Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Should I go with a PC 5.1, or a Home theater 5.1?

Tags:
  • Home Theatre
  • Speakers
  • Audio
  • Product
Last response: in Home Audio
Share
October 9, 2008 1:38:36 AM

I recently bought the Sennhieser pc350 to replace my x530 speakers. But after much dissapointment, I would rather buy some better speakers.

For a while I have been looking at the z5500. I know I couldn't go wrong, but I think that a home theater system can offer more if connected right. I currently have a Razer Barracuda 7.1 Dolby/THX sound card. What would be a better choice for gaming, music, and movies?

I am currently looking at this system.

Sony DAV-HDX275 BRAVIA HTS

More about : home theater

October 9, 2008 2:46:46 PM

Almost without exception, a mediocre home theater setup will beat the best PC speakers any day.
October 9, 2008 6:24:58 PM

Awesome. Currently, I have the x530 Logitech which only have 70 total watts.
The Sony DAV-HDX275 BRAVIA HTS is about 1000w. The subwoofer alone is about 270. About 4 times my current system.

So will there be any distortion or problems going from just a 3.5 to 2 rca audio?
Related resources
October 10, 2008 3:54:21 AM

If you have it, the best would be an SPDIF (either toslink optical, or standard cables) digital connection. If you don't have that as an option though, the 3.5 to RCA should work fine. I'm running a nice 2.1 setup off of my computer via TOSLINK optical (Denon 2808 reciever/B&W speakers/SVS sub), and it works beautifully, but I've also run it off a headphone jack to RCA adapter, and the sound difference was minimal, if it was there at all. I mainly use the optical for the convenience of the single, skinny cable that can handle surround if I want, not for quality.
October 10, 2008 4:42:28 AM

Sweet, thanks.

I went to Target today and tried out a similar model to the sony I mentioned above. They sounded decent off my iPod, but I will not know how they would sound through my pc. I am sure they will beat my current set up though. Sony as yet to disappoint me so far. I guess it may be a week or so before I get my new set up, and I will see how it goes from there.

Is there any better setup than a HTIB for $200?
October 10, 2008 7:23:29 AM

Not that I know of - most of the good setups run quite a bit higher than that. It obviously won't hold a candle to a nice $1200 surround setup (like any of the ones here, which don't even include an amplifier), but it should easily beat even a nice PC setup like the Logitech Z-5500. I'd say given your budget, go for it.
October 10, 2008 10:50:52 PM

The Logitech Z-5500 is more than enough for Movies and Games. But you will need a better system than that for music playing.

While the Sony DAV-HDX275 BRAVIA HTS may sound better than the Logitech Z-5500, it will not play as loud as the Z-5500.

cjl mentioned the SBS-01, which is a whole lot better than the Z-5500 or the DAV-HDX275 due to the bookshelf speakers used for satellite, but unfortunately it comes with the price too. So for the same amount you may want to consider this. http://www.onkyousa.com/model.cfm?m=HT-S9100THX&class=S... and it's not far from SBS-01 but it's a better upgrade compare to the Z-5500 or the DAV-HDX275.

October 11, 2008 2:49:08 AM

I would think that the Sony would go plenty loud - those speakers have plenty of power, and unless they have absolutely miserable efficiencies, they shouldn't have any trouble matching the Z5500. It is true that the Onkyo system would be a lot better (as would the SBS-01), but I get the feeling that both of those are out of his price range.
October 11, 2008 3:47:19 AM

The SONY is rated at Peak Music Power Output. There's no way that system is capable of 1000W of power, unless the Amplifier uses 500W just tot power it self. In my own opinion the Sony maybe making about 200 to 250 Watts RMS.

The Z-5500 is Rated over 1K Watts PMPO and 550 Watts RMS.

The Onkyo HT-S9100THX is rated 1200 Watts but notice the amplifier can only hold 8~16 ohms while average amplifier can accept 6~16 Ohms and more expensive Amps can use 4~16 OHMS with .05% or lower THD. Compare HT-S9100THX speakers to the SVS SBS-01 the SVS has higher sensitivity.

