Good compact 2.0 setup (PC, music/some movies, occasional gaming)

lopoetve

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
31,182
Looking for a relatively compact, but high quality 2.0 setup for my workstation. Generally it's for music, occasional movies (background stuff), and once-in-a-while gaming. I tend to use my headphones for serious gaming - so just a 2.0 setup that is no more than say 6" tall overall (to fit under the monitors). Anyone have any recommendations?
 

lopoetve

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
31,182
Intriguing. Motherboard has a really good DAC on it - those might be overkill, and the non-DAC equipped ones are not available anymore :(
 

B00nie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
8,938

lopoetve

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
31,182
Heh, that's quite an overstatement. This is a nice entry level speaker but not even remotely 'one of the best'. The best ones cost 10-100 times as much as this.
For small bookshelf, I assume he means. The Bowers and Wilkins in my HT setup cost nearly as much as one of my workstations - each. But this is small scale and small size.
 

Wiz33

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
322
Heh, that's quite an overstatement. This is a nice entry level speaker but not even remotely 'one of the best'. The best ones cost 10-100 times as much as this.

Aren't we talking about small standalone desktop speakers for a PC? Now if you want to get serious on audio from a PC, then maybe you should start with a external DAC like this before we even talk speakers

https://electronics.sony.com/audio/audio-components/amplifiers/p/taa1es

Above link is wrong. Correct link here:

https://www.crutchfield.com/S-BVVoP...F0HNHROnd4GK08Qdn3C8E-ukLLK8WmSwaAltdEALw_wcB
 
Last edited:

DoubleTap

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 16, 2010
Messages
2,702
for Small standalone desktop speakers for a PC. Now if you want to get serious on audio from a PC, then maybe you should start with a external DAC like this before we even talk speakers

https://electronics.sony.com/audio/audio-components/amplifiers/p/taa1es

Are you just being silly? It's not a "DAC", it's a $2000 integrated amp.

There are plenty of good self powered speakers in the $500 to $2500 range like the KEF LS50 Wireless II

But most people who want computer speakers don't want to get that crazy.
 

lopoetve

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
31,182
Are you just being silly? It's not a "DAC", it's a $2000 integrated amp.

There are plenty of good self powered speakers in the $500 to $2500 range like the KEF LS50 Wireless II

But most people who want computer speakers don't want to get that crazy.
I have on my main home theater setup (which is a different story; fuck Arcam and fuck REL - never trust british electronics). My main gaming system is the good old Klipsch ProMedia 5.1 (with a new amp/receiver), this is for a workstation that needs to play good music (spotify high-quality), movies, and occasional games when I'm taking a mental break for 10 minutes.
 

Ebernanut

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 15, 2010
Messages
1,449
Are you just being silly? It's not a "DAC", it's a $2000 integrated amp.

There are plenty of good self powered speakers in the $500 to $2500 range like the KEF LS50 Wireless II

But most people who want computer speakers don't want to get that crazy.
It seems like there's a lot of good options for decent quality powered stereo speakers it's just when you get into surround setups that the selection gets smaller and the price gets to where a separate amp of some sort starts to make more sense.
 

DoubleTap

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 16, 2010
Messages
2,702
I have on my main home theater setup (which is a different story; fuck Arcam and fuck REL - never trust british electronics). My main gaming system is the good old Klipsch ProMedia 5.1 (with a new amp/receiver), this is for a workstation that needs to play good music (spotify high-quality), movies, and occasional games when I'm taking a mental break for 10 minutes.

The main thing that is missing is a budget.

I run LS50s on an integrated amp that has an analog crossover for easy subwoofer integration. Lots of people are selling LS50s for cheap to buy the new (Meta) version.

I'm super happy with it but there is a system out there for every budget.
 

lopoetve

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
31,182
$100-150 was what I was thinking; because at the top end of that I could pick up the ProMedia 2.1s, which I know (although I’d have to set them on their sides). Not the best, but solid.
 

