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Would SPDIF improve setup, or must I buy new components?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi again,

I have a budget HTPC system. Right now I am letting my Philips 2.1 speaker system mix virtual surround for me (Realtek is set to 5.1 too, and I am connected via RCA 2 channel cable.)

But it occurs to me that I might be downmixing and then upmixing several times before I actually hear anything (thus some pretty funky results.) During movies the same sound is often passed back and forth between the two speakers as if it can't decide what to do with it. In addition some high channels occasionally blast out of balance while I'm playing music.

My old 2.1 Bose speakers didn't do this on the same setup. But these speakers really kick their butt otherwise.

So for a little more direct approach, would it be better to connect to the Philips home theater control unit via digital connector in order to allow more unmolested data to reach it?

The only other solution I can think of would be a new sound card or new speakers. I don't use the Realtek drivers right now (only Windows) because they distort things too much. A receiver seems overkill for my needs.

I watch a lot of 5.1 surround movies/TV, and I listen to a lot of acoustic music (flac, etc.) I almost never use headphones, only speakers, and I'm in a small apartment surrounded by neighbors. My main concern is crystal clear dialog, and gorgeous music at low volumes. These speakers are actually quite nice so I hope I can fix this annoyance.

I'd be up for spending $200 - $250 on new speakers but obviously a receiver is out on this budget. (Thinking Swan Mx10 or M50W?)




---------------------
My setup:
Asus P8Z68-V LE
Windows 7 x64
Realtek ALC892 onboard
Philips HTS6500/37 Home theater 2.1 with virtual 5.1
RCA & Coaxial connectors only
Connected via 3.5mm-to-RCA analog now.
Toshiba 32" monitor
post #2 of 6
Try it and see if you like the result.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I didn't specify that I haven't bought the parts needed to try a digital connection yet. I asked about it in another post because it's a bit complicated.

I wanted to see if the wise souls here have had better results playing 6 channel files over digital connections when using "virtual surround sound."

Frankly I want to simply plug 6 powered pc speakers into my sound card and avoid all of this fake-5.1 business altogether but that doesn't seem possible. (Just posted about this too.) So I'm trying to brain storm for other solutions.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Here's another idea: For $250, how does an inexpensive 5.1 PC speaker system stand up to a quality 2.1 system like the Swan M50W, or M10's?

I honestly think my Philips system sounds better than most mainstream 5.1 systems. Has anyone tried the M50W's? Would they seriously blow my sox off? If not, I'd really like to try and work out the little kinks this system has.
post #5 of 6
I suggest that you get a Denon 1312 receiver, which Amazon has for only $140, and then you will have a lot of options you do not have now, and plenty of power for whatever speakers you choose to use.

Put that together with a pair of Polk Monitor 40 speakers, for another $140, and you will have a great improvement over what you have now.




Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmelaney View Post

Hi again,

I have a budget HTPC system. Right now I am letting my Philips 2.1 speaker system mix virtual surround for me (Realtek is set to 5.1 too, and I am connected via RCA 2 channel cable.)

But it occurs to me that I might be downmixing and then upmixing several times before I actually hear anything (thus some pretty funky results.) During movies the same sound is often passed back and forth between the two speakers as if it can't decide what to do with it. In addition some high channels occasionally blast out of balance while I'm playing music.

My old 2.1 Bose speakers didn't do this on the same setup. But these speakers really kick their butt otherwise.

So for a little more direct approach, would it be better to connect to the Philips home theater control unit via digital connector in order to allow more unmolested data to reach it?




---------------------
My setup:
Asus P8Z68-V LE
Windows 7 x64
Realtek ALC892 onboard
Philips HTS6500/37 Home theater 2.1 with virtual 5.1
RCA & Coaxial connectors only
Connected via 3.5mm-to-RCA analog now.
Toshiba 32" monitor
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmelaney View Post

Hi again,

I have a budget HTPC system. Right now I am letting my Philips 2.1 speaker system mix virtual surround for me (Realtek is set to 5.1 too, and I am connected via RCA 2 channel cable.)

This sounds like a pretty questionable setup. One question is:

"What is it?" No model number of the soundbar, no details about what you mean by "Realtek is set to 5.1, too".

Quote:


But it occurs to me that I might be downmixing and then upmixing several times before I actually hear anything (thus some pretty funky results.) During movies the same sound is often passed back and forth between the two speakers as if it can't decide what to do with it.

I think that you may have made that decision when you set the PC up to decode 5.1 channels. The channels were separated out among the 3 related jacks on the back panel of the PC, and 4 of them were sent on a long trip to no where.

[quoter]
In addition some high channels occasionally blast out of balance while I'm playing music.

My old 2.1 Bose speakers didn't do this on the same setup. But these speakers really kick their butt otherwise.

So for a little more direct approach, would it be better to connect to the Philips home theater control unit via digital connector in order to allow more unmolested data to reach it?
[/quote]

Yes.

Run don't walk in this direction if you want the best possible performance with what you already have.
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