XPlosion: Real-time DTS Encoding Sound Card! - Page 16 - AVS Forum
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post #451 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkjedi664 View Post

the chip was made specifically for HDA and no one else can use that chip. also, SPDIF is only capable of 24/192 MAX, it's not possible of 32bit at all, and digital 24bit sounds a whole lot better than 32bit analog. and honestly, even 96/24DTS is rare now a days, so what's the point of 24/192??? there aren't any sources at all, and DTS is only 20bit 1536kbps max (not counting DTS 96/24 of course).

How do you know that the chip was made only for HDA, and even if so, who cares because the other chip has better specs?

Affable Nitwit
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post #452 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 08:52 AM
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read the article i posted in the last page, it explains it.
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post #453 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkjedi664 View Post

the chip was made specifically for HDA and no one else can use that chip. also, SPDIF is only capable of 24/192 MAX, it's not possible of 32bit at all, and digital 24bit sounds a whole lot better than 32bit analog. and honestly, even 96/24DTS is rare now a days, so what's the point of 24/192??? there aren't any sources at all, and DTS is only 20bit 1536kbps max (not counting DTS 96/24 of course).

If you read, you will see that I was talking about the analog in the Oxygen 8788 chipset when reffering to the 32-bit audio. I did this to compare it to the x-fi. Sorry about the confusion.

Could you post that link on the PlanetAMD64 forum too? It would really help some people.

http://www.planetamd64.com/index.php...20#entry185698

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post #454 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 09:00 AM
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but even still, 24bit digital audio (or hell, 20bit digital audio) will sound better than 32bit analog any day.
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post #455 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkjedi664 View Post

but even still, 24bit digital audio (or hell, 20bit digital audio) will sound better than 32bit analog any day.

I agree

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post #456 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 09:15 AM
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as one of the other members said, with the x-fi, the audio is originally digital, then translated to analog, which can cause distrotion really. only pure digital streams sound the best. creative needs to do two things here, first, get out of the analog business (it's so 1995), and secondly, they need to allow EAX3 and above for other cards. the day i buy another analog sound card is the day i burn in hell.
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post #457 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 09:48 AM
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Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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post #458 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 09:50 AM
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awesome install it right away and do some testing on it. u'll LOVE it
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post #459 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 10:11 AM
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My iguana loves DTS


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post #460 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 10:13 AM
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well apparently we now know where the name comes from
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post #461 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 10:29 AM
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Well I just tried far cry and it sounds fantastic. Far cry, however, does not have the best recorded sounds. I hear Call of Duty 2 has good sound so when I can afford it I will pick that up. For now my game with the best sound is NFS:MW (by the way, never ever ever buy a game from someone on ebay. I got the taiwanese version (it's cheaper) so I had to copy the files over to my hard disk and edit the cfg to make it install in inglish.). I will test it out on my logitechs, klhs, and a mix of the two.

edit: Haha. Eye misspeled igrish.

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post #462 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 11:27 AM
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Actually I have already tested out PCM with my onboard sound and 5.1 dts from my dvd player, so I will give you a comparison between the speakers now. The logitech z5500 subwoofer is great (not to mention HUGE). It is the best you can get that will accept a digital input. The sattelites are extremely good with highs and upper midrange, but there is a noticable disconect between the sub and sattelites as they aren't perfect in lower midrange. My KLHs are great for lower midrange to ear piercing high, but not at all for bass (they are only 4.5 inches). My receiver has a preamp sub output, which is not that great considering it has to be converted to analog from digital and pass over a cable at low power (big time interference). So the best option is to have a separate digtal signal for the subwoofer and speakers. What I did is connect the optical to my receiver, and the coax to my logitechs. I then tried different configurations of what speakers were plugged in. The best sounding and most exact setup was to simply unplug the logitech sattelites and just use the sub and the KLHs. Having the logitechs also connected caused a clash. The problem I ran into however was that strangly coax and optical sound different. Coax sounds quiter and more muffled. I think it might just be my receiver, though. The best solution, which I have yet to try out, is to connect the KLHs to the logitech system. I do need RCA speaker wire that I can destroy one end of, though, but I don't have any yet. Anyway, for now the best solution is Logitechs for movies/games/music with bass and KLHs for music without too much bass. By the way, the subwoofer is the best that I have ever heard. Gunshots in far cry sound loud, but not sharp as with smaller subwoofers. I don't know what is loud anymore because I used to tell loudness by how much distortion there was. Now the only way I can tell is by listening to something at a different volume.

