High end audiophile computer speakers?

RobinS

robins
Is there any? I've heard the Kayak speakers are very good but haven't been able to hear any yet. The bass response is unimportant as quality subs can be added later. What I'm looking for is very good reproduction in the 70-120 hz area and up. (Nothing by "computer speaker" manufacturers even remotely approximates good sound.) Some people refer to this as near field listening or nearfield monitors but unfortunately most nearfield speakers are focused on studio work and their priorities are not focused on sound quality - in the least. In the audiophile world there has rarely been any top end active speakers since what would be the change one manufacturer could have success in both speaker and amp design as they are totally different in their engineering challenges? Sort of like Ferrari suddenly going into TV production.

Another option would be positioning the speakers much closer to each ear, sort of like headphones that are placed several inches or perhaps a foot away. The output the speaker has to put out, the easier it is to focus on quality. Though I have no idea how hard it would be to get any sort of midbass (70-150hz) out of a design like that.

I realize you people are more into software so I'm just throwing this out there for fun. I guess it might be hard to get something more off topic....lol.
 

Natobasso

Tech-Bot 5000
Don't ever put speakers up to your ears.

With an 1/8th to RCA cable from your mac plugged into a stereo/amplifier you can listen to pretty much any speaker you want. :)

Though for sound mixing and recording I recommend M-Audio:
http://www.m-audio.com/
 

RobinS

robins
Well I experimented with the close positioning option and all bass was lost.

M-Audio is designed far more towards sound monitoring rather than the highest quality of sound reproduction possible. Much like most pro audio equipment. Of course they will sound fine. But I'm looking for much better than fine. And not an active speaker of course.
 

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
So you want to connect passive speakers to the headphones socket?! That's just plain misunderstood audio-tech. Get a good amp with matching speakers. Connect the Mac to that amp.
 

RobinS

robins
So you want to connect passive speakers to the headphones socket?! That's just plain misunderstood audio-tech. Get a good amp with matching speakers. Connect the Mac to that amp.

I thought that was kind of obvious.......lol. I'll also plug the amp into the wall and listen in the same room as the speakers. Just in case that wasn't clear.....:)

Is there nobody here that has high standards for audio reproduction for near field listening?
 

RobinS

robins
One option is getting my headphones more comfortable. No speakers that don't cost a fortune can match headphone quality, plus headphone amps are a LOT cheaper than quality power amps for speakers.
 

FrankBIG

Registered
I personally use a pair of Monitor Audio Radius R180. They give me great satisfaction. I also have a pair of M-Audio BX8a in the room for use with my synths but I can tell you they don't even come close to the Radius for music reproduction.
 

RobinS

robins
I'm sure the Monitor Audio speakers are great. I've heard the bigger versions and they sound wonderful. A great example of uncolored British design with pinpoint imaging if set up well. Just wish there were more available on the used market in this part of the world.
 

Qion

Uber Nothing
I may be missing the mark here, but I believe Bang and Olufsen make desktop speakers that blow Bose, Logitech, Altec Lansing, etc. out of the water. If you want a true audiophile experience, of course, you'd be willing to pay for it. I personally don't quite understand why a decent optical surround sound solution wouldn't be enough, but then again I don't put huge importance in having speakers reproducing within 1hz of the source, which is usually less than CD quality anyway.

http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APP...mac_accessories/audio_speakers&nplm=TN247VC/A
 

RobinS

robins
B & O has never made a single piece of quality gear in their entire overrated life. Look in any quality audio journal like Stereophile or The Absolute Sound and B & O will be the object of their utter scorn and derision. BTW, Bose, Logitech, Altec Lansing don't make decent sounding speakers so that low standard might be easy to eclipse even from a company as lousy as B&O.

Try to listen to some quality small speakers - so many to choose from - at a quality audio store - not some "blow it out the door" place that's having a sale every weekend. Not a store that talks in "how many watts a speaker can handle" (a totally inept and meaningless statement), but in efficiency. A store that can describe soundstage elements, tonal accuracy, true dynamics, intelligent room treatment, and above all - how to set up a speaker system for optimum imaging and bass. THEN you probably have a store with a sales team that can guide you to high end sound you will treasure for years to come.
 

