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Loudspeakers

Discussion in 'Jollies Bar' started by Chelonian, Dec 24, 2018.

  1. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    Tapping into the expertise on the forum and having been enlightened by @arny01 in another thread about loudspeakers :) can anyone suggest a decent set of 2.0 shelf speakers to run off a PC?
    Bass is not a major requirement. Just good general performance across all frequencies. @Firedrake any suggestions?
    Budget up to £150. Which was my old mare's food bill every three months; always my benchmark whenever I buy anything.
    Thanks.
     
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  2. arny01

    arny01 Ex Pongo.

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    Try some KRK Rokit 4’s? Maybe a touch above your budget, but by god the sound is so so worth it!
     
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  3. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    Cheers. I'll try to have a listen. What do you reckon would be the best connection: audio jack, USB or Bluetooth?
     
  4. arny01

    arny01 Ex Pongo.

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    The inputs on the KRK are phono lead, audio jack(balanced) or XLR(balanced) you can choose which method you’d prefer, I think running off a PC you could go with a phono to 3.5mm jack for your PC. The KRK are both internally powered, so no need external AMP! I have the Rokit 6 and must say, I’ve never heard such rich quality sound in my life!!
     
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  5. Firedrake

    Firedrake Member

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    I second Rokit 4's. I have seen them in action. They have a surprisingly good lower midrange response for a 4 inch speaker, which provides quite a warm tone. Unfortunately I can not advise on any others in this price bracket as I have little experience there. I personally use Adam A7's which have been updated to the A7X. Lovely speaker with lovely highs and a smooth bottom end/low mid which is great for movies but likely out of the price range. The A7 may have come down in price now that it is obsolete in the eyes of Adam audio. Really it depends what you want your speakers for. If you really enjoy listening to the sound of your music as much as the creativity it holds then getting the 6's will be my recommendation. If you are just looking to improve the sound of your DVD's/music when you listen to it and improve on your current standard set-up then the 4's would be great. It will be noticeably better than a Logitech set-up. Just remember that speaker placement and room acoustics make the biggest difference to sound. No point in buying good speakers if they get stuck in the corner of a room.
     
  6. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    Cheers. I’m out of touch with audio stuff these days but I happily wasted hours tinkering with a vinyl rig back in the 1980s.

    I’ll listen to some Rokits before I make a decision. The Adams are about twice my budget so I’ll pass on them.

    Listened to a pair of Audioengine A2+ earlier this week. They have a USB input to an onboard DAC. Unsure of any benefit over connecting via a 3.5mm audio jack though. Sounded good to me but that's because my current speakers were rescued from a skip.
     
  7. ThreadpigeonsAlpha

    ThreadpigeonsAlpha Royal Marines Commando

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    I prefer wired speakers for stuff but I recently purchased a portable Bluetooth speaker, and it can be either wired or Bluetooth. Pretty decent, my only problem with Bluetooth is it destroys batteries.
     
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  8. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    Me too. I can't think of any particular benefit of wireless for me as the rig will be fixed in my workshop.
     
  9. Firedrake

    Firedrake Member

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    Audio jack would be the best connection probably by a fair bit. AD/DA conversion is a massive part of the signal chain and why people spend large amounts of money just on soundcards alone.

    If you run USB you will likely go through a cheap D/A converter in the speaker.

    As for Bluetooth....It isn't for sound quality but purely for ergonomics and not found anywhere in the professional audio industry as a means of data/signal transfer.

    Physical cable will likely always be the way for high quality signal transmission. decent wireless systems for vocal mics cost hundreds of pounds.

    A reasonable soundcard with balanced outs can make a large difference and with the massive wealth of bedroom producers out there, there is also a large market of reasonable quality/price options out there.
     
  10. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    The music files are on a laptop so a soundcard upgrade isn't an option. I guess that the outcome I'm seeking isn't audiophile heaven but the best 'bang for buck' speaker set that will fit onto a shelf.

