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Expert advice wanted! Planning new home cinema linked to PC

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by leo9, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. leo9

    leo9
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    Hi,

    Not sure of this is the right forum but trying to plan a good home cinema / audio system linked to a PC but am unfamiliar with most of the techy stuff. Am starting with a blank canvas, more or or less:

    Current Hardware:

    Toshiba 32WL48 32 LCD TV (this has HDMI input but can't find RGB-HDMI adapter). Effectively, this LCD acts as my external laptop monitor as well as normal TV stuff.
    Toshiba Tecra S1 laptop, connected to LCD TV via 5 m RGB cable.
    Sky Plus (Pace 20 gig), connected to RGB Scart on TV.

    What I want:

    Minimise amount of conventional hardware as this seems to get outdated within months. Instead, get PC or PC add-ons to do most of the work, but not sure if this approach will work in the real world.

    Sylish, classy compact surround speakers for listening to DVDs and music CDs, but room is only about 3 x 3 m so don't need huge system I hope, although I don't want a weedy system with no bass etc. as like to listen to music loud. Speakers have to be small! Currently favour Elac Cinema 1 ESP II but not sure if they will have enough clout / bass even for a small room. URL: http://www.elac.com/en/index.html

    Good DVD player with component out. Thinking of Toshiba SD-340E as it is same make as TV, good reviews, plus only £90. URL: http://www.home-entertainment.toshi...ucts.nsf/pages/dvd-homecinemadvd?opendocument

    Creative Audigy NX Eternal USB Sound Card. Connect this to laptop and speaker cables to Elac Cinema 1. URL: http://uk.europe.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=1&subcategory=204&product=9103&nav=0

    According to my calcs, the DVD player, Creative NX sound card and Elac Cinema 1 will come to less than £400. Will spend more if I need to but seems a bit over the top for such a small room. Figured this is a reasonable price to pay considering price of all-in-ones (had a look at Aego P5 Mk 2 but seems too pricey for what you get).

    Questions is: will all this work?! For instance:

    Will still I need an surround amplifier or processor as not sure how to connect the DVD player to Creative Audigy NX if it's already connected to the laptop. Does the Elac need an external amp - can't figure it out from their website. Any other ghastly flaws in what I'm trying to achieve?

    Any help much appreciated!
     
  2. aliflack

    aliflack
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    The ELAC package is just speakers and a sub, so an external amp will be required.

    The Audigy 2 has an optical and coaxial digital output - hook that up to the digital in on the amp that you will need! I've got that card (only hooked up to PC mind you) and its superb :smashin:

    Converts your DVD-ROM into a DVD audio player too :smoke:

    Hope that helps!
     
  3. leo9

    leo9
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    Aliflack,

    Thanks - good to hear Auidigy is fine but according to Elac website, Cinema 1 ESP II has: "The compact active subwoofer 101.2 ESP offers multiple technical features and substantial bass sound for the best possible value for money! The new SUB 101.2 ESP can be ideally used for home cinema with mini satellites, hi-fi and stereo applications."

    URL: http://www.elac.com/en/index.html

    Maybe being a bit thick here but if subwoofer is active then why would I need a separate amplifier? When I look at the rear-view photo of the woofer, maybe wouldn't allow for connection of other, non-PC components such as a separate DVD player?

    If I need an an amp, any suggestions for this type of setup?
     
  4. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Before you settle on a sound card take a serious look at these. I've tested them and withh all due respect they wipe the floor with Creative systems. More flexible too.
    http://www.maudio.co.uk/
    Specifically the 192 or 2496. Both are very good cards.
    It may be possible to use the DVD player in the PC as a transport but be mindfull of this as I got a lot of interference from the PC power supply (Main reason why I scrapped the project!) I guess if you've got a good PC with a decent power supply this might not be an issue. I only wanted two channel audio so I went from Soundcard>(via Digital Coax) to external DAC>Pre Amp. It worked well and was comparable to a good quality hi fi system.
    As for speakers you would (if budget allows) be better off going for proper hi fi speakers rather than satelites. It depends on how fussy you are but if bass is important to you you may be dissapointed with the results from satelite plus sub system.
     
  5. aliflack

    aliflack
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    because the amplification is only for the sub, not the other speakers...
     
  6. leo9

    leo9
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    Aliflack - OK, understand now why I need an amp. Knightshade, can't your use M-Audio suggestions because I have a laptop so need one with USB connection. Saw M-Audio have one of these also - maybe better than the Creative NX.

    Reckon I need to have a little re-think and maybe have to go back to non-PC setup...
     

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