I hate it when people say they want a "punchy" or "tight" subwoofer. That just means that the the sub has too small a speaker cone to displace the correct amount of air and too pwerfull a power supply. No subwoofer (except those odd fan subwoofers) can actually play a FULL 20hz tone because to do that it would have to create 8.5 meter long bands of alternating high and low pressure (no joke). The logitech sub has a large displacement and appropriate power so it is the best choice. If you want to make the subwoofer play low notes in a more restricted/musical way (which is what most people really want when they say "tight") as opposed to a deep/powerfull way then just block off the bass port. This will prevent interference between the sound from the bass port and the front of the speaker. This sometimes gives the best sound and in some cases can even be louder than with the bass port open.

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post #463 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 11:47 AM
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I have a visual representation of why closing of the bass port is sometimes a good Idea. Don't laugh at my paint skills.



The red waves are the exact opposite of the green waves because they come from the opposite side of the speaker. They echo and bounce through the tube away from you and then finally come out the bass port at a later time. Meanwhile the green wave that matches it has already started on its way to you. The red wave then starts traveling towards you, but gets caught in the later green waves causing interference. The speaker cone must be pulled back in by the magnet every time it goes out because the air in the room is not enough to pull it back. This causes a very airy, but powerfull, sound. If you block off the bass port you can imagine what happens. There is less interference and the air in the speaker box keeps the speaker cone at equilibrium which sometimes saves energy and make the speaker more efficient. The problem is, however, that now the speaker has to fight against the air in the box. If the subwoofer is way too loud for you and sounds too airy, then blocking the port will give you a more solid sound. If it is just right or too quiet at the default level for you, then blocking it might not be such a great idea. Remeber blocked = solid, but quieter while unblocked = more rumbley, but more powerfull. For movies and games with HUGE explosions blocking the port will muffle the sound because the speaker must fight against the pressure of the box.

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post #464 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 11:50 AM
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Darkjedi... keeping things purely digital in a PC is not as easy as it sounds! That Oxygen chip certainly looks impressive, but so far CMedia has not enabled ASIO functionality in their latest series of chips, so sounds will always be "adjusted" in the windows mixer (or whatever OS you might be using that CMedia supports).

Let me give you a good example how the analog outputs of these cards might in fact be better than staying with a pure digital signal...

A person is using a high quality music or lossless format and plays it on their system. Let's say that it is a 24 bit/96kHz sample. The X-Plosion handles this in one of four ways.

The first is to send that information through its onboard DAC as a 24/96 signal, out through the OPAMPS, and then to the speakers/amplifier. If the user is taking this music and converting it to a 5.1 signal (up Matrix) and out through the 5.1 analog ports. Staying with the analog outputs keeps things fairly clean, especially if the OPAMPS are upgraded on the card and you have good speakers.

The rest of the three ways to do this rely on the quality of the DAC's on the receiver you are sending the digital signal to (PCM, DD 5.1, and DTS). Most PC enthusiasts are using the Logitech Z series of speakers which have the decoder onboard. Unfortunately, this decoder is not of great quality, nor are the DACs all that great (Logi allocated the majority of quality components into the sub, speakers, and the amp... the decoder is actually fairly crappy). So, instead of relying on the pretty good DAC on the X-Plosion, the Logitech receiver takes the digital signal from the card and uses its own decoder (again, a poor chip) and its not-so-hot DACs. So, in this case, even when using just a 2 channel signal, the overall sound could be poorer than if you had just gone through the analog ports on the soundcard.

