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A worthy replacement for "the" Z-5500?

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#1
Ok, I came across a local forum site and it was brought up about the best 2.0 or 2.1 midrange speaker setup.

It was suggested there to use Swans M50W and this is the first time I've heard about it but it seriously got my attention when I started doing some further research about it.

Now, I am thinking of ditching my Logitech Z-5500 for a set of Swans M50W. I know it's not of the same playing field but somehow I would say that my "taste" probably have changed (or matured should I say) over the years and I no longer really have the need for a 5.1 PC setup.

Some reasons that I considered:
- 5.1 has lots of wires and speakers and my living room is getting crowded
- My new place now is rather small and I couldn't even go past 4 for the volume since I am afraid my neighbors will knock and demand an eviction... :laugh:
- I now wanted cleaner, purer sounding system rather than pure SPL power and booming bass... I could say I am still a little bit of a bass head so I probably consider myself somewhere in between a purist and a bass head.

So... my golden question is, will this be a logical move or it's just a waste of time, effort, and money? :confused:
 
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#2
Pity that there were no responses to this, because I was wondering the same thing...
 
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#3
Pity that there were no responses to this, because I was wondering the same thing...
It really depends what you use your PC for. If you are looking for a stereo setup a pair of Studio Monitors and stereo amplifier. If you're looking for surround setup, a Home Theatre System and bookshelf speakers for the rears, floor standing for the fronts - if your room size permits.
 
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Kursah

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#4
Making your own hi-fi system out of components. Get a receiver like my Denon AVR-1613 (got for ~$200 refurbished with 1-year warranty from accessories4less.com), get some speakers (my Pioneer SP21's are awesome!) and a powered sub (my Dayton Sub-100 sounds great!).

My 2.1 setup is very loud and powerful when I want it to be, and very crisp, clear, the lows are deep and punchy...it sounds amazing.

I've heard SWAN makes a nice setup, and I suppose if you space is a concern go with an integrated setup. I'm glad I sacrificed space for sound. If you want affordable bass check out the Dayton Sub-100 replacement. Here's a link to a thread when I was making decisions a couple years ago...I would not recommend the Dayton Class-T Amp...though it was pretty good..for 2X the price I got 10X the power and SQ.

My most recent thread when my Dayton amp died: http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/class-t-d-amps-for-2-0-2-1-setups.193225/
My thread before that when I was replacing my Logitech X-230's (still sound great and in-use by her and the kids mostly!): http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/upgrading-from-logitech-x-230-2-1.161273/

I've yet to hear a PC-targeted audio setup that can keep up with my tunes. The cost can go up fast...the Pioneer SB21's have been replaced with 22's that cost a lot more...but the 21's sound amazing and the 22's I've heard sound WAY better. For small speakers...it fills my house with sound quite easily. Especially when driven by my Denon AVR-1613 which has amazing power, and a solid headphone output as well! I've yet to even play with the Audyssey EQ mic or settings yet...and I hear that's a feature that's worth using on these receivers. I now run optical from my Auzen Forte to my Denon (I use Stereo Mix mode to still use my creative EQ). But the Denon AVR-1613 + Pioneer SP-BS21 + Dayton SUB-100 = EPIC for sub $400 (when I made all my purchases).

Pioneer SP-BS21: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004MEWZE4/?tag=tec06d-20
Replaced with:
Pioneer SP-BS22: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008NCD2LG/?tag=tec06d-20

Dayton SUB-100: http://www.parts-express.com/dayton-audio-sub-100-ht-series-10-125-watt-powered-subwoofer--300-633
Replaced with:
Dayton SUB-1000: http://www.parts-express.com/dayton-audio-sub-1000-10-100-watt-powered-subwoofer--300-628

Denon AVR-1613 refurb: http://www.accessories4less.com/mak...Networking-Receiver-w/AirPlay-3D-ready/1.html

If you want an amazing combo, I spent many hours researching and have found it. The replacements of the speakers and sub are only improvements and I am still amazed by how great it sounds! With my Creative EQ and patience my old man is even convinced it beats his $2000 setup! That makes me smile as he used to be the King of affordable home-audio systems that rocked systems many times their price. And don't get me wrong his current setup, with a sweet Onkyo RX is amazing and 5.1.

