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Hi-Fi speakers + amp for PC, sub £250

admin_exported

New member
Aug 10, 2019
2,556
2
0
Hey there.

I've been searching around the internet for a week or two now, trying to find out what I can about purchasing a decent set of speakers. For the most part all I've seen is people ego-tripping about their £10k system and how awesome it sounds.


I've had a look around this site and it looks a lot more friendly toward people with lesser knowledge of audio systems, so that's good.

Anyway...I've grown tired of the somewhat tinny sound of my JBL Creature II's, and fancy a somewhat better system. I know my budget isn't particularly high but I figure that if I use ebay I could get a fairly decent system for around my budget of £250.

So, really I'm looking for some advice on buying a sub £250 speaker system for two things; Music and Movies.

I'm not fussed about surround sound, so a decent 2 monitor setup would be fine, but I've had alot of trouble finding those + a decent matching amp for sub £250, and as I said, no forums as of yet have been particularly helpful.

The room they would be in is about 3m x 3m, so not very big. However I might like to use the speakers for parties in slightly larger rooms if possible, if that makes any difference.

The input would be my PC, so I'd like some advice on how to hook them up to my PC, and wether I'd need a good soundcard or if I could just use the integrated Mobo soundcard.

Any help would be appreciated
Thanks in advance.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi and welcome the important thing to remember about the high end hi fi equipment is that it becomes more of a subtle improvement over the budget range and middle od the range hi fi. So while some people might be boastfully talking about their 10k system being wonderful, it certainly doesn't mean that you can't get excellent sound quality from cheaper hi fi. Well since you are looking at sub 250.00 (for each i assume) I would highly recommend the NAD C352 and the Monitor Audio BR2's. I own both and they will give you plenty of power for a bigger room, a very clear and detailed midrange (vocals and instruments), attack, deep bass and dynamic sounding which of course is ideal for parties.

The BR2's can currently be bought ex dem at the ebay peter tyson shop for 160.00 and you might well be able to pick up the NAD C352 second hand on ebay for less than 200.00 With regards to the connection, you will need to purchase an RCA 3.5mm jack plug which you can connect from the output on your pc to an input on the amp e.g. auxillary, then you simply press the button underneath aux on the front of the amp and bingo!!

There are cheaper alternatives to but I believe that is the best choice for your budget and you will be very happy with the sound quality.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
For the equipment, you could do worse than starting here...

http://whathifi.com/Reviews/Hi-Fi-Reviews/Hi-fi-speakers-Reviews/Price_Desc/

http://whathifi.com/Reviews/Hi-Fi-Reviews/Hi-fi-amplifiers-Reviews/Price_Desc/

Looking around the internet you will almost certainly get the products at cheaper prices than those shown.

Remember to demo any of your possible choices - It must sound good to YOUR ears!

With regards to hooking it up to your PC - I'll leave that to someone more knowledgable in that field.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Alright.

If I were to get these speakers and this amp, would it be worthwhile, or is the amp too low-budget to be worth using with those speakers?

I'm guessing anything would be an improvement over my current speakers though.

Also, if I were to get those, what cables would I need to buy, presuming neither the amp nor speakers came with any cables?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
That looks like a good choice to me. You'll need speaker cable to connect speakers to amp and a camble to connect your computer to the amp. The latter will obviously depend on what kind of audio out connection your computer has. If it's just a standard jack, you will need one of these, or something similar:

http://www.richersounds.com/showproduct.php?cda=showproduct&pid=CAMB-I-LINK-2.5M

By the way, other forum members may be able to give you some further tips to get the most out of your PC setup if you tell us:

What OS you are using
What type of audio files you are using
What software you are using to rip CDs and play your files
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Is it advisable to use that lead over the cheaper splitters you can purchase on Amazon and the like? Would it provide a higher sound quality?

Also which speaker cables should I use, or is it not an important issue?

OS is Windows XP, using the integrated soundcard w/ 3.5mm jack. Would a sound card be advisable or is the integrated card just fine?

Audio files I have been listening to are mostly MP3, occasionally .ogg and .flac. Most of the .mp3's are encoded at 256 through to 320kbps.

I don't tend to rip CD's as I've only started collecting music in the last few years, and as such the majority of my collection is digital.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
If you are thinking about a cheaper amp, then I would consider the NAD C320 BEE as this runs rings around the Cambridge Audio. The Cambridge Audio amps are very much over hyped in my opinion and do not live up to their billing at all but hey, it's sure your money and you might think otherwise, so happy hunting.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
lofty29:
Is it advisable to use that lead over the cheaper splitters you can purchase on Amazon and the like? Would it provide a higher sound quality?

