Quantcast What's the best speakers to get for home PC? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
01-24-2011, 08:57 PM
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continued from email...

Quote:
what's the best speakers to get for home PC?

i use the speakers for 2 specific reasons:

1) watching movies
2) playing games

i currently have a 2 speaker system and am thinking of upgrading to a
5.1 or 7.1 system.

does a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker setup really give you surround sound like
you're in a cinema?
or is it simply sales talk?

also, is it better to spend a similar amount of money getting "pro"
speakers and not just the standard PC speakers from creative, logitech etc?
i.e. getting a home theatre speaker system and plugging those into the
audio card.

finally, are wireless speakers as good as the wired ones?
i hate having wires trailing all over the place.
yes i know i can hide the wires under the carpet.
but if the wireless solution is as effective as the wired one, and for
the same cost, then i might as well go wireless, right?

hope you can shed some light on this.

thanks.
I almost hate this sort of topic because I have a fundamental disagree with audio purists on what is realistic and what is imagined.

So let's start off with a couple of basic facts:
1. Humans have two ears, and thus only hear in stereo.
2. The quality of audio is mostly affected by the quality of the hardware -- such as the ADC or DAC.

I'd also add that most multi-channel audio is achieved with some level of fakery, which includes (but is not limited to), dynamic range compression/augmentation, separation of actual sounds, and false directionality. For example. If you're standing near an explosion -- it doesn't just rumble behind you. It comes from all locations. Realistic directionality and dynamic range is deemed too boring, so you get the artificial volumes and effects.

You could just as easily sit in the middle of a bunch of speakers with mono or stereo audio, and get the same "immersion" effect that is often created by a 5.1/7.1 setup.

The difference between 5.1 and 7.1 is mostly the difference in profit for the seller, and not an actual increase in quality. The only real quality difference would be from factors discussed in fact #2 -- and not the extra two speakers.

These days, a "pro" label is just what somebody has chosen to call it. Theoretically, a cheap $30 set of speakers could outperform a $200 "pro" set. I know you know about blank DVDs, so just think of all the companies that label their products to be "archival grade" when we know them to be anything but that. "Pro" sounds good and helps the item sell, hence the markings on the box. There's no standards committee or test facility that approves pro vs consumer.

I need to ask a friend about the wireless situation. However, he's not available for about a month. (I know, that's a while.)

My instinct is to always use wires. The problem comes from external noise and interference. It's essentially turned into an "open" system, as opposed to a closed-off system that is purely wired. As long as the watts are good, and the speakers are quality, I can't imagine there being another concern on wireless vs wired, aside from the noise potential. Well-shielded speakers, in a good environment, would be the key there.

I'm 100% stereo. Two speakers, or four (2x2, i.e. stereo in front and back)

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  #2  
01-25-2011, 03:21 AM
manthing manthing is offline
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ta for the reply.

ok, ignore 7.1 systems.

you state there is no real difference between PC speakers and home theatre "pro" speakers. ok, i will accept your view on this.

given that, what make & model speakers would you recommend?
i only know a little bit about speakers from creative and logitech and nothing about "pro" ones.

i'm not one of those people who need things so loud that the whole neighbourhood goes deaf.
i'm going deaf with age as it is!

so, i just need a reasonable set of speakers, for a reasonable price.
if the speakers could produce sounds with clarity, especially speech, then that would do me fine.
perhaps a little bit of "punch" for other sounds in movies / games.

cheers.
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  #3  
01-26-2011, 11:13 AM
Kenneth M Kenneth M is offline
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Manthing,

While it may not be the most "reasonable", price wise, I do think that the GLA-55 speakers are "the best" for a PC 2.0 system.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B001GXQNWO
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  #4  
01-28-2011, 08:12 AM
manthing manthing is offline
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kenneth, thanks for your reply.
had a quick look at those speakers.
the aesthetics of it are not to my liking.
but i will do more research on how good it sounds.
afterall, its the sound that matters, right?
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  #5  
01-28-2011, 03:31 PM
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I run from a double set of Monsoon speakers, which are extremely accurate in quality and sound, both treble and bass.

mh50021.jpg

from Wikipedia
Quote:
By 2000, Sonigistix expanded its product line and the Monsoon brand into the then burgeoning consumer computer multimedia market, developing a solid reputation for their flat-panel speaker designs that were popular with computer users keen on obtaining quality high fidelity from their computer hardware. Monsoon's speaker designs were based on planar magnetic technology, licensed from Eminent Technology who developed the original concept. However, despite the brand's popularity among computer users – or perhaps because of it – within the next couple of years the assets of Sonigistix were purchased by Eastech, an Asian technology company that also focuses on providing consumer products in a variety of audio-based markets.
Quote:
Monsoon-branded speakers, whether sold by Sonigistix or Level 9, have developed an almost cult-like following due to their perceived high sound quality and accuracy, particularly uncommon (at the time of their run) for the personal computer marketplace. Dedicated owners of Monsoon flat panel speakers will often go to great lengths to keep their old Monsoons running, primarily because it is assumed that replacements made and sold by other manufacturers may be inferior. When the Richmond, BC, factory closed, a loudspeaker repair shop in Vancouver, BC, obtained the remaining stock of tweeters, midranges and woofers as replacement parts. The replacement parts were exhausted by 2008, leaving the use of salvaged parts as the only options for units that have failed. The most common issue with midrange and tweeter elements is corroded NeFeB magnets. Sadly, this corrosion is a terminal condition and cannot be reversed or repaired.
When new, these easily fetched about $100 price tag, however I was lucky enough to get them for free from Circuit City, due to their own screw-up with my BTO Compaq computer. And then my second set came new from eBay, liquidated from a company that had gone out of business, for about $50.

