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Buying new speakers (5.1?)

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Ok, so let me start by saying I only have a plain and simple microsoft headset currently. I don't like anything too loud, but it would be nice if the sound could kind of fill my room - which isn't big - without the sound being distorted when I turn it up.

I mostly play games on my pc, sometimes with music in the background as well. I like to listen to music and I'm a hardcore gamer. I'm playing starcraft 2 for the most part currently so I guess a 5.1 wouldn't make much of a difference, right? My rig is for gaming though and I'll be playing some games like the next Batman Arkham series release (assuming there'll be a new one), Crysis 3 (single player campaign only, because I'll probably stick to sc2 after I'm done with it), and any other new games that I find interesting. I don't really watch movies much because I tend to spend most of my time playing RTS games ("quit" warcraft 3, moving on to starcraft 2 now), BUT I believe it would be kind of nice to have surround speakers when I do watch them once in a blue moon.

I don't understand about speaker settings though. I thought of buying a Logitech Z506, probably the best 5.1 set around that won't cost me an arm and a leg. Is it really worth it for gaming? How about movies? Will there be any annoying sound distortions? Will it sound good in starcraft 2 with music in the background or when I'm just listening to music? Any reason why I shouldn't get them and purchase 2.1 or 2.0 speakers instead?

Do I need a sound card or is my motherboard (p8p67 LE) enough to handle it? Do I need any special cables or settings to make it work correctly in games? Anything a guy new to these new age kinds of speakers should be aware of? Last, but not least, I heard it is ok to place the surround speakers in 90º angle at ear level of me standing - is that correct? Because I don't have the option of placing them further back, and they'll be placed at about 5 feet away from me.

I hope nobody minds this wall of text. Thanks in advance to anyone that helps. smile.gif
post #2 of 25
The Audioengine A2s are $200, so if you find yourself getting up to that price point with a budget 5.1ch system, consider them instead. They're just a pair of stereo speakers, but are in a different ballpark in terms of sound compared to your run-of-the-mill speaker sets.

Whether you need a better sound card or even an external DAC depends on what speakers you end up with. For the majority of boxed mass-produced computer speaker sets, you won't be able to hear much of a differece as long as you have the drivers properly installed. If you get into much higher quality speakers, though, the difference between a good and cheap sound cards becomes night and day.
post #3 of 25
What's your budget? Do you 100% NEED a 5.1 setup? Can you PROPERLY place 5 speakers? Would you accept an entry level home theater in a box instead? What about decent bookshelf speakers?

I would avoid "PC Speakers" in general, but that's just me.
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post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Great news! I talked to my uncle about buying some speakers when he goes to the US in November. Not only did he agree to buy the speakers but he also told me anything up to 500 dollars is on him! I guess my budget is way better now. Keep in mind that I have MORE money, so if I need a good sound card to make it work or something else, I can spend up to 300-400 dollars more. In other words, my total budget is actually 800-900 dollars, but I'll have to pay for anything above 500 dollars myself. I definitely intend to spend the 500 dollars, but I don't absolutely have to spend the rest of my money if it's not really worth it. biggrin.gif

As for the placement of the speakers, I wrote the kind of placement that "could" work in my first post. I guess anything different from that would be either much harder to set or impossible. The surround speakers will be 5 inches away from my chair, in a 90º angle at ear level (of me standing) facing each other. So again, is this kind of placement good enough or is it bad?

Home theater, bookshelf speakers... I don't know the actual difference, which is why I'm here. Again, I don't need anything extremely loud, I probably won't listen to music away from my room because I'm always in here. As of now, if I have to choose between loudness and quality, I'll choose quality anyday! Loudness as a plus is fine though, because who knows... I might change my mind once I get them speakerz!

Isn't it possible to get something that would work well for gaming with surround sound as well as music with my current budget? Unless there is a good reason for me to go with anything less than 5.1 instead, wouldn't 5.1 be a more solid choice? (especially with my current budget rolleyes.gif)
post #5 of 25
Whether you choose to do stereo or 5.1ch surround is up to you. You will obviously be able to get higher quality speakers going with 2ch, but these are things you have decide for yourself.

If it were me, I would probably buy Audioengine A5+ and an Asus Xonar Essence STX; or two pair A2's and an S8 with sound card for 4.1ch surround. You could get a 3rd pair to use as a center speaker if you wanted as well, but that would put you over budget. I'm not sure which sound card would be best for 5.1ch without some research.

If you wanted to get more into the HT 5.1ch arena, your price range is actually right between theater-in-a-box and higher quality setups, so it will be tough to decide. I rather like the low-profile Marantz receivers (http://www.amazon.com/Marantz-NR1403-Slim-Line-Receiver/dp/B0081N916M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347653863&sr=8-1&keywords=marantz+low+profile), but then you're looking at $500 left for your 5.1 speakers. You would run optical (digital) out to the receiver, so quality of sound card doesn't matter since the signal stays native/digital. You could actually run HDMI audio out as well if you wanted to and your video card supported it.

