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Audiophile 2.1 Setup ~ $700

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
So I have the new Macbook Pro and have a lot of my files in FLAC, pretty much my entire collection and am looking to get a 2.1 set up to accompany my laptop. I can get the Focal XS speaker system for around $350, or I was going to get the Audoengine A5 speakers with the S8 subwoofer for $550 and get something to connect it to my mac . Those are my two options, or I was going to ask for advice in terms of a custom 2.1 speaker set up that I could get for around 700 dollars, I am some what flexiable. All of these things would have to be purchased through Amazon though. This set up would only be used for music. Thank you.

EDIT: So I was looking at other posts and found this set up, I would still need a sub for around 150-200 dollars if someone could recommend but here is the set-up, would this be better than the other stuff that I listed or should I just go with a better 2.1 set up?

Polk Audio Monitor 30 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers (Pair, Cherry) - Polk Audio

Polk Audio CS10 Center Channel Speaker (Single, Cherry) - Polk Audio

Polk Audio Monitor 40 Series II Two - Way Bookshelf Loudspeaker (Cherry) - Pair - Polk Audio

Onkyo TX-SR308 5.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver (Black) - Onkyo
Edited by Kingdavid216 - 2/25/11 at 3:18pm
post #2 of 19
Eh... If you ask me, this is sort of a waste of money if you're just running it off of a laptop.
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post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
How would it be a waste if I was using a reciever and using it digitally? Also I appreciate your input but it didn't help answer my question.
post #4 of 19
the setup you listed with a subwoofer would be a home theatre (surround sound) setup. this is good mainly for listening to movies and such but much better options are available for listening to music which is recorded in 2 channels (2.0) a subwoofer is often joined with L/R channel monitors to make up for the lack of the very low end of the spectrum, or to add bass for listening pleasure.

given your budget I have little experience in the higher dollar 2.1 component offerings it would allow, for example you could get active equiptment with a dac or passive equiptment with a dac/amp (receivers with digital inputs do this.)
I can make no educated suggestions on specific gear though.
If your are listening to music 2 channel audio is the way to go though.
    
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post #5 of 19
Hi,

If you're serious about your audio and have a limited budget then please consider headphones. With a pair of Grado SR325is thought a half-decent headphone amp and USB DAC you will not be able to reproduce the same sound with speakers unless you spend over $2000.

Head-phone amp designs need not worry about power output but design more on quality, cuz the cones are on your ears. So you really have to spend quite a lot to get good speaker amplification.

If you don't like the idea of wearing head-phones then spend as much as you can on the speakers and less on amplification, I assume you not trying to project the sound to the other side of your house or room.

Also drop the idea on getting a sub and centre speaker, spend as much as you can the left & right and later if you feel the need get the sub or centre when you can afford it.
post #6 of 19
My suggestions:

1. Sherwood RX-4503 Dolby Virtual Surround Receiver ($154). This 2.1 receiver is one of the few receivers that implements Dolby Virtual Speaker technology. I have had great success with Dolby Headphone technology, and Dolby Virtual Speaker is very similar to it (of course you can turn it off if you don't like it).

2. Build a set of Karma Indignia 2-way bookshelf speakers (look it up on Parts-express.com) for about $250. These are considered great for the money. No way you can match that with off the shelf speakers for the same price. You do need to do some assembly. Alternatively, buy yourself the best bookshelf speakers you can find for under $300.

3. Buy powered subwoofer such as Polk Audio PSW Series PSW505 12 with the rest of your budget.

4. If you need to use a computer as a source, get yourself a USB DAC, such as Creative X-Fi HD for about 70 bucks (does it work with mac? check this)


With the right tuning and speaker placement this should blow most headphone setups out of water. Headphones are good for detail only. And that's it. No way headphones will deliver the sound stage, imaging, or bass impact of a proper speaker setup. I would love to have a set of high end headphones and an amplifier, like those Grado or Sennheiser HD650, but if $700 is all I had, I'd rather buy the setup I described. I have just finished overhauling the audio system of my car. It cost me about $1000 (not just speakers, but also amplifier, receiver, etc). This is not even a high end setup but there is just no way I would prefer a high end headphone to that. In a home setting, the same money should buy you even better sound quality.
Edited by ZAKOH - 3/9/11 at 11:29pm
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingdavid216 View Post
How would it be a waste if I was using a reciever and using it digitally? Also I appreciate your input but it didn't help answer my question.


No, it's not a waste. Connect the laptop to a receiver with a decent USB DAC. The ability to do digital sound processing with ease (such as with foobar2000 plug-ins) would be priceless.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xaero252 View Post
the setup you listed with a subwoofer would be a home theatre (surround sound) setup. this is good mainly for listening to movies and such but much better options are available for listening to music which is recorded in 2 channels (2.0) a subwoofer is often joined with L/R channel monitors to make up for the lack of the very low end of the spectrum, or to add bass for listening pleasure.

given your budget I have little experience in the higher dollar 2.1 component offerings it would allow, for example you could get active equiptment with a dac or passive equiptment with a dac/amp (receivers with digital inputs do this.)
I can make no educated suggestions on specific gear though.
If your are listening to music 2 channel audio is the way to go though.

Why equate the subwoofer with a home theater or surround sound? Human ear can not tell the source of the deep bass. This is why it pretty much doesn't matter whether you have one or two subwoofers and where they are placed. It's not a secret that most speakers in budget price range do not play deep bass well. There is plenty of music that contains lots of deep bass notes in it. I'd say, if your neighbors can take it, get a 2.1 setup with a 12 inch sub. A 2 channel setup with no subwoofer is fine too, but to produce deep bass it will have to be 3-way speakers that have an 8 inch or bigger woofer (usually way too big and expensive)
Edited by ZAKOH - 3/9/11 at 11:53pm
post #9 of 19
Get a receiver with HDMI inputs and use the HDMI out from your Laptop. Then get some Polk audio Speakers and a Polk audio sub-woofer.

I highly recommended the Yamaha RX-V765. I have never heard audio this good before it absolutely kills my Essence STX in sound quality.

Music in 1411Kbps is so heavenly.
post #10 of 19
BX8A's or KRK RP6G2's w/ a Dayton 120 sub and you got yourself a pretty decent entry into audiophile 2.1.
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