Desktop Speaker Recommendations

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geniusmusicman

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
10
#1
I am looking for some good desktop speakers between the $200-$500 range to replace my Polk S15 speakers. I prefer to pay as low as I can and get the best bang for the buck. I will only be using them in a desktop setting close to the wall about 2-3 feet in front of me toed in and placed in a equilateral triangle from my seating position.

I love my S15’s, but since getting into this hobby, I have been finding myself always wanting more. I started with some Infinity SM65’s, switched to the Rokit G5’s, the JBL LSR305’s, KEF Q100’s, and then to my now Polk S15’s. I loved every single one of those speakers and they all had their positives and negatives, but now I am looking to upgrade again. I don’t know if I will ever be happy.

My system is powered by my Emotiva BasX A-100 amp (which is amazing) and music is being sourced by my PC that has a great sounding internal DAC built in to my MSI 970 gaming motherboard. I also have two Sony SA-W2500 10” Subs to cover the bass.

I prefer to have speakers that have excellent highs and mids. Lack of bass output is negligible as I will be using subs to cover the low end and plan to for the foreseeable future. I will be using the speakers primarily for music and gaming, about 50/50. I listen to a little bit of everything with EDM being my favorite genre. I want these next speakers to be my last for a while (we’ll see about that) as I don’t want to put any more money into this hobby so I can focus on upgrading my computer. Only passive speakers, I’m done with the active route.

Here are the speaker choices I have narrowed it down to in order:
  1. Klipsch RP-150/160M
  2. Infinity R152/162
  3. KEF Q150
  4. Elac UniFi UB5
  5. Emotiva Airmotiv B1
  6. Ascend Acoustics CMB-170SE (Lowest on my list due to looks)
Does anyone else agree/disagree with these choices? Any other ideas I can throw in there? Any helpful comparisons between these that can help my decision? Any help from you guys would be fantastic. Thanks ya’ll.
 
N

nbk13nw

Audioholic
Ratings
69
#2
Infinity R162's I feel are the best bang for the buck when on sale. A sale just ended so there will be another soon enough. Lol. I have the KEF Q100's pulling surround duty in my main HT setup along with the Q900's running for mains, and R162's coupled with dual HSU subs upstairs in the bedroom. As stand alone bookshelf speakers I like the Infinity R162's better than the KEF Q100's.
 
G

geniusmusicman

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
10
#3
Infinity R162's I feel are the best bang for the buck when on sale. A sale just ended so there will be another soon enough. Lol. I have the KEF Q100's pulling surround duty in my main HT setup along with the Q900's running for mains, and R162's coupled with dual HSU subs upstairs in the bedroom. As stand alone bookshelf speakers I like the Infinity R162's better than the KEF Q100's.
Thanks for your opinion! I see sales on them all the time and have been tempted to buy them a few times. I have seen good sales within the last year on all the speakers I have listed minus the CMB’s so it’s been kinda hard to make a decision.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
4,879 34 17
#4
Trust me, you will never be happy. Over what you have already had, the speaker class you are looking at are basically a lateral move. You are not upgrading much if at all. One possible problem is placement. Typical desktop placement has all kind of problems. If you just set the speakers on the desktop, you will get a lot of diffraction, and that will very much color the sound. Try to get the speakers off the desktop if they already aren't. Look at the way monitors are placed on desktop consoles in some studios. Here is a good example of speaker placement for a desktop:

Try to elevated the speakers off the desktop surface as you see there. Anther diffraction problem is that the speakers are close to the monitor surface, but that is unavoidable I suppose. Make sure you are not trying to solve what are really acoustic issues by just buying another speaker. Look at desktop speaker stands, like these.

Right now I like the speakers I am using for desktop speakers, they are the Monolith THX-365 Minitowers. They are overkill maybe for desktop speakers, but hey why not. I am guessing they are a cut above the ones you have listed, but they are also priced accordingly.

