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Powered 2.0/2.1 consumer ultra near-field PC speakers with no audible idle hiss 2024

scrubb

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Vanatoo Transparent Zero are my everyday desktop speakers. They are completely quiet. They have multiple connection options and built-in DAC. My set-up is probably unique. I have them attached to mini camera tripod stands to raise them about 10-inches from the desktop. I think it sounds better this way. I also added a cheap Polk 8-inch subwoofer which sits on the floor to the left of the desk to provide a little extra low end.

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Ellebob

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We just ordered the LP-UNF at work. I will take a pair home for testing when we get them in.

I do think the IN-UNF can be difficult to place, too bad it didn't work for your room. I didn't like it it my family room but that is not its application in fairness. I also didn't like it in the horizontal position with monitor on top of it. With the bass unit behind the monitor I was able to get a good response. The spheres have a great midrange. Unfortunately they crossover at ~280hz, wouldn't be good for satellites alone. If they could make a slightly larger sphere or one that can go lower that would be awesome. I do like the look of them on the desk.
 

equinox

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I also had the same issue with the LSXII and returned two pairs in total.

Did not find an alternative which ticks all the same boxes as the KEF, but without the hiss.
 

rirelien

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Adding a vote for an obscure active: Abacus C-Box 3 and 4. I run these and they aee very quiet. I can hear a very very low level of what sounds a bit like AC hum within a cm of the drivers, when it’s quiet outside eg late at night. Just tried now and can’t hear until my ear is nearly touching the drivers. No high freq hiss.

This is with the gain turned to max.Applies whether used with an SMSL DAC orthe cheapie Apple USB-C dongle DAC.

A data point and not definitive since I suspect we vary widely in sensitivity to this issue, not to mention hearing ability. I have no way to measure this level unfortunately, as i would need a very low noise floor calibrated mic setup.
 

equinox

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Looked into the Abacus and i really like them and the company. However, it has physical knobs and missing everything i love with the KEF or PSB like setting a max volume per source, Airplay, USB-C etc.


That's actually a shame, because the company seems to have made everything right in the audio/amp department.
 

rirelien

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Yes, they’re firmly analogue. I have two outboard boxes to feed them (source incl streaming and DAC) and way more cables than a KEF setup.

i got them partly for the very low self-noise/hiss and partly for their incredible low frequency extension at the low volumes in the small room I use. Down to low 30s, helped by room gain. So much so that a massive room mode at 47hz has to be tamed with EQ or Dirac (no room for room treatment in that region.)
 

Rhodo

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Those Abacus do look neat, is there a north american retailer for them?

My own journey for a hiss free desktop setup has veered away from active speakers entirely for now. Currently quite happy with some cheap passive speakers hooked up to a new low watt amp, it's dead silent in this arrangement even putting my ear against a speaker. Now I get to obsess over which compact passive speakers would be ideal....
 

rirelien

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Not sure on NA retailer but I very much doubt it.

The good news is that you now have a LOT of choices. Or is that bad news...?
 

Dreamslayer

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Last year I settled on Kali LP-6v2 speakers with the Topping D10 Balanced for my son's desktop PC. They work fine. This year, I am trying to upgrade my daughter's PC environment.

What powered 2.0/2.1 consumer ultra near-field PC speakers can you recommend, with no audible idle hiss, in 2024?

The desk is too small to accommodate the Kali LP-6v2 speakers, or any other speakers of comparable size.

There was (and still is) a winter sale on the KEF LSX II speakers, so I picked up some. Regrettably they are a big disappointment. Despite the sale price, the audible idle hiss is not tolerable. I listened and measured at the listening position of about 2 ft (60 cm) and the idle hiss is quite noticeable. Additionally, I found that all the KEF Connect stuff is actually a bit confusing and unnecessary for the use case.

The KEF LSX II speakers were $999 so I feel that up to $999 including DAC is a reasonable budget max. Subwoofer optional.

The laptop currently being used is a ~2019 Lenovo IdeaPad S340-15APITouch, which only has USB 3.0 5Gbps ports. No optical out, no Thunderbolt. This eliminates the utility of any optical input ports on speakers such as the Kali Project Mammoth MM-6 (which also are too big anyway).

Ideally I would like 24-bit/192kHz support, but can live with 24-bit/96kHz.

The Kali IN-UHF seems good in theory, but it only does 24-bit/48kHz (thus a USB to balanced audio DAC would be required, if the internal electronics don't downsample the XLR input to 48kHz), and reviews are a little mixed. Once you see the desk setup, you will also that placement of the IN-UHF bass unit is going to be an issue.

I would consider the Neumann KH 80 DSP A, but at $1099 for a pair they are out of budget. (Even at $999 they are out of budget when the DAC is added.)

I am currently looking at the Vanatoo Transparent Zero+ (probably going to skip the Vanatoo Transparent One Encore), but there are other choices out there...

Thanks!

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Since you ruled out usb and optical, I suspect the LSX speakers are faithfully and accurately reproducing your laptop's inherent system noise via the analog input.

Perhaps get a $20 usb to optical adapter from Amazon and see if you still hear the noise.
 

Rhodo

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The good news is that you now have a LOT of choices. Or is that bad news...?
My journey may never end, a pro and a con... :x

I've got myself on the list for some Philharmonic Audio True Minis when they come back in stock, sort of a shot in the dark but all their other speakers seem to be very very well received and the Mini seems to be of the same pedigree. Ascend Acoustics Luna V2 Mini-monitors also are very interesting but from what info is out there they seem to still be dialing in the performance. They are also much much more expensive.... Super tiny though! I think they're the smallest speaker on my short list of potential buys.

Now that they're amped properly these inexpensive Micca speakers I bought as a stopgap are honestly turning it out pretty well! Once I've got something else maybe I should send them in for testing, these ones (the OoOs) aren't in the database yet.
 

Rhodo

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Oh and on the subject of hisses, I've found now that subwoofer low/highpass filter passthroughs can also add in line noise even if everything else is silent. Went through a couple that added hiss, had two that didn't add any though: the Yamaha HS8S and the (cheap!) Presonus Sub8BT. Although the Yamaha I got added no noise it might have been broken on the actually being a sub part, made a lot of sound between about 45-50hz and not much of anything else at all. The Presonus is a bit uneven volume wise too but it's not nearly so extreme, a little EQ fixed it nicely, and no hiss at all when using the line passthrough and filter!
 

roladyzator

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Adding the new Kali LP-UNF to the thread, now that Erin has published the Klippel NFS measurements.
 
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