USB speakers: Questions about volume control and potential sound lag.

pervel

Estimable
Oct 17, 2015
6
0
4,510
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I am considering buying some USB speakers. I have not decided on any specific brand yet. However, I have two concerns:


    ■ Is it possible to control volume from the OS like you can with the onboard sound card?
    ■ Is there any chance of a noticeable sound delay? Even a tiny amount of lag between sound and video drive me crazy.


I'll be using the speakers on a Mac primarily. But I think the questions are relevant for other OS'es too.
 

basroil

Honorable
1) Yes, it works like a normal sound card
2) Depends on what you get. Cheap ones might have lag in the tens of ms, better ones will be in the 1ms range. Go with a decent DAC and it will be fine.
 

basroil

Honorable
1) Yes, it works like a normal sound card
2) Depends on what you get. Cheap ones might have lag in the tens of ms, better ones will be in the 1ms range. Go with a decent DAC and it will be fine.
 

pervel

Estimable
Oct 17, 2015
6
0
4,510
0
They are for all-round usage (music, video, games) and they don't need to fill a big room. As far as possible they should have no idle noise and no vibrations down through the table.

I am considering Bowers & Wilkins MM-1. But they are a bit too expensive and probably overkill for my purpose. Also, they don't have a subwoofer which makes me worry about potential vibrations from the bass.
 

basroil

Honorable
Any reason why you need USB over standard 3.5mm connector types?

With 3.5mm speakers you could get pretty much everything you want, but without that you'll be going to spend $150 minimum between speakers, amps, and dac (usually two or more of those are integrated into one item)
 

pervel

Estimable
Oct 17, 2015
6
0
4,510
0
I'm building a Hackintosh right now and I have problems with getting audio working properly. USB audio should work without any issues as far as I understand it. I also had issues previously on an iMac where the sound card would emit a really annoying popping sound when sleeping and when turning on and off.

So the idea is that USB will shield me from these types of issues. I know it's more expensive and I don't mind paying $150+ for it.

Right now I have Logitech Speaker System Z623. They are decent but they do have some idle noise unfortunately.
 

basroil

Honorable
What do you mean by "idle noise". Do you mean amp noise? DAC noise? EMI? Have you tested those speakers without inputs and with other inputs?

Most likely your issue wasn't the speakers, rather that the imacs were never known for being all that good with integrated sound in the first place (they end to use cramped laptop setups that cause too much interference)
 

pervel

Estimable
Oct 17, 2015
6
0
4,510
0
I have no idea where the noise comes from. It's not super loud but noticeable in a quiet room. It makes no difference wether it is plugged in or not.
 

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