    Back in the olden days when I chose my last vinyl rig (Rega Planar deck, NAD 3020 amp, Wharfedale speakers) I did so after sitting alone in a room at Gulliford Hi-Fi, near Exmouth, for an entire afternoon with a stack of my own discs and an unlimited supply of coffee and biscuits. Having decided to shift to digital it has become apparent that Currys PC World don't offer a similar service. :)
     
  11. arny01

    arny01 Ex Pongo.

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    Agree. Balanced cable is my preferred method. Currently using Neo Oyadie XLR cables. Must say the sound improvements over standard cables is night and day!!
     
  12. Firedrake

    Firedrake Member

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    Due the rise of bedroom producers and laptop use there are masses of USB and Firewire soundcards out there offering 2in/2out routing for reasonable pricing.
    Inboard soundcards are on the way out really but I appreciate this may not be necessary for your needs.

    However if you are looking for some good entry level speakers, look on American sites like Sweetwater or Gear4Music as they have pro audio equipment rather than loads of consumer hi-fi. Compare pricing, then from there find UK retailers.

    Entry level pro audio is pretty much always better than hi-fi. Ironically Most hi-fi (High Fidelity) just has a bass boost which makes people think its better. This is how Beats are still in fashion and how BOSE are doing well
    "No Highs, No Lows. It must be BOSE"
    Is what an internationally acclaimed FOH engineer told me once, not naming names.

    An £80 pair of Professional Sennheiser headphones is considerably better than a £250 pair of Beats.
    Most Pro audio also gives you the option of phono, or XLR/Jack inputs and many have internal amps.
    (Stay away from Behringer, they only last their warranty, suspiciously to within months of it)

    Headphone outputs on laptops and most things are unbalanced, so using balanced cable won't make a difference unless you have XLR outs, or 1/4" balanced Jacks (the one with two black rings, or 3 metal sections)
    Balanced XLR/Jacks are mainly to improve signal quality over distance as the further audio travels the more EM/RF interference it can pick up.

    Unbalanced (Phono/Speaker wire/headphone) is generally fine if the cable runs are very short and kept away from electrical cables. So don't buy a 5m cable if you only need a 1m one. I used to work with a great Bass player who sadly always used a 20m cable so he could go into the audience and play on tables. His tone was...lacking.
     
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  13. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    Thanks. Everything was analogue when I last dipped into buying audio kit. My recent research indicates that people are even buying portable DACs for plugging into iPhones.

    My workshop measures 5m x 4m, so it's not a vast space.
     
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  14. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    @arny01 and @Firedrake Your advice has been most helpful. But I knew that what I first considered the simple project of getting a better sound out of a laptop with basic powered speakers would get out of hand and it has.

    I listened to someone's MacBook connected via USB to a NAD D3020 amplifier and was mightily impressed. Uncertain what loudspeakers they were connected to though.
    Funnily enough my last amp was an analogue NAD 3020 in the 1980s.

    Richer Sounds has a store in Exeter. I'll pop in and sniff around next time I'm in town.
     
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  15. Mr D

    Mr D Well-Known Member

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    Was ?
     
  16. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    Bridget is happy and well, mate. :) She retired to north Devon at the end of last year where she now lives with a handful of race horses, llamas and alpacas.

    Meanwhile I'm seeking a new horse. Borrowed a Clydesdale for a week but they are enormous!
     
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  17. Mr D

    Mr D Well-Known Member

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    Hope she still bet's her Beer ration's mate. :)
     
  18. Mr D

    Mr D Well-Known Member

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    Get's !
     
  19. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    She does! I'll visit her next week and take her a couple of cans. IPA is her favourite tipple.
     
  20. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    @arny01 and @Firedrake Thanks both for your suggestions. After listening to some big KRK Rokits at the home studio of a friend-of-a-friend musician I finally opted for a pair of Rokit 5 loudspeakers via a Dragonfly Black DAC plugged into a laptop.
    Pink Floyd never sounded so good. The bloke next door enjoys it too. Cheers.
     
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