TechSpot

Home Theatre Computer Audio

By XtR-X
Sep 28, 2003
  1. Alright guys... I need some advice...

    I want to set up home theatre audio for my computer. I've given up on over-priced computer speakers because when I opened one, it's about the size of a damn tweeter.

    I need some advice on what to use. I'm looking for surround sound here...

    5.1 or 4.1 like would work very well for me. Not 6.1/7.1... I can't fit a speaker behind me.

    Spending limit: ~$300

    My current sound card is an Audigy 2 Platinum so I don't think that's a problem (right?).

    Need advice for speakers, woofer, and connectors and such for the most part. I could also use advice if I would need to get an amp or if its in the price range as well as other stuff.

    Thanks.
     
  2. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,268

    I have a few in mind:

    Kenwood HTB-205 Home Theater System
    Cerwin-Vega AVS-632
    Kenwood HTB-505 Home Theater System (if you are willing to strecth your budget a little bit)

    All are six piece home theater system. 300 is pretty tight budget for a decent system, but still if you're lucky enough, you can get something which is value for money
     
  3. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,745

    I have the cerwin vega set, but it is hooked up to my TV. It sounds great, I tested it out in teh store before I bought it, and am very pleased so far. Just as a little more personal touch.
     
  4. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    My 2 cents is that if you have $300 to spend you would be better of getting some good computer speakers. If you buy a set of home theater speakers, they will either come with a reciever, or you will have to buy one seperately. When you get a reciever, you are buying a lot of things you don't need, IF, it's only going to be used for a computer settup. If you already have a reciever, then I think the Cerwin Vegas above would do the job.

    Although I imagine all the speakers listed above are great, (and I'm sort of partial to Cerwin Vegas myself), my personal opinion for whatever it's worth, is that you would be better off with something like the LogiTec-Z680's, which you can get at NewEgg for $290, or the Klipsh ProMedia 5.1's, which NewEgg has for $324.

    Lastly, remember that if you want good sound, large size does not always equate to quality sound.
     
  5. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 1,040

    No, I know about sizes. I was just kind of dissapointed after buying a creative inspire 5.1 set speakers. the sub is about 7" diamater cased in a 1.2'/1.3' box and the speakers were tiny tweeters about 2.5" diamater cased in a 9"x7".

    Also, 300 is what I have now. How much would I need for a decent setup?
     
  6. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,268

    Mate, $300 is a pretty tight budget to get a decent home theater system. In most cases you'll be better off with computer speakers. Have you look at the link that i have given you in the previous post?
     
  7. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    XTR, the unfortunate fact is, that without getting into some serious money, the sizes that you listed above are going to be very common. That's not to say that the quality of the sound won't vary, but the size is going to be about that. The subwoofer that you measured 7" is probably a 8" woofer and that is very common for this price range and even above.

    I would suggest that you look at this and this, at Best Buy. It's speakers and recievers of different prices and will give you a look at something to choose from. Not saying you can't find them cheaper, but at least it's somewhere to start looking, if you haven't been there already. Some of the JBL speakers look pretty good to me, I would stay away from the KLH. Like Y&W said, look at the link he provided to.

    I guess you are not considering the ones I suggested, but the Klipsh have dual 8" subwoofers and thats not bad for the money, probably give you some very good bass response, and Klipsh is certainly a quality brand, and would come with pretty good bragging rights.
     
  8. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 1,040

    Oh wow, I didn't see the link lol. It was just the word "All", I must have passed it up.

    I will be making aproximately 2 new computers within next month, I could easily pull $500 more from those 2 alone. But, I plan on upgrading all my input devices as well, spending about $120 on a new keyboard, mouse, and a gaming surface, thus giving a grand total of about $500 that I want to spend, because over that I'd just purchase another home theatre system for the downstairs TV.

    Oh yeah, I was considering getting the Klipsh digital ones (the expensive ones) at one point, but I decided to try something new, like setting up home entertainment speakers to a computer this time.

    Thanks a bunch guys.
     
  9. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,199

    For $300 you're the best off getting those Klipsch computer speakers. I've spent $650+ on my home theater for my machine and I'm still not satisfied :D Almost though. It would have been easier to spend half as much on normal computer speakers, but it sounds better, I get Dolby Digital, DTS, loads more power, I can upgrade any speaker at any time, I can buy speakers for my computer and hook these up to my TV...the limits are endless.

    For me, home theater was the obvious choice. But you might want to just get computer speakers.
     
  10. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 1,040

    Well, what do the rest of you think? What are you IMOs?

    Another set of expensive computer speakers

    or

    home audio?
     
  11. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,745

    Well it all depends on what you want to do with them as far as expandability. If you are going ot setup a home entertainment system later on that uses your computer in it, then I'd get home audio speakers, but if you are just going to use them for the computer then I'd get the computer speakers.
     
     
  12. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,268

    IMHO..if you are so keen and patient to have a Home Theatre system, saved up as much as you can till the end of the year and get some audio parts one by one when its cheap, other wise stick to Klipsch or Creative Megaworks or Logitech.
     
