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Desktop Speakers to go with my Soundblaster AE-5

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by Mickcas, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. Mickcas

    Gangster

    Joined: Jan 21, 2017

    Posts: 289

    Location: County Durham

    Hi all

    for the last year I've used some cheap £10 Logitech things i picked up form amazon, they work but that's about all the pro's I can list.

    usage will be anything from gaming, to YouTube, movies, music, nothing professional, just general home use.
    Id like something under £100 if possible, not to big as I don't want them taking up a whole load of space, and if possible in white :D oh and no sub is needed and Bluetooth would be a nice to have

    so far I've come across the below, some are over budget but I'm considering them if they offer a good enough jump in quality for my usage

    Audioengine A2+ - over budget, but love the looks and size, review seem to constantly recommend these
    Logitech Z207 - within price, good size and white and under £50
    Creative gigaworks T20 - seem to get recommended alot for the price, not keen on the looks
    Edifier r1280T - may be too big, alos how do active speakers work when I have my AE5 there?
    Edifier Luna eclipse - look cool, again in white but over budget
    M-Audio AV32 - dont no much about these but they keep popping up on google
    Auna Linie 501 bs - as above
    Q -Acousics 3010 - again looks nice, good size, just on budget

    if anyone has any insight or recommendations of what will work good with my AE-5, only issue is I cant find may local places to try these out!

    but thanks in advance
     
  2. TangoEchoAlpha

    Gangster

    Joined: Jun 13, 2016

    Posts: 417

    Location: UK

    I've got the Creative T40, I know they are a bit more expensive than the T20, but pleased with them. The only thing I would say is that the cable which goes from your PC to the first speaker is somewhat short, so might need to bear that in mind depending upon your desk layout :)
     
  3. Doug2507

    Hitman

    Joined: Sep 13, 2013

    Posts: 759

    Location: Aberdeen

    Got A2+ the other week. Wasn't expecting great things but they're pretty damn good tbh!

    Even so, I ended up correcting the DSP and running a spare sub I had to get rid of slight bloat on the btm end. Could have easily lived with them at stock though. Head and shoulders above gigaworks.

    Well worth a demo, rain forrest might be helpful with that.

    If they're usb or BT then you won't need a sound card. Only need the sound card if you're outputting digital through spidf/toslink or analogue to active speakers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  4. Mickcas

    Gangster

    Joined: Jan 21, 2017

    Posts: 289

    Location: County Durham

    I do really fancy the A2s but there double what I really want to spend
     
  5. Doug2507

    Hitman

    Joined: Sep 13, 2013

    Posts: 759

    Location: Aberdeen

    If it's just for casual/back ground listening then the t40's might be worth a shout. Had them before, bit of boogie about them and totally fine for gaming/movies/Spotify etc....
     
  6. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,318

    All the speakers you've listed are active speakers, except for the Q Acoustics 3010, which are passive.

    Active means the speakers have a built in amplifier. All speakers need amplifying, whether it's via a built in amplifier or an external one. The 3010's are hifi speakers, which commonly are passive. You'd need a separate amp to power them. You can't just connect passive speakers to a sound card, as no sound card has the required power to drive the speakers.

    If you're going to go over budget though, then the 3010's would probably be my pick of the lot. SMSL SA50 will power them fine for about £60.

    Audioengine A2+ get a lot of praise and they are good speakers, but in my opinion, I think they are expensive for such a small speaker. They are lifestyle speakers; people are paying for the style and compactness.

    For the same money, I'd much rather have Q Acoustic 3010's and a Topping MX3 DAC/amp, which also has the added bonus of Bluetooth connectivity.

    If you'd rather stick to £100 though, then Edifier R1280T are a good choice. You mention that they might be too big, but if you've seen the size of these on Amazon, then that size is wrong. They are roughly same size as the QA 3010.

    Also; in a similar vein to the QA 3010's, there are Wharfedale 9.0's. They are great speakers and are a bargain at Richer Sounds for £40. In store purchase only, and like the 3010's, they are hifi speakers so they need an amp. £100 with the SMSL SA50.

    I wouldn't bother with the Logitech Z207 unless you need something small and cheap. They serve a purpose, but with £100 to spend, there are better choices.

    Creative T20 or T40 are decent if you need a speaker with a small footprint, but personally, I'd only go for either of those if anything larger is too big.

    M Audio AV32 are probably a decent enough choice if you'd really prefer a smaller speaker, but I wouldn't pick them over the slightly larger speakers though.
     
  7. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,481

    Location: Finland

    Looking at rest of your PC, which is far from budget PC, I find it curious you would be satisfied with gaming on stereo.
    Gaming immersion wise that would be kinda like using dozen years old graphics card and monitor.

    Of course surround system with speakers is magnitude bigger pain in the butt for size of price sticker, speaker positioning/space requirements, and not to forget need for some room acoustics.
    But binaural sound simulation and good headphones can give very nice immersion with also feel of distance besides direction.
    You basically have there the best possible sound card for headphone gaming.
    (at least until there's sound card with head shape customizable HRTF)

    So if you just use PC alone that would be another option, with better immersion for gaming and movies.
     
