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  • ckryan - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    I ditched all manner of PC and home audio based audio solutions looking for good sound at my desk... including an expensive Bose Cinemate II, a Logitech 5.1 system, and a 2.1 system. I instead switched to some near field studio monitors designed for critical listening applications. While low end as far as professional audio goes -- the accuracy and input options are second to none. As far a ditching the sub goes, I think too much bass is the problem with a lot of the options out there. I prefer less but "higher quality" bass to way too much nasty, overwhelming bass. Balance is the key to most things. Reply
  • Spivonious - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    I totally agree with you, but Bose is overpriced crap, and Logitech systems are designed for video games. Not exactly the best options you could have chosen for music listening.

    What nearfield monitors did you get? I don't like boomy bass either, but most desktop speakers simply cannot reproduce frequencies much below 120Hz.
    Reply
  • ckryan - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Not all Bose are terrible (just most), just overpriced, plus they were a Christmas present. I play pc and console games mainly with the monitors. Basically, they're a lot like wearing headphones. I don't listen to music too much with them, as you are absolutely correct -- they drop off precipitously below 120hz. As for the monitors, they're a long discontinued set of Roland's. They really aren't the accurate, razor flat, colorless monitors you'd want to use in a real studio. Their low end nature makes them great for general PC sound tasks -- they use a 5 1/4 inch driver with a dome style tweeter. They're self amplified, have rca, 1/4", optical AND coaxial digital inputs. They have their own D/A onboard, with a mono sub out. Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    M-Audio Studio Monitors FTW. Reply
  • Devo2007 - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    I like my M-Audio Studiophile AV-40s. It sure surprised me just how good they sounded despite not having a sub. I know they aren't anything special in terms of "monitors" but for me they work just fine. Reply
  • Nataku - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    I got the same AV-40s at home, my girl friend started complaining her speaker system wasn't good enough after lol, looks like I have to get another pair for her (and they aren't expensive either) Reply
  • JPForums - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    I'm currently using Creative Megaworks speakers. Side note: these are the direct result of the acquisition of Cambridge and are the successor to the Cambridge Soundworks series. (Gigaworks may have too much Creative influence though) Do not confuse these with the Creative Inspire junk. While the base on the Megaworks is overly powerful, it is fairly high quality and I find that at around a quarter volume, they strike a decent balance.

    The frequency response of the system is great for PC speakers, but leaves much to be desired in the studio world. With a good audio card it should allow you to adjust the power at particular frequencies, allowing you to flatten the frequency response of the system. I checked the response of my system by recording different combinations of frequencies output, including white noise, at my sitting position and running FFTs on the data in matlab. Then I adjusted the settings and tried again.

    I realize this isn't something everyone is willing to put the time out to do, and to be fair, I still intend to get some nearfield monitors studio monitors when I can afford them. However, it has allowed me to put off getting those monitors until I can afford the ones I really want.

    Keep in mind that the room you listen in can be just as important as the speakers you use. For this reason, I'll be adjusting the studio monitors as well, though I expect much less of an adjustment.
    Reply
  • jkostans - Sunday, October 17, 2010 - link

    You should try Room Equalizer Wizard

    Amazing program that does everything you just listed without the matlab hassle. (must register on home theater shack or pro audio shack) Plus it lets you input equalizer settings (center frequency, Q and gain) and will show a corrected curve. I use an audigy card with the kxaudio drivers and the adjustments are dead on. It makes flattening a sound system for a room incredibly easy.

    Although you really should have a good measurement microphone otherwise you are assuming the microphone response is flat which is never the case.

    I'm very impressed with your knowledge and resourcefulness...
    Reply
  • numberoneoppa - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    For a beginner setup, I'm usually hastily recommending the KRK Rokit series. Very good for the money. Reply
  • Akdor 1154 - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    What's the latency like for the wireless methods? I get that it won't make much of a difference for music, but movies and games are quite sensitive to this. Reply
  • name99 - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    I second this question. Let's recall that Apple introduced a sorta similar system with Airport Express many years and, I'm sorry, but it SUCKED because the latency was so awful. When I tried it again last year, with the newest HW at the time it still sucked.

