Question Speakers

Brian_278

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Aug 5, 2017
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Wasn't sure exactly where to put this post.
Looking to get a decent set of speakers and sub for my PC, currently working with a Soundblaster and really not too happy with it.
Budget is $400 Canadian, including tax.
I am so out of the loop it ain't funny, do I need to buy a sound card to plug into my MB or can I just use what's onboard?
Thanks
 

Paperdoc

Polypheme
Ambassador
Depends on your mobo, but most for some time now have included an audio chip and several outputs on the rear panel of the mobo. Typically these are available to output 2 speaker signals per socket: Left/Right front stereo; Centre Front /Subwoofer; Left/Right rear stereo; Line In (L/R front stereo); Mic In (usually stereo allowed), and maybe Left/Right Side stereo. You do NOT need to use all these. In the audio management tools supplied with the mobo there normally are configuration options to set for the actual speaker set you have connected - for example, 5.1 Surround Sound as I have, or simpler 2.1 or 3.1 sound, or stereo front only. Also settings for any headset you may use on the front panel jacks.

The output amps involved on the mobo can power a modest speaker set without any external amplifier sufficient to create fairly loud sound in a single room. High-power sound and speakers may need an external amp, but few use that for common computer sound functions.

The sound management tools provided usually include an "equalizer" to adjust the frequency response curve over the audio range plus several pre-programmed sound effects like tunnel echos, concert hall, rock concert sound, etc. So for many people the on-board systems are quite adequate. Audiophiles may decide to add sound cards for special results, but many do not find that is needed.

One small note you MAY not know about if you have not used some of these features. There never has been any way for on-board sound signals OR signals from a sound card to be fed to a VIDEO card. That has become an issue with the common way now to connect video signals to a monitor with an HDMI cable. That cable DOES allow sound to be carried to the monitor, and many monitors have their own speakers. So now it is normal that a VIDEO card also has its own AUDIO chip, too, so that it can generate its own audio signals and send them out on HDMI. When such cards are installed, their setup utilities commonly set Windows to use that audio chip in the VIDEO card and not some other system. If that has happened in your case, the computer may NOT be set to use the mobo audio system. There is a place in Windows Sound configuration to specify which of the sound generation system in your unit is to be used as the default sound output device.
 

Brian_278

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Holy cow thank you for all of that, gonna take a day or two to "absorb" all of that!!! :)
I have a Z490 Tomahawk, and I definitely won't be throwing any wild house parties, just like a decent capable system that can handle the highs and deep lows, appreciate the response.
 
Paperdoc is right on.


Now when it comes to speakers that can be very subjective.
Probably the best value system available is Klipsch pro media 2.1.
Good sound and can fill a little larger room with good speaker placement.
Some people like the Creative 5.1 systems but I find them lacking in music quality.
OK for games and maybe mp3 playback if you listen to them.

It comes down to how picky are you /what level "audiophile" are you?
What size space do you have for speakers?
5.1 or would 2 pro media systems in quadraphonic mode work?
So many possibilities.
 

Brian_278

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Thanks for that, I have a Soundblaster now, sound bar with sub. The sub is okay, the soundbar is something to get used to, always sounds like the music is coming out right in front of you and not really surrounding you at all. I will check out those Klipsch Pro M. 2.1
 
The Klipsch and the Soundblaster are in 2 different worlds as far as music quality.
Not trying to be harsh, but there is no comparison of the 2.

I was a part time sound man/recording engineer for many years.
I am not a prudish audiophile ,but someone who likes his music to sound as close to studio monitor/ cd quality as possible.
most of my systems are in the $1000-1500 range except for the wife's bose systems for the kitchen and dining room. Had to have the small double cubes.
I used bose speakers with a 7.2 Denon amp in the living room, 6 channel stereo mode . So from the front door to the kitchen through the dining room has almost/very close to the same sound field. Slight percievable differences.

It all depends on your preferences and ears. What sounds good enough to you.
 

Brian_278

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I was checking the Klipsch pro media 2.1, saw one review, they said it was great.
Watched another review, the guy complained that there is no off switch and there is an every so slight hum or buzz that doesn't change with volume level. I had the wallet ready to rock, when I saw that second review and now hesitating, maybe he got a lemon??? I am sure it happens from time to time.
I will check trying to track down more reviews of the Klipsch systems.
 

Paperdoc

Polypheme
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A small point of info hat may not concern you - depends on personal preference. The labels used like "2.1" or "5.1" tell you the numbers of speaker units in a set. First digit is speakers for a particular position in the room, second number is how many added units as subwoofer. But not so clear is where all those signals come from.

I have a 5.1 Surround Sound set - not super sophisticated but good for multichannel sound from a computer. So I have L/R front, Centre/Subwoofer front, and L/R rear speakers. That requires three output jacks on the back of the mobo, and each of those provides two separate signal for its two channels. Thus all six speakers are fed individual channel signals generated by the mobo audio system.

A "2.1" system actually is NOT fed THREE separate signals. The output signals used are the two standard stereo signals (no front or back). The speaker system takes those and "splits off" via a filter system the low-frequency parts of each channel. The 2 front stereo speakers get the original signal minus their low parts. The low-frequency portions of BOTH front channels are combined and fed to the Subwoofer. So this splitting and combining is done in the speaker system, and not in the audio card or chip in the computer. That is not quite the same as having separate signals for each of several channels from the very beginning. BUT, of course, if the original signal was only recorded and distributed as 2-channel stereo, then any additional channels for different speaker positions is all synthetically generated somewhere, anyway. Whether it is done in the audio chip or at the speaker set does not really matter. This factor makes a difference ONLY if the original "sound tracks" were all separate - as in 5 or 7 speaker positions plus subwoofer signals all separate from the outset.

If most of your sound sources are simply 2-channel stereo anyway, any good 2.1 system will do a perfectly good job.
 

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