$20 HiFi Computer Speakers: More Expensive Not Necessarily Better? | Interesting Pandora Channel: Ryan Stewart

If you site at a desk and like listening to the intricacies of sounds and don’t need to be hit with bass thump, read on.

I thought I’d put in a plug for some really great yet really inexpensive desktop computer speakers: Logitech Z130 — $20 (qualifying for Super Saver Shipping) at Amazon. I got mine at Best Buy, locally about 6 months ago for a tad more.

These little babies throw a great soundstage. Soundstage is a hifi term indicating how clearly the sounds are placed in the air. Some audiophiles spend many thousands of dollars to get seamless soundstage for their he-man rigs. The main goal is go have each instrument in its own place (for CDs that are recorded with this in mind), and for there not to be any audio gaps.

The reason it’s even possible for $20 speakers to throw a good soundstage is because they only have 1 speaker in the cabinet, so there is no need for an electronic crossover, of which the cheap ones kill the soundstage. When there are different size speakers in the cabinet, or if it’s attached to a subwoofer, crossovers split the freequencies, so the subwoofer just gets the lows and the cabinets get the mid-to-highs, for example. Or if there is more than one speaker in each cabinet, the crossover will send the lows to the woofer and the highs to the midrange/tweeter.

Many people think that Bose would have the best sound, because of their clever marketing. They can do some amazing things with ports to get bass out of small boxes, but they have no soundstage, of those I’ve tried, anyway.

Because the Logitech Z130s are so small, maybe 5 inches high, they actually don’t have bass, which is a big drawback. We’ll be missing the full timbre of the larger instruments. But there is no way to avoid this tradeoff without spending many hundreds of dollars more.  But if you can live without bass (reggae especially takes a hit) in order to treat your mind and soul to spacial sound delights, the $20 may be worth it. The only way that I know to get full range audio with a single speaker is via the close proximity of headphones.

These aren’t going to fill a room with great volume either. They’re for placing on either side of the computer (the wider the better until you lose soundstage). We have to sit in the sweet spot. But they’re plenty loud if you’re working on your computer. I turn the volume up fairly high on the speaker (even all of the way — there is no noise), and then adjust the volume from the computer’s keyboard.

I also toe the speakers in a bit — an audiophile trick. Point the speakers directly at you — they’re not going to soundstage well pointing forward — and then angle them even further toward each other. Experiment.

The better the source material the better the soundstage. CDs will soundstage far better than MP3s. And “high quality” 192 kbps Pandora (requires subscription — worth it!) is going to do much better than “Normal quality” that the free Pandora app puts out.

And the recordings, themselves vary GREATLY too. Some recordings won’t have any soundstage at all. I listen to a variety of music, and have always liked what is called “New Age;” though, I don’t like the term, because much of it isn’t about the new age religion at all. Some is though. I avoid the weird stuff and go by feel.

Recently, I found a very interesting Pandora channel: Ryan Stewart radio. Type in Ryan Stewart into Pandora and be amazed! Almost every one of the artists’ songs are melodically deep, full of drama. It’s music that will move you while you’re working on whatever.

Pandora sometimes picks songs that really are similar to the artist we typed in, and sometimes the songs they choose aren’t even close.

if you’ve followed my blogs lately, you’ll see that I instantly became a big Rhydian fan. I love how he sings! But type Rhydian into Pandora, and they’ll only include his songs from his second CD, along with mostly big-voice Christian songs from other artists — though his first CD is pretty much secular, and his second is quite a bit too.

Here is to listening to some great music before it’s all over. And once revival hits (when ONE happens) it should then be again easier to find real Christian music. It’s slim pickins, currently. When people get close to God the music will get anointed again.

I miss when Vineyard music was hot in the late ’80s/early ’90s. Typing in Kent Henry into Pandora pulls up some good songs like “More Love, More Power.”

God bless!

Jeff : )

Leave a Reply