5.1 Sound System Options (low to mid range price)

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I am looking to get a sound system for my PC. Looking for a good quality system, I am not audiophile, so it does not need to be insane, but it has to be good. Looking for a surround system, that has the back speakers wireless.

The other issue I have, if I do get a system like this is hiding the cables from the front speakers.

So I have my 3 monitors mounted to the wall 3-4 inches above the desk, and then I have a wire channel from just under the monitors down to the bottom of the floor, to hide the cables. My question is if I get speakers, how do I hide the cables, as it would basically have to go up first, to get into the channel, before going down, meaning you'd see the cable anyway.

So two questions.

1. What are my options for a 5.1 system with back wireless speakers.
2. How do I hide cables for the system.
 

MagicPants

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Those are great speakers too.

FYI have two 7.1 surround systems, one on my gaming computer and one on my HTPC, and a set of Polk Monitor 30s hooked up to my work computer, powered by a topping tp 22 mini t amp.

The Polks are similar to the Audio Engines in that they dig down deep enough where you can hear the bass, but you can't really feel it. The Polks can go a little further down than the Audio Engines(55hz vs 65hz), but they are quite a bit larger too (5.25" woofers vs 2.75").

Also I love t amps (or d amps) because they are extremely power efficient, and have very flat response curves.
 

MagicPants

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For 5.1 wireless speakers, you can't use any computer speakers. Logitech made some 5.1 with the back channel wireless speakers about 6 years ago, but there were issues (crackling and buzzing) so they stopped making them.

As I see it, you have two options:

1) Get any old receiver with a wireless transmitter that takes speaker level inputs
2) Get a good receiver with preouts and smaller wireless mini-amp

I don't know much about option 1, so I'll tell you what I would buy for option 2:

Receiver) The Harmon Kardon avr1600 I cannot recommend this receiver enough, sure the 50 watt per channel rating looks low, until you realize they don't lie about their wattage like samsung, sony, or Onkyo, and any one of them would rate it as 200 watts per channel. It's got 7.1 direct input which is what you need to hook it up to a soundcard or mobo sound. $320
http://www.amazon.com/Harman-Kardon-AVR1600-7-1-Channel-Receiver/dp/B002IKKFTQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391832497&sr=8-1&keywords=avr+1600


Speakers) Monoprice premium 5.1 home theater speakers. These are a clone of Energy's Take Classic 5.1 speaker system, a top rated speaker package, (CNET's #1) CNet rated these speakers as being identical to the energy speakers, even wondering when the law suit was going to happen $250
http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=109&cp_id=10906&cs_id=1090601&p_id=10565&seq=1&format=2

Wireless Miniamp for back speakers) Monoprice Wireless Speaker Transmitter. A new product, but it seems to be good with no bad customer reviews. $90
http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=109&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011011&p_id=10601&seq=1&format=2

You still need a few incidentals notably 3x 3.5mm minijack to rca splitter cables, as well as some other wires.

As for hiding the cables, You could run them up behind the table leg, then along the back of the table.
 
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Uh what.

That's all a bunch of crazy. One those are all expensive. I was looking for one system for like under $200. I thought that was what low to mid range was. I am trying to keep things clean, which is why I was also asking how to hide cables.

A receiver, some wireless amp thing, speakers and subcs....thats alot of stuff I don't need.

So there are no computer speakers that have rear wireless? How does any company expect you to use them then? Run wires across the floor? WTF
 

MagicPants

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You can try getting an old set of Logitech Z 5450's ($250ish used). I have a feeling they are exactly what you want, but be warned that people have had a lot of issues with the back channels.

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Z-5450-Digital-Speaker-970181-0403/dp/B000AM6QHO

Apparently it causes problems with 2.4GHz wireless. So only buy them if you use 5.0 ghz wireless, and you don't have any neighbors (you don't hate) who use wifi.
 
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Let's change the topic a bit then.


What is the best 5.1 system (ignoring wireless comments) for under $200.?

**edit nevermind, I don't understand how people run wires everywhere...makes no sense to me, it just does not work
 

MagicPants

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You're going to run into the problem that computer speakers don't have a preout, so the volume of your back channels won't match the volume of your front channels, if you use a wireless transmitter that takes a line level signal, and you'd need to run through a receiver for speakers to use an amplified speaker level signal.

One thing you could try is get a reasonable set of 5.1 speakers like logitech's z506 ($60) and the monoprice wireless thingamabob ($90) it'll be a little bit of a trick hooking the rear channels up to a regular speaker wire input (I suppose just buy a 3.5mm stereo extension cables and cut and split them). Running the output from the computer directly to the wireless transmitter

The issue with this setup is that the volume knob that controls the front channels won't change the sound levels on the back channels. One way around this is to only control your volume with the computer. (Of you do this I'd suggest also buying a griffin powermate volume knob for $30)
 

MagicPants

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Oh if you just want good cheap surround sound try Logitech's Z506 for $60. It's not awesomely powerful, but most of the time your doing near field listening with computer speakers anyway.

