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Surround Sound solutions for HTPC

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February 22, 2010 6:56:35 PM

I am almost done with my HTPC, and my future plans included eventually getting a nice Onkyo Surround Sound system that would the HTPC would hook to......however, these surround sound receivers are very expensive and then it dawned on me.....since my motherboard has built in 7.1 surround sound......why couldn't I just buy a set of surround sound speakers for the PC, and use those instead of having to go into a seperate receiver? Would this be a much more cost effective, yet good results way to go?
February 22, 2010 7:13:29 PM

The speakers that you connect computers to usually have a built in amp. The computer line outs are non amplified, Therefore you need an amplified reciever. Like the Onkyo.
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February 22, 2010 7:17:03 PM

yeah, but if I just buy a set of say Logitech surround sound speakers that will go from my motherboard's sound output, then wholla, surround sound for much cheaper than going through a a seperate receiver, right? I mean, everything else is running through the computer, like the Blue Ray, and I will have TV signal input.....so why not just use a set of computer surround sound speakers?
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February 22, 2010 7:28:39 PM

You could go that way. Alot of people used to use the Klipsch Pro Media 5.1 for that back in the day. Now you cant get them because the amp had big problems. You would have to check to see what formats are compatible on some of them. Also the Onkyo will be a much cleaner system. It is basically going from top of the line to mediocre at best. But I do it in my gaming room. With some old Creative Speakers. I say try it out in the store see if it sounds like it will fill the room. Go from there.
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February 22, 2010 7:34:34 PM

yeah, this is just to get me by until I someday have the money to get the Onkyo.....by no means my permanent solution
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February 22, 2010 8:02:24 PM

you can spend $400 on it....I can't
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February 22, 2010 8:03:00 PM

Really? What is your budget?
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February 22, 2010 8:04:54 PM

considering I am dropping $1,000 just to build the HTPC, surround sound is not even a priority.....but since I can get a solution for under $100 temporarily, I might go with that....I see no reason why it shouldn't work.
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February 22, 2010 8:06:14 PM

Hmm...I guess everyone's priorities are different. I bought a Dell Studio Hybrid for $300 that does pretty much everything I needed for HTPC.

I don't think $100 surround sound speakers are really any better than TV speakers because the dialogue is so muffled.
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February 22, 2010 8:07:55 PM

I am building a HTPC/gaming rig, not just a basic HTPC
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February 22, 2010 8:17:54 PM

astrallite said:
Hmm...I guess everyone's priorities are different. I bought a Dell Studio Hybrid for $300 that does pretty much everything I needed for HTPC.

I don't think $100 surround sound speakers are really any better than TV speakers because the dialogue is so muffled.


I am sure they will put out better sound than just using the tiny speakers that come built into the Samsung TV
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February 23, 2010 12:09:25 AM

I thought TV speakers do a good job at what they are designed for--vocals. They have a tipped up midrange. Computer speakers aren't usually like that, so they might actually be outdone by the TV speakers. That's what I felt when I used a set of Z-680s on a TV.
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a b V Motherboard
February 23, 2010 9:27:05 AM

For about $125 you can get a Xonar Ds and Logitech x540.
The x540 will give you a decent surround setup (probably the best you can get in your price range) and the Xonar will give you a cleaner output than your onboard audio (less muffled audio, more clear and crisp)

My 0.02€
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a b V Motherboard
February 23, 2010 9:31:05 AM

astrallite said:
I thought TV speakers do a good job at what they are designed for--vocals. They have a tipped up midrange. Computer speakers aren't usually like that, so they might actually be outdone by the TV speakers. That's what I felt when I used a set of Z-680s on a TV.

If your old Z680 gives you worse sound than your TV, you probably have it set up wrong....
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a b V Motherboard
February 23, 2010 10:06:36 AM

I thought there was a relatively inexpensive receiver out there - $199 (Sony maybe) that has HDMI pass-through - that would work if the card you choose has HDMI, right?
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a b V Motherboard
February 23, 2010 10:16:40 AM

Yes and no.
While that would get your sound to the receiver, you would be limited to Stereo for games and anything that is not already encoded in DD or DTS.

Reason being, onboard codecs (including those onboard the GPU) are not able to encode DDL or DTS Connect.
As such, they can only output a Stereo LPCM signal or pass through a Dolby Digital or DTS stream through their digital output.
In order to make this a viable setup for gaming, you would need a separate sound card with DDL or DTS Connect encoding :/ 
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February 23, 2010 4:14:56 PM

outlw6669 said:
If your old Z680 gives you worse sound than your TV, you probably have it set up wrong....


Everyone hears things differently, but a pair of 3" fullrange drivers in dubiously damped enclosures is unlikely to be particular acoustically superior to the typical 2" TV speakers, and both will have a beaming dispersion pattern. On the off-axis, the one with a more tipped up midrange IMO is going to sound clearer. Also, TVs have varying sound quality. As far as setting things up correctly, I'm not perfect, but I strive to use the 0.73 ratio or as close to as I can, toe-in, and use audyssey EQ to make sure the sitting position has a flat response and minimal comb filtering. I only have 3 panels of acoustic foam here set up in the room. I know I could be doing much more, but it's still significantly more than your average joe does.
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a b V Motherboard
August 27, 2012 4:32:22 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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