How setup the most perfect, affordable computer sound system?
September 6, 2008 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Would it be possible to replace the satellite speakers in this Logitech system, with these professional reference speakers, and then connect all this to a PC?

After searching around to find the best price with the best possible sound quality, that is the solution I've come up with. The problem is, I know very little about connecting speakers together and in to computers, so I don't know if this setup is physically possible and what sort of special cords or converters I'll need if it is.

Also, if anyone has any recommendations for a possibly better setup than this, at around the same price (<$200), that would be great.
posted by wigglin to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Based on only cursory reading of the specs, I'd say it depends on what you're trying to do. The M-Audio speakers have a fairly standard (for PC speakers) arrangement whereby the amplifier is inside one of the speakers. The Logitech system presumably also has its own amplifier, and this is where the problem lies.

Both systems are expecting an input signal from a PC sound card at a certain level. This signal is fed to the Logitech system, which amplifies it for the woofer and satellite speakers. So the power going to the satellites is much higher than the input signal; the M-Audio system is also designed to take a signal direct from the PC, and will possibly be damaged if you try to feed it an amplified signal intended for a pair of unpowered satellites.

You could however split the sound card output and feed it to both systems via a passive mixer and then tweak the levels of the various speakers to get your desired volumes.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:11 PM on September 6, 2008

most powered computer systems are designed as a single unit, with eq-ing and such for the speakers included. Also, the power supply and amplifier are matched just for those units. So, yes, you can snip the wires and connect the others most likely, but it will probably not sound anything like what you're hoping for. You're probably going to end up with a really muddy lower end, and the poor M-Audios are probably going to be choking on the meager power put out by the built-in amp.

Something like the monitors you have picked, and a T-Amp might work well (ThinkGeek is out right now, but there are others available online). Honestly though, I could never recommend buying speakers without listening to them, unless you REALLY trust the folks you're getting recommendations from, and like the music they listen to. Everyone's ears are different. Shop around, check the big box stores, there's no 'perfect' computer setup, there's only the one that you really like.
posted by pupdog at 12:20 PM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh, sorry, I misread the M-Audio description, they've goth got their own amps, but the rest stands. I don;t think it's going to sound that great.
posted by pupdog at 12:21 PM on September 6, 2008

Response by poster: Looks like it wasn't that great of an idea.

So let me modify the question. Are there any speakers I could use to replace the satellite speakers on the Logitech?

From what I've read, the Logitech has a really loud and distortion free subwoofer, but the companion speakers are just so-so with a rather bad midrange.

Basically, what I want is a system that can play really heavy hip-hop or dubstep, and also play crisp and clear classical and jazz as well. I have $200 dollars to spend.
posted by wigglin at 12:46 PM on September 6, 2008

No offense to your selection, but those aren't really studio monitors.

You're going to have to get some speakers and an amp. You can get a pair of JBL 4206 monitors for less than $200 on ebay or craigslist, and an Alesis 150 (or 300) amp for less than $200 as well. You may be spending a little more, but it is as an investment, and the sound will blow your mind.
posted by plexi at 3:19 PM on September 6, 2008

For no-hassle computer speakers, these are (in my view) the best for the under $200 range: Boston MM 226
posted by plexi at 4:54 PM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Would this do what you want:

Get a splitter at Radioshack. Send the audio signal from your PC to both your M-Audio speakers and to the Logitech subwoofer. Don't plug the Logitech satellites in.
posted by gmarceau at 11:10 PM on September 6, 2008

Logitech is not primarily a speaker company, thus expect quality that reflects this. I would advise demo-ing any speaker system, especially in this price range.

plexi's recommendation of the Boston Acoustics system is good. I haven't heard this particular system but the company has a good reputation.

Given that you're into bass, you'll probably want a 2.1 system at least. Some 2.1 systems allow you to daisy-chain the subs for massive floor shaking action.

Most 2.1 systems [i.e. two satellites and a subwoofer] have the sub contain the amplifier for the satellites. The satellites usually conenct to the sub via bare wire spring clips. Thus, if you wanted to switch out the satellites if you found an equally matched set of speakers that are better than the included ones you could.

Currently i've got 3 computers, and the one i listen to music on the most has a Klipsch Promedia 2.1 that is fantastic sounding, and is within your budget.
posted by phylum sinter at 11:17 PM on September 6, 2008

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