Taking this a step further, if you are up-matrixing a high quality music file that data is sent to the 8 channel DAC on the CMedia chip and it is converted to analog as a 24/96 signal. If you use DD 5.1 then that signal is encoded (lossy process) and it loses a bunch of information. Same goes with DTS (though it is not as lossy and is a higher bitrate). But we still run into the problem of possibly using a poor decoder with crap DAC's. Now, if you have a good quality receiver, this isn't as much of an issue, as the hardware is good. But we still have to address the issue of downsampling and encoding an audio signal to a lossy format. Now, PCM takes care of this, but it is relegated to a 2 channel signal, so no matrixing there.

The best solution to keeping sound as clean and untouched as possible is ASIO along with PCM that matches the file characteristics (bit-accurate). But for most applications, this is not a good solution (games, movies, etc.).

So, don't give up on analog outputs on a soundcard yet! There are still areas where it will sound better.

Just for grins though, I did order up the Burr-Brown/TI OPAMP upgrades for both the X-Mystique and X-Plosion I have here for testing. I should have the initial article up fairly soon (as in the next two days). Just a teaser... it really helped the X-Mystique... but for some reason these upgrades made the X-Plosion just shine.
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post #465 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 12:09 PM
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Can someone with significant audio knowledge compare the X-Fi Music (analog out) to the Xplosion (DTS connect out) to Z-5500 speakers?

I've been talking about this all thread... My impulsive side wants to buy the Xplosion, but my rational side knows that there is no "technical" benefit to it over the X-Fi.

I have been taking everyones subjective praise of the Xplosion to heart. But the above poster is correct.

The X-Fi *should* be superior, and having EAX > 3 is just icing.

I'm also concerned that sites such as Anandtech.com, and other reputable sites havent pounced on reviewing this card... the only other "real" alterative to the X-Fi.

A head to head is WAY over due.

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post #466 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 12:10 PM
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Good point Josh, but soundcards are just not meant for D to A and A to D converters or any other analog devices. The nature of soundcards it that they like to do things digitally with cheap parts. This doesn't matter of course, because the quality of the sound is determined by the design of the card, not the signal strength or quality of the circuits. Every x-plosion has exactly the same in performance and quality with digital sound, while the same is not true of analog. If you want good quality you stick with digital inside the computer, and make the switch to analog outside where you have control over every part of the d/a conversion and amplification. You do have a good point, though, because not everyone has good quality equipment outside their computer and upgrading the opamps is cheaper than buying a new amplifier.

I am not sure, but I thought both encoding and decoding of Dolby and DTS was standardized completely. Is there really such thing as a low/high quality encoder/decoder?

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post #467 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 12:21 PM
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well...yes...AISO would be the ultimate option but it's not an option yet (and AISO4ALL doesn't work either). i believe when Vista comes out with it's new sound engine, all should be fixed. now i know the Z5500's aren't the best around, but i wouldn't exactly say the decoder is crap. they are the best pc speakers around, and i'd say better than most HTIAB (home theater in a box) setups. i don't have the space nor luxury to buy a receiver, subwoofer, and speakers like i'd really like to, so the Z5500's are gonna have to suffice for the time being.
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post #468 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 12:29 PM
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You are correct green, keeping things as digital as possible inside of the computer (since it is a very electrically noisy environment) and exporting it as a digital signal is the best plan. But I guess my main thrust is that it is not a black/white decision. Again, the quality of components outside of the box may make a huge difference, as well as preserving the data as best as possible (and going DD 5.1 or DTS for everything will include loss, no matter what you do). Again, if you are using a multi-channel audio format that is 6 channels of 24/96, then even DTS will degrade that signal.

While DD 5.1 and DTS are industry standards, decoder quality and performance are not the same from product to product. Just as Direct3D is a standard, you do not get the same performance from a GeForce 6600 as you do a 7800 GTX. How many different decoder chips do Denon and Yamaha have for their entire lineup of products? More than half a dozen at this point, and each one offers better features/quality at the different price points. Again, the Logi decoders are quite cheap, as Logi dedicated most of the money for these speaker sets in the amp and speakers themselves.

