Optical Desktop Speaker Set for under/around $100

James Mason

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Jan 2, 2014
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Anyone know of a good/decent desktop speaker set that can use an Optical input?
I see them running up towards $400-500 for a 7/8.1 channel system, but i'd be fine with 2.1 or 4.1/5.1.
I just don't want to have to run a bunch of tiny cables to the back of my computer, where I already have too many of, and try to match them up to the right colors on my tiny sound card.
I have optical out and would like to employ that by connecting it to the subwoofer/hub.
 

weberdarren97

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Aug 10, 2015
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I managed to find This Monstrocity. It looks like it's a 5.1 surround sound system that connects via optical to a little control box that converts the optical signal to RCA and sends it to the sound system to be expanded into 5.1 and sent to the speakers.

With a configuration like that, no wonder it's being sold at Walmart. Lol
 

weberdarren97

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"Z623 speakers have convenient RCA and 3.5 mm inputs for music, movie, and gaming devices." Took that straight off the product page on Logitech's website. I don't think that has an optical input.

"Connector Type: Aux-In and Line-In" I took that from the Newegg product page where I found the Creative T40ii set. I don't think it has optical input either.
 

bitwright

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Jun 12, 2014
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It should be mentioned that s/pdif, either via optical toslink cable or coaxial cable, does not have the bandwidth to output uncompressed surround sound. This means that s/pdif can only output 4.1/5.1 sound that has been compressed or encoded, usually in some Dolby or DTS format.

Why does this matter? Because your PC outputs sound as uncompressed LPCM. What's more, there is no way to set Windows to output sound in Dolby or DTS format by default. MS would have to pay for the codecs to do so, and that would raise the cost of Windows.

Some programs, mainly media players, do offer the option to passthrough Dolby or DTS encoded sound streams, and while those programs will output surround sound via your PCs optical out, everything else will be limited to 2.1 sound, including most games.

You are better off connecting your PC to analog PC speakers. If you're fine with 2.1 sound, that usually only involves 1 cable to the back of your PC anyway, and only 3 for 5.1 sound (each cable carries 2 channels). If this is a living room setup, you might want to look into investing in an A/V receiver that connects via HDMI instead.
 
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