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Discussion Starter #1
I am currently enamored with the idea of buying separates to power the speakers that I will be buying soon (Rockets or Energy C-series maybe). As of today I could buy 5 MA500 separates from Ebay for $150 or so for each unit, plus shipping. I realize this could get to be $1000 but it seems to me that nearly all of that money is going directly into quality amplification, rather than the other bells and whistles that the various receivers with internal amps provide.


Evidently the Audigy 2 ZS sound card provides analog output to the tune of 8 channels, so here is my question: Is there a problem with connecting the 5 outputs I care about from the Audigy 2 ZS into the separate amps? Of course the sub channel goes directly to the powered sub (right?). This method would appear to eliminate the "receiver" entirely.


Some folks will argue the receiver is needed for switching video sources or for switching sound sources, but this is a dedicated home theater with only one video source (DVI from computer to Sony HS10) and one sound source (Audigy 2 ZS to MA500s). If I someday decide I want to watch TV or listen to the radio, I *might* install a TV Tuner / FM Tuner card into the computer. This would also accept a VCR of course, so my VHS tapes would be viewable as well.


TIA-

Paul
 

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If your source is going to be a computer sound card, just get a receiver. Then if you want to go separates later get the amp/amps at a later date.


I would not trust my speakers to any sound card. I have a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 Platinum, which is hooked up to a Yamaha 2400 via the digital out on the back of the card (coax).


I have noticed occasionally that the volume levels change for the different inputs, as well as the master volume level. Usually maxing out the volume levels, sometimes it is decreased to 48%. If you have the card wired directly to the amps, you could end up with very loud sound, or worst case blown speakers.


Also if something locks up you can end up with a constant sound and you would have no way to mute it until the computer resets the hardware during the reboot.


In the end I would not recommend the direct hookup setup. The receiver or pre/pro is your main volume control that can override anything the sound card or other device puts out.
 

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Thanks for the heads up on the potential hang issue (and in general the idea of having main volume separate from computer), and the loud sound problem with the sound card. Fortunately for me, my computer has been rock solid since I built it years ago (dedicated to HT) so I'm not worried about a hang. I am more concerned about the sudden volume change. Nevertheless, shouldn't I simply verify that the maximum voltage out of the sound card is less than the voltage the AMP accepts, and also make sure the AMP will not blow out my speakers at the given max voltage?


Given the above, would it be "safe" to do this?


The benefit of course is saving the money that I would otherwise spend on a receiver, and the sound card has more capabilities and a better user interface (computer) for handling sound "schemes", has individual channel volume, built-in EQ, decodes DTS, software upgrades available to adjust for the latest trends, etc.


Has anyone actually tried it this way?
 

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Your logic seems fine. It would be interesting to do a comparision of its DACs vs a budget receiver. My issue with this setup is that while you are saving the cost of a receiver, the HTPC noise would just drive me crazy. The whole point of all these huge heatsinks in HT components is to eliminate this idle noise.
 

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neophite, thanks for the link. I will read that through!


DogBean, I'll probably have the opportunity to do the comparison, as I have access to a decent Harmon Kardon through a friend in PDX. By the way, my HTPC is on the other side of the wall and the video/audio cables are fed through a small 1" diameter hole I drilled into the wall. This way, there is no idle noise except for the projector (HS10) which has a slight hum from the fan.
 

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I don't know beans about PC sound systems except how to turn them on/off, but I think you are better off with a 5 channel amp rather than monoblocks, especially if they are the ones made by Marantz - they aren't really all that good IMO. I think you would be better served by a low priced multichannel amp such as the Outlaw, Adcom, Parasound, etc. for the same or less money. H/K makes a couple of very low cost multichannel amps that would be perfect, the PA2000 and PA4000.


Dsmith
 

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I'm running a Revo into a couple of old amps I had lying around the house (Arcam, Soundstream car amp hooked up to a battery...) and it works fine. Of course, when I can I'll upgrade to a Parasound or similar. The only thing that bugs me is the turn on and turn off pop from the Revo. But it hasn't fried my speakers... yet.


Jay in Madrid
 
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