Top end PC amp/speakers vs. mid range traditional audio amp/speakers

NeBlackCat

Standard Member
Like the sheep I am, I'm setting up an HTPC with an LCD screen and decent compact PC with integrated SP/DIF.

So that brings me to what amp/speakers to get. As it'll also be the main house hifi, I care about how good music sounds, but am not an extreme audiophile and am prepared to spend AU$300-700 on them.

I'm assuming I'm not worried about connectivity/decoding features, because all the amp has to do is play already decoded PCM from the PC via SP/DIF. It's the sound that counts.

I was going to go for the for top end PC audio like the Logitech Z-5500 for $320, which is THX certified. Some comments say it's excellent at everything, and some say it's underwhelming for music due to overemphasized bass and single driver satellites.

So then I looked on ebay and found I can get a "proper" receiver/amp with speakers for a similar price, such as the
Samsung HT-AS710 or even, if I push the boat to $700-ish, the Samsung TXQ120T.

But after googling all night I really don't know if that would be improving on the logitechs at all, and I can buy them from the shop next door, so I thought I'd ask where the experts hang out.

Which way should I go, and why? Please someone put me out of my misery!
 
H

hogl

Guest
One of my friends have the Z-5500, and I must admit that I don't find them good enough to use as my main system. I know, I know, if money where really tight and all that, of course I would use them. They are very good value for money though, plus they got a powerfull (while not very musical) subwoofer. So for the price, they are really good for movies and games, but if you want to spend a little extra, you won't regret it. At least that's my opinion.

I haven't heard any of the newer Samsung's, but I have heard a lot of good about them. If possible, you should try to hear them at a store, and maybe check out similiarily priced sets from other brands.
 

NeBlackCat

Standard Member
One of my friends have the Z-5500, and I must admit that I don't find them good enough to use as my main system. I know, I know, if money where really tight and all that, of course I would use them. They are very good value for money though, plus they got a powerfull (while not very musical) subwoofer. So for the price, they are really good for movies and games, but if you want to spend a little extra, you won't regret it. At least that's my opinion.

I haven't heard any of the newer Samsung's, but I have heard a lot of good about them. If possible, you should try to hear them at a store, and maybe check out similiarily priced sets from other brands.

Thanks, and I agree - went round a mates house today who's got them, and played some Prokofiev and Oasis at full vol for a little test. It was disappointing - not as powerful as expected for 500w, not too bright in the highs and and a bit flat in the middle.
 
H

hogl

Guest
Looks nice but not much power and only stereo. Now if they had a more meaty and 5.1 version... :smashin:

Just don't mistake 20w "mainstream style" (sony etc.) for 20w "hifi style". There are different ways to measure the maximum output (different amount of distortion tolerance, number of channels in use and so on), I'd say 20w could be deceiving. It probably won't make you go deaf, but it should be louder than what is comfortable to sit right in front of.

And on top of that, when Logitech claims 500w, it's something like 150w out of the subwoofer, and the rest distributed through the 5 satellites (that don't sound very good at high volumes anyway).

Anyway, no 5.1 solution is a different problem altogether.

On the original topic, I don't think you are going to get much better than the z-5500 for a full 5.1 surround sound within your budget. Of course, I might be wrong, but it's really hard to fit an amp and 5 speakers plus a sub in that budget, and get decent sound out of it.
 

NeBlackCat

Standard Member
Just don't mistake 20w "mainstream style" (sony etc.) for 20w "hifi style". There are different ways to measure the maximum output (different amount of distortion tolerance, number of channels in use and so on), I'd say 20w could be deceiving. It probably won't make you go deaf, but it should be louder than what is comfortable to sit right in front of.

And on top of that, when Logitech claims 500w, it's something like 150w out of the subwoofer, and the rest distributed through the 5 satellites (that don't sound very good at high volumes anyway).

Anyway, no 5.1 solution is a different problem altogether.

On the original topic, I don't think you are going to get much better than the z-5500 for a full 5.1 surround sound within your budget. Of course, I might be wrong, but it's really hard to fit an amp and 5 speakers plus a sub in that budget, and get decent sound out of it.

I think your conclusion is spot on, I've gone from thinking that the Z5500 was going to be a good enough final solution, to thinking it's a cheap stop gap until I can incrementally buy maybe $2k of good quality used gear over the next year. Now that's what you call a learning curve.
 

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