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Advice for PC Speaker Setup

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by jonathan1107, Jul 20, 2014.

  1. jonathan1107

    jonathan1107

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    Hi yall,

    I'm planning on changing my speaker setup for my PC.
    I use my speakers mainly for: Gaming, Movies and Music

    Right now I have a crappy 5.1 setup which does the job of giving me surround sound, but lately my center speaker started acting up forcing me to use a 4 speaker config instead of 5.1...
    so yeah... I gotta upgrade sometime soon.

    Money's NOT a problem. I wanna get Top quality speakers. Now here's the thing. I'd like to get something that can achieve great quality for both gaming, movies AND music...

    What do you guys think about a Stand alone PC kit (logitech Z series, Bose companion 5....)

    VS

    Home theater amplifier with speakers hooked up to it using my optical output on my PC soundcard?

    I'm using a Xonar DX soundcard btw
     
  2. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Forget PC speakers, get Hi-FI.

    I went with a Denon AVR-1613, Pioneer SB-21 bookshelf speakers and a Dayton 10" powered sub and it BLOWS away any PC speaker combo. The sky is the limit, there are $100k+ speakers out there.
     
  3. jonathan1107

    jonathan1107

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    any other suggestions?

    I'm opened to getting an HTIB type of setup... but I have to able to hook things up.
    I guess I can use the optical output from the soundcard to feed the amp of a HTiB kit. But I don't want any crappy sounding kits. I want stuff to sound absolutly amazing. Been a music teacher for 5 years so I wanna know the best options there are.

    Gimme details, I love details

    *** ALSO I'd like to know whether you think it'S better to get the exact same speakers for FRONT speakers and REAR speakers or should I get bigger fronts than backs ???
     
  4. Kursah

    Kursah

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    accessories4less.com is where I purchased my receiver...great place, authorized Denon Refurb seller. Mine has been FLAWLESS.
    http://www.accessories4less.com/mak...networking-receiver-w/airplay-3d-ready/1.html

    Pioneer SB21: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004MEWZE4/?tag=tec06d-20

    Dayton 10" Sub: http://www.parts-express.com/dayton-audio-sub-1000-10-100-watt-powered-subwoofer--300-628

    I created a couple lenghty threads in this section of TPU if you care to dig for them. :toast:

    EDIT... sorry you posted before I did.

    Well I use digital from my Auzen so I can use the X-Fi EQ.

    Really, you need to go to AVSforums and maybe Head-Fi if you want higher quality audio hardware recommendations. Spend some time researching options, set what your goals are. If you're a music teacher of 5 years, why get a HTiB kit? Why not piece something together and obtain better sound? My Pioneer's sound MUCH better than many HTiB kit speakers...and you can get a center and matching sub and there's a new generation that's even better, they also have floor standers in both 21 and 22 models.

    There's a lot of options, research and build it yourself IMHO. If you are wanting the audio to sound really good...a prefab kit might disappoint. Not that they're bad but you can do better with your money imho.
     
  5. jonathan1107

    jonathan1107

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    I would like to Dig yes, I like getting more info,
    any LINK ?
     
  6. dr0thegreatest

    dr0thegreatest

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    Hifi systems are indeed amazing, d as to PC speakers, honestly your best off checking whats available./ get your hands on and then check reviews for it before dropping the cash
    '
     
  7. AsRock

    AsRock TPU addict

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    Screw bookshelf get some Totems unless you want to cut down on the price some then bookshelf Totems are expensive but they sound really nice.. And if you do have some bookshelf speakers i would go BIC for a sub as the bass is pretty tight on the $250+ subs.

    Really you need to get in to some Hi Fi shops asking on forums only gives some idea but will never get your full moneys worth as every ones ears are different. And depending on what your in to music wise will depend on speakers too not to sure about AV's these day's.

    A friend of mine used to like a Poineer amp and i thought it was way to much on the top end and lacking bass but he loved it..

    Having the option in getting a new AV i would go for a SONY, Kenwood or YAMAHA but still i would shop around 1st in brick and morter shops and wait close to when a new range is coming out as they sell the last range typically a lot cheaper.
     
  8. Jetster

    Jetster

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    You need to set a budget. You can easily spend thousands on a system. Also you don't need a sound card. HDMI is the way. Although I'm not sure its effect on monitor response with gaming or if it effects it at all. Optical is outdated. Also if you can avoid the all in one type set up I would

    Talk to Bumblebee when you decide on a budget as far as bang for buck is concerned
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
    timta2 says thanks.
  9. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    Go AVR with speakers. I went with a Yamaha RX-V371 and Jamo 5.1 speaker and sub set. Cost me $480 total and was well worth it. Had Creative S700s before that which ran $317 at Newegg. It was a powerful PC speaker set with tight 8" sub, but there were HUGE gaps between the 2.5" mids and the sub. The new set blends much better.

    The sound card is still useful though even if you just use it for pass through because that way you can get Dolby Digital 5.1 from games. Some AVRs support LPCM pass through from your GPU's HDMI out, but game audio is compressed so it isn't fully utilized, and sometimes 5.1 HDMI audio out for gaming either doesn't work at all, or has problems with channel positioning.

