connect bookshelf speakers to computer - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-16-2013, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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What's the simplest way to connect my bookshelf speakers to my computer?
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post #2 of 19 Old 08-16-2013, 11:59 AM
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HDMI out to your receiver is pretty easy. Unless you have powered speakers and don't use a receiver.
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post #3 of 19 Old 08-16-2013, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't want to use a receiver nor a subwoofer and the speakers aren't powered. This setup will reside in my small office/den. Its just for listening to music, not watching movies.
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post #4 of 19 Old 08-16-2013, 12:30 PM
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In that case, you will need some sort of stand alone amplification. You have tons of options, some cheap, some not. Do a quick search for a T amp as that is a popular suggestion to power some bookshelves. I setup some bookshelves in my office for music and used what I had on hand, a Behringer A500 amp along with a 3.5 mm stereo male to 2 RCA Y cable and plugged it into the headphone port.
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-16-2013, 12:47 PM
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Just get a T-amp for $25. I have 2 of them. One in my office at work and one in a bedroom setup. It has a 3.5mm jack so that you can connect a smartphone, ipod, mp3 player or computer to it easily.

http://www.amazon.com/LP-2020A-Lepai-Tripath-Class-T-Amplifier/dp/B0049P6OTI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376678486&sr=8-1&keywords=lepai+t+amp





Either get a 3.5mm stereo cable or a 3.5mm to dual RCA jack cable.

http://www.amazon.com/Parts-Express-3-5mm-Stereo-Cable/dp/B0002ZPJZO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376678732&sr=8-1&keywords=3.5mm+stereo+cable

http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-Audio-Cable-Splitter-1-Mini/dp/B00004Z5CP/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376678784&sr=8-1&keywords=3.5mm+to+rca

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post #6 of 19 Old 08-16-2013, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank goodness! I was hoping there was an easy, small and affordable solution like that. How's the sound quality compared to a good AV receiver?
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-16-2013, 06:42 PM
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An AV receiver is better because it has more power, digital inputs and most likely room calibration software, a remote control and way more flexibility.

But what do you expect for $25?

Since you're connecting to a computer that means your speakers are nearby so you shouldn't need much volume.

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post #8 of 19 Old 08-16-2013, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry, I was referring to the sound quality. How does it compare to a receiver?
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post #9 of 19 Old 08-16-2013, 07:24 PM
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It'll be fine until to turn the volume past halfway. Then that little amp starts to distort.

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post #10 of 19 Old 08-16-2013, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiGiTY View Post

Sorry, I was referring to the sound quality. How does it compare to a receiver?

If you want something a little better than that Lepai, step up to the Topping TP21 or Indeed TA2021. Better build quality, little better SQ, and a little bit more volume.

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post #11 of 19 Old 08-16-2013, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afrogt View Post

It'll be fine until to turn the volume past halfway. Then that little amp starts to distort.

Agreed. That, and I found that the tone controls on the Lepai negatively affect the SQ (better to use EQ on the computer).

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post #12 of 19 Old 08-17-2013, 09:02 AM
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If you want adequate power, get something based on the TK2050 chip. Output varies depending on implementation and (especially) the power supply, but 15W or so with 8 ohms:
http://www.amazon.com/Topping-TK2050-TC2000-Digital-Amplifier/dp/B005VR1VQE/ - more reviews at Parts Express,
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=310-322
http://www.shenzhenaudio.com/topping-tp22-class-t-tk2050-2-30w-amplifier-hi-fi-t-amp-2-way-rca-input.html
https://plus.google.com/photos/117175178558057692614/albums/5697580703501017633?banner=pwa - Internals, seem reasonably built

If you want features, there are some that have DACs built in, which may give you a better sound quality (depending on how much noise your regular audio line out has).
http://www.amazon.com/Topping-TP30-Digital-Amplifier-USB-DAC/dp/B005D7SKWK/ - about 8 clean watts from the 2024 chip, enough for nearfield / desktop but not across the room
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=310-312

Of course, you can try an amp-only model with a regular line out from the computer and add a DAC later if you find the line is noisy on your setup.

Another option with that chip (the best known Tripath chip, but underpowered IMO), may have slightly better build quality than some amps:
http://www.orbaudio.com/mini-tamplifierandspeakerpackage-1.aspx

While a little harder to find, reportedly the Indeed / SMSL amps have better build quality than the Lepai, Dayton, etc. which IMO don't meet minimum standards (unless there's a very tight budget). Too many problems with parts or calibration.

Or go for a compact conventional amp - 50W:
http://www.amazon.com/AudioSource-AMP-100-Stereo-Power-Amplifier/dp/B00026BQJ6

You'd need to give a budget, or your preferences for build quality vs. dollars spent, to get more specific advice. Eg, there's stuff like this and more, with better build quality and design:
http://www.amazon.com/Audioengine-N22-Premium-Desktop-Amplifier/dp/B0049OI08W/
http://www.amazon.com/Nuforce-ICON-AMP-BLACK-Stereo-Amplifier-Black/dp/B002YDYIW2/
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post #13 of 19 Old 08-17-2013, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

While a little harder to find, reportedly the Indeed / SMSL amps have better build quality than the Lepai, Dayton, etc. which IMO don't meet minimum standards (unless there's a very tight budget). Too many problems with parts or calibration.

I actually have two of the Indeed TA2021s at home. Very nice t-amps smile.gif

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post #14 of 19 Old 08-17-2013, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I went ahead and ordered the Lepai LP-2020A+. I'll try these out and if the sound quality is indeed not to my liking, I'll upgrade to the better make and models.

Thanks everyone!
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post #15 of 19 Old 08-18-2013, 03:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I actually have two of the Indeed TA2021s at home. Very nice t-amps smile.gif
Do you think it's good enough to power up Klipsch RB81ii bookshelf speakers?
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post #16 of 19 Old 08-18-2013, 09:45 AM
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Do you think it's good enough to power up Klipsch RB81ii bookshelf speakers?

Sure. Those Klipsch have a very high sensitivity rating.

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post #17 of 19 Old 08-21-2013, 10:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Just hooked up my new Lepai LP-2020A+ and it sounds much better than I expected (direct mode is on). I'm using some old Boston HD7 bookshelf speakers and the computer's sound card is a 1st generation Creative Sound Blaster Audigy. The computer volume is jacked up to 92 and the Lepai's volume doesn't go higher than 9 o'clock (roughly about 2.5) - that's as loud as I'll probably ever go. All in all I'm all set. The only thing I don't like is the blue LED on the volume knob.

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions!

Hope this helps someone.


P.S. - This setup replaced my Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speakers (which unfortunately exposed the imperfections of MP3s). I mainly wanted more space under my desk (the Klipsch subwoofer took up a lot of space).
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post #18 of 19 Old 08-21-2013, 11:19 PM
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How do you like the sound compared to the Promedia 2.1? I mean know it doesn't have a sub, but does it sound as good or better?

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post #19 of 19 Old 08-22-2013, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
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I think it sounds just as good if not better. I did a quick side by side comparison and really couldn't find anything to complain about except for the garbage you hear when playing MP3s through the Klipsch speakers. I did my standard music test of Beck's Paper Tiger (lossless) and some random trunk thumping hip-hop songs (MP3s) with the Lepai and Boston HD7 and they sound great to me. The Boston HD7 produces pretty good bass so I'm not feeling bad about missing a sub.
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