B00nie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
8,938
Aren't we talking about small standalone desktop speakers for a PC? Now if you want to get serious on audio from a PC, then maybe you should start with a external DAC like this before we even talk speakers

https://electronics.sony.com/audio/audio-components/amplifiers/p/taa1es
It's the other way around. The differences between DACs are miniscule compared to differences between speakers. I guarantee you that you get more bang for buck by investing 1000 dollars to speakers vs a dac. And as previously mentioned, why did you link an analog integrated amplifier that doesn't even have a built in DAC? :) And you do understand that powered/active speakers do not need an amplifier? Just a preamp to provide the source signal (and that can be even the computer sound card in a ghetto setup).
 

Wiz33

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
322
It's the other way around. The differences between DACs are miniscule compared to differences between speakers. I guarantee you that you get more bang for buck by investing 1000 dollars to speakers vs a dac. And as previously mentioned, why did you link an analog integrated amplifier that doesn't even have a built in DAC? :) And you do understand that powered/active speakers do not need an amplifier? Just a preamp to provide the source signal (and that can be even the computer sound card in a ghetto setup).

My bad, grab the wrong link:

https://www.crutchfield.com/S-BVVoP...F0HNHROnd4GK08Qdn3C8E-ukLLK8WmSwaAltdEALw_wcB

Probably a bit overkill but have you heard the output difference between mobo Analog audio out and going USB or optical to a DAC or through a nice sound card then to speakers? I recommended the AudioEngine since it has a simple 16/48 DAC built-in. I didn't go this route as I went the receiver route with HDMI from my GPU. see spec in my sig

IMG_8800 (1).jpg


But I use the Sony PHA-2A when I want to listen to music

IMG_8932.jpg


connected to set of this:

https://www.amazon.com/Sony-XBA-Z5-...ocphy=9032183&hvtargid=pla-458932859955&psc=1
 
Last edited:

Wiz33

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
322
I’ve never found a good solution for the fake screen using hdmi to a receiver though

Not all receiver can do 4K@60 4:4:4, even on some receiver with HDMI 2.0, you need to manually select 4K@60 4:4:4 in setting to get text to look right. I went DP direct to the CG437K for 4K@120 as my receiver does not support HDMI 2.1 and then another HDMI cable to the receiver. Once connected, you should see your receiver under "Set Up Digital Audio" on the nVidia control panel.
 
Last edited:

lopoetve

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
31,182
I’m running DP to a high refresh screen; the receiver doesn’t support high refresh on HDMI, and neither does the screen as far as I’m aware. So the receiver would appear as a second ghost screen with no output, unless I hook up a crappy cheap screen to it.

unless they finally fixed that. Last I checked they hadn’t.
 

lopoetve

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
31,182
Doesn’t act weird with them at different “refresh” rates? I had some odd issues with my 6800XT and that for a while till I got monitors that could match, but that system has a different audio setup
 

lopoetve

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
31,182
A second monitor is the best but why are we discussing hdmi for a 2.0 system?

Two different setups. Workstation is a 2.0 setup feeding from internal sound card (Zenith II Alpha) and was the start of this thread - my gaming setup is a 5.1 currently a bit gimped by optical out to a receiver/ProMedia 5.1 setup (radiators blocked the PCIE slots; I used to use a Xonar with DTS Connect for it). Can't find an analog multi-channel amp, so I'm being lazy for the moment - HDMI would solve the problem, except the ghost screen issue (or refresh issue, if it exists - it does on AMD cards). I'd love to fix both, but right now I think I'll go with either the AudioMachine or the Monoprice setup for the workstation.

So now the gaming setup - anyone tried high-refresh DP screens paired with either a low-refresh or no-monitor HDMI setup to see if there are any micro-stutter issues on Nvidia (there are on AMD)?
 

