Weekend Open Forum: What's your PC audio setup?

By on June 11, 2010, 11:55 PM
If you've been a computer enthusiast for long you will recall how in the late 1990s computer audio took as much precedence as 3d graphics. Coming in hot from the 'multimedia revolution' when computers gained the ability to reproduce high quality audio and became more interactive thanks to the use of optical media (a.k.a. the CD-ROM), these would eventually evolve into Internet-connected machines and powerful gaming workstations. A golden era for the likes of Creative Labs and its Sound Blaster series, back then I used to think of an upgrade in terms of moving from a 2.1 to a 5.1 speaker system. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but it'd seem like that page in history is long gone or at least has been on the decline for many years now.

Take this personal example. I'm currently planning a nice home theater setup for my new house that includes in-wall speakers, a receiver, an HTPC, a big screen projector, the works. On the other hand, on my workstation I literally threw away the latest Creative X-fi sound card that I owned a couple of years ago and got rid of the multiple speaker system and all the cabling that implied for the basic and subtle Logitech Z-10 USB speakers. When playing games, which I must admit does not happen as often as it did years before or as often as I would like to, I'm relying either on this 2-speaker system or on a pair of relatively high-end headphones that pull the trick off given my needs.

In this week's WOF we ask you, what kind of audio devices and equipment do you currently have hooked up to your computer? Like me, are you also giving less importance to PC audio than you did before? Or perhaps I'm simply talking for personal experience and you have treated yourself and your computer with a more sophisticated solution than anything I've mentioned thus far? Enrich us with your stories. Discuss.

User Comments: 68

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IvanAwfulitch IvanAwfulitch said:

I've got a simple 2.1 system from Creative. It may only be two satellites and a small 5 inch sub, but it's got some great sound quality to it. I can only dream of a 5.1 for now, sadly. One day though...

posermobile89 said:

5.1 logitech. 70 watt i believe, but not sure. suits my needs just fine

CMH, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Sennheiser 550 headphones, with the onboard sound on my DFI P55 T36. Good enough I reckon, or at least feels as good as my old Audigy 2.

No spare slots (PCI or PCIe) on mobo for a soundcard, or I'd get one.

Basher said:

I have my old Altec Lansing ADA995 setup from 2004 when I bought a really nice Dell desktop. 200w total, two 6.5in subs. Still runs great, bass is awesome, and even though I still have the SoundBlaster Audigy 2 that came with them--I'm now running them on a Xonar DX which has incredibly crisp and clear sound.

Whiffen Whiffen said:

I've currently got Logitech Z2300's but am considering getting a pair of sennheiser headphone's.

Possibly a speaker upgrade in the next few years, but I'm happy with my Z2300s for the time being.

Punkid said:

have a 2.1 setup but going for a 5.1 within this week

Timonius Timonius said:

I'm more of a visual person so right now I'm satisfied with a good 2.1 setup and it'll probably be like that for years to come.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

I have Logitech X-530 system. 5.1 with a nice sub. I'm 20 and at university, so these let me even provide music for dorm parties. :P

Using onboard audio, play all games in surround, and even watch digital tv in surround on some channels. Really can't go past the surround sound if you have all the other hardware top notch.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Creative X-fi Gamer sound card + Logitech Z-5500 for listening to music, watching videos and G35 for gaming. I'm quite a fan of Logitech, the Z-5500 has lasted about 5 years and still it's one of the best set of PC speakers out there.

Guest said:

"CMH Sennheiser 550 headphones, with the onboard sound on my DFI P55 T36. Good enough I reckon, or at least feels as good as my old Audigy 2.

No spare slots (PCI or PCIe) on mobo for a soundcard, or I'd get one."

Creative and no doubt a few others do USB sound cards, think Creative do X-Fi Surround 5.1 and a few more options not sure about the others or other companies options.

Guest said:

Currently running on Bose Companion 3 Series II 2.1 Speaker set up pushed by Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-fi Titanium PCI-Express sound card with Sennheiser HD 595 headphones or Klipsch Enhanced Bass S4 earbuds. Sometimes I use my Razer Mako 2.1 THX Certified Elite system since it uses downward firing technology and produces outstanding omnidirectional sound.