Something else, your subs aren't great. Consider upgrading the subs sometime. There is a significant audible difference between a really good sub and the ones you have.
 
G

geniusmusicman

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
10
#5
Something else, your subs aren't great. Consider upgrading the subs sometime. There is a significant audible difference between a really good sub and the ones you have.
Yeah, I realize the subs might not be the best, but I went from no subs to getting two of those Sony’s from a friend at work and it has been an amazing difference for both music and games. I hope to upgrade to something like the SVS SB-1000 in the future, but for now, I haven’t heard what a “really good” sub sounds like so I haven’t felt the urge to upgrade that quite yet.

As far as my setup goes, I have both speakers in an equilateral triangle from my seating position, toed in and facing towards my ears on top of isolation pads. The monitor is already on top of a monitor stand I made from IKEA and the speakers are on my desk. Do you thing having stands would make a big difference from the way I have it setup now?
 
M

Mr._Clark

Audioholic Intern
Ratings
15
#10
I realize this is a little above your price range but I just bought 2 SVS Ultra bookshelf Speakers for $299 each. These were reduced price due to scratches but the scratches are barely noticeable. I have not hooked them up yet so I can’t provide any feedback on them just yet
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
4,879 34 17
#13
You must have a very strong neck...
This post has an image of an older setup. I still have the subs positioned like that. It's not ideal from a sound quality perspective but I still love it. By the way, I don't advocate that kind of speaker positioning with those kinds of speakers, those were just some speakers I had that I wasn't using for anything else. The sound wasn't bad though. I had to get the right desks that could hold the 80 lbs weight of those subs. The typical ikea desk would not have been able to do that.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,407 6 1
#15
This post has an image of an older setup. I still have the subs positioned like that. It's not ideal from a sound quality perspective but I still love it. By the way, I don't advocate that kind of speaker positioning with those kinds of speakers, those were just some speakers I had that I wasn't using for anything else. The sound wasn't bad though. I had to get the right desks that could hold the 80 lbs weight of those subs. The typical ikea desk would not have been able to do that.
Ah. That makes sense. I remember that from way back then.
 
charmerci

charmerci

Audioholic
Ratings
65 1 4
#16
Trust me, you will never be happy. Over what you have already had, the speaker class you are looking at are basically a lateral move.
+1

Do you still have any of those old speakers? None of those that you are considering I don't think will be better than the JBL305's which I have. I inserted a few dowels inside (two lateral, one vertical) to reduce the bass vibrations from the cheap cabinets at louder levels. The bass was far too wooly and it sounds so much more "tight" now. They are as good as if not better than most +$1K speakers.
 
G

Grandzoltar

Audioholic
Ratings
27 1
#17
Infinity R162's I feel are the best bang for the buck when on sale. A sale just ended so there will be another soon enough. Lol. I have the KEF Q100's pulling surround duty in my main HT setup along with the Q900's running for mains, and R162's coupled with dual HSU subs upstairs in the bedroom. As stand alone bookshelf speakers I like the Infinity R162's better than the KEF Q100's.
Which Hsu subs do you have
 
G

Grandzoltar

Audioholic
Ratings
27 1
#19
Sweet I have 1 Vtf2 mk5. For 550 shipped it’s the best value in that price range by far
 
G

geniusmusicman

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
10
#20
+1

Do you still have any of those old speakers? None of those that you are considering I don't think will be better than the JBL305's which I have. I inserted a few dowels inside (two lateral, one vertical) to reduce the bass vibrations from the cheap cabinets at louder levels. The bass was far too wooly and it sounds so much more "tight" now. They are as good as if not better than most +$1K speakers.
I loved my JBL’s, but hated the buzz. Not sure I want to go back to an active system again. I’ve already invested into a great amp and passive speaker set and am planning my next upgrade to be passive.

That can always change though. I can never make up my mind. How do to the 305P MKII’s compare to the LSR305? Have your heard the Kali’s that are supposed to be better than the 305’s?
 

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