I haven't listened to either one but I'm looking at the specs, that's where I make my assumption.
October 11, 2008 6:45:19 AM

Here's the claimed specs, straight from the sony website:

Quote:
Audio Power Output : Amplifier: 1000W(RMS) / 512W(FTC), Center Speaker: 143W (FTC 0.7%THD), Center Speaker: 143W (RMS), Front Speaker: 84W x 2 ((FTC 0.7%THD), Front Speaker: 143W x 2 (RMS 10%THD), Subwoofer Speaker: 160W (FTC 0.7%THD), Subwoofer Speaker: 285W (RMS), Surround Speaker: 50W x 2 (FTC 0.7%THD ), Surround Speaker: 143W x 2 (RMS)


Note that the 1000W is in fact an RMS figure. It's hard to say exactly what that means, and whether the quality is anything approaching decent at those levels, but at least by the specs, it seems to have plenty of power. Of course, the rest of the specs seem decidedly odd, with the speakers rated at 3 ohms, as well as several important numbers missing (such as THD from the amp at that power output). The speakers also seem quite small for the claimed quantity of power (only around 3.5" drivers).

On a side note, where do you find that 8-16 ohm spec on the Onkyo? I didn't notice it on that page. I know my Denon 2808 is rated at 110W per channel @ 4-16 ohms and 0.05% THD, but I didn't notice a similar spec on the page you linked to, only a power at 8 ohms, 1kHz, and 0.9%THD.
October 11, 2008 7:20:07 AM

Ok. I am going to clear some stuff up...maybe.

The system MSRP is $300. I can buy a slightly used one for only $210. For the price, and I just checked out the system at best buy, it sounds decent. However, there is one major concern.

I have a razer barracuda 7.1 sound card. Now this is cabable of dolby, neo:p c, and prologic. Unfortunately, I would be sending my signal possible from the 1 green port and splitting it into an RCA composite sounds. Now, my knowledge tells me that sending a 2 speaker format and the sony remixing it into a 5.1 sound will not give me true 5.1.

I can use the s/pdif cable but would that be capable of 5.1? I looked and saw the the Sony dav275 has a s/pdif in on the back.

I really hope that I am not going to waste my money on something marginally better. I can buy a logitech x-540 system for 50 bucks. That is a step up from my current one. Do you think that it will be good for shooters? I will be using this for music and movies to, but typically pc shooters and anything else.
October 11, 2008 7:41:09 AM

S-PDIF is fully capable of 5.1 on digital sources. So, you would get full 5.1 on any source with Dolby Digital or DTS, such as movies. It would only give 2 channel on games though, unless you have a sound card capable of dolby digital live encoding, which I'm not sure about with your card.

You should be able to use more than one mini headphone port though to output 5.1 analog, which would allow surround in both games and movies.
October 12, 2008 5:34:48 AM

To cjl:
Quote:
On a side note, where do you find that 8-16 ohm spec on the Onkyo?
http://www.onkyousa.com/model.cfm?m=HT-S9100THX&class=S... > See Speaker Impedance.
Quote:
Note that the 1000W is in fact an RMS figure. It's hard to say exactly what that means, and whether the quality is anything approaching decent at those levels, but at least by the specs, it seems to have plenty of power. Of course, the rest of the specs seem decidedly odd, with the speakers rated at 3 ohms, as well as several important numbers missing (such as THD from the amp at that power output). The speakers also seem quite small for the claimed quantity of power (only around 3.5" drivers).
I though you already know that. Would you pay 10 times more for your Denon when the Sony is as capable on what your system can do?

Here's what Sony posted:
Quote:
Power Consumption : 165W
Features and specifications are subject to change without notice. All weights and measures are approximate.
As you can see Sony come about saying measurements are approximate. And how can a system produce so much power but takes so much less?

Another way to look at is that A 100 Watts system with very low THD can push more clear sound than a 200 Watts system with high THD. When it comes to Audio the THD (should be very low) and sensitivity (should be high) is the first thing you look, next is the impedance (should be wide). That is why your Denon cost $2200~$2800 depend on when it was bought compare to $300 Sony DAV-HDX275 BRAVIA with speakers.

To Underbyte18:
Quote:
I really hope that I am not going to waste my money on something marginally better. I can buy a logitech x-540 system for 50 bucks. That is a step up from my current one. Do you think that it will be good for shooters? I will be using this for music and movies to, but typically pc shooters and anything else.
I have X-530 myself and the X-540 is not much better I've checked last december.
Quote:
I have a razer barracuda 7.1 sound card. Now this is cabable of dolby, neo:p c, and prologic. Unfortunately, I would be sending my signal possible from the 1 green port and splitting it into an RCA composite sounds. Now, my knowledge tells me that sending a 2 speaker format and the sony remixing it into a 5.1 sound will not give me true 5.1.

