What do I need to have speakers run through my computer. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 06-18-2008, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello, I have been following this forum for a while now before I even signed up, and here is a question that I wanted to ask for a while now.

I decided that I wanted to buy a pair of Paradigms S20 that will be running from my computer, and I have no clue where to set it up to. Reciever? Amp? Both?. I want my setup to run from my computer to my speakers, bu I have no idea what do I need between them.

I'm completely clueless, because for past years all I have been using are logitech Z-5300 which is really a budget sound equipment, and there was no need for anything extra, because everything was included. I want something high end now.

So, I chose a pair of $900 Paradigm S20's and I had my eye on Rotel equipment (around $1000). So help me out guys. What do I need, a reciever, amp, or what!?
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post #2 of 14 Old 06-18-2008, 03:38 PM
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Receiver or amp since receivers contain amps. What is the output of the PC? What else do you want to connect? How many channels?

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post #3 of 14 Old 06-18-2008, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm not sure where I find the output on my computer or how many channels, but I have an X-fi Xtreme Gamer sound card in my computer if that's what you're asking. Since I'll only be using 2 speakers (Paradigm S20's) can anyone recommend me a Rotel reciever which is around $1000. I see so many recievers on their site, but I don't know which one is the proper one to go with those Paradigm's.
Thank you for helping!
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post #4 of 14 Old 06-18-2008, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absolut Ballin View Post

I'm not sure where I find the output on my computer or how many channels, but I have an X-fi Xtreme Gamer sound card in my computer which I use with my current audio setup.

Depending on the number of channels, you can use the digital or analog outputs. How many channels do you use or want?

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post #5 of 14 Old 06-18-2008, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absolut Ballin View Post

I'm not sure where I find the output on my computer or how many channels, but I have an X-fi Xtreme Gamer sound card in my computer if that's what you're asking. Since I'll only be using 2 speakers (Paradigm S20's) can anyone recommend me a Rotel reciever which is around $1000. I see so many recievers on their site, but I don't know which one is the proper one to go with those Paradigm's.

What sort of audio outputs does the soundcard have? Based upon your post, I assume you will only be using those 2 speakers, correct? If your soundcard has a pair of R/L analog outputs (and it probably does), all you really need is a 2-channel integrated amp. You could also use a stereo receiver. But, if you do not need a multichannel AV receiver, don't buy one. I'm not sure if the ROTEL receiver you were considering is a stereo receiver or not. You could also use a stereo pre-amp/power amp combo.

Now, if you would rather not utilize the soundcard and computer for your decoding, and the soundcard has a digital output (optical or coax), then you can pass the digital signal to another device, such as a receiver, for decoding. 2-channel receivers, integrated amps, and pre-amps with a digital input are not common, though.

I would at least give a look at audiogon.com for a nice, used integrated amplifier or pre-amp and power amp combo. Used amps and pre-amps are pretty safe buys. Otherwise, you have several "new" options.

If you can control the volume via the computer (and you probably can), then you really only need a power amp, although I would recommend you get something with an independent volume control both for convenience as well as proper reproduction.

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post #6 of 14 Old 06-18-2008, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

What sort of audio outputs does the soundcard have? If it has 2-channel R/L analog outputs, all you really need is a 2-channel integrated amp. You could also use a stereo receiver. But, if you do not need a multichannel AV receiver, don't buy one. I'm not sure if the ROTEL receiver you were considering is a stereo receiver or not. You could also use a stereo pre-amp/power amp combo.

I would at least look at audiogon.com for a nice, used integrated amplifier or pre-amp and power amp combo. Used amps and pre-amps are pretty safe buys.

Agreed.

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If you can control the volume via the computer (and you probably can), then you really only need a power amp, although I would recommend you get something with an independent volume control both for convenience as well as proper reproduction.

And protection. Troglodyte that I am, I do not completely trust software-based volume controls.

