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  1. #1
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    5.1 Surround sound, need help with specs + General advice

    Of first of all yes I know there is a similar thread just a few down from this but he hasn't asked the questions I need answered.
    Ok, I typed in Speaker forum into google and you guys where second on the list (the first was shopping for speakers). Therefore this makes you guys (and girls) most qualified for the job. I have a 42" full HD tv in my room which I want to put 5.1 surround sound with.
    My budged is around $150 AUS
    Although I do own decent quality headphones I think I've got far from Audiophile like hearing some of you guys seem to have. {Although I still do cringe when my girlfriend voluntarily uses her origional iPod headphones ;( }.
    I'll try and give as much detail as possible.
    My room is approximately 4m wide, 5m long and 2.5m high, I have a big window about 2X2m (single glaze). Bed made of wood and cupboards able to be completely closed. Not sure what the walls are made up but I know they're not sound proofed or anything fancy like that.
    We live in a pretty normal brick house. So far I've come across the Logitech x540s ($92 Aus off ebay inc postage) or the Creative T6160 ($104 Aus off ebay inc postage) or the Edifier M1550 ($140 Aus off ebay inc postage) although I'm open to other brands if they are easily sent and can be payed for via paypal. Its necessary for the system to be 5.1 surround sound because I dont think I can afford something 7.1 while still being decent quality. I NEED to be able to plug my MP3 (Creative Zen vision W 60GB) into the speakers.
    I also need to be able to mount them on the wall. How would be the best way to do that ? I will be listening from the center of the room so one in each corner of the ceiling pointing down on me with the sub on the floor ? Or should I raise the sub to ear level ?
    That brings me to my next question, can I get a 3.5mm cord, put in into the headphone jack of the MP3 and then into the headphone port on the logitechs and play my music through that ?
    I've looked through brands such as Bose (apparently you guys dont like them though , yamaha, klipsch, altech lansing but they either dont do 5.1 computer style speakers or are stupidly expensive. I have heard the Logitech speakers at low to medium volume (about what I intend to have mine on about 80% of the time) and though they sounded really good for their size. I haven't heard any creeative speakers. Also this is going to sound really nooby but is it possible for speakers that only have one uuuummm I think they're called drivers (the actual circular things on the speakers) to sound as good as ones that have 2 ? Thanks guys, this will answer about a years worth of questions

  2. #2
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Grosser, your all over the place, but let's start with what's most important, what you need. You mentioned an HD set, yet you're discussing computer speakers, are we to assume your computer is feeding images to your TV?

  3. #3
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    nah I've got a HD TV (i only asid that incase I needed a HDMI chord or something), computer speakers sound pretty good for the money and nah my t.v. is used exclusively for my Xbox 360. I just want my games and movies (that I play off my xbox 360 and eventually bluray) to be in surround sound. Hope you can make sense of my senseless ramblings

  4. #4
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    can anyone please just read the specs are comment which one technically should sound be the best and maybe why you think that. Thanks guys.

    http://www.edifier.com/eng2005/product/s0046_01.htm

    http://au.creative.com/products/prod...1&listby=usage

    http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/sp...?section=specs

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grosser611
    can anyone please just read the specs are comment which one technically should sound be the best and maybe why you think that. Thanks guys.

    http://www.edifier.com/eng2005/product/s0046_01.htm

    http://au.creative.com/products/prod...1&listby=usage

    http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/sp...?section=specs


    You cannot tell how something sounds by the specs. Hopefully some one will be around with experience with the brands you have selected.
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  6. #6
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    For your budget of around $120 US I would stay away from 5.1 sound. A decent 2.1 computer system is about all you can get for that price.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  7. #7
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    Bud, I don't know much about using computer speakers for surround but I think you are missing a piece, something has to decode the digital signal. Getting a signal from your TV will not give you 5.1, you will only get 2 channel. You can only get 5.1 via a digital signal and it has to be output from something sending a 5.1 signal. The speakers you are looking at are meant to be connected to a computer where the computer will decode a signal in the sound card. There may be a system with a built in decoder but I'm not aware of one. The first link did say the system has a 5.1 inpput but I'm not sure what they mean by that and the second link didn't work for me. If they mean a 5.1 analog input and your Xbox offers 5.1 analog output you might be in business. A 5.1 analog in/out will have six RCA jacks. One for each 5 channels and one for sub. The system did look low powered and the power rating was at 10% distortion which is extremely high. But if you've heard them and satisfied...... This system is really meant to put around a desk or something, it isn't going to fill your room.

    The cheapest you will get off is buying what's called a "home theater in a box" (HTIB), this is where the disc player, receiver/decoder and all speakers are sold in a package. The receiver/player being all one unit. I don't know what $150.00 in Austrailia will buy but you can't even get this type of system in $150.00 USD.

