In market for new PC speakers

Ruddys

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Hi.
So my speakers got jealous on my new Arctic 7 headset and decided to blow up :D

After searching for couple of days now realised that its hard to see witch reviews are sponsored and witch ones are valid opinions.
So heading out to techies here for help to recommend me good PC speaker setup max around 150-200 euro.

Space on my table is limited a bit so was aiming for soundbar or something witch could fit under monitor.

So far my top 3 picks are -Razer Leviathan /Sound BlasterX Katana and Logitech G560 but have not experienced any of them in real life so have no idea witch one would be best fit .

Any help will be much appreciated :)
 

IdiotInCharge

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Uhhh.... anything from those companies is on the 'avoid by default' list.

They're absolutely not all bad, but in general, you're best off with a pair of desktop hifi speakers from Edifier, Kanto, or Swan, as available in your price range. You're most looking for something that has a good USB interface built in and that is designed as a 'monitor' or nearfield speaker.
 

Ruddys

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And this proves how little I know about audio systems :D As I never heard any of those brands before .
Is there any site with the budget listing of the hifi speakers? As under my search results I end up with -avoid by default- list speakers.

Any specific models you would recommend ?
 

IdiotInCharge

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Really just down to what's available in your locality and within your budget. For the US, these are all available easily on Amazon- but they're also all Chinese brands that have a good presence here.

I would search your budget range with your local retailers and see what filters up with good reviews, and we can go from there!
 

IdiotInCharge

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I had my almost 8 year old set of Swan M200MKII's die recently and while I find out how to get them repaired, I put of set of JBL's new 104 in place. I've been incredibly impressed for $130.
If these are available, they're a go. So are the LSR305s (any version) if available, but note that the 305s are large, and the series gets significantly larger.

I almost put the 104s on my living room rig over the Kanto YU2 setup, like that the JBLs may be run balanced, but the size and color scheme clashed, and in that space those factor in.


If they didn't... I would have upgraded the 305s at my gaming desk and put those in the living room ;).
 

IdiotInCharge

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So did you look up availability and prices in the EU and what he would have access to before speaking?
Which country is the OP in? What stores ship there? Is shipping preferred, or local pickup?

I'll let the OP answer, thanks, and I'll recommend against Logitech speakers, again, thanks.
 

IdiotInCharge

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JBL Cinema 610 prebuilt is available in the EU. It should be about 153+VAT However I have had trouble locating something similar specifically in market.
Subwoofer on that is powered- speakers are not. So it'd need an amp / receiver / processor / something. And then there are speakers and wires everywhere, with tiny drivers in satellites.

Get something that's powered and has bigger drivers. You can get excellent surround effect out of stereo speakers- and if you want better, do it right, and spend a little more. You can always add more to a good system, but something like the Logitechs or these JBLs would just be pieces that you'd want to replace with something better.
 

Ruddys

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Which country is the OP in? What stores ship there? Is shipping preferred, or local pickup?

I'll let the OP answer, thanks, and I'll recommend against Logitech speakers, again, thanks.
I am from Ireland but far away from the Dublin .So only retail stores I have is Harvey Norman (Overpriced old hardware) and PC World ( Mostly Logitech all around)
I usually order everything from UK ebay as the shipping is cheap and price of hardware is acceptable .

Yesterday as little time I had Tried to search for Edifier and Swan speakers but most of them ended up in US with crazy import taxes.
 

Ruddys

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In the IT Training atm so cant watch any reviews yet but JBL 104 looks solid and best part I can get them from ebay as well.

Just watched quick few reviews they are recommended to use with sub for lows.Sub coasts extra 300 :D
Thing is I am one of those guys who can listen Nightwish Live concert at one moment and PsyTrance in other.
 
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Ruddys

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Okay so after a little sound demos and internet research for availability I am considering Edifier R1850DB Speakers.Will need to think hard how I will fit them on the PC table but from all evening sound sample listening and comparing I enjoy the sound delivery.

Once again thanks all for helping out.Not often a asking for help is a eye opener for me .Marketing does miracles and makes me believe there ware no other options like Logitech or similar brands
 

Ruddys

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So small update received my speakers today.And wont lie I was really sceptic about speakers without sub .As I have lived in belief that Logitech are go to speakers when it comes to PC Audio.
And OMG my belief in that has delivered years of ruined music experienced I thought was good .
Edifier R1850DB has plenty bass to kick around Sound is incredible now just need to decide where to put them as I have no room at all on table.In worst case Will put PC under desk.

In short just wanted to say thanks for eye opener and great recommendations .Very happy with purchase.
 

