Looking for Small Speakers for Desk ($100)

Hey there,

I’ve been using some Logitech Z200s for as long as I can remember. They did their job well enough, but now they’ve started sounding odd, and any slightly louder sounds blast out with static. May or may not be because of Dankpods video on the skullcandy headphones. So this gives me a good excuse to get a new set of speakers. I don’t know much about speakers, as I usually just use headphones and IEMs. As long as they have nice bass, clean sound and no static I’ll be happy. Something simple.
My budget is around $100.

I’ve heard good things about the Edifier R1280T. They look nice, and being able to plug in two headphones at once is a really nice addition. Only worry is they might be a bit too big.

Here’s how my current setup looks like. You can probably tell why I am looking for something more compact. The double monitors do not make it easy. (Granted, there is probably a better way to set it all up. I might go for some monitor arms in the future, which should add some more space for the speakers.)

2 Likes

The speaker under the monitor is hurting my soul.

3 Likes

It is disgusting I know. I am just too lazy or can’t think of a better place to put it instead.

1 Like

You could build (or buy) shelves for larger bookshelf speakers to sit behind / next to the monitors:

It wouldn’t have to be one big shelf like that, you could use two smaller shelves sized for the speakers. This would both let you have some extra flexibility on size, as well as mounting them so the tweeters are at ear level.

4 Likes

Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 is a little over $100, but definitely a solid choice and I heard the PreSonus Eris 3.5s at a friend’s house and I think they sound shockingly good for the $100 he grabbed them off Amazon for.

1 Like

I have a Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 system that I’d be willing to sell you for $50, with you paying the shipping. Probably will be around $80-90 total if you’re in the USA. PM me if interested!

As @JAnonymous5150 said, it’s a very good desktop solution. Powered, so no amp needed. Plenty of bass from the sub, but it’s very tunable. If you want bass, you’ll love this setup.

Note: I’ve tested the Edifier’s you mentioned in your thread. Very nice, but they won’t wow you with bass. Pretty neutral. That’s the signature I wanted from a powered speaker, but I ended up buying the Micca PB42X, which had better clarity and imaging to me within the same neutral sound.

2 Likes

Likely this first option is the best for your needs.

(costs 130 - Come in alternate colors and are great desk speakers)

and

(costs 156 - This gives you a remote and also works as room speakers)

and

(costs 200 - This gives you a remote and the capability of working in a small or medium living room setup or on a desk)

1 Like

And if you really want to drive a truck straight through your budget and never need another set of desk speakers again and have speakers that will also work great with a living room setup…

The ‘B-Stock’ version of these are 339 - but totally worth it if you can afford it.

My argument here is - so many people ignore the importance of great quality audio - we use our speakers for everything, every day, and if you have great audio, it improves every interaction you have with the connected devices. It will also outlive your current computer system, because great audio never dies.

  • So think about how much you spent on your monitors, computer, etc. And then decide if it’s worth spending a bit more on your audio setup, that will outlive all those other things. (i’d say yes)
1 Like

Thanks for the help! The Edifier MR4 does look the most promising, I’ll probably be going for them. In your review you did say that the headphone port should just be not touched, what’s the reason? I know that from my cheap speakers, headphones sound like ass, but I’m surprised that it isn’t a good idea even with better speakers. Then again, I have my headphones plugged into my AT2020 USB+ mic always so not really a problem. I mostly use my headphones and IEMs, so speakers would not be used frequently enough to be worth spending over ~$100 (I also just bought the Penon Vortex and Serial, so there goes my wallet :smiley:). I am curious if there are speakers even smaller than the MR4, just as an option. Cause the MR4 look to be at least twice as large as my current speakers.

1 Like

Hah! I am not Zeos :wink:

  • I am just a watcher of Zeos, so I tend to link his reviews for things. No worries though, I understand the confusion potential, as both our names start with Z (the best letter in the alphabet, that’s why they saved it for last ;).

