Is this a good deal?

Discussion in 'AV Equipment Advice and Pricing' started by GFOviedo, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. GFOviedo

    GFOviedo Senior Member
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    My wife and I have been complaining about our living room computer not being loud enough for us to listen to music, videos or live sessions for our online classes. So, I was going to go ahead and buy a pair of computer speakers. I stopped, and I started doing some research about power monitor speakers. So, I ended up finding a pair of Sterling Audio MX5 for $69.99. I also went ahead and started doing some research on inexpensive DAC's. I looked in the classified sections of AVS, AV NIRVANA, Polk Audio, Emotiva, audioholics, but every DAC was well over $300. SO, I went on amazon and got a Prozor Digital to Analog Converted for $22 dollars. All in all, I have spent less than $100 dollars for this set up, which I am sure will be much better than what we have now!

    Sterling Speakers
    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-...000?CJAID=10381297&CJPID=404255#productDetail

    Prozor DAC
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XDLCHY7/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    What you guys think? A good deal or nah?
     
    #1 GFOviedo, Mar 11, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  2. Tony V.

    Tony V. Moderator
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    For the intended use I thinks they will be fine. Never heard of Sterling as a brand but that does not mean they are junk.
     
  3. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
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    More than likely a cheap powered monitor will still be a good bit better than a typical computer speaker. I too have not heard of these speakers nor listened to them.

    I don't know anything about the DAC you bought or if its any good. For $22 it is probably passable.

    If you ever are looking for the best cheap DAC value, the SMSL iDea dac is great. It's measured performance is truly state of the art. It's very impressive.
    https://www.amazon.com/SMSL-IDEA-SA...UTF8&qid=1520872455&sr=8-1&keywords=SMSL+iDea
    I would happily put this in a high end system without concern of loss of fidelity and I would put it up against many higher end dacs in the $300-$1000 range. Once you get into the upper end of that range or higher the better dacs start to have better output stages.

    As for speakers, you might consider looking at some used options. Behringer's powered monitors measure well and sound decent and JBL's LS 305 is great for the money. They sell new for more than you are looking to spend, but if you can find a good used pair for under $150, they would probably be better than those Sterling's.
     
  4. ddude003

    ddude003 Active Member

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    I am wondering why you don't just stream from your computer to your home theatre pre/pro via wifi, ethernet, or hdmi???
     
  5. GFOviedo

    GFOviedo Senior Member
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    I do. I’ve got a dedicated 5.1 HT, with a HTPC and 42 TB UnRaid server. Our living room PC is mainly used for our university online meetings, which has a camera. The main issue was sound since the speakers from the monitor screen do not get very loud.
     
  6. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
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    I think your plans will be fine. You really didn’t even need the dac as the headphone out of the computer would have been fine too for this. None less I think what you have planned will work. If anything it’s overkill, but since when is that bad.

    My guess is that he Sterling is actually a copy of a well engineered product. While not always true, many of these products turn out to be Chinese built ripoffs of established products that were reverse engineered. I’ve been able to look at some such products and while the parts quality is often a good step down, the performance is often impressive.

    Behringer made a monitor series based off a Mackie monitor. It measures better than the original. Even it’s drivers are good quality for the price.

    I can’t promise that is true with this but if they sound too bad you can probably send them back. I don’t know if a cheaper similar option that I know is good other than to look used.
     
  7. GFOviedo

    GFOviedo Senior Member
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    Matthew,

    I agree. I didn’t want to spend too much on his set up since it’s mainly for school purposes and may be the occasional listening to a song. We mainly use our living room HT to listen to Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, Amazon Music or YouTube.

    I will post back with pics and a quick review once I get it all set up.
     
  8. GFOviedo

    GFOviedo Senior Member
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    Too bad I’ve got to go to work right now!!!!
     

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  9. mechman

    mechman Senior Admin
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    Give us your impressions when you get it setup. :T
     
  10. GFOviedo

    GFOviedo Senior Member
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    I’m having issues with my PV SPDFI not working. For some reason or another it isn’t recognized when I plug in the cable to it. I’ve updated drivers, checked BIOS, call HP customer service and even Google possible solutions and nothing. My PC is pretty old so it might be defective.
     
  11. mechman

    mechman Senior Admin
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    That’s not good!
     
  12. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
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    Does your computer have a headphone or analogue out? Try that to get the speakers working.

    If you can't use that dac, any cheap USB soundcard will work. Sorry to hear you are having problems.
     
  13. GFOviedo

    GFOviedo Senior Member
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    After testing the speakers with my AVR it appears one of them is defective. I’m sending them back. My wife also didn’t like how big the speakers were. So I’m going to buy something smaller for it. I guess it was a little over kill lol.
     
  14. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
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    Hah yes they are overkill. You may want to look at a 3” model instead.

    Another option you may like is the new Dayton MK402 and a small amplifier. Dayton has numerous inexpensive models that should work. They are very small but sound decent for the money. With a computer you can apply eq to improve their sound at no cost.
     
  15. GFOviedo

    GFOviedo Senior Member
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    Yeah, I am going to look into something small possibly 3", but self powered. I don't have much room to fit other equipment on the desk. I've been looking into possibly just adding a sound bar under the monitor.
     
  16. GFOviedo

    GFOviedo Senior Member
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    I've been thinking of possibly adding a sound bar instead, but I need selfpowered speakers since I don't have much room on the desk.
     
  17. GFOviedo

    GFOviedo Senior Member
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    So I went to my local Guitar Center store, and I’ve learned the Sterling brand is their generic brand. I tested the Sterling MX3 at the store, and they sounded pretty good for $79.99. Plus it came with extra wires and hookups so I do not need to use a DAC.
    I just left the store and going home now to test them out.
     
  18. GFOviedo

    GFOviedo Senior Member
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    Here it is. Sounds decent and happy with it. It sounds a little boomy with some songs. Otherwise, the tweeter it warm and neutral similar to my Chane speakers.
     

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  19. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
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    Cool.

    If you feel like fiddling, you can try using Equalizer APO as its free. Even if you can't take measurements, you can still use the APO and just add a shelf filter to turn the bass down a little.

    If you can take measurements, you can probably knock down the resonance that is causing that boominess. It may seem like overkill but the Equalizer is free and if you have REW and a mic, why not.
     
  20. GFOviedo

    GFOviedo Senior Member
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    Thank you for the suggestion. I will give it a try. I do have a usb calibrated microphone and a laptop to try REW.
     
  21. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
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    Well let’s see some measurements!

    I think you will be impressed with the improvement in the bass if you use the EQ from some mic measurements.
     

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