Or why not just go with a great 2.1 setup?
Klipsch's Promedia 2.1 is fantastic
http://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-ProMedia-Certified-Computer-Speaker/dp/B000062VUO/ref=sr_1_33?ie=UTF8&qid=1391834714&sr=8-33&keywords=5.1+computer+speakers+bose

and corsair makes a nice system too
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Gaming-High-Power-Speaker-CA-SP211NA/dp/B004H0MQYW/ref=pd_cp_e_2
 
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Yea I was looking at that Logitech System, but of course, the wires.

But having to add that extra monoprice thing, not ideal.

And well, its hard to pay for the best 2.1 system at 150+CAD when I can get 5.1 for 79.99 lol Also, I'd really finally like to get some surround sound.
 

MagicPants

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What sound card do you have? If it supports DTS-Connect or Dolby Digital Live, you could connect to a system with a spdif (optical) and get 5.1. Just I'm not sure there are any systems that have wireless back speakers for less than $200 (most are in the $400 range)

Like this:http://www.amazon.com/LG-Electronics-BH6830SW-Wireless-Speakers/dp/B00BD7UVPI/ref=sr_1_14?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1391840063&sr=1-14&keywords=wireless+surround+sound
 
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I'm using onboard sound. I have a Asus Maximus Vi Gene motherboard. Though, contemplating getting a soundcard if it helps anything.
 
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All the research I have done, those Klipsch Pro Media 2.1 speakers are the best 2.1 speakers out there. And I may be willing to pay the $150 (best I found in Canada) for them.

Though, for the past how many years, I have been using headphones, then a soundbar (that didn't do surround, due to my PC), to another type of sound bar. So I really wanted to get something that had surround sound, as it's sooooo Great.

So it kinda feels stupid for me to get a 2.1 system, even if it is good quality speakers.
 

MagicPants

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FYI the cheapest soundcard that can encode DTS-connect to optical is the Xonar ds or dsx for about $60. DTS-connect or Dolby digital live encoding is needed to get 5.1 surround for games (but not movies as they are already encoded.)
 
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No, I had a Visio soundbar and I wanted to get away from having a huge bar on my desk, which is why I found a much smaller one, for Monitors, but of course it was pure crappy quality.

So 2 fairly small speakers are the most I want on the desk.
 
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That sound card (dsx) does not have any optical ports on the back? And why does it need to be optical again?
 

MagicPants

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It comes with a little adapter to turn one of the ports into an optical port. You need optical because you need a way to transfer 6 channels of sound to the speakers. You can do that in one of three ways

1) with 3 stereo minijack plugs, like computer speaker systems use (but which don't come with wireless speakers, except for the aforementioned logitech system)
2) with an hdmi plug, which you still need to get to wireless speakers
3) by encoding the data into a bitstream and then transferring it to your speakers via an optical cable

The simplest way, via 3x 2channel cables, is also the most expensive because no one makes lowend receivers with 5.1 (6 channel) direct input.

you can not get surround sound by simply plugging in a pair of rca cables or a single minijack plug, that will give you only 2 channels.
 
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Thanksa for all the help.

I don't know what I am going to do. I think it's more of a do I need surround sound type of question at the moment. So either spend $150 on a nice 2.1 system, and probably be happy. Or wait (dunno how long) till I can afford some 500+ surround sound system.

Or buy a cheap surround sound system and set it up incorrect, which would defeat the purpose lol
 
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Now I see lots about the Audioengine A2+ speakers, and they look great, and supposedly are very good. Even without a sub-woofer (which I am fine with if it can provide the base)
 
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Yup,

I think I am getting the Audioengine A2+ speakers. They are fairly small, as I want. They are a nice clean beautiful design, and white goes with my desk. All reviews say they are amazing in quality in all areas. Reviews vary in bass quality, but mostly good plus you can add a sub if you want. I like the idea that they don't need a sub, as then I only deal with 2 speakers, one wire.

So I think I will pick them up today and see how it goes. A bit more than I wanted to pay at $280 (with tax) but I think they will be worth it. As they are upgradable with the DAC inputs.
 

MagicPants

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Those are great speakers too.

FYI have two 7.1 surround systems, one on my gaming computer and one on my HTPC, and a set of Polk Monitor 30s hooked up to my work computer, powered by a topping tp 22 mini t amp.

The Polks are similar to the Audio Engines in that they dig down deep enough where you can hear the bass, but you can't really feel it. The Polks can go a little further down than the Audio Engines(55hz vs 65hz), but they are quite a bit larger too (5.25" woofers vs 2.75").

Also I love t amps (or d amps) because they are extremely power efficient, and have very flat response curves.
 
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