Edited question:The Audioengine A5's, Alesis M1 520 or M-audio BX5 Deluxe?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by macsander, May 22, 2008.

  1. macsander macrumors regular

    macsander

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    #1
    Hello,

    edit: please check out my latest posts about which of these three speakers I should get. I don't do mixing creating music or anything like that, I would just like to have wonderful rich sound with a nice bass to listen to my music collection, for my iMac, for under 400$. Thanks!

    I am thinking of buying the AudioEngine A5 speakers to go with my 24'' IMac since they have such amazing reviews, but they are quite big. I would first like to see a picture of them next to someone's screen/Imac to see what it looks like, if I find them too big or just fine....

    It would be awesome if somebody could post a picture here of his/her A5 setup!

    Thanks!
    Alesis M1 520
    M-audio BX5a Deluxe

    or
    The Audioengine A5's
     
  2. macsander thread starter macrumors regular

    macsander

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    #3
    Please guys, need some help here

    Anymore frontside pictures here?

    Please, it would be very helpful if anybody could take a picture of their A5's on their desk.
     
  3. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #4
    Have you considered the possibility that no one here owns these speakers?
     
  4. macsander thread starter macrumors regular

    macsander

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    #5
    No because there are quite some people on some threads who say they own them and sound amazing, I wouldn't ask it if I wasn't sure about that, obviously.
     
  5. Foxglove9 macrumors 65816

    Foxglove9

    Joined:
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    Location:
    New York City
    #6
    Those look awesome. Was wondering if they are really worth the money, hard to find them in stores.
     
  6. AngryMacVGNerd macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    #7
    I think you are missing an absolutely crucial component of information. The iMac does NOT have analog line out for audio. It doesn't matter what speakers you get; if they don't have a TOSLink jack for input, it's going to sound like trash.

    You'll need a USB or FireWire audio interface to get a line out signal. Here is the cheapest one:

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/iMic/

    And these are only $200 and better:

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/M1Active520/

    The A5's aren't even active monitors in the important sense. The left speaker powers the right one, but the crossover is obviously passive. Overpriced, consumer-grade garbage.
     
  7. macsander thread starter macrumors regular

    macsander

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    #8
    This is not true at all, almost every speaker system uses jacks 3.5mm or 6 to connect to the audio system and it sounds awesome and your usb solution sounds odd since there is no digital output so it doesn't help, in recording studio's they also connect jack cables to computers, and the a5's are no consumer crap I heard them myself they are amazing read the reviews.
     
  8. AngryMacVGNerd macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    #9
    Reviews by people who have never heard anything but other consumer crap mean little. The problem is that cheap, good-sounding audio gear is just not marketed toward the public. It has to do with advertising dollars, and market focus. Frankly, I never heard a good monitor until I went to music school. I wouldn't have believed that I had never heard a good one prior to that, because, like most other people, I was simply never exposed to a proper piece of equipment.

    On the line out topic: A headphone jack and a 3.5 mm stereo line out LOOK the same, but they are not. Running audio through a headphone jack into something that is NOT headphones kills the high end and adds distortion. It's sort of like turning everything into a low-bandwidth mp3.

    As for recording studios, every studio I have been in has used at least a FireWire interface, on the low end (that's what I use), but PCI cards attached to input/output modules, which are in turn attached to outboard A/D converters, which are then attached to top-notch standalone analog preamps, is the most common solution. For audio out, it's likely that you'll just find the monitors hooked up to the I/O module, but that's still a crucial component.

    And the A5's don't have have digital input. I don't know what gave you that idea. In many pictures, they show an iPod hooked up to it via the iPod's headphone jack. Once again, it is IMPOSSIBLE for that to sound good. The iPod, also, does not provide a line out jack. You would need something like this:

    http://www.sendstation.com/

    There's no reason to attack me, when I'm just trying to save you money and make your audio sound good.
     
  9. macsander thread starter macrumors regular

    macsander

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    #10
    It was not meant as an attack at all, what if I put a creative xmod( external soundcard) between my Imac and my speakers? Then I would have a mini jack line out. would that help?

    And what speakers do you suggest which look nice as well next to my alu Imac?

    edit: and which firewire device would you recommend for an Imac since the link is for ipods?
     
  10. macsander thread starter macrumors regular

    macsander

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    #11
    btw, I don't do anything with recording audio just listening music, non-professional just like good sound quality. so for example the Harman Kardon SoundsticksII are no good as well?
     
