which sound card / amp?



I built an htpc about a year ago based on an LMP case, athlon 2600 and radeon gfx card. This has worked really well and am now considering throwing some more money at my overall home cinema setup. I use the setup primarily for DVD's and sometimes audio CD's.

I currently have the onboard sound card connected directly to a (cheap) NAD stereo amp with a couple of B&W speakers. Ideally I'd like to now move to a 5.1 surround sound setup. The m-audio revolution 7.1 seems the best card to go for but I am not sure which amp and speakers would be a good match. I am looking to spend around £750 (card, amp & speakers) but never having bought an amp which supports Dolby Digital am not really sure what to go for.

Any advice would be very welcome!



Standard Member
You could go for the m-audio 7.1 and buy just a 5 channel power amp for you 5.1 set-up.

I use a m-audio into a Roksan power amp for stereo and it sounds pretty good to me.:)


Standard Member
Sony STRDB790
KEF Coda Home Cinema Package

Thats what i've gone with so far with my setup – and it’s a great improvement from the videologic digitheatre I originally had! Im still deciding what sound card to upgrade my sb live, after a bit of reading around the M-Audio Revo seems to be getting superb reviews although from what Ive heard the drivers are a little flaky, and it also lacks a simple equaliser meaning there's no bass and treble controls in the volume control? Which means you rely on the DSP effects of the amplifier if you want to change anything? I know its relatively minor but its made me think twice about buying it


Standard Member
If you go for something like the revo, you can buy second hand stereo power amps and get really good amps quite cheap. You can also get really good amps for the front pair and centre speaker, and something cheaper for the rear speakers. It also allows you to put the amps near the speakers, and avoid long speaker cable runs.

You can get good second hand amps on e-bay (if you still trust it) or often from local hifi shops. A local shop may be willing to let you take an amp home for a week or so to try before you buy as well.

The only disadvantage with a Revo in this setup is that you should power off the amps before the PC and power them on after the PC is powered up, the Revo puts out a fairly big thump at start up and shut down, which probably won't damage the speakers, but isn't pleasant to be near if the amps are on.

Old hi fi power amps are very reliable, there's not much in them that can go wrong. I've got a pair of quad amps over 30 years old, and a naim that is 15 years old, and all work fine. (Naim definitely better than the old quad 303's though!)


Standard Member
Another alternativel is to get 2nd hand Genelec 1029 active speakers. This are quite small units with buil-in 80Wamps.

I have 6 of them connected to M-Audio Delta410 soundcard and it is awesome. It will rock your world.

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Panasonic HX800 TV + Sony HT-G700 Soundbar reviews, movie and TV show news and reviews
Top Bottom