Amp or receiver for PC audio?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Shane Morales, Jan 4, 2004.

  1. Shane Morales

    Shane Morales Second Unit

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    I'm putting together a "digital music" PC to use as a music server. This PC won't be used for playing DVDs or processing any video - nothing like that. All it's for is to play digitized music over my JBL S38s (I really like saying that).

    I have been looking and looking and looking for an amp to power my speakers, but everything I'm finding of any quality is pretty expensive. About the same price or more than a good entry level receiver.

    So then I'm thinking why bother with an amp? Why not just get a receiver. I could get an HK AVR-230 for roughly the same price as two Outlaw mono blocks.

    I feel like I'm missing something, but it seems terribly obvious to me: I should get a receiver and forget about an amp. Am I right? Crazy? Help me out.

    Thanks.
     
  2. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

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    The music has to be "undigitized" so your speakers can play it. Your gonna need a receiver so you have inputs and signal processing, since getting a separate amp and pre/proc is total overkill for this situation. Where is this going to be used? What are your speakers hooked up to now? I can offer better advice after you answer this.
     
  3. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    There are two ways to go in this situation.

    You could output an analog signal from your computer/sound card, and then carry it to an amplifier or an integrated amplifier.

    Or you could output a digital signal and carry it to a receiver or a pre/proc/amp combination.

    Since you're looking to create a digital system, the 2nd option is what you're looking for. If the 230 has pre-outs, you can add your amp down the road if you need it.
     
  4. Shane Morales

    Shane Morales Second Unit

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    This setup isn't currently up and running. The PC is ready to go, tho. The motherboard has a C-Media CMI9739A audio chip on it that can output 5.1 to SPDIF or 1 mini-jack (no idea how it does that). I can also use a Creative Labs Audigy 2 (PCI), which has mini-jack outputs for fronts, center, rears, and (I think) sub; it also has SPDIF out. I was planning on the soundcards doing all the audio processing and then just sending the audio to an amp.

    And, BTW, I meant "digital" in that my CD collection is on the hard drive as flac files, not that I wanted a digital system. I don't care about that.

    The speakers aren't hooked up to anything right now - I don't have anything other than a Klipsch 2.1 sub to power them and I only use that to hook up a portable CD player every now and then.

    This system will be used in a living/lounging room. It will use a 27" TV as a monitor (s-video). There are only two speakers (JBL S38-IIs); no sub.
     
  5. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Nothing about my reply changes.

    You can take the signal digitally and bring it to a receiver and let the receiver's DACs do the job, or you can take the signal in the analog domain and connect to an amplifier or integrated amplifier. Either will work. Which will sound better depends on you.
     
  6. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

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    Your definately gonna get better sound with the Audigy, SPDIF or not with the C-Media. What Angelo says is correct, but I'd lean torward the recevier option, unless you really think you need 150+ WPC. You could probably get a great stereo amp used on audiogon if you go that way or even receiver for that matter.
     
  7. Shane Morales

    Shane Morales Second Unit

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    Ok, so best bet seems to be Audigy 2 to receiver via SPDIF.

    Great! That works out much better for me. Thanks for the help.
     
  8. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Use cable with a 1/8 mono jack on one end (for the SPDIF mini jack on the sound card) and a standard size mono plug on the other (for the recevier's coaxial digital input). If the Audigy has an optical output, you could use that as an alternative.
     
  9. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Cinematographer

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    Some JVC home theater receivers, in the $300-$350 price range, have a usb input on the front. It's for hooking up your pc to it, to play your mp3s through your HT system.................
     
  10. cabreau

    cabreau Second Unit

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    Get a Soundblaster Audigy 2 and use the optical out to go to the receiver. Or at least, that's what I would do. Sure an HK 230 would work fine for that.
     

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