    Point is
    - latency really matters for these devices. I'm not an obsessive audiophile and I'm not complaining for the sake of complaining. I want this functionality, but was not prepared to put up with Apple's lousy implementation.
    - if Apple (who usually get the details correct) screwed this up, one is not immediately optimistic that Logitech can do better. On the other hand, they have the chance to learn from Apple's mistakes --- if they are willing to learn.

    So, let's have it, Anand --- what's the latency like?
    Reply
  • Welshtrog - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Wall*Mart 2.97 Dollars ?? they should go like hot cakes Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Are there some objective pages missing here? I can't believe I'm reading a review on hardware with no actual numbers but merely relying on a "feel" for how the sound quality is. How about a frequency response curve on the speakers (takes all of a minute or two per run)?

    How can Anandtech go from "Audiophile Journeys with a PC" to this puff piece?

    Sorry guys but I'm really dissapointed with this "review".
    Reply
  • mentatstrategy - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    I agree, I see the author decided to sprinkle in his musical tastes, ramble about a bunch of stuff we don't care about and not give us any clear numbers.

    One number is clear - the price... it's high... too high...
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    First of all, just about anyone, given the opportunity, is going to share about their tastes in art. I'm no more a criminal for that than someone driving down the street with their windows rolled down. That, and frankly I'm in a position where I can give a small band I like a little shout out without being a blatant advertisement. No harm there.

    As for numbers, I have to be honest...if you really want numbers on a hundred dollar sound kit from Logitech, you're barking up the wrong tree and this kit clearly isn't for you. Getting hard figures for comparatively inexpensive consumer sound products would require investing in gear that honestly just isn't worth the outlay.
    Reply
  • f4phantom2500 - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    i think its pretty clear...they don't produce much bass, they sound tinny and hollow, and while better than what you'll find in any given notebook, the sound quality leaves much to be desired. basically, these things don't offer good sound quality and aren't worth buying, imo, since you can get quite a nice pair of headphones for $100.

    ironically, most of what you can easily learn about a pair of speakers/headphones without actually listening to them is from subjective descriptions; numbers like frequency response don't really tell you anything, as it's not unusual to find cheap/crappy speakers/headphones with a good frequency response graph.

    in the end, though, if you want to buy a set of speakers/headphones and you really want to know what it sounds like, there's no way around it, you gotta listen to them first hand.
    Reply
  • AMDJunkie - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    But... but...

    The quality of ANYTHING must be able to measured in quantifiable, objective numbers or else it's meaningless! How can I know that something is enjoyable or even good if it doesn't have ratings based on some arbitrary scale designed to measure just one aspect of performance that may or may not be pertinent to experience of actually using the product?
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Be gone, sir! Take your logic and "science" from this place of audiophelia! Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Note: replying to the original poster, not the other comments (and jokes and such).

    You'll note that Dustin is part of our laptop reviewing crew, though I've also shoveled off desktop systems on him as well. Anyway, Logitech sent us a press release about these new "laptop replacement speakers" and there was a clause in there stating something to the effect of, "If you'd be interested in a review sample, let us know." As Dustin states from the outset, this is really an article looking at their claim of being good laptop speakers.

    The answer to that is sort of yes, but do you really want external laptop speakers? Anyway, we're really talking about some low hanging fruit here. "Hey, we sound better than laptop speakers" is about as revolutionary as saying, "Hey, we have a laptop that's faster than Atom netbooks!" But there are people that are interested in getting something like this, so we've got a review of sorts. We didn't even go anywhere near the audiophile segment, because these are clearly not intended for such users.
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the reply Jarred (and Dustin above). While my comment drew some jokes and criticism I really was being serious. I didn't expect it to be at the level of the audiophile article, just needing a bit of balance from all the "feel's like" comments.

    When someone says, "the Z515 is capable of producing bass. Not a whole lot, but at least some", that tells me nothing other than the bass isn't great. More beneficial would be to say it rolls off 10dB at 60Hz.....or 70Hz.....or 80Hz. That unknown could be a big factor in a purchasing decision for someone that realizes their not going to get tower speaker quality sound, but also want it to be better than a $20 pair of Radio Shack speakers.

    I guess for me it wasn't so much that the review was short and incomplete (if this had been a single page blog update like some of the other product introductions I wouldn't have even commented), it was that it seemed to be focusing on areas not really related to the speakers themselves.