Guest said:

X_FI Extrememusic, Lofitech Z-2300, Grado SR225i.I am not considering an upgrade at the moment. Plenty satisfied.

phillai said:

After years of using a crappy creative 5.1 speaker system, in the past few months I upgraded to a ONKYO HTX22HD 2.1 HIGH DEFINITION DECODER/AMPLIFIER/SPEAKER SYSTEM.

This is without doubt the best speaker purchase that I've ordered in years and hi-fi audio will always built a PC audio.


phillai said:

beat even!

HD audio for the WIN!!!

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

The question also is, are you using these fancy setups? I have friend who bought the Zeppelin iPod dock (like $1200AUD) and Logitech Z-5500 setup, but has like <100kbps music. Fail!

Guest said:

Absolutely! On my laptop alone it contains enough music to play for two weeks 24/7 without repeating a song! It's almost an unreal experience to hear subtle nuances like a saxophonist taking his breath before beginning a phrase or to hear the fingertips of the guitarist as they move along the frets of his instrument....sonic orgasmic bliss!

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Guess I was at least partially wrong, most of you are indeed running some nice PC audio devices and speaker setups. However it seems to be the trend that you have owned this stuff for some time now. Logitech speakers remain very popular and for good reason if you consider what they cost compared to hi-fi equipment.

Reloader2 said:

Sennheiser PC 350

Lovely pair of headphones that I'm definitely going to keep for some time to come.

Punkid said:

Julio do u have any idea how the logitech x540's are?? i might be getting those TODAY

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

I have a set of Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 I've been using for the last 8 years.

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

Running a Philips 5.1 Gaming system here with Standard Via HD Audio Deck with SRS Audio WOW...

On my other setup i've got a Creative T-20 on a Asus Xonar D2X

Ithryl said:

I've been using the Logitech z-5450 (not the wireless version though, guess the number's a little different) pretty much since their release and I'm more than satisfied with them. Nothing ever went wrong with them ,the power is more than enough for my apartment and sometimes I feel like they play better than my in-car Bose system, which cost much more than the Logitech.

When it comes to headphones I'm using the Sennheiser HD 515 and they're pretty good. Running both through Asus Xonar D1.

Guest said:

I have a Logitech THX Z-5300e 5.1 set up that's about 5 years old and is pretty decent. My sound card is a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Gamer. I used Realtek audio for a few months to make room for a crossfire set up, but recently put my sound card back. I also use a Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset for online gaming.

Guest said:

Creative 7.1 THX certified. Have had it for at least 7 years and it works great.

BMfan BMfan said:

I am outputting through the optical on my creative(MB edition) sound card to a home amplifier that's running in a 5,1 configuration.Which is great for movies,the only problem is it wont output 5,1 for games just movies.

Guest said:

I agree to the fact that the days of 5.1 PC Speakers are no longer the hype, I bought my Creative 5.1 speakers with the sound blaster live platinum 10 hrs ago, I now hooked up my PC to my Samsung LCD 40" with 7.1 Onkyo speakers and Onkyo receiver, the sound is excellent specially when I play my PS3 with the optical cable connected to my receiver.

Guest said:

A40 Headset from Astro gaming

I have broken every other head set around this set seems to have lasted 1 year so far

speakers are not allowed in my apt building too loud

ryan29121 said:

Speakers: Logitech z5500 5.1

Sound card: Creative Platinum Pro Fatality PCI-e

Ritwik7 Ritwik7, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

6.1 Channel with Onkyo HT-R430 receiver. Not using my Creative Sound Blaster external sound card for now.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Still cant get myself to replace the Yamaha YST MS-50 on my gaming machine. sounds excellent and the 20 lb 7" sub rattles the house while FPS'ing.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I used to have a Creative X-Fi Extreme Gamer sound card (£60) with a Logitech Z-3 (£50) which was quite decent but then I won £300 from work (betting rules!) and Now I have a Bose Companion 5 which also does the virtual surround stuff but being made by bose it does it rather, the sound card only gets used as a Mic input now as the Bose is connected via USB and acts as a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound card.

