View Full Version : Best Speaker System now for Price/performance?
I guess I need to get serious about buying some speakers given my Quad will be here Monday. I was reading some old threads (most back in July), and from what I can determine, most people opt for one of the following three options with the following Pro/Cons:
1. JBL Creature II: has sub, so sound is pretty good and price/performance is pretty good too. Cost: $100
2. Klipsch Ultra 2.0 Pros: no sub, so sound suffers some but other than very good. If room is not a problem, then opt for a system with a sub. Cost: $100.
3. Harmon Kardon Sound Sticks II: great sound, but not any better than the JBL's and twice the cost. Cost: $200
I also see the following but have not read anything, so curious of people's reaction or experince with them:
1. Kilpsch iFi: subs @ $400 (although I doubt I would spend that much)
2. JBL Encounter 2.1: subs @ $150
3. Bose Companion 3: subs @ $250 (always think Bose is overpriced and overrated)
Any thoughts? Also, is there something else I should consider. (Don't want a 5 speaker system as I do not want wires all over my office.)
Thanks in advance. (All prices quoted above were retail.)
I got the JBL Encounter speakers on Amazon earlier this year; they were on sale for less than $100. The price seems to have gone back up, but I'd consider waiting for it to go back down again.
As for the speakers themselves, they're quite nice. The only problem is the touch-sensitive volume controls on the right satellite, since they don't let you see what the current volume is.
I use the Harmon Kardon - very good sound. As you point out, not the cheapest but bettter looking to my mind than the JBL.
I had a set of JBL Creatures and they were just OK. I used them for 6-7 months and was not very impressed.
I bought some Klipsch 2.1's multimedia speakers with sub (about $120) and the sound output and quality of sound is MUCH better.
I have used the original Harmon Kardon Sound Sticks since I bought my iMac four years ago. I have never had any problems with them, and the sound quality and volume is superb for a simple (non-surround sound style) set-up. Plus, everybody that has ever seen them have gone:
"Are those speakers? Those are so cool."
If you want the best sound for your money, I believe you can get a decent pair of smallish studio monitor active speakers for $200-$300. No reason to limit yourself to "computer speakers". If your budget is $200 and what you mostly want to do is play games and watch action movies, then maybe a computer set with a sub would have better bass - but I'm not sure of even that.
I have a $50 set of multimedia speakers from Labtec. They sound tolerable and I guess that is because I picked the biggest, heaviest, ugliest ones the store had in that price class.
When I want better, I'll decide a budget, use roughly a third of that on an amp and 2/3 on a pair of speakers.
Ok. . .this is turning out to be a little more complicated than I thought after doing about 90 minutes more of research tonight. . .
I starting getting swayed to go 5.1 route. Also, I hate wires, so I read a review on Logitech's Z-5450 (5.1) with wireless (2.4 GHZ) rear speakers and thought this is a great way to go. Here's ZDNet review that is only 6 weeks old:
Now, the way in understand it, I need a 5.1 audio card to drive these speakers. But. . .the new Quad only has PCIe slots, and I am unable to find any manufactures of PCIe 5.1 audio cards. (I assume this is not a standard feature on the Quad as I see no mention on the Specs sheet.)
I ran across this dialogue, and the guy seems to verify that there are no PCIe 5.1 cards:
So, I am still looking for some help. Are there any PCIe 5.1 Apple compaitable audio cards? If not, maybe I should wait, but some cheap 2.0 speakers and wait.
I bought the Klipsch 2.1 speakers 4 years ago and they are still rated the best 2.1 speakers today. They are loud and clear. I use them for my monitor speakers when I use Garageband and Ableton Live 5.0. They are great speakers and at a great price. Only $160 or so gets you the best 2.1 speakers!
Those Z-5450 speakers are nifty but very expensive and hardly wireless. the two speaker cables are replaced by two ac adapter cables since the speakers need to be plugged in. hardly a reduction in cable clutter.
The PowerMac has optical audio out. The Z-5450, Z-5500 and old Z-680 all accept optical audio in and will decode the stream for you.
Personally I would recommend the Z-5500 or the Z-680. Older models that can be had for much less and sound terrific. The speaker cables are thin and can easily be routed out of sight
the two speaker cables are replaced by two ac adapter cables since the speakers need to be plugged in. hardly a reduction in cable clutter.
I know they have AC cords, but the rear speakers can be mounted near an outlet. I was just trying to eliminate speaker wires back to the computer and having to listen to my wife complain about the wires :)
I see the 5500's get a better review as far as sound quality is concerned.
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