Bookshelf speakers and amp assistance


Jul 5, 2010
I'm currently using a Logitech all in one speaker setup and need to advance the system. I'm sure its all very simple to audio veterans but to someone who has never setup a "passive" system I want to make sure I purchase everything correctly so I have no headaches during initial setup. That is where you come in.

I want to start super basic, most likely with a pair of passive speakers and an amp to get the job done. I want to make sure I purchase all of the required cables. Ideally, I would like to make this as simple as possible so I'd like to utilize banana tips on the wires. Now, besides the wires (red/black right?) that go from the speakers to the amp... the amp will have some RCA (red/white) connections right? Where does the other end of that go... I'm assuming somewhere on my PC. My PC doesn't have a "sound card" or anything of that nature, is this an issue? So it goes speaker (red/black) to amp and then amp to computer I'm assuming... but where? I'd love to have an amp with a headphone jack, is this possible on a budget or am I looking at $200+ amps only for this feature?

TL;dr - I'd like a simple setup consisting of passive speakers and an amp, utilizing banana tips if possible, and ideally an amp with a headphone jack that is budget friendly, would also like to know where the RCA cables on the amp connect to. Anything else I need to purchase?


Question from cctaylor88 : "Passive speaker and amp help for a beginner"

You can use banana plugs so long as both the amp and speakers accommodate them. There isn't an advantage to using them unless you will be unplugging them a lot. Bare wire is fine if you leave everything connected so don't let that be a big factor in choosing which speakers and amp to get.
The input of the amp is connected to the headphone jack of a laptop or the lime green audio jack on a desktop. You set the desktop to 2 channel. You would need a cable with a 3.5mm stereo plug at the PC end and 2 RCA plugs at the amp end. Very common cable.
You can get a cheap stereo receiver for $130 - $200 new or a used one for a lot less. If you don't need a radio an integrated amp will work fine but they usually start higher since they assume you are going for higher quality even if the power is less. A higher quality used one might be the way to go.
It's best to pick your speakers first. That determines the impedance that the amp needs to drive, how much power you need, and what sound would match them best. Getting a bright sounding amp to use with bright sounding speakers would be hard to listen to. Getting a warm sounding amp for bright speakers would work better. Or vice versa.
Using you own ears to determine what you like is the best way to go. If there are any good audio shops around you visit them. Even if their gear is too expensive they will often have used equipment that would be a great start.