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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to use a HTPC for my audio and movie playback as well as light gaming and general family computer use in a family room with a 52" LCD and a 30" monitor. I am not an audiophile but would like decent sound using the 5.1 speakers I currently have or when I update to a better 7.1 set. I would love to take this oppurtunity to remove the CD player, DVD player and sound receiver I currently have stacked in the entertainment center. My questions are:

1. Is the sound quality of a card good enough on it's own to power 7.1 speakers or do I really need a receiver?

2. Can I route sound from my Dish receiver or 52" LCD into my computer sound card (use it as the receiver)?

3. What sound card should I look at?


Thank you for any advice!!!
 

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1. Are your speakers powered? In theory, with good enough software, you can do everything on your PC, and then send out the audio via your sound card. The one thing you can't really do on you PC is provide amplification for your speakers. The other drawback is audio and video switching. You can in theory, software decode DD and DTS, but the number of realistic solutions are disappearing. Quality on analog output of cards varies a good deal.


2. This depends on your sound card and/or how your dish outputs sound. If you are just using stereo analog, most sound cards can handle this with ease. Optical is trickier, and HDMI audio is not possible right now to my knowledge.


3. No clue. Posting your exact needs (#inputs and outputs) would help others help you. I'm using the optical out of my on-board sound card until I settle on a HDMI audio solution.



I started out my HTPC with a modest 5.1/7.1 sound card and used power amps to drive my speakers. This was fine as long as I was using a PC based source that did its own surround sound decoding (software DVD player, EAX based PC games). But, when I bought and XBOX 360, and realized there was no way for my PC to decode the 5.1 optical signal for my speakers, I broke down and got a receiver. I specifically got one with pre-amp outputs so I could still use my power amps.


I never realized what I was missing. The room correction, basic EQ'ing, and bass control even on a simple receiver blows away any software I've used on PC. I'm also not using any analog signals from my PC (everything is over optical currently) as well as a whole list of nice to have features. A PC can not match the switching capabilities of a basic receiver.


All of that said, my PC is still the center piece for my entertainment center. Unless I want to fire up the xbox, My receiver is always set to my PC's video and audio output. There is no reason you need to keep your CD player and DVD player around unless they provide you with some nifty feature that you can't get on your PC.
 

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If u have the 5.1 hooked up to a receiver, chances are those are passive, unpowered speakers.


PCs cannot drive unpowered speakers. If u wanna go this route, u will have to replace with self-powered speakers.


What are u going to do with AM/FM?


If you are going to rely on a soundcard to take care of all your audio needs, be sure it's flexible enough so that, even with 2-channels materials, u can fill all 8 speakers, otherwise they would be a waste.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobb /forum/post/16954857


If u have the 5.1 hooked up to a receiver, chances are those are passive, unpowered speakers.


PCs cannot drive unpowered speakers. If u wanna go this route, u will have to replace with self-powered speakers.


You might consider the MSI Media Live Diva 5.1 am2+ board. It has an internal amp for driving your speakers with out the need for an external reciever. They also make a 7.1 board.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130206



There is a AVS forum already in place that discusses the board, give it a read.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1003579
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The current speakers are unpowered, I hadn't thought about the amp portion of the receiver. So I am looking for a new receiver that can accept the sound card output properly... Glad I asked now.

AM/FM wil either be streamed online or go the way of the dvd player that requires I catch the slider on it's way out and hold it to place the dvd before it slams shut....




Thank you!
 
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