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Advice about retro speakers

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Reply 22 of 36, by LunarG

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Just thought I'd add that I've acquired a set of the original Cambridge SoundWorks PC Works 2.1 speakers, that was released shortly after Creative's takeover of Cambridge SoundWorks. These sound fantastic even today. I remember hearing them in a store back in the late 90's, and being blown away by them. I had moved to using actual hi-fi for my PC sound at that point though, so I wasn't in the market for "computer speakers" then, but I was extremely impressed. So, when I came across a set for a decent price not too long ago, I figured they would be worth a try. Honestly, they are probably some of the best sounding computer speakers even today. They pretty much bridge the gap between computer speakers and real hi-fi. It's not really strange though, seeing as Henry Kloss was a pioneer in the field of home audio, and the PC Works was pretty much just a beige version of his popular already popular speaker sets. So, if you can get hold of these for a good price, they are probably some of the best vintage computer speakers out there.

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Reply 24 of 36, by God Of Gaming

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you can get retro speakers that sound really good, but rather than beige pc speakers, you would probably be looking for wooden hifi speakers and an amp/receiver, they had already perfected the sound quality for those like a century ago

1999 Dream PC project | 2001 Dream PC project | 2003 Dream PC project

Reply 25 of 36, by Doornkaat

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Marmes wrote on 2020-12-08, 13:58:

You should get Klipsch Promedia 2.1 you won't be wrong with those! Old and THX certified. Or.. if your wallet allows and you can find one, get Klipsch IFI.

Please excuse my rant, this is not in any way a personal attack or a comment on the quality of the speakers you recommended.

What does THX certification actually say about the product? I can't find a list of objective criteria for a product to receive certification and it seems the company is currently owned by Razer. I can't say I hold Razer in high regards.
From my understanding the THX certification was intended to ensure a movie would sound the same in any theater. I'm pretty sure 2.1 speakers no matter how good can not achieve theater sound. So what's the significance of that certification?

THX certification on consumer electronics always seemed like pure marketing mumbo jumbo to me because by their logo I am basically told "Don't worry about numbers! I tested this for loads of money and it is good enough for you." instead of "The product meets the following comprehensive criteria:"

Btw. a Razer laptop was the first laptop to get THX certification. Yeah, they're basically giving themselves medals.

You’ll hear every sound vividly through your headphones thanks to a high fidelity output jack that covers the full range of human hearing.

Wow, so it is capable of producing frequencies between ~14Hz and 20KHz?

Please correct me if I'm mistaken here.
/rant

Reply 26 of 36, by Shreddoc

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Imo the Bose are $10 speakers with a $90 nameplate. Their purpose is to get people to hand over lots of money based on a well-marketed brand name.

Imo 4.1 and 5.1 sets with tiny little 2 or 3 inch speaker cones are very range limited, audio-wise. Their purpose is for surround-sound gaming at a limited budget.

Even in my very small city, the local scrap shops have no shortage of old small-bookshelf speakers (15 to 25cm high) from fair quality Japanese brands like Sony, Panasonic, Akai, Sanyo et al which are perfectly retro (from the same eras as our computers) and are sonically far superior to 99% of the "specifically PC oriented speakers" market segment.

I got Made-in-Japan mag-shielded Sony's (made of wood, + 5" cones, + tweeters) for $10. Add "some form of amplification". That's about all it takes to exceed Mr Lucky LGR's Rare Rolands (which, once the glamour is all stripped away, are basically 4" cones inside plastic boxes) in sheer quality of audio experience, in a still-desktop-friendly format. But nowhere near as trendy.

So, PC speaker choice depends upon balancing out what's important to you personally in this. Brand name? Surround channels? Audio range? Cool factor? Convenience of purchase? Physical size?

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That's how I do it. It looks plain but, for a old PC, sounds f'ing amazing.

Reply 27 of 36, by buckeye

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I use these R1700BT Edifier speakers with my Win98/XP rigs. They look and sound great.

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Reply 28 of 36, by Shreddoc

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I concur, brands like Edifier and Microlab offer tremendous bang-for-buck if you're buying new, with reproduction and fidelity beyond virtually any 'computer' speakers.

Albeit they are not retro as such.

Reply 29 of 36, by Caluser2000

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Shreddoc wrote on 2020-12-11, 02:24:

I concur, brands like Edifier and Microlab offer tremendous bang-for-buck if you're buying new, with reproduction and fidelity beyond virtually any 'computer' speakers.

Albeit they are not retro as such.

I just bought a pair of Edifiers yesterday for $nz4. They look pretty funky.

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There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 31 of 36, by darry

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MMaximus wrote on 2020-12-13, 00:21:

Are these edifier speakers shielded though?

I would not bet on it . Why would modern speakers need to be when practically nobody uses CRTs anymore ?

Reply 33 of 36, by buckeye

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MMaximus wrote on 2020-12-13, 00:21:

Are these edifier speakers shielded though?

Don't know, I'll see what I can find out. I do have mine situated below a LCD on another shelf.

Foxconn Q45M E8400 Core2 Duo 3GB DDR2 800 BFG Geforce 7950GT 512MB X-Fi Xtreme Music 500W XP SP3
Intel SE440BX P3 450 256MB 40GB Voodoo 3000 16MB SB 32pnp 350W 98SE
MSI x570 Gaming Pro Carbon Ryzen 3700x 16GB DDR4 Zotac RTX 3070 8GB WD Black 1TB 650W

Reply 34 of 36, by gex85

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Is anyone using Yamaha YST computer speakers? Like the YST-M7, YST-M15, YST-MS25, YST-MS201, etc.?
I have been looking at these for quite some time now because they look nice and clean and because I've had good experiences with Yamaha's HiFi product lineup. They usually make great products, so I'd expect their computer speakers to sound nice, too. But I couldn't yet decide to pull the trigger to figure out myself.

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Reply 35 of 36, by gdjacobs

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Shreddoc wrote on 2020-12-10, 01:46:

Even in my very small city, the local scrap shops have no shortage of old small-bookshelf speakers (15 to 25cm high) from fair quality Japanese brands like Sony, Panasonic, Akai, Sanyo et al which are perfectly retro (from the same eras as our computers) and are sonically far superior to 99% of the "specifically PC oriented speakers" market segment.

Bonus points for speakers originally made by companies which have gone into and potentially out of bankruptcy. Drive them with a high frequency, high efficiency switch mode amp tucked behind the desk.
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All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 36 of 36, by radiounix

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This has probably already been mentioned, but I'm going to put in a word for the beige Altec Lansing speakers of the 90s. They're what most people wanted, were the typical upgrade option shipped with an expensive Pentium multimedia wunderkind. I wouldn't suggest listening to music or movies on them, they have limited fidelity by today's standards, but they manage to create a very immersive sound and work quite good for PC multimedia and DOS games. I forget what model I have, but it actually has two sets of drivers per side and a subwoofer out -- not needed, they can get bassy as is.

I think they were voiced for use with typical computer audio of the time, music sounds muffled and missing mid frequencies on them about to the extent that a flat set of speakers sounds bright and harsh playing off an old Soundblaster.