Thursday, March 4, 2010

Speaker FAIL

No seriously. They failed. Meaning: "stopped working"... after a power outage two nights ago. They're the old Klipsch ProMedia 5.1 computer speakers that were discontinued 5 or so years ago... so not exactly under warranty... in fact they're so out of warranty, the model that replaced them has been discontinued for ages. I bought them almost 9 years ago when I spent more than I could really afford on a bleeding edge Falcon Northwest computer. As of yesterday morning, sound was no longer coming out of the satellites, but the power the control unit was fine, and headphones plugged into either the onboard sound or the control unit were great... after some troubleshooting and internet searching, I discovered that this appears to be a somewhat common problem with the BASH amp in the subwoofer. There's apparently a guy who will repair and upgrade the amp for around $120 (plus shipping?), but it doesn't seem all of his customers are pleased about the turnaround time. I presume any number of local electronics shops could perform a similar service, if not with as much experience. But then... how long until they fail again?

Another option is to abandon the whole "PC speakers with the amp in the subwoofer" concept, and go with separate components. A quick glance suggests I could get a reasonably well regarded home theater receiver for something on the order of $200-$300. Components obviously make upgrades and repairs easier, but I don't really want all those different pieces to be honest... I like having everything together in one package... that's the point of having a multimedia PC in the first place. I would be able to keep my satellites and probably get by fine without a subwoofer or an amplifier, but the satellites are the cheapest part of the package, so it's not really all that enticing.

A third possibility would be going down to a 2.1 system, which would cost about the same as it would to repair my ProMedia's amp and save some space and wiring. I live in a small Cambridge apartment in a building of professionals who need to get up in the morning... so it's not like I need a system that can really crank it... but I really like 5.1 when I'm watching a movie. While I've heard good things about I fear I would be really disappointed with the performance and then somehow end up with three sets of speakers.

Ultimately I've decided to just spend $400 again to get the 500W 5.1 Logitech system... and just hope I can get another 9 years out of a different high end computer speaker system. I guess I'll just give away the Klipsch ProMedia with the warning that you'll have to fix the amp to get it to work... since fixing it and selling it doesn't sound like it would net me any/much money.

Won't get here until Monday though, so I have a weekend (with Anna visiting her mother naturally) of using headphones to play games and movies ahead of me.


  1. I bought a lovely pair of Klipsch 2.1 speakers about 8.5 years ago, and just this week I noticed that I'm not hearing anything from the subwoofer. There may have been some sort of nationwide anti-Klipsch wave.

  2. Well, I don't know about you, but 2 anecdotes is enough for me to declare a Suicide Chip Conspiracy!

    Despite the failure I'd buy Klipsch again if they still did 5.1 for PCs, but alas...