Please be patient with me. I just purchased a Dell xps 9100 with the stock thx trustudio pc sound card. I want to hook up speakers. I would like to use the 5.1 home theater with the four satellite, one center and one sub woofer without an amplifier. This is where I am confused. Can I hook up this kind of speaker set directly to the computer or do I need an amplifier to? Is this where the powered speakers come into play as opposed to the un-powered speakers? If so, how do I determine which powered speakers will work with my computer? How do I determine how much power (I assume that is the watts) do I need? Is there a minimum - maximum range that fits my computer? I know I am pathetic but at least give me credit for knowing I am lost and seeking help. I hope someone can and will take the time to educate me. Some of the speakers I have been reading about include the Boston acoustics soundware xs 5.1 home theater, logitech z906, logitech z5500, Polk audio rm510, klipsch pro media 5.1 No real reason for any of these other than they looked good and the reviews were good. Guess by now I have proved to all that I am lost. Thanks to all that have taken the time to read this and hopefully give me some guidance. I really do appreciate the help.
the information is available if you searched the forum for it.... but at least it seems you tried before asking, and you posted in a sem-informative manner. i'll see if i can clearify a few things.
first we need to know what manner of speakers you want to use. you mention that you want to hook up a "5.1 home theater" which makes me believe you want to use speakers meant for a tv/dvd/br instead of pc speakers, however, the speakers you list (at least the ones i recognize) seem to be computer speakers. which were you looking to hook up as both can be used.
these are meant for computers and are plug and play. match up the color coded plugs to the plugs on your soundcard, plug into the wall and you are ready to go.
these will require some sort of amp but some people complain about "hissing" or "crackles" because of interference from your pc parts (probably unshielded cables though). personally i run my audio and video through a home theater receiver via hdmi which then connects to my tv and speakers. a spdif (optical) cable could be ran instead with video omitted.
personally once i've listed to home theater speakers with my pc it would be very hard for me ever to go back to computer speakers. however, going this route will be more costly depending on what you buy.
the easiest route is to buy computer speakers. they hook up with very minimal effort and often can sound good enough for most listeners. i know i've been happy with logitech speakers in the past, even cheap ones. i wasnt impressed with a klipsh promedia 2.1 set i had for about 3 days in the past (weak satelites but great sub) so i would think the same applies to the 5.1 set. i do own klipsh home theater speakers though (quintet IV & sub) and they are awsome.
everything boils down to your budget and what you expect. if you want to spend more than $500-600 maybe you would want to consider HT speakers. if you want to get more durable and better built speakers then maybe look to HT speakers. if you want to get a cheaper solution that sounds decent and is super easy to hook up then look to PC speakers.
Thanks for your answer, I really do appreciate you taking your time to respond. Now I am going to show you how computer stupid I really am. I want to use speakers that connect directly to the computer. Both due to cost and do not have a need for the amp other than to run the speakers. This is going to be a system that will only be used for simulator racing and flight games. Now for the stupid part. How can I tell if a 5.1 speaker set is for computers or for amplifiers? I do diffently want to use the 5.1 speakers. When I read the information posted with a particular set I am never sure how they can be used. while some might refer to pc in one section and then refer to DVD, HDTV, xbox, etc. In another part of their listing. So to recap, I want 5.1 speakers that connect directly to the computer and what should I look for in the information listed that tells me the set is for direct computer connections. Again thanks for your time and patientence with me. I am a service connected disabled vet under hospice home care and I hope this system will provide me with a distraction from my body issues along with occupying a lot of my time.