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I just started reading about HTPCs and still have some questions about it. I did try to use the search feature but couldn't find an answer.


Can I use an HTPC as an amplifier and plug the speakers directly into it instead of passing it through a receiver with the SPDIF ? If so what would be the best sound card for that ?


Thanks,

c0in.
 

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Originally posted by c0in
I just started reading about HTPCs and still have some questions about it. I did try to use the search feature but couldn't find an answer.


Can I use an HTPC as an amplifier and plug the speakers directly into it instead of passing it through a receiver with the SPDIF ? If so what would be the best sound card for that ?
I don't know if anyone has offered a sound card with speaker level amps on five/six channels, I haven't been looking in that market. It likely won't be powerful and lack bass, you'd almost definitely want an external powered subwoofer.


Audio speaker-out amplifiers internal to computers aren't really powerful enough to handle anything but computer speakers, meant for use in a desktop situation. At least in the past, generally the internal amps and computer speakers didn't have good quality, IMO, I would think even a Home-Theater-in-a-Box systems would be preferable to speaker amps internal to a computer.


Even for my desktop work system I have a $150 DD/DTS/PCM-capable reciever (Pioneer VSX-D411) and a pair of Paradigm Atoms. I haven't used "computer speakers" for maybe four years.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by c0in
I just started reading about HTPCs and still have some questions about it. I did try to use the search feature but couldn't find an answer.


Can I use an HTPC as an amplifier and plug the speakers directly into it instead of passing it through a receiver with the SPDIF ? If so what would be the best sound card for that ?


Thanks,

c0in.
Only with horn loaded speakers (To quote the late Paul Klipsch, with efficient horn loaded speakers "The world needs a good five Watt amp." Such speakers can reproduce the same volume as traditional speakers with 1/20th or 1/30th of the power). Otherwise, you will be unable to fit enough power supply and heat sink into the case for the system to play cleanly at theatrical volumes.


To get the necessary sound levels from moderately efficient (90dB @ 1W/1 meter) speakers, without serious air flow it takes about 75 pounds of amplifier for a 5.1 system.


IOW, you might be able to but will probably be unhappy.


5.1 receivers are silly cheap and don't suck. Trying to avoid buying one by spending less money would be fruitless.
 
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