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"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

I used to use my CL Gigaworks S750 system until it died the other day, it was great for music and such but seemed to put far too much emphasis on bass.

Anyway, I hooked up my M-Audio StudioPro3 set that I had lying around and they seemed ok but it's been up and down:

Ups - The imaging seems quite amazing, I was playing STALKER yesterday and it actually sounded like I was immersed entirely in a 3D sound field which I wasn't aware was really possible, it was scary as hell when I noticed too (with the Gigaworks or my headphones when things should be behind you, you just hear it slightly differently, with this I honestly could hear it behind or to the side of me).

Downs - When playing with the volume it seems to have issues with placement. For the first 5% it only comes out of the left speaker then the next 2% or so fades in the right speaker too. Then when it hits around 70% volume it shifts to bias on the left speaker, about 80/20 then it slowly scales back as you get nearer to 100% but never reaches 50/50, it ends about 55/45 still (I don't use the speakers this loud, my headphones are 300ohm impedance so I have to use the higher end of the volume range on the speakers to hear normally). Second downside is that the speakers normally (when listening to music and such) seem considerably less clear than the Gigaworks satellites did, although other times sounds seem worryingly real. It's like the speakers are oddly perfect in some places but let down in general, the volume level side balance is the most annoying thing though, any ideas why it would do that?

Anyway, back to the topic question. I'm looking to spend maybe £200 tops on the best (clarity, imaging, no tainting of sound, etc, the 3D field effect in games was stunning with the StudioPros) 2.0 set of speakers I can get, I'm not really "up" on what competes with what these days, so what are my options?

Thanks,
Ex.

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #1
Ok, well looking at something as a replacement I was recommended (with a £300 price range)

Marantz PM4400 Stereo Amplifier - Black
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Marantz-PM4400-Ste...3769&sr=1-4

Boston Acoustics CR67 Bookshelf Speakers - Black Finish
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Boston-Acoustics-C...4500&sr=8-3

Does anyone have any better ideas for quality, clarity and stereo imaging in this price range?

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #2
Paradigm speakers.

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #3
[quote author=Light-Fire link=msg=518309 date=1190426283]Paradigm speakers.[/quote]

Care to be more specific on which ones? I'm not finding it easy to find anywhere that sells them either...

Oh, forgot to mention, I think I'm going to stretch to get a Rotel RA-04 amp. So now I'm looking for some reference/monitor-like speakers to accompany it. Probably around the £100 mark, a little more if there is some big benefit just over that price point.


"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #5
I've pretty much already decided on the other amp but those speakers seem to get rave reviews everywhere... only problem is I can't find anywhere that actually sells them in the UK. Are they even sold in the UK? Their site says they have no authorized retailers here which wasn't reassuring.

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #6
I've pretty much already decided on the other amp but those speakers seem to get rave reviews everywhere... only problem is I can't find anywhere that actually sells them in the UK. Are they even sold in the UK? Their site says they have no authorized retailers here which wasn't reassuring.


I'd absolutely love to find a place in the UK that sells these as well, if anybody knows where to get them please let us know!

Sam

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #7
> Does anyone have any better ideas for quality, clarity and stereo imaging
> in this price range?

Stereo imaging has usually got more to do with room and location given a reasonable pair of speakers. High quality is not an option at your price point but good sound should be achievable. Clarity tends to be a characteristic of studio monitor type speakers and less so of audiophile speakers but at your price point the distinction may not be great.

> Ok, well looking at something as a replacement I was recommended (with a
> £300 price range) [...] Does anyone have any better ideas for quality,
> clarity and stereo imaging in this price range?

For GBP 300 it would be more balanced to spend 100 on the amplifier and 200 on the speakers since the latter dominates the sound quality.

If you have only one source and therefore do not really need an amplifier to switch sources you will generally get better sound quality from biamplified monitors than from an amplifier plus passive speakers.

I would not get too hung up on brands unless you have an affection for one in particular. Speakers in your price range are mass produced consumer products which is good in that you get a lot for the money but there are no bargains of outstanding quality. Work out what you want and go and have a listen because you will hear noticeable differences between the speakers.