SeymourGore

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Also came from a long line of "midrange" Logitech speakers and made the switch to Edifer (R1280T in my case) based on a suggestion from here. Huge difference.
 

Astrowind

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I had my almost 8 year old set of Swan M200MKII's die recently and while I find out how to get them repaired, I put of set of JBL's new 104 in place. I've been incredibly impressed for $130.
Do you need a DAC for that or just run it straight with the 3.5mm connector? I have one motherboard with Realtek ALC 1150 and the other ALC 892. Would that be good enough?
 

criccio

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Do you need a DAC for that or just run it straight with the 3.5mm connector? I have one motherboard with Realtek ALC 1150 and the other ALC 892. Would that be good enough?
Standard analog in so you'll be fine either way. If you want a better DAC than whats in your PC already that's up to you though. Its almost kinda a if you have to ask, you likely won't notice the difference. (hell i'm sure in a double blind test most people who think they need one might not know the difference)
 

Astrowind

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OK, thanks for the reply. After doing research on comments and videos on Youtube, I was concentrated on 3 brands: JBL, Edifier and Swans. Edifier prices are pretty interesting but I'd prefer a volume button on the front like the JBL. I also like the woofer/tweeter coaxial speaker idea. The only thing I might prefer are RCA cables to the other speaker. That thin cable almost freaks me out.
I don't really understand the lack of availability for Swans. Seems HiVi maybe bought Swans as a way to showcase their drivers to manufacturers.
 

primetime

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using Edifier R1850DB speakers here being feed of my Sound Blaster Z....Im pretty happy with them. The lack of volume button is not that great but, its easy to control with keyboad and mouse already. it at least it has a remote for using at a distance.
 

neklepsia

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Have a pair of Edifier R1280DB and really enjoy them, bought a second set for the kids PC.
 

VIC-20

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Standard analog in so you'll be fine either way. If you want a better DAC than whats in your PC already that's up to you though. Its almost kinda a if you have to ask, you likely won't notice the difference. (hell i'm sure in a double blind test most people who think they need one might not know the difference)
If you go from most 3.5mm audio outputs to an external USB DAC, most people should notice a difference due to gain. Most USB DACs are 2 volts RMS like CD players in the 90s. That is far louder than Realtek onboard or most smartphones.
 

B00nie

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The biggest worry with 3,5mm from sound card to speaker will be ground loops. Computers are notorious for having ground issues and that may cause hum/buzz in the speakers. One fun experiment is to put your finger tip between your 3,5mm jack and the computer chassis. You're most likely going to get an electric shock from the stray currents. It won't kill you but it sure doesn't feel nice.

What I do _not_ advice is holding the metal part of the jack in left hand and touching the chassis with the right hand. If the PSU is damaged that might become down right dangerous.

By the way, this is something where there's a marked difference over PC and Macs. I've seen laptops with 'high end sound' solutions become useless buzzers the moment the loader cable is plugged in. All of my macbooks are dead silent cable on or off.
 

VIC-20

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The biggest worry with 3,5mm from sound card to speaker will be ground loops. Computers are notorious for having ground issues and that may cause hum/buzz in the speakers. One fun experiment is to put your finger tip between your 3,5mm jack and the computer chassis. You're most likely going to get an electric shock from the stray currents. It won't kill you but it sure doesn't feel nice.

What I do _not_ advice is holding the metal part of the jack in left hand and touching the chassis with the right hand. If the PSU is damaged that might become down right dangerous.

By the way, this is something where there's a marked difference over PC and Macs. I've seen laptops with 'high end sound' solutions become useless buzzers the moment the loader cable is plugged in. All of my macbooks are dead silent cable on or off.
This is also something USB DACs solve. Dead silent and superior audio to even Apple. Topping D10 is what, $80 US? Cheap easy improvement.
 

Astrowind

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I received the JBL One Series 104 speakers yesterday and have two questions. I connected it directly to my GA-H170M-D3H motherboard with Realtek ALC892 audio. They sounded fine and better than the Creative T20 but then I got a temporary hum the 2nd day. So I turned them off and on again and the hum went away. Is this due to not having a DAC? (Like maybe a noise coming from the motherboard? The computer is plugged into a Tripp Lite SMART1500LCDT UPS.)

Second, I noticed Sam Elliot's voice in The Big LeBowski seemed pretty deep. Is this the fact I was used to my Creative T20 which may be brighter or just my perception?
 

primetime

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I received the JBL One Series 104 speakers yesterday and have two questions. I connected it directly to my GA-H170M-D3H motherboard with Realtek ALC892 audio. They sounded fine and better than the Creative T20 but then I got a temporary hum the 2nd day. So I turned them off and on again and the hum went away. Is this due to not having a DAC? (Like maybe a noise coming from the motherboard? The computer is plugged into a Tripp Lite SMART1500LCDT UPS.)

