Searching for amp / speakers for casual PC listening

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Searching for amp / speakers for casual PC listening

Post by CA_Steve » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:59 pm

I find that I'm spending more time sitting at my PC with a variety of audio/visual playing in the background (Hulu, Netflix streaming, my music library, NPR podcasts, Pandora, etc) while I work on other things. Using a pair of cheapish powered PC speakers via mobo line out has finally reached the threshold of not-good-enough.

What I'm looking for:

passive speakers and a separate amp: need the volume knob nearby.

speakers I can mount on the wall 6ft away rather than desktop and 2-3ft away: I find I cannot listen to near field audio at moderate volumes and everything sounds pretty crappy at low volumes at the moment :D

external amp I can set on the desk with a volume control knob
- In an ideal world it would also have mic/headphone jack...but not neccessary - headset is for skype and can run that via the mobo audio.
- crossover/support for a powered sub might be interesting, but also something I can probably do via the mobo audio.
- an on/off switch to kill idle power would be handy...I can deal with a wall wart if I had to.

spending in the neighborhood of $200-300 for the amp/pair of speakers. I have a powered sub that I could use.

What I'm not looking for:
- an audiophile solution. I can always turn on my downstairs stereo and fill the house with music. (open house layout, large Polk towers circa 1991. )
- My study is ~ 10x12ft. I don't need to go headbanging loud.

Any thoughts out there?

Seems like there should be some Class D or Class D spinoff amps that people can rave about for this use. I saw these $32 Pyle amps listed at Amazon. I wonder how they sound...for $32 I might just buy them on whim.

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Post by Plissken » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:31 pm

Instead of going for the dedicated amp you could try one of the Sub-Amp computer type systems. About 5 years ago I paid $50 for a cheap Logitech 5.1 system with a powered sub and maybe 40w per channel, and it still rocks my little office. You don't have to get 5.1. Like this 2.1 system: ... 6836121122 - looks like it would do the job.

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Post by Tephras » Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:14 pm

Scythe has a amplifier called the Kama Bay AMP Kro, an earlier version has been reviewed by SPCR.

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Post by Willy Higinbotham » Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:20 am

One desktop amp that got quite an attention on the net was NuForce's Icon.

I have read very good reviews on the audophile forums.

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Post by CA_Steve » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:04 am

thanks for the variety of inputs. :D

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Post by colm » Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:11 pm

I did something unintentional with an old panasonic radio...

it had a line in and a line out and a headphone jack, and normal knobs from the 80s, bass treble balance volume...

I have not unplugged it from my pcs in 6 does all that you are looking for..
and the line out goes back to the pc as line in, and I record anyhting that makes a sound from my pc, like the radios of old, that could record the stations they were playing. Seems bizarre this basic radio is not thought of much anymore...
it is a 1984?
rx-5180 panasonic.
just a thought.

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Post by Parappaman » Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:23 am

Scythe Kama Amp 1100 + Mission M60i. My setup for music listening. Compact yet powerful enough, and very, very detailed sound!

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Post by CA_Steve » Fri Mar 12, 2010 2:17 pm

Currently looking at Polk Monitor 30 speakers ($90) and a desktop class D amp

Potential amps are:

Pyle PCA1, PCA2, or PTA2 for $30-50 or
Scythe Kama Bay AMP Kro for $63

It looks like the T-amp from Sonic Impact is no more. Came across the Trends audio TA-10 if I want to spend $180 on a 15W x 2 amp.

Just found the Pop Pulse 2024 amp via obad imports for $140+ shipping. hmm.

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Post by CA_Steve » Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:08 am

Ordered a pair of Polk Monitor 40 speakers from newegg for $129 shipped.

Was referred to the Dayton DTA-100 as another amp option. Still pondering this.

Also going to go with stands rather than wall mount (weight, rear porting).

So, just under $300.

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