    If you decide to go with another PC speaker set hooked up to your sound card's analog outs, make SURE it's not your center channel jack on the sound card that went out first. Twist and wiggle it while sound sound is playing to test.

    It's all about budget though, and HTiB setups can be deceiving as far as what you get for what you pay, usually in the disappointing sense. The SP Andrew Jones series of Pioneer speakers sound pretty good and often go on sale, such as their floor standing units for half price ($130 for the pair vs single). When the sub and front units are on sale you can get the whole 5.1 kit for $450 or so.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=pioneer speakers&N=-1&isNodeId=1
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
    jonathan1107 says thanks.
  10. alwayssts

    alwayssts

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    +1.

    Glad to see another Denon guy. It's certainly true there are different types of equipment for different people, but that said I think a model similar to the 1613 is a very solid recommendation on a place to start, especially if he's a music teacher. :)

    I can only speak to what I've heard, but think you made a solid recommendation on speakers as well. I think either the Pioneer SP-BS/monoprice equivalent, PK series, or the Energy Take5/monoprice equivalent is the way to go for many, many, people...surely not an uncommon opinion and why so many people own them. (Thing to note: Monoprice usually copies very good products and makes very decent alternatives for less coin.)

    I personally like Energy + BIC sub for value, but not unlike computer parts...everyone has a different notion of value, good-enough, and best.
     
    Kursah says thanks.
  11. jonathan1107

    jonathan1107

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    Hi guys

    I've been reading your replies, Thanks A LOT. Indeed I've tought music for 5 years and indeed I'm a little bit of an audiophile which is why I'm getting sick of my current speaker setup. So much so... that lately I've been thinking about hooking up my PC to my home theater setup in my living room lol...

    Not such a good idea considering I'd have to either play on my 50 inch plasma TV screen or bring my monitor out there in the living room... To give you an idea of what I like:

    In the living room I got myself a Marantz Receiver (sr-5008) with a 5.2 surround speaker system. 2x RF-800b from Klipsch, 2x RS-400b surround speakers, 1x Polk audio CSIA6 center channel speaker and 2x Klipsch sw110b subwoofers...

    So as you can see, I like crisp highs and rich Lows but I'm not desperate for mids... enough for things to sound real i guess. But I don't EVER listen to jazz music or classic music either or the horrible country music. I love everything else lol...

    so yeah, I like the "Denon AVR-1613, Pioneer SB-21 bookshelf speakers and a Dayton 10" suggestion and the "Yamaha RX-V371 and Jamo 5.1 speaker and sub set" suggestion as well... Although I don't like yamaha AVRs much. I do like Marantz AVRs though (glorified denons lol)

    Oh and I forgot to mention an important thing lol. I work at future shop, so I get employee discounts on everything. Discounts on everything that has to do with sound is quite substancial most of the time hehe :p

    *** As for budget, anywhere between 250$-750$ is fine ***
    --- I don't like the idea of using HMDI for the pc either... I know graphics card can output audio... but I'd rather use my soundcard unless I find a way to send a pure signal to the AVR. I don't feel like optical is out-dated... I feel like analog is ---
    (especially considering I spent over 4k$ on my home theater setup like 2 months ago) My wife would kill me if I'd spend that much again so soon lol)
     
  12. jonathan1107

    jonathan1107

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    I found 2 kits I could consider:

    http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/prod...spx?path=60af3d99f07b3d6c39dcc016d8b5e91aen02

    http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/prod...spx?path=4e77ac193099109ed134cc86edff58feen02

    I've been hesitant to use an AVR + home speaker combo because I read on the web that the way PCs deal with audio is not the same as home theater movies and whatnot... and that sound quality wouldn't be so good, but it looks like that was unreliable information because many of you seem to enjoy your AVR+speaker combo very much
     
  13. Jetster

    Jetster

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  14. alwayssts

    alwayssts

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    Knowing you own a Marantz, have Klipschs', and described your ideal sound profile explains a lot. :)

    To give you an idea of the type of guy I am, and given your setup you'll probably understand: I don't love most Klipsch I've heard (because bright and expensive for that 'punch'...I know, blasphomy) but very much like Polk (for both balance and value, given I use the same setup from classical music, to punk, to k-pop [where I most certainly envy your Klipschs'], to gaming, to movies...but over-all a general focus on 'clean'-sounding instrument music)...in fact I was going to throw Polk out as a suggestion, but when you're talking about a computer setup IN ADDITION to already having a nice HT setup...I thought it made more sense to be more reasonable...more like what would I suggest rather than 'Computer speakers' for around the same price and room-size use, as you probably know (and you obviosuly do) what you want over-all in a higher-end setup. In that respect, Energy makes a nice set, granted the sub will probably not wow you...hence why I recommend the set without the sub and buying one that fits a persons' situation.

    For your situation and taste, even though I've never heard that particular speaker, Klipsch makes sense if that's the type of sound you're after...some people LOVE the Klipsch sound, and that is pretty much what you described.

