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Need help on a self-made 2.1 setup

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi, I have had a couple lousy experiences with pre-made logitech and Cyber acoustics pc speakers just sounding like garbage, I was wondering if anyone could help me make my own setup. It's just going to be two speakers and a sub for my dorm, and i'm trying to go cheap. What i've found that I like are these speakers
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-SS-B1000-...4081256&sr=8-8

and this subwoofer

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-SA-W3000-...4081647&sr=8-9

Is there anything better out there for around those prices? I'm not looking to go much higher than that. I'm a noob and I dont really know how these self made systems work, what kind of amp do I need, and how would I connect the speakers to the subwoofer, and have everything connect to my laptop?

Also, in general how much better would this end up sounding than a nice prebuilt system like say the Corsair sp2500?
Thanks much for the help!
post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt675 View Post

Hi, I have had a couple lousy experiences with pre-made logitech and Cyber acoustics pc speakers just sounding like garbage, I was wondering if anyone could help me make my own setup.

Quite frankly, the reason they've sounded like garbage is because they don't cost a lot. Without investing a sufficient amount to ensure quality you probably shouldn't expect anything different. They're inexpensive for a reason.

For simplicity and ease of installation it's always a good idea to buy a 2.1 setup, instead of attempting to mix-n-match (especially if you're going to need an amp as well). Trying to piecemeal a system together is more complex, so if you aren't comfortable with the process it might be best to avoid going that route.

What is your budget? The speakers you selected are about $200, but you never mentioned how much you had left over for the amp. Perhaps there's a 2.1 system already available that would handle all your needs and still be within your budget. For example, the Klipsch ProMedia system is pretty solid and not terribly expensive, so that might very well be all you need.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well I was aware that my previous speakers sounded like crap because they were cheap, but wouldn't even a low end set of bookshelf speakers and sub like those sound much better? That sub and those speakers got really good reviews. I don't need something magnificent for my dorm, just it seems that most of the pre-built systems are pretty weak from what i read, even the klipsch. This sub that i'm looking is much larger and has a much higher wattage than the one with the klipsch set, and the bookshelf speakers are also larger and higher wattage. I know quality is also a factor to take into consideration but they did get solid reviews on amazon all around.
post #4 of 19
Sony is definitely not known for their speaker prowess, so I have my reservations, but stranger things have happened. There's still no indication of what your amp budget is though, which is critical to the overall picture.

I don't recall seeing anyone complain that the ProMedia is weak - for it's price most seem to consider it quite the bargain actually. That was only an example too, there are certainly others to choose from. Do you have bluetooth? If so, you can pair this soundbar and this subwoofer. No wires, no worries. Eagle Tech has a number of 2.1 systems, as does Edifier. If you want gorgeous looks and great sound then the Swan M50W is a strong contender. Along those same lines is the Antec Rockus, which sounds rather impressive for something very small. Options abound.

How big is your dorm room? If it's typical in size -- meaning fairly small -- then just about anything of decent quality will fill it with sound. The Sony speakers might work, but trying to hook up all the connections and interface it with your PC is probably not worth the hassle, especially when there are so many other worthy alternatives.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well the 2.1 premade systems are still an option, but if I were to go with a system I make, what is the price range and type for an amp that can handle those sony speakers?
post #6 of 19
You're on the right path, just looking in the wrong places

Tripath amp, with a cable like this to connect from your laptop's audio out.

Dayton Sub-1000. Connect the speaker wires from the amp to the sub's speaker level inputs, then run wires from the subs speaker output to your speakers. This will filter the bass from your speakers and route it to the sub. (watch the video on the product page)

Pioneer SP-BS21. These are hard to beat for $60pr (sale), should be a lot better then those sony's.

edit: there's also a 12" sub-1200 for $130 if you really want a bigger sub
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-629
post #7 of 19
It sounds like you're interested in both better quality and being able to crank it up on a good song. Nothing wrong with that

I feel the Klipsch ProMedia speakers are among the best. Personally, I'd recommend picking up an "old" 4.1 set. The 4.1 has dual sub drivers in the sub enclosure, giving more output. You could parallel the output with a Y-adapter and not bother connecting the rear "satellite" speakers. I used to have my 4.1's in my dorm, circa 2000 when they were first released. Every person, to this day, that listens to something in my office on my computer is always amazed at both the quality and quantity that come out of them.

