VOGONS


Advice about retro speakers

Topic actions

First post, by Nemo1985

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Hello, I'm looking for some retro speakers, locally I found some different options but before proceed to buy anything I'd like your advice.
My retro stuff goes from from 486 to windows xp.
I just like something decent, stereo speakers will be my first choice.)
1) BOSE Companion 2 Series II, brand new.
2) BOEDER LS-28 (https://imgur.com/a/ZKJD18M)
3) pcworks four pointsorround (I know I mentioned stereo speakers but back in the past I had cambridge soundworks speakers and they were fine, they will be probably useless for dos\win98 stuff) (https://imgur.com/a/cjjJS5q)

Any other advice is welcome, unlucky it's difficult to find retro looking stuff online and for a reasonable price.

Many thanks!

Reply 1 of 49, by LunarG

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

The big questions is this: What kind of sound do you want?
If you're after having the best possible sound, then you should avoid pretty much any genuine retro speakers. I have a pair of Roland MA-7 for my 486, and although they are better than probably 90% of the "beige 90's pc speakers" out there, they still sound like toy speakers even when compared to something like a mordern set of Creative Gigaworks T20 mkII speakers.
So, if you want something that actually sounds genuinely good, get something modern and of decent quality. If you want that nostalgic period correct (bad) sound, then you can go with "beige 90's pc speakers", but even then I would recommend being a bit selective, because some of those sounded REALLY bad.
Personally, I feel that there is something quite charming about having actual old speakers, but that has nothing to do with then being good 😁

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, SW1000XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, Diamond Stealth64 DRAM, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 3 of 49, by LunarG

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I think one of the major changes that has happened is in the choice of colours used. If my Gigaworks T20's were beige, you could almost have believed they were retro. Their form factor is roughly similar to my Rolands.
Also, if you can find a pair of Roland MA-12's, they supposedly sound really good. I mean, if they are a noticable step up from my MA-7's, then I would imagine they would be "more than good enough". It's also a case of what you're used to.
Those Bose speakers you listed earlier could also be argued to look somewhat retro in their styling. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of Bose. I generally feel they are very pricy for the sound you get. So, not bad by any means, but I do think you pay a premium for the name, build quality, etc. I'd be willing to bet my 486 that they sound miles better than any 90's computer speakers though 😁

Another very decent option, could be a 2nd hand stereo amplifier with a pair of shelf speakers. Looking around garage sales and such might let you find something that look suitably retro. Back in the late 90's, I went from "computer speakers" to actually having my PC hooked up to a stereo system, and I doubt I was the only one doing that.
I've actually been considering getting an old boombox with line-in for my Amiga. I can't really imagine anything that looks more period correct than an old Sony, Panasonic or Toshiba boombox sitting next to an Amiga 1200 😁

Honestly, with how computers default colour went from beige to black, I kind of feel that black is the new beige. It is starting to look dated imho. It would actually be quite fun if the industry started going back to beige.

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, SW1000XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, Diamond Stealth64 DRAM, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 4 of 49, by Nemo1985

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I agree, the color is the main issue, when you have a dirty white/beige monitor and case, it's not that good to use black speakers.

The bose are a "nos" and they would cost me 30 eur, not that much, they are somwhat newer compared to other options and they are brand new.
Unlucky I have little room so the stereo plus the speaker is not a viable option.
I have another alternative that would be free since they are in my old house, I have Logitech Z3 (https://cdn.pocket-lint.com/r/s/970x/assets/i … -85so7p3Hka.jpg) it is a 2.1 system so it may not be so retro but they are from 2003 so they have a good age, the main problem is that the connector going from volume to the subwoofer is idiotic, they are notorious to get disconnected without a reason.
What do you think?

Thanks.

Reply 5 of 49, by SirNickity

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

There were some wedge-shaped Bose models available at my local computer store back in the day. (Mid 90s?) So you can kind of get away with a period-correct argument. They weren't beige -- they already had a little of the "Executive model" look about them. I think they were gray and silver.

But, the only one you really have to convince of the system's authenticity is yourself. What's more important to you? Color, date-of-manufacture, or sound quality?