    Anyway, keep up the good work and take these comments with a grain of salt.
    Reply
  • Sebec - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    I agree. Also, the writing is pretty shoddy by Anandtech standards. I've never seen "suck" as a word in a title article on this website EVER, until now. There are also several grammatical errors, mainly ending sentences with prepositions. Frankly, I found this article worse than the stuff on Tom's HW. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Seriously?

    I'll admit "suck" probably doesn't belong in a headline, but you're going to call in the grammar police?

    I try to keep my writing style fairly conversational and casual, too dry makes for a dull read. I'm sorry if that doesn't work for you, but it's kept my readers pretty happy since I started.
    Reply
  • bahamakyle - Saturday, October 16, 2010 - link

    I registered for the first time after frequenting this site for 10 years to chime in the harsh responses to this review. By AnandTech standards the article was just fine. You provided all the information that one should need about a low-end set of speakers in a clear and coherent manner. And I don't think that there's anything wrong with having the work "suck" in the title. It was nice to see a bit of lightheartedness added to the front page. Can't please everyone I guess. Keep up the good work Dustin.

    Cheers
    Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    "This is the part where a lot of audiophiles would be ripping their hair out, but hear me out: the Companion II's produce excellent bass and dynamic range provided they're connected to a good sound card"

    look, it has nothing to do with whether or not you're using a "dedicated subwoofer," there are plenty of great full-range speaker options out there, but Bose are, well, an acquired taste.
    Some folks really like how Bose speaker color the music to their own particular sound, but many "audiophiles" are not looking for speakers that change the sound so much.

    however, i am not one of them. i used bose laptop replacement speakers for a long time and i think they gave a good, full sound for a low cost.
    i know that sounds crazy, because bose are not the cheapest option, but when you compare them to a real audio system that actually sounds really good, the cost is negligible.
    they do not produce excellent anything,
    not by a long shot,
    but they do a very good job of covering up poor recordings and bad mp3s.
    Reply
  • warisz00r - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    lolgitech

    and Bose = Buy Other Sound Equipment

    For the same amount you're paying to get a Bose, you can build a much better sounding setup, sometimes for even less.

    http://www.intellexual.net/bose.html
    Reply
  • therealnickdanger - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    No highs, no lows... it must be Bose! Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    ha. that takes me back.

    actually, i think they have changed their design philosophy since the days when that rhyme was coined.
    to me, they sound more bassey/muddy then they used to, and less mid-rangey.
    but the highs still suck.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    For a home theater system, sure.

    My Companion II's are a $100 pair of computer speakers. I've tried other similarly priced speaker sets and found them to deliver the best sound quality, at least for my needs. We're talking about a budget here, for a computer, not a home theater speaker system.
    Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    for the more expensive multispeaker setups, i agree with you, but the companion 2s that i got for 85 bucks are hard to beat if you don't have any space for something bigger.
    now, i'm using JBL control 2p speakers, and they do kick the crap out of the bose, but they cost more than twice as much.
    once you start looking at the 350 dollar or greater options, your absolutely right, bose really suck.
    i also find it really abnoxious that they won't publish their speaker specs.
    they rely on their sound coloring techniques rather than accuracy and power.
    frankly, i understand the approach, because most people don't even understand speaker specs anyway, so bose focuses on making a rich, recognizable sound that will capture people's attention.
    what bothers me about them is that they are probably using their 'secret sauce' to mask inferior components.
    however, there is no way to say that for sure without ripping them open and testing them, and who wants to blow cash on that?

    in the meantime, i still stand by the cheaper bose speakers as a good way to cover up flaws in poor sources like mp3s and bad transfers.
    in fact, if you have really good speakers, your mp3s will actually sound worse, because you can hear how poor the quality is. (even without superb hearing)
    when you are talking about non-computer, non-mp3 usage, like a home stereo, all of this goes out the window of course.
    Reply
  • tleeds - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Get your hands on a set of Wharfedale Audio Diamond 8.2 Active Studio Monitors. Should run you about $350.00USD .. Unbelievable sound for that money. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Because when I think of portable laptop speakers, I think of nearly 20lbs and cubic foot a piece hardware. Seriously man did you even look at what the review unit's goal is? Reply
  • kmmatney - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Um... These are wireless speakers, with a built-in battery pack...They serve a different puspose then you studio sound system... Reply
  • ShortyZ - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Headphones anyone? Why bother with this? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Headphones rely on your built-in sound system as well as the audio jack. I've encountered so many laptops where the audio jack gets a TON of static, and it's only worse on better quality headphones that accurately reproduce highs and lows. Reply
  • SyndromeOCZ - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    The quality of the headphones don't really have anything to do with how much static noise you will hear from most notebook's headphone jack. Its dependent on the impedance and sensitivity of the headphones. This means that most IEM's will suffer from it more than full sized headphones will.

