Audioholics’ Guide in Getting Good Sound From a Desktop Audio System

L

Lawrence Lee

Audiophyte
Mr Gene,

Great article. Big fan of your site. I found the article very helpful to review. You asked in your video, so here’s my setup.

As a Mid-Fi hometheater and "audiophyte", I grew frustrated with the state of computer audio sometime ago. When the COVID-19 lockdown came I knew that I would lose my mind if I didn't improve my desktop audio system. At one a time I eyed the Logitech Z906 system 5.1. With price inflation during the lock down I could not bear having to spend more than MSRP ($399.00) for that “plasticky” system.

Fortunately, in scouring Amazon I was able to find an brand new ELAC Cinema 5 5.1 speaker kit for $139.00. This has diminutive 2 way satellites and a 8” sub, which positioned under my desk in the corner does wonders. After research and testing others I settled on the Yamaha Aventage RX-A780 which I obtained near wholesale and viola!

My symmetric L shaped desk allows me to position the 5.1 speakers symmetrically around my noggin’.

My “computer monitor” is a 43.5” Sony XBR 800D 4k LED TV. I serve my music directly to the receiver DNLA using Mediamonkey from the PC, phone or tablet. My streaming service is Spotify which using Spotify Connect keeps the PC from polluting the musical path. The receiver is tied to my PC thru Toslink for audio and video editing.

I am happy to have a “Hometheater-for-One” for couple hundred bucks more than the Logitech junk. I may update the speakers at some point to but honestly I like the low footprint of the ELAC sats...

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M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
I use my Fusion-12s as desktop/near field speakers, FTW. Plenty of bass, gobs of power, and multiple amp/speaker options. Computer is running through an AVR, and I have two subs firing half under the desk if I ever need them. So far, I haven't, with the music I tend to listen to.

First thing I did, was depart the typical desk traditions of having it up against the wall. The front of my desk is 30" from the front wall. My speakers are 32" back from my MLP, 80" apart, and toed in to where I sit. The speakers are about 18" off of the front wall and 3 ft from the sides.

It kicks a$$. I'll never go for a whole room music system again. I also use it for games and movies.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
The all out, large speakers come from years of using little speakers that actually 'fit' the desk top. Then I narrowed the desk, and this gave me stand mount options, in exchange for all the junk that usually ends up in every non-computing leftover space on it. This option allowed double size, full range speakers with 8" woofers. Well crap, this scratches the audio itch enough to not bother with the main system, where I sat alone in a chair in the middle of the room, with nothing to look at but annoying blue lights, or a laptop pc, which I dislike for multiple reasons.

Then I was inspired by a friends video game setup. He had multiple places to put his legs up, a comfortable, large computer chair and a side table for drinks etc and some relatively large, JBL studio 530 speakers on stands, about 5 feet apart, pointed right at him. It sounds quite nice. It made me look at the Studio 530 pretty hard, after sitting thru some games and movies with them up close like that. It also started showing some consistencies with other waveguide speakers I own with regard to near field imaging in that role. My LSR 305 work very well in that role as well. Still, I wanted that super, life sized, mid bass, from my mains in there. I could feel that's what I wanted. That was the fine line, between audio illusion from speaker box trickery, and real displacement. What a blast.

I also put the JBL S38 on stands next to the desk. This is another winner, with, and without subs. I could live with this system alone, for everything.
 
J

JoeThePop

Audiophyte
You can use a stack of books to elevate the speakers. It's not the ideal speaker stand but it is better than nothing. For what it's worth, I think those iso-acoustics desktop speaker stands that are popular are very over-priced. Here are some affordable alternatives that look decent: Technical Pro 8, Universal Desktop, and here is one that looks pretty good for larger speakers: Workstream by Monoprice, although that is meant for video monitors, it looks about perfect for some o the larger loudspeaker monitors. Desktop speaker stands are something that could be done real easy as a DIY project as well.
Exactly my thoughts on the iso-acoustics desktop speaker stands. I looked at those as an option, but $90 for some plastic (PVC?) stands that in my opinion are not exactly attractive is definitely over-priced. Thanks for the other suggestions. I will check them out.
 
hemiram

hemiram

Full Audioholic
I have had many sets of speakers on my PCs over the last 30 years or so, right now, it's just 2 channel and that's good enough, especially since my right ear is nearly dead at this point to to Eustation tube issues. I used to hit a lot of garage sales, and would buy various speakers when I found them, mostly for use on SW receivers and such, and one was worth buying, but sometimes I would hit the jackpot and find a pair of decent speakers in the boxes in nearly new condition. If I had more room on my table, I would put the pair of Polk LSim7's gathering dust in my closet on, but right now, I have a pair of Yamaha NX-E150's on foam stands and my old cheapo Sony 12" sub (at very low output) running on my old Yamaha RXv-659 receiver. The Yamaha speakers cost a whopping $12 for the pair, and they look brand new, and I like the sound of them pretty well. Yeah, the Polks would be better, but in an apartment, the neighbors might not be impressed with them. I have some other decent speakers too, but all are too big to fit right now, unless I went to a 12" monitor, and a bigger table is not practical in my room. My monitor choice is more important, as I can see better after cataract surgery than I have in a long time.
 

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