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Low end speaker advice please!

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Low end speaker advice please!
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Veteran Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
2007-10-21, 05:01

I have been craving low frequencies for bassy music and games. I watch an occasional movie, but not a whole lot, and not much action. I appreciate reasonable accuracy for music, but as you can tell from my current equipment (Behringer MS-40 active monitors, 130€ per pair - very much equivalent to Edirol MA-15 in case someone has experience with those) I'm not equipped with golden ears. So the priority is wide frequency band > accuracy > surround >> volume. I have no need for high volume. On the other hand, if there was a lot of hiss or crackle while there was no audio input, that'd sour the whole thing for me. I'd prefer to have at least one digital input, two'd be even nicer, so that there is no chance of my crappy audio sources affecting the final quality.

So I have been thinking of picking up a marginally used Logitech Z-5500 5.1 system at about 250€. Price-wise, it's either this or staying with what I have. I have another good use for the Behringers so they would not go to waste.

Here is the physical plan (NOT TO SCALE, see the measurements for accurate info).

There are two listening spots, marked in red: one sitting at the table and one at the low sofa.

Height of table: 80cm. This is where I have the 2.0 set now, and where the front and center satellites would go.
Height of ears at the front spot: 120cm
Height of ears at the rear spot: 100cm (<- how big a problem is it that the front satellites are just 20cm lower and angled up?)
Distance of front and center speakers to the front spot: 60cm
Distance of front and center speakers to the rear spot: 260 cm
Distance of rear speakers to the front spot: (assuming wall mounting): 245cm
Distance of rear speakers to the rear spot: (assuming wall mounting): 45cm
Width of seating space on sofa: 150cm (full width of sofa 200cm)
All distances given are in the front-back direction ignoring lateral placement.

I'd think this is near exactly the size of space the Z-5500s are intended for, but both listening spots are quite close to the ends of the room and I can do very little to relocate them. Is it trouble that there are so big differences between the distances of different satellites from both listening spots? Can this be calibrated or compensated away somehow?

Wall mounting would be a bit of trouble. I have marked in turquoise alternate spots for the rear speakers that would not necessitate wall mounting. They'd be practically at the sides of the sofa, so no surround for the rear spot, which is okay for the time being. But they'd probably also be very low, like at 40cm off the floor or so. Because they're so far, the angle should actually be about the same than desk-standing satellites and surround at the desk should be good. Is there a problem with this I'm not seeing?

Or if I go for the wall mounting, I could also wall mount the front and center which would make them face forward instead of up - how much would this help the low rear listening spot?
Veteran Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Minnesota
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2007-10-21, 08:58

Why not consider a receiver and build a nice setup? You can get this Yamaha for $199, probably cheaper at an online store. It has Two optical inputs, one coaxial, plus analog inputs.

Veteran Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
2007-10-21, 11:03

Originally Posted by Windowsrookie View Post
Why not consider a receiver and build a nice setup?
Mostly because of the additional money required. The receiver you linked is available to me at 250€, the same as the whole used Logitech package. I'm thinking I'd need to spend at least 100€ for a speaker pair to reach the level where I'm at right now. 200€ for a low end "big" sub. I'd be at 550€ compared to the 250€, and still not have surround for gaming, which is definitely one reason why I'm interested in upgrading.

I think spending that kind of money will make more sense after the receiver comes with several HDMI, I live in a larger place and I actually have the money.
World Leader Pretend
Ruling teh World
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Boston, MA
2007-10-21, 11:18

The Logitech system is very nice for the price, but beware that after a few years it failed on my friend and now is unusable.

I would go pick up a cheap stereo receiver (The Denon DRA-25 is a personal favorite) off eBay and then buy a pair of nicer bookshelves. These are favorites of people in the industry, and they look like they are on sale.

After a while you can buy another pair and run them dual-stereo (on a DRA-25 at least) and then save up for a nicer, surround receiver.

This could work out nicely, and I guarantee a stereo setup would be better than the z5500.
Veteran Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
2007-10-21, 13:02

Warning received and appreciated. I should check if those reliability problems are common before diving in.

I find it weird the same exact set has been Logitech's flagship for so long while they continue pushing out lots of new cheaper configurations. At the same time other computer audio manufacturers haven't seemed to top it, either. The wealth of inputs is the biggest thing setting it apart.

Thanks to never owning or listening to a better pair of speakers for an extended amount of time, I really don't feel I currently need improved definition in the high to mid range for my small living space. Though they're inexpensive, there's no particular fault I can hear in my Behringer monitor pair other than that they don't go low. The decision to go for a music production brand instead of a computer audio brand seems to have been a good one in this case. Actually, round here it seems common for Mac users to use studio monitors for their desktop music listening. Genelec is a particularly well-liked brand, decidedly more upscale though.

I already considered going separate components before grabbing my current setup. There are several used sales channels in reach, but their overall volume is probably 1/30 of eBay's. If I just decided what I wanted and waited for it, it would take forever. If I looked at all ads and picked up the first thing that fits what I need, I'd need to do a *ton* of research to know what's what, and how much I should pay for it. I know next to nothing about audio, audio gear, their prices etc. I have no sense of how fast they depreciate.
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