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Bought an Amp, Need help making the most out of Audio Setup

post #1 of 24
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I bought myself an amp, its a Denon AVR 2105 from mid 2000's,
Got it off this guy locally, paid around $120 for it. not too shabby. So what should I do to make the most use out of this amp?






Currently I have a Creative xfi sound card with no Optical, Should I get a optical sound card like the DG then some optical cable? Does the quality of optical cable matter or can I use the optical cable selling for $2 off ebay? I also have some old surround speakers and was thinking to upgrade to a better setup for music or movies? I am happy with my current pc audio and originally bought the amp for headphones only, but my speaker setup is pretty old and its in a corner of a small bed room area, so surround is not really utilized, maybe a 2.1 setup consisting of 2 bookshelf speakers and a sub wold be better?

Anyway need some recommendations on speakers, a sound card and making the best out of my setup, things I need to look out in regards to impedance for speakers and correct wattage, I don't want to get an under powered set of speakers only to find out that I have blown them while turning up the volume knob.
post #2 of 24
You bought a receiver for headphones only????? I would have spent the extra 50 bucks on the audio engine D1 USB dac and amp combo and save yourself a crap ton of space and hassle.

Anywho.

No, do not use surround sound. Sell what ever stuff you have and get a basic 2.1 setup. Then just use optical from your mobo. By the way, the quality of the optic cable does matter, but optic cables are pretty much all good cables. I would look at monoprice since their cables are stupidly cheap. thumb.gif

Honestly, if I were in your shoes. I would try everything I could to clean off the receiver and try your luck at selling it, your sound card, and you speakers, and starting from complete scratch. Keep in mind I am not saying that I think you have bad stuff, I am simply saying that for the price you paid, I think you could have done a lot better.
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post #3 of 24
maybe its off topic, but an amp + sound card does matter?
I thought you only needed one of them.
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post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by adgame View Post

maybe its off topic, but an amp + sound card does matter?
I thought you only needed one of them.
If you use optical on a sound card to a receiver, you will be by passing the sound card.
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post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjj226 Angel View Post


Then just use optical from your mobo.
so if I understand it right, you should listen to that guy. Dont get a sound card if you use optical
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post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjj226 Angel View Post

You bought a receiver for headphones only????? I would have spent the extra 50 bucks on the audio engine D1 USB dac and amp combo and save yourself a crap ton of space and hassle.

Anywho.

No, do not use surround sound. Sell what ever stuff you have and get a basic 2.1 setup. Then just use optical from your mobo. By the way, the quality of the optic cable does matter, but optic cables are pretty much all good cables. I would look at monoprice since their cables are stupidly cheap. thumb.gif

Honestly, if I were in your shoes. I would try everything I could to clean off the receiver and try your luck at selling it, your sound card, and you speakers, and starting from complete scratch. Keep in mind I am not saying that I think you have bad stuff, I am simply saying that for the price you paid, I think you could have done a lot better.

Where did you get the headphone idea?


To OP:

On the back of your receiver you have multi channel inputs. use a few 3.5mm to RCA cables and connect your sound card to the receiver that way your sound card still controls the DAC.

This is how I do it. I run a 4.1 system on my PC, have it wired up for 5.1 but still looking for a good center speaker for it. I also have a good pair of headphones and FiiO E10 amp, but I like using speakers more. Headphones are for when I'm trying to be quiet for serious music listing. Speakers + Sub is better for turning up really loud and really feeling the bass, games are by far better this way as well. Never was fond of headphone gaming.

To use the optical your gonna need a sound card that does dts or dolby 5.1 live encoding. IMO the Multi-Channel is better way to go. Though sometimes your soundcard will not mix in the bass from your left and right speaker into your bass line and depending on your receiver it will not ether. Your gonna need a sub that has both high and low level inputs and use them both, aka rca from receiver and pass the left and right speaker though the high inputs on the sub as well (if it has them) other wise bass might not work in this mode as it may bypass the receivers ability to mix bass into the independent sub line while in multichannel mode. My HTR-5640 is like this, but no big deal to me as most are. Sounds great


If your only gonna run a 2.1 system having something that big is largely pointless as their are so many amps being wasted.

Also Optical is digital, doesn't matter if its coming from a sound card or on board. You will get the same audio. The DAC on the receiver will handle it if our using optical. Also Optical is only two channel unless you encode with DTS or Dolby.
Edited by DzillaXx - 1/23/13 at 4:39pm
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post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by adgame View Post

maybe its off topic, but an amp + sound card does matter?
I thought you only needed one of them.