    And about the Wharfedales, I've got some EVO2-10's and they sound amazing, but they are anything but portable. ;)
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Needs an iPod/IPhone dock... Reply
  • anactoraaron - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    but I was online at Best Buy last night and they claim to have a 40GB X25M... It's $10 more than an X25V 40GB... any review or other info upcoming? Reply
  • Aikouka - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    That could just be a mistake on Best Buy's part. There is a newer model of the 40GB SSD out...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8... <-- original

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8... <-- newer K-series

    The price difference is only $5 at NewEgg, but it's still most likely the same.
    Reply
  • dacipher - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    You cant go wrong with krk monitor speakers. Bass is really top notch on my set of Rokit 6's. Reply
  • Ptaltaica - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    I got to " the Companion II's produce excellent bass and dynamic range provided they're connected to a good sound card."

    Seriously?

    If you're satisfied with Bose speakers-particularly ones that weigh less than 2lbs apiece, appear to have a plastic case, and come with a <b>power brick</b> , audio equipment reviews definitely aren't your forte. Those things probably have a single 3.5"-4" full range driver and some fancy port work. What a joke.

    And "this is after going through a lot of different speaker sets"? You're buying the wrong speaker sets. Short of some of the studio monitors (M-Audio's bigger units aren't too bad), there are NO speakers available in the US right now, that are marketed specifically as computer speakers, that I am aware of, that qualify as "good". THX certification means nothing, even the Logitech Z-5500s only sound good under three circumstances: the listener is either tone deaf or extremely inebriated, or they've never heard a decent audio system.

    And what do you consider a "good" sound card? Please tell me it's not some POS from Creative or M-Audio or one of the low-end Asus Xonars or something. Those Blows speakers are analog only and if we're not talking about cards with socketed opamps running something like AD843s or OPA639s, the card is garbage. Even the M-Audio Revolutions, which I otherwise like just fine, use JRC5532s-and while they're an improvement over the crap Creative is/was putting on their cards, calling any card that uses them "good" is being far too generous.

    Not even worth reading the rest of the article. If you think your Companion IIs have "excellent" bass and dynamic range, you're probably not qualified to have an opinion on the sound quality of anything this side of a tin can telephone.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Take a step back, Mr. Audiophile, and please note what the article is about: a laptop speaker replacement option. I don't care if you think Bose, Logitech, etc. are crap compared to expensive options, fine. Even the worst Bose/Logitech/Creative/etc. computer speaker kit sounds worlds better than the best laptop speakers I've encountered. Is the Z515 going to impress you? Obviously not, but the goal isn't to replace studio monitors or even inexpensive desktop speakers; the goal is to provide something that works and provides better sound than a laptop's built-in speakers.

    What you're doing is akin to me reviewing a netbook and showing how it compares in performance to a 15 pound desktop replacement that costs an order of magnitude more (and gets an order of magnitude less battery life).
    Reply
  • andy o - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    Rule of thumb for arguing about computer audio equipment comments:

    Any time you see OPAMPs mentioned (with some combination of obscure letters and numbers), and "mainstream" audio cards disparaged as "POS", it doesn't deserve your explanation. 99 out of 99 times it's just arrogant audiophile dogma speaking.
    Reply
  • andy o - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    LOLAUDIOPHOOL

    ABX tests proving the inferiority of those things you disparage, or be called out.
    Reply
  • sleepeeg3 - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    If you are a movie fan, you wouldn't be watching movies on your laptop anyway. If you have access to a wall outlet, then you should have access to a desktop. I don't really see the point... Reply
  • ShortyZ - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    As a business traveler, I could see a use for speakers like these. Stuck in an airport I'd use my headphones while watching a movie. Stuck in a hotel room without access to a DVD player, these speakers might be worthwhile. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    I'm a movie buff and a filmmaker, but when I'm away from home I don't have the luxury of relaxing in front of my HDTV, so I use my laptop. And a LOT of college students are in the same situation: a 42" HDTV isn't going to fit in a dorm room.

