Options for using speakers from old pro-logic hi-fi with PC

I've just upgraded my main sound system, which leaves me with an old JVC all in one system which I'd like to (partially re-use) as speakers for my PC.

The system in question is a MX-J75R (User manual)

This system has seen better days (the tape decks haven't worked for many years and the CD changer also stopped working a couple of years ago). The amplifier and speakers however are in perfect working order. So, no longer ideal as a main system, but definitely a potential upgrade for my computer's audio.

The front (bookcase size) speakers I definitely want to keep. While the styling has dated badly and an audiophile probably wouldn't have them in the house they're actually quite decent and definitely more than adequate for the job:

  • 6 Ohms. Max 120 watts


The rear and centre speakers (smaller satellite sized units) are less impressive. While not really good enough for movies they should however be enough for with the computer (I just want to know when a zombie is behind me, not top notch audio quality from these):

  • Centre: 8 Ohms. Max 30 watts.
  • Rear: 16 Ohms. Max 30 watts.



My actual question is how best to connect these speakers to the computer. Obviously the lowest cost (free) option is to use the JVC hi-fi to drive them. However although this is a five speaker system it is only Dolby Pro Logic, not 5.1 - so in reality the sound effects aren't that great, if they work at all.

Next option is to get a cheap 5.1 amp/receiver from ebay and use this to drive the speakers. However I'm not sure if connecting speakers with massively different impedances and power handling capabilities to the same amp is a feasible option??

Final option is are the centre/rear speakers small enough that the PC could drive them directly without an amp involved? (Fronts only connected to the JVC unit in this case).


Any input on the feasibility of these options would be appreciated.
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  1. I would go with a used 5.1 receiver. Since your speakers come from a mini system which has pretty low powered low quality amps (regardless of the specs) any receiver should be fine. When you set up the receiver you balance the levels of the speakers so that they play at the correct relative volume to each other. Some receivers have a mic to do this automatically but this would be a newer model.
    Your PC will need a digital audio output for you to get digital surround sound. If it only has analog 5.1 outputs then your receiver would need a discrete 5.1 analog input.
    The PC would not power the center and rears.
  2. americanaudiophile said:
    I would go with a used 5.1 receiver. Since your speakers come from a mini system which has pretty low powered low quality amps (regardless of the specs) any receiver should be fine. When you set up the receiver you balance the levels of the speakers so that they play at the correct relative volume to each other. Some receivers have a mic to do this automatically but this would be a newer model.
    Your PC will need a digital audio output for you to get digital surround sound. If it only has analog 5.1 outputs then your receiver would need a discrete 5.1 analog input.
    The PC would not power the center and rears.



    So it seems that the mixed impedances of the speakers isn't a problem :)

    Which leaves the question of connection method. Externally I've got analog 5.1 outputs or an optical spdif (I've read elsewhere this might not actually give 5.1 with games :(). The is also another spdif (presumably non-optical?) internally. The graphics card has HDMI, but I don't know if I can get sound from there.

    Most certain seems to be an amplifier (or receiver, but I'm thinking just an amp is enough with only one source device) with discrete inputs. These don't seem too common unless they're intended for car audio use (I suppose there is nothing stopping me using one here, if I can sort out a power supply).

    Alternatively I can find out if the digital outputs are useful for games by dragging the receiver from downstairs up to the computer room (not terribly appealing when I've just got everything setup, but I guess I might have to).
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