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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Disclaimer, i never had a decent audio equipment and i'm having a hard time to catch up with the terminology...


I'm building an HTPC that will handle most of the video/audio inputs.


I now need something to drive the speakers (cheapo 50w for now and a budget polk center, but plan to upgrade) and can't see myself wasting $400+ when i know half of that is going to features (and licenses) to stuff i will never use (like airplay and video standards, quick source switch stuff, and ...gasp, yet another remote!)


I will probably have:



(hdtv/wii/dvd/whatever)

|

V

HTPC

| ----hdmi---> TV

| ---optical--> receiver?---->speakers


So, is there something like a Amp that will still get me the audio processing from optical link (or hdmi or coax) and give me very decent 5.1 or 7.1? ...and that doesn't cost an arm



Or should instead I hook up the speakers/sub directly into the PC and use self powered speakers


besides audio quality, i'm mostly worried about dialog quality. That would be the only feature that would make me up my budget considerably.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Will the sound be the same as the more expensive ones?


Last time i looked inside a cheap receiver it was almost empty and i opened it because after less than a year it developed a hiss on the center channel... Really bad experience with buying the bottom line audio stuff...


But I'd love to hear i will be fine with those



Local stores have a hk 1565 and a Yamaha rx-v371bl and a Denon 1513 all for ~150


Should i gget one of those and give up my idea of a simple amp?


I'm not trying to cheap out, but to direct the money towards audio quality only. Not av features
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Better Question, if all i will be using is optical in and speakers out, should i get those new and low end, or an ancient high end?


The HK AVR-340 for example has top reviews from a while ago and is
 

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The HK AVR 340 is too old. You might want HDMI inputs one day, at least be prepared for it. And $300 would be way too much to pay for a 2005 receiver. If that's what you're looking for I'll sell you my April 2003 HK 325 for $200 right now. its in great condition and a 40lb beast.



You can get a HK AVR 2600 under $300 straight from the manufacturer and it has 4 HDMI inputs as well as 3 optical and 3 digital coax inputs. Also comes with 2 year warranty.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Harman-Kardon-AVR-2600-Z-7-1-Channel-A-V-Receiver-with-HDMI-Repeater-/390489170389?pt=Receivers_Tuners&hash=item5aeaf7e1d5
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hum, I'm really not sure i will ever want video passing my receiver that bad but you have a good point on the price, that was just a random link (local frys has one for
 

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Connecting to your PC directly to a power amplifer could work but you may not be able to get the full volume range out of your power amp that way. Note that power amps don't have volume controls, you'd use your PCs volume control exclusively to control the volume of your speakers.


Are your planing to play games? Optical won't give you 5.1 surround sound in games if your PC's soundcard doesn't include an Dolby Digital Live or DTS Interactive encoder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
no games. Probably a wii, but lately it became my Netflix player anyway.


I will probably play DVD and blueray... Should that worry me?


Also my goal is for clear sound, will not abuse my speakers... Or do you mean the.sounds may be too low, not even talking about obscene volumes?
 

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I don't know what the volume levels would be as I've never heard of anyone actually doing this.


Playing DVDs and Blu-Rays on your PC with the audio output over optical shouldn't be a problem. Your player should be able to bitstream the Dolby Digital or DTS soundtracks on these discs.
 

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120 dB SNR figure quoted for these soundcards is a signal-to-noise ratio, a measurement of the quality of the output. The line level outputs would still be at the same voltage level ranges as the line level outputs of your existing soundcard. The volume level range would be the roughly the same if you hooked up a power amplifier directly to any soundcard.


I suggest contacting Emotiva and asking them about connecting one of their power amps directly to your PC. They might have a better idea of how practical this would be.
 

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I have the Asus Xonar Essence STX and it's a great headphone amp. It would also be a good source for a stereo amp. But I have my AMD video card hooked up by HDMI to my pre-pro and that handles everything but the headphones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So if i don't want headphones, i can go all the way HDMI->pre amp->amp->speakers and be happy?


never looked into pre-amps, not even sure what they are
will have to look it all up. just let me know if i'm on the wrong track here, pls


thanks


edit: reading this now http://www.avrev.com/forum/preamps-audio-video/1684-high-end-pre-pros-they-worth.html

and pretty much going back to the original question... is it better to have a receiver that is a good amp, or a expensive amp alone.... damn choices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think that what i want is a "sound receiver" such as Yamaha R-S500BL Natural Sound Stereo Receiver http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F0H88SY/ref=amb_link_384934822_3?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=hero-quick-promo&pf_rd_r=1143CC04KZNWPCWKYD5G&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_p=1628081842&pf_rd_i=B004QQXDVC


but with 5.1 channels. and probably a nice auto tune mic like the newer receivers as i'm awful for that



is there something like this even available in the market? (and without breaking the bank)


a rear 3.5mm input for extra remote receiver wouldn't hurt either as i can then control it from the htpc and kill the need for extra remote...
 

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It has been a YEAR and you still haven't

Decided what to get!?!? Wow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by grasshoppers  /t/1441242/is-there-such-thing-as-a-dumb-receiver#post_23930890


It has been a YEAR and you still haven't

Decided what to get!?!? Wow.

lol. nope



last thing i want is to not have the control i need. i'm not too pick on the audio quality.. but if i loose control or inputs/outputs i'd be mad



i'm getting by by reusing lot's of amps and things i have from other projects. sound is decent. and i even considered feeding everything trhu simple modular encoders that i could get as needed (e.g. component -> tos ) making it all go to the HTPC and then out on the beefy PCI-E sound card to a system like: 12v power supply (~$100), 3 car amps (~300) -> 5.1 system speakers



but anyway, i now have other projects, and i am mostly just watching netflix anyway... so i'm just going to get a last-year-receiver (probably rx-473B or TX-NR616) and be done with and live in lack of control hell for a couple years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by grasshoppers  /t/1441242/is-there-such-thing-as-a-dumb-receiver#post_23930890


It has been a YEAR and you still haven't

Decided what to get!?!? Wow.

update in case anyone ever wants to use a dumb amp on their HTPC...


found a HK AVR 3600 in my price range (which was under the $300 that I was almost wasting on 2 cheap class D stereo amps to have 2.1...)


it has channel inputs! so i can just plug in the audio from the HTPC already decoded to the channel inputs and let it amplify! now i have 8 channels to play with instead of the 3-4 i was almost ending up... not that the harman&kardon is dumb by any means, but i plan to make it behave as so



not to mention that i get other niceties, such as universal remote with backlight, proprietary apple connector dock, etc.... it even have A-BUS port that i later can try to see if it is easier to emulate the protocol so the HTPC can have full control over the receiver without having to add a IR emitter



from the manual:
Quote:
6-/8-Channel Inputs

The 6-/8-Channel Analog Audio Inputs are used when playing

certain multichannel discs (DVD-Audio, Blu-ray Disc, SACD and

HD-DVD) on a player that decodes the audio and outputs it via its
Quote:
NOTE: The 6-/8-Channel Inputs pass the incoming signals-

directly to the volume control, without digitizing or processing

them. It is not possible to change the surround mode or adjust

any of the audio controls in the Audio Effects menu when

using the 6-/8-Channel Inputs. Configure the bass management

settings (i.e., speakersize, delay and output level) on your

source device to match the settings programmed using the

EzSet/EQ procedure, which may be viewed using the Speaker

Setup menu (see Advanced Functions section). Consult the

owner’s guide for your multichannel player for more information

now off to cable everything and then look for decent speakers!
 
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