Sound system to PC require a receiver?
I'm thinking of getting a really nice home theater surround sound system for my PC, but I was wondering if that would need to be routed through a receiver between the speakers and the computer. Any info would be great, having a hard time finding decent info about this, and not too knowledgable in the audio department.
Any advice on the matter?
What sort of sound will you be outputting? I.E., will it come from the mobo's integrated audio or a soundcard? What's the pc audio component's model number?
A lot of pc audio solutions have multi-speaker abilities built in. Some can decode Dolby 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 or whatever the latest and greatest is. If the audio components are solid enough you might be fine with connecting speakers direct to the pc without a separate receiver.
It would connected to an independent soundcard,
Originally Posted by HighPlainsDrifter
the card is http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829102042
I know it supports surround and everything, but I figure that's more for computer audio sized speakers, I was hoping to use home cinema type equipment, which I'm not really familiar with at all. When it comes to PC audio I'm normally just plugging the headphones in.
You'll need a receiver because that is what is going to act as an amplifier for the speakers and decode any surround sound signals. From there you can connect the PC to the surround sound in a number of ways.
The best would be if you have a videocard and receiver with HDMI support. Both nVidia and AMD support linear PCM over HDMI so that way you'd get high quality, uncompressed 5.1 or 7.1 channel sound. You don't even need a sound card in that situation (or to use the HDMI output for video).
The sound card you've linked has Dolby Digital Live so you can also just run a single optical audio cable from the PC to the digital input on the receiver. The audio quality may be a little lower, but not bad.
The next step down would be using 3 1/8th inch to stereo RCA adapters to the receiver's 6 channel analog inputs. That's the best option for sound cards that don't do DD Live. Otherwise you're stuck with only 2 channel audio over optical for games.
I'm currently running optical audio (SPDIF?) from my PC to a home theater-esque sound bar and I get great quality; no complaints.
I'd be quite happy to find this has changed, but as of a year ago the HDMI outputs of video cards and mobo's will only pass linear PCM bitstreams, which tend to only be useful for prerecorded surround sound like from Blu-Rays or DVDs. If you intend to use this for surround sound in games, you may be sorely disappointed.
The only options I know of are connecting your PC to the receiver via analog cables (as Brad suggested) or getting a dedicated sound card that encodes surround sound output in real time into Dolby Digital Live or DTS-Connect and outputs via SPDIF. SPDIF is a digital audio standard that can use either an optical cable or a single more traditional RCA cable, and most receivers will have connectors for both kinds.
One thing to note is that not all home theater receivers actually have analog connectors, so if that's the route you choose make sure you verify you're getting equipment that supports it.
A "really nice" home theater sound system pretty much is a receiver and 5 to 7 speakers and a subwoofer. If this is your first foray into getting something like this together, I'd suggest you budget $250-$300 for the receiver and probably $500-$1,000 for everything else. Your front left and right loudspeakers and subwoofer will probably be the most significant and noticeable pieces for the overall quality of your setup. There are no HTIB (Home Theater In a Box) systems I know of that hold a candle to a real home theater system. Avoid Bose or anybody trying to sell you systems made by Bose like the plague.
Yeah, definitely wasn't going to go with a system in a box or Bose, I remember that advice when my Father was shopping for a system a few years back. For the sub I was planning on grabbing this deal up http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-078-_-Product
I was hoping to be able to avoid getting a receiver to save the cash and just use the PC tower to serve the same purpose the receiver would. But, if I output audio from my sound card via the optical cable into the receiver, that would work and be up to standard, right?
If you're outputting via optical just make sure your sound card supports DD Live 5.1 encoding or whatever it is, so your games can do 5.1 over it. Otherwise you'll only get stereo for your gaming unless you swap to analogue outs for gaming itself.
I think you could get powered speakers. They have their own amplification, removing the need for the receiver.
The downside is flexibility. Powered speakers would be connected to your computer, via the soundcard, and that's it. Even an inexpensive receiver will have connections for things like ipods, blu ray player, 360/PS3, etc.
Yeah, looks like it supports DDL 5.1 by the product description online. So I guess I need to start looking into receivers then.
Originally Posted by markv
On a side note, how do you guys feel about that sub I linked?
Should I jump on the deal? Sounds like a great buy.
Originally Posted by Alex Pirani
How big is the room the sub is going to be in? Are you going to be listening to music a lot with it? Usually you want to limit your sub to about 10"s when it comes to music listening unless you're willing to invest decent money because of clipping problems. Plus if your room isn't overly huge you might look at having some overkill by going too big, and/or neighbours complaining.
I've been using a 10" sub for years and it's more than enough to give me the boom I want for gaming/movies, and really nice for music.
You might want to check out http://www.avsforum.com/ for more detailed information on stuff you are looking to buy as there's usually tonnes of threads there that have talked about quite a few different things on the market, and the knowledge base of the people who frequent that place is amazing.
EDIT - Looks like that sub has some variations to it so I don't know if clipping would be a concern with it. I haven't looked in to subs in great depth in years since I haven't had a need to upgrade.
Well, the room is a relatively large basement, couldn't give you numbers off the top of my head really. To be honest though, I'm a total bass addict. The more I feel the bass the better. I guess I would be using it for plenty of music and gaming, not so much for movies though. I'm sure that sub is more than I need, there's no doubt about it, but hell it's at quite a discount right now...
If it's a large/larger room then yeah I'd go 12" if the speaker seems worth the value. Your best bet for quick info though is avsforum.
Definitely go with a receiver if you're going to do a surround setup. Trying to run analog cables from your PC to all 6 speakers/subs scattered around the room is going to be a mess, and might wind up being more expensive than you think - you'd need to run long lines of 1/8" or RCA cable instead of plain speaker wire.
For inexpensive receivers I've used Pioneer, Denon, and Onkyo in the past, with Onkyo being what I have right now. Just about anything in the $250-$300 Range made in the last year will almost certainly have every feature you could possible want given your desired usage.