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #8
Have a look at nubert. They produce absolutely fine speakers at an affordable price. Especially the nuBox Series is already superb.

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #9
Have a look at nubert. They produce absolutely fine speakers at an affordable price. Especially the nuBox Series is already superb.
I second that. I like their philosophy (essentially anti-voodoo), prices, open-ness (they have a very nice, well behaved and honest forum where even the developers post from time to time. Oh yes, in case it is any reference, mr. Klemm is seen there, too  ) and of course their products.

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #10
> Does anyone have any better ideas for quality, clarity and stereo imaging
> in this price range?

Stereo imaging has usually got more to do with room and location given a reasonable pair of speakers. High quality is not an option at your price point but good sound should be achievable. Clarity tends to be a characteristic of studio monitor type speakers and less so of audiophile speakers but at your price point the distinction may not be great.

> Ok, well looking at something as a replacement I was recommended (with a
> £300 price range) [...] Does anyone have any better ideas for quality,
> clarity and stereo imaging in this price range?

For GBP 300 it would be more balanced to spend 100 on the amplifier and 200 on the speakers since the latter dominates the sound quality.

If you have only one source and therefore do not really need an amplifier to switch sources you will generally get better sound quality from biamplified monitors than from an amplifier plus passive speakers.

I would not get too hung up on brands unless you have an affection for one in particular. Speakers in your price range are mass produced consumer products which is good in that you get a lot for the money but there are no bargains of outstanding quality. Work out what you want and go and have a listen because you will hear noticeable differences between the speakers.


Actually I've decided to up my budget considering I use the PC for everything and want something decent but not insanely expensive.

I'm currently trying to find the best deal on the Rotel RA-04 and the Bronze BR2s. What do you think of those two?

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #11
> I'm currently trying to find the best deal on the Rotel RA-04 and the
> Bronze BR2s. What do you think of those two?

It depends on what you are trying to achieve? If it is sound quality then you are spending too much money on the amplifier compared to the speakers. You are also approaching the price of "real" monitors like ADAM A7s which might help you make a decision if you give them a listen. Dubious reviews and even more dubious advice from anonymous posters on website are worth little compared to an afternoon having a listen to what your money could buy.

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #12
Have a look at nubert. They produce absolutely fine speakers at an affordable price. Especially the nuBox Series is already superb.

Thanks for the tip. After checking out their homepage and forum, I think I know what my next surround speakers are going to be.
The question is, who cares?

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #13
> I'm currently trying to find the best deal on the Rotel RA-04 and the
> Bronze BR2s. What do you think of those two?

It depends on what you are trying to achieve? If it is sound quality then you are spending too much money on the amplifier compared to the speakers. You are also approaching the price of "real" monitors like ADAM A7s which might help you make a decision if you give them a listen. Dubious reviews and even more dubious advice from anonymous posters on website are worth little compared to an afternoon having a listen to what your money could buy.


Having a listen isn't really going to change anything because as I said, I'm looking for transparency as much as possible, not for a nice warm tone or some other alteration of the sound itself.

But the question still stands, does anyone know where I can buy the RA-04 and the Bronze BR2s in the UK? I'm having trouble finding them online (I only have a motorbike at the moment so going and picking them up from a shop is out of the question, none of the shops which stock them are anywhere near me anyway).

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #14
> Having a listen isn't really going to change anything because as I said,
> I'm looking for transparency as much as possible, not for a nice warm
> tone or some other alteration of the sound itself.

I think you may have things arse-about-tip. Studio monitors tend towards neutral/accurate sound because this is their job. Audiophile speakers tend towards a warm attractive sound because this is their job. You claim you want transparent sound (perhaps I am wrong to understand this as accurate/neutral?) and yet appear to want to buy the opposite.

The ADAM A7 is currently a very popular monitor for people recording on a budget because of its transparent sound which is not unrelated to the type of drive unit used for the higher frequencies. My suggestion to listen was simply so that you could judge for yourself.

