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Old April 1st, 2007, 04:02 AM   #1
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Good Computer Speakers to Use?

What are good computer speakers do you guys recommend that would provide a good reproduction or idea of what the audio will sound like in a tv or maybe even a theater? My goal is basically to know if there are any weird noises / audio transitions that might be noticable in a theater where i would not notice in a normal speaker or headphones plus getting good audio levels for dialog?

Currently I am using an Audio Technica M30 headset + some Altec Lansing Speakers with Subwoofer that's about a year old but not too bad. Thanks!
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Old April 1st, 2007, 05:35 AM   #2
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Can you be a little more specific about what your needs and budget are, whether your aims are for professional video production or casual hobby work, your soundcard and other editing equipment such as mixing desks, etc, you have or you're planning to get that will interface with them, whether you have an acoustically treated workspace, things like that? Computer "multimedia speakers" are rarely suitable for serious audio monitoring and real studio monitor speakers cover a wide spectrum of prices ranging from a few hundred up to thousands of dollars with the sky the limit. Hard to narrow it down without more info
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Old April 1st, 2007, 06:09 AM   #3
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Klipsch

Hi There,
I totally agree that multimedia speakers are not an excellent monitor option. However the Klipsch Pro Media 2.1's are a pretty econimical solution. They are a fairly natural reference, you just have to adjust (eliminate )the sub accordingly. I have used them before with excellent results.
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Old April 1st, 2007, 09:54 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darrin McMillan View Post
Hi There,
I totally agree that multimedia speakers are not an excellent monitor option. However the Klipsch Pro Media 2.1's are a pretty econimical solution. They are a fairly natural reference, you just have to adjust (eliminate )the sub accordingly. I have used them before with excellent results.
No, they're not. You might try to convince yourself otherwise, but there is nothing accurate about the Klipsch multimedia speakers.
Paul Klipsch would be turning in his grave to hear that sort of statement. they're a fine multimedia speaker, I have a pair of ProMedia 2.1 speaks that were a gift, and again...they're nice for what they are, but _far_ from accurate or trustworthy.

For under 1k, you're not going to find anything "accurate" but merely "pretty good." And if the room isn't set up optimally for audio monitoring, you quickly go from "pretty good" to "I can more or less tell what's in the mix."
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Old April 1st, 2007, 10:59 AM   #5
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Not that bad for what they are

I agree they are not studio monitors by any means...but for a PC speaker you won't find anything better in that class...but totally agree if you are setting up a professional studio it is definately not the way to go. Note I think there are two different styles of the 2.1. they made a newer ipod version that are no where near as good..The original 2.1's are definately better.
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Old April 1st, 2007, 12:09 PM   #6
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There is a common misconception about speakers for mixing, if they sound good, they are good. Not true.

All speakers designed for entertainment, ALL of them, are designed to make voice & music sound good. Different designers & manufacturers have different ideas for what that means for the various markets, a little more bass, a little sizzle, this way for rock, that way for TV, this way for classical, but they ALL want a speaker that covers up any harshness in the program with warm-sounding fudge.

So, when you say the Klipsch 2.1 sounds good as a computer speaker, you're saying that it covers flaws and harshness nicely, which is a good quality to have in a set of speakers for entertainment.

When we mix, we have a different set of goals in mind. We want a class of speakers known as "reference monitors", precisely because they don't cover up flaws and harshness in our programs. For example, if a set of computer speakers has good bass response, you really like they way they bring out the low end, you'll tend to mix your tracks too light on the bass for most listeners.

The other kind of accuracy that reference monitor designers strive for is that a louder sound not cover up a quieter sound. For example, a reference monitor would reveal HVAC noise differently than most "good" speakers.

If you were using entertainment speakers to do noise reduction (or eq, or compression, or mix levels, or volume maximization, or expansion, ducking, or any of the thousand other things audio engineers do) you really have only a rough idea what your source and mix actually sound like. Professionals (those being paid for their work) find that unacceptable.
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Old April 1st, 2007, 01:01 PM   #7
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Jay Rose has a great article at dv.com on mixing audio for theatre entitled "What I learned Last Summer: Oh, the things they do in the movies" he discusses why audio for theatrical relesae is mixed in big rooms with theatre grade speakers.

Still, that doesn't answer your question. If you absolutely have to mix audio with computer speakers (as in - or else you're going to die), I would consider the M-Audio StudioPro 4 (they are also sold by M-Audio as reference speakers under the designation of DX4 (RCA inputs as opposed to stereo mini jack and painted black instead of silver). They are supposed to be "pretty good" for $200. A reviewer at maximumpc.com claims he could "detect the unused snare drum’s wires vibrating against its bottom head" on a Frank Zappa recording...

Alternatively, for about half the price, I would also check out the less conventional Tascam VL-S21, they are supposed to be surprisingly quite flat. They are also reviewed at maximumpc.com.

As mentioned above, the speakers are only half the issue, how you palce them and the room you are in will have significant influence on your sound.

best of luck
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Old April 1st, 2007, 01:21 PM   #8
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I got a pair DX-4's recently and hooked them up to my TV. They seem fine for that, but much more like a multimedia speaker than reference monitor. I have a pair of M-Audio BX-5's hooked up to my computer and they are in a whole different league.

But I'll have to admit I'm not very serious about audio and didn't want to spend $1,000 for the kind of stuff I do. Using Spot's scale I am definitely in the "I can more or less tell what's in the mix" group :-)

While at the store buying the DX-4's I noticed that their replacement for the BX-5 (DX-5 I think) looked cheaper than mine. The BX-5 had individual amplifiers and a number of adjustments. The new model puts a stereo amp in one of the speakers and the other one is passive. I don't know, maybe the acoustics are just as good but they just looked/felt cheaper.
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Old April 1st, 2007, 01:29 PM   #9
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Hi Boyd
Apparently the DX-4s are not very forgiving in terms of placement and must be placed fairly close (within 30") which is a lot closer than most people watch TV, otherwise the bass is said to dop off considerably and the imaging is lost. I'd appreciate your opinion on that.
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Old April 1st, 2007, 03:52 PM   #10
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There isn't a lot of bass in those speakers, I have a big subwoofer also hooked up to the TV. Not really looking for anything great, just something that was better than the built-in speakers on the TV. I don't think the DX-4's would be that great for editing, but are probably better than your typical $40 multimedia speakers.

When I got my BX-5's I played around with a series of tones and a Radio Shack sound meter. They have a a few controls you can tweak: Acoustic space, High Freq, Mid Boost and Low Cutoff. I played with these and speaker placement to get the flattest response I could from my seat at the computer. It was pseudo-scientific at best, but it was an interesting excercise.
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