Speakers for iMac

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by redout, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. redout macrumors member

    Mar 14, 2011
    Need some speakers for new iMac. What are people using?

    Looking for something with a fair bit of umph :D

  2. meistervu macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    I use a pair of Audioengine A2: great fidelity and loud enough to fill a good size room. I also have to same speakers connected to an Apple Airport Express as my Airplay speakers. They go to sleep when idle.
  3. tangfj macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2008
    B+W MM-1 here... they are expensive but sound great and don't take up a lot of space on the desk. If you have a large desk, though, and you are looking at the MM-1's I'd recommend getting a longer cable from B+W to connect the two speakers together. The one it comes with is just too short...
  4. Calvinator666 macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2011

    I am using it exactly the same way. One A2 for the iMac, and another one hooked up to Airport Express for AirPlay speakers in the living room.
  5. Pkupman57 macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2013
    El Lay, CA
    Im using a set of Swan M-50w speakers. I have them set up in the living room with a FiiO D3 (as they use line level input, and my TV only has optical out. I dont have a receiver.), so I can use them with the TV. I then Airplay from my phones or MBP to my AppleTV.

    Prior, I just had them set up on my desk for use with the MBP, I just tend to use the coffee table more than my desk anymore.

    They are great speakers for the price, IMO.
  6. meistervu macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    I am cheaper than you :)

    I use the same speakers, but since they have 2 sets of input, I connect one set to my Mac, and the other set to the Airport Express for Airplay. I install the speakers higher up on the wall, and they work well for both purposes.
  7. Calvinator666 macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2011

    I don't know how much you paid the A2 for but I got both pairs from someone else who wanted to upgrade to an A5, so I got both for pretty cheap. I might be the cheaper bastard here :eek:

    The one I am using in the living room is hooked up to both inputs like what you did as well. One for the TV and the other for Airport Express. I also almost exclusively use Apple TV for streaming all my content. Have one in the living room, and another one in the bedroom. The best and most logical setup I have ever done for the house!
  8. meistervu macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    I got mine on discount as well, but even as full price they are a bargain I think. I was thinking of trying them out for a while then move them to my bedroom and get a pair of their larger sibling the A5 for the great room. But the A2 fills the great room nicely so I have no urge to upgrade to the A5.
  9. Calvinator666 macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2011

    My sentiments exactly. I have a rather small apartment, so the A2 will more than fill up my rooms which really is suited for my environment perfectly. The A5 would certainly be nice, but it is going to look like a behemoth sitting at home.

    Just love how these speakers generate an almost accurate frequency as much as they can and most importantly, no overwhelming low-end which I absolutely cannot tolerate.
  10. a.coward macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2010
    I second the Audioengine A2, especially if you are a little short on desk
    space. If you have the coin, I would even go one step further and combine
    it with the Audioengine D1 USB DAC. This combo has a surprising amount
    of that "umph" you are looking for without being too overpowering on the
  11. tangfj macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2008
    Checked out the Audioengine A2's and DAC online... they look like a great combo (especially with the optional speaker stands). If I didn't already have my MM-1's I'd definitely check them out. Question about the DAC (for those of you that have it), can you control the volume from within OSX via your keyboard for vol up and down? Or do you have to use the manual knob on the DAC? Or is it a combination of both?
  12. a.coward macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2010
    If you are referring to the Audioengine D1, then you have to set the volume
    via the knob on the DAC. The master volume is disabled in OSX. However,
    different applications may have their own volume controls which work (this
    is using OSX's software mixer).

    Other DACs may work differently. For instance, my Meridian Explorer DAC
    is controlled by the master volume control of OSX (however, it's still the
    DAC controlling the volume and not the software mixer as the volume
    information is signaled to the DAC via USB).

    BTW: Those MM-1s look sweet.
  13. tangfj macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2008
    Thanks I really like the MM-1's. The ONLY issue I have with them is that they don't have any feature to automatically turn off when not in use... it'd be nice to have some option to set them to turn off after a certain amount of time if no sound is playing through them. Other than that they are great.
  14. Calvinator666 macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2011

    Is the D1 really any good? I was very close to getting a D1 and have also checked out other DACs in the market, but I wasn't really sure if the tone difference is what I will be expecting.
  15. a.coward macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2010
    I think the sound difference is quite noticeable, even with relatively
    inexpensive speakers (from audiophile standards) such as the A2.
    There are also many other reviews on the web which will say the
    same thing. The sound is just a lot clearer, detailed and more lively.
    In comparison, using just the headphone out on a my Mac sounds

    Some of this, I would say, is due to the external DAC, and some of this
    is due to the fact that, at least on my rMBP, the only analog audio
    output is the headphone jack. If you plug in amplified speakers to
    the headphone jack, you are basically amplifying and already amplified
    output. This "double amplification" is generally not desirable, especially
    if the headphone amplification stage in the rMBP is not quite up to spec
    with the rest of your equipment.

    Saying that, I've tried many computer-oriented DACs from cheap $20
    no-name devices to the Meridian Explorer, and found that not all DACs
    will improve your sound quality. The $20 ones sounded worse than the
    headphone out. I found the D1, although not nearly as good as the
    Meridian Explorer, was just a good bang for the buck DAC, especially if you
    are able to get it on sale.
  16. Calvinator666 macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2011

    The D1 isn't exactly that expensive and if what you mentioned really does the job well, then it could be my next purchase!

    And also, having a headphones port within reach isn't that bad of an idea too.

    Has anyone heard of the ODAC?


    I was really in love with the Soundsticks for the fact that they look so cool when placed beside the iMac. But after testing them out, I found them to be rather harsh in the higher frequencies, and somewhat lacking in the midrange.
  17. rw3 macrumors 6502a


    May 13, 2008
    DFW, TX
  18. bluespark macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2009
    New York
    Yes, it's actually pretty good. I have a D1 and also own an Arcam rDAC. The Arcam unquestionably beats the D1 in terms of sound quality, but it's a relatively subtle difference compared to the positive effect both of them have vs. the iMac's stock DAC. Given that the D1 is a good bit cheaper than the Arcam, I think it's a good buy. It's also a nicely designed kit and works well as a headphone amplifier (which actually is how I usually use it). It's also worth noting that it works fine with active speakers other than Audioengines (which, while good, are not the only game in town).

    My one complaint is that the D1 slightly buggy. If I leave it on when I put the computer to sleep, it occasionally won't work when waking the computer. That seems to be some sort of handshaking issue with the optical connection. It's a minor inconvenience, though.

    Back to the topic of the thread, I use and recommend the Focal XS 2.1 speakers with my iMac. They are about $600, which puts them on the pricier end, but they are quite good. They also feature an old-style Dock Connector so you can use it to sync an old iPhone (or a new one with Apple's adapter). And, if money is no object, Dynaudio makes the best active computer monitors I've heard.
  19. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    I also have the MM-1's and have my wife has the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III on her 2012 iMac 27. I have tried them both back to back on her system.

    As expected of a 2.1 system, the Soundsticks have more base but the MM-1's have generally adequate base and better stereo imaging. They are both very good.

    Are the MM-1's worth it? It depends on your preferences. To my ear they are audibly better, but if you're a bass head a 2.1 system might be preferable. The Soundsticks look and sound very good, match a variety of decor, and have a small desk footprint. The MM-1's take up slightly more desk space, but not much more. They also match an iMac decor-wise, but are slightly more visually apparent than the translucent Soundsticks.

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