    You might be able to get an older 5.1 receiver that is not HDMI since people are selling these in order to upgrade and you can usually find good deals. However, getting 5 channels of even budget speakers will probably run you over your budget.

    So think about increasing budget or maybe going with only 2 channel until more money is available. 2 channel may not have all the surround effect but you'd benefit by much better sound.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael
    You cannot tell how something sounds by the specs. Hopefully some one will be around with experience with the brands you have selected.
    But you can to a degree, e.g. if something has a frequency response of 40hz ~ 20khz and another has a freqency response of say 50hz ~ 25hz you would be able to say which is better wouldn't you ? because I dont know what they mean. Like do I want a super high contrast between the first number and the second or will it sound better when they are very similar ? I need to know what makes good specs or at least what commonly used specs even mean in real terms. Thanks guys

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    For your budget of around $120 US I would stay away from 5.1 sound. A decent 2.1 computer system is about all you can get for that price.
    All I want is clear sound as low decibals, do you really think I'll need something super high end to fullfill those requirements or will I be able to get by with mid range 5.1 ?

  10. #10
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grosser611
    All I want is clear sound as low decibals, do you really think I'll need something super high end to fullfill those requirements or will I be able to get by with mid range 5.1 ?
    No, you don't need something "super high" but to decode a 5.1 signal your going to need a receiver, or with computer speakers a sound card. A 2.1 computer rig should be able to play directly from the headphone or RCA output of the TV. I have used 2.1 systems for TV and they are pretty darn good in the price range you looking at.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grosser611
    But you can to a degree, e.g. if something has a frequency response of 40hz ~ 20khz and another has a freqency response of say 50hz ~ 25hz you would be able to say which is better wouldn't you ? because I dont know what they mean. Like do I want a super high contrast between the first number and the second or will it sound better when they are very similar ? I need to know what makes good specs or at least what commonly used specs even mean in real terms. Thanks guys
    Specifications on computer speakers are mostly meaningless, as the basis of specification measurements often vary between manufacturers. Your best bet is either to try and demo some in a store or read up on reviews online.
    Frequency response is the range of frequencies the speakers can play i.e how low and how high they can play. If you have one that claims 50Hz - 20KHz response and another 40Hz - 20KHz, the latter should be able to play a little lower. Again, don't get caught up on numbers with computer speakers, most often time they are misleading.
    Personally I would go with Logitech, Klipsch or Creative's higher end stuff. They make semi decent speakers where as most others are rubbish.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    If you have to have a computer speaker system, go with the logitech 540's. They have very good sound for gaming and sound decent for computer music. Just make sure you have a stellar sound card. But like other's have said, what are you going to use to decode the signal to 5.1 for tv? Do have a very good sound card like an Xfi Fatality or something similar?
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
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    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  13. #13
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    Geoffcin - ah ok I'll keep that in mind if this 5.1 gear gets to expensive or too confusing.
    audio amateur - Thanks for your opinion and insight, i'm leaning towards the X540s more and more now.

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    If you have to have a computer speaker system, go with the logitech 540's. They have very good sound for gaming and sound decent for computer music. Just make sure you have a stellar sound card. But like other's have said, what are you going to use to decode the signal to 5.1 for tv? Do have a very good sound card like an Xfi Fatality or something similar?
    uuummm yeh this is getting very confusing. I thought that these where just small speakers suited to pc gaming, I didn't realise that they would need to run through a computer. In the logitech ones it specifically says "game console adapter". Does that mean that it would have a built in, internal decoder ?

    http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/sp.../234&cl=au,en#

  14. #14
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    No!!!! Go 2.1 for now and add more speakers later. Or just go with a pair of floor standers and add a sub and surround later but you will need some way to drive them such as a Home theater or multichannel receiver which you can probably pick up used for a decent price.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    No!!!! Go 2.1 for now and add more speakers later. Or just go with a pair of floor standers and add a sub and surround later but you will need some way to drive them such as a Home theater or multichannel receiver which you can probably pick up used for a decent price.
    I just realised that I might have something that could do the job. about a year or 2 ago I got an LG FB162 "mini home theater" system. On the front it says DIVX and Dolby Digital. Could this do the job of the home theater or multichannel reciever you speak of ? Would this have the decoder thing inside it ? Heres a front and back view.

    http://www.cybertheater.com/wp-conte...cro-system.jpg

    http://www.bidmadness.com.au/uploade...LG_FB162_4.png

  16. #16
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    Grosser, that will do it. You will need to run a digital connection from your Xbox to your LG, either a single ended digital coaxial connection which will look like a single RCA cable or an optical digital. Either one will carry the 5.1 to the LG. You will also need to do the same from your cable/satelite receiver if you have any channels that will do 5.1. Usually the movie channels do (HBO/Showtime/Starz etc).