I hope this helps! Good luck! :toast:
 
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#5
For me, my hope is to find a system like the z-5500, but better.

I use my system as a multipurpose system, including htpc, music center and regular pc.
 
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#6
For me, my hope is to find a system like the z-5500, but better.

I use my system as a multipurpose system, including htpc, music center and regular pc.

That shouldn't be difficult, as good as the Z-5500 sounds, it isn't really very good as far as speakers. The bar for computer speakers is very low compared to home cinema equipment.

I haven't had a chance to read Kursah's post thoroughly, but it seems like a good start.
 

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#7
For me, my hope is to find a system like the z-5500, but better.

I use my system as a multipurpose system, including htpc, music center and regular pc.
So do I. Gaming, music, movies, entertaining a party, the kids, cranked up when I'm the only one home and wanna shake the foundation, or even as some light background music. I'm able to do it all from my setup. If you want better, you will pay for it, be it from Rokit, Audioengine, Swan or going with a piece-built system. Just keep doing the research, take your time, and make it count! You can't really go wrong. If I could share how good my setup sounds vs z-5500 I'd have you sold.

:toast:
 
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#9
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#10
i'm using Infinity P165s on my mom's old wood-clad 4 channel Sansui QRX-3500 ... and i think sub is Dayton Audio, too. (simply used to fill in the low end, not melt any minds. also close, shared quarters, too)

edit: when i had rears hooked up, they were $20 Black Friday Sony SSB-1000s (had some Polks that i gave away as a present)

anywho, i'll forever extol the awesomeness of bookshelf speaker systems. DOO EEET
 
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#11
The Onkyo looks interesting.
Is the sound really much better than the z-5500...???
Thanks.

Edit: Ok, I see the sub is passive(unpowered) That's a deal breaker for me.
Thanks anyway.
 
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#12
+1 for Onkyo.

I'll eventually upgrade to one of their home theatre kits if not build my own set up
 
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#13
Pity that there were no responses to this, because I was wondering the same thing...
I know it's not the mostly budget friendly setup but I run a pair of audioengine a5+ speakers off my xonar essence and it sounds amazing.

I'd recommend a sub too if listening to music that uses a lot of bass.

Also depends on the use, I'd recommend 2.1/2.0 anyday over 5.1 for music listening.
 

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#14
I'd recommend a sub too if listening to music that uses a lot of bass.
Dubstep!!

Also depends on the use, I'd recommend 2.1/2.0 anyday over 5.1 for music listening.
Eh? I personally like music coming at me at 5.1, VLC used to do it through optical then it stopped and i had to resort to using winamp and a plugin to get it working. I could use some settings that comes with my Creative SB-Z but it messes the sound up quite badly
 
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#15
Well that's because you've never listened to a good 2.0 setup :p

I mean no offense, sir :toast:

If the source is two channel recorded I honestly see no point in using a 5.1 setup.
 

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#16
Well that's because you've never listened to a good 2.0 setup :p

I mean no offense, sir :toast:

If the source is two channel recorded I honestly see no point in using a 5.1 setup.
It doesnt bother me so much. Z-5500's sub pounds the floor and my satellites act as independent speakers to fill my room with sound anywhere I go and i like it that way. not just fill my room in the corner that the speakers are placed in.... Its a directional thing.
 
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#17
Funny that the Onkyo is $300 on USA and 330GBP (also on reduced price) in the UK, which is >$500 lol
 

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#18
Funny that the Onkyo is $300 on USA and 330GBP (also on reduced price) in the UK, which is >$500 lol
Everything is cheaper in the US compared to the UK.
 
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#19
Well that's because you've never listened to a good 2.0 setup :p

I mean no offense, sir :toast:

If the source is two channel recorded I honestly see no point in using a 5.1 setup.
Yea, I too prefer my music in 2(.1), but I like my movies in 5.1
 
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#20
The Onkyo HT-S3500 5.1 looks pretty decent for the price. The only concern is the speakers are not great, probably not much better than the speakers on the z-5500. Although I'm sure it still sounds fantastic.

