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speaker upgrade for turntable

AverageCatDaddy

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Hello all,

I'd love some ideas and tips from people with experience and insight in audio on the speaker upgrade.

I recently got a turntable - AudioTechnica LP-120X-USB (built-in pre-amp) -> RCA out.
Connected it to already owned active speakers - Creative Labs Gigaworks T40 Series II using 3.5mm audio jack.
Despite official product descriptions, speakers do NOT have explicit RCA inputs, only 3.5mm jack and come bundled with short cable convertor.

Let's assume the turntable is there to stay "forever" and be a sort of quality reference level / roof for the whole "audio system". There might a turntable cartridge upgrate later if needed, but no plan so far to go down the hifi hole... :)

My main question is, whether it is possible to upgrade the speakers and get noticably better sound with the budget ideally up to 150-250 euro (170-280 USD) in total.

Regarding my expectations/ambitiousness on sound quality - when i tried the NPR lossless/compressed audio test that has a topic running someplace on this forum, i could NOT hear any difference for lossless vs mp3 with my Dragonfly Red USB amp and Grado SR80e headphones - not sure if problem with my ears or too low-fi hardware...

Would it make more sense to take active speakers or passive speakers with some small (presumably class-d) amp?
Aim is to get better sound compared to current directly fed T40's within the budget. Intended listening at mid/not too loud volume (neighbors behind the bookcase wall as well as floor below).

I briefly looked at reviews of e.g. actives like Edifier R1280DBs, but comparison videos on youtube make it feel like not sufficient difference/upgrade (from T40's) to justify cost.
Also have read and looked into amps like Aiyima a07, possibly to be paired with some entry level speakers? Dali Spektor 1, Polk TT15, etc. - would the amp have sufficient power to feed these?

Room dimensions and rough positioning (tt/speakers in reddish color) that is almost not possible to be modified/moved around - 6x3 meters (20x10 ft):

room-speakers.png


Currently the "system" is placed on top of a higlighted bookcase - dimensions are 150 x 150 x 40 centimeters wide/tall/deep (5x5x1.33 ft).
TV table is too high to fit speakers "below" the TV.

Is some model explicitly worse/better due to speakers being placed a bit too high (top of 5' bookcase)?
Would the better/usable to position it approx. 1-2 feet off the ground (+- knee to belt high inside bookshelf)?

Not sure if my described positioning affects which models to (not) choose e.g. from listed in forum with recommended passive/active speakers on US market here in forum (regardless of me shopping in EU)...

Music listened to is mainly rock, classical, a bit of symphonic/power/speed metal, no electro or dead-heavy bass "styles".

Thanks a lot for opinions/tips/warnings...
 
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anmpr1

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My main question is, whether it is possible to upgrade the speakers and get noticably better sound with the budget ideally up to 150-250 euro (170-280 USD) in total.
I really pity anyone looking to compare loudspeakers, these days. I don't know how it is where you live, but in my area (and a lot of places) the ability of going to a home audio retailer and comparing a lot of speakers is getting more difficult, day by day. Brick and mortars have closed left and right. Very sad situation.

Since you are considering small, two-way type powered monitors, then there might be a solution. I take it you are in Europe? In the US most places have a 'guitar store' that features a pro recording section. These places generally have a decent selection of powered monitor speakers at different price points, that you can compare. Any of them will sound a little different in your room, but you can generally get a good idea of the basic sonic signature at the store. In my area, our local 'guitar store' will allow you to return speakers for an exchange, or money back.

If that is not an option, then read the self-powered monitor reviews at ASR. Find out if there is something you might want to check out, and then see if you can locate a mail order dealer that will ship a set to you for a demo. You might have to pay return shipping. At the lower end of the scale, I think most folks would say that JBL powered monitors generally represent good value, but YMMV.
 

Chrispy

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Adam, JBL and Kali come to mind before Creative Labs or Edifiers.
 
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AverageCatDaddy

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thank you all for tips on both process & specific models, i've been investigating primarily passive models before, but active ones do have a bit more appeal for my use-case...

I've previously excluded "monitor" category due to mentions of bit more "sterile" sound here and there on various blogposts/forum threads, thus missing these models mentioned above.

I will have a look on local shops with potential live tests... (despite my budget category being quite low-fi, some might have also such beginner models).
 
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AverageCatDaddy

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erm, watching/reading some reviews, suggested JBL/Adam monitors seem a bit of mismatch for listening to music, due to gain controls being on the back... i cannot really imagine adjusting volume of music blindly reaching and trying to hit the same spot on two independent speakers placed near the wall / on top of a bookshelf...
 
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AnalogSteph

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These generally are only adjusted once, when setting the speakers up. Afterwards, volume is controlled via the source - audio interfaces generally have a prominent monitor volume knob, those on internal cards or onboard audio will have software control, and you can actually buy dedicated monitor controllers for volume control as well (at the same exact stores that also carry the speakers). If you need to precisely volume-match two speakers, play pink noise where the right channel is a copy of the left channel but with inverted phase, and place speakers face to face.

Unless you literally have so many records that you don't know where to start, live vinyl playback in this day and age is a bit silly. Part of what differentiates a fancy turntable from a more basic one is susceptibility to acoustic feedback, so if feasible I would be aiming to be playing vinyl rips. I'm assuming the USB audio integrated into the AT-LP120X won't be anything particularly exciting, but then again we used to get decent enough rips with CS4231 based ISA soundcards 20+ years ago that I don't think were any better... use 16/48 and hope for the best, I guess.
 
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AverageCatDaddy

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Regarding speaker gain -> true, though as described in OP, there is no extra audio interface in my use-case, just tt -> speakers (or amp as one of upgrade options, though that would discard suggested active speakers).

Ad your vinyl arguments - all reasonable and valid. We got to vinyl at home exactly because of the "disadvantages", as weird/insane it may sound.
Nostalgia (yeah that cursed thing happens to 35+ people too), the tiny crackling when playing the record/putting down the needle, the need to spend "tons of seconds" to get the record out, remove dust if any, set the arm, all that stuff :)

I'm starting from 0 records in supply, but very enthusiastic with every piece added. Getting an "abstract" mp3/flac does not give me same feel as stumbling upon dirty 30cent record in the box at second-hand music/bookstore. Or twitching when considering that damn 40$ new piece that would be sooo nice to have, despite having the digital files for many years already. :p

I assume the hi-fi quality is not the primary goal for my use, but i'd like to have some "better" speakers if possible within budget compared to the "PC" speakers i use for now. I may end up with some active 2.0 "set" with remote control or side knob. Still doing the research, and thanks to all the given tips not only for models but commons/processes...
 
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