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gza
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2 Speaker Setup Recommendations [£250($390)]

I want to upgrade to a better sound system to use on my computer (small room 12 x 12 ft) that will sit on my desk mainly for listening to Hip-Hip Music and the occasional movie. I'm looking to spend up to £250 ($390). 

 

Which setup would be best for my price range?  I'm not sure which brand of speakers to go for I was told the 'Wharfedale Diamond 10.1s' are good with a 'Indeed' or 'Topping' amp. But there are so many to choose from i have no idea whats the best.

 

I'm using onboard sound, i assume i'd have to get a better sound card or will DAC be a better choice?

 

Can someone please give me some suggestions for my price range, i'm hoping to purchase with the next few weeks. 

 

Thanks!

Bill B
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gza fo shizzah

I like AudioEngine 5+ for good quality sound for a desktop system.  They are self-powered (amp builit in) so no separate amp to buy.  They're 256 (US $399).

Yes, a separate DAC is almost always better than the internal soundcard.  What's your budget, after you get speakers/amp?

gza
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Just £250. How would these

Just £250. How would these compare to loudspeakers like the Wharfedale Diamonds with an external amp and DAC? Since the AudioEngine 5+ has everything built in would it be more difficult to replace if the amp breaks?

Bill B
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comparo

I haven't heard the Wharfedale's, just read the St'phile review & comments, which are all very good.  They are the same price as the AudioEngine 5+, but you would exceed that since you would need an amp to drive the W's or any other passive speaker.

AudioEngine has a 3 year warranty and good support.  I'm sure they can repair anything that might need service.

If you want to include a DAC in the total price of 250 pounds then evidently you will need to scale back a bit from the W's or the AE's,  Or proceed with them, and do a DAC later.  In the meantime just use your computer audio output, and make it better w/ a DAC next year.

gza
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I've just checked and the AE

I've just checked and the AE 3+ are around £330 here which is a bit out of my price range,  to be honest. The Diamonds from W are about £170 and a Topping TP21 AMP is about £60. Would i need to purchase a soundcard for my computer and DAC or would either one be sufficent ?

Bill B
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good deal

Good deal on the Wharfedales. 

Regarding the soundcard - well, your computer has a soundcard so you don't have to buy one (i.e., you don't have to buy an upgraded internal soundcard, and you don't have to buy an external DAC to use as a bypass of the existing internal soundcard).  But for better quality, you can do either (upgrade soundcard, or buy external DAC).

I think you're not likely to find an "upgrade" for just 20 pounds or so.  So you could stand pat for now, and run your computer into your amp, upgrading to an external DAC later.  Or spend more now...

commsysman
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Audioengine 2

I use the Audioengine 2 speakers, which are only $200 per pair, and they are excellent for computer use. I use them with a small subwoofer.

Check out the Stereophile review of them.

They are of course limited in the bass, and a small subwooofer would be helpful, and you can get an adequate one for around $100 or so.

The Polk PSW10 is usually under $100, and while it is too small for a full-blown sound system, it should be quite adequate for this purpose.

The standard sound circuits on any mother board are 16-bit audio, the same as CD, and is really pretty good. A separate DAC is probably a waste of time.

JoeE SP9
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USB DAC

External USB DACs are IMO worth the money.

If you want to try an external USB DAC:

For the cash strapped there is the Behringer UCA202 or UCA222. They are identical except for the color. For around $30 US from Amazon it's not a budget buster and sounds much better than just about all on board sound cards or chips. The Behringer is easily audibly better sounding than the chips on either of my laptops or my desktop. It's not better sounding than the (soon to be replaced) Creative X-Fi Pro Elite in my music server.

I have a UCA222 that I use as part of a portable "DJ" system. It includes the Behringer, a 1TB external USB HDD and a gateway 10" Netbook.

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