Help me find new computer speakers
March 12, 2012 3:46 PM   Subscribe

I need a new pair of computer speakers.

I love my Harmon Kardon HK695 speakers - but they're over ten years old (they came with a long-dead computer) and are pretty much broken. The wire on the right speaker is loose at the base of the speaker, and requires lots of jiggling to make the sound come through. The volume control doesn't work on the top of the speakers anymore, which means that they're just stuck at this annoyingly almost-loud-enough volume. I use them to watch streaming Netflix TV shows and to listen to Spotify and my record player.

The thing I like most about these speakers is that they have two wires to plug in to a computer. One is black and one is green. I like this because I can leave one plugged into the computer and the other plugged in to the record player. I can also plug the record player one into my iPhone or whatever and it plays on the speakers. This is awesome and my favorite thing about the speakers - the two wires. Also I like the way they look. They look like old timey microphones.

For my new speakers, here are my requirements:
- Inexpensive (less than $40 total, incl. shipping)
- Two wires to plug in to stuff
- Long wires, because I move them around the room a lot (that is probably what made the wire eventually break, but ten years of constant use and lots of moves seems like a good life to me)
- Volume control on the speakers
- Subwoofer (I think this is nice but I don't really know what I'm talking about - is this necessary?)
- Attractive (this is not a requirement but nice to have. The old ones always got compliments!)

Sound quality is not a huge priority to me. I don't do anything listening-wise where I need great sound. If the speakers can solve that age-old problem that I always have when I watch movies - the music blares and the dialog is whispers - that would be amazing, but I think that's not really a speaker-based problem.
posted by k8lin to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You're looking for a 2.1 channel PC speaker system with an auxiliary input. Get a long 3.5mm audio male to male cable for your record player and keep the speaker system near your computer in a central spot (so you don't have to move them around and damage the speaker cables/audio jacks).
posted by plokent at 5:13 PM on March 12, 2012

Here's another 2.1 channel PC speaker system that has auxiliary inputs. If you shop around online, you should be able to get either one of these for less than $40.00 shipped.
posted by plokent at 7:46 PM on March 12, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, y'all! Now that I know what to look for, I'll have better luck.

I'm really going to miss those HK695 speakers - they're really awesome. They just look so cool!
posted by k8lin at 7:51 PM on March 12, 2012

Best answer: I wouldn't be too quick to toss the old HK695's. The two issues you mentioned with them could be fixed relatively easy with a little spare time and a screwdriver. For the wire, you'll just want to find the break and re-splice with electrical tape. For the volume knob, you'll want to examine the potentiometer and resolder where needed. There's also a case here where a user was able to swap plugs in the back of the woofer to get volume working again. YMMV, but might be a fun restoration project...
posted by samsara at 7:20 AM on March 13, 2012

I got these speakers a couple months ago (based on good reviews online) for under 50$, they sound great to me (not an audiophile) and they're holding up well. They sound like they'd meet most of your requirements since they have an aux input you could plug a cord into.

Not sure on the mobility issue though, these are not especially mobile due to the cords connecting the speakers but I don't think any other speaker system would be any better, other than something like a wireless iPod dock.
posted by randomnity at 9:02 AM on March 13, 2012

Response by poster: samsara, thanks - the break is obvious; it's right where the wire connects with the plastic. It's the volume knob that is the problem - it's not the knobs on the woofer, it's the knobs on the top of the speakers, which I suppose is caused by the break in the wire.

I'll make this a little project; it sounds fun, and I like fixing things. Thanks for the helpful hints.
posted by k8lin at 12:18 PM on March 13, 2012

Response by poster: Fixed! Super excited - it was just the wires, and it only took about 10 to 15 minutes. :)

Thanks for the vote of confidence, samsara - I'm now rocking out with working speakers.
posted by k8lin at 8:07 PM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

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