Wiz33

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
322
Two different setups. Workstation is a 2.0 setup feeding from internal sound card (Zenith II Alpha) and was the start of this thread - my gaming setup is a 5.1 currently a bit gimped by optical out to a receiver/ProMedia 5.1 setup (radiators blocked the PCIE slots; I used to use a Xonar with DTS Connect for it). Can't find an analog multi-channel amp, so I'm being lazy for the moment - HDMI would solve the problem, except the ghost screen issue (or refresh issue, if it exists - it does on AMD cards). I'd love to fix both, but right now I think I'll go with either the AudioMachine or the Monoprice setup for the workstation.

So now the gaming setup - anyone tried high-refresh DP screens paired with either a low-refresh or no-monitor HDMI setup to see if there are any micro-stutter issues on Nvidia (there are on AMD)?

That's exactly what I'm doing. 3080 DP to CG437K for 4K@120, no second screen. HDMI to receiver for Dolby Atmos. Window Display Settings show CG437K as "1I2", Multiple Displays is set to "Duplicate these displays". CG437K have no problem running up to 120hz (depending on game as even 3080 have problem running the latest games at 4K@120).
 
Last edited:

lopoetve

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
31,182
Ok. I’ll give that a shot and see how it does. If it works, it’s perfect. If I get micro stutters, back to looking for an amp- unless you know where to get one?
 

DoubleTap

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 16, 2010
Messages
2,702
Two different setups. Workstation is a 2.0 setup feeding from internal sound card (Zenith II Alpha) and was the start of this thread - my gaming setup is a 5.1 currently a bit gimped by optical out to a receiver/ProMedia 5.1 setup (radiators blocked the PCIE slots; I used to use a Xonar with DTS Connect for it). Can't find an analog multi-channel amp, so I'm being lazy for the moment - HDMI would solve the problem, except the ghost screen issue (or refresh issue, if it exists - it does on AMD cards). I'd love to fix both, but right now I think I'll go with either the AudioMachine or the Monoprice setup for the workstation.

So now the gaming setup - anyone tried high-refresh DP screens paired with either a low-refresh or no-monitor HDMI setup to see if there are any micro-stutter issues on Nvidia (there are on AMD)?

Yes, it has worked fine on nvidia for several years. Use hw or sw edid emulation.

I have many posts on hdmi surround going back years. Every method (optical, analog, hdmi) can work but every method has issues. I think hdmi is the best overall.

Also, every request for audio help should include a budget.
 
Last edited:

ashmelev75

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2007
Messages
1,731
Doesn’t act weird with them at different “refresh” rates? I had some odd issues with my 6800XT and that for a while till I got monitors that could match, but that system has a different audio setup
For duplicated monitors it limits them to the lowest refresh rate - 60Hz. Since I use the monitor mainly for web stuff, it does not matter that much.
 

lopoetve

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
31,182
For duplicated monitors it limits them to the lowest refresh rate - 60Hz. Since I use the monitor mainly for web stuff, it does not matter that much.
That won’t fly. I’m running 140hz on the main display :(

edit: how is Wiz33 getting it to work?
 

Ebernanut

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 15, 2010
Messages
1,449
That won’t fly. I’m running 140hz on the main display :(

edit: how is Wiz33 getting it to work?
I have mine set to extended display(arrange them kitty corner instead of side by side to keep from losing the cursor) and they work fine with different resolutions and refresh rates. I also just have my receiver plugged into one of the other ports on my monitor, it's useful for using the onscreen settings menus occasionally and I have a couple other low res devices running through it too.
 

