Speakers for Budget Office HiFi

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by beanoir, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. beanoir

    beanoir
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    With some time on my hands over the Christmas period i've decided to have a change around with my current office setup.

    I use an iMac with lossless files in iTunes for music source, and also watch DVDs and HD movies etc occasionally.

    I've currently been using a pair of Audioengine A2 active speakers which are very good but not great, but I decided that I wanted to put my old Marantz PM4000 to work and tested it out with my Mordaunt Short Alumni 2 speakers (borrowed from my rear surround) and they sound infinitely better than the A2s.

    So i've been looking at getting another DAC for this system, and also some small speakers, maybe some more Mordaunt Short or potentially something else that may be more musical for the office.

    I've shortlisted the following...

    - Mordaunt Short Alumni 2
    - Mission MXS
    - B&W 686
    - Monitor Audio BX1

    And happy for other suggestions. As you can see my budget is perhaps no more than £200 (happy to by S/H) and more importantly I don't want a speaker that is too big as it can't be stand mounted and can only be sat on the desk (not ideal I realise).
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
  2. peritus

    peritus
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    I'm in a similar boat to you currently as I'm looking to use my old NAD C320BEE or Arcam Alpha 8R amp for my office music set-up instead of PC speakers as I've no room for the sub now :(

    I'm seriously considering the Q Acoustic 2010's or 2020's as I like the look of them and their dedicated wall brackets; means I'll have plenty of space on my desk and the speakers on the wall.

    Other speakers I'm considering are the Acoustic Energy Compact 1's, Tannoy Mercury F1 / V1's, B&W 601 S3's etc...
     
  3. beanoir

    beanoir
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    Thats interesting, as I have an old pair of 601 S2s knocking about, but i've written them off as they are just too big for my office desk unfortunately, as they are pretty good sounding speakers still. i wonder if I can make them fit!
     
  4. peritus

    peritus
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    Are you not able to use wall mounted brackets as an option? Only 4 smallish holes so can soon be filled in again :)
     
  5. beanoir

    beanoir
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    The trouble I have is my desk is less than 4' wide and the computer screen is 2' wide, so you can imagine 2 speakers up on the wall that are about c. 8" wide each, i'm wondering if it might look a bit cramped...I'm not really happy with where the amp is at the moment either really if i'm honest.

    See for yourself...thats a 27" iMac and those are the Mordaunt Shorts if it helps to add some scale. I reckon a regular pair of 12" type of bookshelf's are a little too big...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  6. peritus

    peritus
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    Know what you mean; my desk is 5ft wide but only 2ft deep so having speakers on the desk takes up a little bit too much room

    I've the 21" iMAC so I'm thinking of either the Q Acoustics or Acoustic Energy Compact 1's as they come with specific wall brackets so I'd look to mount the speakers 1ft either side of my MAC's screen and around my head height (I'm 6ft 4 so head height when sat at the desk is fairly high still) :)

    My amp (more than likely the NAD C320BEE) will either go under my printer (not ideal I know but that's currently sat on my office drawers - a separate unit) or it'll go stood on it's end inside/under the desk where my feet go (plenty of room)!
     
  7. beanoir

    beanoir
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    Right well I think i've narrowed the options down to either the MA BX1 or the B&W 686. I plan demo both of these speakers, but wondered if anybody had any other suggestions I should consider on my list before going ahead - or indeed any people's views on either of the shortlisted options..

    Thanks
     
  8. peritus

    peritus
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    I've ended up going for the M/A BX1's; this is my layout:

    [​IMG]

    Not the best pic but you get the idea (you can just see my NAD C320BEE below the desk).

    I did a good few demo's and this is what I had to say about them (this is all on the What Hifi forums):

    "Had a quick demo of the Dali Zensor 1's, Misson MX1's, AE Compact 1's, Q Acoustic 2010's and the M/A BX1's this lunchtime
    Dali's and Missions very good indeed; AE Compacts werent to my taste at all unfortunately and the Q Acoustics were mid-table

    Ended up with the BX1's though; really good speakers and got them for £140 brand new in Walnut with 3m of QED XT speaker cable so cant compain.

    Superb sound; superb size and look great sat here blu-tac'd onto my desk.

