a smaller range. Not sure if that's good or not.
    I take photos as a hobby and I know smaller range lenses tend to produce better colors. But not sure if that logic applicable here.

    Been looking at the JBL Creature IIIs as well..

    Or the Bose Companion 5.. but is it really worth that price tag?

    Any other good suggestions would be appreciated!
    And maybe even ones that I can purchase from Futureshop or Apple Store because I have gift certificates to those places.

  2. Irishman macrumors 68030

    Nov 2, 2006
    What kind of sound do you like? What kinds of content will you be listening to and what percentage of each? (For example - movies/music/gaming - 20/60/20%)
  3. fastlanephil macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2007
    I had the Harmon Kardon Sound Sticks for my G 333 iMac years ago and they sounded pretty decent. They had good bass as I remember. The large round section is a sub woofer.
  4. ChrisA, Apr 14, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You will NEVER get decent sound from a system that is crossed over to a subwoofer at a high frequency. The left and right speakers need to go down well below 100Hz and hopefully brow 60Hz. The mid range is where the vocals are and you want good accurate drivers in that range. The sub, if you even have one should only handle sound so low your ears can not localize it. If space is a concern get a pair of studio monitors, as large as you can afford and if space is not an issue get "'full size" speakers.

    It all depends on how you will use them. If there are to be "computer speakers" then this is really a decent deal
    The brand does not have the reputation of some others but they really do sound good at reasonable volume levels. The imaging is near perfect Although you need to place them on stands to place the tweeter at ear level. I use 6" tall blocks under them.

    However they'd make poor living room stereo speakers. for those on a $350 budget I'd look at these
    Again there are better but with a $350 budget you are looking for value and these floor standing Polk monitors are that.
  5. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2012
    United States
    If you want loudspeakers for music, check out the PSB Alpha B1. They get a considerable amount of praise from many reviewers. Plus they aren't too expensive. Of course, the best method when searching for a loudspeaker is to go out and give them a demo. Your ears should be the judge, not someone's review.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The size, design and specs of the above are very much like the ones I pointed out, exect these PSB speakers are passive and ail need an amplifier. So that adds about $100 to the price and puts them $50 over budget. (but maybe you find a sale?) The "Resolve" units are self powered. Any like ether ofthese will work, lot of good ones at this price point.

    But most people buying "computer spaekers" care more about how they look and ail go with something silly like those sound sticks because they look cool.

    You'd get the best sound with a pair of "studio monitors" placed on a way-cheap stand. Experiment with distance d=from the wall and hw they are aimed.

    To fill a living room then you budget allows full size speakers.

    If you need the amp for passive speakers the best sub $100 amp I've found is the Audio Source AMP100. Sells for about $90 on sale. Yes there are better amps but you will have to spend over $100 and to NOT spend more if the total budget is $350. With such a low budget you want about 2/3 of it togo into speakers

    Two things about auditioning speakers:
    1) be objective. listen for speciic things in one speaker vs. another. Be able to say I heard this or that in one set but not the other. Otherwise you getsuckered into going for one that is simply louder or something. and
    2) bring music with you that you know very well and is the kind you listen to. Don't use the sales guys demo music.
  7. darknite macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2004
    Take a look at the M-Audio BX5 D2 monitors. They are powered 70 watt per channel near field studio monitors that make great computer speakers in addition to mixing.

    As stated earlier, best advice, go listen to several pairs of monitors and regular stereo loud speakers with music you know well, decided what sounds good to you.

    Look for somewhere with a good return policy if you don't like the way they sound at home in your setup.
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Good but the price is $280 each and the OP wants a pair for $350
  9. Johbremat macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2011
    Just so you're aware, suggestions are great to ask for and reviews cam claim 5-stars, but ensure you audition anything and everything. Hearing is a very subjective matter and what sounds like gold to others may sound absolute kak to you.

    You can get a beautiful sound from bookshelves or satellites crossed over at the sub (audio source -> subwoofer -> separated channels). You simply need to ensure that you get a quality system (Marantz, Jamo, Klipsch, B&W and Yamaha come to mind) that offers you a knob at the back to specify the frequency cut and send to the separated channels.

    Then again, bookshelf speakers around 7" up produce some fantastic bass that don't require a sub.

    Sony, Sonos...these types of brands all produce all produce decent gear, so don't discount them.

    If you want something specific, had a look at FutureShop's range and suggest you check out: (should be good) + (an option, but probably not preferred even if they can get more stock in) (worth a listen) (slightly out of your price range, but worth a look I've heard)! I never really rated them as a brand until I got this, and reckon it's amazing...for my space)

  10. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2012
    United States
    I believe eBay always will have them pop up, so its playing the waiting game on that one. Of course, Audiogon is another place to check out.

