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Best 5.1 speaker setup for gaming rig/consoles

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#1
I'm in a bit of a dilemma over what to get for a 5.1 setup.

I have a sound card with optical in/out as well as the analog 5.1 connections. I've never set up a 5.1, but I was wondering if I could connect an analog 5.1 set to my sound card and have the consoles connect via optical in on my card to output the sound over 5.1 analog? Is this possible, or would I need a home cinema system to do this?

And which 5.1 set would be ideal (would these work ok and have a decent sound, or should I go for something better)? I mainly want to go 5.1 for audio positioning in games, as I use my headphones less and less nowadays and my stereo speaker setup just isn't ideal anymore.

Any other suggestions are welcome.
 

Phusius

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#2
Optical is not really digital, it just claims it is. Which is why I abandoned my pursuit of a 5.1 system.

You have to have a full on HDMI signal to get full digital sound, private message Bumblebee, he is the audio expert here.
 

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#3

Phusius

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#4
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#5
Optical is not really digital, it just claims it is. Which is why I abandoned my pursuit of a 5.1 system.

You have to have a full on HDMI signal to get full digital sound, private message Bumblebee, he is the audio expert here.
Optical is digital.


To the OP. Buy the receiver and speakers separately.

The receiver, you are looking for numerous optical, coaxial and HDMI outputs / inputs. Support for HD standards i.e. Dolby Digital True HD and DTS Masters etc.

For speakers, you want wooden bookshelf and/or floor standing speakers.

I like my bookshelves to have a low frequencies of <50Hz and floor standings to have :love:5-40Hz but that is a personal preference of mine.
 
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#6
Optical is not really digital, it just claims it is. Which is why I abandoned my pursuit of a 5.1 system.

You have to have a full on HDMI signal to get full digital sound, private message Bumblebee, he is the audio expert here.
What do you mean it's not digital? I thought it was.

Also I'm afraid I can't use HDMI, as it doesn't support 120Hz. That and because I haven't installed the audio drivers for my GPU, to prevent it screwing with my sound card.
 

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#7
What do you mean it's not digital? I thought it was.

Also I'm afraid I can't use HDMI, as it doesn't support 120Hz. That and because I haven't installed the audio drivers for my GPU, to prevent it screwing with my sound card.
I don't know I was going to buy a 5.1 system just yesterday and a quick google search and Bumblebee confirmed, that most sound cards do not support Optical signal conversions to Dolby Digital, DTS, and other such features. You will get 5.1 analog only. Apparently only the really expensive sound cards support optical DTS, Dolby Live, etc.
 
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#8
Optical is digital.

To the OP. Buy the receiver and speakers seperately.

The receiver, you are looking for numerous optical, coaxial and HDMI outputs / inputs. Support for HD standards i.e. Dolby Digital True HD and DTS Masters etc.

For speakers, you want wooden bookshelf and/or floor standing speakers.

I like my bookshelves to have a low frequencie of <50Hz and floorstandings to have :love:5-40Hz but that isa a personal preference of mine
I'm not fussed about the Dolby standards or anything. The sound card already has THX TruStudio Pro and Dolby Digital Live, which sounds good enough to me and has its own settings to tweak. I don't want to have to spend more money on stuff like DTS from a home cinema receiver when I'm almost never going to use it. I'd just like a 6 channel setup for games and let my sound card to do any tweaks to the sound (so long as it is 5.1 and not upmixed stereo, I'm not fussed). Is it good enough to do that?
 

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#9
I'm not fussed about the Dolby standards or anything. The sound card already has THX TruStudio Pro and Dolby Digital Live, which sounds good enough to me and has its own settings to tweak. I don't want to have to spend more money on stuff like DTS from a home cinema receiver when I'm almost never going to use it. I'd just like a 6 channel setup for games and let my sound card to any tweaks to the sound. Is it good enough to do that?
My Xonar DG also supports THX and Dolby Live, however, it does not support it through a optical cable, the way Bumblebee was explaining it to me. You need to speak to Bumblebee, she is the expert on audio.
 
