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A/V Bookshelf speakers + amp for music

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by sp4nky, 20 Sep 2011.

  1. sp4nky

    sp4nky BF3: Aardfrith WoT: McGubbins

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    I've got the Logitech z5450 speaker system(the same as the z5500 but with wireless rears) but it's on the way out - the surrounds don't work all the time and often I only get sound from the centre speaker. I'm therefore thinking of replacing them with something better.

    Since I no longer play FPS games and I've got decent surround sound on my TV, I was thinking of a dedicated 2.0 music set-up for the PC. I've ripped all my music losslessly to the PC so that's going to be my source.

    What I was thinking of was a couple of bookshelf speakers (no room for floorstands, sadly) and a decent amp. After talking to Richer Sounds, they recommend the Cambridge Audio Azur 350A amp and S30 speakers.

    With 6m of speaker wire thrown in at the total price of £350 (which I said was my budget), is this a good deal? Does anyone have experience of the speakers or the amp? Is there an alternative I should consider?
     
  2. Ant1981

    Ant1981 Member

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    I think you'll be fine. I run an early 80's sansui amp and kef speakers with mine, sounds brilliant for music and games.
     
  3. thetrashcanman

    thetrashcanman Angel headed hipsters

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    Have to say I don't know much about sound system's, but I would strongly suggest something like this http://www.scan.co.uk/products/cors...-speaker-system-232watts-rms-wired-controller

    have many good reviews and work well with a good soundcard :)
     
  4. sb1991

    sb1991 New Member

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    Even better, click on the 'pro audio' tab and pick up some powered monitors. For music, they'll be much better, and closer to a hi-fi system than bass-heavy 2.1 PC speakers. These or a pair of these (or maybe some KRKs, which I have no experience with) would almost certainly be better than a comparably priced amplifier + bookshelf speakers. They're designed to be accurate and revealing, so if you're looking for the 'I couldn't hear that before' feeling when you listen to music then great. If you want 128kbps MP3s played on an ipod to sound good, maybe not.
     
  5. mrbungle

    mrbungle Undercooked chicken giver

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    The simple answer to the OPs question is yes thats a fine sounding set up, much better than any pc sats and sub combo unless you just want bass over clarity.
     
  6. sp4nky

    sp4nky BF3: Aardfrith WoT: McGubbins

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    Thanks - I hadn't looked at the pro audio tab. A colleague recommended active speakers but he pointed me towards an "entry level" set up that was several times my budget.

    As for the ipod my music collection is only around 120GB at the moment so theoretically it will fit on an ipod classic. Alas I've only got an 8GB ipod nano at the moment so I'm having to be very choosy about what to include.
     
  7. sb1991

    sb1991 New Member

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    Speakers can get very expensive, but the lower budget active monitors are actually pretty good. I have the previous version of the Mackies, and they sound better than a lot of systems costing twice as much. As for the iPod (I also have an 8GB nano), my strategy is to have two copies of all my music - an itunes folder where everything is MP3, and the main music folder for FLAC, which gets played on the PC. Since the iPod doesn't even play FLAC files, it's just as easy as transcoding to ALAC, and the iPod isn't really good enough to benefit from lossless files.
     
  8. Jipa

    Jipa Avoiding the "I guess.." since 2004

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    I would share the £350 exactly the opposite way, as much as possible (~250) on the speakers and ~100 on the amp. The speakers ARE going to make the difference, the amp has barely any effect so long as it's anywhere near "proper". In this case the hundred would buy a lower end Cambridge Audio model, which IMO is perfect for the budget.

    As for the speakers I don't really have any recommendations other than to go somewhere and listen to them yourself! Not everyone likes the same sound, so just grab a CD with your favorite music, go to a proper hi-fi store and ask to listen for the bookshelf speakers they have. In the store you also often get a good deal on some old models or demo pairs, which are just the thing to go for on low budget.

    Active speakers are a good idea as well, especially if you only need one input. These: http://www.thomann.de/gb/behringer_b2031a_truth_aktivmonitor.htm and http://www.thomann.de/gb/behringer_b2030a_truth_aktivmonitor.htm are hugely popular atleast over here and I do like how they sound. For bookshelf they also pack a surprisingly good bass response.
     
  9. sp4nky

    sp4nky BF3: Aardfrith WoT: McGubbins

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    The other issue that's developed in the last 24 hours is that I've buggered my PC motherboard so the money I was going to spend on speakers + amp has been diverted to motherboard + cpu + memory.
     
  10. NeilJM

    NeilJM New Member

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    You can get something like a Cyrus One or Pioneer A400 for under a hundred that will be way, way, way better than any cheap cambridge stuff, or in fact probably anything new for that kind of money. Likewise some old B&Ws, Missions or something for the speakers. 602s are like £150/pr now, the classic DM2/4/5 types around a hundred. Speaker and amp technology at this end of the market hasn't really developed for decades, all you're paying for now is the newness of something, gadgets like remote controls, and fashion. Plus the older things will likely be built better. If you want to save even more, a NAD 3020 is probably like £40 these days. I know countless friends with pretty much that setup, it's been the standard thing every branch of RS sells to anyone going in who wants the "cheapest decent hifi" package. It sounds... small, and kinda stiff.

    That's me speaking as a music listener. Speaking as an audio professional, I would say stay away from "pro audio" products for this. For starters, anything in this sort of budget that is in any way "pro" will be specific for a purpose, such as crossover-free single driver cubes etc. But more to the point, monitors are designed as tools not for entertainment - they're intended to translate, nothing more and nothing less. They'll have a really tiny sweet spot (listening position), be very fatiguing to listen to (you'll want to keep turning them down) and probably sound "thin" to most people just wanting to enjoy music.

    If you want to be really sensible and objective, you need to figure out what you actually enjoy in what you hear, which will be different to everyone else, and find something that does that well. Lots of people here get great mileage out of those corsair 2.1 sets. Some like the faceripping aggression of studio monitors. Some people enjoy tons of bass, others like tiny details in reverb etc. I personally like a very detailed, ballsy midrange.

    So if you can figure that out and post what you're looking for it will be easier to get the right setup for you. Even better, try a more specialist place like AVforums which have great know-how around, and people there will be able to match a set to your tastes and likely save you a hundred quid on what you were thinking to spend :)

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pioneer-A..._HomeAudioHiFi_Amplifiers&hash=item3a6a845a0c

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/B-W-DM22-...omeAudioHiFi_HiFiSpeakers&hash=item4cfa3ca75e

    -example.
     

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