DoubleTap

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 16, 2010
Messages
2,702
I have mine set to extended display(arrange them kitty corner instead of side by side to keep from losing the cursor) and they work fine with different resolutions and refresh rates. I also just have my receiver plugged into one of the other ports on my monitor, it's useful for using the onscreen settings menus occasionally and I have a couple other low res devices running through it too.
This is probably the best solution overall - if you have other devices you need to connect, you can use the AVR as an HDMI switch (again, you need EDID emulation or your PC will lose the connection to the AVR every time you switch inputs)
 

DoubleTap

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 16, 2010
Messages
2,702
Without display duplication you may want to do something like this
View attachment 352530

so it minimizes the chances you move the cursor to that non-existing display

Edit: Alternatively this: https://www.amazon.com/HDMI-Audio-Extractor-Splitter-Compatible/dp/B08TBB2C25/
He's probably running Displayport on his gaming monitor so HDMI splitters and extractors won't help the issue of needing a secondary display.

The diagonal monitor works, I think you can also set it to a very low custom resolution so no windows or popups will show up there.

No idea why AMD/Nvidia won't support a blackburst / non video stream for audio out. (probably HDCP issues: Hollywood is making your sound config suck)
 

Wiz33

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
322
That won’t fly. I’m running 140hz on the main display :(

edit: how is Wiz33 getting it to work?

I'm only running one monitor. Are you running more than one? Here's some pics of my Windows and nVidia setting and a in game cap showing that I'm running at over 90fps in FFXIV.

IMG_8933.jpg


IMG_8934.jpg

IMG_8935.jpg

IMG_8936.jpg
 

B00nie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
8,938
My bad, grab the wrong link:

https://www.crutchfield.com/S-BVVoP...F0HNHROnd4GK08Qdn3C8E-ukLLK8WmSwaAltdEALw_wcB

Probably a bit overkill but have you heard the output difference between mobo Analog audio out and going USB or optical to a DAC or through a nice sound card then to speakers? I recommended the AudioEngine since it has a simple 16/48 DAC built-in. I didn't go this route as I went the receiver route with HDMI from my GPU. see spec in my sig

View attachment 352362

But I use the Sony PHA-2A when I want to listen to music

View attachment 352365

connected to set of this:

https://www.amazon.com/Sony-XBA-Z5-...ocphy=9032183&hvtargid=pla-458932859955&psc=1
Are you seriously suggesting to invest 2000 dollars to a DAC and then use your 150 dollar Pioneer speakers? Do yourself a favor and try 2000 dollar speakers with a 100 dollar Audioquest USB DAC next time and you'll notice that the end result is waaaaaay better than spending 2k on the DAC.

Fuel for thought:
Super expensive DAC 1:
1620042272358.png

DAC 2: (100 dollar Dragonfly)
1620042317072.png

Speaker 1 (200 dollar speaker in an untreated room):
1620042503408.png

Speaker 2 (8800 dollar per pair studio speaker):
1620042552636.png

Notice anything funny with the comparisons?
 
Last edited:

Wiz33

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
322
Are you seriously suggesting to invest 2000 dollars to a DAC and then use your 150 dollar Pioneer speakers? Do yourself a favor and try 2000 dollar speakers with a 100 dollar Audioquest USB DAC next time and you'll notice that the end result is waaaaaay better than spending 2k on the DAC.

Fuel for thought:
Super expensive DAC 1:
View attachment 352719
DAC 2: (100 dollar Dragonfly)
View attachment 352720
Speaker 1 (200 dollar speaker in an untreated room):
View attachment 352721
Speaker 2 (8800 dollar per pair studio speaker):
View attachment 352722
Notice anything funny with the comparisons?

No I use a $1000 Sony PHA-2A DAC with a $600 pair of Sony XBA-Z5 IEMs with a set of $250 Balance cable in between.