I can interpret however! The reason for “Don’t” on the headphone out, is likely because of the way the volume control is handled in steps. It is also probably not the greatest quality output either… (but that is just me guessing, I have not heard the headphone output myself).

There is a reason that you will rarely find speaker amps that are also used for headphones - because speaker amps are generally not as ‘clean’ when you are using them, so if you plug in fancy headphones (and especially IEM’s) into an amp meant for speakers, they are typically not very clean at the power levels meant for headphones - which can mean things like hearing a ‘hiss’ or static coming through your headphones at very low volume levels.

Here is a video that goes into detail as to exactly why you don’t usually power a headphone with a speaker amp and vice versa.

If you are mainly a headphone user, then you would be much better served by a dedicated headphone amplifier. Instead of using one that is integrated into another device.

====================
Related to the size, Can you go smaller? Certainly! But I only know of 1 speaker i would suggest that is smaller, around 100 dollars, and meant for a desk. And - they require an external amplifier. But if you want something smaller without becoming headphones, these Modhouse Mini Cubes are the only thing I would suggest.

Ryan at Mod House Audio (he’s the owner operator) really is some sort of audio wizard. His headphones are amazing btw.* And the prices he charges for things are always exceptionally fair, his products are worth a lot more than he sells them for. He mostly sells headphones, and because his headphones are pretty legendarily good, he is usually swamped with orders - so there is usually a wait on his stuff *current lead time on orders is at 9 weeks for the Mini Cubes as of this posting - meaning, if you put an order in today, you will get the speakers in about 9 weeks.

Zeos hooks them up to a serious amp around the 15 minute mark and the review gets more interesting there.

Forgive the silence about 5 minutes into the video, that’s Zeos just waving his hands around in wonder for a bit ;D (Also, I think youtube silenced the video at that spot for copywrited music) skip ahead a little to get back to the talking part.

Here’s a decent inexpensive little amp you could pair with them.

  • Douk Audio makes some wacky stuff, but some of it is acceptable quality despite it’s pricing.

Here’s an unboxing and short sound review for it (no talking, just showing whats in the box with an audio test.)

You’ll need some banana plugs to go with it to connect up the speakers, or you could just use bare speaker wire runs. You may also need a longer 3.5mm aux audio cable to run to your PC’s soundcard output. Or you could just use Bluetooth 5.0 adapter to send audio from your PC to the amp. This also has a headphone output and not a terrible layout for a basic desktop amplifier.

And finally, here is a DMS review for the Modhouse Mini cubes.

But if you don’t have a speaker amp already, then the added cost to get this going might not be worth it for you.

1 Like

I am stupid lol. Thanks again for the super detailed info, I seriously appreciate it.

1 Like

Happy to help! You will likely be bombarded by a lot of smaller speakers, but many of them will be of poor quality. I also really liked the idea of putting up small shelves just above your monitors on either side to put the speakers on. You can pick up L-brackets pretty cheaply, and then all you would need are a few screws and some wood to make basic shelves from. That would help you a lot with the size limitation.

You can also put the speakers behind the monitors (and don’t be afraid to lay the speakers on their sides if you have to). I also suggest getting some thin foam padding to put under the speakers to eliminate vibration. And angle them toward your head for best results. Zeos goes over this in one of the videos I linked (I think) - basically, sit at your desk, reach your arms out and angle and position the speakers to where they sound best for your seated position, then find ways to mount them in those positions more long-term.

1 Like

I was honestly quite blown away by what a huge difference it made to pick my speakers up off the desk, and have them ride at ear height. If you do nothing else, however small a speaker you end up with, give them a shot at ear height some time, with just enough “toe in” angle to point them at your head - even if you just end up hanging them with like that tacky gum/putty or Velcro for a very temporary tryout.

3 Likes

Overnight Prime shipping for the win. (Ignore the monitor and keyboard to the left, that’s my work computer.)

