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Best way to connect PC to home theater receiver

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7 replies to this topic

#1 of 8 OFFLINE   Keith Royer

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Posted September 01 2005 - 05:54 AM

I have a lot of MP3s on my PC that I would like to enjoy through my HT equipment, and I'm not really sure about the best way of doing this. My receiver is a Yamaha HTR-5490, and the PC runs Windows XP Home, but is not new and the processor speed is only 800Mhz. I believe that I can purchase a new soundcard, and then connect the PC to the receiver with a digital coax or optical, but I am not sure if the sound quality will be worth the money/time. If anyone can educate me or provide suggestions, I would appreciate it. Thanks, Keith

#2 of 8 OFFLINE   SethH



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Posted September 01 2005 - 06:29 AM

Yep, your best bet is to get a soundcard with either type of digital connection and run that to the receiver. The sound quality should be at least as good as plugging your mp3 player directly into the receiver. Depending on your ears and how much you care, it will likely not be as good as CD-quality due to the mp3 compression, but that has nothing to do with the connection.

#3 of 8 OFFLINE   Paul Padilla

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Posted September 01 2005 - 07:33 AM

If MP3s is all you anticipate listening to in this manner, then it might not be worth your trouble to install a sound card just for the digital output.

As long as you have sound capibilities on the computer then you could just run the 1/8" stereo out you normally use for PC speakers to a stereo Y splitter like this that separates the left and right signals and gives you female RCA plugs. (I was thinking more of a cable version rather than the rigid one I linked you to...but you get the idea.) Then pop a regular RCA cable from the adapter into an available input on your receiver.

Like Seth said, you're not going to get CD quality anyway. You're not likely to be able to tell the difference this way vs. going to the trouble and expense of a new sound card and a coax or optical cable. This way you're looking at about $10 max...less than $5 if you already have a set of RCA cables.

Your computer isn't exactly a monster, but it's fine for this. Playing music doesn't require much horsepower.
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#4 of 8 OFFLINE   Keith Royer

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Posted September 01 2005 - 09:13 AM

Thanks for the input guys. I'm not sure which way I'm going to go yet, but if in the future anyone is interested, I will post what I wind up doing and how well/poor it sounds. Keith

#5 of 8 OFFLINE   Francois Caron

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Posted September 01 2005 - 12:04 PM

Try to get decent cables. I tried using cheapoes for my 6-channel set-up, but there was so much cross-talk that just about everything sounded horrible. The moment I connected a set of DIY interconnects using Canare mic/audio cable, the cross-talk dissapeared and the sound improved dramatically.

#6 of 8 OFFLINE   Rommel_L


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Posted September 02 2005 - 01:11 PM


This is what I use to connect my laptop to my receiver.


#7 of 8 OFFLINE   Keith Royer

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Posted September 06 2005 - 07:00 AM

For anyone interested in doing this, I installed a Turtle Beach Riviera 5.1 sound card into my PC this weekend. I would post a link, but the site won't let me (I don't have enough posts.) I connected the optical out to an optical in on my receiver, and now all my MP3's are available through the home theater. I haven't noticed any sound issues, but most of my MP3's are ripped at 192kbps. The card was $30 at TigerDirect, I'm sure there are cheaper ways, but for me this worked fine. Thanks for the help, Keith

#8 of 8 OFFLINE   Matt Sweeney

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Posted September 06 2005 - 07:29 AM

I've been considering how to eliminate the need for CD use in my home theater and get access to my mp3s, as well. Originally, I thought about using an older pc I had with a new chaintech av-710 sound card (can do bit-perfect digital output via asio plugin), but then I found some of the wireless mp3 streaming devices that were about $50 around the net. I purchased a Rockford Fosgate Omnifi and I've been very happy. It doesn't have a digital output, but like others have said, that's not really necessary with mp3. It also has a nice display on it that is pretty readable from a distance and from an angle, and it can be operated without a remote (has controls on the device). Definitely worth a look. I can post more, but I'm getting wordy already. Matt

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