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help with speaker set up to work with PC

manaquin

Standard Member
OK, i'l be succinct as possible

Want to run speakers from my pc to all parts of my sandwich bar.
Dont want surround, just want each speaker to give all the sound through each individual speaker.
So for example, if im playing a song from my PC through itunes, the speaker on the ground floor, will sound the same as the speaker on the second floor.
Im guessing i'l need either a basic sound card in my pc, then a amp connected to it, from which the speakers go from this.

After this thought, im unsure.

Any advice appreciated!

Regards
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
I think what you can do depends on your budget and how many speakers you actually think you need.

If it is a stereo pair of speakers upstairs and another stereo pair of speakers downstairs, that can be done with a standard stereo amp. AS LONG AS, all the speakers are 8 ohms.

The amp will allow you to have speaker 'A' only, speaker 'B' only, or speakers 'A' and 'B'. When you have both set of speakers on at the same time, with 8 ohm speakers, the total is 4 ohms, that is as low as most standard amps can go.

As to the sound card, ideally you would like a little better that your average basic generic sound card. It will still work, but the card equal better sound.

To some extent, it depends on the fidelity of you digital audio files. If these are standard generic MP3s, then any decent sound card is fine. If the are CD quality, that you need slightly above average in your sound card. If you hare playing high bit rate and low loss digital files then a better sound card or an external DAC is needed to so justice to the music.

So, now we are back to budget again. A fair amp that will get the job done and also have a remote control is going to be above £150 and approaching £200.

Speaker are going to run roughly £90/pair to roughly £150/pair.

If you need an external DAC (Digital to Analog Converter), they run £100 to £150 each, though you only need one. And, if you have a good sound card, you don't need the DAC.

The external DAC is used when you need a better DAC, but prefer not to upgrade you sound card. Though to make a DAC work properly, your sound card has to have a digital output (optical, coaxial, or HDMI). If you have a good sound card that has high speed, high bit rate, high sample rate DAC, then you already have what you need.

Again, what you need depends on the nature and quality of your digital audio files.

I'm not sure about a sound card, but I would guess between £50 and £100. Though this is very variable depending on the quality of your audio files.

That should give you some idea of what is required.

Essentially you have it right - decent sound card to a fair stereo amp to four 8 ohms bookshelf speakers.

Steve/bluewizard
 

clockworks

Prominent Member
As BlueWizard said, get a stereo amp with 2 sets of speaker outputs. Set your PC to output mono sound and wire the soundcard output to the amp. This way you'll have 4 speakers all playing the same.

Something you may have overlooked - if you plan to play copyright music on a business premises, you need a licence from PRS. Costs over £100 a year.
 

manaquin

Standard Member
hey there, thanks for the posts.

Ok is there any way to have more than 4 speakers running at one time? Say 8?

If this is not possible, i was thinking of using an old hi fi the sony MHC NX3AV
Sony MHC-NX3AV - Hifi System with reviews and price comparison at dooyoo.co.uk

Now, im no hi fi techi, but would it be possible to have say 6 pairs of wires for 6 front speakers coming out of the front speaker connectors at the rear if that makes sense?

anyways, let me know what you think.

If anyone can come up with a cheap way to have six speakers play the same music out of each one, but not surround effect, just stereo im open to ideas.

Thanks!

PS I dont understand the concept of ohms and watts. If i buy speakers that are higher than you stated does this effect anything? I.e will i still hear the music?
 
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Jamestuk

Established Member
If you buy speakers that have a higher watt rating it just means they can be driven with more power. So long as the amplifier does not exceed the speakers power rating then it won't matter, if it does you will have the danger of breaking your speakers.

To get 8 running at a time, you could I suppose buy speakers with an impedance of 16ohms, or buy 2 more channels of amplification.

The other alternative to all of this would be to buy an AV amp which usually have 7 channels of amplification, and run it in "party mode".
 
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manaquin

Standard Member
ah ok, sorry i mean i would have 6 speakers at a time. Do all amps have Party Mode lol.

Also about amps, what sort of amp do i use? a receiver/ powered amp i dunno the difference lol
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
This is a Sandwich Bar, so is it safe to assume that this is going to be background music; that there won't be a lot of Slam-Dancing in this bar?

Also, you have yet to give us a working budget. Speculation about 6 or 8 speakers is meaningless until we establish that you can actually afford 2 speakers.

Yes, you can have multiple speakers on a system by wiring them in gangs of series and parallel, but remember that all the speakers in series split the available power. For example, if you apply 20watts to two speakers in series, each speaker only gets half the voltage signal and as a result, only half the power.

Right now, you need to define your intent. What is it you expect this speaker system to do?

Next, you need to define your budget. How much money is available for this project?

A basic amp and two sets of basic, but good, speakers, is going to run you about £400 (more or less). Can you work in that budget?

Steve/bluewizard
 

manaquin

Standard Member
ok

Yes its for a sandwich bar.