    Dali's sounded great but I felt thair midrange was a little too open for my tastes

    Mission's were also very good but a little boxy at times

    AE Compact 1's were ok but too wooden and boxy for my tastes

    Q Acoustics were good; on a par with the Missions IMO

    The BX1's are a lot more open and rounded but with a nicely detailed midrange and good bass depth for their size"


    The BX1's were overall the best speaker I heard closely followed by the Zensor 1's. The MX1's & AE Compact 1's sounded fairly boxy. Q Acoustics were ok but a little too deep and not the best midrange!


    The BX1's are VERY stiff when straight out of the box but I left them on for a full 12 hours with Fischerspooner's #1 album (very bassy) which has helped them open up a lot but they've still got a bit to go yet


    Sund is very good though; good bass and great midrange. Treble is spot on and with harshness etc... Highly recommended :smashin:
     
  9. Member 569079

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    If you are DIY minded, how about putting some in-ceiling / in-wall speakers above your seating position? Discrete and adds to your house re-sale value?! :) Just a thought.....I have put in-ceilings in my house for the Sonos system, having previously used small bookshelf speakers, and for sound quality and looks, I'd never go back to box speakers for background listening.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2012
  10. beanoir

    beanoir
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    Interesting idea, a few problems with that though...

    1) my house is ancient and I fear that cutting holes in the walls or ceiling my be a very silly idea.
    2) I'm not a fan of the sound from in-wall/ceiling speakers really - i'd use them for surrounds in a cinema set-up but thats about as far as i'd go with them.
    3) i'm moving house toward the end of the year and i'd be stuck with either having to leave them in or take them with me and having to patch holes up. And i'm pretty sure leaving them in is not going to add a penny of value to the house.

    I'm going to stick with small book shelf speakers, because I can then use them elsewhere if my requirements change.
     
  11. 12harry

    12harry
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    May I?
    Sound "should" come from the front, that's the way humans hear and associate the visual image.

    #4 looks to me like you need some soft furnishing, if the rest of the room is similarly bare. Danger of resonances...


    Not sure I think ceiling speakers are Hi-Fi (despite printing on the box) - at least with normal speakers some design has gone into the box+ internals -

    #8 - nice screen.
     
  12. beanoir

    beanoir
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    Thanks, I admit the room would be a bit bare if it were all like that but behind the photo the walls are lined floor to ceiling with books, floor is carpet, no windows I can hang curtains (not that I would) as they are velux.

    So it shouldn't be too bad acoustically, although we should remember this is just my office, the aim is to improve on computer speakers - my hi-fi is upstairs in the living room after all.
     
  13. 12harry

    12harry
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    "....my hi-fi is upstairs in the living room after all....."

    well, maybe the Subject wording needs changing to "...any ol' sound will do..."

    That said, you should find any reasonable bookshelf speakers will do a lot better than "computer speakers" - these are usually pretty poor. If you ever need to monitor Audio quality (eg Music programs), then theory suggests "near-field" speakers are likely to give a good impression, - you are rather close to the source.

    Good luck . . .
     
  14. beanoir

    beanoir
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    No, I think I've got it spot on, thanks.
     
  15. beanoir

    beanoir
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    Right well I auditioned the speakers I listed above this week, and also the Dali Zensor 1.

    The Dali's came a close second to the MA BX1, and with some music (classical) probably had the edge but thats not what I listen to. So another one here that's found the BX1 perfect for the office!!

    I was toying with the idea of trying to get some s/h B&W CM1 but I decided to keep to my original budget, because I also want to get another DAC for the office soon as well.

    So I went back today and picked up a pair of the BX1 and i'm glad I went with them in the end. I chose walnut also to match my RX8s in case I ever have a change around and could also potentially use the BX1 as rear surrounds upstairs if I wanted.

    So all hooked up, and the Matantz has been moved under the desk on top of the drawers which is a bit neater.

    I've used some 1" foam at the moment to isolate them from the desk as otherwise I find it resonates terribly, but I may try and find something slightly better for the job although it seems to be working fine as it is like this.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  16. shadowboxer

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    Very nice setup. Some useful information in this thread especially as I've been thinking about getting the Audioengine A2's.
     
  17. peritus

    peritus
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    Very nice there Sir :smashin:

    I'm really happy with my BX1's; they're coming into their own now after a good few weeks of running them. Found them to be very stiff to begin with

    Swapped over to some QED XT Evolution speaker cable today as well; has made a significant difference to the soundstage over some basic QED cable I had lying around (much better, tauter and deeper bass but with better midrange and not as bright a top end as well) :)

    Just looking at DAC's now; thinking of going down the MF VDAC Mk II or HRT USB DAC route... There's a few on the Bay I'm watching :cool:
     

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