Suggestions for good quality "quiet" speakers

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luminous
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Suggestions for good quality "quiet" speakers

Post by luminous » Wed Apr 07, 2004 12:55 am

I know the irony of that statement so allow me to explain.

I recently purchased a set of Logitech Z-680's. I set them up and my listening position was about 1 metre from the front speakers. At a quiet and comfortable sound level there was more hiss from the speakers than there was sound. It was truely awful, watching TV using the speakers was a pretty poor afair.

I returned the speakers, their replacements are just as bad. According to Logitech they are aware that there is ahniss/buzz coming from the speakers and suggest that I move them further away so that I don't hear it. They claim that the hiss is because the speakers are high power. Well, yes they can get really loud, but thats not what I'm after.

I would like to buy a set of speakers that do not make any noise when they do not have any input (a reasonable goal). I would also like the speakers to be really high quality, something along the lines of approaching entry level hifi separates.

I've heard a lot of good things about Klipsch Promeida Ultras. However they are hard to get in the UK, and where you can get them they are very expensive. In the US they go for $400, in the UK they cost £400. I can afford £400 if they are really worth it. However, I have heard a few people say that Klipsch speakers are not worth the premium

If there is anyone reading this who has played around with a few different sets of high-end speakers I'm interested to hear your opinions.

Also, if anyone knows anywhere I can go to listen to a few sets of computer speakers before buying I would like to hear from them too. I've emailed a few manufacturers to see if they know of somewhere that lets you try before you buy, but I have not had any response yet. I'm sure that you will agree purchasing expensive speakers without ever hearing them is not really what you would want to do :(

I'm not worried if the speakers come with a decoder as I can buy a decoder seperately (http://www4.tomshardware.com/video/20040120/index.html)

I should say that I'm after 5 satellites and a sub. Any more speakers is just too many. I'm using an Nforce 2 mobo and intend to use the onboard digital output to connect to the speakers. Outputting digitally should negate the need for a high end sound card. I will rely on an external decoder to "produce" a good quality analog signal. I am thinking of doing it this way as in the future I expect I want to connect several different sound sources to the speakers.
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nutball
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Post by nutball » Wed Apr 07, 2004 3:01 am

It really depends what you mean by hiss levels that are unacceptable. I picked up a Videologic DigiTheatre Platinum which I'm very pleased with. It's very highly rated by all those who seem to think they know about PC audio (I don't claim to be one of them), eg. www.3dss.com. AFAIK it's not made any more (Videologic are now Pure Digital, and no longer seem to list this system as a current product). When new it was something like £400 RRP I think, I got it for about £120 from here:

http://www.morgancomputers.com/

It's clearance stock, but mine was quite obviously factory-new. I think Morgan are just selling end-of-line stock. I'm not 100% sure that the one they're selling now is the one I got (which definitely says "Platinum" on the box).

I use the optical SPDIF interface output thingy from an nForce2 board, which was one of my reasons for choosing this system over others (plus -- £400 quid system for £120 can't be bad). The output is very good, I'm very happy overall.

My old Videologic Scirocco system used to suffer from amplifier hum (it wasn't a ground loop, it happened even when disconnected from the PC).

The new system doesn't hum, but does hiss a little bit. I actually don't find it too offensive (it's slightly louder than my silenced PC, but not much), it certainly isn't noticeable (to my ears) when playing games, or music, or if there's any other audio going on. Overall the hiss is a lot less offensive than the hum was. Plus the mute and on/off buttons are on the centre speaker, which is under my monitor, so no a problem to use!

I haven't heard the Logitech, or Klipsch, or anything other systems, so can't give you any comparitive data. Just giving you a heads-up on availability :)

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Post by sthayashi » Wed Apr 07, 2004 5:20 am

For £400, you're probably better off getting a used or inexpensive amplifier and seperate speakers. Perhaps you should look into that.

Also, you HAVE confirmed that your speakers are making the hiss and not the soundcard, right? You say that you intend to use the onboard digital out, but are you not using it now? I'm just asking because onboard sound (non-digital) is sometimes a cause of hiss.
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Post by luminous » Wed Apr 07, 2004 5:26 am

You certainly cannot grumble about the price of them :)

I like the reviews over at 3dss - problem is that they don't seem to have done any since 2001. Quite a few of the systems that I am considreing were not made then :(

Thanks for the info on the speakers - I'll add them onto my growing list for ones to consider !
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Post by spacey » Wed Apr 07, 2004 5:35 am

so you are using the z-680s with the nforce 2 digital out and it hisses?

i'd make sure your line-in and mic are muted, anything you do not use mute. check all your wiring again for unwanted contact, if it still buggers, get a audigy soundcard... and if the z-680s still suck for you toss em my way ;)
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Post by nutball » Wed Apr 07, 2004 5:38 am

luminous wrote:I like the reviews over at 3dss - problem is that they don't seem to have done any since 2001. Quite a few of the systems that I am considreing were not made then :(
Yeah, it's a shame 3DSS seems to have gone into hibernation, I think PC audio is an area which is sadly neglected when it comes to "specialist" review sites (unlike silent computing of course ;)). The forums are still fairly active though, and some folks there seem to know what they're talking about.

