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Cheap Second Hand Amp and Speakers vs a Good PC speaker?

Condor_84

Standard Member
I'm a little bit frustrated at the moment. I have a pair of PC speakers as my only listening option - and while the speakers aren't actually that bad in terms of quality - they are simply not powerful enough. I have thought about just buying another pair to double the power but that might be wasting more time and money.

The problem with PC speakers seems to be a lack of genuine power and size. I can't seem to find anything that comes close to a normal bookshelf speaker. I had to sell all of my audio equipment during the summer in order to move into my current flat - and that included an amp, BK sub and Monitor Audio Bronze BR2s.

Going from that to this is huge. Are there any 2.0 computer speakers out there that come close to the size or potential power of a hifi bookshelf? I would have to spend a ridiculously low amount on an amp and speakers if I go down that road - so that is not a great option either. I guess it would be better for the power alone though.

Any thoughts?
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
I think you are confusing Power and Volume. Which is it that you really want?

Next, give us a budget range, that more than anything frames the choices.

There are good PC speakers, but a pair of standard Active Bookshelf will cost about £250. For example, the Audioengine A5 -

Google-UK - Shopping Search - Audioengine A5

The alternative is not more PC speaker, but studio monitors. Of the Studio Monitors I've heard lately, the Mackies are impressive -

http://www.avforums.com/forums/speakers/1523560-mackie-mr5-active-speaker-mini-review.html

The Mackie MR5 Mk2 are very tight speaker with controlled bass, and are priced at about £130 EACH.

Google-UK - Shopping Search - Mackie MR5 MK2

I've heard several Studio Monitors, all for about the same price. The KRK Rokit 5 have a bit of bass to them, which is good for listening, but only so-so for studio mixing. The Yamaha HR50 are very clear detailed speakers, but they don't have the clear tight bass of the Mackies.

So, first give us a budget.

On my computer I have a amp and passive speakers, works very good for me, and an standard Stereo amp is more versatile than Studio Monitors or PC speakers.

To some extent it depends on your space restrictions and the details of your requirements. There are Active speakers that have USB input, some have built-in DACs, some have iPod docks, so beyond the basic computer, any extra requirements are relevant.

I don't know about used, if you can know what to buy and can reasonably assess the condition, you can get massive value in used equipment.

But in new, the Denon PMA510 45w/ch (£159 to £169) plus the Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 (£99/pr) from SuperFi.co.uk would be a hard combination to beat. Though there are a few other amps and speakers at similar prices.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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PSM1

Distinguished Member
What is your budget?
Audioengine A2s would be worth a look but a second hand stereo amp and speakers I suspect would be better. Look in the classifieds on this forum for some bargains.
 

Condor_84

Standard Member
How much do you want to spend?

I think you are confusing Power and Volume. Which is it that you really want?

Next, give us a budget range, that more than anything frames the choices.

There are good PC speakers, but a pair of standard Active Bookshelf will cost about £250. For example, the Audioengine A5 -

Google-UK - Shopping Search - Audioengine A5

The alternative is not more PC speaker, but studio monitors. Of the Studio Monitors I've heard lately, the Mackies are impressive -

http://www.avforums.com/forums/speakers/1523560-mackie-mr5-active-speaker-mini-review.html

The Mackie MR5 Mk2 are very tight speaker with controlled bass, and are priced at about £130 EACH.

Google-UK - Shopping Search - Mackie MR5 MK2

I've heard several Studio Monitors, all for about the same price. The KRK Rokit 5 have a bit of bass to them, which is good for listening, but only so-so for studio mixing. The Yamaha HR50 are very clear detailed speakers, but they don't have the clear tight bass of the Mackies.

But in new, the Denon PMA510 45w/ch (£159 to £169) plus the Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 (£99/pr) from SuperFi.co.uk would be a hard combination to beat. Though there are a few other amps and speakers at similar prices.

Steve/bluewizard

What is your budget?
Audioengine A2s would be worth a look but a second hand stereo amp and speakers I suspect would be better. Look in the classifieds on this forum for some bargains.