  13. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 1,040

    I just dont understand how you can hook it up to the computer? Do the new home audio systems come with a cord that goes to the computer now or what?
     
  14. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,199

    You need a receiver, that all your speakers plug into and then that hooks up to your computer and anything else you want input from. It also decodes Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Pro Logic, DSP, etc.

    My receiver is a Kenwood VR605. It's 5.1, with 100w per channel peak and does all the decoding business. I got it for $150 on Best Buy. It was a really good deal, it does everything I wanted and was very cheap.
     
  15. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    Just to confuse the issue, here is a review of the Z-680 set. The whole review is at Bit-Tech.
     
  16. Tarkus

    Tarkus TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 837

    Hey XTRX,

    I just bought some Z-680s, they are very nice speakers. There's a little hiss but it's drowned out by my water cooled computer. They have a whole lot of power (500W) and could actually pass as a mini home theater if you had some longer wires. The amp is capable of stereo, 5.1 analog, Dolby prologic 2, Dolby Digital and DTS. I highly recommend them. I got mine for $290 at Newegg, free shipping and no tax if you're out of state.
     
  17. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 1,040

    Hey thanks. I will look into those as well.
     
  18. Charles Hammond

    Charles Hammond TS Rookie Posts: 164

    Bose has some nice but small 2 speaker setups for around $100. I thought they were better than most computer speakers. I was looking at them at Best Buy, side by side with whatever Creative had to offer. Using an outside amplifier like a stereo is workable. Computers use the stereo mini-plugs or the optical digital output. You can go to radioshack and get a special Audio out plug to go from the Stereo jack to left and right RCA plugs. Special Gold plated plugs are probably better for Stereo. I tried this and recorded sound off of a VCR and was surprised at the quality from the VCR to a simple 16 bit Sound blaster to make High Quality wave files.

    M-Audio 7.1 dolby is suppose to be really good for playback of DVD and TV. This card does not have EAX, but that is more for gaming. It supports single pass hardware implemented 24 bit Audio. This is something Creative Audigy cards just can not do. They use software and 2 passes. Cost is about $100.00.
     
  19. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,268

    I wouldn't look into BOSE, if its the Medianate you are talking about. BOSE has a long history for overpricing their systems. With only a 2.5" driver each, i seriously doubt it will be able to take down the likes of Logitech Z680 and Creative Megaworks Series.

    He's got a soundcard already, so i also doubt he would want to swtich to M-Audio. But its a good thing you introduced some non-creative products, which i have no objection.
     
  20. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    I have to agree with Y&W, I think for $99, there are several other speakers on the Best Buy web page that look to me like they would be better, although I'm not there to audition them.

    XTR is willing to spend around $300, and the Z-680's will be hard to beat, plus, he's wanting a surround system, not just two speakers.
     
  21. LG123

    LG123 TS Rookie

    On my PC at home I have connected 17 Speakers Including Gigaworks S750 with a massive 700Watts RMS, also from creative : Td5700 5.1 Not loud but quality, a 400 Watt Rms Sub And 2 150 watt rms Normal speakers each. I also have a soundblaster audigy platinum eX. but what do i know of speakers????

    Cheap+Good= Not loud
    Good+loud=Not cheap
    Loud+Cheap=not good

    300 bugs 4 a sound system are not enough. My TD5700 costed Back IN 2000 2nd half of the year 350 euros. and it is only 79 watt RMS. The Gigaworks Costed more and they do not have a seperate amp. If ur intrested in a high end system no one can tell you what will it be since what one likes in music is a vague matter. My Friend George likes quality for his music and likes classical music as well so for him my TD5700 would be ok. i like B&B music (B&B is my term for music with extreme bass and similar low frequancy emissions) so i need more subs than midrange and tweeters. but you'll have 2 pay and pay a lot. right now in my room alone i have more than 1.6 KW RMS and 29 Speakers powered by 4 multichanel amps.(The Gigaworks Ans some Philps 7.1 and 5.1 respectivelly have their own amp) and i have invested lots of money. Clear your mind about what you want and then make sure that what you'll buy will cover ur needs. ask people about specific products. just because people agree on something it dosn't mean that it is best for you as well. search the net for reviews on it like i did for all the systems that where advised for you. some are good like Logitech Z-5500 Digital. might pricey, but i think it covers most of the music trends. the z 680 apart from the decodercan any body tell me what the diffirance is? there is only one. i knowit and my respect to the one that will tell me aswell. the price from there and on is on the rise at an expotencial rate. sit down and think about it ok? if you need any more help i will be happy to help you. e-mail me at linos_1@hotmail.com. BTW most 5.1 systems have their own amp enbodied to the sub. the packedge should also include basic wires. My Td5700 came with a mile of cables 2 optical, 2 rca to rca double mini jack to minijack and other for midi, spdif etc that i do not remember right now. hope i helped you a bit. fell free to contact me if you need further assistance! se yaa :slurp:
     
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