The X-Fi will probably have slightly better analog performance than the X-Plosion, and it can do a lot more neat stuff due its amazingly beefy DSP. What is missing from the X-Fi is the flexibility that the X-Plosion gives in terms of outputs (having coax and optical outs on the board itself without having a breakout box) as well as the ability to encode DD 5.1 and DTS. The higher EAX offerings on the X-Fi are nice as well, and when I played Quake 4 on the X-Mystique and then went to the SB Audigy 2 ZS... it was night and day in favor of the Audigy. Luckily this is not the case for the majority of games out there (like HL2, CS, WoW, Morrowind, etc.) where the X-Mystique/X-Plosion sound just as good as the Audigy 2 ZS. Again, the X-Fi will probably have a small leg up, but I feel the X-Fi is overall a bit pricier when it comes to having usable features.
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post #469 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 12:51 PM
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Quake 4 really is an unfair comparison because the game is built as a flag title for eax 5. It's not doing a true head to head to compare sound quality when the reason it sounds better is that its getting a completely different source.

"Luckily this is not the case for the majority of games out there (like HL2, CS, WoW, Morrowind, etc.) where the X-Mystique/X-Plosion sound just as good as the Audigy 2 ZS."

Any game that doesn't use EAX 3.0 or above. EAX 3.0 and above = this game has audio coded for exclusive use on Creative's latest soundcards.

I'm kind of surprised to so much talk about using the xplosion for a setup to these logitech speakers. I feel that the cards most attractive feature is that it will feed a digital dts or dd signal to a regular ht receiver for your htpc setup.
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post #470 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 01:19 PM
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i want a home theater setup, but i don't have the space right now, nor the money to buy a home theater setup (as my pc is in my room). i'm looking at this one right now actually (though i know it's kinda a HTINAB)
http://www.crutchfield.com/S-x0hIgY1...0&I=580HTS780B

i know it's a HTINAB, but it's onkyo so it can't be that bad.
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post #471 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scasmflop View Post

Quake 4 really is an unfair comparison because the game is built as a flag title for eax 5. It's not doing a true head to head to compare sound quality when the reason it sounds better is that its getting a completely different source.

"Luckily this is not the case for the majority of games out there (like HL2, CS, WoW, Morrowind, etc.) where the X-Mystique/X-Plosion sound just as good as the Audigy 2 ZS."

Any game that doesn't use EAX 3.0 or above. EAX 3.0 and above = this game has audio coded for exclusive use on Creative's latest soundcards.

I'm kind of surprised to so much talk about using the xplosion for a setup to these logitech speakers. I feel that the cards most attractive feature is that it will feed a digital dts or dd signal to a regular ht receiver for your htpc setup.

Actually, I had meant that as an unfair comparison. It is actually EAX 4.0 HD that Q4 is really pushing (as BF2, to the best of my knowledge, is the first and only EAX 5.0 title out there). The amount of immersiveness going from the X-Mystique with EAX 2.0 support to an Audigy 2 ZS with EAX 4.0 HD is night and day. It doesn't matter how cleanly each card delivers sound to the speakers, the extra high definition content that is offered for the Creative card is quite astounding. And unfortunate. It is good that the majority of software titles out there do not have "Creative only" content in them!

I think one of the biggest reasons why this card is used so much with the Logi speakers is that users only have to plug in one cable to get full surround sound in multiple formats. But yes, the killer app for this card is the HTPC, which is probably why the X cards all feature pretty poor OPAMPS (since HDA/Auzen has rightfully deduced that the majority of people using their cards will just use the coax and optical connections).
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post #472 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 02:04 PM
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lol the people on the last page who are like "omg did i just waste money??" crack me up. No, you got an awesome card for the price you paid. Whatever else comes on the market later is irrelevant. Good grief.
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post #473 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkjedi664 View Post

i want a home theater setup, but i don't have the space right now, nor the money to buy a home theater setup (as my pc is in my room). i'm looking at this one right now actually (though i know it's kinda a HTINAB)
http://www.crutchfield.com/S-x0hIgY1...0&I=580HTS780B

i know it's a HTINAB, but it's onkyo so it can't be that bad.


