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Upgrading from 2.1 for PC to stand alone speakers and subs, so I have some questions.


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Hi there, just signed up today to ask something. I have been having Logitech z2300 for some time now, probably for the past 6 years if I'm correct. First pair the speakers started to make crackling noise, was under time frame of warranty so they sent me another one, that one had same problem so I end up buying another set because in all honesty I was happy with the set up. Here I'm 2-3 years later and one of the speakers started having the same issues... If I stand correct that's usually a problem of the satellites detaching from the base and probably I will need to reset them and glue them back, either is that or wiring needs to be de solder and solder back, I don't know what's the issue but probably is the first one I mentioned.

 

I could make my life 100 times easier and just get z623 or the sp2500 2.1 setups and call it a day and not having to deal with anything extra, just plug,play and enjoy.... but I would like to try something different, and I'm not that experienced when comes to converting regular subwoofer and speakers to PC, its easy if you have to hook them up with whatever receiver is popular today with the home entertainment.

 

So what I would like to do is probably have similar setup like the z2300 but stand alone and hopefully I have less problems with longevity of the stand alone subwoofer and speakers since I would guess they should be little more durable perhaps?

 

Anyways I understand that this an audiophile site and people will jump into recommending some setup $1000 or more, thanks but I'm not interested in that, I was pretty happy with the z2300 but I don't mind paying little bit more for better quality longevity wise and sound experience wise. So I did some research and mainly I'm looking into the price range of Pioneers,JBL,Polk etc etc etc. They all have decent reviews and it all came to matter of looks, in my taste JBL look most attractive, I'm sure here on this site people would debate that LOL.

 

 

Ok here is what I have in mind of buying and if someone has a better recommendation for a brand that has better reputation quality wise, then please chime in.

 

Speakers: http://www.amazon.com/JBL-ES20-Books...2%3A2661618011

 

Subwoofer: http://www.amazon.com/JBL-ES150PBK-3...ct_top?ie=UTF8

 

I don't know if this matters but this is the sound card I have in my PC: HT | OMEGA CLARO Plus+ Sound Card - Newegg.com

 

 

So here is the part where I'm clueless to make standalone set like this to work with my PC, I read up about people who went with standalone bookshelf speakers and they ended up buying an amplifier to make it work with the PC, I guess the purpose of the amplifier is to power up the standalone speakers and a separate DAC to convert the digital sound from the PC to the Speakers or I guess they sell DACAMP's as combo???

 

As you see in my case the JBL subwoofer has amplifier, question is is that amplifier only there to power the subwoofer or it should take care of powering up the speakers also? If it can power the speakers then I'm left with only buying DAC to convert the digital sound to the stereo sound or whatever is called. As you see I'm little bit lost here... I probably will have few more questions regarding the wiring setup with connecting the whole setup to the PC wire wise questions like the RCA split cables etc etc etc, but for now my main things are the AMP DAC questions and of course if someone has better branding recommendations for the speakers and subwoofer please recommend, but keep in mind I wont want to spend tons of dinero, just something in the range of the JBL's,Pioneer,Polk,Yamaha or whatever midrange price cost, thanks in advance and sorry if this long post gave anybody headaches lol.

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I don't seem to see option where I can edit my post so I'm going to have to just post with an reply to it. So I did some more looking around and since I have 2.1 setup I will most likely need Amplifier with 2.1 channels I guess. So this is what I found looking around and says it has 40W per channel for the speakers and 68W for the subwoofer. Now I believe the speakers are 120W each and the subwoofer its 300W, not sure if this one will be enough to power them up but I don't mind being able to use 80% of the setup even though I will most likely use 30% at the most. Here is the 2.1 amplifier I found http://www.amazon.com/Lepai-LP-168HA-40-Watt-Amplifier-Output/dp/B0070Z87YO/ref=pd_sim_23_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=0ZWDF8FFAWSXR9EW4N8Z&dpID=41HAXZahetL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_

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Ok so after some research this morning this is somewhat the final conclusion I have come to that I will need to buy in order to make this purchase more complete and hopefully I don't have to run to Best Buy for extra cables, RCA split adapters or whatever else is needed. So anything I'm missing on the list below that I will need to include to the order please let me know, btw Sam has been really helpful to me here, thanks buddy.

 

Here is the list:

 

Speakers: http://www.amazon.com/JBL-ES20-Books...2%3A2661618011

 

Subwoofer: http://www.amazon.com/JBL-ES150PBK-3...ct_top?ie=UTF8

 

Amplifier: Amazon.com: Yamaha R-S201BL 2-Channel Stereo Receiver: Electronics

 

RCA to 3.5mm split cable: Amazon.com: Belkin F8V235-12 2 RCA to 3.5mm Y cable 12-Feet: Electronics

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OK Bazemk,

 

I just sent a short reply to your PM, but am putting the main answer here. So, your 2.1 system is busted somehow, you liked it but you want something that sounds better. Your proposed JBL buy cost around $280 total for cheap Lepai car amp, a JBL sub and JBL L-R speakers. You say it's a PC system so I presume you listen sitting at your computer. Do you have another system for music or movies or TV? Do you watch movies on your PC? Close-up or farther back? And what is your total budget? All the answers are necessary before anyone could give you useful advice. But WTH, I'll dive in and assume this is your only system and that you're willing to spend $400 max *if* the sound will be much better.

