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Old May 27th, 2012, 07:41 PM   #1
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connecting computer speakers to sound system...

Hi there,
I have two o.k. (Castle) regular speakers connected to a Pro-Ject sound system, with regular speaker wire.
I have two more speaker wires that I put behind the wall (in a 15'x24' room) before the drywall went up, and I'm now thinking I should go ahead and attach two more speakers. My wife would not want to see anything big—and even what's considered 'shelf-sized' speakers are too big for her—attached to the wall.
I've read good reviews of a very small speaker, the AudioEngine 2. But they connect via Minijack RCA.
Two questions:
1. can I connect these little speakers via normal speaker wire, and will they work o.k., or do they need to be powered by a computer?
2. is this a good idea? Will they sound bad? (I know sound is subjective, but maybe mixing computer speakers with a regular sound system is just a bad idea).
thanks,
Malcolm
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Old May 27th, 2012, 09:02 PM   #2
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Re: connecting computer speakers to sound system...

The Audioengine 2 is a pair of powered stereo speakers. The input can be either 3.5mm stereo mini-phone or two RCA jacks.

Since you did not define what you mean by "speaker wire", we will assume that is is NOT compatible with line-level audio signals which require shielded wire. Also, the amplifier for both sides is in the left speaker, so they need a "speaker wire" (unshielded pair) from the left speaker to the right speaker. They would need conventional shielded wiring from the source (not clear from your description?) to the left speaker. You will also need power going to the left speaker. The speakers appear to use a "power brick" which plugs into mains power and has a low-voltage power cable to the left speaker.

It doesn't matter what the source is, as long as it has a conventional line level audio output. There is no such thing as "computer speakers". A speaker is a speaker. But most products sold as "computer speakers" have built-in power amplifiers since most computers have only line-level outputs. Also, most products labeled as "computer speakers" sound really horrible and I wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy. They are typically suitable only for playing sound effects for shoot-em-up computer games, not for serious music listening. I would never buy anything called a "computer speaker". Yuck!
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Old May 27th, 2012, 09:12 PM   #3
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Re: connecting computer speakers to sound system...

Richard,
Thank you very much for your reply. Exactly what I needed! I know very little about audio, and am thankful for this kind of help. I now know that I will not get these speakers, 1. because I can't run the requisite wire from speaker A to speaker B, and 2. because they won't sound right. I play music on this sound system, not computer games/sound effects.
If you don't mind... can you suggest a pair of small speakers—and I do mean small (8" tall kind of thing).
I apologize in advance if there's no such thing as a good speaker that's this small. But I do have to make concessions and compromises in this case, I'm afraid.
Again, thanks for your advice. Even if you can't recommend any small speakers, at least I won't waste money on speakers that I can't even connect.
Regards,
Malcolm
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Old May 27th, 2012, 11:08 PM   #4
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Re: connecting computer speakers to sound system...

Please note that those AudioEngine 2 speakers are more than "computer speakers". The computer speakers I am ranting about are those little plastic things.

But OTOH, those AudioEngine 2 speakers seem to be rather small for that room unless you are just talking about low-level background ("elevator") music.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 07:41 AM   #5
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Re: connecting computer speakers to sound system...

Hi again Richard. Yes I realize that small speakers can't really deliver much sound, but I already have two fairly good (to my ears) speakers in this room. They're the Castle speakers I mentioned, not large by any means, but not tiny. They're at one end of the room, both pointing to the other end. So the room gets filled with sound.
Before the drywall was attached, I added four speaker wires from the place I knew the Pro-Ject amp (etc.) would be; two go to the Castle speakers that are now in use. The other two wires go to either side of the room, in the middle. This is where I was thinking I could add a bit more sound, just to fill things out.
Anyway, that's my conundrum. Even if these AudioEngine 2 speakers are pretty good, I can't run the speaker wire (from the left to the right) that they need to make them work. So I'm now looking for something else, not in the computer line.
What do you think of the PSB Imagine B speakers?
Regards, Malcolm
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Old May 28th, 2012, 10:07 AM   #6
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Re: connecting computer speakers to sound system...

There are a great many different speakers available out there. I know nothing about PSB except what I read on their web page. My personal opinion is that if I am going to spend $2000 on a pair of speakers, I will be looking for something significantly more substantial. I don't think I would pay even HALF that much for 5 inch speakers of ANY reputation. Remember, also that you need a power amp to drive them as well.
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