Computer 2.1 advice needed-my head hurts! - AVS Forum
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
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...from trying to figure it all out. I have 2 6 ohm midsize bookshelf speakers on my desk and an 8 inch powered sub on the floor. I have a large setup elsewhere in my home for serious listening. I just want to listen to music while surfing the internet from one of the internet music services,Slacker,Pandora,etc. Whichever has the best quality sound. No other sources whatsoever,that is it. I would like a stereo receiver that has a dedicated subwoofer output. I would prefer a 2.1 receiver BUT..it seems as if all the latest and greatest inputs are available only with a 5.1 AV unit. EDIT:here is some more info I found out about my computer:On the rear of the chassis, Dell provides four more USB ports. The machine also offers 5.1-channel surround sound, a gigabit ethernet port, a VGA port, and an HDMI port. The absence of a DVI port is slightly disappointing; users who lack HDMI support on their displays will have to settle for VGA.
I have read everything I can find about this subject and frankly I am so bogged down that I can not pull the trigger on anything. I just want to do it right if I'm going to do it at all. I like the Nuforce products but they are not recommended for 6 ohm speakers. My computer has an HDMI connection but I am not sure if this is an input or output. No optical in or out. The sound card is ATI High Def Audio Device (?) in a Dell Inspiron 580 desktop that is approx. 2 years old. Should I just buy a nice $300 5.1 receiver that has basically every type of input and then get a nice sound card to link it up to....OR.... Keep searching for a 2.1 that has it all? Thanks for any help!
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Old 05-04-2012, 06:52 PM
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I'm currently using a Macbook Pro to a NAD integrated amp and a pair of LDS L500 speakers. I recently found that the built-in sound jack was at least as good as a good external DAC. My impression is that DACs these days are pretty much cookie cutter. The chip in your PC or sound card is probably good enough for the speakers you're going to be using. Also, many subs are designed to be used with normal 2.0 amps, and can do the necessary crossover themselves.

Given the current pricing, you may find it cost-effective just to get a 5.1 receiver. But if you really want stereo equipment you may find a simple 2.0 integrated amp is good enough for your application.
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:27 PM
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Harman Audio is selling their 3390 stereo receiver for $199 shipped on ebay. Not a bad price IMO. I've been using one in the bedroom for a couple of years now - works fine and sounds great. You can take the L/R out jacks from the computer and connect directly to the 3390. Set the computers audio to stereo. The 3390 has two subwoofer out jacks - they are full range so you'll need to control the high pass frequency on the sub. With 80wpc it should make those bookshelf speakers sing.

When all else fails - RTFM!

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Old 05-04-2012, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post

Harman Audio is selling their 3390 stereo receiver for $199 shipped on ebay. Not a bad price IMO. I've been using one in the bedroom for a couple of years now - works fine and sounds great. You can take the L/R out jacks from the computer and connect directly to the 3390. Set the computers audio to stereo. The 3390 has two subwoofer out jacks - they are full range so you'll need to control the high pass frequency on the sub. With 80wpc it should make those bookshelf speakers sing.

+1

Great receiver.

I have the HK 3390 hooked up to my PC. Using a Asus Xonar D1 card add on sound card, I felt the HK 3390 with the Xonar running analog out sounded slightly better to me than an HK 1600 A/V using the optical out from my computer. So I kept the 3390 and returned the 1600 because of the extra wattage.

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
HT: Energy RC-50, RC-LCR, Veritas VS Surrounds | Dual CHT SS 18.1s | Denon AVR-888 | modified Dayton SA1000 | Antimode 8033C
Desktop: CBM-170 SE | SVS SB-1000 | Audio-GD NFB-11 | HK 3390
Headphone & Portable HE-400 | K612 Pro | HP150 | DX50 | E12
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hal26 View Post

I just want to listen to music while surfing the internet from one of the
internet music services,Slacker,Pandora,etc. Whichever has the best quality
sound. No other sources whatsoever,that is it.

That makes it easier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal26 View Post

My computer has an HDMI connection but I am not sure if this is an input or output.

It's an output. Your computer is an "HDMI Source."

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal26 View Post

Should I just buy a nice $300 5.1 receiver that has basically every type of input

An AVR is a big piece of equipment that uses electricity. Otherwise, sure. It'll
do what you're asking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal26 View Post

and then get a nice sound card to link it up to

For your stated requirements, if you go that route, the minimum is an HDMI
output on your computer -- which you've got -- and one HDMI input on the
AVR. And speakers or headphones.

A "nice sound card" might give you a better digital-to-analog converter
(DAC), something unimportant unless you go the 2.1 route. Would your new
card have a better DAC than your new AVR? If not, you didn't need the sound
card.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal26 View Post

Keep searching for a 2.1 that has it all?

For audio streaming, video streaming, DVD- and BluRay-playback, etc., you
don't need anything other than the HDMI connection on your computer, a
receiver, and your speakers.

Is the purchase, and installation, of an entry-level AVR reasonable? Do you
want to keep your speakers? Are there some 2.1 systems you've got your
ear on? What's your budget?

I don't have the space and don't want to run an AVR at my desk. That's the
only reason I run powered speakers (not that I don't like them.)
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Old 05-05-2012, 03:27 PM
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Not all HDMI outputs from a computer have audio output in that signal. They will all output a video signal. Check your computer documentation. The easiest way to get sound from your computer to an AVR if your computer doesn't have HDMI audio is via optical/coax connections.

When all else fails - RTFM!

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Old 05-06-2012, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post

Not all HDMI outputs from a computer have audio output in that signal. They will all output a video signal. Check your computer documentation. The easiest way to get sound from your computer to an AVR if your computer doesn't have HDMI audio is via optical/coax connections.

That is definitely true for computers and video cards that are a few years old. The last year or so everything new I've seen in the way of both computers with on board video and PCI-E video cards has done it right - provided both audio and video on the HDMI output.

It is a good thing to look out for, but if your hardware is reasonably new, you will find what you want. If you don't, even the < $30 video cards you buy now with HDMI outputs do it right. It's not a difficult or expensive upgrade.
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your very kind help! I will keep you advised....OP
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:02 AM
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Perhaps something like this will make the task easier.

http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/UCA202.aspx

USB to audio (analog & spdif) and you don't have to open your computer.
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