I've already had to dismantle and repair the control unit on one set -- twice. The other one suffers from a slow death due to the aforementioned tweeter corrosion -- which mostly affects quality when turned very loud (therefore I don't play them more than mid-range volumes).

I seriously dread the day that I have to seek out new speakers.
Once in a great while, a set will pop up on eBay. (And there's one nice set there at the moment!)

Given the amount of audio work I do, the $1K HK speakers may be an option, even if it is a punch to my wallet's testicles, and would look somewhat butt-ugly on the desk. But as you say...

Quote:
afterall, its the sound that matters, right?
Yep.



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  #6  
01-28-2011, 03:51 PM
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(And there's one nice set there at the moment!)
Nope. Already gone.


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  #7  
01-28-2011, 05:11 PM
manthing manthing is offline
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shame.

ok, so can you suggest a couple of others?

also, does it matter where you place the speakers, to get the best "effects"?

or do most movies / games "throw" the sounds around so that it seems to come from all round you. hence one can leave the speakers on either side of the monitor.
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  #8  
01-28-2011, 05:19 PM
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In my experience, an ideal setup is simply a pair of stereo speakers in an X pattern -- the speakers at each point, and you sitting at the juncture of the X. That's four speakers, with a stereo set in front and back. That's basically what a 5.1 setup is at its core, with added center and bass. The center is for "dialogue" and other front-directional sounds, as you've become accustomed to, with a single/pair of speakers on the TV itself. And then bass because some people think they need to feel sound instead of just hearing it.

Indeed, I know quite a few people that have 5.1 speakers, but don't use the bass at all, and turn the center down to nominal levels unless it's needed to compensate for poor dynamic range (i.e., the music mix overpowers people talking or whispering). The center speaker is both a leftover of "front" sound sources, as well as a compensator for crappy mixing work.

These days, "dynamic range" is the game/buzzword of the entertainment world, much like the lack of a Steadycam and faux-documentary "style" (like a drunk holding a camera, playing with the zoom button). It's only been an issue for about 5 years now, and I continuously hope the addiction to bad quality (faux "realism") would just die and go away already.

I'd much rather have good acoustics and balanced mix, instead of this auditory abortion we're forced to so often listen to.

In the lack of an "X" shape, or paired stereo speakers, look to spread a single stereo set at least 5-6 feet apart, on either side of a monitor. That's at a desk. The further you are from the monitor (like an HDTV), the better it will be to move them further out, but within a point of diminishing returns. Sitting 10 feet away from a 50-60" HDTV, I'd say you would do well to have them placed about 10-15 feet apart, and preferably at the same depth as the screen (not several feet behind it attached to the wall).

A lot of this has to do with architectural logistics. Standard speaker placement advice is based off typical room/seating conditions, as opposed to ideal listening conditions. A lot of people won't have their couch in the middle of the room, or even have a room large enough to accommodate the "X' shape while keeping with SMTPE viewing suggestions. As such, concessions are made, which affects sound quality, and lends itself to the off-balance you'll find on front corner vs rear speaker.

In a room where a center seating isn't available, and you're able to use a paired stereo set, look instead to a _ V _ shape. That is, two parallel stereo speakers on the far side of your seating area (about double the length from the front pair), put as far back as is possible (attached to wall at ear level -- not near the ceiling), and then staying with the top half of the "X" shape, which gives you a "V".

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02-01-2011, 02:47 PM
Kenneth M Kenneth M is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manthing View Post
kenneth, thanks for your reply.
had a quick look at those speakers.
the aesthetics of it are not to my liking.
but i will do more research on how good it sounds.
afterall, its the sound that matters, right?

No problem.

The aesthetics are not to my liking either, but I will buy them anyway. Being made of bulletproof glass is a pretty novel idea. Since they will be sitting on a modern, glass-topped desk I am hoping they wont look too terribly gaudy.

I will never buy another subwoofer that sits on the floor for a computer speaker system. The only speaker system I want is something simple and clean. I personally think that while they may not make the visual statement I am trying to make, they do offer way less cords, sound equivalent, and won't pepper my wall with black dots.

A trade-off I'm willing to make.
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02-15-2011, 12:10 PM
manthing manthing is offline
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this next question should be under a new topic i suppose, but it is connected to getting new speakers in a manner.

sometimes, the audio i hear from some songs seem "tinny".

is this due to audio file? ie could be badly recorded?

is it due to the hardware? i'm using the audio on the motherboard.

is it due to the software, like windows media player?
perhaps i need to tweak settings on the "graphic equalizer" on WMP?

or should i try something like dfx audio enhancer by fxsound?

i know there could be a number of factors giving rise to the "tinny" sound, and a solution for one audio file may not work on another one, but your input is most welcome.

cheers.
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  #11  
02-15-2011, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
is this due to audio file? ie could be badly recorded?
is it due to the hardware? i'm using the audio on the motherboard.
is it due to the software, like windows media player?
Yes, (D), all of the above.

Figuring out which issue you have, or combination thereof, comes back to elimination and proper experiment controls (i.e., the control group). And that involves using knowns, and no unknowns.

Example: Quality audio CD or Amazon/iTunes downloaded MP3 for source.
Example: Comparing same audio across multiple computers and/or speakers

There's no easy or quick answer or process.

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  #12  
02-16-2011, 01:44 AM
manthing manthing is offline
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yeah, kinda figured that would be the case. afterall, not all my audio files sound tinny.

i have tried messing around with WMP graphic equalizer but only had limited success. not sure if dfx would be any better. i'll try and see.

thanks for your reply.
always appreciated.
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