    Certainly don't take my word for it though...always audition speakers, think about their predominant use, and imagine what a game/movie/music would sound like with that profile.

    As for hooking up a computer to an avr: digital is digital to most extents...People may have been complaining about optical if completely elitist, but it's what I use (because of weird tv [monitor] 4:4:4 chroma issues when using hdmi audio) and it sounds good to me for all uses. YMMV, and may be more satisfied with HDMI depending upon which receiver you choose, how it affects your monitor/lag etc, and how much you watch high-quality video on your computer.

    Everything in life is a compromise; computers (being multipurpose in nature) just add another layer depending on your objective...That doesn't mean the sound can't be great.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
  15. MxPhenom 216

    MxPhenom 216 Corsair Fanboy

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    Audio Engine A5+ w/ seperate sub woofer.
     
    Crunching for Team TPU
  16. animal007uk

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    Having used a few 5.1 pc setups in the past i decided to go down the AVR route and would not look back.

    Using a denon AVR 2113 with some wharfedale pacific evo 20 floor stand speakers and i could not be happyer although i might get a sub for that extra low end bass.
     
  17. Devon68

    Devon68

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  18. jonathan1107

    jonathan1107

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    Thanks for all the great input guys. So just so I can make my mind up here:

    - If I understood correctly what you guys said: In order to get "uncompressed" or "unprocessed" sound I would have to use an AVR and use my video card's HDMI output to feed the sound to the AVR correct?

    - If I do this, how about the video signal? Do I still use my DVI output (on the video card) straight to the monitor? or do I use the AVR to also output the video signal through HDMI (basically that would mean 2x HDMI cords, one from the VGA to the AVR, and one from the AVR to the monitor) if I got this right

    - The other way around would be to use my soundcard's optical output. If I do this I get "compressed audio signals" correct? If I do this can I still use my soundcard's features (stuff like the soundcard's EQ features, Low Freq. tuning) or do I just use the AVR to do the same thing?

    N.B. Feel free to include links when you mention specific gear you recommend. Pictures and Links Help A LOT
     
  19. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    Marantz is great and I was considering upgrading to one, but I don't like their new portal window LCD display and it's getting harder to find a decent level Audyssey unless you go $800 or more. They have a compact line with traditional display too, but it's low wattage.

    On the options you linked to, honestly, I would trust the Albert Jones Pioneers I linked to before I'd get any of those speakers in a box kits. Some may have fairly good sound quality but you end up with serious frequency gaps between their small satellite mids and the sub. These Pioneers do actually sound very good though (better than my Jamos, which are now owned by Klipsch), and you get a full 1" dome tweet and 5.25" mids in the fronts. Keep in mind you'll likely be using just the fronts and sub for music if you want to hear it the more traditional way with good stereo separation and no center, so those 5.25s are nice to have.

    On the connections, you need a GPU that supports HDMI audio/video out, but you also need to DL and install the included HDMI audio portion of it's driver. After that, as long as your AVR supports LPCM 5.1 passthrough, it will pass HDMI audio through to your speakers.

    For movies, just get a Blu-ray player if you don't have one for your PC. They're like $70 and up and it's WAY better than dealing with the annoyances of a built-in Blu-ray player for your PC. For music, you may want to switch to 2.1 mode on you AVR to get uncompressed PCM from your PC, which is what I do.

    For games, even if you CAN get 5.1 LPCM, how well it outputs to your speakers may be hit and miss. We've had some here say they've had problems with the 5.1 channels (often center) not outputting properly position wise. So a good backup plan is having a sound card to use for pass through, which can usually pass Dolby Digital or DTS. Dolby Digital is of course compressed audio, but literally ALL game audio starts compressed anyway.

    If you were to pass through straight from your MB's digital out like I do, it would not pass through Dolby Digital. Which is why unless I get a sound card I am restricted to Dolby Pro Logic II for games, because my current setup won't pass through DD or DTS, and my AVR doesn't support LPCM 5.1 pass through.

    My main point though is I can't stress enough how overrated a lot of the micro sized speakers are. I've seen Definitive Technology HTiB sets that range from $600 - $800 and they can't begin to compare even to my cheap Jamos with floor standing fronts.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
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  20. jonathan1107

    jonathan1107

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    thanks for your advice, still have this question left unanswered in my mind:

    - If I do this, how about the video signal? Do I still use my DVI output (on the video card) straight to the monitor? or do I use the AVR to also output the video signal through HDMI (basically that would mean 2x HDMI cords, one from the VGA to the AVR, and one from the AVR to the monitor) if I got this right
     
  21. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    If your AVR supports 5.1 LPCM passthrough it will undoubtedly also support video pass through. So in that case, yes, you'd use two HDMI cables, one from PC to AVR, and one from AVR to display.

    If you ever end up using a TV as a display, just make sure you connect the cable between the AVR and TV on the ARC port of the TV, which will allow you to get TV audio through your AVR.

    ARC stands for Audio Return Channel, and to use it you also need to make sure your AVR settings are set for it to be on.
     

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