Speakers for ps3 and 360, question about 'digital optical' connections (:s?)

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by supergeek, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. supergeek

    supergeek
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    looking to upgrade, and have found these

    Logitech X-540 Multimedia Speaker System: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo

    currently, i have 2.1 speakers and both the ps3 and the 360 are connected via the red and white input holes (there's only one set of holes so i have to switch depending on which console i wish to play)

    I am now interested in 5.1 sound, and was interested in the speakers above but apparently if you connect via the red and white connectors, that doesn't give you true 5.1? :confused: I notice that the ps3 has a digital optical port at the back, does that have something to do with it? The xbox 360 however does not so how would you get 5.1 out of that?

    thanks
     
  2. gordiegords

    gordiegords
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    Heya, the digital output for the 360 is on the av cable that came with the unit that you plug into your tele, plug the optical cable into that then into your amp
    . :)
     
  3. too_funky

    too_funky
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    Yeah that right you wont get 5.1 with those speakers via red/white. To get surround sound you must use optical out. If it didnt already come with your 360 you will need one of these cables:
    [​IMG]

    5.1 surround sound signal is transferred via optical using the Dolby Digital or DTS codecs. Therefore you need to have a dolby/dts decoder on the speakers to get true surround sound.

    As PS3 and Xbox 360 both output via optical you will need some speakers with two optical inputs, or use an optical switch. To get 2 optical inputs and decoding you will need to spend alot more than £50 ish. You sould be looking at basic home cinema kits for £120 - £150 ish. Although i say they're basic, they will still probably be alot better quality than cheap logitechs.
     
  4. supergeek

    supergeek
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    thanks for the replies guys, I don't mind spending that much if the sound quality is worth it, the one stumbling block is that I connect my 360 to my 1080p monitor via vga with the official vga cable (ps3 via hdmi), and I don't think the vga cable has an optical connector - does one exist with the optical connector?
     
  5. StevieBuck

    StevieBuck
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    Before you go any further, have you checked that the Logitech 5.1 speakers you've posted a link to can accept an optical input? A lot of these speakers are designed only for connecting to PCs with standard 3.5mm output jacks on them. If you bought something like that you'd end up back where you were, only being able to use them for 2.1 sound.

    The standard audio ouputs your using are called phono connections. A single phono onnection carried one channel of audio, hence why you need two for stereo. However, the optical connection is better as it can carry all 6 channels of audio for a 5.1 signal in one cable.

    The PS3 as you say, has an optical on the back, and as gordiegords pointed out the 360's optical output is on the back of the connector head of the standard A/V cable.

    If you're using HDMI however, you obviously won't have the standard A/V cable plugged in. For some reason, they've designed it so you can't plug both the HDMI and standard cables in at the same time. So you have two options - either snap off part of the plastic on the connector head so it will fit, or buy an official xbox HDMI cable like the one below, which has an audio dongle supplied (check the pics):

    Xbox 360 HDMI Cable (Xbox 360): Amazon.co.uk: PC & Video Games


    Edit: I see you two guys were quicker to type than replies than me ;) Anyway, there is an optical connector on the VGA cable (on the offical one at least).
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009
  6. supergeek

    supergeek
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    Hi, as far as I remember I do have the official vga cable, have taken a pic of the back of it - am pretty sure thats the optical output :)

    [​IMG]

    I'm guessing I would need two digital optical cables, one from the back of the xbox 360 connector (as above) into the speakers and one from the back of the ps3 into the speakers. Any recommendations of speakers? Also, does it matter how you set the speakers up? As in does it make a difference whether you have all 5 in front of you, or 3 in front 2 behind etc?

    thanks again
     
  7. too_funky

    too_funky
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    This is a very good set for its price range, have heard plenty of good things about it on the forums etc and thats the cheapest iv found it:

    SONY DAVDZ260 at Richer Sounds - HI-FI Separates, Home Cinema, Speakers, MP3 DVD Portables, Plasma LCD, etc.

    However its only got one optical in so you would need something like this aswell:

    Toslink / Optical Splitter Brand New Fast Delivery on eBay, also Interconnects Terminated, Cables Connectors, Home Audio Hi Fi, Consumer Electronics (end time 29-Jan-09 21:45:00 GMT)
     
  8. too_funky

    too_funky
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    yes it does matter how you set them up, to get true surround sound you will need a centre channel where the tv is, a front right/left, and a rear right/left.
    The ideal arrangement would be something like this

    [​IMG]

    It shows the centre underneath the tv, the front left/righ speakers and the rear left/righ speakers, with the sub in the middle left. Although sub placement is alot more flexible than the other speakers.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2009
  9. supergeek

    supergeek
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    woooah those sony ones look nice! would be grateful for any other recommendations :thumbsup: I've heard in the past that using splitters can degrade sound quality, is that true or just the usual rubbish? The one stumbling block is that the additional speakers would have to be wireless, well for the two at the back anyway? Do you know if this is the case for these? That seller had this on their page too:
    Toslink Optical Splitter + 2 x 1M Toslink Cable BUNDLE on eBay, also Interconnects Terminated, Cables Connectors, Home Audio Hi Fi, Consumer Electronics (end time 17-Feb-09 12:23:15 GMT)

    which includes the two cables, does not make a difference whether you use cheap cables or expensive ones? or is the difference trivial like with hdmi?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009
  10. too_funky

    too_funky
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    as to whether that pic shows the optical out, you cannot tell from that pic. Would need to see a pic of the end of the cable, the bit that you would actually connect up.
     
  11. supergeek

    supergeek
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    as in a front view of the silver part that you actually plug in?
     