Also which speaker cables should I use, or is it not an important issue?

OS is Windows XP, using the integrated soundcard w/ 3.5mm jack. Would a sound card be advisable or is the integrated card just fine?

Audio files I have been listening to are mostly MP3, occasionally .ogg and .flac. Most of the .mp3's are encoded at 256 through to 320kbps.

I don't tend to rip CD's as I've only started collecting music in the last few years, and as such the majority of my collection is digital.

I think the limiting factor in your system will be the sound card and the compression of the MP3s, so I don't think you'll lose out by using cheaper cables. Just get something reasonably sturdy.

I'm afraid I can't offer any advice on the subject of soundcards, as I'm clueless in that area.

The NAD mentioned above looks like a good suggestion too, but a bit out of budget unless you are willing to risk Ebay and the like.

See also this post for some info on Windows: http://whathifi.com/forums/t/133711.aspx
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Lofty,

I'd recommend stearing away from proper hifi for your budget and use, and instead put your money to use on a basic pair of studio monitors, such as the Edirol MA-15D and a basic studio sound card, such as the M-Audio Audiophile 2496. There's no need for an amp, since the Edirol's are powered (ie. have the amp integrated into them). I've had such a set-up in the past and it sounds every bit as good as a more traditional amp and passive speakers combo in your price range.

I'd also recommend using a lossless file codec, such as .flac
 

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
2,027
13
19,695
jackverdonnet:
Lofty,

I'd recommend stearing away from proper hifi for your budget and use, and instead put your money to use on a basic pair of studio monitors, such as the Edirol MA-15D and a basic studio sound card, such as the M-Audio Audiophile 2496. There's no need for an amp, since the Edirol's are powered (ie. have the amp integrated into them). I've had such a set-up in the past and it sounds every bit as good as a more traditional amp and passive speakers combo in your price range.

I'd also recommend using a lossless file codec, such as .flac

This is a good direction. Personaly I'd look at the Audioengine range (A2 or A5), and throw in a better soundcard with the fifty quid you have left over.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
If it is the amp + speaker setup you want, I would use ebayand go for a rotel amp like the ra-01. I have seen them sell on there for around £100 - £125. I have the newer version, the ra-04 and it really is a good amp, so i would expect good things from the older model. Then I'd go for some monitor audio br2's as suggested earlier, although that could be a little over budget. Or a pair of tannoy f1 customs, £75 on amazon not long back. Then what money you have left over spend on the cables. If you have to buy cheap nasty cables to start with you will still have a masive jump up in quality from what you have now, and then you could upgrade the cables at a later date. I'd also go with the earlier advice and use the highest quality bit rate you can for for music.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Recently bought a pair of KEF IQ1s from here http://www.audioaffair.co.uk/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=1516 and at £130, a bargain..

I tried to get Richer Sounds to price match them, but they told me that they no longer stock them, how unusual that they are now selling them off dfor £150. A quick e-mail to head office got an apology for fibbing!

Anyway, they've got a nice vocal presence, and a refined bass.They won't boom in a small room.

Can't comment on amps, mine's a Cambridge 640A, so would be out of your budget.

Recently had a pair of Monitor Audio B1s, which were OK, presumably the the new version would be better, they had an amazing bass for such a small cabinet.

An external sound card will get rid of any hum and noise caused by interference within the PC case, but of course, apart from amplified speakers, you'll need an amp.Something like this perhaps? http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Terratec-DMX-6-Fire-USB-Audio-System

I'd still favour the external amp option, and perhaps add the Cambridge Audio dock for a tenner from Richer Sounds.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Consider brand new the Monitor Audio BR1 on sale currently for £119.

Amp look to new NAD C315BEE £160 or s/h NADc320 £80-£120.

Or look at the Denon DM37, on sale for £168-£178 - very flexible, small and dinky.

Then when funds allow, get a USB dac to go from your pc (iTune, Windows Media Player, Foobar etc) straight to your amp - thus by passing your sound card (and making a world of difference to the sound from your mp3/flac/aac files etc), and getting £500-£1000 cd player performance out of your pc. The media player will just send the computer data to the dac, and the dac will convert that to an analogue line out for the amp. DacMagic at £199, Sumiko Pro-Ject USB Box DAC £75, or Firestone Audio Fubar II £80-£125. Or for more flexibility but less sound (and assuming you don't mind radio waves in your home if using wireless) the Apple Airport Express £65 which will both receive the sound from iTunes wired or wireless, and convert with its (somewhat cheaper) DAC in an audio line out signal, again bypassing your pc soundcard.
 

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