Best Computer Speakers - Need Help

I'm an avid computer user. I have a dual 19" LCD monitor display, a soundblaster Audigy 2, an ATI All-In-Wonder TV tuner card, and currently a Cambridge Soundworks 215 - 8" subwoofer with integrated BASH amp for the speakers (60 watts x 2) and sub (150 watts) using Cambridge Soundworks Newton M50 speakers for a total of 270 watts. I listen to DVD-audio, CD audio, TV, radio, and mp3's alike on my computer. I have the speakers hooked up to the sub-amp using some cheap Monster XPMS wire with Monster Quick Lock Flexipin connectors. The main limitation of the speakers is that my wire connecting the source to the sub-amp is just a standard 1/8" miniplug to my soundcard.

My biggest problem, right now, is the setup of my speakers. The sub is underneath my desk by my feet and completely surrounded by the 3 walls of my desk (3 feet width, 2 feet depth, and 2 1/2 feet height). The speakers are placed in a horrible location on top of the bookshelf on my desk. The speakers (when sitting down) sit at the height of the top of my head. The left speaker is about centered to my head, wile the right speaker is about 2 feet to the right of the left speaker.

I'm on a quest to get the best possible sound from my computer within reason. I've actually debated upgrading the 5 1/4" woofered 2-way M50's to Ascend Acoustic CBM-170's. My main reasoning is that I've heard the 6 1/2" woofer of the CBM-170's can accomodate the bulk of the music (down to the lowest note of a bass guitar) without reverting to my rather weak and ill-placed sub.

So my main question is can a 6 1/2" woofered bookshelf vs. a 5 1/4" woofered bookshelf speaker make a considerable difference? And would it even be worth upgrading to the CBM-170's considering all the above-mentioned weaknesses of the rest of the system?
I would start by eliminating anything described as "computer speakers". Part of the mass downfall in the quality of reproduced music - in addition to the obvious culprit of MP-3 -- is the idea that you can get "great" "amazing" etc sound from a pair of $59 speakers at CompUSA. You cant.

Once you get past that hurdle, you can pretty much have whatever you like and only the sky is the limit.

For a nearfield application like sitting at your desk in front of a screen, you might also consider powered studio monitors. Then, you could run a line level out from a good sound card straight into the speakers.

There are many manufacturers in this space. For sitting on top of my piano, I have a pair of Genelec 1029 A's (?) which have an amazing amount of punch and detail in a nearfield set up and they are built like tanks.

Good luck.
As much as I like the Ascend Acoustics 170 and it was the first thing to pop into my head for your nearfield situation. The 170 is not going to do the bottom octave of a bass guitar very well. It is down ~10dB at 30-40hz. Here are the measurements. Call Dave Frabrikant at Ascend and discuss it with him. He does sell a lot of 170s for use as studio monitors due to their flat response.
Well you certainly are facing some imaging problems with those above speakers aren't you.
I don't know what these speakers cost that are mentioned here and don't know your budget but you could all but eliminate that sub and the amp by getting a pair of Powered Mackie monitors.I have the one with 8 inch woofer(HR824) but they also have one that is a 6" woofer design as well (HR624).The HR824 is a studio monitor and due to the passive rear 12"oval woofer the monitor is able to reach down to 20HZ.The bass is never boomy and these speakers sound very nice to me and are used in many studios.I picked mine up used for $900 and the HR624's could probably be had for around $600 a pair used or so i am guessing.I also watch alot of DVD's at my computer with the 20" LCD and i feel like i am at a tiny theater due to the great sound.I also have dead center imaging going on however which is a biggie probably but still they sound fantastic to these ears.
Find some Monsoon flat panel speakers (disc) on Ebay or Audiogon
and call it a day - they will do the job and then some.
Try the FPS-200 2.1 system. Very detailed, smooth and spacious--not recommended for inveterate, hip-hop, thumpa-thumpa music, though.
I guess I wasn't clear on my speakers. They weren't originally intended as computer speakers by the manufacturer. They're a 2.1 setup that has 2 line inputs and a digital input. The bookshelfs are M50's can be found on and the subwoofer is a Cambridge Soundworks Basscube 821. I don't believe there are any crossovers in the system, so I think simply replacing the bookshelf speakers but keeping the 8" sub may conceivably work without affecting the balance too much. According to several reviews, the m50's are a pretty good value for the money. They're listed at $229.00 a pair, and the sub with integrated amp is about $170.00. I primarily purchased them because there was an e-bay deal for B-stocks at $230.00 for the set.

Main question again is: Is a 2-way bookshelf speaker with a 6 1/2" woofer considerably better sounding than a 2-way bookshelf speaker with a 5 1/4" woofer? The sub will still be in the set regardless, and is listed to handle down to 32 Hz.

Their was a bit of a cult like buzz on the Monsoon speakers, I think after they were reviewed in one of the high end audio journals.

Despite this praise, the company went out of business or moved on to automotive markets or something, so I went into a bit of a frenzy buying a few pairs on ebay.

They sound pretty good for < $100 but I wouldnt say the subwoofer is very good.

Also there are several different models of the Monsoon panel -- which one are you referring to?


I would still stay away from "computer" speakers and just get the real thing - either audiophile gear or nearfield monitors.
Blue Sky Media System

The Audio Critic reviewed the MM1000 quite favorably, I already owned the model with four speakers and a sub and thought they were great --- Although I agree with you on the bass issue. I sold mine to purchase something else and if I ever needed computer speakers again I wouldn't hesitate to buy Monsoon again.

take care