  12. too_funky

    too_funky
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    Optical cables transfer digital signal, therefore this pretty much eliminates the possibility of signal degradation. With digital cables the cheap ones will provide the exact same signal quality as expensive ones so you will get the same audio quality. A splitter would degrade quality if they were analogue cables/signals but as they're not you have nothing to worry about. Only difference is that expensive ones might be a bit better built so they last longer. However its just as easy to get a cheap one and replace it in the unlikely case that it breaks. Those cheap ones your looking at will be fine if they are long enough for you to connect everything up.

    However dont forget you will need 3 optical cables. One from ps3, one from 360 that both go into splitter, then another to connect the splitter to the home cinema kit. So go for this bundle instead, exact same as one you found but comes with 3 cables, not 2.

    Toslink Optical Splitter + 3 x 1M Toslink Cable BUNDLE on eBay, also Interconnects Terminated, Cables Connectors, Home Audio Hi Fi, Consumer Electronics (end time 24-Feb-09 16:36:32 GMT)



    ps cable pic: Yes as if you were looking at it end on.
     
  13. supergeek

    supergeek
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    cool I will upload a pic of that in a sec with a better camera, just waiting for the battery to charge a bit - I think i noticed that that speaker set comes with an upscaling dvd player, which I don't really need because of the ps3 - would it be better to buy a system without the dvd player and better audio quality? would be willing to spend around £150

    :thumbsup:
     
  14. StevieBuck

    StevieBuck
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    The picture below does show the optical output connection (i.e the big black square in the middle of it)...not sure what too_funky is on about.

    There shouldn't be a problem with the splitter device - if you search for the DAV-DZ260 on here you'll find plenty of other posts where people have been in the same situation and bought one.

    As for the wireless speakers - sony does offer a higher spec model than the 260 which has wireless for the rear speakers. Wireless speakers are far from perfect though. As well as a cable connecting the two rears together, you'll also need to have them plugged into the mains for power. The wireless signal can easily be interupted as well on some models, as they depend on line-of-sight between the main unit and the wireless receiver.
     
  15. supergeek

    supergeek
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    cameras being a bit of a pain, managed to take a decent pic with my phone in the meantime though:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. supergeek

    supergeek
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    come to think of it I should be able to hide the wires so wireless isn't a necessity, especially if it can degrade sound quality - any idea how long the rear speakers wires are?
     
  17. Bald Monkey

    Bald Monkey
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    If you have the standard MS VGA cable for the Xbox360 it does indeed have an optical output on it. I used one for years before changing to a HDMI equiped Xbox :smashin:

    IME I have heard differences between Optical cables, on my set-up. However they were very small and I would happily use an optical splitter/switch. They might not be the best possible way of connecting for the best SQ. However it's the best most practical way of over coming a lack on inputs with what I suspect will be very negligable change in sound if any. :thumbsup:

    I'd also avoid wireless speakers, untill we can remove the need for power cables and connecting cables all together I fail to see the point. Except in really exceptional circumstances..
     
  18. StevieBuck

    StevieBuck
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    Not too sure how long they are. I have an old sony all-in-one, and the cables for the rear speakers were long enough to run around the walls from the front to the back of my averagely-sized room. Will you be using them system in a larger room?

    I think you'll fiond most of these systems have built-in DVD players, hence the name "all-in-one". You may limt your choice a fair bit by trying to get one without a DVD player. For systems without DVD players built in, you start to move into separate A/V receivers. For £150 though you woudn't get far though as these usually don't even come with speakers.
     
  19. supergeek

    supergeek
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    how about the logitech z5500? worth the £200? or would all in ones be a better option?
     
  20. too_funky

    too_funky
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    Yeah the Z-5500 are pretty good speakers, i used to have a set however upgraded to receiver and seperates after the logitechs broke a few weeks ago. They have pretty much the same inputs as the sony's however they have the extra advantage that they have 3 x 3.5mm jack inputs for connecting surround sound from a pc. However you can also use a program on your pc called dolby live to get surround sound out via optical if your sound card supports it. However if you dont plan on using your speakers for pc surround sound then they are not worth the extra £80 over the sony's as there is virtually no differnce in sound quality between them. You would also need a splitter with the logitechs, and bare in mind that the sub is very big with the logitechs so make sure you have room for it. You can still get stereo sound from your pc with the sony's aswell.
     
  21. supergeek

    supergeek
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    I may connect up a pc in the future, but I can't seem to find a review for the sony's - would it be possible to flog the dvd player or does that have the controls for the speakers on it? do you know of any other good 5.1s in the price range? (£150, £200 if i absolutely must, will live on bread and water for the following month)

    thanks again for the help!
     
  22. too_funky

    too_funky
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    You would not be able to flog the dvd player as it also acts as the amplifier for the speakers. So all the speakers connect to it and you control the speakers through it. Also all the optical inputs etc are on the dvd player.

    The reason they all come with a dvd player is because they are designed and sold as all in one home cinema kits. They are no fuss, minimum hassle units aimed at the general public. Because they are made for the general public they are by far the cheapest/best value surround sound options due to there mass production.

    However if you're after better sound quality without the dvd player, you're looking at minimum of £200, just for decent speakers, plus then you would need to spend another £150 -£200 ish on an entry level receiver/amp to do all the decoding and processing and power the speakers. Plus another £30 ish minimum for speaker cables. So unless your really upping the budget you will get the best value for money in terms of power and quality from an all in one kit. Just think of dvd player as a freebie if you dont need it.
     
  23. supergeek

    supergeek
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  24. supergeek

    supergeek
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    would the jamo's be better then the sony all in one?
     

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