  11. Alloye macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Location:
    Rocklin, CA
    #12
    Yes it does.

    I disagree. The A5s are extremely well built, sound excellent, and represent a huge leap in quality above the typical brands most people like to recommend.
     
  12. AngryMacVGNerd macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    #13
    It doesn't matter how big the leap is. It's still overpriced, and excellent is relative. People can only realistically recommend things after they have experienced them, and frankly, good speakers are not out there for people to listen to. Like I said, we as consumers have no frame of reference. You simply can not buy good audio products in a store. The companies who make them don't waste the time and money to advertise them there, because of risk. They feel that it's safer to stick to the pro market.

    People want to plug their iPod into something cute and small, but there is no way for that stuff to sound good with today's technology. So, the crap is self-propagating. People buy crap, get used to crap, and are actually happy with crap, because it's all they know.

    http://www.apple.com/imac/specs/

    Don't say stupid things. I can not stand people who have no idea what they're talking about, and mislead others.
     
  13. AngryMacVGNerd macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    #14
    The xmod is overpriced and the iMic should do a better job for less than half the price.

    Choosing speakers based on what your Mac looks like is a pipe dream, but the Alesis monitors I linked you to before should match quite nicely, actually. Here's a more accurate picture:

    http://alesis.com/m1active520

    You don't need FireWire; the iMic will do. However, if you want to step up a bit, you could get one of these, but I doubt you'll hear a difference:

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Transit/

    I owned one of these for a while, and it was nice, but this is getting into recording territory, providing you with inputs that you don't need:

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Alpha/

    That's absolutely accurate. Anything that sends the midrange frequencies to a tiny "woofer" is what's known as Mono. The high frequencies are in stereo, but the bulk of the music is going to be in mono. Yeah, I'd call that "no good", all right.

    Here are the most important things I'd look for in a low-end listening setup:
    - proper connections (analog line out to line in - not headphone jack to line in)
    - monitors with big enough drivers to deliver reasonable bass - at least 5 inches a piece
    - active crossover (this means each speaker needs to be plugged in, but it should sound great)
    - balanced cabling if possible (not standard on consumer equipment - good for eliminating noise, but generally not necessary if your cables aren't too long)
     
  14. Alloye macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Location:
    Rocklin, CA
    #15
    Whatever, buddy. I've been into high-end audio since the 70's and certainly won't be baited into justifying my opinion with a trollish statement like that.

    To everyone else, I stand by my assertion that the Audioengine A5s sound excellent and will perform quite well when plugged into the analog out (headphone jack) of a recent iMac. It may not be the ultimate setup, but I guarantee it'll sound a lot better than the typical Harmon/Altec/Logitech stuff that most people seem to favor these days.
     
  15. SeVeN macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    San Jose
    #16

    lovin' the G3

    :apple:
     
  16. AngryMacVGNerd macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    #17
    You lied. I proved you wrong. Deliberately spreading false information is stupid and I have no respect for someone who thinks their "opinion" about product details is right. This is not a matter of debate. The iMac does not have a line out jack. If you have been into this stuff for so long, you ought to know the difference.

    I guarantee the same thing, and I haven't even heard the speakers. Now spend $20-$40 and have it sound much better. Why would you not do that?

    If you buy some cheap "pro" monitors, you'll save money, and have better sound. The A5s are right on the edge of being pro monitors, spec-wise. They just don't have an active crossover or balanced inputs. Spend less, and get that stuff, and you'll have a better deal. Here are a bunch of superior options that are under the price of the A5's:

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MediaOne5/
    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/BX5a/
    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Resolv65a/
    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/BX5aDeluxe/
    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Rubicon5a/
    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/BX8a/
    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ResolvA5/
    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ALP5/
     
  17. macsander thread starter macrumors regular

    macsander

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    #18
    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/BX5aDeluxe/
    I like these but isn't the thing with studio monitors that they produce extremely detailed sound so that my mp3 quality music from my Imac would sound great since you hear all the flaws and noise? I thought studio monitors were not meant for listening to mp3 quality at home? that's why they're called 'studio'right?

    I also would need a device to increase the sound quality from my mac but what you suggested before wouldn't work because I need something where I can plug my AKG headphones in as well plus the device had a lot of bad review and is mainly meant for recoding.

    These speakers have a 1/4 input my Imac 1/8th what cable would you suggest?

    Can you please post the device/cables that would be best to use with my Imac, those speakers and my AKG headphone.