 

Forget the the sub, spend your budget on good powered speakers, and save money for a decent outboard DAC later:

 

Set up your sound card for stereo, *not* 2.1. Then buy these:

Audioengine A5+ Powered Speakers

 

One important thing, the A5s have a 30-day free trial period.

 

Oh, and never buy the cheapest cables out there. Get some well-constructed ones at least. These are just ten bucks and should be fine: KabelDirekt RCA Stereo Audio Cable

 

A final final thing: You were looking at 3-way $200 (list) JBL speakers. That's a shitty design made for suckers. It's hard enough making a decent 2-way at that price. Don't even think about buying 3-way speakers under $1000/pr, 2-ways will sound better. Look at B&W's home speaker lineup to see what I mean.

 

Good luck!

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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Yamaha makes good gear, but look at good speakers first. You could get the passive Audioengine P4s and that Yamaha receiver for the same $370+shipping, or some other very good speakers--the receiver enables more choices like NHT or PSB passive bookshelf speakers which are excellent. Your sound card will do for a while, but a $100-$150 outboard USB DAC like the iFi or Schiit will rock your world.

 

And that 2xRCA/3.5mm Belkin cable sucks, it's unshielded. Get something like this, it's split but has shielding, just $10:

 

http://www.amazon.com/KabelDirekt-3-5mm-Stereo-Audio-Cable/dp/B00DO3NKSO/ref=sr_1_24_m?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1445207035&sr=1-24&keywords=rca+to+3.5mm

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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Sam Lord thank you so much for the input dude, I have been searching every since yesterday about what I want to upgrade to and sure enough the there is out there something much better but not necessary tons more expensive. You most likely are right for letting me know to buy better RCA to 3.5mm cable, question is should I replace the stock RCA cables with KabelDirekt brand or not necessary?

 

I saw that the speakers you posted are self powered so they have amplifier in them which is awesome, but while we were discussing here about which speakers are best bang for the buck I was also discussing the same topic on another forums that I'm member there. So after bunch of discussions and members testimonials about brands that they have tried out and brand sound quality, longevity it came down to one product only because of their testimonials.

 

Some of them even ended up making videos just to prove how good are the speakers even after 20 years of constant usage with no modifications, bone stock and no repair whatsoever! Then more forum members started coming forth with the same experience and usage of their speakers 5-8-10 years with no problems and loving the sounds.

 

Funny enough I guess is not well known as a mainstream brand, its more like a niche brand that offers great quality at a good price point. The brand name is B.I.C America and after some more in depth research about what they offer I ended up choosing the more expensive ones instead of the cheaper ones that all the forum members were swearing about them, I'm mainly choosing the more expensive model because of the looks and not because of the 350W power that they are rated per speaker.

 

 

So you were right Sam Lord, a good powerful,great quality sound, well balanced, has great bass to it speakers set up has no need for subwoofer to accompany them.

 

Here is the speaker that I'm talking of, they don't break the bank and not only they perform great longevity and quality wise but they look great at price point of $90 each Amazon.com: Bic 350 Watt 6.5IN 2 Way Bookshelf: Electronics

 

What really closed the deal for me for this speaker was the sound, here is the video:

 

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You're welcome bazemk. Keeping it short:

 

0) Your sound card appeared to use 3.5mm mini stereo jack for nL-R output, so you need a RCA-3.5mm cable or a combination adapter + current cable. But the single units are just 10 bucks, and *decent* adapters are about $7, so it's better to get the single decent hybrid cable like the last one I mentioned. The stock cables on cheap gear are almost always cheap in cost and quality, so should be replaced. And get some better speaker wire too if you just have zipcord.

 

1) You didn't say whether you'd heard the BIC speakers. I've heard *of* them, but never heard them. I do pay attention to reviews, and Amazon isn't a bad place to get information if plenty of people write reviews. You're near a Best Buy, go listen to speakers in your range. Good grief, they even have B&Ws (excellent)! But I strongly doubt that the BICs sound//// better than the NHT-SuperZero-2-1-Mini-Monitor-Speaker.

 

2) Any decent speaker should last at least 15 years unless the owner abuses it. This is why we don't recommend cheap sets like the Logitech you had before.

 

3) The BICs might sound very good but I would be shocked if they matched PSBs or NHTs or many other good brands at similar prices. Very good designs almost never go on sale--they are already bargains.