Qion

Uber Nothing
B & O has never made a single piece of quality gear in their entire overrated life. Look in any quality audio journal like Stereophile or The Absolute Sound and B & O will be the object of their utter scorn and derision. BTW, Bose, Logitech, Altec Lansing don't make decent sounding speakers so that low standard might be easy to eclipse even from a company as lousy as B&O.

Try to listen to some quality small speakers - so many to choose from - at a quality audio store - not some "blow it out the door" place that's having a sale every weekend. Not a store that talks in "how many watts a speaker can handle" (a totally inept and meaningless statement), but in efficiency. A store that can describe soundstage elements, tonal accuracy, true dynamics, intelligent room treatment, and above all - how to set up a speaker system for optimum imaging and bass. THEN you probably have a store with a sales team that can guide you to high end sound you will treasure for years to come.

Honestly if you cannot find a system from any of the producers I listed, your hearing ability far exceeds my own. And at that, I doubt many on this forum would be able to guide you better than you could guide yourself. It seems more of a personal thing, anyway, no matter how far it could be quantified.
 

RobinS

robins
This discussion is about near field speakers I thought. I have no doubt those speakers have some interesting audio reproducion abilities though. :)
 

RobinS

robins
Actually there are many smaller speakers that sound great. And they don't have to cost a fortune. But auditioning them in a nearfield setup at a dealer can be challenging since most rooms aren't exactly set up for listening at about 2-5 feet away. :)
 

nuubie

Registered
Looks great! Thanks for the recommendation. If only more computer users realized how important it is for good sound. And how involving multimedia becomes when the sound doesn't sound like its coming out of some tin cans. :) The audio mags (the serious ones like Stereophile) need to plug this side of audio more, the computer side that is. So many of us use cheap speakers then go the the home theatre setup in a different room for quality. When quality doesn't cost much for near field listening, its silly not to partake in it. I was reading about T-Amp designs. Apparently they have a surprising sound quality for such a tiny price. That might be great to pair with small speakers like these. That is when your speakers of choice are not powered, like these are. Since the T-Amp produces very little power, rolling off the bass and using a powered sub makes even more sense. I just realized another good benefit to powered speakers for the computer: most of us sit at about the same distance from the monitor/speakers so our needs will be more consistent. Unlike home theatre where some have tiny rooms verses others with huge rooms.
 

Q-Boy

Registered
I have been in High-end Audio for over 20 years as an enthusiast and retailer.

Last year I looked around for decent active speakers. And ended up giving up. But two speakers did catch my ear.

But let me say first that the snobbery of high-end audiophiles is well known. And the statement "B & O will be the object of their utter scorn and derision." is a good example. In fact, the Absolute Sound, the better of the two magazines mentioned, often complimented B&O for their cartridge design. And their ability to stick it on a relatively flimsy but attractive turntable and get very good results for the price. But B&O has concentrated on design esthetics for so long now they are effectively out of the race.

However, I did find some wall mounted B & O active speakers that were both enjoyable and esthetically pleasing. The others were the JBL LSR 6300 and LSR 4300. But I have not heard either under ideal conditions. Has anyone else?
 

SVO

Registered
The Audioengine speakers mentioned above are very good. There is the AE Aego M speaker set that is very good. There are a number of near field monitors that are used to PRODUCE the music you are listening to. M-Audio makes some nice ones. Still, there is room left for improvement. Start with the D/A converter. A half decent outboard unit will outperform the Mac's fair to good performance. Then some decent amplification/volume control and finally the speakers. Obviously, all of this can get so bulky that it really is no longer "desktop". My solution was this:
- Zero D/A converter/preamp/headphone amp (Chinese, via ebay)
- Parasound Zamp power amp
- Magnepan MMG-W wall-mount speakers
- Hsu STF-1 subwoofer

And lots of know-it-alls inhabit the audio hobby, the B&O basher being one. Many years ago B&O made products that were both beautiful and great performers, and they do occasionally today still. From an audiophile review of the Beolab 5 speakers: "The Beolab 5 is so capable in so many respects that it leaves very little room for criticism." But the B&O computer speakers are radically over-priced and weak in the bass. My entire set-up cost the same, surely has far superior performance and greater flexibility. But you do need a wall.
 

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