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  • DanD85 - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I'm not sure if Antec sound better than Edifier. I know it's quite unfamiliar brand name around here but I've heard it and it really really good. The price is quite reasonable too.
    http://www.edifier.ca/english/speakers/s330d/s330d...
    Reply
  • warisz00r - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    As an owner of the S330D I can definitely vouch this poster's opinion. The Edifier compares pretty well with the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 and is also way better than any similarly priced 2.1 systems from Logitech and AL. Reply
  • Patrese - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Agreed as well. I have a set of Edifier E3100 for 5 years now and they're easily the best sounding 2.1 computer sets I've ever heard. Reply
  • The0ne - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    I have two sets of Klipsch Promedia 2.1 and don't have any complaints. They're un-used mostly now because of my Z5500s but they are still very good when I do use the other PCs. I have another comparable 2.1 but can't remember the brand name, urgh. It also has very good sound qualities and still going strong. Reply
  • wtfbbqlol - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Things like:

    - Frequency response
    - THD+N
    - Speaker sensitivity

    Unfortunately to make all these things happen, and have them be valid, you'll have to go all out and have an anechoic chamber with proper measurement equipment (measurement mics, and hardware testers like some Audio Precision stuff) for your measurements. If you don't have an anechoic chamber, use maximum-length sequence type measurements to circumvent room reflections.

    Anyway, my point is, if you can't at least provide some valid baseline measurements a purely subjective review is more or less useless. Better spend Anandtech time on other more useful stuff.
    Reply
  • ninjaquick - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    S/N, FR are almost always marketing gimmicks. While it is true that many high quality speakers advertise these values, their relevance is questionable at best.

    Ultimately it is the subjective hearing tests that matter most. The shape of the enclosure, the aspiration of the drivers/woofers., the material of the cones and even the wires used inside the system + the amplification/DACs all affect how the system will sound past the S|N/FR statements. What I am getting at is until you hear how it sounds you will never know how it sounds. I could, right now, grab top shelf drivers and wires, get it to be 15hz-25khz / 112 dB S/N but they would sound awful. Hell, even with null THD they would sound bad.

    I don't even care anymore to get to where I was going.
    Reply
  • wtfbbqlol - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Without some form of valid lab measurements you have no reference to judge the audio performance. The measurements aren't an absolute metric of what sounds good or bad, but its value is in showing whether the product has any gross deviations/defects in its audio performance. For example, if I see weird 10dB peaks or dips over a wide band in the frequency response, I am almost certainly sure that the audio product is not worth my time at all.

    What the reviewer thinks "sounds good" to him/her may not be good for you. His/her ears are not yours. Meanwhile, measurements which are done properly, even if they don't give the full picture, allows you some way to gauge the audio performance and compare one like product to another.

    Also, notice I suggested that Anandtech perform their own lab measurements, and not use the advertised "specs" of these products. It's a huge undertaking, make no mistake about it, and one I think Anandtech is currently ill-equipped to deal with currently and is of questionable value even if they do. It's going to take a lot of money, time, and effort just to improve one small portion of their output. Either do it right, or don't.

    I'm going to be blunt; this kind of review doesn't belong on Anandtech. I expect rich analysis like some of the better hardware articles here (SSD, motherboard reviews etc).
    Reply
  • wtfbbqlol - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    For example, here is a page from a speaker review of another site with reasonable effort put into some of the measurements.

    http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/speakers/booksh...
    Reply
  • anactoraaron - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I would agree with this. I am only going to compare and refer anyone reading this post to Anand's SSD trilogy. The depth of how nand works wasn't necessary nor was the controller's inpact on performance and why, but it is that depth that makes Anandtech.com what it is. This article just doesn't match up with the SSD articles. I know this is more of an issue of "the manufacturer sent us this to review it and this is the only way we are able to do so as of now" but maybe this should be filed under the News section and brief specs listed there, rather than doing this and calling this a full fledged review.

    my 2c
    Reply
  • chrnochime - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Just because the speakers sound "great" doesn't mean they're actually accurately reproducing the recording. The speakers can be overtly coloring and alter the music so that it sounds "better".

    Here's something to chew on, no matter how good your speakers/amp/pre-amp/DAC/player is, if the recording itself is already lossy/compromised from the moment it is captured, then placed on the media(again more info lost), everything after that is moot point. Not to mention the signal degradation/alternation that inevitably occur in the links between the recorded media and the speaker(itself is imperfect as well)...
    Reply
  • EddyKilowatt - Monday, November 22, 2010 - link

    "Only the subjective sound matters" is the siren song that led the hi-fi field to cryogenically frozen AC outlets, and enough holier-than-thou golden-eared 'experts' to turn the entire business into a laughingstock.

    Sure, the subjective sound matters, but the objective facts matter too, and ignoring them leads rather quickly to expensive la-la land.

    That said, I agree with the sentiment that audio reviews is a high cost-of-entry business, already populated with some credible sources. I'm happy to see Anandtech diversify a bit, but they need to choose their battles.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I think the comparison to the Bose speakers is probably good enough for most readers.

    Graphs and specs aren't going to do much for a lot of us. My last set of speakers were purchased simply because they were on sale, and the NewEgg user-reviews were favorable.
    Reply
  • ckryan - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I would very much like to hear these. I made it a few paragraphs in before it sunk in that these are not Logitech units. That's a very good thing. That earns this system points before it goes anywhere else.

    The main problem as I see it, is the subwoofer. A switch with three settings does not an acceptable option make. It would really just need two knobs. How about this: A level control knob, and a crossover knob. Why don't they utilize these cheap, easily added extras to the sub? Put some recommended settings as hash marks or in the manual. Let the user have some kind of actual control. A semi-parametric control would be a nice extra. None of this requires any addition knowledge, but could be invaluable for for both sub placement AND my sanity.

    The satellites could sound as good as a Ferrari F1 exhaust note -- but if the sub (an integral part of the satellite + sub idea) isn't versatile in terms of placement, then all is for naught. Good for Antec though. I used to love them but they fell out of favor with me for a few years. I took a chance on them again though, and have found them to be better than I remembered in their traditional case/psu area. I'm glad they are branching out. But making good sounding gear isn't easy. There isn't a good formula for it when it must be done cheaply. I hope they can pull it off.
    Reply
  • Antec_Jessie - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    We certainly agree with the last portion of your paragraph. Making good sounding gear isn't easy. Even at $250, which many consider a "premium," there's not going to be a perfect set of speakers. There's just too much subjectivity in evaluating speakers. What we wanted to do was make the best $250 set of speakers would could. Reply
  • JCheng - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    > two satellites rated for 25 watts and a frequency response between 10 Hz and 20 kHz

    10 Hz? I think you meant 100Hz.
    Reply
  • Stuka87 - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I noticed this too. I highly doubt they go down to 10Hz. Reply
  • Spivonious - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Yeah there's no way those satellites go down to 10Hz. I doubt the subwoofer goes that low. Reply
  • WhatYaWant - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    It may make a sound at 10 Hz, albeit music it is not. Not the biggest error of this junk review tho'. Reply
  • absx - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    $250 would also fetch a nice pair of entry-level studio monitors like a pair of Behringer B1030A's. Why bother with the wiring mess of a subwoofer or the tinny little satellites? Reply
  • Gunbuster - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    You should take speakers apart and tell us the manufacturere and ratings on the drivers. It's hard to judge scale from the pictures but I am sceptical of even that 25w power rating on the satilites. I am also guessing the driver is a reletivly small ones hidden behind the plastic grill. Reply
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Saturday, November 20, 2010 - link

    Just like logitech's satellites, they probably rate them @ 10% THD (!!!). For reference, the cheapest 5.1 AVR I found rated its output at 0.08%THD. Yes, it may not be fair to compare against a $300 AVR, but it goes to show how huge the gap is between "computer speakers" and home theater gear. Also, Logitech's 10% is a horrible number to settle on as most people will hear 1% distortion. Reply
  • sonci - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Thres no way, these things can compete against similar priced active monitors from
    M audio or Swans, unless you have a really small room
    I think people should be aware of real speakers and stop buying crap logitech or antec or whatever manufacter them, especially now that pc audio is becoming quite acceptable.
    Reply
  • sonci - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    ps: audiophiles wont buy anything with the name "3D" Reply
  • kmmatney - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Would these be good?

    http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Studiophile-AV-Power...
    Reply
  • Patrick Wolf - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Not to a real audiophile. I'm sure they're decent, but the overall sound quality will be limited by their smaller size.

    And I agree that completely subjective reviews like this don't belong here. Sound card reviews maybe, but that's it. Leave everything else to the dedicated audio sites. All of these cheap popular brand (gimmicky) speakers sound about the same anyway; which in all honesty is not too good.
    Reply
  • chrnochime - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    I'd say the same about M audio and to lesser degree swans. There's a reason M audio speakers don't go higher than 1000 USD, and the fact that they don't make any speaker for use outside of studio....

    Go dig up what audiophiles in HK think of Swans.

    I can think of a bunch of speakers that exceed Swans: Dali, B&W(803 and up arguably), Mcintosh, sunfire, magnepan, Martin Logan(vantage and up), vandersteen, salk, magnepan(maggie).....
    Reply
  • AnnihilatorX - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    While the article mentioned it supports PCM only, does it support HD PCM though, by HD I mean non standard 192kHz 24bit 2ch PCM. Not many equipment support this however.

    Off topic but the reason Toslink/SPDIF is getting replaced by HDMI is that, the format is old and physically cannot carry information of 192kHz/24-bit for more than 2 channels. While 48khz/24-bit DTS/Dolby Digital Live 5.1 are compressed signals are fine, DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby TrueHD for examples, can't. HDMI can do all, even DSD, in flying colors.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    It can't do HD PCM. Tops out at 96kHz. Reply
  • Dug - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I'm so tired of measurements and anechoic chambers and testing with one recording that no on else can get. That's only important if you care.
    These are computer speakers. I'm not going to sit at my computer for critical listening, and I don't really think these need to reviewed that way.

    I have friends that have spent thousands on creating great listening rooms, with measurements in one seating position. Trying to avoid reflections and create a flat response.
    Tell you the truth. Can't imagine why. I didn't find it to be that great. So measurements don't mean crap.
    Maybe what I like isn't "correct". But I don't care.
    Just like a properly calibrated monitor or TV. I find it very flat and boring. I like a little more contrast.

    After its all said and done, I just want to know if they sound good.
    Reply
  • michal1980 - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Really Anand? This is worth your bandwidt?

    Oh looky. Brand XYZ paid us some cash, and we post about their 'great' stuff they make.

    no real tests, or measure measurements. Just fluffy feel good writing that doesn't really you tell you anything.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    With all due respect, you're making accusations with no knowledge of what's going on behind the scenes. I know it's customary to accuse any site of taking money just because the review isn't what you'd like to see, but here's the facts.

    Antec contacted us (Anand) and asked if we'd like to look at their new speakers. Anand referred them to Dustin, since he reviewed the Corsair HS1 headset. Dustin expressed concern to both Anand and myself, and ultimately the decision was taken to go ahead with a subjective review simply because these are a new product being marketed to enthusiasts. The speakers have some interesting features, and no doubt sound "excellent" -- which is to say non-audiophiles will likely be okay but that's about it. They have optical input as well, which is a rarity. They're also expensive... too expensive for all but a subset of users.

    At no point has Antec asked us to give them a favorable review for money (payola). To my knowledge, that hasn't occurred at any point from any company in recent history... or at least, we've never accepted payment. I know that in over six years, the only time this has ever come up was CES 2006 (or was it 2007?). I had a motherboard company (a smaller brand...or at least a lesser brand seldom used by enthusiasts, so not ASUS, ASRock, Gigabyte, or MSI) ask how much it would take to get an editor's choice award, and our response was simple: put the money into making a good product that deserves an editor's choice. It didn't happen, but I did see a few interesting awards from other sites (which shall remain nameless).

    You may not like seeing a subjective review of speakers, and I know for a fact that Dustin isn't particularly happy doing these reviews simply because of the backlash, but tell me this: has this review actually harmed any reader in any way? Would anyone read this review and come away thinking, "OMG I HAVE TO UPGRADE"? 95% of all audio commentary is going to be subjective, but you can hide it behind measurements and such (yeah, I just made up that statistic). It's a shorter op-ed piece about a new set of speakers that come from a brand any enthusiast is familiar with, and ultimately the conclusion is that they sound good but they're too expensive. Hardly a sham, ringing endorsement, or fluff piece.

    But, I'll make sure that next time anyone mentions an audio review to me, I'll point Anand this way and say that we should probably just let sleeping dogs lie, so that our readers can get information elsewhere. Like this:
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&...
    Reply
  • canontk - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    What about the guy that did this article?

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2677
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    He's doing motherboards, and apparently isn't interested in going back to anything with audio as far as reviews judging by this post:

    "It'll please you all to know I have no plans to write another audio article. AnandTech will continue to concentrate on the computer stuff to the joy of many readers."

    I sometimes wonder what the point of the complaining is... does it really pain you to see an article like this every now in then? Is it more a case of people wanting us to avoid watering down the site? Are there just a bunch of die-hard audiophiles that get up in arms over a subjective review of kit that doesn't cost $1000+? I honestly don't know; what I do know is that I personally have no interest in trying to cover audio either, at least in part because all it seems to generate is complaints. (Notice how many of the comments on Raja's audiophile article are very negative as well.) So, damned if you do, damned if you don't in some ways. I'll stick with my laptops and such....
    Reply
  • WhatYaWant - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    When I come to Anandtech I expect quality reviews which you almost always deliver to an astounishing degree. I am really happy about the work you do and the bar you set so high. I read most stuff you publish...because its simply worth it.

    This article however...sorry, it's crap. And that's rare from this site, hence my comments.
    Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Jared,

    I normally agree with almost everything you write, and think your comments bring good value to any thread as they tend to include some nice behind-the-scenes details. That said, I think most of these posters are on target.

    I'm certainly no high-end audiophile. In fact I think it's laughable to consider this product over the Logitech Z-2300s that will be on sale for $89 (shipped if you're a Prime member) at Amazon on Black Friday.

    That said, yes, you hit on something when you mention watering down the site. In a world with paid-off video game review sites and clueless consumer reviews (see Dailytech's car reviews by people who are computer experts..."that hybrid is really fun to drive and has excellent MP3 compatibility") there is a demand for trustworthy reviews from purists. Anand's SSD reviews built up tremendous goodwill by documenting a method of improving PC performance by leaps and bounds that most people weren't catching on to. Your buyers guides I still remember from years ago stuck with me because they were bold enough to tell midrange shoppers to drop hundreds of dollars on a 24" LCD because displays don't depreciate at the same rate video cards do. The iPhone 4 reception issues took the "rabble rabble bad reception" complaint from the CNETs of the world and quantified it.

    All of those stories then lead to page views for stories like this. I don't just ignore it because I've come to expect high quality from Anandtech based on your other articles. So I spend some of my precious free time learning about these new speakers. Problem is it ISN'T up to the standards of an Anandtech article. You could apply a "Subjective Fluff Piece" tag on the homepage and allay my time wasting concern, but if you know the article is such then why publish it? Hits = wins for websites, but you guys obviously know it's more complicated than that for CPU or GPU launches. Ultimately I'd ask why you would publish a speaker article that isn't of the same rigor of your CPU, GPU, or SSD articles. It isn't a silly question either - four years ago power supply and CPU cooler reviews were pretty amateur, but you guys put some effort towards those areas and had a great string of quality articles.

    The only good news is this happens infrequently, which is probably why I'd wager you guys have pretty darn loyal readers. Wesley's pro-Obama rant the day after the 2008 election was a low-point. This article doesn't stoop so low, but I'll still be a bit more sparing with my time at Anandtech in the near future. Still you've earned a lot of loyalty with me and others and that isn't going away in one article. But when you act so puzzled above...well I'm sure you editors have had internal discussions about how you're glad to be different from CNET or MaximumPC or Tom's or Consumer Reports...well just realize we're mad because this article isn't really distinguishable from something from those guys.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    LOL @ the Wes comment. Can't say I was very happy with the politicking either. But that's beside the point.

    The reality is, I think speaker/audio reviews are almost a total waste. I'd rather not even do them, but sometimes a product is new and has potential to be better than average. We all know Antec, we know they make good cases and power supplies. But speakers, can they do anything out of the ordinary?

    Hey, I listen to my PCs with some Logitech X520 speakers from years back. They keep me happy. Compared to the laptops I review, they're awesome. But do they really sound great? No... they're just good enough for me. We could buy thousands of dollars worth of equipment to test speakers, and we could tear them apart, and the end result would still be lots of complaining I'm betting. But like I said, if this is fluff, read what some other reviews are saying, (i.e. "These are worth every penny of $250" or whatever). Dustin at least has the sense to say they're just good sounding computer speakers that cost too much for the market.

    For the record, we do have him doing one more speaker review, because he already has the hardware. But, it's a laptop speaker bar so it's more in the realm of stuff worth looking at from the mobile perspective. I'd actually like to hear the bar and compare it with the XPS speakers... but Dustin will hopefully have an XPS 17 soon for testing.

    Anyway, I appreciate the feedback, particularly when some amount of thought went into it. There are better ways of doing it. Constructive comments are far better than the "you guys got paid for this, you've sold out, this article is garbage, etc." stuff that's being said. The reason Dustin is doing these reviews is mostly because no one else wanted to, and he's got at least some background in A/V stuff as he works with film stuff. If anyone ripping on this review wants to take a shot at "doing it right", by all means send me an email--or put together a "proper" audio review and email it to Anand. But then, how much demand is there for speaker reviews? I'm guessing not much....
    Reply
  • wtfbbqlol - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    Jarred,

    I think you need to distinquish those of us who really have a valid point about doing an audio article right, from those "complainers" who really don't know what they're talking about.

    It's not about the price of the gear in review. It's the review methodology that is important here. Reviewing audio products is f>>king hard. Probably more so than GPUs or CPUs in some ways because not everything is easily quantifiable and easily tested. As such, not writing a speaker review is probably better than publishing an ill-prepared one.

    And because audio is has so many gray areas you find a lot of apparent know-it-alls (I may appear to be one but I think my comments are well-reasoned) who spout nonsense. Unfortunately, the well-reasoned group also gets rolled in with the rest under the deragotary term "audiophile". That term is almost synonymous with "super anal dude who belives in snake oil" and garners absolutely no respect from the general public. I am not that guy yet I feel like I am invariably lumped into that group.
    Reply
  • canontk - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    I'm not complaining about the article at all. I just remembered his article and wondered why he didn't do the review on the speakers.

    Doesn't matter who does the reviews on this site, there's always negative comments. Welcome to the internet.
    Reply
  • WhatYaWant - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    But: It's a really poor review. EOD Reply
  • wtfbbqlol - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    "
    You may not like seeing a subjective review of speakers, and I know for a fact that Dustin isn't particularly happy doing these reviews simply because of the backlash, but tell me this: has this review actually harmed any reader in any way? Would anyone read this review and come away thinking, "OMG I HAVE TO UPGRADE"? 95% of all audio commentary is going to be subjective, but you can hide it behind measurements and such (yeah, I just made up that statistic). It's a shorter op-ed piece about a new set of speakers that come from a brand any enthusiast is familiar with, and ultimately the conclusion is that they sound good but they're too expensive. Hardly a sham, ringing endorsement, or fluff piece.
    "
    Weak excuse. Judging the quality of an online review by the degree of 'harm' it does to its readers? Come on. Anandtech should strive for better than that. My personal belief is a hardware review that is not supplemented some way by repeatable, measurable results qualifies as a fluff piece.

    "
    But, I'll make sure that next time anyone mentions an audio review to me, I'll point Anand this way and say that we should probably just let sleeping dogs lie, so that our readers can get information elsewhere. Like this:
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&...
    "
    Yes, do so. Just leave it if you cannot devote more resources to it. It's because Anandtech's articles are of generally high quality that yes, FLUFFY, ones like this stick out like a sore thumb. It's almost like I'm reading a PC Gamer magazine review of multimedia speakers from 1998.
    Reply
  • michal1980 - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    You might not have been directly paid, but who paid for the intial 'press junket'

    " They sent representatives to demo the Rockus 3D 2.1 speaker system to the press and take questions in person. I was sat down in front of a Toshiba notebook connected via analog minijack to the Rockus 3D and allowed to play with the speakers, play different music, try some tracks off of YouTube, listen to a movie demonstration. And when it was all over, they sent me home with a set of the speakers that I have rigorously put through their paces during the past 10 days."

    From that paragraph it sounds like antec paid for dustin's trip to the press junket. Then sent him home with some free speakers.

    Right there he got $250 worth of free goods.

    Your right, their might not be any direct payment for a 'review'. But this 'article' was indirectly paid for by antec. And what really information did it give us? One listeners opinion that 2d makes things sound unclear? That in standard mode the speakers might sound ok?

    Its not just this site. Most seem to have written the same amount of worthless subjectivity that is presented here.

    I just expect more from Anandtech.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    Actually, Antec flew a guy out to meet Dustin in his home town... was going to meet at his pad, but Dustin lives in a small apartment and declined to go that. I wouldn't qualify that as "paying" Dustin, certainly. LOL Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    Actually I think they just drove out here. I live 45 minutes from their headquarters.

    As for keeping the speakers, what good would $250 speakers do me if they weren't any better than what I already had? "Oh, someone gave me free stuff, I'd better give them a positive BS writeup." Would you feel better if I sent them back? Is it really worth it for Antec to pay to have this kit shipped back to them?
    Reply
  • Antec_Jessie - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Just to make one thing clear - Antec did not pay for this review.

    Our thinking is this - Anandtech is one of the most popular enthusiast websites on the internet. We have made a product in the rockus speaker set that we think PC enthusiasts will want to hear about from a source that they trust.

    Audio reviews, from headsets to sound cards to speakers are all subjective. You can get into impedance, signal to noise ratio, dynamic range and other measurements all you want but what matters at the end of the day, when it comes to any audio device, is how it sounds to you. And that's what we wanted to hear from Anand's staff.
    Reply
  • wtfbbqlol - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Antec_Jessie,

    I agree that audio to a large degree is subjective. But a review of an audio product still requires some reference measurements IN ADDITION to the subjective impressions. I'm not saying to just provide graphs and that's it. What I like to see is subjective impressions, corroborated by proper lab measurements.

    From your side, let me ask you this. Whoever designed these speakers must have some specifications to meet internally, correct? During the design process you specify electrical, acoustical, and mechanical targets that meet the pricepoint and performance you want. You couldn't have designed these speakers with vague instructions like "eh just make it sound good" because "sound good" has no design/target properties.

    Well reasoned, relevant, and correctly done lab measurements add value to any hardware review. Not having any, on the other, hurts the review.
    Reply
  • WhatYaWant - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Seriously, the guy doing this review knows little of audio. Audio reviews CAN be done in a nice way and I strongly disagree that it cannot be done more objective.

    "...is how it sounds to you. And that's what we wanted to hear from Anand's staff."

    *cough* BS!
    Reply
  • stratosrally - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I never liked 2.1 systems, finding that for apartment living they annoy the neighbors.
    I have my PC audio going into a $45 Behringer Xenyx 502 mixer and out to KRK Rokit 6 Powered Studio Monitors. This allows me to do some basic home recording from my Korg Kaossilator, an additional stereo source(maybe guitar), and a good microphone. Yes, the speakers were about $400 for the pair, but that's for 6" woofers. The Rokit 5s are $100 less.
    This equipment uses 1/4" TRS and RCA jacks to connect, so I'm using nice thick cables. Also, I feed the mix back into the PC and to a set of Grado SR60i headphones. I'm able to play music quite loud w/out upseting the neighbors because the KRKs are upon a shelf about 4' away and angled toward my ears. They come with a layer of foam rubber on the base, which I liked. I may buy wedged monitor isolation pads to angle them down as the shelf is 20" higher than my desk.
    I'd been using the Creative Labs GigaWorks T40 Speakers for years - but when I tried using the Kaossilator through them the bass notes really overwhelmed the drivers... so I budgeted for a simple home recording setup and couldn't be happier.
    Reply
  • WhatYaWant - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Please Anandtech. You are not qualified to make speaker reviews. Stick to what you know. Reply
  • slayernine - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    No graphs, am I on Anandtech?? You should find a clever way to benchmark speakers :D Reply
  • Agamemnon_71 - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    The GigaWorks T3 is in the same pricerange as these ($249 at Amazon). I own them and (in my subjective way) love them. From what I've read here I cant see in what way the Rockus can compete with them.
    I personally hate optical connections, not because of the cost or quality of the cables, but the often low quality of the circuits encoding/decoding the signal. In my ears it sounds tinny, just as this review points out.
    I will always prefer a good analog source and connection, and the Xonar being a proven quality soundcard should be just that.
    To me it looks like Antecs stab at good 2.1 system falls somewhat short of its pricetag.
    Reply
  • SilthDraeth - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Anand, Jared, Dustin, I would like that you continue the audio reviews. You even have a huge section on the forums dedicated to audiophiles and they argue as much or more than than the politics and news crew.

    I find reviews like this one helpful. I have some tone deafness, and wouldn't know properly reproduced sound if I heard it. Heck real life sound I miss out on a lot of anyways. What I like to know is, can I turn the volume up loud and not have it get all statically. Can I possibly lower the explosions in movies, so I can better hear the talking... though, I guess that is why I use subtitles.

    I think, however, as I stated in my first paragraph, that you should continue the audio reviews if you are able to perhaps invest some resources into the tools and equipment needed to test said devices. Also, dissecting the devices, as a poster or two mentioned, so people know what drivers are in a speaker, would help out a lot.

    In the end Jared, you might be right though, it might be worth just ending the audio reviews, either that or just flat out ignoring all the audiophiles with sticks up there asses. Since they will never be satisfied.
    Reply
  • WhatYaWant - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Com'on...it has nothing to do with audiophile. It has to do with doing a proper review. No audiophile would even waste time reading a review of a 250$ speaker.

    /the non-audiophile looking for a nice review
    Reply
  • sonci - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I also have fun reading these articles on anandtech, the problem is that a lot of people are going to buy this crap based on the article..
    They cannot dissect drivers because it will reveal cheapy chinese noname speakers

    I think they should have stoped doing audio when Anand claimed for the SQ of ipod touch "it cant be better than this" or smth like that,
    speakers review are always subjective, but thats doesn't mean superficial,
    as a good RMAA doesn't mean a damn thing for the SQ of a soundcard..
    Reply
  • phaxmohdem - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I am the (very) happy owner of a pair of Audio Engine A5's... and besides the obligatory shoutout to the awesomeness of the things since this is an audio article, I wanted to comment on the artifacting issue.

    When I first hooked up the A5's to my computer, and fired up Winamp, I was appalled. Sure it was loud, but it sounded like crap. The problem... 128k MP3. (CD quality my arse) I had never noticed how bad lower bit rate MP3 compression actually was until I had speakers clear enough to play what they were told with out the 'muddiness' you spoke of.

    That said, if you get away from the YouTubes, and crappily ripped MP3 files, and bump some FLAC, CD, DVD, or BluRay audio through them and it is an almost religious experience.

    In my personal opinion, if you listen to internet streaming audio, or MP3's @ less than 192Kbps, stay away from high end speakers. But if you are willing to take the time (and have the space) to convert your music collection to VBR, or 320K MP3's, or better yet, FLAC, then go ahead and take the plunge. Otherwise, you will be wondering what you just dropped a crapload of money on.
    Reply
  • Agamemnon_71 - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Agreed.
    Living in Sweden gives me access to Spotify and the bandwith needed for "quality" streaming at 320 kbps. It makes all the diffrence.
    And my T3's runs circles around your A5's ;)
    Reply
  • warisz00r - Saturday, November 20, 2010 - link

    Creative speakers? Unless you are being sarcastic, there are a lot of brands out there that can outdo Creative speakers in their respective price points.

    Before moving back to my home country I used to own a pair of Audioengine 2s (the smaller brother of the 5s) while studying in Australia. Then and now, these are the best sets of speakers I have ever owned. It was just all-around better than the Logitech Z2300 (which I used to own, too) except if you value the amount of bass that a subwoofer can pump out.

    From then on, I realized that any built-for-the-purpose, active or passive set of bookshelfs and monitors are always superior to any computer-oriented 2.1 systems.
    Reply
  • Agamemnon_71 - Sunday, November 21, 2010 - link

    I wasn't being sarcastic...just messing with you. The blinksmiley should have tipped you off :)

    I came very close to buying a pair of A5s instead of the T3s. What put me off was a few user reviews that talked about dead speakers and strange hissings in them.
    The T3s are nothing like earlier Creative sets and Logitech has nothing like them. They are what these Rockus claim to be.
    Reply
  • bji - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Reading this articule and its responses make me happy that I am not an audiophile. I am so pleased that a pair of $90 Creative computer speakers are all that I need/want in terms of audio. Didn't even get a system with a subwoofer because I just find them annoying (to myself and to those in the next room as well).

    Sometimes it's quite blissful to be ignorant. I can't imagine the pain that I'd experience if I cared about audio and had to read articles about it and torture myself over how terrible any speakers that cost less than $1000 sound.

    Probably I'm lucky that I spent my formative music years listening to cassette tapes which sound crappy no matter what, but still managed to enjoy the hell out of them because I cared more about the content than the perfect reproduction thereof. Everything since cassettes has sounded GREAT to my ears.
    Reply
  • sonci - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    Lucky you're not audiophile..

    ..but I just have to post this, buy a vintage deck like Nakamichi or Marantz and please try your cassette tapes...
    they can beat the hell out of every compressed mp3 you have in your library..
    Reply
  • sinPiEqualsZero - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Hi Dustin/Anandtech,

    I truly believe that you’ve given your best recommendation based on the available data, and I appreciate the time spent doing the review. I pay particular attention to speaker reviews since I wear hearing aids and need amazing speakers to understand speech, and thanks to you I have some more data with which to make a decision. I'm even in the market for them since my old ones just died last week.

    In general, as you are well aware, audio review is an under-appreciated and subjective process. In this case, I have reservations about the one used for the review. But first, a small bit of relevant background based on some of Anandtech recent accomplishments.

    When SSDs were coming out, you picked apart their parts, algorithms, and used the awesome collective knowledge of Anandtech to make big waves in the industry. We are still benefiting from those articles today and I guarantee that the major manufacturers and engineers are reading all related articles they can. You even referred to working directly with some manufacturers!

    Then the iPhone4 reception issues came along, and you did what no one else did; you measured the effect of the wild claims that were flying around and erased all doubt. We may never know the true extent that your article influenced the notoriously secretive Apple, but I bet the impact wasn't small.

    Let's get back to speakers. There are so many things that can be measured with speakers: distortion, maximum/minimum settings that can be compared to manufacturer's claims, and more. The quantifiable data is there, you just need to find ways to measure it. Heck, you could even disassemble the speakers and look at their components, and comment on how their use/placement/etc. affect the sound and cost.

    I'd love to see a true "Anandtech"-level audio review where that creativity was on full display. Given the shady claims and misinformation that pervade the speaker market, connecting repeatable readings, analysis, and some physics know-how with the overall listening experience would be amazing and unique. That is exactly the reservation I mentioned above - there is no reason that a speaker review should only be subjective, and I've love to see some of our finest minds in the industry tackle the problem of defining "good" speakers.

    Again, thank you for the time and effort you’ve put in. No matter how many negative comments you get, there are many who appreciate what you do. In this case, though, I believe you have chance to once again take up the mantle of industry leader and go where almost no one else does. Best wishes to you and to all of the people at Anandtech!
    Reply
  • VietPham - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    I can't believe that this review was on AnandTech. I've read the criticism of the review methodology (all warranted) but there are more fundamental issues. The reviewer just doesn't seem to understand the basics.

    For instance, he uses the term "double blind" when it's clear that he doesn't understand what it means. It's okay if he's not already familiar with the term, but he could have taken just a few minutes to google the phrase if he was unsure if he should use it. To skip this basic self-education is a disservice to readers, who expect better from AnandTech.

    I'm also troubled by his claim that he uses a set of Bose as his standard speaker system. Bose? I believe this is the same reviewer who compared the HS1 to a set of Bose headphones a few weeks ago. Lots of people do think Bose products are of sufficient quality, but I'm worried when an audio reviewer uses them as a benchmark.

    Between his admission of his liking for Bose, his testing audio with YouTube clips, and his misuse of very basic terms, I'm afraid that this review has told me nothing about the actual quality of this product. It's more like a diary of his experience with a free set of speakers he got, written from the point of view of a non-audio expert.

    Not AnandTech quality.
    Reply
  • rscoot - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    I'm not an audiophile but I concur with using Bose speakers as a baseline. They're overpriced snake oil junk. Reply
  • Shinobi_III - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    For that kind of money you could easily get a pair of Behringer 2x20watt digital studio monitors.
    Obviously there's no subwoofer, but accuracy and pressure is high. probably more bass anyway. And since they already contain DAC's, you won't even need a good sound card..
    Reply
  • Matrices - Saturday, November 20, 2010 - link

    I don't really see the need for an army of numbers in this sort of review, since they will simply march past the consciousness of readers who don't measure their listening experiences quantitatively - but I do think that you really need to have at least two comparable systems for comparison. And I also think that those systems should almost never be Bose products, for obvious reasons.

    At any rate, $250 for a 2.1 PC setup is, quite frankly, ridiculous. The reason Klipsch and Logitech all but stopped producing PC speakers around that price range is because most PC users who have that sort of money to spend on PC sound realized that they could do far better with real speakers hooked up to a cheap receiver. Even back then, Logitech's mid-tier 5.1 system went for around $250. A 2.1 system from a new contestant that's the same price? It's going to tank terribly.
    Reply
  • plague911 - Sunday, November 21, 2010 - link

    but seriously why does it seem like none of the major manufactures put any effort into that for these smaller sound systems. I mean half of them are outright ugly. Reply

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