    I think a genuine movie fan isn't going to care that much about what they watch their movies on (iPhone/iPad notwithstanding) so long as they can comfortably enjoy the material.
    Reply
  • numberoneoppa - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Surprised the warranted a review, they're just another consumer crappy audio product that doesn't deliver. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    We review what we're sent. If you only want to read positive reviews, I recommend PC World or CNet. Reply
  • Heathmoor - Saturday, October 16, 2010 - link

    Even in CNET, they recommend to for the cheaper Creative D100 instead.
    Other alternatives: BlueAnt M1 (Supertooth Blaster "Disco" in Europe) and Creative D200.
    I think that the only major drawback in these other alternatives is their exclusive Bluetooth wireless connectivity with more limited range. In contrast, I find replaceable batteries a more convenient option in case you don't have access to electric power for several days.
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Saturday, October 16, 2010 - link

    The battery issue seems too much of an inconvenience, IMHO. This seems better, at less than half the price: http://tinyurl.com/292gq4e

    Dustin, have you heard the legendary Klipsch Promedia? The 2.1 doesn't cost that much more than the Bose Companion 2 Series II, and it's probably a world of a difference. Especially if you set up the speakers at least 5ft away or against the wall, spread out. Base is tight and controlled. I know that Bose sounds decent, but when it comes down to it, it's a 15W 2.0 system compared to 200W 2.1.
    Reply
  • Setsunayaki - Sunday, October 17, 2010 - link

    years ago, on Consoles you were able to buy an Audio Solution that was cheap....but had something nice to them..

    They had a Sub integrated with an External Amplifier. All I do is simply throw a line to the computer and the computer actually sends the sound to the system which gets processed by the external amp and sub and has the sound come out of my speakers. Do to this along I've gotten better sound quality than $400 sound cards and good SNR as well.

    The only thing that the sound depends on is a better DAC and since Linux has many sound drivers one can choose from a drop down menu in the same category you can always get the one that functions the best...compared to the entire Windows Philosophy of One Driver, Per hardware piece installed or bust attitude.

    The unit I have works pretty well and has also things to connect it to consoles, PCs and other devices. ^_^
    Reply
  • GullLars - Sunday, October 17, 2010 - link

    Sure, these are speakers, and are nice if there is more than one person going to listen to the audio, or headphones are impractical to wear, but in almost any scenario i have encountered where i needed audio from my laptop, a pair of Koss headphones did the job just fine. I actually don't own speakers, and use a high-end headset with mic on my main rigg, while using koss headphones or earplugs on my laptop (and ipod) when travelling.

    How do these speakers fare against a $99 headset? Or a DAC + headphones?

    You also mention laptop speakers, or Z515 as replacement for them, for LAN gaming. I've never been on a LAN where anyone with a laptop didn't use a headset, and the only case anyone used speakers was for background music when there was no gaming.
    Reply
  • GullLars - Sunday, October 17, 2010 - link

    BTW, does anyone here know of an USB DAC with 2 (or more) 3.5mm jack outputs? Sometimes it would be great to have the ability to share the audio from my laptop when traveling without disturbing others, like with the person sitting next to me on a train, buss, or plane. (most people traveling, and everyone i travel with, bring some kind of earplugs or headphones with 3.5mm jack) Reply
  • mastercrumble - Monday, October 18, 2010 - link

    The best pc speakers I have ever used are made by a german company call Teufel. Not a pricey as Bose but at least as good: http://www.teufelaudio.com/ Reply
  • Morely the IT Guy - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - link

    "the wireless receiver can be stored under a hatch on the back"

    Should I assume that you mean the USB wireless transmitter? I would expect the receiver to be permanently wired into the speakers, someone inside the case.
    Reply
  • Morely the IT Guy - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - link

    "somewhere inside the case." Bugger auto-correct! Reply

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