$250 Computer Sound

Recently the crappy speakers my computer came with bought the farm, and now I'm in the market for new ones. I know computer speakers (especially cheap ones) are notoriously crappy, but as a teenager with little income I'm just not willing to spend more than about $250 for a complete audio solution.
I've read up on this stuff for a few days and it seems like there are a few tears of PC-audio. Bottom of the barrel are the <$80 computer speakers. Then there are a few speaker systems in the $90-$180 range that cater to people who want "good" audio from a computer but still don't really approach mid-fi quality. Then, apparently one could get decent audio from a computer by using external amplifiers with mid or hi-fi monitors and eschewing the crappy "multimedia" speakers usually passed off on computer users. Is it possible that I could put together a decent system like that for under two or three hundred dollars?

I think the answer is going to be no, so my next question is which of the $90-$180 2.1 computer speakers is the best? I know they all suck relative to the stuff talked about here, but please humor me. The Altec Lansing 621's can be had for around $100. Is the %70 price increase upgrading to Klipsch Promedia 2.1's (at $170) going to yield a comperable performance increase? These two systems look like my top choices. Anybody have suggestions? Thanks.
Hey and easy question. ;-)

I have the Mosoon mm-1000, and they are just awesome for what they do. Audio Critic magazine called them 'near perfect' or something, they are mini planars for your desk. I paid $120 or something. They are discontinued, but the new models should still be good.

take a look here:


(I think you can get them cheap from buy.com.)

My friend has the Klipsch and if you go that way they are much much better than the Altec.


I will humor you - try this for a change.
Now I don't know if this exact model has an input, but I've seen some from the same series that did. A friend of mine (also student) got one of these. I was pleasantly surprised with the sound - of course, considering the price. Shop around - I've seen some models (some with inputs for an external source) at Sears, for instance. There are many units sharing this design with orange lights and MDF boxes, and the more expensive ones ~$300 sound decent (again, for the money). Better than most computer speakers, but I repeat, for this price, don't expect any miracles.
If you want to stick with PC gear, Klipsch makes some reasonable sounding sat/sub combos (seen@CompUSA).
I've also heard good things about the Monsoon.

Going with hi-fi speakers and amplifiers would possibly be the best from a sonic perspective. There's a lot of good, cheap, used equipment out there. However, it might take careful shopping and some time to get a good package for $250 or less. But, it might be worth it. For example, AMC had a amp once that allowed one to mix inputs (so you can use it for a CD player and a computer at once). I never heard it, but I bet that it would sound better than many/most/maybe even all computer speaker amps. As for speakers, you'd need something that could be used "near field."

I also wonder if headphones (possibly with a good amp) wouldn't be a good buy. They would give good sound, and could be used in other applications.
The very best is the Acoustic Energy EVO1, but at around 600, it is out of your price range. You might be able to find some used. Cheers!
My son bought the Logitech surrounds (4) and a sub for $200.I have been very surprised by the quality of the sound.
I ditto what Nikturner920 mentioned about Monsoon Audio. I have owned the MM-700s for over 3 years and I have played the hell out of them. They have good size sub, planar technology (somewhat directional sound -need to find the sweetspot). and they are made in Canada (at least back then). I have seen Monsoon Audio advertise on eBay before for new old stock units. The newer sub $100 Monsoons are not worth trying. You really want the MM-1000 or MM-2000.
I just hooked up a new computer sound system using the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 Platinum and Monsoon PlanarMedia 14 speakers. The speakers were $140 and the card $175. The Monsoons sound great. The midrange is clean and open, good extension in to the high range, and they even image well. The sub will need a little work in placement, but I've only had the system for two days. Give the planars about 24 hrs breakin. These speakers sound great at low typical listening levels, but they sound even better cranked.

This combo is vastly superior to minisystems such as the Denon DM series, which I have in my baby girl's room. I probably will throw a PC based system using Monsoons up there and tie it into the home network and just use wave files on the server instead of a CD player.
I have the Promedia 5.1's which are incredible, but also know that the 2.1's sound utterly fantastic for they're price. Id recommend these over anything else, Logitech, Monsoon's or Altecs cause i know from listening that they're better
nOrh has a new Soundcard that is suppose to best anything out there.M-Audio Revolution 7.1 card or the M-Audio Sonica Theater PCI version,read the second paragraph from their news page and there is a pic of the HT card down the page.Klaus of Odessy bought one so he was impressed with it.