I can use the s/pdif cable but would that be capable of 5.1? I looked and saw the the Sony dav275 has a s/pdif in on the back.
While it is ture as you will not be able to play 5.1 using spdif connection on games the razer barracuda is different from soundblaster soundcard. you have 50% chance that it might works. But live digital may not implimented on your card as cjl said. I think your souncard can output S/PDIF and analog simultaneously. So why won't you use that and use the X-530 for games and the digital signal for anything else?


So lets go back to your first question.
Quote:
What would be a better choice for gaming, music, and movies?
Your souncard is capable on doing that, you just need a better speakers and amplifier. That's why cjl recomended the SVS and until we assumed you don't want to spent that much.

Will the Sony better than the X-530? the answer is yes.
Will the X-540 better than the X-530? the answer is yes.
Will the Z-5500 better than the Sony? it depends, it'll play louder; movies and games is really good.
Will the Onkyo is better than the X-540, Sony and the Z-5500? the answer is yes.
Will the SVS sounds better than the onkyo? Only If pair with a good system.
Will the Sony or the X-540 worth upgrading from X-530? answer is no, unless you really want to.
Will the Z-5500 worth upgrading from X-530, the answer is yes but not really great for playing music.

The Creative Gigaworks S-750 maybe a better upgrade for your system. http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=4&...

Or something like these two:
http://www.bestbuy.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?logon=&lan...
http://www.bestbuy.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?logon=&lan...
October 12, 2008 7:05:05 AM

rexter said:
To cjl:
Quote:
On a side note, where do you find that 8-16 ohm spec on the Onkyo?
http://www.onkyousa.com/model.cfm?m=HT-S9100THX&class=S... > See Speaker Impedance.
Quote:
Note that the 1000W is in fact an RMS figure. It's hard to say exactly what that means, and whether the quality is anything approaching decent at those levels, but at least by the specs, it seems to have plenty of power. Of course, the rest of the specs seem decidedly odd, with the speakers rated at 3 ohms, as well as several important numbers missing (such as THD from the amp at that power output). The speakers also seem quite small for the claimed quantity of power (only around 3.5" drivers).
I though you already know that. Would you pay 10 times more for your Denon when the Sony is as capable on what your system can do?

Here's what Sony posted:
Quote:
Power Consumption : 165W
Features and specifications are subject to change without notice. All weights and measures are approximate.
As you can see Sony come about saying measurements are approximate. And how can a system produce so much power but takes so much less?

Another way to look at is that A 100 Watts system with very low THD can push more clear sound than a 200 Watts system with high THD. When it comes to Audio the THD (should be very low) and sensitivity (should be high) is the first thing you look, next is the impedance (should be wide). That is why your Denon cost $2200~$2800 depend on when it was bought compare to $300 Sony DAV-HDX275 BRAVIA with speakers.


That price for the Denon is a bit high - the 2808 actually goes for around $1100. Regardless, I do realize that, which is why I commented on the specs being decidedly odd on the Sony. They seem somewhat contradictory, and the THD numbers are quite high where they are given (and in many cases are completely missing). There's no question that it isn't anywhere near the same level of quality as the Sony, but the question isn't between those.

I'm definitely in agreement with you about the requirements for good audio though. A good amp is definitely a good investment if you want truly good quality audio, and as you said, THD is more important than raw power.

rexter said:

To Underbyte18:
Quote:
I really hope that I am not going to waste my money on something marginally better. I can buy a logitech x-540 system for 50 bucks. That is a step up from my current one. Do you think that it will be good for shooters? I will be using this for music and movies to, but typically pc shooters and anything else.
I have X-530 myself and the X-540 is not much better I've checked last december.
Quote:
I have a razer barracuda 7.1 sound card. Now this is cabable of dolby, neo:p c, and prologic. Unfortunately, I would be sending my signal possible from the 1 green port and splitting it into an RCA composite sounds. Now, my knowledge tells me that sending a 2 speaker format and the sony remixing it into a 5.1 sound will not give me true 5.1.

I can use the s/pdif cable but would that be capable of 5.1? I looked and saw the the Sony dav275 has a s/pdif in on the back.
While it is ture as you will not be able to play 5.1 using spdif connection on games the razer barracuda is different from soundblaster soundcard. you have 50% chance that it might works. But live digital may not implimented on your card as cjl said. I think your souncard can output S/PDIF and analog simultaneously. So why won't you use that and use the X-530 for games and the digital signal for anything else?


