Originally Posted by LHURT
Thanks all for the replies and links. I'm trying to do research to understand the options presented, but I've been a bit short of free time in the last day or so.
Things I'm trying to understand:
- Given my contraint of an 8" sub, (10" just won't fit where it needs to go in my tiny room), is 2.1 still going to give better sound than 2.0? It seems like some of you are suggesting I'd be pretty happy with just two good bookshelf speakers.
- Is a powered speaker just a passive speaker with an amplifier built into the back panel?
-It looks like the BT3 setup has an amp in one speaker which sends an amplified signal to a second passive speaker whereas the JBLs have an amp in each. In my puny mind, that means that the BT3 would be simpler to setup, and I could add any powered sub later by connecting the Sub Out Line from the back of the BT3.
- I'm not sure how to add a separate subwoofer to the JBL as they appear to be input only. Does this require an AVR?
- Is there a simple way to tell whether an AVR has a digital input option?
- For my immediate setup, what is the main advantage of an AVR? Is it the ability to control over the signal that the speakers receive rather than have some built in AMP split the sound going to the sub and the speakers? I could also extend the system to 5.1 if I want to try that in the future. Without a receiver, that isn't possible right?
- Similarly, is it still worth having an AVR if I just use a 3.5 mm analog cable to connect from the Mac Air? It looks like a USB to optical output adapter is pretty cheap and would be worth it.
2.0 is good, 2.1 will(most likely/almost definitely) be better
there are 2 main types of powered speakers: 1) each speaker has its own amp(s); 2) one speaker is the "master" ( with the amps) and the other is the "slave".
re: simpler set up re: BT3...if it is simpler for you, then that's great.
re: AVE having digital inputs - yes, pretty easy to tell. "Coaxial" (looks like RCA but is digital; usually a different color, orange, in center) / "optical" (aka SPDIF)
RE: main advantage of AVR - your understanding is correct.
re: "is it still worth having an AVR if I just use a 3.5 mm analog cable to connect from the Mac Air? " I would say , yes. it is better to have an AVR. alternatively, you could get a USB to 7.1 sound card/adapter. and drive multiple powered speakers... a little cable heavy, but puts much of the AVR functions into the laptop... still, might be simpler to use the AVR.
lastly, there are some low profile subs - see dayton audio, jamo