Cambrige Audio S20s as desktop speakers

TheGiantHogweed

Novice Member
Hi,

I have had the Creative Labs T40s as my desktop speakers for a few years now and they sound good at almost everything apart from the bass. I do have a sub-woofer but it doesn't seem to go very well with the T40s. What I tried out the other day was putting a pair of small JVC SP-UXT150H speakers that came with a Hi-Fi system where my Creative labs were. I connected these to my Pioneer A-209r and they sound a little better that my T40s. They also sound very good when my sub-woofer is playing with them. It must be that my Pioneer amplifier can drive them well.

Since these JVC speakers only have a single driver that does everything and they also have a very basic speaker cable, I would have thought that the Cambrige Audio S20s would be a huge improvement. They only cost £49 at a local store. I know what the S30s sound like as I have them and they look like they may have the same tweeter but I may be wrong. I expect there to be less bass than the S30s but then my sub-woofer can sort that out. Another thing that looks good about the S20s is that I have seen that they weigh over half a kilogram more than my JVCs. They are also even a little bit smaller.

If anybody thinks that the S20s will be a good setup with my A-209r and a sub-woofer in a small room, could you please give me a bit more information about the speakers. I haven't seen a huge amount of reviews for the S20s.
 

MIFF INFIDELIUS

Active Member
IMO the the S20 are bit too small and the frequency response of 80Hz – 20 kHz is probably not going to meet your demands for better bass.
The S30 are better at 55hz - 20kHz and will go much lower but the pioneer amp might be holding them back.

It's not clear what subwoofer you're using and how big is the room but these speakers from corsair should have plenty of punch, should you decide to take different approach
 

TheGiantHogweed

Novice Member
I really would expect a little more bass from the S20s compared to these JVCs because the woofer the S20s have is quite a bit bigger. I still don't expect much more though.
My sub-woofer is a little basic. It is just a old Samsung one from an home cinema system. I have to connect it to a small amplifier that has a sub-woofer output. It does the job well of adding the depth and punch that my JVCs just don't have much of at all. I am very happy with my Pioneer A-209r and it sounds very good with my Tannoy Mercury V1s (which I prefer to the S30s). I would just like the S20s as my main desktop speakers and use the sub-woofer if I am wanting more depth. At this store where the S20s are available, I can have a demo there so I will see what I think sometime. The main thing I am after is a more detailed sound than my JVCs have. Do you know if their mid range and treble is similar to the S30s? I wouldn't really mind if they have much less bass than the S30s.
My room is very small and the speakers will be on very small shelves that are only a little wider and deeper than the S20s themselves.
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
One problem with using very small satellite speakers in combination with a subwoofer is that the bass responses don't 'meet up' and you get a 'hole-in-the-middle' effect - this is a far more common failing than it ought to be, IMO, which often becomes more pronounced as the volume is increased.

I can't predict how the S20's will integrate with your sub but I share daforce550's concern about the very limited bass extension of the S20's. If the sub has a high crossover frequency (I'd guess 100Hz+) then you may get away with it but trying to integrate satellites and a sub from different systems and different manufacturers usually requires a sub where you can control crossover frequency and output volume, at the very least but perhaps I'm being overly picky for a cheap setup. Also, there appears to be a few folk using the S20's with a sub (of some sort) and they're happy enough with it.

I second the Corsair SP2500 suggestion too - universally excellent reviews and it's a unique bit of tech for under £200 (although that's not obvious unless you delve deep into the specs). I'd stick with the JVC speakers for the time being and save for something like the Corsair (as long as it has the features you need - inputs, controls etc).
 

TheGiantHogweed

Novice Member
One problem with using very small satellite speakers in combination with a subwoofer is that the bass responses don't 'meet up' and you get a 'hole-in-the-middle' effect - this is a far more common failing than it ought to be, IMO, which often becomes more pronounced as the volume is increased.

I can't predict how the S20's will integrate with your sub but I share daforce550's concern about the very limited bass extension of the S20's. If the sub has a high crossover frequency (I'd guess 100Hz+) then you may get away with it but trying to integrate satellites and a sub from different systems and different manufacturers usually requires a sub where you can control crossover frequency and output volume, at the very least but perhaps I'm being overly picky for a cheap setup. Also, there appears to be a few folk using the S20's with a sub (of some sort) and they're happy enough with it.

I second the Corsair SP2500 suggestion too - universally excellent reviews and it's a unique bit of tech for under £200 (although that's not obvious unless you delve deep into the specs). I'd stick with the JVC speakers for the time being and save for something like the Corsair (as long as it has the features you need - inputs, controls etc).
I have been looking into other small bookshelf speakers too as the S20s are no longer available at the reduced price. It is a cheap setup but if these JVCs sound almost as good as my Creative Labs T40s, I would have thought that a small pair of decent Hi-fi speakers with my sub-woofer will sound quite a bit better. I am looking into the Gale 3010s now and people say they do have very bright and detailed treble. I do know exactly what you mean about the gap in the sound when using a subwoofer but it may be that these speakers I am looking up have so much more bass then my JVCs do that I might not even have to use my sub. The driver on my JVCs really is tiny (only about 6.5cm). Even these Gales I am thinking about have a 9cm cone. I really don't want to get a different sub-woofer as this one is powerful enough already.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Star Wars Andor, Woman King, more Star Trek 4K, Rings of Power & the latest TV, movies & 4K releases
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom