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On speakers and speaker quality
atici
post May 13 2002, 23:03
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Apart from the soundcard issue. I'd like to learn about your speaker choices. I know people like SL-1200 but I'd actually like to go for a 5.1 system. And I can't pay sth like $1000. Although Creative inspire is cheap, I think most of the people would suggest something different. Moreover for my portable player (SlimX), I'd like to get decent earphones. I was reading the reviews about the earphones and I think I'd prefer Sony in the end (though I heard good things about Koss the plug). How would you compare MDR-E888 (it has an amazing range of 8-27000Hz, though SlimX can't produce that much), MDR-EX70 and MDR-NC11? I liked MDR-EX70 very much. Do you think noise cancelling earphones is worth the price? or could you suggest other earphones that are high quality?
Thanks...
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CiTay
post May 14 2002, 00:14
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Regarding speakers, how about the "Logitech SoundMan Xtrusio DSR-100"? Very positive reviews on that one, even from 3dsoundsurge. Seems to be a good choice if you don't wanna spend a few hundred bucks on PC speakers.
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JonPike
post May 14 2002, 01:17
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QUOTE
Originally posted by atici
Moreover for my portable player (SlimX), I'd like to get decent earphones. I was reading the reviews about the earphones and I think I'd prefer Sony in the end (though I heard good things about Koss the plug). How would you compare MDR-E888 (it has an amazing range of 8-27000Hz, though SlimX can't produce that much), MDR-EX70 and MDR-NC11? I liked MDR-EX70 very much. Do you think noise cancelling earphones is worth the price? or could you suggest other earphones that are high quality?
Thanks...


8Hz??!! Riiiiiiiight.... Curse Marketing people anyway..

If the headphone cans were, oh, about 12" around, and had small trashcan sized backs to them.. then they probably could have a chance of making something resembling a tone at 8Hz... which of course you wouldn't hear.

This is a good example why you can't go very far judging headphones (or speakers) by just a couple of numbers.. How fast does that bass roll off, and how clean and undistorted is it at various volumes? Is it in good proportion to the rest of the range, so you get the entire mix sounding good and natural?

I'm sure you can put a microphone next to the driver (if your mic responds that low!) and detect some amount of air moving at 8Hz.. but that isn't good for much, besides having a cool looking number on the package.

You want to go to some headphone sites, there you can learn what's good, what's great, and why... as well as find a bunch of discussion groupies to argue the points.. wink.gif These should cover all the ground..

www.headwise.com www.headphone.com
www.head-fi.org

From what I've read and experienced.. The Koss KSC-35 is a great bargain for low end.. ($30, sound like $60-80, love mine) Grado 60's are good for $60 or so.. then you start going up in price, and into 'phones that might need a headphone amp to do their best..

As high as you'ld need to go: $300-500 for the phones, $250 or so for the amp, and you'll be listening to something comparable to a $5000 or better system..
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kennedyb4
post May 14 2002, 01:47
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Hi. I have had a variety of Sony earbud headphones, and have also heard Koss plugs.

The Koss plugs are very loud earphones with powerful bass but have very little else to reccommend themselves.

The Sony's are more balanced, but if you want open sweet clarity and tonal balance, see if you can still locate some Koss KSC 35's. If not these then the Koss porta pros have the same drivers.

You will sacrifice sensitivity/max volume but the sound is truly remarkable for the dollar.

You might want to post your headphone questions over at headwise.com. Lots of good advice over there. Thats where they convinced me to buy the koss sight unheard, and I consider them some of the best money I have ever spent.wink.gif
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Trelane
post May 14 2002, 01:54
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I have a pair of Panasonic RP-HT355 headphones. They are also a fantastic set of budget headphones ($30). I have not heard the Koss headphones, but the Panasonics are great. Very balanced, clear sound. Another good point is a nice 16 foot long cord.
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gdougherty
post May 14 2002, 07:17
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Sennheiser usually gets kicked around as the prefered brand in discussions among headphone afficianados that I've seen. I owned a pair of MDR-600's for a few years that I really liked. My speakers qualify as one of those 5K+ setups, so I usually listen on those these days. I'm out of touch with the specifics nowadays.
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TrNSZ
post May 14 2002, 07:27
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If you ask me.. .

