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Question £250 Desktop Speaker Setup - Any suggestions?


Novice Member
Hi All,

I have a budget of £250 to set up a small sound system for my PC. I'm unsure whether it would be possible to go for a passive setup with a small amp + speakers, or if it would be better to go for a pair of active speakers such as these Audioengine A2+W Powered Desktop Speakers in Gloss: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

As this isn't going to be my primary setup, I won't go over £250, ideally under £200.

The Audioengine A2's really appeal to me, they seem like a decent little set of speakers but I think that if possible, I would prefer to go with a separate Amp and passive speakers, as this way I'd be able to use the amp with my headphones too. I'm having real trouble putting together a decent passive system in my budget though, and would appreciate some suggestions.


Novice Member
I do have optical out, I don't know a whole lot about selection of a DAC so any suggestions there would be very welcome also!

Now this may be a bit nitpicky, but those speakers are absolutely hideous :blush:
These things are going to be sitting on my desk, so I'm gonna have to look at them a lot, I guess that's a consideration too even though I hadn't really thought about it before!


Novice Member
The Audioengines do have a usb dac which is part of what appeals to me about them, but if I could put together a small amp+speaker combo for a similar price, I would prefer that for the fact that I'd be able to use the amp for headphones too.


Active Member
Over budget but I always love this desk setup.

Setup is Ceramic Speakers - JOEY ROTH and Ugmonk a designer I follow uses them.



Distinguished Member
Just put in a desktop system, bit more than you are looking at but there are areas you can reduce cost. I bought second hand but had to wait for the right stuff to come up.

So, for £400 I got a pair of B&W CDM1SE's, two Rotel 850 power amps (running in momo mode) and a Fostex A3 DAC that you can control the volume from rather than in software.


I think a "traditional system" is possible for £250 if you also buy second hand and don't mind waiting for the right bits.

For £250 I would suggest - A rotel power amp (£75), Beresford 7510/7520 DAC (can control volume from the unit, may need to be patient for this) (£50), then something like the Kef iQ1/3 or B&W 601 S2/S3 speakers. For speakers you just need to be a bit careful with placing and would suggest either front ports or sealed boxes.


Novice Member
With the amount of desk space I have, small is preferable to be honest. I won't ever be wanting to blare music through this system, that's for the livingroom setup!

I think I'm either going to go with the Audioengine A2+ (or some similarly priced/sized/well regarded Active speakers)

OR These Q Acoustics 2010i Bookshelf Speakers: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

Along with an Amp (+ a better DAC in a couple of months).

Only thing I'm struggling with at the moment is trying to find a SMALL amp under £150 (used if need be). I want to have the amp sit beneath my monitor, so I have around 25cm width, 18cm depth to play with. height isn't a concern as my monitor is on a VESA mount attached to the wall. In an ideal world it would have an integrated DAC, but that's probably out of the question at that price.

If at all possible, I WOULD prefer to go with separates because:
  • Amp can be used with my headphones
  • Most active speakers with built in amps seem to have the volume adjust on the back which is annoying
  • I think amps look pretty slick

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