Speaker recommendations for a HTPC

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by GaryRW, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. GaryRW

    GaryRW
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    80
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +12
    Hi all,

    I'm trying to beef up the sound coming from my HTPC in the lounge - at the moment we are just using the tv speakers which has 2 drawbacks. Firstly they are built in tv speakers so not very good. But it also means if we just want to listen to music or radio from the HTPC, we have to leave the tv on.

    Anyway, I am by no means an audiophile, as evidenced by the fact we've just been using the tv speakers for 2 years. As another indication of my/our standards, I did put a blu-ray drive in the HTPC but my other half and I basically agreed that on our 32" tv, it wasn't that big a difference. So the blu-ray drive has pretty much gone unused. For audio, our TV is in one corner of the room with a big window to one side and my very, very basic understanding is that will probably make a big negative impact on sound quality if I can't arrange the speakers properly??

    At the moment, it is just the HTPC and the TV, nothing else involved. Most of our stuff is our DVD's ripped to the Hard Drive (so I could go back and re-rip them to make sure they have the full surround sound if they haven't). If it's any help, this is the motherboard in the HTPC: http://uk.msi.com/product/mb/785GTM-...l#/?div=Detail - No digital audio out :(

    So, having spent a while looking I've come to the conclusion that what I really want isn't really out there. The mid-range 5.1 audio systems seem to be covered by the all-in-one DVD/blu-ray + integrated 5.1 surround sound, and obviously I don't need the DVD or Blu-ray bit as I want to use the HTPC for that.

    These are the only possibilities I've come up with so far:

    1. A low end 5.1 system at pc's, e.g. Logitech Z506 - about £70 (Logitech) I presume given the price these are not that great for a lounge and they certainly don't look like they should be...

    2. The only serious/non-pc audio only set-up I can find without a separate amp/receiver is the Onkyo HTX-22HDX (http://www.richersounds.com/product/...y-htx22hdx-blk) + the extra speaker package (http://www.richersounds.com/product/...nky-sks22x-blk) which turns it into a 5.1 set-up. Cost is about £220 + £80.

    3. A fully fledged Amp + 5.1 speaker package e.g. ONKYO HTS3405 (http://www.richersounds.com/product/...ky-hts3405-blk). That would be about £300, but I don't think I'd fit the amp anywhere easily!

    4. A 4.0 system comprising of a pair of Creative Gigaworks T40 Series 2 for the front speakers and a pair of Creative Gigaworks T20 Series 2 for the rear speakers. Cost about £70 + £50

    With 2 or 3, i think it would be able to do full HD audio, though I'd need to buy an audio card as my motherboard doesn't have digital audio out. Not plucked up the courage to look at costs of a sound card that can deal with HD audio yet, and suspect it would make HD audio a no go. In any event, I am pretty sure my ears couldn't tell the difference! I suspect that unless I get at least a card capable of digital out, these will wasted on my set up anyway.

    I am really tempted by the simplicity of option 4 and the cost of that would be roughly in line with the vague unformed figure of £100 - £150 I think I had in mind. Negatives would be adjusting the volume on them and wall mounting them as they are clearly designed for desktop use. (For turning on/off I could get an Intelliplug to turn them on/off with the HTPC)

    So can anyone offer any advice, opinions or better alternatives?
     
  2. markp

    markp
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2003
    Messages:
    258
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Derby
    Ratings:
    +25
    The ATI 5xxx or 6xxx series GPU will deliver HD audio and they are only around £30-40. I have a HD5450 and get full HD audio. Have you considered getting second hand kit? I would consider going for an amp and speaker set up and seriously consider rearranging the room so that the TV is not in the corner.
     
  3. GaryRW

    GaryRW
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    80
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +12
    Unfortunately a room change around is out of the question - there's an open fireplace on one side and the big window on the other :(

    However... ...I have unsurprisingly just gotten authorisation for the £300 spend for either of the Onkyo kit :clap:

    So, between options 2+3 above, my inclination is the Onkyo HTX-22HDX and the extra speaker kit.

    My understanding is that the HTX-22HDX is probably less future proof, but the key advantage for us is the lack of a big amp/receiver - there just won't be room in the tv cupboard/cabinet that my wife is quite attached to.

    So any better options than the HTX-22HDX for my uneducated ears?

    (I've not looked at second hand kit as I think it would just take too long for me to educate myself enough)
     
  4. WheresMyArtisan

    WheresMyArtisan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    1,100
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +71
    Call me old-fashioned, but I Iike 2.0 stereo. I had 5.1 once, but found it all a bit confusing on the ears, unless you lie in the centre of the floor.

    Mine goes to a slimline stereo hi-fi amp, then to two very decent stereo speakers. It sounds superb, and no spaghetti.

    With 2.0 or 5.1 or whatever though, you should get better sound from an amp and speakers than an all in one system or PC speakers. Richer Sounds do some decent gear.
     
  5. martyn_wheeler

    martyn_wheeler
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Messages:
    142
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Leicester
    Ratings:
    +3
    I am in a similar position (also a non-audiophile due to crap hearing after too many gigs) and am considering getting a logitech z623 system. Does anyone have any experience of such a system? It gets good reviews as a a PC speaker and there are suggestions that it will make good for a TV system.

    Martyn
     
  6. tony_park

    tony_park
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Messages:
    1,121
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Fenwick, Doncaster
    Ratings:
    +107

    Hi Gary,

    you're room sounds exactly the same as mine... let me know what you end up buying, and what you think of it.

    I'd previously done some research into this, some of the Onkyo's have automatic calibration that may help with the setup to account for the tv being in a corner.

    Tony
     
  7. bryanchicken

    bryanchicken
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    Messages:
    1,301
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +155
    what about a soundbar? Not got one myself but i was fairly impressed when i heard one at the gf's parents.
    Its not as good as actual 5.1 but it is very convenient.
     
  8. spyder viewer

    spyder viewer
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Messages:
    5,846
    Products Owned:
    2
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    Ratings:
    +1,285
  9. lbstyling

    lbstyling
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Messages:
    994
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    I'm behind you.
    Ratings:
    +83
    I would consider myself an audiophile (just have a look at my previous posts!) and have designed, built, modified and measured many speakers over the years- I assure you that many computer 5.1 speaker packages are very capable for there size.
    I did gated measurements of a £100 logitech system 3 or 4 years ago and it mesured better than most audiophile commercial system I got hold of at the time of a similar size, and that includes in some respects £600 options.

    Thats the catch though- size matters with speakers, even if your not looking to go loud, the bigger it is, the better chance of a quality sound due to basic physics. Forget thin speakers all together, the box needs to be as large as you are comfortable with for your uses.

    I cant vouch for all obviously, but logitech have a excellent track record.:smashin:
     

Share This Page

Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice