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Newbie To Audio Systems

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December 24, 2008 11:08:49 PM

Hi guys, I have been wanting to get a really nice audio system setup that I can use for both movies (on a TV) and gaming on my computer (will be used for the most). I have a few questions in regard to this:


1) Would it be better to piece it together from parts from various manufacturers or would a combo package (eg, Logitech's Z5550)?

2) Is on board HD Audio by Realtek good enough (doubts it)? I have heard that the onboard sound chips have improved so much over the years, buying a dedicated sound card isn't really worth it. True?

3) If I decide to build the system from various parts, would I need a receiver of sorts or would my sound card be all I need?

4) I have heard mixed responses to 7.1 or 5.1 audio. I would imagine the 7 speakers to be better but for what reason would 5.1 win out? Also are there special speakers for high definition audio or are all speakers capable of such (eg HDTV vs SDTV)?

5) I know headsets are supposed to deliver the best gaming experience but I'd like to enjoy a large audio system and I worry about the speakers interfering with a separate microphone's pickup on voice chatting, especially if it is going to be as powerful as I've been hinting at. Are there any microphones you can recommend to combat this? Would a performance or recording quality microphone be a good idea such as a high quality condenser microphone? I am a musician and plan to use this system in part for recording so I am not opposed to that.

6) Finally, as far as sound cards go, are the Creative X-Fi cards all they are cracked up to be? The models which support the front bezel or input hub appeal to me for plugging in my guitar studio direct for recording. Are the X-Fi's good for this or are there better cards out there suited for this?


I know its a lot of questions but thank you so much in advance for your help.

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December 25, 2008 1:10:04 AM

1) Z 5500 is a good speaker set for movies and games. If you are more a music lover then piecing together is better.

2) Onboard chip are better than before and some are equal to the cheap soundcards. I have 3 Audigy not being use right now, one I gave away and the two will be given away too after tomorrow.


3) Depend on your priority. I would rather have good speaker set than a soundcard that produce more than the speakers can handle.

4) I have set-up both and they are almost alike if position properly. 7.1 gives more detail in positioning but hardly implemented. 5.1 is mostly use right now. Maybe whit the blu-ray things will change.


5) Then I would assume you prefer better sound for your music than your games. My Suggestion is to get you an Azuntech Xplosion or something better and better speakers than the Z5500.

6) You would be happier if you get yourself an E-MU, 1820M or even the 1212M.


Others may have a different view than mine. However unlike others I don't care if the sound of my games comes out on notebook speakers or from a 5 dollars headphone.

December 25, 2008 5:21:12 AM

While the Z5500 is nice as computer speakers go, it cannot even come close to the quality of a good pieced together set. Depending on the amount you want to spend, you can absolutely FLATTEN the Z5500 in quality with a decent home theater setup.
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December 25, 2008 8:53:31 PM

Looks like I have some sound card research to do....following the building a system advice, what are the top manufacturer's? I know a few brands like Klipsch and Bose but beyond those I am unsure of the big guys. I don't want to have to spend too much money but I want to get an awesome musical/gaming/movie experience.
December 25, 2008 10:18:58 PM

We all want to get the best for our money but how much are you willing to spend for both the soundcard and speaker set?

Remember lower end models tend to have a built-in amplifier and that's how you save money. Any speaker system that starts around $1000 including amp is far better than the z5500.

If you can find some used equipment that is good, then it may be cheaper to piece them together as a set.

Example:
3 amps for $200 - that would make 5 to 6 channels
1 Amplified Sub-Woofer - $100-$300
5 to 6 speakers - $300 to $400 (Front L/R, Center Front/Rear, Rear L/R)

If you want to spend less then stay cheap and save your money to get a better one next time.
Get a good amp and used speakers for no more than $100 to start, then get good ones later.

All you need is a good sound card. Pro-cards are not gaming or for Movies so you may have problems playing multichannel. So check the manufacturers if their cards have the capable of what you need.
April 4, 2009 7:45:11 PM

I also have the z5500's, along with a 1212m.. the main question I have is, what is the best way to connect the Emu 1212m to the z5500? Optical? Coax? If I did analog, how would I do it? The 1212m only has a left and right 1/4" output..and the z5500 has three 3.5mm jacks for the 6 channel direct..

Can anyone help? I've looked everywhere and no one seems to know..
April 5, 2009 6:14:21 AM

klutz said:
I also have the z5500's, along with a 1212m.. the main question I have is, what is the best way to connect the Emu 1212m to the z5500? Optical? Coax? If I did analog, how would I do it? The 1212m only has a left and right 1/4" output..and the z5500 has three 3.5mm jacks for the 6 channel direct..

Can anyone help? I've looked everywhere and no one seems to know..


Use of Coax or optical won't matter much but I prefer optical, coax for short run is cheaper though. You will need an adaptor for analog (1/4" TRS phone jack to 1/8" TRS phone jack also called mini-jack), if you chose to go analog.

Then set the Z5500 to PL2 to simulate 5.1, it’s not a true 5.1 but it's better than nothing. or just stay in stereo if preferred. Don't know if 1212m can output more than two channel pass-through digital connection, check with EMU's tech personel.
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