[SOLVED] 5.1 CH recommendation for TV and PC

eszed556

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Hello,

Is it possible to have a desktop computer output 5.1 CH audio? I currently use a 2.1 CH Logitech Z623.

I have an ASRock X470 board (https://www.asrock.com/MB/AMD/X470 Taichi/index.asp#Specification) that lists 7.1 CH in its specs. I'm interested in purchasing the Logitech Z906 (or similar - open to recommendations in that range).

Will I need additional hardware or do 5.1 CH PC speakers come with compatible cables to connect to a PC? Thanks.
 

boju

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Z906 will be fine. Im still using Logitech x540s from 2006 :)

Yes you can mix any brand of speakers/subs with AVR's long as it uses speaker wire and meets ohms (ie usually 6 or 8ohms) and wattage per channel is near what is rated for the AVR.

If you have a home theatre centre near you, a place that deals with this stuff, could see them for package deals.
 

boju

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Yeah for sure can do 5.1 using motherboard analogue jacks. Just match the colour to the speaker unit then Windows will offer you 5.1 under playback devices to configure speakers with.

Optical is limited to 2.1 though, so better you know that now. Only way of getting 5.1 through optical is using a sound card with Dolby Digital Live real-time encoding which compresses audio on the fly and then outputs 5.1 over bandwidth limit optical.

Analogue jacks no fuss.
 

eszed556

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Home audio is new to me, so I'd appreciate some 5.1 CH recommendations to pair with a Samsung 65" 4K Tizen Smart TV (UN65NU8000FXZC).

My budget is CAD 450-600 and my source of media is my Plex server.

Currently the TV is connected to this LG home theater system ( https://www.lg.com/ca_en/home-theater-systems/lg-BH7430PB ) which was basically a hand me down. Given its uncertain life expectancy I'm hoping to replace it. I've connected the receiver to the TV via optical cable. Coming from TV speakers, the LG was an incredible experience - but I don't know what I'm missing.

Can I get something new and better in that range? I looked at the Onkyo HT S3900 but I don't know any better. Thanks!
 
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eszed556

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Thanks Boju. Given that connecting the Z906 won't require any additional hardware is reassuring.

Is the Z906 a capable system - I understand its quite old. The Z906 is currently on sale for CAD 350, hence my query.


Edit: Threads were merged so they're probably confusing. I'm actually looking for recommendations for 2 separate devices - TV and PC.
 
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boju

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z906 is a very capable system - https://www.trustedreviews.com/reviews/logitech-z906 - but are you looking for something to use both PC and TV on?

The Onkyo would give you 4k pass through but it's speakers would need floor stands so speakers are around head height in your seating arrangement to get the proper sound experience. The LG, although 1080p based, seems like a pretty good unit.

Just a thought, maybe venture into component scene. Pick out a good Audio Visual Receiver and build from it.

 

eszed556

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Thanks.
I'm in the market for 2 audio solutions, 1 for PC and 1 for TV.

The Z906 is intended for PC. I'm currently using a Z623 which is 2.1 CH so I thought the 5.1 CH Z906 would be a step up. But the more time I spend reading the more I learn that the Z906 is great, but old tech. And that loudness doesn't necessarily mean quality, clarity and crispness. My PC is primarily for occasional gaming and TV shows.

For TV I am looking to replace the LG simply because it's a very old hand-me-down unit - I use it only for audio. Its been able to play all most audio tracks. TV is for my main movie watching.

x---x---x

When you say component scene do you mean mix and match AVR with compatible speakers? Do AVRs and speakers need to be the same brand? Are the 2 sold together as a package to take out the guess work?
 

boju

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Z906 will be fine. Im still using Logitech x540s from 2006 :)

Yes you can mix any brand of speakers/subs with AVR's long as it uses speaker wire and meets ohms (ie usually 6 or 8ohms) and wattage per channel is near what is rated for the AVR.

If you have a home theatre centre near you, a place that deals with this stuff, could see them for package deals.
 

eszed556

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Thanks. I have a Z906 in possession now.

Is there merit in using an internal PCIE sound card? I am happy to if it means no interference and better quality.
 
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boju

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Onboard audio is usually fine in all most cases, but with any audio equaliser software, by default, can be quite bland. Realtek Audio manager should come with EQ. Maybe try this first.
 

eszed556

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Luckily I found a matching speaker set which was being sold as a bundle with the receiver. The bundle was sold out however the individual sets were available separately. Just ordered.

https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product/sony-7-1-channel-speaker-system/B0011676

Edit: I noticed these don't have rear speakers. Does this mean the bookshelf speakers need to be placed in the rear?
My old LG has 2 smaller speakers specifically labeled for rear use.
 