Prefer budget end(searching for the speakers/ amp on ebay)

Only want at most 6 speakers in total

It Just needs to play ambient music relatively audible to sections of the shop. all speakers playing the same sound

Hope this helps narrow the available choices down

Thanks!

Paul

Also, while im on the subject, would it not be possible to have ceiling speakers connected to this switch which in turn is connected to a sound card at the PC/ hifi?
So could it be
PC/HI FI + Switch + Speakers

OR

PC / HI FI + AMP + Switch + Speakers

The reason i mentioned switches is that i saw this on amazon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skytronic-Stereo-speaker-switch-4-way/dp/B000L9CR38/ref=pd_bxgy_ce_text_b

Also, the Wattage. What would be the minimum wattage i should be looking at for back ground music speakers? 30W? Could i get away with less than this even?
 
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BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
I think you need to stay focused on what you can get that will reasonably do the job, and less on expanding your needs and adding gadgets.

One amp will easily drive two pair of speakers. You need to have two rooms, one up and one down. That is a pair of speakers in each room. That amp will allow you to select upstairs-only, downstairs-only, or both.

That is your most basic setup; easy and cheap to accomplish.

If you want 6 speakers, three stereo pairs. That gets complicated.

Before we go any farther, GIVE US A NUMBER FOR YOUR BUDGET. 'Budget end' could mean anything.

Next...requirements.

Do you need a remote control (a common infra-red remote), or will physically having to turn the amp up and down by turning a knob be sufficient?

Do you need independent level control? Will you ever need the upstairs and downstairs volume to be different, or will you be able to reach a fair compromise with a single control?

How big are the rooms?

What is the noise level like? Is it more like a restaurant or more like a bar?

What is your intend? Is it to produce pleasant background music that people can enjoy but generally be unaware of...you know...background music. Or, do you intend the music to be more dominant than that? Example, in a cafe or restaurant, the music tends to be background to set the mood. In a bar, the music tends to be more foreground to stimulate and motivate people (usually to motivate them to drink more).

And speaking of a bar, do you serve alcohol? The presents of alcohol tends to raise the noise level even in modest cafes.

Realistically, your minimum budget should be Amp (£120), Speaker Set 1 (£100), Speaker Set 2 (£100), plus speaker wire for a Total of about £350.

To some extent you can control the sound by putting larger speakers in the loudest area, and smaller speakers in the quieter area.

Having a computer is nice because you can create your own play lists. You can play songs that all have a similar mood. Perhaps mellow and relaxing in the daytime and at diner, then for evenings, something more upbeat. But, unless you have great taste in music, playing random selections from you computer might not work so well. Though I think you still have a sound idea, and should continue to work in this direction.

Lastly, your diagrams or text-grams indicate a misperception. The [hi-fi] is the [amp].

Your options, within the limits of text graphics, are -

[PC]--->[HiFi Amp]=====>[speakers 1]------>[speakers 2]

or

[PC]--->[DAC]---->[HiFi Amp]=====>[speakers 1]------>[speakers 2]

I think you should start WITHOUT the DAC as it add considerably to the cost. It can always be added later if you are pleased with the audio system in your Sandwich Bar. How much the DAC will add to the sound quality will depend on the quality of your audio files. Also, note that likely you PC also has a CD player, that is another source of music that you may not have thought of.

As to the presences of a Speaker Switch, again, it depend on your amp and your speakers. If you never have more than two sets of speakers running, you can have as many speakers as you want. But the total Per Channel load seen by the amp should not drop below 4 ohms.

I say start with a basic amp and two pair of 8 ohm speakers, and build from there. Remember, with a basic amp, you can independently switch the two sets of speakers on and off.

It is probably even possible to integrate a small PA system into the stereo system for a very low price. Don't know if you need that, but it can be done.

For now, one thing at a time.

Bottom line, if you want to do this right, £300 to £350 is your basic start up cost.

Now, you can buy some ultra-cheap discount store stereo or boom-box, and it might work. But the quality is never going to match the systems I'm suggesting. Cheap discount store amps are going to be low power and high distortion.

So, if you can work in that budget, and expand your requirements and intended use, then I will make specific suggestions.

If your requirements are lower than I anticipated, we might even be able to trim the budget back...maybe...possibly.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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manaquin

Standard Member
Hi thanks for the detailed reply

Ok I wanted roughly to spend £200 in total.

However now that I have thought about rigging it up to the PC, I would rather have it through the HI FI seperate that i already have (Sony MHC-NX3AV).
~No Remote is neccessary.
OK i think i can get away with 4 speakers. There is a mezzanine which is not a huge amount of space.

The ground floor again is not huge but has high ceiling.
The noise level is like a small restaurant.
No alcohol will be served.
Use = back ground music


The reason i had the diagram which i should have made clearer, is instead of the PC using my HIFI,
So HIFI + AMP + SPEAKER etc etc

Im assuming the price of a speaker is detemined by its brand, what wattage and ohms it has, as the prices seemed to increase as the watt/ohms increased.

Anyways hope this helps
 

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