Looks like I got in late on this discussion. I've been doing so much research on what is appropriate. I am in the same issue on what kind of system to buy but the best sound is to go separate components with a speaker set, and then buying a receiver to drive them. I want to put a 5.1 system into my bedroom. so having a receiver in my room is a no no. We already have a THX 140 watt per channel JVC receiver driving Energy CF 70s full 7.2 surround with two subwoofers.
I am trying to find a good 5.1 system to sound my PC and my game consoles.
as I understand, PC speakers have powerful subs in the higher end systems, but you can't get them to play music well because they got no tweeters and the speakers are small.
The separate components route is no good for me because I am putting the system in my bedroom. I don't have that kind of space.
The other option I tried hard to find was an amp with built in inputs. or a receiver that is slim sized. What I found out during my weeks of research:
HTSS370 and HTSS380 by Sony. Comes with a subwoofer, receiver, and 5 speakers. this was a perfect set for me to choose because I can have it run LPCM from the PS3 to pick up DTS HD Master audio when running blu ray movies. it will also decode dolby pro logic II for my Wii. and the optical digital inputs for my PC audio.
problems: lackluster and weak subwoofer. it's a passive subwoofer. the speakers are kind of weak too. there is a troublesome option to replace the sub or speakers. but that would mean going through the problem of getting proprietary speaker cables for the receiver unit.
PC speakers Logitech Z906
powerful subwoofer with 5.1 channels and decodes dolby digital and DTS signals.
cons: overpowered sub muffling highs. speaker set not for music. especially with speakers having no tweeters. I can buy a receiver and separate speaker sets for same or lower price.
Onkyo HTX-22HDX Ultra-Compact HD
A home HTiB that has a built in amp on the subwoofer. reviews are good for the unit. it's a 2.1 set and is expandable to a 5.1. It decodes Dolby digital, prologic II and DTS HD MAster audio. HDMI passthrough connections and optical digital + rca inputs. I could add some good bookshelf speakers as my fronts, put the included speakers as my rear surround and this would sound good.
cons: subwoofer is supposedly powered, but still pretty weak. the system outputs only 25 watts rms per channel. sub at 60 watts. The best you can get out of this set in terms of sound is clarity with the power output. bass probably sucks. I'd like to try this system out in a local store like best buy or fry's, but no one carries it. it's only sold online through amazon and a few websites.
I am likely going the logitech speakers route and buy some tweeters to add into the front channels. I won't actually be playing a lot of music anyways as these speakers will be used for gaming and movies. I will wait for a deal on logitech or through amazon and make my purchase on the logitech z906. I think the HTiB route will not be good enough with the bass on the subs being too weak.
I wanted to post all this in case someone runs into this thread researching on a 5.1 system. I recommend going the separate receiver and speaker set combo just like everyone else here if you really want the best sound for your buck. provided, you can spare the space to do so. Receivers are quite big because of all their connections and features.