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would like some advice (a beginner)

950 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Concillian
well, i need a good speaker setup.

my source is an x-fi xtreme music soundcard with modded opamps..

im a real noob at true home theater speakers. ive been using computer speakers all my life. my budget isnt too high - but its not that low.

im trying to build a nice sounding setup (does not have to be super good quality sound, as long as i dont hear any major flaws). bass quality is most important however, i hate distortion from subs.

basically i dont even know what i need for my speakers/sub... do i need to get a receiver to hook it up to my soundcard?

i dont need something really loud, probably a 12" sub and 2 speakers, or perhaps i should just get 2 speakers that have subs built in? im not sure what those are called but ive seen them in pictures on here..

i will be using these speakers to play games (do not need surround, i use my ath-900s w/ cmss3d for fps) like madden and fifa.. to watch movies, and ofcourse to blast heavy bass music..

because i can control sound very well in the x-fi panel - if i do require a receiver it doesnt have to be amazing.. so can you guys post some links to DIY speaker kits that are feasible for me? and recommend a receiver?
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From reading your description, it sounds like you want reasonably small, but low compromise L / R speakers and a sub with a plate amp that can power the sub + speakers.

Parts Express has a wide variety of plate amps for subs:

probably the 100W is enough power for your application, the 240 is more than enough and not too much more money. Both have speaker outputs so you could plug your sound card directly into that amp.

http://www.zaphaudio.com/ZBM4.html is one of the small but good designs that works very well for less demanding applications. somewhere just a bit over $100 per pair including parts, cabinet wood, paint, etc... Adjust the sub crossover and these should play plenty loud enough for you given you'll be sitting pretty close.

I haven't seen a whole lot of other options on the DIY sites / forums that are below about $200 per pair. Above that you start getting more options, but realistically these are pretty good for a computer where you'll be sitting pretty close and don't need a ton of SPL output.

After that all that's left is sub selection. I'm not as up on what's good in the 10-12" range, but should be in the $30-150 range for a driver and then whatever for the MDF for the box and whatever you decide to finish the box with.

Black truck bed liner paint is a popular and inexpensive finish that is very forgiving.

I'm sure others can chime in on some 10-12" sub options.

Sub options are pretty extensive, and maybe you should give some idea of how much space you're willing to take up from a sub. Some 12" subs may want 3-4 cubic feet of enclosure size to operate best. I'm guessing since you're used to computer speakers you may be happy with any real sub (because computer "subs" aren't really subs, they're usually crossed over too high a frequency and often are just too small a speaker to do adequate sub duty). I may be misinterpreting and only a monster sub will do for you. I think this portion needs some clarification, because there is a pretty huge spectrum on 10-12" subs, ranging from pretty decent $30 drivers (that will blow away computer speaker "subs"), to reasonably no-holds barred drivers at $150 and over (that will compete reasonably well with good 12" HT subs)

Is this the kind of budget you had in mind? I think if you pad things a bit to account for shipping, mistakes and such you end up around $150 for each component (sub, amp, speakers)... Perhaps a bit more on sub depending on what you're after.

Edit: turns out those Parts Express amps don't do what I thought they did, the speaker outs are full range. This is the only one I could find that does a proper crossover and powering of the L/R speakers:

A little limited at 50W for the sub, but it should still be enough for a small room.
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well i dont think 50w is enough for the sub, but what do i know.

so basically i need an amp, 2 speakers, and a sub.

now with those speakers what would be a good sub for a balanced setup , although i do want *some* headroom to turn the bass up so its noticable.

my sub isnt real and sucks major ass, but i do want a nice 12" sub but id like to keep the sub around 100. those speakers look good

also, one more question. are there speaker amps that can take 5.1 sound, so if i ever desire to build a 5.1 set i can get it? i wont be doing it this time around but just a question for the not so near future.

edit: space is not an issue.
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Originally Posted by lev /forum/post/12911311

also, one more question. are there speaker amps that can take 5.1 sound, so if i ever desire to build a 5.1 set i can get it? i wont be doing it this time around but just a question for the not so near future.

edit: space is not an issue.

If that's what you want to do, then you get a Home Theater receiver to power your L/R speakers. generally you won't need too much power for your L/R speakers, but even cheap receivers are $2-300

It adds a bit to cost because you have to buy a receiver and a seperate sub amp, but it is a lot more flexible in that you can expand your system later without too much difficulty (you want more speakers, you just build more at ~$60 each. or you build nicer front speakers and move the small ones to rear-duty or whatever)

As far as what sub matches well, you can make just about anything mate well. The sub amp will have a level control that you can adjust to bring it in line (or louder if you want) with the mains. The receiver will have a crossover frequency selection somewhere in the setup. For my receiver I set the mains to "small speakers" and that sends output to the sub, then I select a crossover frequency. If I set speakers to "large speakers" then it doesn't send any signal to the sub for regular music.

Sub selection is purely a matter of budget, size and desire constraints. I'm not too familiar with 10-12" speakers in the $100 range, so I'll let someone else answer that part.
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