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boju

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7.1 means surround sound, meaning there's use for two rear speakers + two rear back/side pairs in that bundle. See AVR manual for speaker arrangements.

I have a 7.1 setup (Yamaha Rx1800 Amp) and have pair of Dali bookshelf size speakers on stands for rears, placed far corners in the lounge, similar to your LG setup. Rear backs, im using larger Sony (From an 20yr old unit, but still very good) speakers, placed each side of the couch for extra rumble :). In my AVR i can set what size speakers they are, ie large or small. You'll be able to do the same with your Amp.

Rear use means they, if were smaller speakers, aren't designed or equipped with drivers(speaker cones) to handle bulk of the heavier sounds passed onto the fronts which are typically meant for larger speakers. In movies or games, the rear (or far corner) speakers don't necessarily need to be big to play these sounds well. The second largest pair in your bundle would be used as rear backs (like my Sony speakers) playing more beefier sounds. Beefier sounds like a space ship roaring past in Starwars. Not all movies are in 7.1 but for those that are, the two extra rear backs can make a huge difference. Avatar and Godzilla(2014) are 7.1 movies (most high budget films are) i know of and a lot of AAA games are too.

Of course, can put any speaker combination you want really but it's more of a common sense thing :)
 
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boju

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Oh btw, when it's all set up, use the calibration microphone the AVR comes with. It's quite long so should reach where you're planning to sit. Have it placed around head height, on a stool or couch back rest for example. More on it in the manual. This''ll calibrate each speaker distance to central of the microphone. Elmer Fudd - Be vewy vewy quiet. Close any windows lol to quieten any background noise as not to disrupt. The calibration will play sounds from each speaker and optimise accordingly. Try not to laugh while it's doing it because it can be funny ;P

It's worth doing. Once all speakers are configured, playing music will sound even (where the microphone was) and not hear a dominant speaker. Really makes a difference.
 
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eszed556

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boju, it took 2 weekends with vast amounts of knowledge gain, but I have set up the new HTIB. I am yet to place the height speakers - will likely mount them to the floor L and R speakers for now.

Took longer than expected because I decided to play with fish tape to mount the bookshelf speakers behind the couch. I'm new to drywall/wooden houses so these drywall, stud, fire block, wall anchor etc. concepts are new to me. But I managed a secure rear speaker setup while running the wire in the wall. Just 1 unnecessary hole which I'll patch a day before we move.

Oh yes, this set came w/o speaker wire - so I bought 100 feet 16 gauge from Amazon. Turns out the rear speakers don't have a wall mounting mechanism so I bought a product called B-Tech BT77 Ultragrip. It provided 3 tiny screws to screw into the base of the speakers - no thanks. Given I'm not tilting the base, its quite secure with the friction pads. May use double-sided tape.

I will calibrate and optimize next. But the first film I tested was Ford vs Ferrari and I felt I was a cylinder in the GT40. The sub was confusing - seems like it only needed an RCA cable. I used banana plugs too.

It would have taken another weekend but I had committed to reverting to you. So thank you for the nudge and the direction. This is a great new year year addition to the house. I will now spend time with the AV Receiver manual and revert after calibration.
 

boju

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Glad you're having fun. Messing around with audio equipment and arranging it all is a cool project.

Yeah speaker wire generally isn't included because there's no fixed lengths for everyone. The sub needs shielded rca cable to avoid picking up unwanted RF signals but it's not a total issue. The sub will still filter the signal internally. Subs very low frequency range is more susceptible to interference than normal speakers so rca cable is used instead of speaker wire.

Should notice a good deal different once all speakers are calibrated.

For my setup, i adjusted sub frequency to around (at or between) 60 to 80Hz (THX recommends 60Hz for movies) in the AVR. Amp sub volume set to zero % (it can be set in the minuses) and adjust volume via the sub volume knob. Calibration may change volume level (probably not by a lot, depending on the gain setting on the sub), if it does and it's higher than 0 then change it back to 0. This is to avoid stressing the sub by adding too much more additional volume (gain) to the sub from the AVR's main volume control.
 

eszed556

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I ran the calibration feature as you advised. Kept receiving an error code and after 20 mins of troubleshooting I realized the calibration instrument was flipped (L vs R). It was a facepalm moment. Now the front L, R and center suddenly feel alive.

During this process I realized that my mounted bookshelf speakers are not in the rear/back exactly. They are in fact 10-12 inches ahead of the seating area. Which means these should be marked as surround speakers, not rear. I will then play with small and large settings.

I am not at that level yet to play with frequencies, but every weekend I learn something new. For the purposes of forum netiquettes, your advice was well received and you have my gratitude. I will optimize along the way and will connect through this thread if I run into an obstacle.
 

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