Sub $100 computer speakers?
May 17, 2006 5:14 PM   Subscribe

What "good" sub $100 computer speakers are out there?

I'm looking for the equivalent of Koss's 'The Plugs' for computer speakers. Something that has its flaws, but is still totally awesome for the price. I have some nice headphones for Hi-Fi listening, but could use some decent speakers for playing my mp3 collection. Bonus points for something that can produce a good amount of volume without distorting much.

If listening preferences matter at this price point, it's mostly classical (instrumental & opera) and Bjork.
posted by anonymoose to Technology (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm no audiophile, but I find Altec Lansing's product line to be a reliable value.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:21 PM on May 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


I've got a set of Logitech Z3s that I found on closeout (I've also seen them for cheap at Costco, around $60). It's a 2.1 system. For the money, they sound pretty darn good to me. Logitech is now making a successor model, the Z4, for $100.

I also use Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 2 speakers at an outdoor location. This is a 2.0 system, and to be honest, I chose this system not so much for sensitivity and fidelity as for maximum output in minimum package size (needs to be somewhat portable). I run them very loud and the sound is good enough—no glaring distortion/blow-out, but I haven't really done any serious auditioning of them. These are also right around $100. Klipsch also did a good job of dealing with a warranty replacement when something blew out on them, FWIW.

I don't know if either of these are "totally awesome" but I've been pleased with both.
posted by adamrice at 5:29 PM on May 17, 2006


I've got the Logitech Z4s, paid Cdn$79. They kick ass. Separate volume control for the sub and nice crisp top end. They sounded the best of any I tried.
posted by BorgLove at 5:45 PM on May 17, 2006


I am extremely happy with my $50 Cambridge SoundWorks cubes; I have two sets and I would happily buy another pair if I needed some.
posted by AaronRaphael at 6:58 PM on May 17, 2006


Roland MA8 Micro Monitor Speakers hover around the $90-100 range new, and they are terrific-sounding for computer speakers. I swear by them.
posted by umbú at 7:01 PM on May 17, 2006


I have the JBL Creature Speakers in silver. I think they're pretty great, especially for 70 bucks.
posted by Cochise at 7:12 PM on May 17, 2006


Another option: If you want a pair of headphones comparable to speakers costing $500 and up, get some Grado SR60s. Some of the best "beginner audiophile" headphones out there and a great value at 60 bucks.
posted by rsanheim at 8:04 PM on May 17, 2006


Do a search for the JBL Duet Speakers on Amazon....read the reviews - including mine, they are awesome for the price and great sound without a big honking subwoofer.
posted by richwise at 8:31 PM on May 17, 2006


(I am a pro audio person.)

I had a pair of Sony 6-watt desktop speakers (SRS-Z500) that were amazingly accurate for the price (currently under $35).

rsanheim is right: if you can consider headphones, you can get outstounding sound in that price range, WAY more accurate and full-range than you could ever expect in $100 speakers.

For $100, I would recommend Ultrasone DJ1 phones, which also isolate your ears very nicely from outside sound (so they're great for keeping your ears safer if you have to ride the subway or be in other unsafe-for-ears environments).
posted by allterrainbrain at 9:43 PM on May 17, 2006


I like my JBL Creature Speakers. Warning: the gray does not come close to silver (I wanted it to look like my PowerBook). But they sound great. The have a website for seconds--and they eBay their seconds, also.
posted by 6:1 at 9:47 PM on May 17, 2006


I have a larger system that has 4 cambridge soundworks cubes... i swapped out 2 of them with cheaper JVC speakers from a stereo because the cubes sounded too tinny. i agree with the headphones though. I have a pair of sennheisers that were around $80, and they sound great, although the bass booms (which is great for the music I listen to, maybe not so much depending on what you're into).
posted by devilsbrigade at 10:20 PM on May 17, 2006


Today's deal on woot may be decent, and is a rather low risk expenditure considering what you get for $75 including shipping... (no, I don't work for woot)
posted by twiggy at 11:24 PM on May 17, 2006


I'm going to second adamrice and recommend the Klipsch PortaPro Ultra 2.0's. Like he said, they will run you right about $100, but in my opinion, they're worth it. And Klipsch's customer support is unfailingly stellar.
posted by irregardless at 6:23 AM on May 18, 2006


I like my logitech Z3's.
posted by p8r1ck at 4:17 PM on May 18, 2006


I found a set of Cyber Acoustics speakers at Best Buy for $20. They even included a subwoofer. I thought they sounded great.
posted by bugloaf at 7:53 PM on May 18, 2006


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