26th Nov 2013
"Sound is personal”, it can mean a lot of things to different people, from just filling in that space for dhin-chak beats to accurately producing clear sound as intended by the original composer. Whatever it maybe, it is more than an itch that we must scratch. Here’s a look at speakers and sound cards from the cost conscious buyer to the overly nit-picky audiophile.
Sabse Paisa-Vasool Deal
Umax USP 3200
It’s very hard to find decent speakers in such a tight budget. The UMAX may not win any audiophile awards but can actually deliver more than decent quality for the price. These speakers are magnetically shielded with an overall power output of 40W RMS. Surprisingly, these speakers come with a proper wired remote control with an analogue volume control and a Headphone Jack. You get a full 1 year carry in warranty on these 2.1 channel speakers.
Give Me More Clarity
Looking for better quality than the UMAX? Sony SRS-D9 fits that bill with not only better build quality, but also better sound. This 2.1 set is powerful enough to rock a small home party, especially since it comes with a USB port to play music directly off it. Also, the speaker is designed to generate lesser heat and claims to have lower electricity consumption.
Boom Boom, Shake The Room
With Altec Lansing categorically killing every good speaker that they ever made, starting with the much loved MX 5021, we were left with no better choice than the Logitech Z623 for a higher-end 2.1, especially at a good price point. These speakers are no slouch; they are THX certified and pack quite a punch. The speakers are attractive, sturdy, and come with plenty of power at 200 Watts RMS. The only downside is that they are a bit bass heavy (for some) and the highs sound muffled out of the box, which can be corrected with the right EQ settings or a DSP plugin.
For The Audiophiles
Forget computer speakers, M-Audio AV30 studio grade monitor speakers easily blows the socks off most of the speakers in this price range in terms of sound clarity. These 3" polypropylene-coated woofers have a tight accurate bass with the 1" ferrofluid-cooled silk cone tweeters which easily give clear highs. The front panel features volume, aux input for connecting other sources, and a headphone jack. If you have eight to nine grand to spend, you cannot ask for anything better.
Audio Engine A2
If you truly like good sound without hurting your pocket (too much), there’s nothing better than Audio Engine A2. The Audioengine A2 features handmade cabinets and speaker drivers built in-house for better cohesion and quality. The A2’s also feature silk dome tweeters, with a woofer fashioned out of kevlar. This provides an amazing strength-to-weight ratio, allowing the speakers to deliver mids and lows with amazing speed and tightness. They are rated at 15 W RMS per channel and come with all the necessary cables and interconnects needed to hook up your PC, audio system, or TV.
Audio Engine A2's Come in Black and White
Read the detailed Techtree review here
It’s true that cheaper 5.1s just don’t make sense as you compromise on quality of sound immensely. The Z506 surprisingly maintains a good balance between quality, quantity and price. The 75 watts (RMS) power can easily fill a mid-sized room with sound, while giving plenty of options to connect multiple inputs. On the flip side, it has no remote control, and stereo audio from RCA input is forced to all six speakers. Though it doesn't set any new standards in sound clarity, at this price, there is very little to complain about.
As the saying goes, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" holds very true for these Logitech 5.1s, which were known as Logitech Z680 (read techtree review), then renamed to Z5500 with minor tweaks and now called the Z906. The Z906 have oodles of power at 500-watts (RMS), are THX certified, have a very comprehensively conspicuous control console, and six audio inputs to connect almost everything but the kitchen sink. If you want the best surround sound that is great for movies, games, and music under 25K, you can’t go wrong with this. We warn you though, the neighbours will come complaining!
ASUS Xonar DGX
If you want good sound from your speakers, forget on-board sound cards. The Xonar DGX is a fantastic sound card for a low price. It’s got a built-in headphone amp too to enhance headphone/earphone sound with 3 headphone AMP gain modes (VOIP, pro-gaming, exciter), Dolby Headphone technology for an immersive 5.1 surround experience, and ASUS exclusive GX2.5 gaming audio engine for realistic 3D audio effects.
If you truly want to go the Audiophile way, try Audinst HUD-mx1. The mx1 is made from finest quality components that money can buy, from Wolfson’s WM8740 (117dB) DAC, high quality op-amps (operational amplifiers), 117 dB SNR, and bunch of other things only an audiophile would care about. The USB sound card sits in an aluminium fascia casing that houses 3.5 mm as well as 6.5 mm TRS jacks, in addition to a high quality Alps volume control.
Can't exactly wish you a silent Diwali after this, can I? But have a great one anyway.
Top 'Paisa Vasool' Deals For Diwali 2013: Audio Systems
Drown those firecrackers with great sounding options this Diwali.
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