If sat in the right place it does it perfectly, sure its still not as good as a full 5.1 but i don't want speakers everywhere so this was perfect.

Plus its very loud and the sound quality is top notch!

I also have a pair of Ultimate ears Super.Fi 5 Pros (£150) which are awesome!

Guest said:

I use a Creative XFI with Klipsch 5.1 THX certified speakers.

Guest said:

Speakers : Creative Gigaworks T3

Sound card : Asus Xonar DX

I have always been using 2.1 sound system since my room does not have space for anything more than that. Been happy with the setup for almost a year now other than the volume controller of the Gigaworks T3. I have replaced the controller twice since i brought it. The volume controller spoils after sometime and cause the speaker volume to fluctuate occasionally.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium, Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speakers and SennHeiser PC350 headphones.

My neighbors hate me.

Guest said:

X-Fi XtremeGamer with Logitech Z-2300's. A decent budget setup.

Guest said:

Creative X-fi Titanium + Logitech Z-5500 (Dolby Digital over optical)

The sound card's audio reconstruction is awesome, and the speaker's definition, clarity and power are excellent.

I use this setup for gaming, music, movies; you name it. Especially good for games with plenty of explosions/gunfire, thanks to the humongous sub.

I love my Z-5500 <3

Guest said:

Behringer MS40 nearfield monitors, wall-mounted. Clean and authoritative sound.

Cueto_99 said:

I use a 2.1 setup, Creative's I-Trigue L3800. They deliver a really good sound, specially the bass.

Mikymjr Mikymjr said:

Using the integrated sound on my m3a79-t deluxe, a cheap headset that does the job (very wel though) or sometimes if i want to i just use my self-made plugs and use my deawoo stereo set which i hook-up to 2 sony speaker-boxes with nice woofers in them ;-)

Guest said:

I still have the Logitech booming Z680 system. Games and DVDs sound awesome and I always get neighboors complaining about the loud noise. Love 'em!

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Just last month I upgraded my old 5.1 Altec Lansing that I've had for 5+ years to the Klipsh Promedia 2.1

Initially I figured I could get a cheap $50 speaker system and be satisfied with it, but after checking the demo units at Target, Walmart, Fry's and Best Buy, the Klipsch sound was dramatically better than any other 2.1 displays. The sound (IMO) was even better than the Bose speakers that retailed for twice their price. I really couldn't force myself to buy the $50 speakers after hearing these guys.

I'm only feeding onboard audio to them, but the sound quality is spectacular, I'm not sure if upgrading the sound card would have a noticeable improvement in audio quality, but thats what I initially thought about $50 speakers too.

Guest said:

Klipsch 2.1 With XFI fatality PCI at home when in office i have some creative 2.1 thru a xfi 5.1 usb for htpc have ati 5450 hdmi for pretty much all i need there!!

Tizzlejack Tizzlejack said:

Optical output from my Gigabyte mobo to a Yamaha 5.1. It feels a bit excessive but it's an HTPC so it serves it's purpose.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Onboard sound with low cost headphones. I also have a non-powered speaker in case I want someone else to hear to sound, but it's not even hooked (and it's pink, 'cause that was the cheapest).

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

SB X-Fi Extreme PCI-Express -> Onkyo HT-SR800 7.1 HTIB + AKG K240S. Been really happy with this setup for the last 1 1/2 years, but wouldn't mind a slightly larger powered sub. Trying to convince a buddy to sell me his unused 15" sub.

Guest said:

i'm using altec lansing 5.1 system

gobbybobby said:

fatality headset and Very Cheap 2.1 speakers.

basejj said:

Logitech X540 no sound card just plugged into the motherboard

Sev Sev said:


i love my xfi titanium, not only does this thing last for ever but amazing sound, i have the G13 5.1 surround system ( granted the Matrix sound options kinda suck and rear speakers are iffy at best but great sound like 300watts i think

TheDumbass said:

well i have pc connected to home theater so i have 5.1 home theater 100wattts and making quite good sound (in my opinion)

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