Newbie Question: Can I hook up 5.1 PC speakers to a HT receiver?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by BradfordC, Sep 12, 2004.

  1. BradfordC

    BradfordC Auditioning

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    I thought this would be easy, but I don't think it will be.

    I have a set of logitech z640 5.1 speakers that i would like to use on my home theater receiver so I can use them to watch dvds, listen to music, etc. However, the inputs on the logitechs are three miniplugs (front, rear and center) that go into the center channel's little hub. Ideally, I'd want to get all of the channels hooked up to the receiver directly, through the receiver's speaker hookups.

    Is it a good idea to try and strip the miniplug inputs on the logitechs and feed them into the receiver's speaker outs? I'm scared that the speakers will just freak out with the power of the receiver...and the whole ideal of dual amplification doesn't sit well with me.

    Should I split each channel individually and put them into the receiver (if I do this I will lose the center and sub)?

    I'm trying my hardest not to have to buy speakers, as I'm on a tight budget.

    Any advice would be great.
     
  2. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    If they are miniplug, they need a headphone/line level signal, so you could probably hook them up to your receiver's pre-outs with adapters.
     
  3. BradfordC

    BradfordC Auditioning

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    what is a preout? that means the speaker out?
     
  4. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    preamp outs. RCA type unamplified outputs.

    Don't hook up the amplified speaker-level outputs to powered speakers, you'll fry their electronics right quick.
     
  5. BradfordC

    BradfordC Auditioning

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    I don't have preamp outs other than for the sub [​IMG]

    OK, I tried using my friend's z560 satellite on a speaker out, and it sounds very quiet. Is this because the impedance on these small computer speakers is just really high? does this not bode well for my project?
     
  6. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    It probably can be done, but it will be tricky.

    The first trick is to figure out a way to connect the PC mini plugs to the receiver’s speaker outputs. You’ll probably have to get some headphone extension cords and cut the male ends off, strip back and expose the wiring and connect them to the speaker outputs. It shouldn’t be hard if the receiver has spring-loaded clips, but if it has regular binding posts it will be a challenge hooking up tiny-gauge wire to them.

    The next trick will be to figure out what is center, left, right etc. from the PC mini plugs. Probably will be a trial and error thing.

    If you succeed in all this, just make sure you keep the receiver’s volume very low, so as not to overdrive the PC speaker’s inputs. Start with the receiver's volume all the way down and the PC speaker's turned about 3/4 of the way up. Increase the receiver's volume to the point where the audio begins to sound distorted, then reduce it a notch. After this you’ll have to do all your volume adjustments from the PC speaker’s controls.

    The receiver’s amplifiers probably want at least an 8-ohm load. Using them to drive an input, there’s no telling what kind of load they’re getting. However, since you’re going to be using it at very low levels, it shouldn’t be a problem.

    The caveat is just how well this set-up will work. If you’re set up in a small bedroom or something similar, and are happy with moderate volume levels, you should be fine. If this is a large room, like a family room, and/or you’re a “just below the threshold of pain” type, you’re sure to be disappointed.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  7. BradfordC

    BradfordC Auditioning

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    Thanks...that's good advice. I'll look into getting some headphone extension cord.
     
  8. Vince. V

    Vince. V Agent

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    LOL, just buy speakers, youre gonna fry your computer speakers and then what will you have... zilch. Computer speakers are meant for computers. I didnt really look at what kind you have, but even fairly good computer speakers are pretty sucky, and since you are cheap I doubt you have the top of the line. I guess if that level of music is ok for you then go ahead, but once you are more than 5-10 feet away from your computer speakers it will sound crappy at best for music and DVD's. The reason computer speakers are good enough for a computer and not home theatre? Because you only sit a couple feet away from a computer, and its not like you have to fill a room with sound, whereas with movies and music, you dont really want it to sound like a clock radio, you might as well just use your TV speakers. If you do go ahead and try this anyways, like said previously be very careful where your volume knob is set on your reciever.[​IMG]
     
  9. BradfordC

    BradfordC Auditioning

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    haha...alright, so any suggestions on small home theater worthy speakers (5 of them) that won't cost me an arm and a leg? I'm a poor college student!
     
  10. Vince. V

    Vince. V Agent

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    whats your budget, $$$? and what kinda currency do you use.. USA $?
     
  11. BradfordC

    BradfordC Auditioning

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    My budget is
     
  12. Vince. V

    Vince. V Agent

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    I dunno, theres lots of choices, pretty much anything is gonna sound better than computer speakers though. Theres JBL, polk, athena(Canadian company, my choice)and many more. If youre on a budget get some bookshelf speakers and a sub, if you want to impress your friends get 2 floor standers and a sub, but for movies you need a centre channel(to hear voices clearly). You dont really need the 2 extra speakers for surround, but it sounds really cool for movies(useless for music). So if you went the minimum you'd need a reciever, I personally have a Harmon Kardon(love it) but theres lots of other brands availabe(yamaha, panasonic, sony and such), 2 front speakers, and a sub. To have basic 5.1 you need the rears though. Then you have to buy all the speaker cable you need and video cables and such. Bookshelfs sound pretty good with a decent subwoofer. Anyways, I just dont think you should even waste your time with the computer speakers you wont be impressed, i know people dont like to let things go to waste if they arent being used(im like that myself).
     
  13. Vince. V

    Vince. V Agent

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    Disregard everything I just typed, I just read your post, sorry I can't be of much help with that budget, maybe befriend Oscar the grouch and look at your local landfil for tossed speakers. Sorry I cant help, thats too small a budget. Might as well try the computer speakers then, just dont expect much...
     
  14. BradfordC

    BradfordC Auditioning

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    haha...thanks for the tips. I think I will try and use my friend's klipsch promedia surround speakers and just hook them directly into the receiver. They can't be that bad, can they?
     

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