Any recommendation for good computer speaker set?


  • Vivaldi Team

    Hi, I was just over my friend's house and saw a nice Klipsch computer speakers set with sub. It was tad bigger than my JBL set but sounded much much better than mine does. So, I was wondering what kind of speaker setup people here have. On desk, I currently have a JBL Pebble speaker set which I was quite happy with until last week.... :unsure: Previous to that, I had a Bose companion 2 set which I left in my house in Japan and now happily adopted by my sister. Let me know what you have. I'm curious to know :cheer:



  • I've got a pair of Klipsch Promedia 2.1's and they are pretty good.

    Pro:
    Probably among the best off the shelf audio quality for a computer speaker set, esp at higher volume.

    Cons: powerful amp which probably uses more power than necessary particularly when not playing anything. Of course you can turn them off and on again later when you need them, but most people won't do that 10 times a day.
    When just listening to voice, they are overkill; I would almost want to have a second set of low-power speakers beside them just for that.
    The amp is powerful and clear, but produces a slight hum when there is no signal - just like most high power live performance amps.
    I have had them for over 10 years, and for a while already the volume control produces distortion when turning it; most potentiometers start to do this over time.

    I have not tried them but some of the Hercules XPS DJ computer speakers (from Guillemot Corporation of France) look like they might be pretty good too.



  • No ready made speakers for me, especially not some with the label "PC". I've build my own because I like to hear music, not "sound".



  • @QuHno:

    No ready made speakers for me, especially not some with the label "PC". I've build my own because I like to hear music, not "sound".

    Agreed. Howver even with the Highest quality source material and great speakers the weak link is the audio board between the two (on my box anyway).

    I currently have wee JBLs. Not even close to perfect but very efficient and they'll do. Hmm… I wonder who took over old James B.'s name?? (I digress.)

    Edit:
    To answer my own quetion, Harman International Industries now owns the JBL name.



  • @greybeard:

    Agreed. Howver even with the Highest quality source material and great speakers the weak link is the audio board between the two (on my box anyway).

    I am not sure about that - unless they show real defects, the audio boards or the electronics at all is seldom the weakest link in the audio chain. Even a bad audio board is perfectly capable to keep the distortions below 0.1% which is more than a magnitude smaller than the distortions that come from the speaker (damped multiple mass-spring systems are a bitch to control)

    In my experience, if the speakers are half way decent, it is the room that is the by far worst part. There are the room modes that produce wild resonances (especially when the usual "subwoofers" are involved), unsymmetrical positioning of speakers and items in the room that disturb the stereo balance etc., all of those are quite hard to handle.

    Just a small example to show what a room can do to almost perfect speakers (the measurements were taken by myself), the first picture is the free air frequency response of a pair of speakers I finished building 2 days ago (160l interior volume, not what 99% of all people would label as PC speakers) and the second shows the same speaker with the microphone in listening position in a 35m² room where people want to live (i.e. with windows, doors, furniture and some movable objects like e.g. people :D )
    [attachment=220]tang-band-w8-1772-horn.png[/attachment]
    The zero line is at 90db, meaning, the speaker is capable of providing a linear +/-1 dB frequency response at a about 95dB level with 1W power in the range from 25Hz to 20kHz, which is much better than most people can hear and wider than any instrument can produce - apart from some big organs or other equally voluminous instruments.
    That is what the speakers would be capable of in a anechoic room, which is of course not anything that we want to live in. Following is the same speaker measured at listening position in the normal room:
    [attachment=221]tang-band-w8-1772-listening.png[/attachment]
    This looks far worse than it sounds, despite the fact that you can see a multitude of resonances after the speaker is already finished with its job.
    (yeah, the speaker has a very fast response, the time window on the z-axis is just 10ms)

    That is still quite good but I will have to talk the new owner into adding some acoustic measures to the room to improve the response of the room.

    OK, that is the (still affordable) upper end in speakers - but what to do at the lower end, aka PC speakers?

    If you want to listen to music with them, try to get some near field monitors that don't need anything called subwoofer and use simple stereo. It is possible to get a decent sound stage with 2 speakers, and to get a setup that doesn't stress you even if you listen to it for hours. While you can do that with 2 speakers, multi channel systems are not controllable in a normal living room. They are good for cinema effects but not for serious listening. Don't believe any promises, that a 1 gazillion Watt 17.1 system with speakers smaller than 50l is really capable of compression free 20Hz, I have never heard and measured one and I am in that scene for over 30 years.

    My recommendation:
    Look out for speakers that are directing the sound to your listening position, that avoids problems with the room and, now the most important part:
    Listen to them carefully for hours with good material - in your room, with your setup!
    Exactly the same setup may sound completely different in another room and a vendor talking how good some speaker sounds has a huge influence on the listening experience. We hear more with our brain than with our ears.
    If the speakers do not stress you at any volume you set, and if you don't feel the need to make it louder or quieter, they are probably the ones to keep.