There's something kind of fun about sitting in front of a beige CRT with an old-school mouse and keyboard, passively powered Creative / Labtec speakers, and a desktop case with PSU and hard drive noise. OTOH, I also like sitting on my couch in front of a 4K LCD and having the sound play through the AV system.

Reply 6 of 49, by mothergoose729

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
SirNickity wrote:

There were some wedge-shaped Bose models available at my local computer store back in the day. (Mid 90s?) So you can kind of get away with a period-correct argument. They weren't beige -- they already had a little of the "Executive model" look about them. I think they were gray and silver.

But, the only one you really have to convince of the system's authenticity is yourself. What's more important to you? Color, date-of-manufacture, or sound quality?

There's something kind of fun about sitting in front of a beige CRT with an old-school mouse and keyboard, passively powered Creative / Labtec speakers, and a desktop case with PSU and hard drive noise. OTOH, I also like sitting on my couch in front of a 4K LCD and having the sound play through the AV system.

I think it is also the aesthetics of the setup. If I could buy new speakers that were gray and beige I would... but I can't. So I have to choose between sup optimal sound quality and an eyesore.

Reply 7 of 49, by Unknown_K

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I kept all my old speakers so I have then when needed if they still work. YST-M15 for one. Anybody who went to US computer shows in the 90's probably has one of these generic speakers:

old pc speakers.jpg
Filename
old pc speakers.jpg
File size
29.72 KiB
Views
2649 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Boston Acoustics made some nice 2.1 speakers in white in the late 1990's that used to be common as dirt.

I have an old silver colored Logitech THX 5.1 speaker system that would look OK connected to a Beige late 90's system with a SB live.

Collector of old computers, hardware, and software

Reply 8 of 49, by misterjones

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I've been using the same pair of Bose Roommates since I bought them in 1994. My ex and I had them strapped to our Packard Bell Legend 2000 Multimedia 486, then I ran the PC through my DJ mixer with a Yamaha MU-5 which I used for music composition as well as a GM soundsource for Doom, Tempest 2000, etc. That was replaced by a Boss DS330 GM/GS module, and I've used them ever since with pretty much every computer I've owned (well... except my DAW machines from 2002 through 2017, those got proper studio monitors). Right now they're in storage because I don't have room to use them in my current living situation but they're coming out of storage next week when I move into a new apartment and they'll be up and running yet again with my current PC.

They're definitely period correct and they're pretty cheap on Ebay these days, and if you luck up and find a pair of Video Roommates you also get a volume knob too.

Reply 10 of 49, by jheronimus

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I'm in a similar boat myself. I've been collecting hardware for almost four years and now I have plenty of nice sound cards, including AWE32/AWE64, GUS stuff, Roland MT-32 and SC-55, Yamaha SW60XG and others. However, I'm still using the "beige PC plastic" speakers I've got with my first retro rig back in 2015 - a pair of Creative SBS20s.

CREATIVE-SBS-20-BLASTER-SPEAKERS-Multimedia-PC-Stereo.jpg

Now, they aren't complete garbage, but they do introduce quite a bit of noise and hissing. Also, they don't have proper shielding, so sometimes I get sounds from freaking mouse movement (have to make sure that the mouse cord is away from the speakers), my iPhone receiving messages and so on. Oh, and the headphone jack is complete garbage - I feel like I get all the static noise my PC components can generate.

So the inevitable next step would be to get something more high-end. I kind of think that a "beige retro look" almost always means that you're dealing with cheap computer speakers that were never meant to be powered by the soundcards I'm using. Expensive audio equipment in the 90s was mostly black, so are my Roland modules. So currently I'm looking at this:

13752016_800.jpg

Behringer MS16. AFAIK these are just rebranded Roland MA-12c speakers that are still being made today. They cost about 90 bucks where I live. Now, it's kind of expensive for something I would use for DOS gaming, but that's actually cheaper than shipping MA-12c from eBay (never saw one for sale on local boards). Now the only issue I've seen in the reviews is that they are not completely shielded as in I might get interference from a mobile phone.

Has anyone here used them?