About 3 years ago I bought some small home bookshelf speakers around your price range for the kitchen. I was surprised at the wide range in sound indicating that small home speakers are not designed to sound the same. There was a pair of Monitor Audios among the ones I compared but they dropped out early on. They were not strongly warm (the salesman's word - I would have used another) like some but nor were they particularly transparent. In fairness they were eliminated almost immediately for reasons other than sound quality but having listened to others in the same price range I doubt I would have bought them had they matched my other criteria. Had I not listened then I may have done.

At the time I did not appreciate how large the home recording sector had become and how cheap some good small monitors now were in this sector. Since this is the type of sound I prefer, I made a mistake in only considering hi-fi speakers.

I cannot help with where to buy.

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #15
> Having a listen isn't really going to change anything because as I said,
> I'm looking for transparency as much as possible, not for a nice warm
> tone or some other alteration of the sound itself.

I think you may have things arse-about-tip. Studio monitors tend towards neutral/accurate sound because this is their job. Audiophile speakers tend towards a warm attractive sound because this is their job. You claim you want transparent sound (perhaps I am wrong to understand this as accurate/neutral?) and yet appear to want to buy the opposite.

The ADAM A7 is currently a very popular monitor for people recording on a budget because of its transparent sound which is not unrelated to the type of drive unit used for the higher frequencies. My suggestion to listen was simply so that you could judge for yourself.

About 3 years ago I bought some small home bookshelf speakers around your price range for the kitchen. I was surprised at the wide range in sound indicating that small home speakers are not designed to sound the same. There was a pair of Monitor Audios among the ones I compared but they dropped out early on. They were not strongly warm (the salesman's word - I would have used another) like some but nor were they particularly transparent. In fairness they were eliminated almost immediately for reasons other than sound quality but having listened to others in the same price range I doubt I would have bought them had they matched my other criteria. Had I not listened then I may have done.

At the time I did not appreciate how large the home recording sector had become and how cheap some good small monitors now were in this sector. Since this is the type of sound I prefer, I made a mistake in only considering hi-fi speakers.

I cannot help with where to buy.


I noticed the ADAM A7 looked like they had rather... interesting and separate volume controls on them. I use my PC for everything, music, games, videos, etc but prefer transparent sound to sound that is altered to sound different from how it was meant to be heard.

I think the mistake I made was thinking that transparency was high up on peoples "what makes a good speaker" list and I think that is why I've given off mixed signals about what I'm looking for.

I assume the ADAM A7's are likely to have very good spacial/field reproduction then?

EDIT: I just looked them up, it's £600 for the pair of ADAM 7s. That's well over my budget which was already stretched to breaking point at around £400.

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #16
There's a pair of ATC SCM7 speakers available currently on Ebay UK: link. The used price is within your budget (but you'll also need to buy a stereo amp additionally). These are really excellent speakers in terms of sound quality, manufactured by a company specializing in professional studio monitors. Bass is somewhat lacking to my taste, but that's normal for speakers this small.
As it has already been pointed out, you shouldn't buy speakers based merely on what others say but if you want recommendations here's a big one.

As a general advice I suggest you check out the used market. Second hand speakers are usually safe to buy and you get a lot more bang for your buck this way.

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #17
There's a pair of ATC SCM7 speakers available currently on Ebay UK: link. The used price is within your budget (but you'll also need to buy a stereo amp additionally). These are really excellent speakers in terms of sound quality, manufactured by a company specializing in professional studio monitors. Bass is somewhat lacking to my taste, but that's normal for speakers this small.
As it has already been pointed out, you shouldn't buy speakers based merely on what others say but if you want recommendations here's a big one.

As a general advice I suggest you check out the used market. Second hand speakers are usually safe to buy and you get a lot more bang for your buck this way.


I'm not too fond of eBay and I've grown to like the choice previously (not to mention those speakers would need an even more powerful amp), I just need to find somewhere I can buy the Rotel RA-04 over the internet. If anyone can tell me where then that would be great (I'm in the UK).

"Best" 2.0 speakers for all-round use?

Reply #18
Ok, nevermind. Found both within reach. Thanks all.

What speaker cabling would you recommend though? (I assume neither the amp nor speakers would come with any).

 
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