Computer speaker setup conundrum - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-09-2013, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello everyone! I've recently decided that I want to upgrade from onboard sound for my PC (as a reward for paying off another financial aid loan - only a few more to go!) and am looking at a few options. For the sound card, I'm pretty much just looking at the Sound Blaster Z. It's supposed to be quite the bang for the buck (at only $100) and has optical in/out and quite the feature set. The real conundrum has to do with the speakers. There used to be a market for computer surround sound speakers a few years ago, when I bought my current Logitech G51 set. But now, the market is SPARSE for 5.1. The only upgrade is to a Logitech Z906. It seems like a decent set of speakers, based on the reviews. However, they are still computer speakers (and not home theater speakers) and there is still the issue with Logitech being a bit bass-heavy and a bit muddy on the sub - not everyone seems to like them. With that being the only option and the sound card outputting optical, I also started looking at home theater speakers, of which the market is IMMENSE - it's pretty overwhelming. Based on searching a bit and some friend's advice, Klipsch seems like a good choice. However, if I go that route, I also need to buy a receiver, which ups the cost (and the connection would go PC -> sound card -> receiver -> speakers, instead of PC -> sound card -> speakers, would that introduce noticeable lag? Probably not, just being paranoid...).

So my conundrum is: for ~$400, should I get the Logitech Z906 or a set of speakers (I'm looking at these Kilpsch, these Klipsch, or these Polk - are there any others you would recommend?) and a receiver (of which I haven't started looking at yet, but due to the prices of the others, will be looking for one between $150 and $200). The room setup is simple: me at my desk - so all the speakers will be probably ~3 feet from me (I'm thinking about setting the rear satellites on stands, the others would be on my desk). The primary sonic target is gaming, listening to music as a close second and watching movies/my PS3 coming in third.

What would you folks recommend? If I've left out an important detail, please let me know - this is the first time I'm really looking into great-quality audio smile.gif. Thanks!
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-09-2013, 10:16 PM
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If you want to stay under $400 total, Monoprice is now selling what appears to be a rebadged version of the Energy Take Classic 5.1 set for $200 + shipping. There was a coupon, INCENTIVE (see if it still works) which gave 20%, offsetting the shipping costs.

Then next step up from there I would look at the are the Martin Logan MLT-2 at Newegg for $249 shipped. The MLT-2s are rebadged Paradigm Cinema90s (I believe Paradigm bought Martin Logan).

Then I would skip the sound card for now if your computer has optical out from the motherboard or HDMI out from the graphics card. You'll be able to run digital to the receiver and let it act as your sound card.
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-10-2013, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the recommendation! Is there not a lot to gain with a sound card? Based on the reviews, it's superior to even the fatality pro cards of 2 generations ago (since the recon3D of last gen was apparently pretty bad). Or because the SPDIF output from the mobo is digital it won't have the clarity issues of the analog outputs?
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-16-2013, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Cel, thanks for the recommendation. I got them hooked up tonight - they sound amazing! Thanks!
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-16-2013, 03:14 AM
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That is awesome! biggrin.gif

Which speakers did you end up getting?

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-16-2013, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh sorry, forgot you mentioned two sets... I ended up getting the MartinLogan MLT-2s - VERY nice. I paired it with a Yamaha RX-V373 for only $188 on amazon, so it didn't completely break the bank smile.gif. I can't believe how muddy the bass was on my last set and how muddy some of the mid-range was - the difference is pretty much night and day. And here I was worried I wouldn't be able to hear the difference.... smile.gif
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-16-2013, 12:19 PM
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Yep. There's no comparison between desktop multimedia sound setups and what you bought. Have you seen the reviews on the Paradigm Cinema 90s (same as MLT-2), such as this: http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_9_3/paradigm-cinema-speakers-9-2002.html. Those MLT-2s are decent speakers at even twice as much as what you paid. With that Yamaha, that'll be nice set for a bedroom setup with a TV one day if you ever want to repurpose them, the kind of speaker set you'll probably be using somehow a decade from now smile.gif

Now if you ever watch blu-ray disks and have a graphics card with HDMI out, you probably should be able to get DTS-HD and Dolby True-HD sound output to the your receiver. You had mentioned running from your PC sound card to your receiver, so if you have HDMI audio out (check your control panel sound options), try that, too.

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-16-2013, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Nice article - I especially liked the end where it basically said to give these to someone for their PC, since that's exactly what I'm doing smile.gif. About DTS: the Sound Blaster Z can actually ouput DTS and Dolby Digital Live, and I have that going through optical out to the receiver right now for everything on my PC (since my monitor only has 1 HDMI port and that's being used currently for my PS3). I haven't used the PS3 through the receiver yet - but I will soon smile.gif.
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