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Help with computer Hi-Fi

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by macMing, Feb 5, 2005.

  1. macMing

    macMing Auditioning

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    I'm looking to build a sound system around my computer. As of now, the majority of my music is in mp3 format (192K) and I primarily watch movies off my computer as well.

    I've been happy with the Cambridge Soundworks FPS2000 so far, but the amplifer on the speakers are slowlying going. Last night, these speakers were fluctuating its voloume by themselves. Must be a loose connection somewhere.

    So, I'm thinking about buliding up a bigger, and better sound system for my computer. I have a few questions.

    1) First, Im thinking of upgrading my sound card from a SB Live 5.1 to a SB Audigy Z2 or Z4 platnium.

    2) Speakers:

    -Klipsch Promedia Ultra 5.1 are what I'm looking at.

    or, I can go all out and buy a nice home theatre system slowly.

    My question is now, will the home theatre sound much better than the Klipsch in my case? The quality of the source media is already jerpodized because of the mp3 format.

    If I go with a home theatre, I will most likely use fronts, one center, and one subwoofer. All will be fairly good components:

    amp/receiver ($1000)
    front ($1000)
    sub ($1000)
    center ($500)


    For my needs, a friend of mine told me I that I will be better off getting an amplifer instead of getting a receiver. My sound card will do the DSP for me, and I am hoping to use an optical connection to skip the DAC processing. However, I still need a sub out, as well as a center channel because most amplifers do not seperate the singal for me.

    What would you do in my situation???

    1) Go with the Klipsch computer speakers
    2) GO with the home theatre, but get a receiver
    3) Go with the home theatre, use an amplifer

    Thanks

    Ming
     
  2. Justin_D

    Justin_D Stunt Coordinator

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    As for the sound card, if you don't play games, the DO NOT, repeat, DO NOT get a Soundblaster. They excel at one thing: games. Other than that, you can do just as good, if not, better, for cheaper. If you don't play games, or music is prioritized over games, then check out the Chaintech AV-710. Both Audigy and the Chaintech will be fine for movies.

    I would recommend going all out, but that is me. I really enjoy movies so much more with good sound.

    However, using 3 speakers is rather awkward. You should either decide if you want stereo sound or surround. Very few people go 3 speakers. Your friend is right, you CAN do this, however, I would still use an outboard DAC. In my experience, they sound better.

    I say go solution 2.
     
  3. Jon W.

    Jon W. Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with Justin, skip the soundblaster and just get a card with a digital out, coaxial or optical. I wouldn't let the card do the DAC. I'm sure there is a card out there with good DAC's but why bother. I went with an M-audio revolution card because it had a coaxial out and I had to run a 25' cable. A 25' optical would be expensive. Hind sight being 20/20 and all, go with the cheapest thing you can find with a digital out to fit your application. Then add a receiver or pre/pro and amps.
     
  4. Greg_Hammond

    Greg_Hammond Agent

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    What function is the computer going to serve in your home theatre?

    You can buy some DVD players now that play back DIVX movies, have on-screen MP3 playback, and pretty much do everything except let you surf the web and play games on the big-screen TV or projector. I was able to eliminate 95% of the functionality my multimedia PC provided with a $299 5-disc Yamaha DVD player that supports MP3/DIVX/DVD all in one unit. What I could not replace, however, is my desire to surf the web on the 80" screen, check the Drudge Report from my sofa, look at live weather maps, and listen to Internet live audio streams in the home theatre... for that, you need a multimedia PC.

    Personally, I made the choice to go hog-wild on the home theatre, and simply use the multimedia PC to augment my theatre with the services I needed it for. Naturally, the cost is going to be exponentially higher than just buying a set of Klipsch 5.1 PC speakers and a decent video monitor for your PC.... but then again, it's also more versatile and presents a "bigger" experience when viewing your movies.

    Greg
     

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