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Amp/Speaker Setup For Laptop?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Johnny 5, Aug 7, 2005.

  1. Johnny 5

    Johnny 5
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    For a good while now I've wanted my own seperates system, but the two things holding me back most were:

    + money
    + deciding what was right for me

    Other than that, my main source is a laptop, which contains all the music I listen to in mp3 (LAME encoded --alt preset standard). I know I wouldn't want/enjoy a dedicated CD player because I'd have to swap CDs everytime I wanted to listen to something new and all my music is at my fingertips now anyway. But I've always wanted a pair of bookshelf speakers and to go with it a good amp.

    Before you say it, I know a guy who sells headphone amps and also uses the same encoded mp3s as me...so the sound will not be that limited by the source. If your not familiar with LAME and the alt preset standard (or extreme/insane...though frankly there's no noticable difference) you should try it and see if you can notice a difference between it and the original...though there are obviously minor differences that'll be uncovered will expensive equipment. But anyway, that's not what I'm after - to be honest I want to keep my budget as low as possible.

    Having said that...it's not like I don't have a CD collection and there will be times (occassionally) when I will listen to uncompressed audio.

    I've done my research, and it seems the (primary) problem is outputting a true 24/96kHz signal from my laptop to the amp. If anyone can suggest the *cheapest* product that can do this for me I'd appreciate it...though I'd prefer something that doesn't go outside of the case (a PCMCIA card would be ideal then).

    People always recommend to audition equipment before you buy it...and I never know where to go if I want to. The only real high street Hi-Fi store I know of is Richer Sounds, who, I'm guessing, (based on their floor space) don't offer such a service. But in this case it's a lot less likely I'll be able to audition anything anyway considering my source won't be anything they sell...and I'd have to bring my laptop, external HDD etc along to do so...

    For those of you who are still with me at this point :)clap: ), in summary, I'm looking for:

    + a device for my laptop to output true 24/96kHz sound
    + a dedicated amp
    + a pair of bookshelf speakers

    Oh, and my musical taste is fairly wide...though I predominantly listen to rock. I am a big fan of some electronic/r'n'b however.

    Thanks for any help...1st post! :thumbsup:
     
  2. swanytroon

    swanytroon
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    how much money you looking to spend?
     
  3. Johnny 5

    Johnny 5
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    Probably around £400 max (so basically I want the equivalent specs of your standard £600 budget system without the source).

    Someone has recommended me the NAD C320BEE which seems like a very good option for the price. Could you suggests some good matching speakers? The EPOS ELS 3 were mentioned, and also some PSB Image 25s (which seem a little out of my price range at £250, but it depends). I know 'What Hi-Fi' highly recommend the Wharfedale 9.1s...but I've found no-one else seems to.

    Hope that helps to better decipher what I'm after...my quest to find a cheap true 24/96kHz optical out solution also continues. As I said I'd prefer it in the form of a PCMCIA card, but if USB really is the only way...
     
  4. swanytroon

    swanytroon
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    have you considered having something like the squeezebox connected wirelessly to your laptop then you could control it from the remote or your laptop?

    more info here http://www.slimdevices.com/
     
  5. swanytroon

    swanytroon
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    actually come to think of it you could go from a squeezebox 2 (£200) straight into a power amp an then to you speakers which will give u decent money to spend on a power amp an speakers.
     
  6. Johnny 5

    Johnny 5
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    I did consider it...but thought there wouldn't be much point of getting one if I was in the same room as the amp/speakers. Besides that, wouldn't I need a wireless router for it to be wireless...and if that costs £200, that only leaves me with around £200 for an amp/speakers...so about £100 for each. Is that really the best option for me?
     
  7. swanytroon

    swanytroon
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    i dunno i was just saying incase you hadnt checked it out. so your trying to get decent sound from a laptop to hifi an i take it you dont want any cables?
     
  8. Johnny 5

    Johnny 5
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    Oh cables arn't a problem. Cable-less is obviously a plus, but certinaly not essential. Just need a device to get the sound, bit perfect, from my laptop to the amp.
     
  9. swanytroon

    swanytroon
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    does your laptop have a optical or Coaxial out?
     
  10. Johnny 5

    Johnny 5
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    No...all I have is an SP/DIF socket on the front...which is in an inconvenient place anyway.
     
  11. swanytroon

    swanytroon
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    well sorry i dont have a clue unless you go down the squeezebox route. maybe someone else will know?
     
  12. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Well I know it only has analogue inputs, but I think other than that you will find the Blue Sky Media Desk 2.1 system excellent quality. It is 2 60w powered satallite speakers and a subwoofer to give the true bass that small speakers can't manage. It is specifically designed for use with PC audio and is bang on your £400 budget.
    It can be bought from Here and they do have several shops around the country so you can go and demo it.
    More details on the system can be found Here

    Mark.
     
  13. Speedyj

    Speedyj
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    As far as the speakers go, I would suggest a set of M-Audio LX4's. I have a set running from the ouput of an EMU 0404 soundcard in my PC and the sound is incredible for the cost. I am not an expert but I have run some pretty high end kit in my time and this little set up constantly surprises me.

    I'm doing some digging as far as a PCMCIA card goes, I'll see what I can find for you m8.
     
  14. Speedyj

    Speedyj
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