Question Desktop stereo speakers V 5.1 speakers/5.1 soundbar

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Speakers' started by miggyboys, Jul 30, 2018.

  1. miggyboys

    miggyboys
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    Hi all

    Has anyone had experience of using small 5.1 lifestyle speakers (like Cambridge Audio Minx Min 12 or a soundbar like Yamaha YSP-2200), that are no taller than 10cm versus a pair of stereo desktop speakers like Ruark Audio MR1, Q Acoustics 3010, Wharfedale DS-2 or even Wharfedale Diamond 9.0 that are no taller than 25cm? Which in your experience sound better for listening to 5.1 audio? This setup is for my PC.

    • All the desktop speakers above cost less than £330 and the 5.1 speakers cost less than £800.
    • I know for stereo music, the stereo speakers above would beat the 5.1 system hands down.
    • I also accept the stereo pairing can't play all the audio of 5.1
    What are people's thoughts on which sound better overall?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
  2. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    IN MY PERSONAL OPINION - it is a mistake to buy speakers by size. You pick the speaker that does the job that needs to be done, and then you make the circumstance suit that speaker.

    Those speaker systems that you suggest ...in my opinion... are not speaker systems that people choose, but rather speaker systems that people settle for ...for whatever reason.

    Can you explain in more detail, why you have these requirements, and why there are no available alternatives?

    Perhaps circumstance indeed are forcing your hand, or perhaps you simply haven't applied enough imagination to the problem.

    In ...my ...personal ...opinion.


    Steve/bluewizard
     
  3. miggyboys

    miggyboys
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    Hi BlueWizard

    Thanks for your reply. The background is this system is for my PC and my main usage is games. I've had an external DAC (Audinst) and two Creative active speakers for years. I recently purchased a second hand Yamaha YSP-2200 soundbar so I could listen to 5.1 sound when gaming. However, I was a bit underwhelmed with the sound this £800 RRP soundbar was producing, which sounds constrained and muffled.

    I accept I'm sat too close to it and it has a minimum distance for ideal usage - it really needs distance and air to breath and of course to bounce the side speaker channels off the walls. My cheap £100 Audinst DAC and Creative active speakers produce a fuller sound, albeit not 5.1, that has more weight, depth, punch and air. Thus I'm leaning towards a conclusion that soundbars and indeed very small speakers of this size are limited in what they can produce, compared to say, the stereo size speakers I mentioned in the original post. I read somewhere that tiny speakers 'can't push enough air', especially for vocals and mid range stuff.

    I'll give it a few months to further use the soundbar and review it. I was just curious to hear other people's opinions, but there's a strong chance I'm going to get an external USB DAC/integrated amplifier and a decent but budget set of speakers for my PC setup.
     
  4. Ugg10

    Ugg10
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    Just ought to point out that in your list if speakers you have both powers and passive. The Ruark mr1 (and other like edifier or “proper” studio monitors like the Yamaha hs5) have an amp built in and plug directly into the 5.1 output from a sound card, therefore you could buy five of these and have your surround sound, the says xonar cards are a big step up from the inbuilt/motherboard ones.

    The wharfedales and Q acoustics are passive and need an amp, either a small desktop amp from someone like smsl, an old stereo amp or an old avr surround receiver if you want surround. The latter two are big boxes though for a desk top.

    Depending on budget either route is possible. Also for the full effect you may need to add a subwoofer at some stage.

    For info, my son has a pair of Yamaha hs7 (bit bigger that you 25cm but still desktop) plugged into a Fostex A3 dac (similar to audio engine d1 or beresford 7520) and they sound very good and produce a decent amount of bass. If you don’t mind buying second hand thus lot can be had for less than £300.

    So, a suggestion, if this is always going to be a pc based system - ad a ASUS xonar card (d2 for 5.1 or ST for stereo - £50-75 second hand) and a pair of studio monitors with 5” drivers m-audio bx5’s, Yamaha hs5, Rokit rp5, Mackie MR5 are examples. If you get the xonar d2 then you can always add more speakers or a sub later.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  5. miggyboys

    miggyboys
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    Ugg10

    Really appreciate your sharing your experience of PC audio. I did think of purchasing five active desktop speakers but it's too many and my wife would go nuts, given my PC is in the living room that contains our main AV 5.1 and HiFi. Twelve speakers + two subwoofers in the same room, I'd do well to stay married :)

    Thus I thought, a good quality soundbar would be perfect. Perhaps not it seems, but I'm still willing to give the soundbar a chance for a month or two whilst I evaluate / get used to the sound.

    Meanwhile, an external USB dac with built in integrated amp + a pair of passive desktop stereo speakers OR an external USB dac + pair of active desktop stereo speakers are the options I'm considering going forward.

    Thanks for the studio monitor suggestions!
     
  6. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    I'm not a gamer, but I would ...personally... rather have 2 or 3 good speakers over 5 or 6 so-so or worse yet bad speakers.

    What is your preferred budget?

    How do you feed the sound system? With Analog out from the Sound Card? If so, what is the sound card? Optical? HDMI? Coaxial? USB? Other?