  8. Mickcas

    Gangster

    Joined: Jan 21, 2017

    Posts: 289

    Location: County Durham

    Thanks for the info. I assumed my ae5 had enough voice to power them.
    I'm leaning more toward a smaller active speaker now, an amp is just another thing to put somewhere.
    @EsaT I currently use akg 702 headphones but I find myself using speakers often, unless I'm really trying in a fps game
     
  9. JasonM

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 19, 2009

    Posts: 2,113

  10. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,481

    Location: Finland

    There are no sound cards with any speaker amp.
    With Sound Blaster X7 being the rule approving exception.

    Unless we're talking about those teeny tiny "knock them over by breathing toward them" speakers from 25 years ago with zero sound quality...
     
  11. Mickcas

    Gangster

    Joined: Jan 21, 2017

    Posts: 289

    Location: County Durham

    So when I plug speakers in do I not plug them into the card, or is it likely to be USB powered.
     
  12. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,481

    Location: Finland

    Standard active monitor speakers/amplifier of passive speakers need line signal.
    That's what for L/R line output (connector with number 1) is there in AE-5.
    You can have both headphones and speakers connected simultaneously and switch signal between from software, instead of having to swap cables.

    This software can also automate switching of other settings.
    https://github.com/dainesch/AE5Switcher
    So that with speakers sound settings are for stereo and for headphones you get binaural sound to make sure enemy can't creep behind you in games.
     
  13. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,481

    Location: Finland

    EDIT: Double post
     
  14. nicknack35

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 5, 2014

    Posts: 1,448

    Id never go back to pc speakers ever again. After having me Ruark MR1 MK2 and little REL T ZERO sub
     
  15. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,318

    Any active speakers will connect directly to the sound card. They have a built in amplifier which plugs into the mains to give them the power they need. The sound card provides the audio signal.

    Passive speakers cannot be connected directly to the sound card, as they require a separate amplifier. The amp is plugged into the mains and is connected to the sound card, then the speakers to the amp.

    Sound cards by themselves cannot output enough power for passive speakers. It's different with headphones, because headphones require only a fraction of the power that speakers do.

    USB powered speakers aren't much good, because any decent speakers need more power than USB can provide; hence why Esat called them weedy.

    If an amp for passive speakers is not wanted, then the Edifier R1280T would also be my choice of those mentioned in the OP. Preferably though, I'd choose the R1600T III, which are only £10 more than the R1280T.

    Maybe not, but many speakers that have been mentioned are not what you'd call 'PC speakers'. Some are though, in particular the Logitech's and Creative's.

    The term 'PC speakers' has been blurred in recent years, with quite a few people using what are probably best described as multimedia speakers. Edifier and Microlab do make 'PC speakers', but they also make some very good multimedia speakers.

    I agree though; I wouldn't want to go back to using Logitech or Creative speakers, especially not 2.1 or 5.1.
     
  16. Mickcas

    Gangster

    Joined: Jan 21, 2017

    Posts: 289

    Location: County Durham

    Thanks @Marsman great explanation. I like the edifiers but the wood is putting me off, aesthetically is doesn't suit my set up at all.

    Has anyone ever tried those Chinese tune amps you can pick up for around £50 from the rain forest they look cool but I assume aren't very good
     
  17. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,318

    Are you talking about Gemtune?

    If yes, then that's what I mentioned in post #6. SMSL SA50. Not entirely sure why they are titled Gemtune though.

    Here's a review of the SMSL SA36 and SA50 from Zeos on Youtube..

     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018 at 7:10 PM
  18. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,318

    Understandable. The R1800T III are black. Shame OcUK are out of stock, because £80 on sale is a good price; otherwise, they are £120.

    How about Steljes NS1 in black from Richer Sounds for £130?

    In store purchase only though, so you'd need to go to a Richer Sounds store if you have one in your area.

    They are small like the Audioengine A2+, if that size is preferred.

    Edit: They have Bluetooth connection as well. Something the Audioengine's don't have.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018 at 7:05 PM
  19. Mcthommo

    Gangster

    Joined: Jan 28, 2015

    Posts: 341

    Save up for the AE2 well worth the wait
     
  20. JasonM

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 19, 2009

    Posts: 2,113

    The problem with these cheaper 2.0 active speakers (including the Edifier) is the amp is on one side, meaning the other speaker is passive.

    The speakers are built to a budget, proof of this is the low quality (very thin) speaker cable that connects the active speaker amp to the passive speaker. If you change the speaker cable to a thicker one you get better sound from the passive sound speaker, but then the speakers become very slightly unbalanced as your only effecting one speaker. Why do they use a thin low quality cable to connect the speakers, well because there sub £100 speakers and if they can save 30c on some cable times the thousands they sell they will! Then again this is how all consumer things are built today, have a car that was £20k new and they will still cost things to save pennies where they can.

    Now when you realise they are bridging the speakers with pretty much the thinnest piece of copper they can get away with, you realise that having a sound card that can do 32bit output is pretty much academic.

    The edifiers that were mentioned, and maybe those R1600III Marsman mentioned are still your best option for this price however.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018 at 6:09 PM