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#10
What do you mean it's not digital? I thought it was.
It is digital. He is mistaken.

I'm not fussed about the Dolby standards or anything. The sound card already has THX TruStudio Pro and Dolby Digital Live, which sounds good enough to me and has its own settings to tweak. I don't want to have to spend more money on stuff like DTS from a home cinema receiver when I'm almost never going to use it. I'd just like a 6 channel setup for games and let my sound card to any tweaks to the sound. Is it good enough to do that?
The Xonar DG doesn't support Dolby Digital Live. Also, even if it did you'd only get Dolby Digital Live through a sound card's output, not input. So if your intention is to connect your console to your soundcard it will not work.

Most modern receivers come with the HD formats as standards. Admittedly, apart from playing back certain Blu Ray movies which have the new True HD and Masters soundtracks I doub't you'll need it, you could find a standard receiver which can output regular Dolby Digital and DTS. You might shave £100 of the price - But as I said most new receivers come with the HD formats as standard so there is no escaping it.


I thought the sound card would take the signal from the console over optical, and just add the effects before outputting it over analog? I'm not sure, but I can't think of why it shouldn't work.
That won't work, and even if it did you'd be stuck with a very compressed stereo signal.

The easiest way is to get a receiver. Connect your console directly to the receiver via HDMI or SPDIF. Then connect your PC to the receiver's secondary HDMI or SPDIF input.

I'm not using a DG. If I recall correctly, the DG only had Dolby Live for headphones. I'm using a Recon3D ATM. I'm not sure if it can do this or not, but my DG couldn't from when I tried.
The Soundblaster Recon 3D can output Dolby Digital Live via SPDIF-OUT. Like most soundcards, I don't think it can input DDL. Anything inputted via SPDIF-IN will be outputted back out as stereo.
 
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#11
You can only get Dolby Digital Live through the sound card's output, not input. So if your intention is to connect your console to your soundcard it will not work.

Most modern receivers come with the HD formats as standards. Admittedly, apart from playing back certain Blu Ray movies which have the new True HD and Masters soundtracks, you could find a standard receiver which can output regular Dolby Digital and DTS. You might shave £100 of the price - But as I said most new receivers come with the HD formats as standard so there is no ecaping it.
I thought the sound card would take the signal from the console over optical, and just add the effects before outputting it over analog? I'm not sure, but I can't think of why it shouldn't work.

The Xonar DG doesn't support Dolby Digital Live. Also, even if it did you'd only get Dolby Digital Live through a sound card's output, not input. So if your intention is to connect your console to your soundcard it will not work.
I'm not using a DG. If I recall correctly, the DG only had Dolby Live for headphones. I'm using a Recon3D ATM. I'm not sure if it can do this or not, but my DG couldn't from when I tried.
 
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#12
I just hope my new Yamaha Soundbar sounds amazing, will be using my SPDIF on my Xonar DG sound card... sigh I wish this audio stuff wasn't so complicated.
 
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#13
I wish this audio stuff wasn't so complicated.
Same here. And here was me thinking I would just hook up a bunch of cables and be done with it. Sounds like a real PITA to setup.

But just to verify -- if my sound card can't receive through optical in and output to analog, then what is the TOSLINK input used for on the card?
 
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#14
I just hope my new Yamaha Soundbar sounds amazing, will be using my SPDIF on my Xonar DG sound card... sigh I wish this audio stuff wasn't so complicated.
In all honesty. I'm sure it will sound "amazing", probably more than enough for the average person. Bit pricey, you are paying for the Yamaha tag.

But for the specification you can get 4 wooden bookshelf speakers at the same price and it would sound better. (Not that the Soundbar won't sound nice too)

I wouldn't recommend the Yamaha Soundbar unless you had a small room and needed the space.