The MR4 are a bit larger than I was hoping, but I was able to fit them. Starting to agree that some elevation of any kind would be a good idea. While shelves would probably be the best, would some sort of pillars do the trick as well?

Edit: On second thought, I can’t find any kind of desk stands that would work for the speakers. Shelves it is lol.

1 Like

when you elevate them, the advice I was given was to set the center of the tweeter at the same level as the entry to your ears - it is the tweeter which sends the frequencies that are more position critical, while the woofer has a wider cone and is also less positionally critical.

2 Likes

You can use literally anything to stack under them to bring the tweeter close-to-or-at ear level, just try avoiding anything that will transmit vibrations; you want your “stands” to be inert as possible (within reason).

2 Likes

Oooo, I didn’t notice the triple monitor hiding on the side there. It’s nice that you posted back. =)

Shelving would likely work best, but if you are planning on going with a monitor arm (*arms) eventually, then you may not need to do shelves because the height of your monitors is going to change anyway when you get the arms attached. So take that into account when you are setting up the shelving.

Here are a couple of audio related life-hacks for you :wink: (if you ever need them - this is useful information to have.)

Yes - you are about to watch Zeos review Yoga blocks. Enjoy!

(timestamped to 7:38 into this video)

Don’t underestimate yoga mats and foam yoga blocks! Speaker stands for 8 bucks ? And the yoga mats are pretty cheap too, I bought one and They are great for cutting out custom shapes to set speakers on. These work surprisingly well too, and are cheap enough to fit any bank.

1 Like

One more thing about speakers… it’s very difficult to get smaller speakers for desks and still have great sound.

It’s the trifecta of tiny. You can’t get them all at the same time.

  • (cheap, small, or quality sound - you can only pick two!)

Something’s got to give - either you go smaller and sacrifice sound reproduction capability - or you pay (a lot) more to keep capability and go small - or you go small and pay the same and lose sound quality.

That was why I showed you a range, the Vanatoo Transparent Zero’s were the smallest of the easy choices that did not require a separate amplifier to run - but they were also the most expensive for a reason, because I was unwilling to sacrifice audio quality.

I was doing my best not to sacrifice sound quality with every option, and the budget is what I sacrificed with those other choices (as you could see by the steadily rising pricing). In some ways it was me being a tad selfish, because I enjoy trying to help people get good quality audio, so we sacrificed size a tiny bit to get you the best quality speakers I could within your budget.

If nothing else, those speakers should sound very good for that price. And if you are unhappy with how they turn out, you have 30 days (more around the holidays) to make up your mind, and if you are unhappy, you can easily return them to amazon, no money lost =)

1 Like

I’m still kinda exploring more options, and I’ve stumbled on stuff like the Klipsch Pro Media 2.1. It comes with 2 small speakers and then a big ol’ subwoofer you can put on the floor in a corner. Klipsch seems to be a respected brand, and I can find them on Walmart for $108, cheaper than the MR4. Honestly I’m starting to wonder if this stuff is worth it at all (buyers remorse hit me like a truck lol). I would really be only using the speakers for when friends are over, and the occasional time I watch videos and shows if I’m not using headphones. Listening to music, and well 99% of the time I am at my computer, I use my HD 6XXs. So now I don’t really know if it is worth the money if I will be rarely using them, even if they are very good and look nice.
I know I won’t be really getting that great of audio quality, but it might just be more worth for me to go for the cheaper and small route, even something like the Logitech Z207. In the future though, I can go all out once I hopefully get my own home and what not.
Also, I am know far more knowledgeable in yoga blocks, which I didn’t know I needed. But I’m glad I do now.

Another way to go is look at the used market around here. This guy for example was offering to sell you that other system too. Of course, do your research on whatever you end up considering. I have not heard the PreMedia 2.1 myself, so I can’t speak much to that. One nice thing about amazon though is the return policy, so you can try things out through them without losing money on it.

2 Likes