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A/V PC sound system recommendations for a music and more

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by mebassett, 13 Dec 2011.

  1. mebassett

    mebassett What's a Dremel?

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    Hello bit-techers! I need your wisdom to improve my sound system for music and movies from my PC.

    The past several years I've been in uni living in tiny rooms, and I've used my computer (onboard sound card) + logitech Z 4 speakers. Now that I'm a bit more grownup, I'd like a bit more grownup sound system. I don't want to spend more than 300gbp.

    I mostly just listen to music (occasionally a bit loud - dance parties with myself) but occasionally for films, too. I also play bass guitar: I have an active bass and I route it directly into my PC speaker [at low volumes!]. I really don't want to mess with a 5.1 system - too many wires, and I don't think it'd be that great for just music (or am I wrong?)

    onboard soundcard + PC speakers sound like tolerable crap, and I suspect that I should use a decent sound card + amplifier + real speakers. (or maybe I'm wrong, maybe there is a decent sound card + 2.1 PC speaker combo out there?) So I'm looking at various solutions.

    Unfortunately, I know very little about sound systems. There's all sorts of specs I don't understand - amplifier power output, amp. frequency response, amp. max. power consumption, speaker sensitivity, speaker freq. response, speaker nominal imedance, tweeters, woofers. What do they all mean? Can you suggest a good guide? What specs should I look for? How much should the amp specs and speaker specs match up?

    Some solutions I've found

    1) all-in-one solution by Onkyo: Onkyo HTX22HDX Black | 2.1 Package System inc. Speakers excluding DVD Player | Richer Sounds

    2) Speakers: Cambridge Audio S70 Black | Speakers Per Pair | Richer Sounds (perhaps something less pricey) and amp: http://www.richersounds.com/product/...-topaz-am1-blk
    (though the cambridge audio website suggests the power output for that amp is 20watts, while the speakers want 120watts - is this something I should worry about? does this mean it can't get too loud?)

    Has anyone used these components before? How are they working out?
    If I go the "speakers + amp" route, is a subwoofer necessary? Subwoofer's are pretty pricey, but they're quite ubiquitous with PC speakers [my Z4's have one].

    And what about the sound card? I've always thought Creative Sound blaster was the way to go - but what is the state of that now? Would you recommend someone else? internal/external?

    Can you help a clueless potential audiophile find a sweet-sounding, occasionally loud system for his computer without breaking the bank?

    Thanks in advance!

    meb.
     
  2. Kaze3

    Kaze3 What's a Dremel?

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    I have the Onkyo HTX22HDX 2.1 setup hooked up to my HTPC and TV and it's great. Incredible sound for the money. I guess it's not really full-on audiophile, but it's considerably better than those cheap DVD surround systems. One of the main reasons I went for the Onkyo is because it's so compact and space was an issue for me. Since I'm using the HDMI output from my mobo, I don't need a separate soundcard which is nice.

    If you go down the soundcard route, I've heard good things about M-Audio http://www.m-audio.com. They do PCI and USB cards with various breakout connections.

    I can't really help you with the amp and speakers though. Another reason I went with the Onkyo is because it's a nice all-in-one setup, so I didn't have to worry about that stuff :rolleyes:
     
  3. MSHunter

    MSHunter Minimodder

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    What is the budget? Will you want to upgrade later to a full stacker system?

    Best buys on What HiFi is a good place to start.
    This would make a great System if it fits your budget:

    http://www.whathifi.com/best-buys/hi-fi-budget

    I use a Denon amp with Tanoy F1 Speakers.
    Sub is not needed for a HiFi system with good speakers
     
    Last edited: 14 Dec 2011
  4. GuilleAcoustic

    GuilleAcoustic Ook ? Ook !

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    IMHO, I wouldn't use a subwoofer for music listening. I'm more into floorstander and particuliary horn speakers. Maybe a nice solution would be active monitors (like the KRK)+ M-Audio/ESI (the 2496, which I have, is a very nice solution and cheap ... just need a legacy PCI port).

    Those monitors are nice and around 200GBP /pair :

    http://www.thomann.de/gb/maudio_bx8a_deluxe.htm
    http://www.thomann.de/gb/yamaha_hs80m.htm
    http://www.thomann.de/gb/krk_rp8_rokit_g2.htm

    About the sound card :

    http://www.thomann.de/gb/m-audio_delta_audiophile_2496.htm
    http://www.thomann.de/gb/esi_maya_44.htm
    http://www.thomann.de/gb/esi_maya_44_xte.htm
     
  5. MSHunter

    MSHunter Minimodder

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