Best Sub €200 Desktop Speakers? + Extra questions

bodhiberkers

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Aug 30, 2017
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Hello,

At the moment I have the JBL Creature II and I use it with the onboard audio of my motherboard. The Gigabyte GA-AB350-GAMING 3 with a Realtek ALC1220 audio chip.

Now I want to upgrade. While I am satisfied with the sound this 2.1 setup makes, they distort at higher volumes or when the bass gets too strong, making the experience less enjoyable. I've been searching all over the web and even this website, but everyone is contradicting each other and it's making choosing what I want very difficult.

I am no audiophile by any means, so don't get too complicated with the explanations. My preferences go to great bass while not overpowering the rest. I mainly watch movies, listen to strong - loud and rather bass heavy songs, Youtube videos and game on this computer.

I don't have a ton of space on my desk for the speakers, for the Subwoofer on the floor I have plenty though. So, what is the best sub €200 desktop speaker set (2.1) ? I have no room for 5.1 or higher.

Now the extra question and going back to my motherboard audio chip. For my current or the upcoming newly bought speakers, do I need something like a DAC or an AMP for better sound quality and less distortion/noise? Or is it not needed? Again, I'm far from an audiophile, so be gentle with the explanation.

Many thanks.
 

madmatt30

Honorable
Found these subs

Auna line 300 - available in white & black

https://www.electronic-star.nl/Auna-line-300-SW-WH-actieve-subwoofer-AUX-Wit_i59715.htm
https://www.electronic-star.nl/Auna-Line-300-SW-BK-Actieve-Subwoofer-AUX-zwart_i59719.htm

Front firing which people shy away from,for me if you dont have pets (because the speaker is on the front) ,have wooden floors or are settnig this up in a bedroom front firing is probably a better option.

Heard this sub in the past, pure audiophiles would scoff at it but you are looking at a big sound & very very deep powerful bass.

then the hyundai multicav - which are rebranded fenton models ,which in turn are a rebrand of the old eltax atomic.

https://www.electronic-star.nl/Hyundai-Multicav-20cm-actieve-home-cinema-subwoofer-zwart-100W_i368.htm
https://www.electronic-star.nl/Hyundai-Multicav-25cm-actieve-home-cinema-subwoofer-zwart-120W_i369.htm

I actually own the original eltax branded version of the smaller model.
Still use it ,on my pc setup oddly enough - good little sub,very compact ,good bass,Im running it from a cheap 20 euro 12v mini amp from ebay.
Even that smaller 8 inch model would be hugely better than your current sub.

The dynavox speakers & smsl amp recommendations stand though mate.

The dynavox ,apart from a few issues regarding low range bass response (which is removed entirely when using a sub & crossover) are unmatched in that price & size range.

amp ?? If you want something smaller/discreter & arent bothered with multiple inputs,remote,bluetooth etc then the smsl sa50 will do the job.
https://www.amazon.de/SMSL-Verst%C3%A4rker-Amplifier-Endstufe-2x50Watt/dp/B008Y7S198/ref=sr_1_20?s=ce-de&ie=UTF8&qid=1517387860&sr=1-20&keywords=smsl

I reckon the extras on that ad13 I listed earlier are worth both the size & 10 euro price increase.

To put into context vs the jbl creature 2 setup youre running.
The whole boxed sytem on the JBL weighs than 5kg.

The dynavox speakers themselves weigh 4.9kg each,
The smallest sub I listed weighs 8kg.

Bass response & tightness relies as much on cabinet design & structure,weight & solidity as the speaker drivers themselves.

Your'e talking solid board mdf coming in at a weight of close to 4x the total of those JBL & all the speakers are bass ported too.

Really there isnt a viable comparison,IMO you'll be as close to 'real' hi-fi qualiyt s you can get without going over 250 euro or buying everything second hand.

Bear in mind ,youll need a 3.5mm to twin rca cable from pc to the amp.
Also 4 runs of decent 16 awg speaker cable.

https://www.amazon.de/Lautsprecherkabel-5mm%C2%B2-transparent-20-Ring/dp/B016BGH2DO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1517390866&sr=8-3&keywords=speaker%2Bcable&th=1


 

bodhiberkers

Prominent
Aug 30, 2017
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Not rock and hardstyle, but It's hard to explain. I can send some links to give people some idea of what I listen to.

Without talking about movie quality, I love this track, especially the end: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtPyacNV8mg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOLCvfkELyc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2Ug0kEn2g8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQhr2cH0nv8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpOSxM0rNPM&feature=youtu.be
 

madmatt30

Honorable
the 623's are a decent choice.You're at an odd max budget there though.
Theres a gap in the market from sub 150 euro to 200 euro - prices tend to jump straight to 250 euro from that mid point.