It largely depends on the type of audio gear you have (primarily speakers)

There are three main type of connectors on speakers. 3.5mm jack is common for PC speakers. They are not very good, but even your basic on board audio all the way up to some fairly high end sound cards can utilize that connection.

Next on the List is RCA. RCA is better than 3.5mm connectors but aren't as widely supported. You would need a sound card like the Asus essence cards or the X-fi titanium with RCA outputs OR you can buy a receiver to replace the sound card.

Lastly, you have binding posts. There are little tabs that you can shove speaker wire into an they require a receiver.

99 times out of 100, you only need a sound card.
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post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by DzillaXx View Post

Where did you get the headphone idea?


To OP:

On the back of your receiver you have multi channel inputs. use a few 3.5mm to RCA cables and connect your sound card to the receiver that way your sound card still controls the DAC.

This is how I do it. I run a 4.1 system on my PC, have it wired up for 5.1 but still looking for a good center speaker for it. I also have a good pair of headphones and FiiO E10 amp, but I like using speakers more. Headphones are for when I'm trying to be quiet for serious music listing. Speakers + Sub is better for turning up really loud and really feeling the bass, games are by far better this way as well. Never was fond of headphone gaming.

To use the optical your gonna need a sound card that does dts or dolby 5.1 live encoding. IMO the Multi-Channel is better way to go. Though sometimes your soundcard will not mix in the bass from your left and right speaker into your bass line and depending on your receiver it will not ether. Your gonna need a sub that has both high and low level inputs and use them both, aka rca from receiver and pass the left and right speaker though the high inputs on the sub as well (if it has them) other wise bass might not work in this mode as it may bypass the receivers ability to mix bass into the independent sub line while in multichannel mode. My HTR-5640 is like this, but no big deal to me as most are. Sounds great


If your only gonna run a 2.1 system having something that big is largely pointless as their are so many amps being wasted.

" I am happy with my current pc audio and originally bought the amp for headphones only " smile.gif

Now that I took care of some stuff, I can answer this post in more detail.

First off, speakers are better for listening to music. The problem is that to get speakers that are "good" you either have to sit down and build them yourself or spend a hell of a lot of money. If you are not getting bass in your headphones, mod them.

Another reason for not hearing any bass in your headphones is because headphones are naturally bass light, and the fiio stuff sucks what ever bass they did have right out. Something like a schiit magni and modi, or the schiit valhalla and the magni would give you a lot more bass.

I agree with everything about what you have to say about dolby stuff and multi channel sound, but I would like to add that you COULD go with 5 channel sound. Each speaker would have a tweeter, midrange, and a sub woofer driver on it, and probably a pretty expensive crossover, but you would avoid loosing all of your bass.
Edited by Tjj226 Angel - 1/23/13 at 5:31pm
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post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by adgame View Post

so if I understand it right, you should listen to that guy. Dont get a sound card if you use optical

Ehhhhhhhhh no, far from it.

Let me try to make this as clear as possible.

For the OP, I recommend 2.1 audio. In fact, I recommend 2.1 to everyone unless you REALLY need 5.1. That being said. Basic on board optical can support 2.1.

5.1 and above is where things get interesting. You are going to need a sound card that can encode in dolby digital live or DTS and have a compatible receiver that can DEcode dolby digital live or DTS. Why? Because optical does not have the bandwidth to support 5.1, so the audio content has to be encoded and compressed to squeeze through the optical cable in a sense.

In that case, you WILL need a sound card.

In the case of two channel, and 2.1 audio, you do not need the sound card.
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post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
That sucks, frown.gif You really think I could have gotten a better amp for the money? So you guys want me to sell the amp? I dont know if the guy will give me my money back now axesmiley.png but I'll try. Got anything in mind for a good amp? I figured one of these big amps would be much superior to what I can get for $100 - $150 and it will offer me a lot of expandability with my speakers, and what not. I was really looking to get rid of my old surround setup and add some speakers to the amp and maybe a sound card like the Xonar DG since my motherboard or Creative xfi sound card doesn't have optical out..

I also prefer good 2.1 for Music, but a really good 5.1 kicks butt too when setup right, however my bedroom is quite small for me to place speakers behind my head so I wont be utilizing original surround. But I'm a student I rent and I move apartments so if my next house has a bigger room I may be able to utilize things.


Friend says he has some 4Ω 10W little passive speakers, he has around 4 of these and a sub he said I could have, I wonder if these will work or will they blow up if I turned the volume knob too high? you know maybe I can mimic a very good 2.1 setup with the speakers I found by placing them as 4.1 but with two of them around each ear side, since behind me is not an option?
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