    One of the hardest tests btw:
    Set the speakers to a higher volume and then leave the room but let the door open: If it still sounds natural from outside of the room you have done something right …

    Caveat! Most of the music produced since about 1997 is compressed to death, you can't test your equipment with that. With a good setup crappy recordings sound even crappier while good recordings sound better.

    ... never forget:
    In the end it is your ears that count and it doesn't matter at all what equipment you use, as long as you are content with the sound.
    Attachments:
    ,



  • " it is your ears that count and it doesn't matter at all what equipment you use, as long as you are content with the sound "

    QuHno, You hit the nail square on the head.


  • Vivaldi Team

    joss, thanks for sharing your setup. Klipsch Promedia 2.1 THX is what my friend has. It sounded pretty good.

    QuHno, Wao!! Thanks for the very detail explanation.
    I probably don't have good ears but will try your recommendation nevertheless :)

    Cheers,



  • @tatsuki:

    I probably don't have good ears (…)

    I could take a bet you have - unless your ears are organically damaged by permanent exposure to too loud noise or infection or mechanical damage etc.

    Why?
    I assume you can speak at least 2 not directly related languages and get all the nuances of a speaker's intention by simply and unconsciously listening to the tone, pitch, stress and volume of the voice and you can do that even even if you can't see the speaker.
    I am sure you can do that in a crowd of people - even better: In a crowd of people who are all speaking at the same time (reminds me of some cocktail parties or other receptions :D)
    Furthermore I am sure you can recognize the spacial position of the speaker with high accuracy.

    To do that, you need the same discriminatory capability as a conductor of a classical orchestra who can "hear" if the 3rd violinist in the 2nd row wrongly did an up stroke with the violin bow instead a down stroke (while the pitch is the same it sounds slightly different).

    The probability that the ears of such a conductor of the same age as you are mechanically worse than yours is quite high (Orchestras can and do surpass the 80dB(A) that afford ear protection in normal work environments, playing quieter is actually harder for the musicians). Despite all that a musician can easily detect if a speaker system sounds correctly or not. The same goes for people who listen to any kind of live music on a regular basis (may be apart from completely synthesized electronic music, but I am not sure even about that) .

    The only difference between your "ears" and those of people with so called "golden ears" is, that they are trained to hear those differences simply because they are used to listen to the real thing on a regular basis and such detect the difference to the reproduction easily because they can compare.

    As I wrote before: We "listen" more with our brains than with our ears. Under normal circumstances our ears are good enough to get the nuances, the question is if we perceive it or not. We are trained to do that for speech since before our birth, but we have to learn to do that for music.

    You might be astonished how fast you can get used to a good sound reproduction if you are exposed to it on a regular basis.


  • Vivaldi Team

    @QuHno:

    @tatsuki:

    I probably don't have good ears (…)

    I could take a bet you have - unless your ears are organically damaged by permanent exposure to too loud noise or infection or mechanical damage etc.

    Right. Your post reminded me of a TED video I watched while ago, which I think quite inspirational.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9LCwI5iErE

    Thanks for your insight, again.



  • That was a very nice video. Thanks for sharing.

    Something different: How big may speakers you would be willing to use be?
    As high as the monitor?
    Do you have some space behind the monitor left?

    I am thinking about a U shaped construction that would enclose the monitor from behind. That way you could have some decent volume for the low frequencies and you would not loose that much space on your desktop …

    (No, I don't want to sell such stuff, just giving ideas. A speaker does not need to be a cuboid and often you can hide the bulky parts of it)


  • Vivaldi Team

    @QuHno:

    That was a very nice video. Thanks for sharing.

    You are welcome! Glad you liked it :)

    Something different: How big may speakers you would be willing to use be?
    As high as the monitor?
    Do you have some space behind the monitor left?

    I am thinking about a U shaped construction that would enclose the monitor from behind. That way you could have some decent volume for the low frequencies and you would not loose that much space on your desktop …

    (No, I don't want to sell such stuff, just giving ideas. A speaker does not need to be a cuboid and often you can hide the bulky parts of it)

    Yeah, I don't mind the speakers go as high as the height of my monitor.
    I don't have much space behind my monitor though. I'm quite interested in seeing your home made monitor. What do they look like?



  • @tatsuki:

    I'm quite interested in seeing your home made monitor. What do they look like?

    You mean those I use for near field?
    Nothing special, just a simple box with 2* 10cm bass midrange woofers and a small dome tweeter in the middle, all in a 10l enclosure with aperiaodic damping (aka: vented but with padding inside, so no free vent) as d'Apollito box. Both driven by a normal Sony amplifier that is connected to the computer via optical S/P-DIF. I'll take a photo as soon as my desktop is presentable again (lots of stuff on it, as always when I am right in the middle of a project :D )
    edit: https://vivaldi.net/media/com_easysocial/photos/105/45771/p1000438_large.jpg


  • Vivaldi Translator

    So your pet subject gets to be exercised QuHno.
    Try not to make everyone jealous with your audio-porn ;)

    After seeing loads of your photos, I'm so glad being an audiophile is nothing like being a zoophile :ohmy:


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to Vivaldi Forum was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.