Other suggestions in this ballpark pricerange:
BIC America DV52

Polk PSW10 subwoofer
Velodyne VX-11 subwoofer
BIC America F12 subwoofer

There are tons of great used receivers available on eBay. With an AV Receiver, you could allow it to do the bass management, sending only the "highs" above say 80Hz or 100Hz to the "satellites" and the lows would all go to the subwoofer. If you want new, something like this Yamaha would work well.

Some more insight on your budget would help us narrow down some suggestions
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses and suggestions everyone, Jay1, I don't really know how amps work but that amp says 20w per channel and the pioneer speakers are 80w, would that mean the amp isn't really feeding the speakers their full potential?
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt675 View Post

Thanks for the responses and suggestions everyone, Jay1, I don't really know how amps work but that amp says 20w per channel and the pioneer speakers are 80w, would that mean the amp isn't really feeding the speakers their full potential?

Dont worry about power ratings. Yes that amp isn't a monster, but neither is your budget Those speakers will play at around 95db in your room from that amp.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm starting to lean toward the klipsch 2.1 system but i've read that the subwoofer struggles with deep bass which is why I was looking in to the self made systems. How well does the subwoofer handle deep tones in reality?
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt675 View Post

I'm starting to lean toward the klipsch 2.1 system but i've read that the subwoofer struggles with deep bass which is why I was looking in to the self made systems. How well does the subwoofer handle deep tones in reality?

With any subwoofer that size you really won't get "deep tones", but the one I heard did pretty darn well. For it's size and price I thought it was a solid value.
post #12 of 19
Just got a sales flyer from Newegg this morning.
Polk PSW505 12" Sub is down to $199 w/ Free Shipping (use promo code EMCNFJH28 at checkout). The sale ends on 4/18.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt675 View Post

...I was wondering if anyone could help me make my own setup. It's just going to be two speakers and a sub for my dorm, and i'm trying to go cheap....

I've made two clean-sheet 2.1 systems, one for each of my kids. My approach was to use a 2.1 plate amp installed in a subwoofer so there are 3 pieces (sub, L, R) and 3 cables (L, R, and mini-mic-to-RCA), nice and simple. It cost roughtly $300, all up, and that's with a wood shop for box construction. It works very well, but it's not cheap, even taking time for sales. I'll give you more resources if this route looks promising.

Cheap would be a used boom box. In fact, used is a great place to look - garage sales and the like - as there's a lot of stereo gear replaced by multi-channel, and older AVRs replaced by HDMI-compatible ones.

Just keep in mind that "new gear always sounds good." It's a psychoacoustic thing, similar to the observation that speakers sound different when you can see them (and develop biases based on their appearance).

It's also hard to truly fail - just about any combo makes sound, and the folks here may steer you down some odd alleys, but they won't steer you wrong.

Have fun,
Frank
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Is it possible to get powered monitor speakers like these http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Studio...4251950&sr=8-1 and a powered subwoofer and just ditch the amp? how would they be connected?
post #15 of 19
Sure, just get an external sound card with multi channel outputs.

http://www.amazon.com/Vantec-Externa...4252745&sr=1-5

All you need is a 3.5mm to rca cable for each output.
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
So everything I would need would be the external sound card, the powered speakers, powered sub, and two of those RCA cables? And the sound card will know how to split the sound between the subwoofer and the speakers?
post #17 of 19
Yup. 3.5 to dual RCA for the front LR, and the same for the sub.
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by fbov View Post

I've made two clean-sheet 2.1 systems, one for each of my kids. My approach was to use a 2.1 plate amp installed in a subwoofer so there are 3 pieces (sub, L, R) and 3 cables (L, R, and mini-mic-to-RCA), nice and simple. It cost roughtly $300, all up, and that's with a wood shop for box construction.

Can you give more details on the 2.1 amp?
post #19 of 19
Two choices in the "specs for real" club (Chinese 2.1 amps lie).
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-772
and
http://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com...er-50w-2x-25w/

Due to inconsistent stocking policies by our friends at PE, I have one of each, and you only have one choice. This explains why they had it on sale recently.... Similar approaches and performance with some minor differences in controls and very different amp architectures, judging by the relative heat sinks (big vs none).

Have fun,
Frank
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