For 5.1ch speaker packages, Polk Audio, Yamaha, and Energy offer several budget-friendly speaker systems that don't sound too bad. I think Boston Acoustics may even have a 5.1 package or two within the $500 range. I've not ever listened to the ones from Onkyo, Klipsch, or Martin Logan. As per usual, your best bet with speakers is to find a local place with properly set up listening rooms and decide which speakers you like the sound of best.
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by vhapter View Post

Great news! I talked to my uncle about buying some speakers when he goes to the US in November. Not only did he agree to buy the speakers but he also told me anything up to 500 dollars is on him! I guess my budget is way better now. Keep in mind that I have MORE money, so if I need a good sound card to make it work or something else, I can spend up to 300-400 dollars more. In other words, my total budget is actually 800-900 dollars, but I'll have to pay for anything above 500 dollars myself. I definitely intend to spend the 500 dollars, but I don't absolutely have to spend the rest of my money if it's not really worth it. biggrin.gif

As for the placement of the speakers, I wrote the kind of placement that "could" work in my first post. I guess anything different from that would be either much harder to set or impossible. The surround speakers will be 5 inches away from my chair, in a 90º angle at ear level (of me standing) facing each other. So again, is this kind of placement good enough or is it bad?

Home theater, bookshelf speakers... I don't know the actual difference, which is why I'm here. Again, I don't need anything extremely loud, I probably won't listen to music away from my room because I'm always in here. As of now, if I have to choose between loudness and quality, I'll choose quality anyday! Loudness as a plus is fine though, because who knows... I might change my mind once I get them speakerz!

Isn't it possible to get something that would work well for gaming with surround sound as well as music with my current budget? Unless there is a good reason for me to go with anything less than 5.1 instead, wouldn't 5.1 be a more solid choice? (especially with my current budget rolleyes.gif)

With your budget, I would say to shoot for the following speakers then....

1) Polk Monitor 40 II's for fronts
2) Polk Monitor 30 II's for rears
3) Polk CS20 for center
4) Polk PSW505 for subwoofer
5) Good mid range receiver from Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo, or a higher end Pioneer.

That should easily fill your budget up nicely. You won't need a sound card with a receiver, just use the optical / SPDIF output from your onboard, or you can run HDMI from your GPU. Use the receiver as the DAC. smile.gif
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post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by pioneerisloud View Post

With your budget, I would say to shoot for the following speakers then....
1) Polk Monitor 40 II's for fronts
2) Polk Monitor 30 II's for rears
3) Polk CS20 for center
4) Polk PSW505 for subwoofer
5) Good mid range receiver from Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo, or a higher end Pioneer.
That should easily fill your budget up nicely. You won't need a sound card with a receiver, just use the optical / SPDIF output from your onboard, or you can run HDMI from your GPU. Use the receiver as the DAC. smile.gif

Polk's always good but also look at package 5.1 deals from smaller companies, especially the direct to customer businesses (Emotiva for example). If you can find one for around $500 I'd do a little research on it, chances are it'll sound amazing compared to more commercial offerings.

That being said the setup you listed will completely rock. (with a different subwoofer of course smile.gif)
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post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
A couple of questions...

Pionerisloud - If I take your suggestions, according to the prices that I found on Amazon, I'll have to spend about 675 bucks on the bookshelfs + subwoofer. That is to say, without taking shipping into account, which means I need to save some money for that too. That puts me kind of close to my 800-900 budget, since I haven't choosen a receiver either. Is this kind of receiver you're talking about (price/quality)?
http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-RX-V371BL-5-1-Channel-AV-Receiver/dp/B004QQXDVC/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1348074307&sr=1-5&keywords=yamaha+receiver
I don't understand a thing about receivers. How can I choose the "right" one?

These speakers don't have their own cables, do they? Because I couldn't find the length of the cables. Is this the kind of cable that I need?
http://www.amazon.com/Mediabridge-feet-Ultra-Series-Connectors/dp/B003FVYXY0/ref=pd_bxgy_e_img_y

This already puts me over my initial budget without taking into account shipping. Do receivers usually come with cable for the speakers + a SPDIF cable? Otherwise I'll need to add yet another cable to my final budget. By the way, my graphics card only allows me to use a single HMDI connector, which is in already use.

LingLing1337 - Are you saying that subwoofer is not good? What's wrong with it?
post #9 of 25
You'll need that kind of cable for the subwoofer and normal speaker wire for the fronts, center, and rears. You'll also need the cable to go from machine to receiver: HMDI, optical, or S/PDIF RCA are better than analog (Red/White RCA).
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
You mean a cable like this for the speakers?
www.amazon.com/RCA-AH16100SN-16-Gauge-Speaker-Wire/dp/B0029HHIDY/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1348077064&sr=1-1&keywords=speaker+wire

How do I connect that to the speakers? It seems like there's no connector. Sorry, I just don't know much about cables.

As for the spdif cable, it's something like the 2 below, right? I just want to make sure I'm not buying something bad or the wrong kind of product.
http://www.amazon.com/Toslink-Cable-6-Feet-Premium-SPDIF/dp/B001ENJ3ZA/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1348077246&sr=1-3&keywords=spdif
http://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-Digital-Optical-Audio-Toslink/dp/B001TH7GSW/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1348077246&sr=1-1&keywords=spdif
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