    OP, this is something you must do!!! Your ear should be the only judge when buying a pair of speakers, not someone's review or wordofmouth. Remember, everyone hears different.

    In terms of passive speakers, another great thing to keep on eye out for stuff on Craigslist or eBay. Things come and go all the time and you never know, you might just get lucky.
  11. BlazednSleepy macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2012
  12. akswun macrumors regular


    Dec 29, 2009
    KRK Rokit 5's, 6's, or 8's.... If you're good at deal hunting you can find a pair of 2nd Gen 8's under $400.
  13. maqsur macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2009
    I purchased speaker set by Corsair that had a subwoofer and two satellites with customize dsp; was like 200 bucks on Amazon. Really nice sound.
  14. inscrewtable, May 1, 2013
    Last edited: May 1, 2013

    inscrewtable macrumors 68000


    Oct 9, 2010
    I don't think you will be unhappy with a pair of krk vxt4's you might have to stretch to $600 although you should be able to pick up a pair on ebay for 400. I have the older model v4's and they are truly splendid. Small but with plenty of bass that is very tight. Better than the rokit 5 or 6's

    Also don't laugh but for $75 delivered you can get a pair of behringer MS16 powered speakers which are not too far from the v4's I kid you not
  15. auhlixer macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2006
    Philadelphia, PA
  16. Sackvillenb, May 10, 2013
    Last edited: May 10, 2013

    Sackvillenb macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2011
    Canada! \m/
    You should clarify what you want to use the speakers for, and what kind of sound you like.

    Don't worry about the frequency response. For speakers in this price range it won't matter much (as in, the exact frequency range is less important than the actual quality of sound reproduction within the range of the speakers, i.e. I can go to the dollar store and buy a pair of cheap headphones that go from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, but the will still sound terrible).

    Don't buy the Bose. The other speakers people have mentioned here will all sound better.

    All of the studio monitor style speakers people have mentioned are all great. From the Samson to the KRK's, those are all great.

    Someone mentioned the audioengine A2's, and those are great as well, but they do require amplification.

    The audioengine A5+'s have built in amps, and sound fantastic (a bit bass heavy though). Excellent imaging and treble though. Mids are great too :)

    The emotiva's someone mentioned are also really really good (and they're a great bargain) but you'll need an amp for those too.

    (EDIT the emotiva's do not need to be amped :) )
  17. aks650 macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2011
    I just picked up a pair of Audioengine 5+ and love them so far. They are right at the top end of your budget - The Audioengine 2s may be an alternative.
  18. Irishman macrumors 68030

    Nov 2, 2006
    I'm considering the A5+ for my next upgrade. Can you provide us with some more detailed analysis of how they perform with music, movies and games?

    Also, what music player are you using? Any external DAC?
  19. aks650 macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2011
    Sure - I am relatively new to Audiophilia, so my analysis may not be too comprehensive...

    I am using them as desktop speakers in the lab I work in - so it is definitely not an acoustic dream. My source is typically an iPhone/ipod passed through an HRT iStreamer DAC. I can't speak to gaming or movies yet, but I have put them through a wide range of music.

    With all that in mind - I am really impressed so far. Mids and highs are crisp and very (very) clean. Lows are unbelievable for 2.0. Reproduction feels natural - if that makes any sense...

    I've probably only put ~100hrs on them so far and i can't wait to break them in more. I first got turned onto them by my thesis supervisor - a more serious Audiophile - who could not say enough positive things about Audioengine.

    Part of the thrill for me is the money:quality ratio - these speakers sound way more expensive than they are. The DAC makes a big difference, but even using an analogue source they are impressive speakers.


    I guess I should also say that I am mostly listening to Apple lossless or high-bit rate music.
  20. Irishman macrumors 68030

    Nov 2, 2006
    Good to know! Are you playing through Apple's music player? Also, where do you get your hi-res music?
  21. aks650 macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2011
    Yes through the stock player - are there much better options out there?

    Typically I rip CDs into iTunes, but sometimes I'll grab FLAC files from
  22. Irishman macrumors 68030

    Nov 2, 2006
    Never heard of them. What do they offer? Cost on a song-by-song basis, or a subscription?
  23. aks650 macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2011
    Uh, it's on more of a 'donation' basis...? It's a russian site that lists sites you can download from.
  24. AryanWans macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2013
    Hey, i also heard and saw JBL Speakers are really works great...But the cost is not in a reasonable price..Please post some reasonable price speakers in between the $200 to $300..

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