I just want room filling sound [in a fairly small living room] and a bit of bass like I had before. Something like the sound I had from the BR2s.

I hadn't considered studio monitors so I'll look into them as an option as well. I'll probably have to wait until after the New Year to see what I can afford, but I doubt it will be any more than £150, so very tight unless I stay patient for a few months. I do at least have some decent speaker cable left over so if I do go down the second hand route at least that will take a little bit off the total.
 

Condor_84

Standard Member
I play a fair bit of downloaded music, so the studio monitors will probably not be as good an idea as they first looked. I'll just have a look around, online and in some second hand shops for used amps and speakers. The Audioengines look OK, but I'm guessing they still wouldn't have the depth of an amp/speaker combo.

I might actually end up buying a pair of BR2s again if I can get them at the right price, or a similar pair of used speakers. No doubt I'll end up going over budget.
 

instigator

Active Member
Alesis makes several active speaker models too that start pretty cheap... They also make passive studio monitors and amps that I know are pretty popular for home recording types...

I recently got a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 speakers for 99 quid that are blowing my mind at the moment... Playing them through an ancient Cambridge Audio A5 amp that I bought like 9 years ago for super cheap... 50 quid or something....

Really loud, very detailed and balanced and exciting to listen too...
 

Condor_84

Standard Member
Should I avoid buying anything too old, or does it just depend on its condition etc? I've noticed a few really old speakers and amps but they just seem too old to be worth a try. Maybe their best days are behind them.

How far has technology come with speakers and amps anyway? Are good budget speakers and amps now the same quality as 15 year old higher end gear?
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
with a £150 budget, in PC speakers, probably the Audioengine A2 is your best bet in new equipment -

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Audioengine+A2&hl=en&tbm=shop&aq=f&oq=&aq=f

In used equipment you should be able to do reasonably well with your budget. But you need to know both the quality and the condition of the used equipment you buy.

If you can push your budget to about £260, then do consider this -

RicherSounds.com = Denon PMA510 45w/ch = £159

SuperFi.co.uk = Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 = £99/pr

That would be a pretty sweet and versatile system. You can probably get more used, but this system comes with dealer support, and full warranty.

But for £150 in new equipment, the choices are very limited.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Condor_84

Standard Member
Yeah the 9.1s seem to be very well respected. I might get a used amp and then look at getting new speakers at around £100. My local Richer Sounds store has the Gale Gold Monitors at that price range, although I don't hear people talking about them much.
 

instigator

Active Member
Condor_84 said:
Yeah the 9.1s seem to be very well respected. I might get a used amp and then look at getting new speakers at around £100. My local Richer Sounds store has the Gale Gold Monitors at that price range, although I don't hear people talking about them much.

I highly recommend the 9.1's... I have a 9 or 10 year old stereo amp and when I got the 9.1 speakers they just blew my mind... Soooo good.. And now my old amp has got a new lease on life...

I'm sure you could get a used amp for 50 quid that would be a great fit for the Diamond 9.1 speakers...

I think richer sounds only has the 9 for 39 quid which also has good reviews but is a bit smaller and the 10.1 which is about 150 quid

If you want speakers for your desk you might prefer the smaller 9's.... I'm going to get a pair for my lounge... I use the 9.1's in my music room...

I got my Wharfedale Diamond 9.1's from superfi website... Ordered them at 4pm and they arrived next morning at 9am...

Really I'm so excited about my 9.1's.... I've been rediscovering my music collection all weekend.... Just love them...
 

Condor_84

Standard Member
If I can get a listen to the 9.1s I will. What used or new speakers are similar to the BR2s though? I did like the muscle of the BR2s and I'm a bit skeptical that a lot of these smaller speakers can match them in that regard.
 

instigator

Active Member
Condor_84 said:
If I can get a listen to the 9.1s I will. What used or new speakers are similar to the BR2s though? I did like the muscle of the BR2s and I'm a bit skeptical that a lot of these smaller speakers can match them in that regard.