Yeah, I have to do soundbar, I am in a little bedroom, not even room for a 5.1 system with small speakers.
I downgraded from 5.1 to 2.1 due to space. When I move out, hopefully I will have a big enough space to have proper 5.1 again.


Same here. And here was me thinking I would just hook up a bunch of cables and be done with it. Sounds like a real PITA to setup.

But just to verify -- if my sound card can't receive through optical in and output to analog, then what is the TOSLINK input used for on the card?
Depends on the soundcard in question. Some will have less limitations that others. It really does vary card to card.

But generally speaking, you can connect your console via Toslink input or the SPDIF-IN. But, most modern soundcards will not re-encode and apply Dolby Digital Live encoding from that particular input. So you'll end up with a PCM Stereo signal being outputs back through the SPDIF-OUT. Most soundcards don't allow simultaneous analogue and digital usage (excluding front panel audio) , so it's unlikely that you'll be able to output audio via analogue if you have imitated SPDIF-IN and even if you could it'll still be stereo.
 
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#15
In all honesty. I'm sure it will sound "amazing", probably more than enough for the average person. Bit pricey, you are paying for the Yamaha tag.

But for the specification you can get 4 wooden bookshelf speakers at the same price and it would sound better. (Not that the Soundbar won't sound nice too)

I wouldnt recommend the Yamaha Soundbar unless you needed the space.
Yeah, I have to do soundbar, I am in a little bedroom, not even room for a 5.1 system with small speakers.
 
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#16
Depends on the soundcard in question. Some will have less limitations that others. It really does vary card to card.

But generally speaking, you can connect your console via Toslink input or the SPDIF-IN. But, most modern soundcards will not re-encode and apply Dolby Digital Live encoding from that particular output. So you'll end up with a PCM Stereo signal being outputs back through the SPDIF-OUT. Most soundcards don't allow simultaneous analogue and digital usage (excluding front panel audio) , so it's unlikely that you'll be able to output audio via analogue if you have imitated SPDIF-IN.
Thanks. Gonna trawl through the manual for a bit to see if it'll get me anywhere further.
 
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#17
Thanks. Gonna trawl through the manual for a bit to see if it'll get me anywhere further.
If you need any further help just ask.

I'm good at finding cheap deals on receivers and speakers.

BTW are you from England?
 

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#18
Asus Xonar Essence is $187 on Newegg right now, it looks like it supports it all. So I guess if I want my Yamaha to truly output 7.1 Dolby I have to get that now huh?

It looks like my onboard audio support 8 channels, the xonar dg however does not... well fuck me like a goat... guess I will try Yamaha with my onboard and sell my DG.

Realtek® ALC889 is model of my audio chip onboard. Its one of the better ones apparently. http://www.realtek.com.tw/products/productsView.aspx?Langid=1&PFid=28&Level=5&Conn=4&ProdID=173
 
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#19
Asus Xonar Essence is $187 on Newegg right now, it looks like it supports it all. So I guess if I want my Yamaha to truly output 7.1 Dolby I have to get that now huh?

It looks like my onboard audio support 8 channels, the xonar dg however does not... well fuck me like a goat... guess I will try Yamaha with my onboard and sell my DG.

Realtek® ALC889 is model of my audio chip onboard. Its one of the better ones apparently. http://www.realtek.com.tw/products/productsView.aspx?Langid=1&PFid=28&Level=5&Conn=4&ProdID=173
Be very careful.

Dolby Digital is traditionally 5.1 speakers, 7.1 Dolby Digital is only available in HD format (Dolby Digital True HD) and can only be outputted via HDMI output. However, Xonar Essence is deceiving it's customers because it doesn't have HDMI inputs or outputs and thus can not support the 7.1 in HD format. It only supports 7.1 via analogue, which is fine if that is what you are after. But please bear in mind 7.1 via analogue isn't Dolby Digital. By definition Dolby Digital needs to be decoded by a supported receiver through a digital connection i.e. Digital Coaxial, SPDIF or HDMI.


