Seeking speaker info? (not recommendations)

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by DewGuy1999, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. DewGuy1999 macrumors 68040


    Jan 25, 2009
    Last week I purchased a pair of Bose Companion 2 Series II speakers for use with my MacBook Pro and after using them for a couple of days have decided that I can't live with them, so, I'll be returning them this weekend. I'm not looking for speaker recommendations, so everyone chomping at the bit to tell me to get the Klipsh ProMedia 2.1s or the Swans M10s or the M-Audio AV 40s or the Audioengine A2s can save your time as I've already read a ton of like recommendations here and elsewhere, sorry.

    Since my next choice will likely be an internet purchase, sound unheard, I'd like to understand better what all the specs mean. What I'd like is more information, like does the number of WATTS make a difference? Is the number of WATTS how much electricity the speakers use or does it mean something different? Does the size of the individual tweeters, mids and/or subwoofer make a difference? What about bass ports? What about the speaker cone material? What about the cabinet material? Any help will be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. DaveGee, Sep 9, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2011

    DaveGee macrumors 6502a

    Jul 25, 2001
    A word of advice might be to read the AVS Fourms .... Fourms. They have some of the most knowledgable people WRT everything A/V often leading to insane levels of spending. However, since you are more interested in the pros and cons of speaker components they might be a good place to go.

    Also do a google on DIY Audio and or DIY Speakers... There's a great forum for high end audio hardware builders/hackers including a specific forum for speaker builders. After some thought thus site would be a great fit for you're specific questions.

    Found the link:
  3. DewGuy1999 thread starter macrumors 68040


    Jan 25, 2009
    Thanks. I'll be checking out both forums later today and hopefully I'll be able to get a better understanding of speakers and make a more informed decision on what I should buy to replace the Bose Companion 2 Series II speakers.
  4. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    When talking about passive speakers, the wattage rating is a power handling spec, generally to indicate how much power the speakers can handle. In reality, the spec is relatively meaningless, since there are no standards for how speakers should be specified and speakers can handle much more clean power than they can handle distorted power (in other words, you’re more likely to blow a 100 W speaker with a 50 watt amp that is driven to distortion than you are to blow a 50 W speaker with a 100 W amp that is not distorting).

    With powered speakers (which is what I think you’re interested in), the watt rating is how much power the amplifiers are specified to put out. Generally speaking, more watts = louder. However, there are many variables that affect this. In particular, the efficiency of the speakers is key; the more efficient a speaker is, the louder it will play with the same input power.

    Also, an amp that has a lot more power is not necessarily a lot louder. If all else is the same (speaker, cabinet, etc.), you need to boost the power by about 10x to double the perceived volume. That’s right, you would need to go from 50 W to 500 W to double the volume (if all else is the same).

    In general, you can’t have too much power. It only takes a few watts to drive efficient speakers to fairly loud levels. However, it’s the transients that can require 10s or 100s of watts for very brief spurts that will make or break the sound quality. If your amp has enough headroom to reproduce the transient cleanly, it will sound better than an amp that clips. You might not hear the distortion (if the transient is brief enough), but the result will not be as clean.

    One of the biggest factors in sound is size. The hardest thing for speaker systems to reproduce is good low frequency sound (bass). It’s hard to beat having large woofers when it comes to bass. So, you are not likely to get good, full range sound from small speakers. For most computer speaker systems, this means you’ll probably want a bass module or subwoofer (in reality, most so-called subwoofers are really just bass modules, handling the bass frequencies, not the really low stuff that subwoofers handle).

    Your best bet is to listen to various systems. It’s hard to get good speakers for cheap. However, you will find that you can get some really good equipment for the price of the Bose system. I’m not a “Bose basher” (of which there are many). I actually think that Bose builds some pretty good stuff. However, you pay a premium for their gear. (In other words, you pay too much.) It’s almost a guarantee that you can get something that sounds as good or better for less, or something that sounds better for the same money.

    The recommendation to check out AVS Forum is a good one. However, it can be a daunting task to research gear there and you have to learn to read between the lines (lots of “fanboys” there) and take a lot of stuff with a grain of salt.

    Good luck.
  5. DewGuy1999 thread starter macrumors 68040


    Jan 25, 2009
    Thanks, lots of what I think is good info in that post. You've helped me start to understand some of this information that up until now was meaningless.

    The Bose set that I'm returning are the Companion 2 Series II speakers, so they're a 2.0 powered system. The issue I have with them is that some music sounds good, but some of it just sounds like a blur of indecipherable sound accompanied with vocals.

    Previously I was using a G4 iMac with the the Apple Pro Speakers and for the most part I was happy with them. If you're not familiar with them they're a 2.0 setup of polycarbonate spheres each with 9 WATTS. Not a lot of power I know, but for listening to music while using the iMac they sound good enough for me. They were clear and unlike the Bose didn't sound like a blur of noise with the same songs.

    Listening to the various offerings is probably the best way to find something, because I imagine that like everything now-a-days a lot of the info out there is marketing without a lot relevance to real world listening. About the only place that I know of locally that has computer speakers set up for listening is Best Buy and their selection and method of listening leaves a lot to be desired.

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