Check out the active studio monitors on Amazon and decide from there.
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The volume knob on the Audioengine A2 speakers is on the back. This isn't ideal. I don't find it to be a huge issue, but certainly understand why some might. It depends on if you plan to use the volume control on your source ( I.e. Computer) or will need to adjust the speakers all the time.
I switched the speakers left and right to get the knob on the inside of the back where it could be reached. I also swapped the RCA inputs to restore the stereo sound.
How about Rokit? Anybody heard them?"
That's KRK. The build quality is good but they seem to be geared towards music like Hip Hop. The sound is very bass and treble heavy. For other types of music, maybe try a different brand. I have some Tannoy's I bought just to try as computer speakers and they seem to be more well rounded.
I had a pair of Krk rockit 8's hooked up to my i phone via 3.5mm to Rca's. I was, therefore, using the dac in my i phone... this was NOT what I would any longer consider to be good sound. Bass and high treble are accentuated and there wasn't much inner detail or quality midrange.
I always wanted to try using them with a quality dac and xlr's... I imagine that would improve the sound by a good margin.
I've looked and looked for a good quality, self powered set up for awhile. I always come to the conclusion that I personally can find a better sounding setup via separate amp and speakers for the $, and there is more tun-ability this way.
However, brands to check out are Audioengine, krk, Adam, emotiva, genelec, mackie, dynaudio (xeo's sound really good), focal (solo 6 BE).
I had a pair of Krk rockit 8's hooked up to my i phone via 3.5mm to Rca's. I was, therefore, using the dac in my i phone... this was NOT what I would any longer consider to be good sound. Bass and high treble are accentuated and there wasn't much inner detail or quality midrange."
I think there's a good chance the poor SQ wasn't due to the speakers. About 6 months ago, I bought an iPod Nano. I put some loss less files on it and did some listening. I'm not sure why, but the thing sounded really bad. Going back and forth between the CD's I ripped for the iPod and the ripped files, there was a very big difference. Basically, I got the same results you did. I was playing the CD's on a 10 year old, run of the mill, Yamaha DVD player. Its nothing special, but it did sound way better than the iPod.
Chiming in late, I realize, but my two cents: I own Audioengine A2 and they sound really good. I have them hooked to a Squeezebox Touch, that has a good DAC section, and the sound from the A2 is surprisingly good (in the context of their price and size).
I have not experienced any volume knob issues. In my case, I set it to the level I want to listen at, and then use the digital volume control in the SBT when I need lower volume temporarily.
I will probably get another pair.