Yes, but this Yamaha is virtual 7.1 on a 2.1 system. So I don't think it will be an issue, also, just installed my Realtek drivers... it sounds just as good as my Xonar DG... and it turns out since my MoBo is high end it is one of the better Realtek chips.
What you are getting is just sound. Very good quality sound. But unfortunately it isnt Dolby Digital. You need a hardware receiver as an inbetween. There is no escaping it.
 
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Phusius

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#20
Be very careful.

Dolby Digital is traditionally 5.1 speakers, 7.1 Dolby Digital is only available in HD format (Dolby Digital True HD) and can only be outputted via HDMI output. However, Xonar Essence is deceiving it's customers because it doesn't have HDMI outputs and thus can not support the 7.1 format. It only supports 7.1 via analogue, which is fine if that is what you are after. But please bear in mind 7.1 via analogue isn't Dolby Digital. By definition Dolby Digital needs to be decoded by a receiver through a digital means
Yes, but this Yamaha is virtual 7.1 on a 2.1 system. So I don't think it will be an issue, also, just installed my Realtek drivers... it sounds just as good as my Xonar DG... and it turns out since my MoBo is high end it is one of the better Realtek chips.

Edit: Testing some songs with this Realtek... sounds more clear, highs and lows seem better then using the Xonar DG... o_O xonar dg = ebay.
 
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#21
I was thinking of doing some gift ideas for Christmas ($75-500) headphones, amplifiers, digital-analog-converters, speakers. people pleasers and how to hook them up lol

not a bad idea!
 
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#22
Well folks, after a LOT of reading/searching around, I found out that the sound card, from the looks of it, can indeed output audio from optical in to analog output, as Creative's website and their "quick start" guide states:

24-bit Digital-to-Analog conversion of digital sources : up to 96 kHz sample rate to analog outputs
The only problem is, I don't know how many channels it will convert the audio TO. Their USB Recon3D doesn't have 5.1 analog output, but can take optical/digital and output to gaming headsets over analog headphone output. This image from Creative's website...



...suggests that it can indeed take sound from optical in and convert it to analog output. Nowhere does it say whether the output would be upmixed stereo or true 5.1 channel...which puts me back to square one.

If anyone can suggest a decent priced home cinema or a speaker system, please feel free.

If you need any further help just ask.

I'm good at finding cheap deals on receivers and speakers.

BTW are you from England?
I am indeed. And seeing as I have no idea what the usual going rate for 5.1 speaker systems is, I'd really appreciate some help on this.
 
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#23
Well folks, after a LOT of reading/searching around, I found out that the sound card, from the looks of it, can indeed output audio from optical in to analog output, as Creative's website and their "quick start" guide states:



The only problem is, I don't know how many channels it will convert the audio TO. Their USB Recon3D doesn't have 5.1 analog output, but can take optical/digital and output to gaming headsets over analog headphone output. This image from Creative's website...

http://images.europe.creative.com//iss/images/inline/products/Recon3DFatPro/fea7.gif

...suggests that it can indeed take sound from optical in and convert it to analog output. Nowhere does it say whether the output would be upmixed stereo or true 5.1 channel...which puts me back to square one.

If anyone can suggest a decent priced home cinema or a speaker system, please feel free.



I am indeed. And seeing as I have no idea what the usual going rate for 5.1 speaker systems is, I'd really appreciate some help on this.
what is your budget?
 
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#24
what is your budget?
Around £100-£200. But I'd prefer it to be around the £100 mark. Most people I know use expensive surround setups to fill a massive room with sound...my room is tiny and I just want the surround positioning to improve immersiveness of games. So long as the satellite speakers aren't tinny/crap and are about as good/no worse than these, I'm happy.
 
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#25
how big is your room?