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Question What is the difference between these 2 setups ?

hdmaniac123

Established Member
Setup 1
I buy a AV Receiver then connect all the speakers.

Setup 2
No AV Receivers. Just buy speakers like this one >> Click here & connect the three 3.5mm jacks to a PC.
As you know almost all motherboards these days include onboard sound chips that output multichannel
audio.

The main difference between setup1 & setup2 is the fact that setup2 is far far cheaper than setup1 coz there is no AV receiver involved.

While replying please mention what you think of the 2 setups & what are the pros & cons of each.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Option 1. Simple really as bluetooth is not the best way to portray music. If you wish to go that way then look at wireless not bluetooth.
 

hdmaniac123

Established Member
Option 1. Simple really as bluetooth is not the best way to portray music. If you wish to go that way then look at wireless not bluetooth.
No my question is slightly different. If a PC can output surround sound then why invest on an expensive AV receiver ?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I don't know of any PC that can decode and amplify complex audio from HD audio as well as a good receiver can. The sound card would have to be exemplary otherwise multi channels amps would be a thing of the past. It all depends on how much you are prepared to spend, what your expectations are and what the system is going to be used for, ie, just film or serious music listening.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Personally I would not think about using that method. It is possible providing you can get the right speakers and subwoofer/amp that's needed. It will be very entry level to be honest and the audio would not be the greatest.

I don't understand enough about computers to help in that area, likewise I don't know where you would get the other bits of kit needed.
 

Conrad

Moderator
I used to do this. I had a professional grade RME sound card in my PC that fed a power amp directly.
I upgraded to a processor and I didn't really notice any significant improvement in sound quality. As I say though, this is with pretty high end gear.

However, with a PC:
- Only one source, unless you add a drive to it, but no cable, games machine etc.
- I had troubles with power up and down sending spikes direct to my power amp, most professional sound cards don't have soft-start built in.
- No object based sound.
- Limited to 5.1. The card I was using only supported a single add on card meaning I could only run 5.1 and I wanted 7.1

Eventually what forced me to upgrade was a desire to run more channels - 7.1 and Atmos. No PC based atmos decoding can be done at the moment.
 

hdmaniac123

Established Member
@Conrad.
Very informative. Thanks.

I will be moving to a new house soon. I will be buying an Amazon Fire TV stick. Since there is no way to connect it to a PC I will have to buy a AV Receiver or at least a soundbar.
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
Setup 1
I buy a AV Receiver then connect all the speakers.

Setup 2
No AV Receivers. Just buy speakers like this one >> Click here & connect the three 3.5mm jacks to a PC.
As you know almost all motherboards these days include onboard sound chips that output multichannel
audio.

The main difference between setup1 & setup2 is the fact that setup2 is far far cheaper than setup1 coz there is no AV receiver involved.

While replying please mention what you think of the 2 setups & what are the pros & cons of each.

It depends.

Setup 1 is a good middle of the road solution that works for the vast majority. Price can range from dirt cheap (second hand slightly older units) all the way up to very expensive for a decent quality unit with all the latest bells and whistles. It covers a wide range of demands and is relatively easy to use for the whole family.

Setup 2 needs a PC. You eliminate a huge portion of likely user base just on that alone. The system linked to above is low powered and whilst it'll reasonably meet your needs in a desktop setup, it'll struggle to fill even a small living room setup. Even if you're computer literate and can find the right hardware and software with all necessary drivers and plugins to decode and output surround sound, it'll be limited to legacy 7.1 at the moment. Its a good solution if you can't spend the money on an AVR based system.

A third option is to use a HTPC as source, add a Processor and active speakers. This could be a very high end setup but also, depending on how far you want to go, very expensive.
 

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