Second, I noticed Sam Elliot's voice in The Big LeBowski seemed pretty deep. Is this the fact I was used to my Creative T20 which may be brighter or just my perception?
never used a dac here and NEVER had any hum ever.....Not with any speakers or headsets. Maybe you have cheap made speaker? I also use a decent grade cable with adapter (best wmart had anyway) and that probably doesnt hurt
 
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IdiotInCharge

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never used a dac here and NEVER had any hum ever.....Not with any speakers or headsets. Maybe you have cheap made speaker?
There are at least two non-exclusive possibilities:

1. You're deaf (we all are to some degree)
2. You're lucky

In RF-rich environments, you're quite likely to pick up line-level interference; well, you are going to pick up line-level interference, the question is whether you hear it in your specific range of applications.
 

primetime

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There are at least two non-exclusive possibilities:

1. You're deaf (we all are to some degree)
2. You're lucky

In RF-rich environments, you're quite likely to pick up line-level interference; well, you are going to pick up line-level interference, the question is whether you hear it in your specific range of applications.
When i say never i mean with my current hardware....Seems like once upon a time i used a very cheap set of speakers for travel (on a completely different system and sound card) and yea it would have an annoying hum lol
I get NONE with my Edifier speakers and setup. I ONLY care what i can hear! lol So yea its good enough for me (Or have I ever found anyone committing on hearing a hum with this manufacturer) My speakers have a optical hook as well and i dont even bother using it that way, cause id rather be able to tweak the sound with the creative panel. One day if im ever staying in a long term location long enough i might add a sub for extra bass.(which easily hooks to my speaker)
 
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IdiotInCharge

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Seems like once upon a time i used a very cheap set of speakers for travel (on a completely different system and sound card) and yea it would have an annoying hum lol
Should hear the puny Logitechs they give us at work. I'm surprised that something resembling audio comes out of them. They're also in a worst-case environment plugged into the back of a KVM, with six systems below the desk :D.

I get NONE with my Edifier speakers and setup.
I do believe you; my post above was from me reading something along the lines of 'hum should never be a problem on the desktop (because I've never heard it)', and it sounds like that's not what you're saying, so we're in agreement there :).

My speakers have a optical hook as well and i dont even bother using it that way, cause id rather be able to tweak the sound with the creative panel.
This seems to be a design choice with Creative hardware, one I don't understand- on my desktop, I can use Creative's software, which gets piped out through the Realtek hardware on the board, to adjust the steam sent to the optical output and in my case an optical DAC. If using the Z's analog outputs sounds good for your setup, rock on!

I will add as a point of experimentation, that EqualizerAPO, which is free, along with the Peace GUI, can handle EQ profiles quite well. It will even hold different profiles for each output device and there are further plugins that can be used that provide profiles for different headphones and speakers and so on. I've taken to using it exclusively.

One day if im ever staying in a long term location long enough i might add a sub for extra bass.(which easily hooks to my speaker)
I'm using Kanto YU2's (as mentioned above) for my living room set up, which plug in through their own USB DAC. They use that in place of optical inputs versus Edifier's lineup, and I chose them sound, aesthetics (got matte white), and because they have a sub out like your Edifiers. Currently using an ancient Klipsch HTIB 8" downfiring sub that does its job... well enough.

I do recommend researching subs and not spending bottom dollar. Detail is more important than raw 'slam', and you do want something that fits the room you're placing them in.
 

primetime

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This seems to be a design choice with Creative hardware, one I don't understand- on my desktop, I can use Creative's software, which gets piped out through the Realtek hardware on the board, to adjust the steam sent to the optical output and in my case an optical DAC. If using the Z's analog outputs sounds good for your setup, rock on!

I will add as a point of experimentation, that EqualizerAPO, which is free, along with the Peace GUI, can handle EQ profiles quite well. It will even hold different profiles for each output device and there are further plugins that can be used that provide profiles for different headphones and speakers and so on. I've taken to using it exclusively.
your saying i can use both the onboard and Z together? So i could use the creative adjustments thru the onboard optical? Are there any downsides to doing this? cause this i never figured would work in a million years to be honest. (I mean i what point does it stop using my Z cards hardware?
 

D-EJ915

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your saying i can use both the onboard and Z together? So i could use the creative adjustments thru the onboard optical? Are there any downsides to doing this? cause this i never figured would work in a million years to be honest. (I mean i what point does it stop using my Z cards hardware?
You can use stereo mix this way if you want.
 

