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308 posts

Ultimate Geek


# 201685 30-Aug-2016 01:55
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I've never bothered with 5.1 surround before but my wife wants our current 2.1 stereo system moved to her office so I thought it about time to invest in 5.1 audio for the HTPC/Mediaportal computer in in the lounge.

 

The soundcard in the computer apparently has some outputs for surround sound. This is the motherboard.

 

http://www.gigabyte.co.nz/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3412#ov

 

There are 2 speakers built into the ceiling above the sofa so don't need the 2 rear speakers.

 

I guess I need an amplifier of some sort, 3 front speakers and a subwoofer?

 

Most of the time the HTPC is used for stereo music playback and need good quality sound. Any suggestions?


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106 posts

Master Geek


  # 1619388 30-Aug-2016 02:46
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I would get the following:

 

graphics card with HDMI output (even pretty cheap ones do this)

 

an av receiver

 

two front speakers

 

a centre

 

Don't skimp on the centre as when watching videos this is where a big chunk of the important sound comes from.  You could skip the sub (the .1), depending on the quality/size of your main speakers and your thirst for bass.


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  # 1619397 30-Aug-2016 06:58
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If you are mixing speaker sizes and types then bass management becomes very very important, which is something that many of the more economical PC directly to amplifiers solutions will be lacking in, whereas even the most basic home theater reciever will let you set speakers to small to redirect the bass to the sub or main speakers.

 

Look for a slightly older reciever on trademe that doesnt have all the latest HDMIs etc if you will just be giving it bitstream from your devices. You will get something with better analog stages by going for an older midrange model than choosing the latest cheap models new, which IME is a huge letdown on many HT recievers.





Richard rich.ms

 
 
 
 




308 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 1619611 30-Aug-2016 12:51
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Already using HDMI to the TV, one is built into the motherboard but I'm actually using a faster Nvidia card for better deinterlacing TV content.  Don't need an AV receiver handling the video just the audio.  I'll have to investigate the soundcard features if it handles separate bass output.

 

I don't have much room in the TV unit.  My current Altec Lansing 2.1 subwoofer goes in the bottom with little room spare and the full height HTPC at the top.  The subwoofer has the amplifier built-in with a tiny external wired controller for bass, treble, volume adjustments which fits nicely beside the HTPC.  It has a remote but we don't use it, just adjust the HTPC volume with another remote.  Are there any THX certified 5.1 systems with a similar configuration with the electronics in the subwoofer?

 

 


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  # 1619711 30-Aug-2016 15:28
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Yeah logitech make 5.1 PC speakers. If your bar is that low then one of the cheap 5.1 analog amplifiers might be passable tho.





Richard rich.ms

216 posts

Master Geek


  # 1619829 30-Aug-2016 19:38
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You really want PC--HDMI-->Amplifier--HDMI-->TV

 

Most amplifiers will let you pass the video untouched and just process the sound.

 

Most amps you buy these days will have at least 7.1 output, but can be set up to just use 5.1.

 

If you go with some SPDIF connection (either optical or cable) you will not be able to pass modern lossless HD formats like DTS-HDMA or Dolby TrueHD - you need an HDMI connection for those options. SPDIF is limited to stereo PCM or 5.1 DTS/Dolby AC3.

 

 


106 posts

Master Geek


  # 1620005 31-Aug-2016 01:32
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You probably should have specified a budget up front.  Most of the suggestions here (well certainly mine) is probably going to set you back a thousand or two (or six :))




308 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 1620165 31-Aug-2016 12:40
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Your probably right regarding budget.  I'll be getting the highest quality 5.1 computer speakers I can get.  Rather than the Logitech, all the reviews I've found for speakers recommend the Altec Lansing ADA995 5.1 THX Certified Speakers over 10 years old is still better than the latest Logitech.  Hard to find but I'll attempt to import a 2nd hand one from the UK.  I've got one of their 2.1 systems and the sound quality is incredible.

 

 





Antec Veris Fusion v2 Case, Gigabyte 880GM-USB3, Nvidia GT-730, AMD FX 6100 6-core 3.3Ghz, Blackgold BTG3600, Hauppauge HVR-2200, Logitech Harmony 525 remote, Windows 10 (32-bit), Mediaportal.

 

 


 
 
 
 


216 posts

Master Geek


  # 1620303 31-Aug-2016 15:43
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The Altec Lansing do get good reviews.

 

I love my Logitech Z5500 system (although it has been replaced by 7.1 systems now).

 

You are going to be limited to DTS/AC3 with both systems.


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