    If you have £500 to spend, and you are using the analog or Optical Out, then these sound pretty impressive for 5.5" Speakers -

    Edifier S2000 PRO (5.5") - £430/pr -


    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Edifier-S2000-Pro-Active-Speakers/dp/B01MTJ0FEY/

    S2000 Pro - Edifier

    [​IMG]

    Then, again depending on circumstances, add a Subwoofer. Though I would try them without a Sub first as they seem to have pretty good bass, and are crystal clear -

    Z Review - Edifier S2000Pro [SOUND DEMO]


    The Bass Lines at the start of the video sound pretty good to me. And again, very high clarity.

    Optical and Coaxial Inputs, RCA & XLR Analog AUX In, Remote Control, Bluetooth.

    How far you want to take the Sub, is up to you, but I would definitely try without a Sub, then you can determine where you want to go from there.

    There is a lower version of the Edifier, the Edifier R2000DB, which has Optical and Analog Inputs, and Bluetooth capability, and of course RCA Aux Inputs.

    Edifier R2000DB (5") - £240 -


    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Edifier-R2000DB-Bluetooth-Bookshelf-Multiple/dp/B07CHQM8B7/

    R2000DB Bookshelf Speaker With Bluetooth, Optical and RCA Inputs - Edifier

    While it is hard to tell with a YouTube video, as it depends on the quality of speakers you are listening on, but I think you should be able to tell that the S2000-Pro sound pretty damn good and are not lacking in bass.

    Obviously there are not tiny palm-of-your-hand speakers, but damn do they sound good. If you can, try to listen to the Demo Video on a decent system. Very impressive ... if you can find room for them.

    Just one man's opinion.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
  7. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    If you can't find room on your computer desk for these speaker, then perhaps ...if you have room... you could place them on Stands to the sides of the Computer Desk.

    Here are some heavy duty Studio Monitor Stands, that are very reasonably priced -

    Gear4Music - Studio Monitor Speaker Stands - PAIR - £49 -


    Studio Monitor Speaker Stands, Pair at Gear4music.com

    Studio Monitor Speaker Stands, Pair


    Just trying to help.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  8. Synchro

    Synchro
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    I'm a PC gamer. I don't have any speakers. I prefer a good set of wireless headphones, with built in mic.

    Your wife might appreciate this setup more, I know my wife and 3 children do.

    The sound from a decent headset is more than acceptable these days.

    Food for thought anyway.
     
  9. miggyboys

    miggyboys
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    Hi Steve/bluewizard

    The fed sound - well previously it was USB out to the external dac for stereo. With the Yamaha YSP-2200, it's 5.1 - either bitstreamed or PCM out from my Nvidia GPU.

    The S2000 Pro - Edifier look good but they're too big. My compromise is that I need smaller speakers but I think soundbar speakers and the mini lifestyle 5.1 speakers are so small, the quality suffers, hence my original question if others felt this. Products wise, I'm not short of choice - there are plenty of desktop integrated amplifier/DACs and quite a few desktop speakers....
     
  10. miggyboys

    miggyboys
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    A good point however, I've got a young son I need to listen out for at night, so I need speakers. I did and sometimes still use a pair of Audio-Technica headphones with my USB dac, which sounded pretty good.
     
  11. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    You have to accept that when you say you want Smaller Speakers, what you are really saying is that you want less bass and less impact.

    There are certainly smaller speakers that a clear and detailed, but they will be lacking in bass unless the bass has been artificially boosted.

    https://audioengineusa.com/shop/poweredspeakers/a2-plus-powered-speakers/

    https://audioengineusa.com/shop/poweredspeakers/a5-plus-powered-speakers/

    So, the question becomes, what are you willing to give up to get what you want. Because that is how Audio works, every decision compromises some aspect of the result.

    The Audioengine A2+ are pretty small, yet sound reasonably good

    Audioengine A2+ Unboxing: Dominique


    Audioengine A2+ Desktop Speaker Review


    Steve/bluewizard
     
  12. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    If you’re not averse to used buys then this is not at all bad,

    Acoustic Energy Aego P5 Surround Home Theatre System | eBay

    My nephew had one for years. Tends to be better at a reasonable volume, but all round impressive for the price.

    Genuine 5.1 will always beat the many simulated versions imho.

    And you could sell it on for little loss if it’s not for you.
     
  13. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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  14. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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  15. miggyboys

    miggyboys
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    Hi Steve/bluewizard[/QUOTE]

    The Audioengine A2+ are a good size, I'll check them out. The compromise I'm not willing to make is to go to the tiny size of soundbar or lifestyle speakers which really do lack quality, it appears, compared to small stereo desktop speakers; looking at the size of the row of speakers in my Yamaha YSP-2200, they're the same size as tweeters in stand mount and floor stander speakers so it's no wonder the sound quality isn't amazing.

    I'm not after huge bass, they're just for playing games and I listen at moderate levels. Though I do want quality and clarity.
     
  16. miggyboys

    miggyboys
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    Hi Paul777x

    Thanks, I've seen these before. I toyed with the idea of getting something similar but five speakers on my desk is a bit much! I think I'm going to stick to a pair of stereo speakers.
     

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