So lets go back to your first question.
Quote:
What would be a better choice for gaming, music, and movies?
Your souncard is capable on doing that, you just need a better speakers and amplifier. That's why cjl recomended the SVS and until we assumed you don't want to spent that much.

Will the Sony better than the X-530? the answer is yes.
Will the X-540 better than the X-530? the answer is yes.
Will the Z-5500 better than the Sony? it depends, it'll play louder; movies and games is really good.
Will the Onkyo is better than the X-540, Sony and the Z-5500? the answer is yes.
Will the SVS sounds better than the onkyo? Only If pair with a good system.
Will the Sony or the X-540 worth upgrading from X-530? answer is no, unless you really want to.
Will the Z-5500 worth upgrading from X-530, the answer is yes but not really great for playing music.

The Creative Gigaworks S-750 maybe a better upgrade for your system. http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=4&...

Or something like these two:
http://www.bestbuy.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?logon=&lan...
http://www.bestbuy.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?logon=&lan...


I still think that the Sony will be better than the Z5500 in many ways (especially as the Z5500 has rather terrible high end, due to the 3" drivers on the satellites with no tweeters at all). Would it be perfect? Oh heck no, and it would still lack in the high end for the same reason that the Z5500 would, but it's not trying to beat a tremendously high bar. While it is inferior to almost every decent home theater setup out there, computer speakers also fall into that category, and as a result, I still think that for the price, the Sony setup would be a decent buy (keep in mind that he can get it for $210).

As for that Creative setup, it does look decent, especially as it is a 3 way setup (sub, mains, and tweeters) rather than a 2 way setup like the Logitech. It probably would be a lot better at clear highs than either the logitech or the sony because of that alone. I would have no reservations recommending that as decent, aside from the price. I'm also impressed by its power ratings if accurate, as it is rated at 700W RMS with 0.1%THD on each speaker (0.2% on the sub). For comparison, the Logitech Z5500 is rated at 505W RMS @ 10%THD (a rather ridiculous figure, IMHO, as no speaker should ever be run at 10%THD). On the other hand, I do have to doubt the figures somewhat, as 0.1%THD is rather impressive for a speaker at high power levels - my B&W's can only manage to spec at <1% from 100Hz to 22kHz, and <0.5% from 150Hz to 20kHz @ 90dB @ 1m. Still, it is possible, as they are rating them at a single frequency (1kHz), which is probably right around the minimum of their total harmonic distortion.

Those options from Best Buy look decent too. While slightly more expensive, the quality should be significantly higher than the Sony that was mentioned earlier, and it should also handily beat that Creative Gigaworks setup. It also has the advantage of being easily upgradeable and interchangeable - because everything is definitely standardized, you could add better speakers later, and they would work fine with that amp. The Precision Acoustics speakers are still definitely low end, but will probably sound better than the Sonys above. Of course, this setup would also be more expensive.

Honestly, overall, I would just recommend going for the Sony HTIB setup that you were originally looking at - while not incredible, for the price, it is certainly quite good, and you aren't likely to get any better without spending substantially more money. However, if you want good sound and can stretch your budget somewhat, there are better setups you could be looking at.
October 12, 2008 10:28:30 PM

Thanks for all the in depth help. I am currently a college student, with not that big of a budget so I am just trying to find the best setup for the price. The Sony HTIB is used but it definitely sounds good when I tried it at the local Best Buy. So for it used and 210 dollars via amazon, it doesn't sound bad. The reason I want to get a new sound system is because 1) Far Cry 2 debuts soon and 2) The X-530 has a bit muddy bass when it comes to games and music. Sure its loud, but it does not sound clear. Not to mention I have had these x530s for about 4 years now.

Probably after graduation, I plan on spending upwards of 500 dollars or more on a sound system for my computer, but for now I just want to improve my current situation.

Again, thanks for the help.
October 13, 2008 2:37:24 AM

By the way I could not find a Razer Barracuda 7.1 Dolby/THX but If that is the same as the Razer Barracuda AC-1 which uses the C-Media Oxygen HD chip (CMI8788) chip then it does support Digital Live.
October 13, 2008 4:20:43 AM

Oops, my error. Yes, it is the AC-1.
!