IMG_8938.jpg


Meant to pick up the new Sony IEM to use with my Sony NW-ZX300 on the go but then the pandemic hits and we're not going anywhere, will pick them up along with the NW-ZX507 Walkman once I start traveling again.

https://www.amazon.com/Sony-IER-Z1R...hild=1&keywords=IER-Z1R&qid=1620055157&sr=8-2

$2000 speakers? Take a look at the IER-Z1R, I'm about to put down $1700 for a pair of ear bud! BTW. As for speakers, I was already using $4000 KEF 105.2 with McIntosh Tube Amp 30 years ago. Get with the times

51D9F2B4-64CB-46F1-9425-C45C4EF6B9D2.JPG

8F629666-581B-4F2C-B795-F3CA22152D7C.JPG


Oh, also. Before you diss the pioneer Maybe you should google Andrew Jones currently running ELAC. While they're not exactly high end. $1000 for a 7.1 Dolby Atmos speaker set (Front, Center , Rear & Sub) is perfectly fine for a home office setup.
 
Last edited:

B00nie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
8,938
No I use a $1000 Sony PHA-2A DAC with a $600 pair of Sony XBA-Z5 IEMs with a set of $250 Balance cable in between.

View attachment 352768

Meant to pick up the new Sony IEM to use with my Sony NW-ZX300 on the go but then the pandemic hits and we're not going anywhere, will pick them up along with the NW-ZX507 Walkman once I start traveling again.

https://www.amazon.com/Sony-IER-Z1R...hild=1&keywords=IER-Z1R&qid=1620055157&sr=8-2

$2000 speakers? Take a look at the IER-Z1R, I'm about to put down $1700 for a pair of ear bud! BTW. As for speakers, I was already using $4000 KEF 105.2 with McIntosh Tube Amp 30 years ago. Get with the times

View attachment 352769
View attachment 352770

Oh, also. Before you diss the pioneer Maybe you should google Andrew Jones currently running ELAC. While they're not exactly high end. $1000 for a 7.1 Dolby Atmos speaker set (Front, Center , Rear & Sub) is perfectly fine for a home office setup.
You're moving goal posts like air here. The OP was aking for a 6" tall 2.0 setup for his desktop. Your recommendation of a 2000 dollar DAC to a cheap 2.0 system makes no sense whatsoever. The DAC is the last upgrade in a scenario like this, not the first one. The A.J. designed small Pioneers are great for the price. I have listened to many of his designs from TAD, Pioneer and Elac days.
 

Wiz33

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
322
You're moving goal posts like air here. The OP was aking for a 6" tall 2.0 setup for his desktop. Your recommendation of a 2000 dollar DAC to a cheap 2.0 system makes no sense whatsoever. The DAC is the last upgrade in a scenario like this, not the first one. The A.J. designed small Pioneers are great for the price. I have listened to many of his designs from TAD, Pioneer and Elac days.

I was just responding to your post that thought I was using a $2000 DAC with cheap speakers. My original respond was recommending the AudioEngine which has a built-in 16/48 DAC to the OP as a slightly more expensive solution than the Monoprice. Of which your respond was "Heh, that's quite an overstatement. This is a nice entry level speaker but not even remotely 'one of the best'. The best ones cost 10-100 times as much as this." If only you remember that he was looking for 6" 2.0 setup.

Also, by the law of Garbage in Garbage out. The DAC (even a cheap one that can handle 24/96 and DSD) should be the first step for quality digital music even from a PC.
 
Last edited:

lopoetve

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
31,182
I was just responding to your post that thought I was using a $2000 DAC with cheap speakers. My original respond was recommending the AudioEngine which has a built-in 16/48 DAC to the OP as a slightly more expensive solution than the Monoprice. Also, by the law of Garbage in Garbage out. The DAC (even a cheap one that can handle 24/96 and DSD) should be the first step for quality digital music even from a PC.
Motherboard supposedly has a pretty good DAC built in - thing cost $800, after all. (Zenith II Alpha Extreme).
 

Wiz33

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
322
Motherboard supposedly has a pretty good DAC built in - thing cost $800, after all. (Zenith II Alpha Extreme).

You should be fine as the ESS9018Q2C is a decent chip. My dislike for onboard DAC is just a carryover from the old days where noise isolation was a pretty low priority but the newer high end mobo should be fine. I just prefer to take the digital signal and decode it outside the case but that's just a personal preference.
 
Top