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post #7 of 14 Old 06-18-2008, 04:21 PM
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You need three things.

A DAC to convert the digital inside your computer to an analog signal.
(I would not recommend using the built in sound card for this, but you could)
A preamp, to be able to adjust the volume
(It is much better to adjust the volume outside the computer)
An amplifier to amplify the signal to drive the speakers.

You could do this all in one box using an integrated amp (or receiver)
that had a digital input (assuming your computer can send digital out)

There are many many variations on this basic theme.

Everything I say here is my opinion. It is not my employers opinion, it is not my wife's opinion, it is not my neighbors opinion, it is My Opinion.
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-18-2008, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, since 2 speakers now, and maybe I'll add a subwoofer later, I believe it would be 2.1

I'm sorry I'm such a noob at this, I think I get the idea now. This is a stereo reciever I found on Rotel, this should be alright for the Paradigm S20. http://www.rotel.com/NA/products/Pro...ails.htm?Id=40

Or I kind of find that an overkill. Will this do the job? It's RA-1062 http://www.rotel.com/NA/products/Pro...ails.htm?Id=12
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-18-2008, 04:58 PM
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I have a friend who I just recommended this little amp from Nuforce.

http://www.nuforce-icon.com/Product-Icon.htm



It already has a DAC and a usb input so all you need is a USB to hook it up to your PC or Mac. He has yet to receive it but the amp got a superb review at 6moons and they tested it with a lot of speakers.

review:
http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/nuforce7/icon.html
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post #10 of 14 Old 06-18-2008, 05:05 PM
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I have a hard time believing you have been around this forum for very long without picking up some of the basics.

You seem to be interested in paradigm and rotel - which suggests to me you are working with a local dealer, so work with them. . .

One option I'd consider for your situation is
http://www.outlawaudio.com/products/rr2150.html

Don't have one, never listened to one, have no affiliation, but it seems like it might do what you want.

Everything I say here is my opinion. It is not my employers opinion, it is not my wife's opinion, it is not my neighbors opinion, it is My Opinion.
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post #11 of 14 Old 06-18-2008, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absolut Ballin View Post

Well, since 2 speakers now, and maybe I'll add a subwoofer later, I believe it would be 2.1

I'm sorry I'm such a noob at this, I think I get the idea now. This is a stereo reciever I found on Rotel, this should be alright for the Paradigm S20. http://www.rotel.com/NA/products/Pro...ails.htm?Id=40

Or I kind of find that an overkill. Will this do the job? It's RA-1062 http://www.rotel.com/NA/products/Pro...ails.htm?Id=12

As far as I can tell, neither of these products have a digital input, if that is important to you. As I said, most 2-channel products (pre-amps, amplifiers, receivers) do not feature a digital input and DAC. The receiver dknightd just linked you to has a USB input and DAC. As does what VectorLabs linked.

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post #12 of 14 Old 06-22-2008, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey thanks for the help guys, I think I understand the concept a little better. Here I made a list of how my setup should look like. Please correct me if there is something wrong with it.

PC > Channel Islands DAC VDA2 > Rotel RC-1070 Pre Amp > Rotel RB-1050 Amp > Paradigm Studio 20.



Oh, and by the way, how do I determine how many watts I need for my speakers. On the specifications of the speakers it says 15-150 watts and this amplifier is 70 watts. Is this suitable for the speakers? Do the watts determine the performance of the speakers in any way or just how loud it can go?
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post #13 of 14 Old 06-23-2008, 03:11 AM
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looks good

Everything I say here is my opinion. It is not my employers opinion, it is not my wife's opinion, it is not my neighbors opinion, it is My Opinion.
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post #14 of 14 Old 06-24-2008, 05:36 PM
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your proposed setup would be terrific, and probably a bit extravagant too (ok, I admit I'm jealous)

As far as watts, you're all set. Unless your room is huge, that Rotel combo should be more than enough except for the cavernous rooms.

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