Weekend Open Forum: What is your favorite set of desktop speakers?

By Justin Kahn ยท 50 replies
Apr 25, 2014
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  1. While many people have opted in for some kind of home sound system like the Sonos set-ups, of which I've heard generally good things about, I personally still like to do most of my listening with desktop speakers in my...

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  2. Kneep

    Kneep TS Enthusiast Posts: 44


    Those HAMER out the sound around me nicely here :)
  3. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,215   +177

    I have a Bose Companion series speaker. Small desktop pods with a hideaway sub. I've had these for many years and received a lot of praises for how good they sound.
  4. Klipsch....THX certified, no doubt!
  5. I like stereo, but I run music from my computer thru an Asus Essence soundcard via RCA to a NAD C 316BEE that powers the speakers. Cannot afford what I like, but a relative gave me some Ambiance II (DBOX) speakers and they do for now. 2 x 5" speakers and a dome tweeter each. So I don't require an active speaker. One day I will upgrade to two better quality speakers.
  6. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,718   +859

    I'm using these right now - Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 High-power. Incredible set of speakers and I can't turn them as loud as I'd like. Neighbors would complain.
  7. Docus

    Docus TS Member Posts: 20   +10

    Funny that this is the open forum topic, as I've actually had a heck of a week trying to figure out my new speaker situation.

    I've had an Altec Lansing 4 speaker + subwoofer setup (AVS500) for nearly 15 years. I bought them for less than $100 along with my first 'real' computer, and they're the one component that I kept re-using through all of the upgrades and replacements, from high school through college and now through finishing my PhD (they died just after I defended!). Even though the 'rear' 2 speakers usually ended up underneath the desk on the sides--it's just too unsightly to have the cords stretching out across the floor to put them behind me--the sound quality was excellent. Unfortunately, just last week I noticed that one of my monitors seemed to be experiencing feedback. At first it was barely audible, but it gradually got louder and became noticeable enough to be annoying, like a constant rhythm as if a neighbor had their stereo cranked up. It seems that the subwoofer was the culprit; maybe the magnetic shielding wore off? At any rate, I unplugged it and the interference ceased. I figured it was the perfect excuse to treat myself to some new gear, and I already had another Altec Lansing kit in my Amazon wishlist.

    Then I discovered that the speakers I had picked out were unavailable and unlikely to be restocked. I headed over to Altec Lansing's website to see what was up, and discovered that they only make tiny bluetooth speakers for smartphones now. Apparently they got bought out by one of those companies that tries to turn failing brands around. I was bummed--maybe they put themselves out of business by building products that lasted too long! I ended up buying a cheaply priced, over-powered 2.1 setup from Microcenter: Arion 100W AR506-BK, produced by Eagle. They were sixty bucks, big and shiny and loud. The demo unit in the store sounded awesome, plenty of loud sound with no tearing or 'tinny' sound. I brought them home and discovered that the audio output jack for the left speaker was not functional. WTF! Now I'll have to make another 45 minute trip to Microcenter to return them.

    In the meantime, because I couldn't stand the tinny sound from my monitor's speakers, I ordered a lower-powered 2.1 speaker version of the Altec Lansing set still available from an Amazon 3rd party seller. They arrived today, and even though they were all nicely wrapped in plastic, the speakers and subwoofer were fairly *covered* in dust, and somewhat scuffed up. The subwoofer was actually missing one of its legs-- I found the shattered pieces of it in the bottom of the box. The production quality is noticeably lower than my old set--the wires connecting the speakers to each other and to the subwoofer are frail, thin things that probably won't last, and I don't have nearly as much clearance to space things out like the old units. I actually had to move my monitors closer together to be able to place the speakers at the sides of my dual setup. Nonetheless, the sound is good, and they were only $40. I think I'll keep them until I have time to figure out how to repair or replace the subwoofer from my old kit. And hope for Altec Lansing to return from the nearly-dead. I really wasn't impressed by the Creative or Logitech speakers I saw on display. They just looked cheaply made, all plastic and paper. I look forward to hearing what you all use for your desktops.
  8. TitoBXNY

    TitoBXNY TS Addict Posts: 236   +50

    Still using my Logitech Z5300 5.1 purchased back in 2003. They still sound great.
  9. Ranger1st

    Ranger1st TS Evangelist Posts: 348   +124

    Tritton 5.1 Surround sound headphones.. 10 speakers for the price of 1 quality midrange audiophile speaker
  10. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,319   +1,407

    I have a set of of klipsch promedia 2.1 speakers. I don't need them to be super accurate, but they sound great either way. I wanted them so I could play loud music when I wanted to but also have that dynamic range when I was gaming and watching movies. I own some high end audio equipment and the main thing I have to sat about them is that you won't get better sound without spending $500+. Better sound is out there, but not for the price
  11. Klipsch Promedia is good compared to desktop speakers, but M-Audios + Subwoofer will easily blow the socks off any desktop speaker set. Once you get into the studio monitor realm you start seeing better mids and far better highs; so when it comes to sound alone desktop speakers aren't a very good value.

    With that being said it's kind of unfair to compare bookshelf speakers to satellites, with just the size difference alone.

    I wouldn't get M-Audios without a subwoofer if it was me though, but when you compare to a lot of super expensive desktop speaker sets, $80 speakers & $100 subwoofer isn't that much $.
  12. The 2.0 Swan Mk200MKIII are amazing, I love the sound signature they have recieved high praise on head-fi and some review websites. The sounds is near-field wich is great for desktops and lets you turn your volume up a bit more then usual without annoying your roomates. You can add a sub if you want, nice for movies/games to give that 'impact' when an explosion goes off or the like. But it's not really necessary the bass on them is great.

