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A/V Audiophiles -- which speakers?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by digitaldunc, 20 Jan 2014.

  1. digitaldunc

    digitaldunc New Member

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    It looks like I'm in the market for a new set of speakers for my PC as my 10+ year old set of technics separates have decided to go to silicon heaven.

    Bearing in mind I know practically nothing about speakers --

    1. Give me a recommendation for a stereo speakers in the ~£200 bracket. I'd like to avoid 2.1 if possible as I don't particularly like large subwoofers. Emphasis on quality rather than plasticky mass produced stuff. I can do an amp as well, if necessary/recommended. I don't know if it's a tall order on this budget to get what I want, so could spend a bit more, possibly.

    2. I'm relatively happy with my Razer Carcharias headset for gaming over mumble, however it does struggle to provide ample volume at times -- do I need an amp for this over taking straight analogue from the onboard, or is there nothing I can do?

    3. Is a dedicated soundcard really necessary over onboard? I presume the primary concern is SNR for audio quality. I do listen to FLAC audio so could be persuaded to invest in a separate card though my water cooling setup will make it awkward. For the card, straight quality again, I'm not looking for pr0 gamer s***e.
     
  2. AlienwareAndy

    AlienwareAndy New Member

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  3. Yslen

    Yslen Lord of the Twenty-Seventh Circle

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    Yeah, Microlab is a good choice.
     
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  4. docodine

    docodine killed a guy once

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    a dedicated DAC makes a significant difference in sound quality compared to onboard sound. even if you were to just take the identical sound chip that is already on your motherboard and remove it from the inside of your case, sound quality would improve due to how much interference there is inside of a PC case. the faint (and not so faint) pops and fizzes will almost completely go away

    unfortunately i can't really make any specific recommendations for passive speakers + amp because product availability and pricing doesn't carry over from the US to the UK, especially at the lower end... :(

    based on my time on this forum though, i do know that a very common powered speaker recommendation in your price range is the audioengine A2.

    stretching to the A2+ model might be worth it for you though, they're essentially the same as the A2 but they come with a built in DAC (sound card essentially) and have a few other improvements:

    the A2+ is £215 on amazon UK, the A2 is £165. i don't know how the quality of the A2+'s DAC is though. reviews are very good

    there's my $.02
     
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  5. jrs77

    jrs77 Well-Known Member

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    +1 for the Audioengine A2+. It's DAC (Burr Brown PCM2704) is actually pretty decent and the sound of the speakers profits heavily from this DAC aswell, giving better dynamics and a warmer sound.

    If you look at the size of the A2+ they're amazing for strictly using them on your desktop and they sound very good, but don't expect these small speakers to fill a whole room with music at a party.
     
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  6. digitaldunc

    digitaldunc New Member

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    First, thanks for the replies, rep to you all :)

    I really like the feature set of the Audioengine A2+ speakers, but they do look disconcertingly small... I'm not looking for earthquake causing levels of volume/bass response, but would they provide a decent level of kick for 'splosions and the like?

    What do you folks make of the A5+ teamed with a Audioengine D1 DAC, would that be better suited or overkill?
     
  7. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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    Cripes. No way. If you actually want good stereo speakers, buy them from RicherSounds or somewhere.

    Personal recommendation are the Q-Acoustic 2020i's which are some of the BEST speakers you can buy for less than £200.

    If you really wanted to keep it to £200 including everything you could get something like the 2010i's (still awesome) and something like the Cambridge Audio Topaz AM1. I'd recommend spending slightly more and getting the Denon PMA520AE or something but up to you!
     
    Last edited: 20 Jan 2014
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  8. Sp!

    Sp! Well-Known Member

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    Audiophile and powered speakers doesn't really go (and neither does Audiophile and £200 budget), but I'm with Parge, if you have the space get a separate amp and pair of speakers you'll get a lot better sound for your money. In my study I have an old Denon AVR and a pair of tangent speakers I picked up for £30 on ebay it's nothing special and I'm far from an Audiophile but I'm willing to bet money it blows any similarly priced powered speakers out of the water!
     
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  9. MSHunter

    MSHunter Well-Known Member

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  10. Pookie

    Pookie So this is permanence, love's shattered pride.

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    I would second this advice. Seperates all the way! Yes there is the inititial outlay but then you have a base you can build on (same as a PC really). My setup is getting on a bit now but still brings a smile to my face when I play music through it (not mp3 lol).

    Richer Sound should also let you audition whatever kit your intrested in regardless of the price. What may sound great to me may be rubbish to you so choose by what your ears say (but yes good reviews help). You could also look at the second hand market, you might get a set of Bowers And Wilkins with a Rotel Amp for around £300.

    Also dont scrimp on rubbish speaker cable and interconnects or you will defeat the object of geting the best sound from your kit. Personally I go with QED cables but other brands are just as good if not better.
     
    Last edited: 21 Jan 2014
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  11. wejjy

    wejjy New Member

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    If you want compact as I did, you could do far worse than to consider Monitor Audio Radius 90HD's they are an incredible speaker for high end compact systems. Paired with the right amp they really are quite pleasant on both the ears and the eyes.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk
     
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  12. GuilleAcoustic

    GuilleAcoustic Ook ? Ook !

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    audiophile ... £200 ... I'd go headset (something like the AKG K701/2). Audiophile speaker for £200 .... second hand or DIY (using drivers like the full-ranged Fostex). But audiophile is subjective and I'm very picky when it comes to audio stuff, so this is my 2 cents advise :D.

    EDIT: Here is a very simple log I found using inexpensive 10cm Fostex fullrange

     
    Last edited: 21 Jan 2014
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  13. digitaldunc

    digitaldunc New Member

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    Again thanks for the replies :)

    So I think we've established I need to up my budget somewhat to do it properly -- I did suspect I couldn't get what I wanted for £200.

    What do you folks make of teaming the Q Acoustics 2020i speakers with a NAD D3020 amp?
     
  14. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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    I think that would be bombed out!
     
  15. Tangster

    Tangster Butt-kicking for goodness!

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    I would also suggest the Wharfdale Diamond 9.2 or Focal 705V. Both are front ported so they shouldn't be too fussy being placed closer to a wall. If you've got more space, the Diamond 10.1 sounds great.

    Comparatively cheap too(well, the diamonds are, I think they've been outclassed these days, not too up to date).
     

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