    Thanks a lot.

    p.s I haven't got trained ears for good quality audio so are you sure these would sound better in my ears than the a5's? enough bass?
     
  18. macsander thread starter macrumors regular

    macsander

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    #19
    Thanks for the comment, what would you recommend for my untrained unprofessional ears that just like good rich sound quality from my imac?
    The A5's or speakers like the m-audio bx5a deluxe?

    Which device would you recommend to place between my imac and speakers to improve the quality and connect my headphone at the same time, is the creative xmod any good, other suggestion?
     
  19. AngryMacVGNerd macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    #20
    Sort of. They're designed not to color the sound. But the people who mixed your music also mixed the music to sound right on such monitors. A lot of consumer speakers naturally boost the bass a lot, to try to impress you. That's not what the music is supposed to sound like - that's for waking up people with your car, in the ghetto, or feeling the beat in a club. One of the reasons that the A5s sound as good as they do, is that they DON'T do this stupid thing. A quote from AudioEngine's website:

    "Small Speakers, Big Bass. You won't hear any enhanced super-mega-hyper-monster boomy bass from these speakers. The low end from the Audioengine 5 is real bass, very near to the originally-recorded music. "

    Thinking that your ears need to be trained is not accurate. Everybody's hard-wired to hear stuff that sounds "natural". The key to all of the monitors I linked to was that they are better at sending the appropriate frequencies to the appropriate speakers, versus the A5s. It translates into more natural sound. Hopefully, you can hear it, but if not, at least you saved money, and certainly didn't lose anything.

    If you use a USB interface, which you HAVE to, you won't lose your headphone jack. Plug headphones into the back of the iMac. An external interface could do better, but it's probably not a big issue. The new MacBook Pros sends out random high frequencies from the headphone jack sometimes, but unplugging and replugging fixes that. Here's a solution to get a connection going from a 1/8" jack to two 1/4" jacks:

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/YMP137

    Then, buy whatever lengths you need from this selection (you need one for each speaker):
    http://www.sweetwater.com/c819--Unbalanced_Cables_TS_to_TS/low2high
     
  20. macsander thread starter macrumors regular

    macsander

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    #21
    I still need a good usb/firewire device, the one you linked before is not entirely what I like, it has lots of miserable reviews and it has mainly a recoding/microphone purpose, do you have a better suggestion?
     
  21. Spock macrumors 68000

    Spock

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    Location:
    Vulcan
    #22
  22. macsander thread starter macrumors regular

    macsander

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    #23
    I live in The Netherlands and i find 250$ too expensive for just such a device, thanks for the tip though.
     
  23. Alloye macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Location:
    Rocklin, CA
    #24
    I do know the difference. And no, I didn't lie. The fact remains that the headphone jack on an iMac is an analog output suitable for driving the A5s (along with any other system that accepts analog input). I agree it's not strictly regulated to line level. And I agree the output stage of the headphone amp increases the potential for noise. But that's not the issue. The issue is that satisfactory results can be had despite your claim otherwise.

    If anyone is lying here, perhaps you should calm down and look in the mirror. You claim any speakers plugged into the iMac will sound like "trash." Since that assertion has no basis in reality, I won't even debate it.

    You also claim that all the positive reviews of the A5 were done by "people who have never heard anything but other consumer crap." Another falsehood easily dismissed by spending a few minutes on Google.

    Wait... You're telling everyone the A5s are "overpriced, consumer-grade garbage" and you haven't even auditioned them? OK. At least I've tried the products I dismiss.

    As for a USB audio card, sure. Why not? After all, if there's one thing I've learned in audio, it's that you can almost always spend more money to get better sound. But I've also learned there is a point of diminishing returns, not to mention a fair amount of snake oil.

    Debatable. There is always a degree of subjectivity (both aesthetically and sonically) when it comes to speaker choice. I don't own any of the speakers on your list, so I won't say whether or not the A5s sound better/worse, but I will say that active crossovers and balanced inputs are not a guarantee of superior sound. A speaker's physical properties (i.e. driver/cabinet/port design) can actually play a much larger role in its overall presentation.
     
  24. macsander thread starter macrumors regular

    macsander

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    #25
    Thanks for the reply, the thing about the A5's is they look very nice and most of the other speakers look just plain ugly I think and since they're on my desk good looks are also very preferable. I need to connect my headphone and speakers at the same time, what would you recommend, Creative xmod, a external Usb card(please recommend one) or just a splitter cable (does the sound quality decrease by a 3.3mm splitter cable?)

    Thanks!
     

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