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Small Receiver or Subwoofer+integrated amp?

I keep hearing everyone say that even a cheap set of home theater speakers would blow away the best computer speakers. Every time I look at, say, the Z5500 or Z906 discussions there is always someone who goes on about how you can pick up some $200 off the shelf speakers that are much better. The one problem with their arguments always comes back to the receivers.

First of all even the lowest end receivers that do what the built in ones of these high end speakers do costs almost as much a complete computer speaker system does. Second of all the receivers are huge. I have room behind my monitor for quite a bit. In fact I actually have my subwoofer behind my monitor. But every receiver I have ever seen is gigantic. It would take up too much desk space and be clumsy to change the volume on while using the computer. Plus they would look like crap next to a computer.

This brings me to my question. Does anyone make either small receivers/amps that would be small like the Z5500's controller pod is? Or does anyone sell stand alone subwoofers with integrated amps for a 5.1 setup? It doesn't matter how much "better" the sound quality of a receiver + home theater setup is, without a more manageable way to hook up the speakers then a min $200 gigantic receiver its just not worth it.

PS In case anyone is wondering I was going to be hooking up 5.1 setup with a 5 Polk RM8s (4 satellites, 1 center) + whatever subwoofer I can find for $100-200 and was going to be hooking it up via a digital connection on my audio card
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  1. Best answer
    Most receivers are the standard 17'' wide and 5-10'' high. It highly depends on the type of computer speakers and type of home theater speakers. Speakers are speakers...they all work the same way. Just computer speakers use different interfaces.

    If you find a spot for a receiver, I recommend it highly. It usually gives you tons of inputs, settings, connections and other benefits.

    I do not know of any tiny receivers. Receivers have amplifiers in them...that means they have a beefy PSU, heatsinks, transistors and other stuff so they are going to be big.
  2. "Just computer speakers use different interfaces"

    Yes and its this different interface I would like but with my own speaker setup. It would be wonderful if there was a subwoofer that has a prebuilt amp + input/output connections on it that you could buy on its own instead of always needing to buy a complete speaker system. Are you aware of anything like that existing?
  3. active subs, do have those connections...
  4. Alright so if active subwoofers are what I'm looking for then the answer seems to be no. After googling around a bit most of the active subwoofers just have amp + power for the subwoofer itself. The few that I found that had outputs to sattelites only had ouptuts for 2 and I wanted a full 5.1 system.
  5. You can get a 5.1 system for like 30-50bucks that has a sub/amp in a single enclosure with inputs and terminals for speaker.
  6. Yes but those low end systems have extremely low wattage so if you hooked up nicer speakers to them wouldn't they still be really weak because of an inferior amp? As I understand it watt != quality but it does equal power, so with such a low power output the speakers would be fairly quiet. I'm definitely not an expert on speakers though so I could be wrong about that.
  7. The low end systems have low wattage, but if you buy efficient speakers, it will be quite loud. Buy speakers with an efficiency of like 100db+ and I am sure it will sound LOUD. However it depends on the efficiency of the speakers you currently have. You can also get lower impedance speakers. Be careful though not to fry the amp.
  8. How do I avoid frying the amp?

    Edit: nevermind I found the answer in the basics stick thread. Thanks for the help guys.
  9. ^Your welcome,

    I'm glad people are using the guide I wrote :) !!!
  10. Alright I ended up getting a 5.1 set of speakers that have the following amp specs:
    67 w/channel (4 Ohms at 3.85kHz)

    The speakers I want to buy are:
    20-125 w/channel at 8 Ohms (89 db efficiency).

    From the speaker description I'm not sure how I can tell if this would fry my amp or not...Is there supposed to be a way to control how much energy the speakers actually draw?
  11. No, if your speakers have more resistance, its perfectly safe.

    There is no way to control how much the speakers draw, but you can adjust resistance using...well...resistors.

    If the resistance is high then its much safer than if the resistances lower than what the amplifier is designed for.
  12. 67 w/channel (4 Ohms at 3.85kHz)


    thats around 38.5 watts at 8ohms, if other variables were kept constant/

    u would get ur speakers to about 103dB, thats at around max volume though. im not sure if thats very loud... considering musical peaks are usually 100db or more.
  13. So does that mean I need to get lower Ohm speakers? Or should I do a parallel connection to them to be effective 4 Ohms?
  14. You should look for a speaker with the least minimum input power; anything below 25 watts is better.

    Below is an example:

    Specifications
    Specs M80
    Enclosure: Triple Vortex / Reflex
    Max Amp Power: 400 Watts
    Min Amp Power: 10 Watts <------------------- minimum power required
    Freq Resp +/-3dB (Hz): 34 Hz – 20 kHz Frequency Graph
    Freq Resp +3dB- 9dB (Hz): 25 Hz – 20 kHz
    Impedance (Ohms): 4 Ohms Impedance Graph
    SPL in Room1w/1m(db): 95 dB
    SPL Anechoic 1w/1m(db): 91 dB
    X-Over 160 Hz & 2.3 kHz
    Tweeter: Dual 1"
    Midrange: Dual 5.25"
    Woofer: Dual 6.5"
    Dimens. H W D (inches): 39.5" x 9.25" x 17"
    Dimens. H W D (mm): 1003 x 235 x 432
    Weight (lbs) each 56.8 lbs
    Weight (kg) each 25.764 kgs
  15. Deleted. double post
  16. deleted double post
  17. Best answer selected by daneren2005.
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