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Ok I have finally decided I'm fed up with the 4.1 system I've got and would like to move up to 5.1. Unfortunately I'm on a very tight budget (I'm a student see) and can budget a maximum of £200 (about $300) for the upgrade.


Here are my options I can think of please tell me what you think..


1) Replace my live! 1024 with a 5.1 Live! and buy new 5.1 computer speakers (probably cambridge soundworks) speakers.


2) Use existing sound card and buy cheap dolby decoder and speakers and use spdif (can I do this with that budget? and would I be able to get gaming sound?)


3) Replace soundcard and buy a new centre speaker (sound on the centre channel would then not be routed through the sub).


I am tending towards the computer speaker soloution because I could then use DTS decoding in winDVD, but I wouldn't ask if I didn't want help..


Any other options or suggestions would be useful. Thanks,


Martin
 

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I just had a similar problem a few months ago, but for me it was the step from Dolby Surround to 5.1-channel audio. I got myself a 5.1amp cheap, for about 200£ instead of the 600£ it costed before and then fetched a 5.1-soundcard (Zoltrix Nightingale Pro6) which has both digital and 5.1 outputs for around 30£. I already had speakers though, but for 200£ you should be able to get a decent used Yamaha DD and DTS amp on ebay too, so you don´t have to waste processor power on decoding these. On the other hand, if you want to use 5.1 pc speakers, be them digital or analogue ones, you should probably go with the SbAudigy range, because they tend to stress the processor less than the Live5.1s and seem a tad more compatible with mobos.

Anyway, I can only recommend using a full-blown home receiver and hooking it up to the digital output, that way you can use a real cheap soundcard and have better sound than ANY available pc 5.1-system. Even the smallest Infinity 5.1-system sounds better than the most expensive Cambridge Soundworks stuff.
 

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If you need 5.1 for movies and games try Windvd 3.0 (decodes DD and DTS) and try a Philips acoustic edge 5.1 sound card. It will pass the signal to speakers. And if you have an extra $400 try the new Klipsch promedia 5.1 THX speakers.
 

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If you are in a dorm and space is a concern go with the Cambridge or similar.


I think a cheap receiver and speakers will sound much better, but will be very hard to find at your budget. Buying used will get you a lot more for your money.


Do you intend to use the PC for all of your audio? I tend to prefer to use a plain old cd player for music. Just because it's easier than turning on the projector. But in your case I'm guessing that you are just using a PC monitor? So the PC will be pretty easy to use to simply play a CD. Plus an MP3 jukebox is great to use.


What about a good subwoofer? That will add a lot to your movie/music experience.


Hope this was helpful. Just my thoughts and opinion :)


~Jay
 

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