Reply 11 of 49, by kolderman

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
jheronimus wrote:

Expensive audio equipment in the 90s was mostly black, so are my Roland modules. So currently I'm looking at this:

In that case you might want to look at Creative's T20/T30 models. I think they have excellent sound for the money, and the angled design would probably fit in well next to a mt32.

Reply 12 of 49, by CrossBow777

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

My primary PC that I use for both modern and classic gaming (Through DOSBox mostly) has a set of these Bose companion 3 series II speakers I use. Although I didn't pay this much for mine when I purchased them several years ago. But for my true retrogaming (To include hooking up an old K6-2 when I was to play more authentic), I have an old pair of Roland MS-30 speakers. These are passively driven studio monitors that are a tad bigger than the MA-12 types designed for computers. They actually replaced a set of Klipsch front channel satellites that are currently boxed up somewhere as they sound that much better. While mine are black with a red accent band around them, they are still period correct being from the early 90s when new. I drive them with an 8 year old Yamaha 5.1 surround receiver in 6ohm mode.

*Edited* to correct the model # of my Roland speakers. Turns out they were made between '88-'91.

Last edited by CrossBow777 on 2019-09-26, 20:45. Edited 1 time in total.

g883j7-2.png
Midi Modules: MT-32 (OLD), MT-200, MT-90, SD-20

Reply 13 of 49, by Errius

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Back in those days I used a Yamaha YST-MS25 system for PC audio. However I never really paid attention to sound quality so don't know how it compared to other similar systems.

“I like to dissect PCs. Don't you know I'm utterly insane?"

Reply 15 of 49, by MMaximus

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
jheronimus wrote:

...
Behringer MS16. AFAIK these are just rebranded Roland MA-12c speakers that are still being made today. They cost about 90 bucks where I live. Now, it's kind of expensive for something I would use for DOS gaming, but that's actually cheaper than shipping MA-12c from eBay (never saw one for sale on local boards). Now the only issue I've seen in the reviews is that they are not completely shielded as in I might get interference from a mobile phone.

Has anyone here used them?

I have these - they used to sell for under 70EUR a few years ago, so 90EUR seems a bit excessive. They work well for DOS gaming, have dual inputs, and most importantly are shielded so you can put them next to a CRT. They are actually rebranded (or copies of?) Roland MA-8 and not MA-12.

Reply 16 of 49, by SirNickity

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I find it amusing that companies are still magnetically shielding speakers meant to be used next to monitors. As if anyone still uses floppy disks and CRTs.. 🤣.. ... oh, uh, present company excluded, of course.

Reply 17 of 49, by Errius

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

More recently I used Creative A60 2.0 speakers with my main rig for about a year. They sounded good to me, and were a big improvement over the shoddy unbranded speakers I was using previously.

“I like to dissect PCs. Don't you know I'm utterly insane?"

Reply 18 of 49, by derSammler

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

I use Roland / Edirol MA-10A speakers currently. They are quite large but sound great. Nice thing is that it has two inputs with a built-in mixer.

Last edited by derSammler on 2019-09-30, 12:51. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 19 of 49, by Duouk2000

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
jheronimus wrote:
So the inevitable next step would be to get something more high-end. I kind of think that a "beige retro look" almost always mea […]
Show full quote

So the inevitable next step would be to get something more high-end. I kind of think that a "beige retro look" almost always means that you're dealing with cheap computer speakers that were never meant to be powered by the soundcards I'm using. Expensive audio equipment in the 90s was mostly black, so are my Roland modules. So currently I'm looking at this:

13752016_800.jpg

Behringer MS16. AFAIK these are just rebranded Roland MA-12c speakers that are still being made today. They cost about 90 bucks where I live. Now, it's kind of expensive for something I would use for DOS gaming, but that's actually cheaper than shipping MA-12c from eBay (never saw one for sale on local boards). Now the only issue I've seen in the reviews is that they are not completely shielded as in I might get interference from a mobile phone.

Has anyone here used them?

Those looks really nice.

I just use a 90s Sony midi (mini? micro?, the small all in one systems you could buy) stereo myself. Does the job, has nice bass and some inputs for both of my soundcards.