    Does the LG have speakers as well? If so, I guess you are set without knowing it

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Grosser, that will do it. You will need to run a digital connection from your Xbox to your LG, either a single ended digital coaxial connection which will look like a single RCA cable or an optical digital. Either one will carry the 5.1 to the LG. You will also need to do the same from your cable/satelite receiver if you have any channels that will do 5.1. Usually the movie channels do (HBO/Showtime/Starz etc).

    Does the LG have speakers as well? If so, I guess you are set without knowing it
    Yeah the LG has the 2 speakers pictured bot no more. So I should go to a reputable electrical store and say "I would like X1 single ended coaxial cable please" and that should be all the extra cables I need ?

  18. #18
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    Does it have speaker connections for the center and rear? If not, I wonder if it's really 5.1. I couldn't tell anything from the pictures. Do you still have the manual or can you list the connections on the back?

    Also, what outputs are on your Xbox?

    You can just go to Radio Shack and ask them for a "coaxial digital cable" and they will hook you up. For what you are doing something inexpensive should be fine. You also should be able to find these at department stores. There's no need to go to a specialty shop and spend big dollars.

    If we have to one of us can call the other and we'll get this ironed out.

  19. #19
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Xbox uses optical digital out
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  20. #20
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    In that case let's hope the LG has an optical input.

  21. #21
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    I just remembered I set my mother's TV up with almost the exact same setup. I got her a very inexpensive LG DVD player/2.1 stereo unit. It's very basic, but I have the TV outputting via RCA jacks into the AUX in on the control/DVD unit. There's no other inputs digital or otherwise. However, the unit the OP has appears to have a toslink input.

    FWIW; The system, (even though pretty cheap) sounds infinitely better than the crap speakers in the 42" flat screen. It don't play very loud,(at least by my standards) but dialog is much clearer, and you do get a hint of what "theater" is like even though it's 2.1 system.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Does it have speaker connections for the center and rear? If not, I wonder if it's really 5.1. I couldn't tell anything from the pictures. Do you still have the manual or can you list the connections on the back?

    Also, what outputs are on your Xbox?

    You can just go to Radio Shack and ask them for a "coaxial digital cable" and they will hook you up. For what you are doing something inexpensive should be fine. You also should be able to find these at department stores. There's no need to go to a specialty shop and spend big dollars.

    If we have to one of us can call the other and we'll get this ironed out.
    ;( No center speaker connection from what I can see. I got the owners manual out and the only ports on the whole thing are:
    X1 USB
    X1headphone
    X2 Microphone
    X1 Antenna terminal
    X1 Auxiliary Input (one left and one right) (AUX) connector
    and a "speaker terminal" which I counted physicaly has i think 2 ports both are full. Then not listen in my piece of **** manual are 4 eatra ports for video I think, they're coloured green, yellow, blue, and red. This is all the information I have on the supposed "micro home theater".

  23. #23
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    Well, unfortunately, that will not do 5.1. I'm not sure why it says Dolby Digital on the front, a bit misleading. Dolby Digital is the brand of decoding if you will but it mostly is used to refer to 5.1. You can still come out of the L/R analog of the Xbox and plug into the AUX inputs to get some sound. But you are back to square one on getting 5.1. You will need something similar to the LG but it needs digital input and be able to decode 5.1 and have amplification and hook ups for all channels.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Well, unfortunately, that will not do 5.1. I'm not sure why it says Dolby Digital on the front, a bit misleading. Dolby Digital is the brand of decoding if you will but it mostly is used to refer to 5.1. You can still come out of the L/R analog of the Xbox and plug into the AUX inputs to get some sound. But you are back to square one on getting 5.1. You will need something similar to the LG but it needs digital input and be able to decode 5.1 and have amplification and hook ups for all channels.
    yeah i was hoping you weren;t going to come to that conclusion but at least I didn't buy the speakers then find out. Ok well its seams while computer speakers are good value for money and prety much exactly what I want performance wise, they will never work for me unless I buy a heaps of other crap which would probly jack the price up to a regular home theater system anyway. My solution, budget increase

    hows $400 MAX Aus sound ? according to XE.com thats approx $361 American dollars. Would I be able to get some sort of decent sounding 5.1 surround sound with a sub for this price and if so should I just stay with the big mainstream brands, e.g. Panasonic, LG, Sony or are the smaller, more underground ones just as good (and most importantly able to compete price wise) ?

    Couple of links to systems that meet that criteria would be helpfull guys, and while yeah we are back to square one its not like you guys haven't helped. You have answered heaps of my questions so we are still kinda making progress

  25. #25
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Take a look at the Energy Take Classic 5.1 system

    http://reviews.cnet.com/surround-spe...-33310963.html

    You may be able to find it on sale for $400 US.

    Or build a 3.1 system and add to it later.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

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