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Post by luminous » Wed Apr 07, 2004 5:47 am

ahhhhh.... Forums at 3dss - I had missed that little gem :)
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Post by DG » Wed Apr 07, 2004 1:17 pm

My opinion is that u buy an amplifier and a 5.1 speaker set (like the inexpensive Yamaha sp 100)...Much better than computer speakers...IMO. Just be sure the speakers are magneticaly shielded

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Post by luminous » Wed Apr 07, 2004 1:47 pm

I'm struggling to find any info on the Yamaha sp 100. I only seem to find pages referring to pianos....
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Post by DG » Wed Apr 07, 2004 1:59 pm

Sorry, my mistake. It's NS-P 100 not sp100. http://www.yamaha.co.jp/english/product ... sp100.html

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Post by luminous » Wed Apr 07, 2004 2:15 pm

cool - much better now :) I like the look of those, my list continues to grow.
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Post by Seal » Wed Apr 07, 2004 5:59 pm

i havent read the entire post as i dont have time (will do later) but i think hiss is more to do with interferance from your sound card, try plugging it into a portable cd player and see if you still get that hiss.
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luminous
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Post by luminous » Thu Apr 08, 2004 1:01 am

yeah the interference is pressed regardless of input. I even unplugged ALL input cables from the back of the decoder and the interference was still present.

I ended up unpluggeing everything in the house and just connecting to a minidisk - it was still there :( Poor manufacturing imo.
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Post by Rory B. » Mon Apr 12, 2004 4:08 pm

Step up to the NS-P436. It has much nicer speakers and a better subwoofer I think. Its speakers feature a coaxial tweeter in one of the two drivers, with the middle of three drivers in the center channel also having a coaxial tweeter. The coaxial tweeter has stratospheric high frequency extension.

[quip]
Its subwoofer also includes a "BASS" function (for those times when "bass" is not enough).
[/quip]

http://www.yamaha.com/yec/products/HXseries/NSP436.htm

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Post by Nate » Tue Apr 13, 2004 12:55 am

You might want to check out the Rocket Tykes 5.1 Home Theater:

http://www.av123.com/products_product.p ... oduct=36.1

Or a step up would be the Rocket Extremely Luscious Theater:

http://www.av123.com/products_category_ ... s&brand=13

Or even go one more step up! Rocket by Onix:

http://www.av123.com/products_category_ ... rs&brand=3

I have RS750s, RSS300s, and an RSC200. Amazing speakers! And beautiful as well.

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Post by luminous » Tue Apr 13, 2004 3:32 am

those sure look nice :) That would be another system added to my list to consider ..... :D
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Post by Beyonder » Tue Apr 13, 2004 9:44 am

For this much money, you should really consider using the SPDIF output to some sort of home theatre in a box solution, or something along those likes. I'd also go here for reviews of pc audio, although as of late the site isn't as updated as it used to be:

http://www.3dss.com

...you might inquire on the forum there about hiss--lots of people there who really know their stuff.


Since I detest 5.1 (it's a personal thing--I think it's gimmicky and doesn't sound good), currently I have a turtle beach outputing straight to a tube amplifier I made, which goes to some cheapo yamaha's (soon to be *much* nicer). Not a trace of any hiss, except that introduced by the Turtle Beach... :D
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Post by Beyonder » Tue Apr 13, 2004 9:46 am

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Post by luminous » Tue Apr 13, 2004 9:53 am

I'm planning on using the S/PDIF output from my Nforce2. Space is at a premium for me unfortunately. The system that is currently in favour at the moment is a Creative Labs Gigaworks S-700 in combination with a DDTS-100 decoder.

Although that is still open to debate...... :)
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Post by barnacle » Tue Apr 13, 2004 12:17 pm

I have used the Klipsch 5.1 speakers for some time and I love them. There were some problems with the early models in that the amplifier burned out, but that has been fixed with the current revision.

You may want to consider something like these Onkyo systems, I have heard some really good things about them but haven't tried them myself. I have a friend who thought that the Onkyo 5.1 speakers sounded a little better in the midtones than my Klipsch speakers and I trust his opinion. I have seen the 5.1 system for $300-$400 and the 6.1 system for $450-$500, though I'm not sure of their availability in Europe. They have digital and analog inputs. Once I save up some money I will probably give them a try as I recently sold my Klipsch speakers to pay off some debts.

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Post by luminous » Wed Apr 14, 2004 2:26 am

I like the look of those too. I never realised that there was so much choice out there ! :)
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