    Huge upgrade over my old Audio Engine a5s
  13. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    I have these as well but they're connected to my setup in my lounge. My house sits on 5 acres of land so I can really crank them up if I want to but seeing I'm no longer a youngster I hardly listen at volumes beyond a 3rd, half tops... For my desktop I use headphones or a headset only.
  14. Zorgeru

    Zorgeru TS Rookie

    Audioengine a2. tiny footprint huge sound
  15. stansfield

    stansfield TS Enthusiast Posts: 84   +14

    I use a pair of Logitech z5 speakers which give a brilliant result with a sound and range that I have found better than far more expensive speakers.
  16. NeoFlux

    NeoFlux TS Booster Posts: 104   +14

    Got those as a present about 7 year ago too, still rocks, awesome speakers
  17. Nazeem

    Nazeem TS Member

    Loving my Swans M10. Great value for a budget set.
  18. Experimentongod

    Experimentongod TS Maniac Posts: 269   +111

    I'm still using my Logitech Z-5500 5.1 from 2007, great sound and perfect for gaming.
  19. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 930   +31

    Klipsch iFi

    Hands down the best 2.1 computer speakers on the market for less than 500$. Check the reviews of this baby and you'll know what I mean. I have listened and bought many brands of computer speakers from Altec Lansing, Cambridge Soundworks, Logitech, Edifier but none comes close to this beast.

    Unfortunately this thing went dead on me last year. (n) I brought this thing to more than 3 local technicians to no avails.. Then I realized I have to settle for something less. Especially when I found the proper upgrade to the iFi costs 3 times as much (Focal Bird 2.1).

    For the time being, I use the old Megaworks 550 with a custom amp (the original BASH amp went dead, undoubtedly) for my primary PC, and Logitech Z Cinema which was a steal at $125 few years ago.. It doesnt sound as good as the iFi, but at that price it's tough to beat.

    I also still own an older set of 4.1 Altec Lansing Speakers. It is the ADA885 which is THX Certified and is capable of accepting digital input. With a small converter, it became very useful because things like PS3 or XBOX360 cannot deliver multichannel analog audio output. I installed this speakers in my workplace, so I can listen to some tunes when everybody goes home. (y)

    Anyway you can always maximize your current speakers for music with a good equalizer. When I said good, I meant a better equalizer than your typical iTunes or Winamp EQ yet is free.

    use a freeware such as signalgen to listen to tones that is too loud or soft. Set the equalizer to complement the irregular tone levels. It won't be as good as upgrading your speakers, but it will surely be better than listening to unequalized pair of basic computer speakers.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014
    Docus likes this.
  20. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,185   +208

    Still using my old logitech x 230s, Had them for at leats 6 or 7 years with no issues.

    For music use I switch over to a set of wharfdale diamond 9.1s driven by a NAD 3020e. (circa 1978) My father gave me the amp and I treat it like one of my children :)
  21. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    I have heard they are good. I think I may pick some up.
  22. Game audio only needs a nice soundstage which can be easily obtained by some budget open-back headphones. Surround headphones are the biggest load of ****, seriously you don't need lots of drivers right next to your ear that sound like ***. For instance with my Sennheiser HD 598 it is easy to tell the direction a sound is coming from, being open-back. Plus I can listen to music on them and they don't make my ears bleed.

    "I have listened and bought many brands of computer speakers from Altec Lansing, Cambridge Soundworks, Logitech, Edifier but none comes close to this beast." Logitech and Altec Lansing make some of the worst speakers know to man. That klipsch is decent but it's very over priced. At that price point (and lower) you can get much better systems. I used to visit many music stores and have heard a LOT of speakers in my day, working in a studio.

    When it comes to speakers if your budget isn't high ($650+)and you don't listen to a lot of bass heavy music like D&B, Dubstep or only play games. I seriously reccomend going for a nice 2.0 speakers, depending on what you chose you can add a good bass later. The SVS PB-1000 comes to mind might be too expensive for casual users though. With a good 2.0 system you don't really 'need' a sub, but it definetely helps especially for movies/games for the impact.

    I own the Swan M200MkIII atm I plan on getting a sub for it soon, would probably reccomend the H4s over it though. They sound slightly better overall (and amazing for it's size) bit more difficult to plug into your pc though and the individual volume control might be a bit of a turn off depending on your set-up.

    I also reccomend the Aktimate mini+
  23. I think I have changed my computer system 8 times over the years but only one component I have kept using my system is speakers. I have Cambridge Soundworks 4.1 speakers.
    They still work fine and in years I have setup for my clients many Klipch, Logitech THX certified speakers but I think quality of the sound very close those big name better manufacturers.
    Of course computers sound card should be good to have enjoy these speakers. I always used good sound cards and my current Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2. I know its a few years old and dont have supported drivers for win 7 (I use custom drivers from Daniel K.)
    Nowadays there are many mid and high end good souncard options from good manufacturers and its really hard to distinguish which one is the best.

    At the end your ears should be judge not the test programs and sound frequency diagrams.
  24. Benny26

    Benny26 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,535   +51

    I bought a pair of Logitech X230s with sub like 10 years ago and they're still good enough for me. Sound quality is still as great as the day I unboxed them.
  25. Using microlab c7 solo they are awesome quality and mad value cost me only 230$
    they are so good

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