Sennheiser HD600's and a Wheatfield Audio HA-2 amplifier with some good tubes like NOS Telefunkens or Mullards (don't use that Sovtek crap). This will probably set you back about $1,000 to $1,200 but it'll sound better than any $5,000 speaker system if you ask me.
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superorc
post May 14 2002, 07:32
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i have a set of klipsch promedia 4.1's best speakers ive ever heard from a computer. only around 300 bucks. there also thx certified.
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SometimesWarrior
post May 14 2002, 07:41
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The Koss Porta Pro's get really good reviews from all of the links mentioned by JonPike. I own a pair myself, and they really are great for portable listening. Although I like having in-ear buds because they don't leak sound and they don't look goofy, the Porta Pro's sound great. They can easily be powered even by a 5mW (single-AA battery) portable player. They're quite durable, and they can be worn for hours (unlike my Sony MDR-V6, which have permanently misshaped my ears).

And the Porta-Pro's and the KSC-35's have the same drivers (as do several other Koss products... check www.headphone.com 's frequency response graphs on Koss products and you'll see what I mean), so they sound about the same.

One complaint about them, though, is that they're really boomy-sounding. The way to fix this is to simply adjust the way you fit them on your ears. I did some fiddling and found that you can get as much bass as you'll ever need by sliding them forward a few millimeters, or get a much more flat frequency response by sliding them back a bit. The adjustable spring tension on the drivers makes them comfy no matter how you wear them.
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Trelane
post May 14 2002, 13:42
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superorc:
I have a set of Klipsch ProMedia 2.1s, and I also love them. The ProMedia series of speakers are easily the best computer speakers available.
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CiTay
post May 14 2002, 14:17
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QUOTE
Originally posted by Trelane
superorc:
I have a set of Klipsch ProMedia 2.1s, and I also love them. The ProMedia series of speakers are easily the best computer speakers available.


The following is an excerpt of grassomusic.de. I respect Grasso a lot, he uncovered very interesting things. For instance, one magazine did a soundcard test, and he found out that they received a *tuned* card from one manufactorer, which yielded far better results than a stock card would've gotten. Supposedly the german distributors had knowledge of this and even supported it. I fear that this might be happening with many other hardware tests, too.

But back to what he has to say about the Promedia:

QUOTE
"And now another negative example, see what cheap stuff is built into the 300€ "Klipsch Promedia 2.1": A simple 6dB/octave ~5KHz crossover. 12-18dB 2KHz is some kind of a standard for hi-fi speakers, but the optimum depends on many values - two, three or four way crossover, driver size, power handling, hearing distance vs. room size... You also see drivers with 3" brutto diameter - thatīs small, even if the bass is cut off by 24dB/oct 200Hz. I sort resulting disadvantages in the following order: 
"Doppler" FM distortions. - the sound will suffer on high SPLs, even if the midrange drivers are high-quality, because FM distortions only depend on excursion amplitude and the frequency of the source signal which is to be distorted. (I admit that FM distortions is tricky psycho-acoustic stuff: Would you decide for "the higher fmod the better because of phase/time detection" or would you say "optimum fmod to fsource ratio at 2-3 octaves because thatīs like it is with most natural sound sources"?) If you see that FM distortion numbers of loudspeakers are often above 5% you understand that this is not a whacky discussion. 
Midrange and tweeter sit far away instead of being as much an acoustical point source as possible, leading to interferences at the crossover frequency. Frequency responses of the drivers may assist the 6dB/oct network, but it still doesnīt look too good. 
      If these problems werenīt present, a crossover at 5KHz was clearly better than at 2KHz because ear perception is more sophisticated at 2KHz. 
    I admit, 300€ is few money for loudspeakers plus amps. You get what you pay for, I mean after substraction of margins for the fat cats and ignorant street dealers."
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Trelane
post May 14 2002, 14:47
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Interesting...

They may have their problems, but for the 170 USD I paid, they are fantastic. But my point of reference is relatively limited. I'm used to medium quality sound equipment. And as far as medium quality goes, they are great. I think that's what he says at the end of the excerpt, but I can't tell if he's being sarcastic or genuinely saying they are worth the money. Something was lost in the translation smile.gif
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