What Id recommend depends on your actual location & buying choices.

Id argue if you can get them at the right price then the edifier cx3 is one of the best 2.1 setups there is IF you have room for the seperate amp/controller box.

They're more akin to hifi qualty than anything logitech produces & because all the speakers are standard passive non powered they can be carried over into a new system/amp shoudl you ever feel the need
 

bodhiberkers

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Aug 30, 2017
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I live in the Netherlands.
If there is a good noticable difference in quality even from my untrained ears I would want to go to 250 euros. But then I would want the full package for that money. No extra seperate subwoofer for example.

 

madmatt30

Honorable
I dont get what you mean by no seperate subwoofer ??

The only way you're getting decent bass response is with smaller sats & a decent 7-8 inch sub OR with fairly big solid mdf left/right speakers with 4 inch + bass cones.

With €250 id personally be looking seperate mini amp , passive satellites & buy a decent budget powered sub seperately.

Once again its an extra control/amp box on desktop but you get more upgradeability & better audio.
 

bodhiberkers

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Aug 30, 2017
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I mean if I purchase a set for 250/300 euros I would not want to need to still buy a sub for good bass. Adding another 100 or so to the total price.

"With €250 id personally be looking seperate mini amp , passive satellites & buy a decent budget powered sub seperately." Can you elaborate? I don't get much of what you're saying.
 

madmatt30

Honorable
What im saying is with a €250-300 budget rather than buying an all in one box solution you can purchase components seperately & ens up with a system that is non-dependant on each other.

Ie - you could swap out single items in the future rather than the whole kit.

What is a pain is I have no idea of the market & prices in the netherlands or if you cannorder from other countries in europe

An example just done very quickly from amazon Germany.

Dynavox mininbookshelf speakers €44
http://

Mivoc 100w active subwoofer €130
http://

Smsl ad13 amp €77
http://

 

bodhiberkers

Prominent
Aug 30, 2017
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In the Netherlands I can order from other countries, just the trustworthyness of the shop go down or shipping and tax will be ridiculous. Amazon.de is fine, I've already used it. I can also search the dutch market myself if you send me a recommendation.

But what are the advantages of buying different parts apart for upgrading? (Which I'm probably not going to do if the sound is already satisfactory.) Is the quality better? How will I know the quality before buying if it's not a known reviewed product like the Edifier S350DB?

Sorry for all the questions here, I'm just not very knowledgeable in all this and I want to know everything before spending my money. What would you recommend then if i would buy all the parts apart from each other? Or a set together?
 

madmatt30

Honorable


AS you've mentioned you like your bass heavy stuff then the reason I recommend seperates is twofold.


1.Quality ,at the end of the day NO 2.1 single box set is going to match a well thought out trio of seperates.
Im honestly no personally familiar with that mivoc sub - it is european (mainly geman) market only.
However ,german made,both cabinets & all the speakers themselves would point to it being unerringly good quality - the germans know how to make stuff well.
Good specs,nice looking,a plethora of ways of connecting,proper adjustable phase & crossover controls - None of this will be found on a one box set.
Mass of 5 star reviews on amazon,some people on there have owned it for around 10 years.
2.Fine tuning the audio to your own satisfaction.& this is the big difference to me personally.
Buy a one box set,the sub crossover is all automatic,you get bass/treble/volume - that's it.
Its nice & simple for the user fair enough but using a seperate sub & fine tuning the crossover & sub volume to your taste makes a massive difference .

The downsides?
You'll need extra cables ,& seperate amp is an extra box aswell.
Running from a pc the practical (& best) way is to run amp to subwoofer speaker level inputs,then desk speakers from subwoofer speaker level outputs.

This gives you full control of the crossover points - ie , the ability to control exactly how much bass is sent to the sub & how much to the desktop speakers.

That mivoc , as opposed to the sub built into your currently owned jbl ,is an entirely different beast mate.
A full half inch thick mdf cabinet,a downfiring 8 inch sub capable of 40htz & a real 100w amp mean on the low end frequencies it will utterly crush the performance of the jbl that you're used to.

If you actually ow a desktop with a trio of multifunction 3.5mm audio jacks ,you could infact just buy that sub on its own now,pair it up with your current jbl set,plug it straight to the pc via a 3.5mm to rca cable & apart from the fact you would have no automatic volume control over it (apart from windows audio volume) it would likely put a smile on your face straight away.






 

bodhiberkers

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Aug 30, 2017
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So what I get from this is that the quality will almost always be better if I choose different parts seperately? i.e instead of those edifiers?
So what would I need then for a full setup? The two sattelites and a subwoofer, right? Or do I need another box going to my pc? And then that box going to my subwoofer?

