Intro speaker advice? ~300ish usd budget.

Hey all. I’m looking to make my first actual speaker purchase and am looking for some advice. My budget is around $300USD, but I can flex a bit for a good deal. This would be for a desktop PC setup. I mostly use my headphones for gaming, but would like to get some speakers for watching stuff and listening to music.

Since I’ve stuck with headphones for the greater part of two decades, I have very little knowledge about the other side of things. I know there are passive and active speakers - from what I can tell it’s essentially DIY/modular (passive) vs All-In-One (active), but I’m sure that’s a gross oversimplification. Active ones are self powered right? Are there pros/cons for each or is one considered straight up better? I’ve also seen that there are two different types beyond that: speakers and studio monitors. That one I have no idea about, what is the difference?

As of this moment I’m lightly leaning towards active, but that’s just because there’s less individual things or parts to stress about. I don’t have an amp or anything else (would I need anything else?) for a passive setup, but I am not opposed to going that route.

My current choice is the Edifier S350DB system - it is pushing the budget a bit, but it comes with a sub which doesn’t seem that common. I’m open to any suggestions though!

Hi! Welcome to HiFiGuides!

Active versus passive. Active as it basics has 1 amplifier built into 1 speaker, with the second speaker drawing power from the first.

passive, you need an external amp to power them.

passive has the advantage of being able to swap components. if something dies, the whole system does not need to be replaced, just what died. passive has the disadvantage of typically costing more over all for the same performance.

actives main advantages are ease of use and cost savings. disadvantage is they are typically worthless if the amp blows for instance. though you can turn them into passive at that point…but kinda defeats the purpose of getting active.

active is a great way to go for desktop use. saves space.

@joshua_g has listed some of the biggest pros/cons, so let me ask about your current headphone system as it might have an impact on what kind of speaker setup you go with.

What is your current headphone rig…at least the amp and dac? Does either have preamp outputs?

Beyond the flexibility and options Joshua points out, you also need to have a way to adjust volume, think about what kind of connections you want to use, etc. Some active speaker systems have built-in DACs so you can connect a digital source if you want. Others have only analog inputs. Some are easy to adjust volume with on their own, others do dumb stuff like put the volume knob on the back of one of the speakers. Passive speakers require amps. Some amps have a volume control, some don’t. And so forth. So, what are we working with already?

Thanks for the responses! As for my current rig? It’s not so much a rig rather than a couple of different headphones powered by my PC. My current daily driver is a HyperX Cloud Orbit-S / Audeze Mobius (which I’m also looking to replace, but thats another topic) and I use a Sony MDR-XB500 on the side. I used to drive an Audio Technica ATH-AD700, but it died and was replaced by the Orbit-S. I never bothered getting a DAC/Amp since my current headset has it built in, although I suppose it would still be beneficial for my other headphones.

So ultimately this would be starting fresh - that’s why I was leaning more towards active, but it’s not a deciding factor. I’m willing to go down the other path if I can stop getting paralyzed by the amount of options!

is this for a desk setup? living room?

For an office/den setup. Right now it’s just for and will be mainly used by a desktop PC but at some point I’ll be getting a TV to go in there as well.

depends how far are you gonna be from them, if you’re gonna have them up to your face on a desk I’d go with vanatoo t0 or iloud micro, something small-ish, or it’ll sound boomy, if you’re gonna have them on a tv I’d actally go with edifier s2000 pro over the 350db, if you’re gonna move them around or have them on a desk I’d say the vanatoo and maybe add a cheap sub once you move them to the tv…

Thanks for the help all - I ended up going passive actually! I went with the Micca RB42s and an AIYIMA D03 (prime day sale!), would I need anything else to go with it? Overall opinions of my choice?


heard good things about the RB42’s sadly I keep missing the sales
shouldn’t need anything else and I think you mentioned wanting to add a sub later
the reviews on the Aiyima seem fine but spelling errors on a amazon page don’t fill me with confidence

i have a couple aiyima amps. they are solid entry amps. my oldest one is about 4 years old now and has had 0 issues and is running strong daily still.

the rb42’s are a solid choice. i have not heard them personally, but keep them 6+ inches from a wall if you can. the bass output is tremendous by all accounts. might be to boomy to close!

edit: couple things to note. the cheap chifi amps do not produce as much juice as they claim. they also pretty much give you full throttle on the amp, which means distortion around 75%+ volume. all amps modules do it. some companies design their amps to compensate for this and have the module limitied so you dont hear it. others save money and give you full throttle. the one you got is one of the fancier, newer ones from them. might not have the distortion issues at higher volumes? not sure, but probably will seeing how its “150wpc” + remote and tech. i think the 100 extra dollars is mostly remote/tech/dac and not the amp end.