For <£150 you could buy your own separate receiver, like the PIONEERVSX323, YAMAHARXV373, PIONEERVSX527

Then buy two pairs of Gale 3010S or WHARFEDALEDIAMOND 9.0 for £80, and a single TANNOYMERCURY VC centre speaker for £80. The subwoofer you can buy later or if you must buy now the CAMBRIDGE AUDIOS80 can be had for £100. Now these speakers I'm quoting are not fantastic, they are low end cinema speakers but would still sound better than the ones in the Onkyo HTIB speakers and make a good first system.


http://www.richersounds.com/product/av-receivers/pioneer/vsx323/pion-vsx323-blk
http://www.richersounds.com/product/av-receivers/yamaha/rxv373/yama-rxv373-blk
http://www.richersounds.com/product/av-receivers/pioneer/vsx527/pion-vsx527-blk
http://www.richersounds.com/product/standmount-speakers/gale/3010s/gale-3010s-blk
http://www.richersounds.com/product/centre-speakers/tannoy/mercury-vc/tann-merc-vc-sug-map
http://www.richersounds.com/product/standmount-speakers/wharfedale/diamond-9.0/whar-9.0-blk
http://www.richersounds.com/product/subwoofers/cambridge-audio/s80/camb-s80-blk

Well that's because you've never listened to a good 2.0 setup :p

I mean no offense, sir :toast:

If the source is two channel recorded I honestly see no point in using a 5.1 setup.
You have the flexibility of pressing the "stereo" button on the amp for music and then switch back to 5.1 if you feel that strongly.

Everything is cheaper in the US compared to the UK.
That is because the UK shop has to pay import duty, then mark-up the price by VAT @ 20%. So the item is probably taxed twice. This influences the final price.
 
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#20
For my pc i personally use a Pioneer VSX 527-K receiver, Tannoy Mercury V1 stereo fronts and a VC centre channel. I use a 3.0 set up as all the music i listen too is stereo 2 channel (this is the way the artist intended it to be listened, unless its a dts cd or something). I like a centre channel for voice in movies and especially gaming. I find a centre channel is more immersive and would begrudge having to go back to not using one (even my old Logitech 5.1 had a centre). The receiver leaves room to add some rear speakers for movies and games. The centre channel i bought was second hand but as untouched as possible. The stereo separation on my set up is amazing for music, the voice comes from the centre of my set up so much so that sometimes i even think my centre channel is playing which is impossible with 2 channel sound. Personally if i had a 5.1 set up i would repeat music to the rears; im not keen on the separation that software does to music, its not authentic not as it was recorded and sometimes ruins the music with where it positions stuff.

It really depends on the rooms acoustics and the other speakers if you need a sub or not. I personally find the Tannoys i have do a good enough job when sat at my desk for bass, i can't really use a sub like i used too as the deep sound travels under my floor boards and also through my walls (even though they are thick old imperial brick). I like bass but i like it to be tight and accurate rather than booming.

First off i would not reccomend getting fronts and a different brand centre channel speaker. The problem with this is that the sound is slightly different from different sets of speakers so if you want the centre to match as close as possible stick to the same set. It might not make much of a difference if you can find a good match from another brand but it is difficult to match them up.

As for good entry level enthusiast speakers, i recommend Wharfedales 10.1s as they are good overall and cheap, Tannoy Mercury V1s very accurate but more fussy as to where you position them, Q Acoustic make some good ones too like the 2010i which you can set anywhere at any height or close/far away from a wall and still get great sound. All of these have good stereo separation and soundstage, for gaming, video and music. I heard mission do some good speakers and on the second hand market are competitive. I am not sure what is available where you live but i wholly recommend bookshelf or standmount speakers over a kit; some manufacturers/sellers will sell a set with fronts/rears/centre which is not to be confused with a crappy home cinema kit.

Id personally stay away from Sony and Pioneer at the lower end of receivers, Yamaha are good at driving speakers at the lower end. I have a Pioneer VSX 527, its okay but more subdued in sound. Denon also make some good lower priced receivers. You might find the Pioneers have a feature or 2 that the Yamaha wont at the same price but not as nice sounding amp.