Holy $#!+, that's a good deal. That is probably the best you can get for that price. I wish I had know about that earlier.

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post #474 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 02:36 PM
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i just might buy that the receiver looks pretty good actually, and i can always upgrade that later, PLUS there's 7.1 (even though i'd actually only use 6.1 :P). any negatives on this?
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post #475 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greeniguana00 View Post

I have a visual representation of why closing of the bass port is sometimes a good Idea. Don't laugh at my paint skills.



The red waves are the exact opposite of the green waves because they come from the opposite side of the speaker. They echo and bounce through the tube away from you and then finally come out the bass port at a later time. Meanwhile the green wave that matches it has already started on its way to you. The red wave then starts traveling towards you, but gets caught in the later green waves causing interference. The speaker cone must be pulled back in by the magnet every time it goes out because the air in the room is not enough to pull it back. This causes a very airy, but powerfull, sound. If you block off the bass port you can imagine what happens. There is less interference and the air in the speaker box keeps the speaker cone at equilibrium which sometimes saves energy and make the speaker more efficient. The problem is, however, that now the speaker has to fight against the air in the box. If the subwoofer is way too loud for you and sounds too airy, then blocking the port will give you a more solid sound. If it is just right or too quiet at the default level for you, then blocking it might not be such a great idea. Remeber blocked = solid, but quieter while unblocked = more rumbley, but more powerfull. For movies and games with HUGE explosions blocking the port will muffle the sound because the speaker must fight against the pressure of the box.

Now I am not THAT familiar with the Z-5500 subs construction. But the way you are saying things occur is not entirely true. The main thing I have a problem with is your argument over out of phase sound pressure waves. In your picture(not sure if you did this for simplicity) you drew the speaker being directly attached to the port. I am fairly certain they would never make a sub this way. The point of a point is to create a mechanical resonance to extend the usuable(+/- 3 dB) output of the lower frequencies. In order to accomplish this, the port is tuned to a certain frequency. This depends on the driver in the box itself, the length of the port, and its width.

The box itself is one of the most important parts of a sub's construction as one of its main goals is to reduce standing waves. This is why you do NOT get the cancellation effect with the out of phase waves. In a well designed sub, they should not leave the box. This is why thick materials are used and many forms of damping are available.

Ports can undesireable affects on music but tend to be sought after for movie effects and explosions. This is mainly due to the large amount of LFE in movies that will utilize the extra few dB of low end response that the port will give you. However, it also can generate noise, and changes the drivers behavior creating a less "tight" sound as the driver will move farther in a ported setup as you mentioned.

While this is completely off topic I just wanted to clarify those few points. Glad to hear you are happy with your new card, I think I am going to wait until something with better compatibility comes out.
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post #476 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greeniguana00 View Post

Holy $#!+, that's a good deal. That is probably the best you can get for that price. I wish I had know about that earlier.

Its not that great of a deal, I have seen that set for $100 cheaper.
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post #477 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Sdiver2489 View Post

Its not that great of a deal, I have seen that set for $100 cheaper.

i think he was mentioning that for the amount you get, not for the price. and as of right now, the cheapest place online for these are $465 with no tax and free shipping, but from a place i've never heard of, so i'd rather buy them from crutchfield instead.
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post #478 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by darkjedi664 View Post

i think he was mentioning that for the amount you get, not for the price. and as of right now, the cheapest place online for these are $465 with no tax and free shipping, but from a place i've never heard of, so i'd rather buy them from crutchfield instead.

http://www.circuitcity.com/ccd/Searc...o.x=19&go.y=10

Get it now + Cheaper >>>>> Crutchfield
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post #479 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 03:43 PM
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WOW, and free shipping, but with tax it comes to: $465.46 which is still $30 cheaper than crutchfield. but would you say buy them or no?
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post #480 of 1054 Old 02-14-2006, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by darkjedi664 View Post

WOW, and free shipping, but with tax it comes to: $465.46 which is still $30 cheaper than crutchfield. but would you say buy them or no?

If you are looking to get into the HT scene with a system and don't feel like "building" a system over time, then yes. It is worth it.
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