I've looked around for that specific subwoofer you talked about, but it's not available in Germany or the Netherlands for me. So that's a bummer. Do you have different recommendations for the woofer and sattelites? I really don't know what to confidently look for.

Talking about the sattelites you mentioned. Aren't those in comparison pretty bad because the price is so much lower than only the woofer? It seems to me they wouldn't be on the same level als the woofer. But I'm completely in the dark here, so I could be spouting bullshit right now.

Many thanks
 

ien2222

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Mar 28, 2010
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Just to give you another option to think about: 300 Euros gets you into the JBL LSR305 range which are pretty good powered monitors for the price you pay. If you're in a more metropolitan area, you may be able to demo these at various shops...you'd be looking for one that sells electric guitars, PA equipment, various other gear you'd find for setting up a band. Here across the pond we usually send people to a Guitar Center, you should have the equivalent there.

Since they are powered, you wouldn't have to worry about getting an amp and they reach pretty deep too as the F3 is 43Hz (in room response should give you usable bass to 40Hz or a little bit lower). Should you want more on the lower end, you can save up for a sub to add to the JBL's. And if you do go for a dedicated sub, you should actually save up for one (don't go cheap) which probably means starting in the 150-300 Euro range.

If you are unable to audition the JBL's, check to see if Amazon offers free return shipping as you can get them there. Keep in mind that these take balanced connections so you'll need a stereo 3.5 to L/R mono TRS.

They are not that small though at 298 mm x 185 mm x 251 mm (HxWxD) which may make a difference for you.
 

madmatt30

Honorable
Found these subs

Auna line 300 - available in white & black

https://www.electronic-star.nl/Auna-line-300-SW-WH-actieve-subwoofer-AUX-Wit_i59715.htm
https://www.electronic-star.nl/Auna-Line-300-SW-BK-Actieve-Subwoofer-AUX-zwart_i59719.htm

Front firing which people shy away from,for me if you dont have pets (because the speaker is on the front) ,have wooden floors or are settnig this up in a bedroom front firing is probably a better option.

Heard this sub in the past, pure audiophiles would scoff at it but you are looking at a big sound & very very deep powerful bass.

then the hyundai multicav - which are rebranded fenton models ,which in turn are a rebrand of the old eltax atomic.

https://www.electronic-star.nl/Hyundai-Multicav-20cm-actieve-home-cinema-subwoofer-zwart-100W_i368.htm
https://www.electronic-star.nl/Hyundai-Multicav-25cm-actieve-home-cinema-subwoofer-zwart-120W_i369.htm

I actually own the original eltax branded version of the smaller model.
Still use it ,on my pc setup oddly enough - good little sub,very compact ,good bass,Im running it from a cheap 20 euro 12v mini amp from ebay.
Even that smaller 8 inch model would be hugely better than your current sub.

The dynavox speakers & smsl amp recommendations stand though mate.

The dynavox ,apart from a few issues regarding low range bass response (which is removed entirely when using a sub & crossover) are unmatched in that price & size range.

amp ?? If you want something smaller/discreter & arent bothered with multiple inputs,remote,bluetooth etc then the smsl sa50 will do the job.
https://www.amazon.de/SMSL-Verst%C3%A4rker-Amplifier-Endstufe-2x50Watt/dp/B008Y7S198/ref=sr_1_20?s=ce-de&ie=UTF8&qid=1517387860&sr=1-20&keywords=smsl

I reckon the extras on that ad13 I listed earlier are worth both the size & 10 euro price increase.

To put into context vs the jbl creature 2 setup youre running.
The whole boxed sytem on the JBL weighs than 5kg.

The dynavox speakers themselves weigh 4.9kg each,
The smallest sub I listed weighs 8kg.

Bass response & tightness relies as much on cabinet design & structure,weight & solidity as the speaker drivers themselves.

Your'e talking solid board mdf coming in at a weight of close to 4x the total of those JBL & all the speakers are bass ported too.

Really there isnt a viable comparison,IMO you'll be as close to 'real' hi-fi qualiyt s you can get without going over 250 euro or buying everything second hand.

Bear in mind ,youll need a 3.5mm to twin rca cable from pc to the amp.
Also 4 runs of decent 16 awg speaker cable.

https://www.amazon.de/Lautsprecherkabel-5mm%C2%B2-transparent-20-Ring/dp/B016BGH2DO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1517390866&sr=8-3&keywords=speaker%2Bcable&th=1


 

bodhiberkers

Prominent
Aug 30, 2017
7
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510
0


Okay, I think I have enough information. Many thanks, If I have more questions I'll send them here.
 
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