I bought Edifiers for my old Windows 98se rig and using them on even my main rig they don't even sound anywhere as nice as the Tannoys which where not that much more expensive if you discount the receiver cost.
 

Kursah

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#21
The Onkyo looks interesting.
Is the sound really much better than the z-5500...???
Thanks.

Edit: Ok, I see the sub is passive(unpowered) That's a deal breaker for me.
Thanks anyway.
Get a powered sub...even the Dayton I showed ya is well worth it. If you read my threads I believe I mentioned using hi-level speaker inputs to my powered sub. While it sounded good, and had plenty of bass....this Denon using a single RCA cable is F#$*ING AMAZING! The bass is smooth when it should be, the 10" woofer is still punchy when the song calls, and with my Pioneer SB21's elevated above my monitors on a shelf...I have a huge sound stage that sounds so sweet! The area I fill with sound along with right in front of my PC is truly amazing. And I've yet to use the Audyssey EQ tuning it came with...which I mentioned before people praise.

I can't say I have the best ~$400 setup out there by any means at least for anyone else, but with the time and effort I put into researching, inquiring, researching even more, I'm pretty damn content. I would have to spend a lot more to do better imho. For me, I am super content with my purchases. Even with my speakers and sub being replaced...there is no envy once I hear how good it all sounds together.

I agree with my research lower end Sony and Pioneer receivers aren't what you should go for, Yamaha and Denon are solid buys. I did a ton of research before settling on this AVR-1613. I'm glad I did...it's everything and then some that I could need for my multimedia use for every situation.

The best thing you can do is take suggestions from here and put the time into research, reviews (both pro and consumer and forums), maybe what works for me or someone else won't work for you. I will say, these pioneer speakers are amazing, and can put out okay bass themselves w/o a sub. That's when I hear my old X-230's powered sub bass and get a little jealous though...then I fire up the 125W powered 10" Dayton sub and shake the damn house. Then I forget about that impressively punchy little 5" sub and tiny ported enclosure that's been booming like a champ since I bought it in 2006 (refurbished I might add).

I'm glad I took my time researching and not going to another PC-oriented audio system, I think I would've been ultimately disappointed beyond my X-230's...going...bookshelf + sub + receiver = WIN. If you don't have the budget, and you have sound now...wait, save, rinse, repeat. That's my two cents. Then again, there are millions happy with PC-oriented audio systems and some do put out good sound for their size...I've yet to see anything sub-$100 compete with the x-230's square-on to my ears but there's a huge market for PC speakers. I do have a more single-guy setup in a family environment...but that's the best part...it's so easy to use for quiet background music to beyond loud. Makes me happy. :D
 
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#22
Pioneer HPM 100's and a big receiver from the 1970's.
 

Mussels

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#23
Pity that there were no responses to this, because I was wondering the same thing...

also came here. love my z5500's, but one day it'd be nice to get a set with HDMI inputs.
 
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#24
also came here. love my z5500's, but one day it'd be nice to get a set with HDMI inputs.
Grab a receiver, onkyo isn't bad, and some big stereo bookselves. You'll get balanced bass response. The z5500's were actually decent, they have Tangban drivers that are pretty respectible for the money. They are just very small drivers. You can get a lot more sound with a larger driver because its more efficient and it will probably sound better at the same wattage or less.

Running 2.0 isn't a big deal. You can always add a cheap dayton powered sub from partsexpresss to round it out to 2.1.

Modern stereos are a total rip off, lots of treasures floating around that people will give you for free just to get it out of their house. I have a few huge bookshelf speakers wasting space now LOL.
 
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#25
I dug around in a box and found a pair of old Cambridge Soundworks PCWorks speakers with a sub. Pretty decent for a 'free' upgrade for my media pc. I found a 3rd speaker, but the 4th is MIA so I can'y use it as 4.1.

Was thinking about getting a receiver and some entry level (~$300-$500) speakers and a decent sub.

Used to have some Yamaha speakers and a sub which rocked the house at parties back in the day, but got too drunk and kicked the sub during some ecstasy fueled drunken 'dancing'.