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"Best" 2.1 Speaker System (under ~$150)?

post #1 of 31
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Hello, Overclock.net!

I've been the owner of a Harman/Kardon Sounsticks II speaker system for a few years and it seems that one of the transistors for the left (red) plug is starting to blow (I have to amplify one of the speakers up to level them out, but this creates distortion). With that, I'm in the market for some new speakers!

I automatically looked directly for the new Harman/Kardon Soundsticks III, the newest model, but that's around $150 depending on where you buy it, which is a bit pricey for me. Then again, Christmas is around the corner and I can ask for a bit of money to put towards a speaker system as my gift from my parents.

Anyway, are there any other 2.1 speaker systems under $150 that are going to beat my Soundsticks? I use my speakers for music and a lot of bass, gaming is done with my Logitech G930 headset. So yes, something with tons of bass is required.

I've looked around already and found some nice speakers, but reviews are all over the place on what to get and I can't really go to a store to experience the speakers in person and the only brands I know that have top-notch audio quality is Bose (way out of my budget). Yes, I'm a noob when it comes to speaker audio, but here's what I've found:

Bose Companion 2 (a 2.0 system), $90
M-Audio Studiophile AV40, $150 for the old version, $200 for the new ones
Klipsch ProMedia 2.1, $150 (but they look so tacky and boring compared to my Soundsticks and the other speakers...)
HiVi Swan M10, $99? (I can't find a place that sells them in stock)
Harman/Kardon Sounsticks III, $155
Altec Lansing FX3021, $80
Altec Lansing VS4621 Octane 7, $70
Logitech Z623, $115
Logitech Z523, $90
Creative Inspire S2 Bluetooth Wireless, $90

What would you guys recommend? Remember: music, bass, quality, clear sounds. Thank you so much! I need help with this...
Edited by RawrNate - 12/8/12 at 7:41pm
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post #2 of 31
I strongly advise against the soundsticks. They're purely to please silly people that care more about the looks of their speakers than the sound quality. They're pretty much Apple Soundsticks 3.

I would not go with Logitech speakers.

I would not go with the Companion 2.

I would try to find the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1's cheaper (say 100 dollars). While you may find them tacky looking, they're good speakers for 100 dollars and they'll definitely deliver bass for you. The AV40s definitely won't have any of the bass you're looking for, alone.
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post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simca View Post

I strongly advise against the soundsticks. They're purely to please silly people that care more about the looks of their speakers than the sound quality. They're pretty much Apple Soundsticks 3.
I would not go with Logitech speakers.
I would not go with the Companion 2.
I would try to find the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1's cheaper (say 100 dollars). While you may find them tacky looking, they're good speakers for 100 dollars and they'll definitely deliver bass for you. The AV40s definitely won't have any of the bass you're looking for, alone.

I've loved my Soundsticks and have used them for a long time (I think around 8 years). The sound quality has always been great, but that's just my experience. Honestly I'd pay to get an updated version, plus I love the compliments I get on them xD

Any reason why not to go with Logitech speakers? I have a Logitech mouse, keyboard, and headset and love them and their company. I've heard from a few different, cheaper Logitech speakers and they sound great - for what they were worth, anyway. I've heard that the Logitech Z623's are on par with the Klipsch for $115. I can only find the Klipsch from Amazon at $150, or $135 on eBay.

Yeah, I heard listened to them today on a floor demo and wasn't impressed for $90.

The Klipsch are the #1 recommend I've heard so far, but the style and price-tag don't have me convinced just yet. Considering my Soundsticks are tailored for "looks" (and I love the style and audio quality), I'm kind of leaning on the Z623's more than anything at this point.

I really do appreciate your input though, Simca!
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post #4 of 31
People will hold onto what they know and will think the world of it until they've tried something better. Logitech is great for keyboards and mice. I have several Logitech mice and keyboards. They don't do sound well. The soundsticks have poor bass. Very muddy. SQ is subpar. You're paying for looks. I swear those things were designed by Apple.
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post #5 of 31
Bose is Bose, enough said. Logitech speakers tend to sound muddy and while bass is boomy, it is not very accurate. If you can find some klipsch pro medias, those were really nice. I don't know how the swans m10 would compare, but I suggest looking into those as well. They sounded pretty nice to me for $130.
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post #6 of 31
Definitely check Craigslist or another used spot for the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1. I found some on Craigslist for $75 and I worked it down to $50 with everything working.
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post #7 of 31
If you feel alright about craigslisting or waiting for deals, the M-Audio BX5a Deluxe are amazing for games, music, and videos. Although best paired with a subwoofer for that extra oomph.
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post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by bom View Post

If you feel alright about craigslisting or waiting for deals, the M-Audio BX5a Deluxe are amazing for games, music, and videos. Although best paired with a subwoofer for that extra oomph.

M-Audio's or any kind of real audiophile gear is going to be very hard to find on a site like Craigslist. You'd have to check a specialty site like Head-Fi, but then you're dealing with shipping big, heavy speakers.
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post #9 of 31
If you want proper sound quality, I wouldn't go with Logitech either.

Though, I did just buy this used Z2300 kit, and I enjoy it. The mids are awesome, and once you have the bass set up nicely that's good too, but the highs are poor to say the least. redface.gif
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post #10 of 31
Personally I've had great luck with Logitech 2.1 systems in the past, I'm not an audiowhore so my opinion is based solely on what I expect from my money spent.

My wife is still using the Logitech X-230 2.1 system from years ago and I still stand by them today as throwing out some decent audio that has a good all around range of quality - sure the highs aren't exactly studio quality but I didn't spend $500 for them either.

I hate threads like this because with audio it's all personal experience, taste, opinion and worth rolled into one... audio is something that can't really be measured into a pretty graph to compare to other speakers.

My advice is to find some place where you can listen to these speakers yourself and bring an mp3 player/phone to plug in and listen to some tunes you know well so that you know the quality you're looking for and base your purchase off of those experiences.
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