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Help for beginner : pc sound output

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by pete1960, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. pete1960

    pete1960
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    Hi everyone, I wonder if you can help.

    I have a brilliant picture for my movie on my Iiyama monitor and basic sound on the pc speaker. What I want to do is output the sound to my AV amp - Kenwood KR V6070.
    The amp accepts all sorts of inputs but predominantly phono and the sound card can output all sorts of output but only 3mm jacks. Whadda I do ?
     
  2. Pootle

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    get a cable that connects 3mm jack to 2 phono, connect to a spare input on your amp, and plug into the line out on the PC, make sure your kenwood is switched off before you turn the PC on or off, and set the PC volume low to start with.

    You should be able to get a cable from places like dixons, maplin etc.
     
  3. .Griff.

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    Very common cable. FYI the line out socket is normally the black socket on your sound card, not the green one.
     
  4. pete1960

    pete1960
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    Thanks, yes I expected to have to get some sort of cable, this presumably separates the 3mm jack into left and right channels for the amp to decode into dolby 5.1

    The next issue is to decide how to configure the PC to output the right signal down the split cable. There are options to set the pc to approximate all sorts of speaker configurations ie pc speaker, 4 speaker, 2 speaker surround speaker etc. If the amp is going to do the decoding, what should I set it to?
     
  5. .Griff.

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    If you want 5.1 you will have to use either the optical or coaxial outputs on the sound card (if it has them). The 3.5mm jack will just output stereo.

    Might help if you tell us what card you have.

    EDIT: Looking at the amp in question it doesn't even have dolby digital so how were you expecting to get 5.1???
     
  6. pete1960

    pete1960
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    Firstly the amp is a 5.1 dolby decoder and when I used it with my old tv and dvd it accepted 2 phono inputs from the dvd player, scart went from dvd to tv - just for picture.

    My PC has onboard sound though I have also got a cheapo sound card available. Both sound cards have SPDIF but I don't know what the Kenwood will do with this type of signal nor do I know how it is output from the sound cards.

    If I set the sound software to emulate different speaker configurations, it tells me which 3mm jacks to plug front / rear / subwoofer/centre speakers into.

    The PC is about a year old, its an AMD 2.1 Ghz with a Geforce 128 display card. I will have to take the side off and look for more details.

    EDIT - Looking at my old and tatty Kenwood instuction manual, it tells me it is Dolby pro logic. I cannot see any reference to digital dolby. My error in assuming dolby 5.1 was the same old thing. Bear with me, Im a beginner !
     
  7. .Griff.

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  8. .Griff.

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    No probs. Only thing you can do is use a 3.5mm jack to 2 phono cable. Atleast you can get a "surround" effect using pro-logic.
     
  9. pete1960

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    Griffbo - its amazing what you can find out if you know where to start looking !

    I guess I can get a cable and try the various pc options untill I stumble on the correct configuration, is SPDIF something I should look at or ignore?
     
  10. .Griff.

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    Ignore as the amp won't support it.

    As the rear speakers on Prologic sytstems are mono (linked) rather than stereo you won't get true 4 channel sound. The option for 4 channel sound provided by your sound card is designed to be used with PC specific speakers.

    Simply use the line out on the soundcard and plug into the line in (aux, vid, etc..) input on the amp and see how it sounds.
     
  11. pete1960

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    Okay I will give it a go when I get the cable. Thanks for your help.

    This is however, just a temporary fix. In light of what you have said about the amp ( I suspect it is a bit long in the tooth by now). How would you spend £1000 - £1200 on a home cinema set up. All I have available (spare that is) is a pair of speakers. Maudant Short ms3.30.

    It wont get a huge amount of use and I quite fancy one of these thin LCD displays.
     
  12. .Griff.

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    Difficult question to answer as everyone has differing needs and wishes. For example I'm buying a 30" LCD screen and after looking around the best dvd/amp combi for me was a Jamo as this would accept an optical feed from my PC and outputs component pro scan signals to the LCD. Obviosuly this is probably different to your needs as you alreayd have a dvd player.

    My advice would be to look at a sight such as www.pricerunner.co.uk and look at the home cinema or amp section. You will then get a could idea of prices and what features these amps have. It's then a case of finding a nice set of speakers to go with it.

    If you are planning on keeping the system for some time I would ask the experts as you can now get amps with 6.1, 7.1, DTS NEO, etc....
     
  13. pete1960

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    www.pricerunner.co.uk - fantastic site ! This will keep me busy for a few days..................

    What on earth do you go for ? ? ? ?
     
  14. .Griff.

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    LOL glad you like it. Nice site when you are researching future purchases. Good luck with getting your amp.
     
  15. Pootle

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    Pete, as your amp already has support for 5 speakers, you could just buy additional speakers, and get the PC to decode DD to 5 analogue channels - recent soundblaster cards can do this, or the clever versions of powerdvd can do it themselves. (I think the same is true of WinDVD).

    You would then link the PC to the AV system with 3 cables (all mini jack to 2 phono).

    This way you can buy better speakers now, and if you want to spend more money later, you can buy a new receiver and let it do the DD and DTS decoding instead of the PC.

    With the right software you can also do without the centre front speaker (the centre channel gets added to the left and right speakers). This means that dialogue moves off centre once you are out of the sweet spot, but this isn't really a problem.

    You could also go for a powered sub - this will make a big difference unless you have really big speakers already. A powered sub will take one channel (the centre and sub usually share one 3mm jack), and won't need a separate power amp.

    I have run my system this way all the time - just bought a really good sound card, and let the PC do all the work. As new surround sound standards emerge, products like powerdvd generally support them quite soon, and its a lot cheaper upgrading powerdvd than buying a new AV amp!
     
  16. .Griff.

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    Even a £25 soundcard will do this for you.

    Although he has 5 speakers the rear 2 speakers only act as 1 as they are mono not stereo and the centre speaker doesn't have a dedicated channel on the amp, it's a combination of the 2 front speakers.
     
  17. pete1960

    pete1960
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    Griffbo is right, the signal into the amp HAS to be 2 phono, left and right. The amp then emulates surround sound to 5 separate speaker outputs.

    I did believe the rear speakers to be stereo but then I probably just got beguiled by the rest of the sound which was quite nice and certainly an improvement over the telly (grins). If I go down the route of plugging speakers into the computer, I will need to power them somehow which is not what I want to do. Incidently, my audio setup is Quad amp, Naim speakers Rega turntable. I was going to rob the Naims as front speakers, the MS3.30's for rears and I have a dinky Gale centre 10, no sub woofer. The Kenwood doesn't support a subwoofer. I used to output from my nicam VCR into the quad through the Maudant shorts for several years. This is now the time to move on again as the old telly just went tits up and I will get a DVD player to go with it. The PC is just a temporary way of watching movies and I hoped to get better sound than the PC speakers !
     
  18. Pootle

    Pootle
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    ah! not really a 4 channel amp at all then, but since you already have some nice gear, you could always just buy another Quad to drive the rear speakers, and drive them direct from the PC. Second hand hi fi amps are very good value, and they are practically indestructable.

    Most sub's are self powered, so you don't need a power amp for the sub. The REL ones are really nice 'cos they take feed from the front speakers to provide re-enforcement for standard stereo, and a phono socket for the .1 DD channel, and they don't need to be switched between modes.

    You would have to spend lot a bit on a new receiver that would do justice to these speakers I think!
     
  19. pete1960

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    I will let you know how it concludes, probably after the weekend. Thanks to both of you.

    Pete
     
  20. pete1960

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    A £2.99 lead from maplin as you suggested did the trick. I set the PC to emulate 2 speakers and plugged the 3.5 jack in the green hole and the phonos went to the amp.

    We watched the Two Towers and I think the neighbours were listening as well. Obviously there will be gains to be made with a proper 5.1 amp but it did the trick.
     
  21. .Griff.

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    Glad to hear it worked!
     

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