Astrowind

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I had my almost 8 year old set of Swan M200MKII's die recently and while I find out how to get them repaired, I put of set of JBL's new 104 in place. I've been incredibly impressed for $130.
Can you say how the voice quality of the JBL 104 compares to the Swans M200MKII?

I spent hours searching for a substitute for the JBL 104 in case the voice really is too deep. I can't find any. I mean a lot of speakers don't have a volume button on the front, or they don't have a grille to protect the drivers. Or, they're simply too large for my desk. I have 2 screens on my desk and anything larger than the JBL 104 won't fit. Or, they're way too expensive like Genelec speakers.
Anyway, I was impressed by the sound listening to a John Wick movie. Besides, I found the Creative T20 not quite loud enough for movies like that. So I think I'll keep them. I'm rarely impressed by most speakers anyway and these are good enough for me.
EDIT: I think I discovered why I thought I heard a difference in people's voices. First, the T20 aren't as powerful. (EDIT: Actually tested and they're about the same loudness.) Second, they're bright enough to almost produce a sort of hissing sound on everything that you hear to the point where I think it was masking the depth of people's voices. I made a comparison and found I could hear the same voice depth on the T20 although the JBL 104 are more natural to listen to because they don't have that sort of bright hissing sound (best way for me to describe it).
 
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IdiotInCharge

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your saying i can use both the onboard and Z together? So i could use the creative adjustments thru the onboard optical? Are there any downsides to doing this? cause this i never figured would work in a million years to be honest. (I mean i what point does it stop using my Z cards hardware?
I honestly don't know if Creative allows for processing on their optical out on the Z. I know on my ancient X-Fi that is supposed to work but absolutely doesn't with current drivers and software, and I know that the Creative software that came with my motherboard allows it through the optical out on the Realtek hardware on the board.

Basically, try it?

Also, you can use any number of sound devices, though you'll want to experiment to find the limits for your application.
 

B00nie

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There are at least two non-exclusive possibilities:

1. You're deaf (we all are to some degree)
2. You're lucky

In RF-rich environments, you're quite likely to pick up line-level interference; well, you are going to pick up line-level interference, the question is whether you hear it in your specific range of applications.
Ground loops are the most common source of hum. Usually sound cards are RF protected with the possible exception of built in audio.
 

B00nie

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Can you say how the voice quality of the JBL 104 compares to the Swans M200MKII?

I spent hours searching for a substitute for the JBL 104 in case the voice really is too deep. I can't find any. I mean a lot of speakers don't have a volume button on the front, or they don't have a grille to protect the drivers. Or, they're simply too large for my desk. I have 2 screens on my desk and anything larger than the JBL 104 won't fit. Or, they're way too expensive like Genelec speakers.
Anyway, I was impressed by the sound listening to a John Wick movie. Besides, I found the Creative T20 not quite loud enough for movies like that. So I think I'll keep them. I'm rarely impressed by most speakers anyway and these are good enough for me.
EDIT: I think I discovered why I thought I heard a difference in people's voices. First, the T20 aren't as powerful. Second, they're bright enough to almost produce a sort of hissing sound on everything that you hear to the point where I think it was masking the depth of people's voices. I made a comparison and found I could hear the same voice depth on the T20 although the JBL 104 are more natural to listen to because they don't have that sort of bright hissing sound (best way for me to describe it).
Or perhaps your old speakers were connected out of phase lol.
 

IdiotInCharge

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Ground loops are the most common source of hum. Usually sound cards are RF protected with the possible exception of built in audio.
Agreed, though the effectiveness of that protection varies, and IMO is in general likely to be less protection than a decent external DAC would receive.
 

Astrowind

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For those wondering, the JBL 104 only had a hum 3 times for the first two days. And the solution was just turn them off and on again. I haven't had a hum since then.
I find them more relaxing and natural to listen to versus the Creative T20. However, I can't understand why JBL would deliberately exaggerate the size of the speakers. They're literally 3.5 inches, NOT 4.5 inches. (Still much larger than the approx. 2.5 inches on the T20.)
But a warning for those considering these: first, if you want a lot of bass, you'd need a subwoofer. Second, they're not louder than the Creative T20 despite being 30 watts per channel. As for me, it suits me fine since I don't want to disturb my neighbors. They ended up being the solution I was looking for.
Just to show how much space I have on my desk (about 46 inches wide inside the metal bars with 25 & 21.5 inch monitor). I only have 1 inch left on the side of my 25 inch monitor. Anything larger wouldn't have fit.
I've always wanted a pair of "real" speakers for once in my life. Now I can say I have them.
IMG_20190926mydesk.jpg
 
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