 

4) Ignore speaker power ratings. Concentrate on the quality of the drivers, overall design, and buy good amplification if you can afford it.

 

Good Luck, Sam

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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bazemk, you never answered my questions, that's why nobody else answered you. Sometimes I just like to be generous, so I did. But go back and ANSWER the questions. You won't learn anything around here if you fail the basics, like BUDGET. WHERE DO YOU LISTEN? Etc. No disrespect intended, but I didn't ask that stuff from curiousity. I asked them because WE NEED TO KNOW.

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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You're welcome bazemk. Keeping it short:

 

0) Your sound card appeared to use 3.5mm mini stereo jack for nL-R output, so you need a RCA-3.5mm cable or a combination adapter + current cable. But the single units are just 10 bucks, and *decent* adapters are about $7, so it's better to get the single decent hybrid cable like the last one I mentioned. The stock cables on cheap gear are almost always cheap in cost and quality, so should be replaced. And get some better speaker wire too if you just have zipcord.

 

1) You didn't say whether you'd heard the BIC speakers. I've heard *of* them, but never heard them. I do pay attention to reviews, and Amazon isn't a bad place to get information if plenty of people write reviews. You're near a Best Buy, go listen to speakers in your range. Good grief, they even have B&Ws (excellent)! But I strongly doubt that the BICs sound//// better than the NHT-SuperZero-2-1-Mini-Monitor-Speaker.

 

2) Any decent speaker should last at least 15 years unless the owner abuses it. This is why we don't recommend cheap sets like the Logitech you had before.

 

3) The BICs might sound very good but I would be shocked if they matched PSBs or NHTs or many other good brands at similar prices. Very good designs almost never go on sale--they are already bargains.

 

4) Ignore speaker power ratings. Concentrate on the quality of the drivers, overall design, and buy good amplification if you can afford it.

 

Good Luck, Sam

Sam I went to more then few stores and luckily they had the Bic FH-65, BSP,NHT, Klipsch and some of the mainstream ones like pioneer,Sony,Samsung,Yamaha etc etc etc

 

So I ended up comparing them to my best knowledge back to back jumping from one to another and in my opinion here is how it went considering me grading them by quality sound along with the price tag next to them, it will be the price for both speakers:

 

1. BSP (not sure the model but they sounded about the best of all) $500

2. BIC Formula FH-65 ( for me at least they took 2nd place) $230 in store, but I got them for $188

3. NHT 2.1 (you recommended) along with the Klipsch of that price tag $230 they sounded about the same quality wise

4. Pioneer

5. Yamaha

6. Sony

 

So after listening to them all it was no brainer for me to go with the BIC FH-65, there was a very small difference vs the BSP but not large enough to pay $300 more and be able to justify it, on another note the BSP bass was pretty mild when compared to the BIC. So yes I went with the BIC and I'm glad I tested them all in person. As far as wiring,connections,amplifiers I end up getting better stuff like you recommended, so did other people recommended the same thing too.

 

Here is the purchase I made:

 

BIC America FH 65B Speaker 072930500356 | eBay

Yamaha R S201 Amplifier 2 Channel 200 w PMPO 1 kHz Am FM | eBay

Kabeldirekt 10 Feet 3 5mm Male to 2 x RCA Male Stereo Audio Cable Pro Series | eBay

New Pyle PSC1450 14 Gauge 50 ft Spool of High Quality Speaker Zip Wire | eBay

 

Hope you are proud of me lol

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Sam I went to more then few stores and luckily they had the Bic FH-65, BSP,NHT, Klipsch and some of the mainstream ones like pioneer,Sony,Samsung,Yamaha etc etc etc

 

So I ended up comparing them to my best knowledge back to back jumping from one to another... ....So yes I went with the BIC and I'm glad I tested them all in person. As far as wiring,connections,amplifiers I end up getting better stuff like you recommended, so did other people recommended the same thing too.

 

Hope you are proud of me lol

 

Bazemk, I'm sorry I was shouting back on post #9, I had a bad hair day. But I'm really glad you took the time to get out and listen, there simply isn't a better way. Eventually you start to trust the opinions of certain people enough to give components a shot based on their suggestions alone, and you'll usually get what you hope for. But with loudspeakers...you really need to listen for yourself, as you've discovered. Those BICs must be quite good, so I bet you have a really nice system now...how is it sounding?

 

I never learned whether most or all of your music is on your computer or on CDs, I assumed your computer. Looking forward, when you feel comfortable enough to spend more and if you have an itch to upgrade, I suggest looking in this order, prices are just guidelines:

 

1) Better speaker cable ~$50

2) Outboard DAC and its USB and interconnect cables ~$250

3) Better rendering software (*requires* above change first) ~$150

4) Better amp ~$600 (Parasound, Cambridge or anything else British...)

5) Maybe a combo of 2-4 like this:

Peachtree Audio Nova65SE

 

Have fun friend!

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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