I'm not sure... I can tell you that the 9.1 is at least twice the size of most small bookshelf speakers I've seen... And they sound great in stereo without a sub... They sound better than the twice as big Mission 701's they replaced... Tighter, stronger and more defined bass... Clear and transparent highs... No graininess... Really like them... I keep using the term "rediscovering my music collection" when telling friends about them...
 

Condor_84

Standard Member
I got the 9.1s seeing as they seem to be the best bet - very nice looking speakers. They are no longer at the lower price though so I had to pay £20 more. I just need an amp now. I am not seeing too many for sale locally at the moment. I popped into a Cash Converters earlier and the cheapest amp they had was a Harman Kardon for £100. Its real value is probably about £75 as they're trying to make a profit though!
 
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instigator

Active Member
Condor_84 said:
I got the 9.1s seeing as they seem to be the best bet - very nice looking speakers. They are no longer at the lower price though so I had to pay £20 more. I just need an amp now. I am not seeing too many for sale locally at the moment. I popped into a Cash Converters earlier and the cheapest amp they had was a Harman Kardon for £100. Its real value is probably about £75 as they're trying to make a profit though!

You should check out some of those tiny t-class amps.... http://www.jtote.com/product_info.p...urrency=GBP&osCsid=uik99mnmjq693bab8coiqk7qq7

There have been some very exciting posts on this forum about the good quality and low cost... Like 40 quid...

In America I've seen these amps going for 20 dollars... I'll have to remember to get a couple next trip...

Anyway, I'd research which one of those is best value...
 

Condor_84

Standard Member

instigator

Active Member
Condor_84 said:
I'll have a look. I don't know much about them.

Try a google search for: class t amplifier
 

beanoir

Active Member
I have been trying to find a decent affordable upgrade for stereo speakers on my iMac for a while now, i'm currently using a pair of the Audioengine A2, which are good little speakers, but i'm thinking of adding a DAC with pre-amp to mine to try and get a better sound.

Ideally i'd go back to using a small amp (like the T-class) and some passive speakers.

One thing I do notice which I think is worth pointing out, is that it's very difficult if your desk isn't very solid, to get rid of boomy bass from even the mid/bass frequencies. I know that Audioengine do a rubber isolation foot for their speakers, but it doesn't really solve the problem as much as i'd like.

Speaker stands would be ideal next the desk if only I had the room!
 

Condor_84

Standard Member
I finally made a decision and bought a Marantz PM5004 to go with the 9.1s. It is well over budget but it should hopefully be worth it.

I did check those little t amps out and they do sound interesting. But I thought I'd go down a safer route for the time being.
 

Condor_84

Standard Member
Just one last thing: I have already gone over budget and don't want to spend a penny more. I still haven't set everything up yet so I'm not sure how it sounds. I don't have a DAC or sound card and only have a built-in Realtek sound card in my laptop. Should this still provide reasonable quality if the source material is good?
 

beanoir

Active Member
I don't have a DAC or sound card and only have a built-in Realtek sound card in my laptop. Should this still provide reasonable quality if the source material is good?

Its the biggest failing in pretty much 99% of most computers, even the expensive ones, so it should really be the first thing to solve if you're after a decent sound form your computer.

Having said that, it's not imperative and there is no reason why you can't add one later.
 

instigator

Active Member
Condor_84 said:
Just one last thing: I have already gone over budget and don't want to spend a penny more. I still haven't set everything up yet so I'm not sure how it sounds. I don't have a DAC or sound card and only have a built-in Realtek sound card in my laptop. Should this still provide reasonable quality if the source material is good?

I'd just plug it in and enjoy it...

Maybe upgrade computer to amp connection later...

I think my mac has a built in optical digital output... But I have a FireWire audio interface made by tascam that I use for recording and I use the optical out of that for stereo into my Denon 3802 av receiver as well as 7 analogue outs from my mixing desk for mixing in surround sound...

I also have stereo 1/4" jacks out of my mixing desk feeding a stereo Cambridge Audio A5 amp with Diamond 9.1 speakers...
 

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